What type of processor is the Compaq? You are probably having this problem because the install configured itself for the P4 and not the Compaq. I would suggest performing the install on the Compaq so the installation knows what it will be running on. We can get around the unbootable CDROM in a couple of ways, read on.
You mentioned installing Red Hat 9 Fedora Core 2. I assume this was a typing mistake. If not, you only need to install one of these distributions. RH9 comes with the ability to boot from a floppy and then install from CD. You make a boot diskette from the images on the CDROM. Take a look at section 1.4.3 of the Red Hat Linux x86 Installation Guide
FC2 is a little more difficult to create a boot diskette since the images they give on the CD are for a boot CD. Why they felt the need to drop support for booting from a floppy is beyond me. However, it can be done with a little trickery. Take a look at this Blog on How to Install FC2 Without a Bootable CDROM drive
If you feel the need for speed try performing an NFS or FTP install using your P4 as a server. It's a good exercise, but probably not worth the time since the install on your Compaq will be minimal.