Step one: Repartitioning
Vista claims it is easy to shrink a partition. No, it is not. The shrink partition dialog kept insisting that only 7GBs could be pulled out of the partition. There were a bunch of steps I found online that required disabling system restore, page file, etc. etc. but even after all that I could only get 7GBs out of it. The solution was to use the Gparted Live CD. I ended up having to download a new version because the old (and it wasn't even THAT old) version couldn't load the hard drive. I shrunk the partition in half, and formatted a few ext3 partitions and a swap for my impending Debian install. After shrinking the partition I ran the Vista recovery CD to regenerate the Master Boot Record. This is *required* to boot back into Vista (at least before installing grub.) I did this anyways in case I couldn't successfully install Debian, and also just to make sure the grub installation found Vista.
Step Two: Getting the right Debian installer
I happened to have a CD of Debian Lenny beta 2 from my desktop's install, so I threw it in and went to install. The problem was that the installer couldn't detect some of the hardware. After a lot of research, I discovered that the hardware in specific was my network adapters. I tried downloading a weekly build CD overnight and that could not detect the hardware either. Turns out the solution was to boot the net installer from a USB drive. The instructions came from a wiki entry on how to install Debian to an Acer Aspire One, as it has the same two network interfaces as the L305.
First download the boot.img.gz and the daily build of the netinst.iso.
Insert the USB drive (with at least 256MB) and find it in /dev. Make sure this is the right device, or you might lose information on your other drives. Mine, for example, was /dev/sdc. Make sure any files are backed up, as this will erase anything on the drive. As root, run the command
Then mount the flash drive and load the netinst.iso onto the drive.zcat /path/to/boot.img.gz > /dev/sdc
Step Three: Install Debian
With the bootable USB drive, I was finally able to install Debian. Put the USB drive in, turn the computer on and press F12, which will then display different devices to boot from. Pick USB Memory, and the Debian installer should boot. Though the network devices will be found, they may not be usable unless you install with acpi turned off. I forget the exact way to do it, but the help, boot options menu gives an example that happens to exactly what we need (I think it is "acpi-off", though the Aspire One page says different.) The Debian install will now commence flawlessly. You should have a wired connection during this isntall, because the WiFi won't work right away, and since it is the net installer, a functioning network is extremely important.
The downside to my (eventual) Debian install is that perhaps through problems with install (perhaps turning off acpi during install?) or perhaps with problems with me, I can't access any of the power fucntions a laptop really need (batery power, CPU scaling, etc.) So while I was successful eventually, all was perhaps for naught. If you successfully install these thigns on the Toshiba Satellite L305 let me know, but for now I'm going to try out Ubuntu (8.10 beta) to see if it configures anything better for me.