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As with other tools of the group, best not to mount the fs when you check it.
My partition came up clean in fact.
I was reading the man fsck to see what else it could do, but as happens so often, I run out of patience reading the man pages, so I just reboot. Now, I don't like doing that when I've done nothing to solve the problem, but one hgets lazy, you know ....
So, it the boot sequence came up with something about a warning, ext2_read_super, mounting as ext2 (it is actually an ext3), but this time no panicky kernel! I get in and all is well with the world ... except my confidence in my system. Despite the recovery, I'm still no happier, as it soved itself. I would prefer to find out whatg went wrong ...
Could runnning an e2fsck actually solve a troubled kernel panic. Mara, you're right, a pkg install shouldn't cause this. How do I check the journal, would that tell me anything?
BTW I'm going to post a separate question about the whole locale thing ..., it has my brain cells all aflutter!