After so many years of dodging RHL and company, I finally opted to give Fedora fair chance. Since it's a big disk set and I lack the spare DVD medium, I opted to d/l the net install and live cds. For the sake of wanting to try it, I also opted to download the x86_64 version, since the machines processor is an Intel 64.
Round one: a very nice setup using the netinstall disk, only to find out, as anticipated it was cram packed full of network drivers (as any sane distributor would do), even had the necessary crypto support! Just not a driver for my fairly common wireless card. Even more irksome, whether by virtue of bad design in GRUB, BIOS, or a foup up in Anaconda, on rebooting the system, I was greated with a load of gibberish in the terminal, where in pressing enter goes to the Intel Boot Agent for PXE based booting 8=). Odds are my knoppix disk can nuke the MBR back to a stock without trouble, or I could just reach for my FreeBSD disk and correct the MBR.
Round two: go scp myself the the live cd ISO, and burncd it. Only to find it increadably slow and not very agreeable. However the blasted thing was able to auto load the necessary crap for my wireless, connecting after I supplied the nearly 500bit code for the system. While I don't care much for yielding the package selection (or screwing with the running image in slow mo), it shouldn't be hard to adjust things post boot and tune Fedora to my tastes. That's kind of one plus of the distribution, it's more of a screw with it until you break something sort ;). However the installer wouldn't function off the disk, so back to the drawing board....
Round three A: cart the entire freaking kit to my room, and hook it into the router with a spare Ethernet cable. No thanks, there are distros that 'like' my hardare.
Round three B: Download and burn five disks of Fedora 12.... and shout loudly if the driver isn't included.
Of course, I could likely have show horned the driver from the live disk into working with the net install disk, pardoning kernel panics, if I hadn't chucked the disk already >_>. That is also assuming that the installers demands could be appeased!
In the end I took round three B, finding that Fedora x86_64 and for sake of testing, Ubuntu x86_64 really do not like my hardware! So much for having suitable kit >_>. Rather than trouble myself further to fetch a set of Fedora i386, I dug out a two year old (8.04) Ubuntu 32-bit disk and installed that. Did a quick set of updates to bring her to the new 10.04 LTS.
After installing about 900 extra software packages... I think I'm done, lol.