omskates and kjpetrie, for my 2 other KDE4 comps your statements are absolutely correct, but not for the one in question. I just had another try, but this time it switched to the synaptic GUI,but that stayed greyed out as in the case when I try with the panel icon - nothing moves and nothing can be accessed with the cursor. I finally click the top right X with the response "synaptic is not responding, do you want to terminate?". After I terminate, I can see that the konsole transaction never finished, i.e. no prompt at the end of the messages. So I am still stuck: neither icon nor konsole works
I am at my wit's end about this behavior of synaptic. I tried the texstar guideline of "how to repair a corrupted rpm database" but it hangs on rebuilddb command, and I gave it 30 min to do its thing. Also, apt-get clean && apt-get autoclean make it hang up. Otherwise no change in behavior when I try to start from the konsole as per various posts or from the panel icon.
Equipment: Compaq laptop Athlon 3000+; NVIDIA GeForce 4400 Go;500MB Mem; 60GB HD Any other suggestions, please?