ok, all i have up on the screen is the "core" window. the only options i see are the tabs up top which are: Start, Connections, Log Options, View Log, Configuration Files
where are the "advanced" options?
all i want to do is be able to bring up the full kde desktop temporarily so i can add drivers and do a few other things. other than that i plan to leave it in the closet.
Ah, so your core is not a hybrid so you don't have any of the menu's. On that box you should have an option to check mark "Auto Start Media Station" on the "Start Tab" Also there should be another button to "Start Media Station". However you'll still need to check mark the box for the first one. Reboot and you should get the menu. Another way is press ctrl+alt+f1, this will drop you to a terminal. type in, "telinit 5" and it should boot you to a gui. From there you should see an option for MORE -> Advanced Options -> KDE
Ahh... What are you talking about here? driver for the raid? But on the topic of packages, you will always use Debian because K/Ubuntu is debian based.
give me the options of red had enterprise, fedora, suse/enterprise, freebsd and open source. do i use suse? and if so, which one? since highpoint has open source drivers it would be nice if the Linux MCE or ubuntu team included some of these raid drivers in the installation.
Please reread what i said about what kind of packages to choose and i think your, "should i use suse" question should be answered
if i have to go with open source, any pointers on best/easiest way to compile them? i'm a *nix n00b, but am not afraid of a terminal or command lines
I looked in the kernel options and it looks like rocketraid 3xxx controllers are built in but not the 2xxx series. so you will either need to find a debian/ubuntu/kubuntu package for them or build it from source. Personally i would do some digging around the ubuntu/kubuntu community and see if someone has build a .deb package for it already. If not, building from source could be a bit of a pain. You will have to get the kernel source to start off. you can use apt-get to download it. if you do a "uname -a" in the CLI you'll find out what kernel version you have then learn how to download that kernel version using apt-get. once you have the sources you will can download the sources for your raid driver. you could install them to /tmp/raid or something to that effect. go to that dir you untared them to and read the README or INSTALL file (or whatever is similar) it'll tell you what to type in to build the driver. Usually it's just "make" and "make install" then sudo modprobe <insert driver name here> (without the < >)
There is lots of documentation out there, find it and read it. If you do get stuck and not sure how to interpret the documentation post back and we'll work through it.