Moved to the software forum
If you are going to use reiserfs you'll need to backup your ext2 fs as a 'mkreiserfs' will format that partition. You may want to look at ext3fs as it allows a migration from ext2 (never tried that myself).
I'm a big fan of reiserfs and it has served me well.
As for the 2.4.2 kernel... you should get at least the 2.4.16 as there were some IDE drive issues with previous kernels.