I had two problems:
- The XWindows hot-plug support for input devices just plain doesn't work on my system. This was introduced in 11.1, so that would have bit me then.
- VMWare Workstation just wouldn't compile the modules. The 11.2 kernel is too new.
I don't know why the 'evdev' stuff in xorg is failing on me. It's on my list to figure out, but as I have a working config at the moment that's kind of low priority. But that needs fixing, since 11.3 will most assuredly reintroduce that fault.
VMWare.... reportedly version 7 works without a hitch. But I can't have that yet, so I had to get 6.5 in somehow. The crowbar I mentioned was killing certain processes the vmware installer spawns to compile the kernel modules it requires. Once those were ruthelessly murdered, the installer completed and it would work. Clearly, I have to be leery of kernel updates until I can use 7.
Other than some theme tweaks that I needed to redo, this was the cleanest upgrade I've had. All the Gnome stuff worked right out of the gate, which is a first. In the past I've had to blow away most of my Gnome configs and restart from scratch. I'm glad those bugs have been ironed out.