Thanks to all of you. This sat here for a month and then got 3 replies in one day. Have the Slackbuilds and the x86 packages, bookmarked the building instructions, and in the face of these, turned up my nose at the debs.
In the intervening time, the project has shifted ground, and it appears I now can do it without a cpu at all, which suits big time as the College don't come on board with C fast enough, and I would probably have had to go to assembler, which I know and detest. No cpu is all the more welcome since my wife is unwell and I'm nurse atm.