Well, I tried the quasi-official wiki page for installing Ubuntu Dapper from a USB, and still get nothing. I can get it to boot, I can get the installer to start … but when it comes time to find the CD and move to identifying network attachments, I get nothing. It sits there endlessly, telling me it can’t find the CD and that the CDROM is empty.
Via the alternate terminal window, I can mount the USB drive to the mysterious /cdrom folder, which gets made sometime between picking the language and detecting the CD. I can even see the files inside that folder. But the installer wants nothing to do with it. Red screen of death, each time.
I have absolutely no idea what to make of that, except that there might be two flags in the installer code: One to make sure the files are present, and one to make sure the CDROM isn’t empty. If I’m not getting past the latter, I never get to the former.
I’m not sure what to do next, since the only thing I can think of is to peek inside the instructions for the installer. I posted a plea on the forums for directions to the source code, but it went unanswered. Sigh. I shall await my next burst of inspiration.