Did you try "dpkg-reconfigure --help" as root. That will take you through a curses (newt) styled configuration dialog, much the same as occures at install.
You will be expected to look through the "aptitude" or "dselect" front ends in order to check on the various packages that you may or may not have installed.
In terms of kde not doing it for you -=- well --- tell kde that. deb basically just packages sw and delivers it in a working collection. It doesn't interfere with what the upstream author(s) consider adequate for their package. Regardless of what colour they painted it. Thats really an issue with them. But they do tend to be moving more along the lines of -- easier tools.. Things like apt-xxx, dpkg, dselect, aptitude, synaptic are already available though.
The recent sarge release gave me no real problems on the install. Typically deb, i did have to tweak things later as on a custom install it did what i wanted ... which meant i left things out (grin). Requiring me to go back to reconfigure. And the hw detection was quite good i though. It certainly had the option of auto or select from a list. Though it does mean one actually has to squiz the hw or the feeble excuse for a manual that accompanies cards etc .. to see what kind of gizzmo it actually is.
Back on the kde thing --- kde menus are bloted enough as it is -=- do you expect deb to remove ! items !!!, to interfere with the way a sw package is put together -=- and who to satisfy there !. It's good they actually added some extra deb specific items, under its own sub-menu heading as well.
How you figure that the bloted kde menu is a deb issue is wierd. They don't rearange sw like that. Have a read over the comments in the cdrecord sources and see just how pissed off an upstream auther can get when a "distro" decides to rearrange their sw to suite themselves. Especially the credits (this being SUSE by the way
There is a mailing list(s) you could try for specific proplems, accessable sometimes via sub-forums on various boards like linuxquestions, linuxforums etc..., but not sure if it would be on the kde menu. Just about every thing else is though