Weird enough, i was able to reanimate googleearth by installing nvidia-glx-ia32, additional to nvidia-glx (in a debian legacy setup). The window started up before but didn't draw the actual graphics, just a blank screen.
Sad thing is that since few month, GE 4.2 doesn't run anymore, which had the one-mouse-'copter' navigation mode (Ctrl-G), the most genial thing on earth (since the linux kernel), and which they removed soon afterwards. 4.2. seems to miss libbase.so. and i guess it's just no more compatible, finally.