It's amazing what one can do with a little perseverance, some logic and a bit of common-sense.
I was right (or, at least, as far as I can tell, partially).
Certainly, the Nvidia drivers were borked, but I can't be 100% positive quite what went on with the kernel, or, more specifically, I can't be 100% positive how the update checker's (part of YOU) is behaving. Its installation log shows no mention of having updated the kernel, the last log entry in the "update-messages" file is for SuSEfirewall2_update on December 11.
Launching YAST Online Update, selecting the "Manually select patches" option and subsequently ticking the "show installed patches" then
checking the status of kernel software, however, shows that the kernel has
been updated from 2.4.20-101 to 2.4.20-102.
Sooo, how to fix the Nvidia driver?
Well, I checked with the Nvidia site (thank heavens for Lynx!) and found there was a new driver, anyway, downloaded it (V1.0-5328), switched to run-level 3 and installed it following the instructions
on SuSE's ftp site
(much easier than the previous version I was using, V1.0-4496), configured XFree86 with sax2 as per the instructions, did the business on the tuning of the display, saved the config, re-booted (to make sure
) and Voila! Back to glorious GeForce-powered technicolour!
On reflection, I guess I might
have been able to avoid the initial nastiness and panicking that something was seriously
wrong by simply running sax2 at the outset.
Next time (although I hope not to have a next time!) I'll try that, first.
Phew! Boy, am I a happy puppy!?