Some things strike me as just plain wrong – sitting here waiting for my desktop machine to panic is one such thing! The firewire debugging link is actually very straightforward and works really well, so while my desktop runs Gnome the laptop connected to it is running a plain old terminal and showing all the console warnings. Last time I ran like this it took about 6 hours for a panic and I was able to use the laptop to get some basic information. Remote GDB wasn’t available on the laptop at that time, but the kernel has since been rebuilt with support added. All I need now is for the desktop to crash!
Skype is also now running on the desktop following some discussions on the amd64 mailing list and some creative symlinking to provide the libraries that the linux binary wants.
The most recent changes to the nve driver have also allowed me to start using the on-board network adapter, though I still see a lot of timeout warnings. It seems to work and hopefully the driver will continue to improve.