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2 cards and a dilemma

Hello everybody.

After several months of work, I've persuaded the IT support people at
work here to let me have a box on which I could install Debian myself
for office use. Until now, it's been a question of `Which do you want:
Mac or PC?' So this is something of a departure and an experiment. I'd
like the experiment to go well, so that they might be open to such
requests in future.

The box they're offering me is a Gateway E-4200.

Which seemed great, until I searched the debian-user archive, to head
off any hardware issues that might arise, and found (from a
conversation involving Kent West and others) that this box contains a
network card (3Com 905c) whose support is iffy (a driver exists but
has not been included in the kernel as of 2.2.12 at least) and a
graphics card (ATI Rage 128 AGP) which is not supported as of the
3.3.4 release of XFree86.

I think I can finesse the ethernet card difficulty by following the
advice offered by Heikki Vatiainen and by Kent West on this list and
downloading and compiling the driver module by hand.

The graphics card seems more problematical though. The options seem to

  . wait until some upcoming release of XFree86 (3.3.6, 4?) includes
    support for the card and use console mode in the meantime 
  . pay $100 for a commercial X server like Accelerated X 
  . magically learn that there is now someone on this list who knows
    how to get the card to run under a currently available version of

Has anyone any advice? Has anyone had any success with these cards?
What experience have people had running Accelerated X under slink?

I'd be grateful for any advice. I really don't want to have to say to
these people that Debian and/or Linux can't handly the hardware
they're offering me.


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