It's ALIVE!You read correctly, grasshopper. The (new) server box lives...RedHat 9. And it was good!
I'm pretty sure I figured out what the problem was with the installation bits -- it had to do with the CD-ROM drive. For some reason, perhaps the ages of the drives (although neither I tried (which ultimately failed) were that old -- a few years -- 2-5 max), the Installation CDs would 'test out' properly (meaning the data itself was good, according to the installation program) but would randomly (in mid-installation) miss a bit or something, causing the whole mess to go boom...in a very bad way (fatal error terminating installation).
Tonight, I first brought down the entire network to try the CD-ROM from the existing server box. That CD couldn't even find the boot image of the bootable CD. Guess that wouldn't work. So I brought down my personal machine as well, stealing the regular CD-ROM (not the CD-RW) and testing it. Strange -- it worked just fine. In hindsight (20/20), I guess a CD-ROM drive cleaning perhaps may help...and I imagine I'll try that for the second installation of RH9...sometime this week hopefully.
While I had three of the five machines lying in pieces at the same time, I took the rare opportunity to vacuum. Nothing like a 1.5HP shop-vac to clean out a computer case or three. Compare it to your favorite pen, lost in space...getting sucked into a black hole -- it happened quick...and thorough.
Anyway, I've (base) configured the machine (new server) to boot and get on the network. I didn't bother with DHCP stuff, since the DHCP server will move to that machine eventually...so I set network properties manually. BUT, I did get everything running on the 100MBps link. Another big thing.
In the next few days I plan on migrating configuration files to the new server and shutting down services as I get them running on the new box... When that's all done, I'll copy the last of the necessary files (as backup), and wipe/reinstall RedHat on the old server box (as bare minimum) so I can use it explicitly as a router/firewall/timeserver box.
This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07