Gnome 1.4, sawfish, gdm problems

Dear people,
I'm having a few problems with Gnome, Sawfish and gdm, which I've just installed.  Any help or comments would be greatly appreciated.  If/when I get them fixed, I'll post the solution.
I'm running SuSE Linux 6.4 on an intel-based laptop.  I've had it for a while and maybe not everything is where it should be, but everything seems to work.  I installed around 45 tarballs (from a CD coming with the English Linux magazine Linux Format) for Gnome 1.4 (including Sawfish 0.38 and gdm 2.2.0).  These all installed OK and I can get into Gnome (via kdm - see below).  However, Gnome and Sawfish exhibit some strange behaviours, and gdm will not run at all:
as root:
- wants middle button mouse clicks instead of left button, e.g. for
  cursor placement or clicking in dialog boxes (I have a
  two button mouse, so this is inconvenient).  Logging on as user, gnome/sawfish
  happily accepts left-clicks for these functions.
as root and as user:
- some apps are inaccessible from the panel. e.g. Netscape launcher works
  for root but not for user; Gnome|Programs|Applications|Vim works,
  but Gnome|Programs|Applications|Emacs doesn't.  I've looked in the .desktop
  files, but I can't see anything amiss.
- windows do not raise when focussed.
*** GDM
Trying to run gdm gets this response:
  gdm_config_parse: can't find the gdm group (gdm). Aborting!
Any ideas?
Thank you for your patience.
Yours faithfully
Ivan Uemlianin

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