went out and actually bought the personal distro, installed it from zero and ran the red hat network up2date thang. took long time downloading all the packages with just a dialup, and it reported that there was a problem with the kernel docs during download. i said alright go on and finish the install, and away it went with the install, but when i checked it a couple of hours later, it had stopped at the kernel doc package. it had, fortunately, installed the glibc package, the 2.3.2-27.9 rev that was needed for the problem that we've attempting to address. i futzed about with some other things (hosts, fstab, email client, etc) before trying the .4363 driver install, but it came off without a hitch and xmms started properly. btw, the compile date on the 2.3.2-27.9 is an april date while the 2.3.2-5 is a february date.
thanks for your help and i guess the moral of the whole mess has been to make sure that the latest errata packages have been installed properly before crying wolf...