The replacement CDRom arrived today and I got MDK 9.2 on there reasonably easily. I had to manually configure the screen, but apart from that, it's running peachy. A work colleague gave me an old wireless card, so I'm going to see if I can get that working now.
There was a moment of panic yesterday when I thought the reason the CDRom was not reading my discs was because it was too old to play nicely with my CDRs. I can happily report that that doesn't appear to be the case.