Well, after successfully installing Catalysts 12.1 through 12.10, I have learned that GCC 2.15 DOES cover the 2.2 / 2.3 requirement for Catalyst and addition files are not needed for THAT, so consider this SOLVED.
I tried drivers 12.6 through 14.3 on an installation of Ubuntu 12.04.4 and none of them worked. Then I learned that the extra ".4" made all the difference and I in fact had an X server and Kernel later than I thought, which would have caused issues for at least the older drivers. So, I installed a copy 12.04.01 and was successful with drivers 12.1 - 12.10. I chalked the problem up to incompatibility and inexperience.
Then, I remembered that after 12.4, AMD dropped future support for my HD4250 card in Catalyst 12.6 and on. I have switchable graphics (the other is a 5470) so I thought maybe that is why the later drivers were not working...then I realized that I had installed drivers 12.6, 12.8, and 12.10 successfully, so simply having an HD4250 is not the problem.
I reiterate: 12.1 - 12.10 work with Ubuntu 12.04.01 with X server 1.11 and Kernel 3.2. on my Acer Aspire 5553g with switchable AMD Mobility Radeon's HD 4250 and HD5470. Everything above 12.10 will not work, despite the fact that I compatible hardware, a viable kernel and x server, and all the necessary software.
Or, do I? Do I now need to UPGRADE all that stuff for, say, 13.1 - 14.3 to work?