Thanks for your reply... since I didn't recieve any replies for a long time, I decided against the Ricoh and went for the HP (only slightly more expensive) because I heard that some people had had success with it. I had my suspicions that the Ricoh and the HP were identical, but I thought I'd better stick to HP.
So far, I've been able to burn some cds with it without any trouble... occasionally I'll get an I/O error, especially if I'm creating an image from it by doing a simple dd, sometimes even a hang (if I increase the dd blocksize to something large). On the whole, not too bad! Audio CDs do not work for me though - opening it with something like a cd player gives me a bad ioctl error.
My chipset is also TI 220. Kernel is 2.2.15, with pcmcia-cs-3.1.15, on Mandrake 7.1.
So far so good...
Thanks for the response, if I find anything else out I'll be sure to let you know.