I'm on a mission to leave a conspicuous trail across the internet for folks who may make the mistake of wasting lots of time as I did. I installed Debian (2.4.27-2) six days ago (February 2006) using netinstall. I had no problems getting the software onto my machine, but my network card (nVidia nForce onboard Ethernet) wouldn't work so I couldn't access the apt servers to really get things going. After spending many hours trying to get the nforce ethernet card to work (it's built into the motherboard of my HP Pavilion 522c) I remembered that I keep a spare ethernet card in a box in the garage. When I plugged that card in, everything worked fine.
It may be the case that this was not the right way of doing things, but as I failed to find a way on the internet, I have to assume it is until somebody documents a better way. My hope is that folks who are looking for the same solutions in the future will stumble across this site (which will hopefully have better documentation by then) rather than all of the list messages that I found. If I were patient enough to wait for answers, I would benefit more from lists. As it is, I am not, so I am stuck with answers to other people's questions, many of which may not be true.
--RandallSage 2006 February 18
I have just ordered a machine and hope to be more successful with later kernels. This page http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/notes/debian/shuttle.html gives some evidence with more recent forcedeth drivers.
--SteffenMoeller 2008 July 25