So, I decided to quit pirating operating systems and installed Ubuntu on a slightly more modern laptop. It rocks. Hands down. It found all the funky parts of the hardware, including a slightly non-standard Cisco WiFi card. No problems at all. Now I am in the middle of finding fun games and stuff to fiddle with.
I am not going to join in with the fanatics, yet I think that this will give the folks in Redmond, and Cupertino, something to look out for.