I shouldn't have listened to my inner demons and not try to attempt to upgrade woody's old (2.2.0) kernel. You see, although I had managed to run KDE 3.2 on woody's ancient distro, sound still didn't work, and as me and my partner like to listen the BBC's Radio 4 stream and loud jazzpop there was really no alternative to upgrade the kernel or get a new soundcard: but as I built my machine around MSI's K7T266 Pro-2u motherboard that has build-in sound I don't really see the necessity to get an extra piece of hardware, just because the Debian team only releases updates every two years.
So of course I messed it up and now that lovely machine doesn't boot up anymore, because I must have done something wrong in the bloody kernel process. Not that I would ever say it loud, but now I at least understand why some people run Windows. If you're not willing to go through a steep learning curve (hey, I am a Mac Head, so I don't have to know ANYTHING about hardware, as it just works), Linux still represents a technical challenge if you're interested in "state of the art" features like flash support, sound and video. Now with a ruined debian install this gives me a chance of trying other flavours like slackware or try my new knowledge on Gentoo or OpenBSD again. I am sure Theo would be pleased.
This is, of course, not without its positive effect. I have read so many man-pages, online discussions, how-to's and comments on sites like debian planet ("stuff that 'really' matters"), that I am slowly turning into a full blown nerd. At night I dream about package dependencies, software mirrors and apt-get.
The whole "Linux on the Desktop" revolution will have to wait as long as it takes so long to get a properly up to date distro working. Always think of that most helpless of user, your mother: Mine is pretty clued up, but she still has to call me and get phone support when she wants to change the settings in her email program (and she's using Panther, for goodness sake). Now just imagine what would happen if she would want to listen to music on a Debian istallation.
Compile a new Kernel???
That would be a long phone support session....