I've had a week to play more with CentOS 5 on my laptop, and I've overcome a few of the shortcomings that were bothering me last time. It eventually occurred to me that I could use gnome-panel and its pager. That worked out pretty well, but actually I find that I like fbpanel even better. fbpanel is a lot like gnome-panel, but is a little more configurable. And the pager shows scaled-down versions of my wallpaper--not a big deal, but cool.
I was able to build grisbi from source, but I couldn't get OFX support to work. The libofx/openjade/opensp dependency hell was too annoying, so I just turned off that feature. OFX is a file format for financial records. Some financial institutions might be able to deliver your financial records in OFX format, and then you could import them into grisbi (if OFX support is built in). So my build might not be very useful for some people. It's not a feature that I've ever used, so I don't really miss it. I'm just glad to have grisbi working in CentOS 5. Leave a comment if you'd like the spec file.