So, it still is a good idea to stay out of the hardware business. My new homebuilt Pundit-R won’t load Windows. It won’t load Novell Suse Desktop 9.0 , or rather it will load the Suse, but Suse doesn’t recognize the embedded network controller.
Turns out Windows XP doesn’t include drivers for the SATA hard disk. These need to be loaded separately on bootup, from a floppy drive. While I don’t have a floppy drive, one needs to be temprarily installed for the purpose.
What does work is Fedora Core 3, and that is what this machine will be for the time being; a Linux Desktop machine.
So, for now, the rule still applies: Stay out of the hardware business.