With the ever so generous help of opalcat's awesome husband, I installed the latest version of Red Hat Linux using a boot disk that lets the installer download the source files via http. I got that done last night, and with a little more help from him today I got the web server and samba server running. Yippee!
I checked the warranty status of the drive that died, and found that it expired last Sept. So I decided to take it apart and have a look inside. I shot some photos. :)