I was doing an 'aptitude -t testing upgrade' which I have done several times before but this time I think it overloaded things (205 packages were being installed). All the packages downloaded and 'dpkg' was doing it's thing when all of a sudden the 'out of memory' messages started appearing, the oom killer kicked in and managed to kill a few gnome-cups-icon tasks but it was hopelessly thrashing and I had to pull the plug on the machine, it wasn't coming back.
Now I have 71 broken packages and a tangled mess. I tried 'dpkg --configure -a' in an attempt to finish installing partially installed packages but that didn't do anything. Then when I went into aptitude and listed broken packages I saw a bunch that were dependent on 'xfree86-common', which I reinstalled, but the broken package(s) still appeared in aptitude after I did this. I don't want to do 'aptitude dist-upgrade' because it says it would REMOVE gdm and gnome and I definitely don't want that.
I can't start gnome now and despair is right outside the door. If anybody has a suggested methodology about how to untangle the mess and
get to some sort of stable point I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.