Tuesday the new motherboard arrived and I spent a while reading the manual.
I also tried to copy over the last (too old) backup of belgian and discovered two things: 1. It wasn't as old as I'd feared and 2. The backup drive seems to be dying - lots of I/O errors... once the clicking stopped. Ouch.
Wednesday everything else arrived, and I skimmed a bit and went (back) to bed as I had a few things to do earlier than usual - such as get a freebie flu shot.
Late last night, or early this morning if you prefer, I began the assembly. Nothing actually difficult but so many fiddly bits. The case is a mid-tower and so bigger than the minis I've been used to. Some aspects of the design are really nice... once I figured them out. The power supply is.. substantial. I eventually got everything together, or so I'd thought, and fired it up... and nothing happened. CRAP.
Alright, back to basics, disconnect almost everything.. Aha! loose power cable. Aha! missed power cable. Fixed those, put most things back. It beeps. It shows me a splash screen. It... tells me that /dev doesn't exist. Ah well, old drive in a new system, just use a LiveCD and point things right, right? Well, if I knew how. If I could Google the knowhow. No such luck.
So I decide to run a backup to the laptop and reinstall the OS so grub can do its things and I can upgrade or change distributions. Ever try to run an ftp server from a LiveCD? It may be possible, but I think I was getting permission issues. So if I couldn't pull stuff though the pipe, I could push stuff through the pipe. Right now I'm doing the backup with the laptop acting as ftp server. That will go away as soon as I'm done. This laptop does NOT need to have an ftp server on it, normally.
Nothing is truly done yet. The drives (DVD/CD and HDD) are both old IDE things and that hard drive is even older than the apparently failing backup drive. That needs to be replaced next. Time to go SATA when I can. The optical drive seems reluctant to open via the front panel button, so it's also due for replacement in the not-too-distant future. I didn't even bother transferring the floppy drive over. I can't recall the last time I used it. JMaynard even noted it was a bit odd to hear a floppy seek on boot nowadays.
The video card is an ATI. Given my laptop experiences with ATI drivers (the open source ones don't do everything yet, and ATI's own suck sharp pointy rocks through soggy paper straws.) I'd like to go to an nVidia and have things work all and right.
And I find myself wondering about sticking with PCLinuxOS (32-bit, but I have "only" 2 GB of RAM, it's familiar, and things work as I expect - I recently ran into the Xubuntu USB weirdness that Landley had: some things plugged into the USB ports didn't seem to appear.) or going to Xubuntu 64-bit and being ready for any upgrade - and just dealing with the Xubuntu weirdness for now.
Also, I have yet to deal with the hydra-like plethora of cables from the power supply and put the side panel back on. This is still the testing phase of things. I know better than to put that panel on early.
Still, it is progress and things seem to be working. I've hardly checked everything, however. I might even get adventurous and see if I can unlock a second core in the processor. That's one of those "hope, but don't expect it to work" things.