I haven't broken a Linux installation badly enough to justify a reinstall in about eight years and I was fairly proud of that fact. Well, I got distracted during an update and
- broke Rule Number One and didn't pay attention to what apt was offering to remove The best part about this is that I had been holding for several days because upgrades looked unsafe
- apt-listbugs didn't say anything, probably because it wasn't a bug
- ran apt autoclean afterward, so now the package archives for those 29 packages are no longer local, and
- since it looks like xorg was in the middle of transitioning, the packages that were removed are no longer available.
I have a nightly dpkg dump of packages I have installed. Using this to restore installed packages worked not at all because of the twentysomething package names that had changed between the time my cron job made the dump and when I did the upgrade. Nice.
I had to manually parse this 2000-line text file and compare it to synaptic output to make sure I got all my applications reinstalled, which took the better part of a day and a half.
In the end there was only one casualty; a fancy right-click desktop menu I'd grabbed from http://kde-apps.org and that same applet refuses to install with nasty error messages telling the developer to fix his code, so it doesn't appear that's happening but everything else is back to normal
Lesson learned. Again. Focus when upgrading a development distribution