Decided to install Kubuntu 7.10 and then install Linuxmce on top.
Very quickly discovered shortcoming of this board, onboard NIC doesn't work with device driver that Kubuntu loads on install. 3 days and lots of cursing later, I solved this problem, heres how I did it;
1st I updated BIOS rom to version 1605 (you can find instructions to do this on ASUS website)
(not sure if this helped solve problem but I did it and in the interest of someone following in my footsteps I would recommend it)
2nd installed Kubuntu 7.10 on hard drive in safe graphics mode
3rd downloaded linux drivers from ASUS website and copied them to desktop using a usb thumbdrive I had (you need the driver that matches your kernal distro for me it was r8168-8.010.00.tar)
4th and this is where it gets interesting;
opened a Konsole session (Alt+Spacebar then type 'konsole' then enter)
Check your Kernal build - type;
use this info to put correct driver on your desktop (check the readme file from ASUS)
To check what driver is currently being used by your kernal;
This will show you all drivers in your Kernal to run system. You are looking for r8168 or r8169, r8168 is the one you want... r8169 is the wrong one for realtek 8111c NIC. Ok to get rid of r8169 type;
'sudo modprobe -r r8169'
Then confirm it worked by using 'lsmod' command. Now you need to put in the new driver, find the file you saved to desktop and type;
'tar xvf ~/dev/r8168-8.aaa.bb.tar.bz2'
This unpacks file (tar ball) to /dev directory, aaa and bb will match filename (for some reason it changes all the time, I have no idea why). Next
and have a look 'ls' to check it unpacked. now to install it in kernal; type the following one line after another
'sudo make install'
'sudo depmod -a'
'sudo mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd.img-`uname -r` `uname -r`'
(the ` key is above Tab key btw)
Ok that should have installed new driver in the kernal confirm by using 'lsmod' command again
before you get excited that its finished, its not... r8169 keeps rearing its ugly head every time you reboot, so you have to blacklist it. Heres how, type this;
sudo sh -c 'echo "blacklist r8169" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-network'
Now get excited cause this is where I managed to get NIC to work. Update your network settings and off you go
Now to sort out the rest of the hardware problems... graphics, sound.. arrgghh hope it gets easier