Continuing Gnome Woes

I've just got back to evaluating gnome after a much needed break.
gnopernicus: 0.9.6
gnome-speech: 0.3.3
I've built everything multiple times, using garnome.  How do I find out the version of garnome, if it in deed has a version? 
I've found various problems compiling and had to get later versions of things than initially specified in the Makefiles for each component. I don't remember now, but I ultimately recompiled everything in the garnome/boot directory and the platform directory.  I still haven't gotten balsa to compile and mozilla compiled but gives no feedback at all when run except for menus.  None of the help buttons in gnopernicus or other gnome windows produce anything I can read.
Aside from these problems, I get the following behaviors consistently:
1. After about 10 minutes, all speech ceases.
2. When this happens, I switch back to my windows screen reader and from my PTY session, examine the running processies. I find 5 dectalk processies running and 2 festival processes running.  Is this normal?
2. Things are very slow.  I'm running rh9 on a pentium (p3 perhaps but not sure) running at aprox. 500mhz. It takes about half a second to simply move to the next icon or list item in nautalis and read it. Is this normal?
3. Could someone detail the startup procedure - i.e. how to start gnome? We installed rh9 with x-windows support enabled.  Where do I put my bash commands to initialize the environment and start gnome.  What I did is to put the following in .xsession in my home dir:
source ~/bin/
     exec $GARNOME/bin/gnome-session
The script just sets variables like path and ld_library_path etc. Here's its source:
export GARNOME

 export      XDG_DATA_DIRS
I'm frustrated beyond belief. I'm going to throw away everything and rebuild the entire tree again. It'll take about 8 hours to compile everything, and if nothing goes wrong, should be able to test again tomorrow. 
-- Rich

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