Live Linux discs and new hardware - make one recognise the other
Although I mention Knoppix a lot below, I'm asking a more general question about determining and loading device drivers (I think!)
I'm looking to find a fast and reliable way of taking a live Linux disc, using it to boot a very new PC and then allowing it to use new hardware (specifically DVD drives).
I use live Linux CDs and DVDs a lot to boot large numbers of PCs, usually so that they can be re-imaged (using dd and netcat). However, it's often the case that when I encounter a very new PC there are hardware compatibility problems. The quick answer is often to use a later version of the live disc or to try another distribution. But I'd really like to understand how to load the appropriate driver and fix these problems without spending fruitless hours messing around.
Here's a recent example - we just bought dozens of new Dell Vostro 260 PCs. Our custom Knoppix discs, which work with loads of systems, naturally fail :(. They start to boot but ultimately don't load fully because (I believe) they don't have drivers for the DVD drive's controller. Using a Debian rescue disc also fails, although it does seem to be able to access the DVD drive to some extent. The latest version of Knoppix DVD fails in the exactly the same way as our older version.
I'd really like to know how to detect which drivers work (is there a way to tell this by interrogating the running live Debian system?) and then load these manually to begin with. Ultimately I'd roll those drivers into a custom live build.
I hope someone here knows the answer because this issue has been plaguing me for years :)