The Milton Chronicles... again!
I cannot believe how stupid I am.
All this time, I've been trying to solve the oh-so-difficult problem of how to get updated tools and drivers onto my 2.6 install when the CDROM and NIC drivers are both barfing profusely.
Well, duh... I still have a working 2.4 install, and both are booting on the same exact filesystem. So all I have to do is boot to 2.4, get the packages I need, reboot in 2.6, and install them.
Maybe I should hold off on trying to finish this until I'm actually awake.