i was able to finally reinstall gnome by doing the following:
# wget http://public-yum.oracle.com/public-yum-el5.repo
then doing a yum groupinstall gnome..
but the original problem, the missing top panel, is still a problem..
i also reinstalled the kde environment and while the kde editor will allow me to look at
root files the gnome editor doesnt' respond at all when clicking on the icon..
i'm still learning about linux, and could you explain why i had to do the wget thing in order
to be able to install gnome ? this was an os that was installed last june and had been running fine until i made the upgrades:
Feb 12 09:14:12 Updated: elinks-0.11.1-8.el5_9.x86_64
Feb 12 09:14:13 Installed: kernel-uek-firmware-2.6.32-300.39.4.el5uek.noarch
Feb 12 09:14:26 Installed: kernel-uek-2.6.32-300.39.4.el5uek.x86_64
Feb 12 21:23:10 Updated: nss_ldap-253-51.el5_9.1.x86_64
Feb 12 21:23:11 Updated: nss_ldap-253-51.el5_9.1.i386