What exactly is the Deb box going to control now? Is this going to be a company server for files, email, databases and such? I am willing to give a hand in another week or two. I am a little cramped for time at this time, but should loosesn up next week or so.
Now, if you are using this to control then its different. I may be able to help with interfacing to various cards ports that have control lines going to various machines. I almost worked for QuadTech doing this sort of thing on their mailroom equipment in the Pewaukee, WI plant (repair tech, then after a few years, a tech engineer who designs new shit).
You are difinitely right though - industrial applications of computers is amazing shit !!