So, I'd gone through all of the versions of Linux on the CD-Rs that came with my Linux magazine -- and I'd pulled all the *.iso images off the DVD-Rs and burned them onto CD-R. I was feeling pretty stymied. Ah, if only
the ''dead keyboard'' PC had a DVD-reader, instead of just a CD-RW drive...
Remembered that when I ''traded'' my wonky, higher-end machine for one that was being surplussed for $100 cheaper, part of my trade-in was a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive. Ahh....
Swapped it out (which means I now have an extra CD-RW drive, I suppose...) -- and Bob's yer uncle!
Tried SUSE 10.0, but as per usual, it wouldn't accept the USB keyboard until it was underway. In a bit of variation from the usual, however, the problem wasn't that it didn't have a time-out default. Instead, it's that the default option was ''Boot from hard drive''; option two
(which I couldn't access, as the up/down arrow keys weren't yet recognized) was to install. Possibly an artifact of the Linux magazine's set-up of the DVD, since there was other stuff on there besides the SUSE installation things. But still: for my purposes, didn't work.
Tried CentOS -- apparently, a derivative of Red Hat/Fedora -- which timed out and began installing (after a loooong wait, though...). However, there was a ''fatal error'' during the installation. Gar.
Arch Linux (not to be confused with the earlier-mentioned ''Ark Linux'') and Debian 3.1 both required an ''Enter'' to continue. So, no dice there.
Fedora Core 4 auto-started, and things were looking hopeful. But, it froze up during the installation process -- while ''transferring intallation image to hard drive''. Not good.
Gentoo 2005.1 seemed to intall o.k. -- or maybe it didn't. It whirred for a bit, then dumped me at the command line. Uhr... now what? Regardless of whether it ''worked'' or not, it didn't serve my quasi-newbie purposes.
Slackware 10.1: no timeout boot.
Mandriva 2006: Auto-started, but then froze. Bah.
Tried CentOS again, but with fewer packages (bits of software) selected. Still jammed up.
I think I'm now officially out of Linux versions to try. Looks like I'll have to wait until the next edition of my Linux magazine hits the newsstands.But
-- at least the DVD-ROM drive works! ;)