Finally Gotten Linux Configured!
It's a great feeling posting this message using Mozilla, running on Debian GNU/Linux 3.0r1. I have just recently gotten my NIC card and XFree86 running smoothly. It wasn't easy because I'm using a Dell Inspiron 8500 laptop with some tricky hardware. Most of my frustrations were due to my Broadcom 4401 network card; but, after changing the compiler's include path in the Makefile to I/usr/src/kernel-headers-2.4.18-686/include I/usr/src/kernel-headers-2.4.18-686/include/linux, it compiles and insmods properly. I eventually discovered that I had to type "dhclient" as root to enable my DHCP client.
After making sure XFree86 was using the VESA video driver, I have makeshift video support until I upgrade to XFree86 4.3.0 or later, which natively supports my ATI Mobility Radeon 9000. A third problem was making sure to set the mouse to /dev/psaux and change the mouse protocol to GlidePointPS/2.
Now that the basics are out of the way (talk about learning the hard way!), I'm already enjoying the ease of installing applications with apt-get. I'm happy I have a real choice now, and I'm even more happy that this choice gives me so much more freedom than the Microsoft route. I hope booting into WIndows XP will become more and more rare for me.