"I have the bios set-up to boot from the CD-ROM. The disk is inserted. After the bios notes, it starts to boot from the CD. The CD starts humming, then my the linux booter starts up - LILO or GRUB."
This is what happens when you try to boot from a non-bootable CD, any non-bootable CD. The BIOS plays with the CD for a second or two and then goes to the next bootable device, the hard drive, and tries that.
So you need to make a bootable CD. The one you have is not bootable.
Be prepared. Create a LifeBoat CD.