Ubuntu rules! I figured out how to follow the directions from the FAQ you pointed me to. Easier than I thought it was. Soon as I changed hfsplus to just hfs, and used the /dev that was in the error message from file browser it mounted in the new directory and bingo! I just copied my first set of important files and my old trusty B/W G3 burned it's first ever CD on an external USB CD/DVD drive!
I now have my IDE drive for linux set up as an external drive by putting it in an old scsi case and running the cable out the back of the mac. That's anothrer first for me.
Thanks many times!!