Here's the post-mortem:
1) When using the Package Management Tool (in GNOME), I try to add the Development tools (a single check mark). I open the details link and fine tune the packages I want to install.
2) After I click on update, it compiles the package dependencies, and it comes back with an error in a popoup window, saying something like (these are not the exact same messages nor the same version number, but the principle is pretty much the same):
The following packages are not installed and are required in order to install the new packages, and then it shows the details:
openssl-0.98-1 required by openssldevel-1.4.3
openldap-1.5.4-3 required by openldapdevel-188.8.131.52
.... (like five of them)
3) However if I bring up a terminal and issue the following command:
#rpm -q openssl
What tells me that there is a newer version installed, and for some reason the program doesn't pick up this new version.
At first I thought it was only for these packages, but as I gave up and tried to configure an HP DJ 970, I realized that I was missing a package. I tried to do the same thing (using the GUI) to install the missing package and it came back with the same error, but different module (it had nothing to do with the openssl, ldap, etc. - I believe it was the ghostview).
I'm thinking of:
1) run rpm -qa > shellfile
2) backing up my /var/lib/rpm directory
3) rpm -initdb
4) modify my shellfile to issue the command to install all packages (with the justdb option)
But before doing that, I wanted to know if there was an easier way, since I'm not an expert.... that will just be experimenting with my system (totally against for since I've spent a lot of time already configuring some other stuff). Also, would that be a reasonable approach?