Almost all types of CDrom drive will work with Linux. Even those old things that were developed when CDroms first came out (the sort-of semi-SCSI ones you found attached to old SB cards).
Now, you may have set your CDrom drive to be 'slave' on the jumpers, cable (and hence BIOS, you normally don't get a choice here), but have you set the boot sequence?
By this, I mean:
When you start the computer, it can look in various different places to boot. Most computers will look at the floppy drive and the harddisk only. You will almost certainly be able to enable your CDrom drive to be a bootable device. It's normally under the 'Advanced Settings' bit (the second/third menu item for AMIBIOS and AWARD).
If you've got a relatively old machine, it might not be able to boot from the CDrom drive, in which case, you should make a boot-floppy which will be able to install from the CDrom (note: I said install from the CD, not boot from the CD).
If you're not happy with changing your BIOS settings, may I suggest you do the boot-floppy thing is instead.
Keep us posted.