I missed that. I was giving it the ext2 command with a fat partition. Thanks.
As for why I'm not using Debian: I tried, but it won't work right on my notebook. It's an old Toshiba (model M30X) that always had some problem or another under Linux; with Debian Squeeze and all live *buntus I tried, it starts going all jittery and slow as soon as X starts. With Sidux it works fine - presumably because it uses newer drivers. I really don't have the patience/willpower to go looking for the specific problem, since Sidux works and I only need to set it up as a torrent downloader.
(Yes, I do know about Puppy; it works on the notebook, but it uses Transmission, which I hate, and offers no easy way to install Deluge, which I like.)