1) Temporarily setting the MySQL root account password to null is much easier than editing the installation files.
2) make realclean helps out, if you get in trouble.
3) The installer cannot make a new directory under the '/var/www' or 'apache/htdocs' directory -- you have to make that yourself. This only applies if you don't change the installation directory to something that doesn't already exist.
4) Important! 'nbmasta import ecore everything' fails with only a couple of warnings because it tries to install tables/node.sql, tables/nodetype.sql, and tables/setting.sql. The solution is to move them out of the tables directory.
Once I did that, everything (pardon the pun) set up nicely for me. I'm missing the images, but that's a quick fix, I bet.