So the stuff I ordered finally came. Got the motherboard installed, only needed a couple changes to the networking config to handle it (the old motherboard had 2 NICs on it, the new one had only one). Good to know I didn’t just overlook something and that the old mobo really was messed up.
Yesterday, the laptop came, and I spent the last day or so getting Ubuntu for PPC installed properly, though I imagine it isn’t much different from getting Linux onto a new Windows box that’s been formatted for NTFS — the major problem is the former OS taking over the boot loader when you try re-install it on it’s newly shrunken partition. After some brief fiddling with partitions, things started to sort themselves out.
I also finally got to try out xcompmgr as a serious choice. Because ATI doesn’t support the damage extension in their fglrx Xorg drivers I couldn’t really try it out unless I wanted to run the vesa driver. It’s too bad though, because it’s really nice (there are a few kinks with refreshing that I’ve noticed though) for everyday use. Unfortunately, however, I had to install a custom kernel to support the keyboard lights and suspend-to-ram, though both the trackpad and the fn key (and thus all the fn-mode keys) still don’t work, and the lack of a real “delete” key (Apple still has that “delete == backspace” weirdness) is somewhat disconcerting. The missing insert key is also somewhat irritating, mostly because vim still expects there to be an insert key. For the distro fans out there, it would be nice to have fn+delete mapped to ^H on Apple’s laptops.
At some point I’ll take a look into those, but I can get by without ’em for right now.