Ok... everything so far seems to work fine on my laptop. I'm willing to attribute my earlier problems to the PC... it's never taken any "desktop" install of Linux nicely (lots of odd problems occur). The best I've done with it was a console-only base debian install, and that one took a while to coerce it to work. I was lulled into complacency by how easily BSD installed.. i guess I should have been more wary
Rebooting the PC actually allowed Firefox to start, but as soon as you do anything... click a menu, type an address... it segfaults. Go figure. And the other packages still wouldn't install. But like I said, I'm willing to blame it on the PC.
Well, thanks for the help. I'm sure I'll have more newbie questions soon enough