Another problem is that file associations got nuked. Fair enough, I can rebuild those as I run into them... but when I tried to apply a patch to NeoOffice, I'm told:
There is no default application specified to open the document "NeoOffice-blah.pkg".
Well, that's a bit strange, so I google and find that I need to use /Applications/Utilities/Installer.app for these. Great! Or not great, because the file is MISSING. I see similar problems on forums (what would we do without them? well, without the ones with actual answers anyway), and people generally recommend the poor user to reinstall via "Archive and Install" which supposedly keeps your user files/settings.
Before I made such a serious commitment to dig myself deeper in the shite, though, I did another quick google and found that as of OS X version 10.5 "Leopard", the Installer application is now located in /System/Library/CoreServices, along with a horde of other utilities.
So to others encountering this problem, DO NOT REINSTALL before checking there. It's unlikely that the program has let itself out the back door into the night. It's probably right there, hiding under your bed.
Don't be too hasty to reinstall your OS - there's usually a reasonable fix out there... Now if I can only find my font fix...