Well the game is Knights of the Old Republic. Let me see if I can find info on the protection scheme on their site. I have no idea how to figure it out on my own. Talk amongst yourselves while I search......
Thanks for waiting....I see that it is SecuRom...though I can't say what version. There is no tech support for Linux at the bioware site for KOTOR (they did their own port of NWN, so drop in and thank them even if you don't play that game!) but there are listed issues with exactly my problem: the spinning disk of death. Evidently, according to bioware, if you get the first splash screen and then nothing but a spinning cd, it may very well be copy protection issue. Why I"m the only one at Transgaming that had this happen, I don't know, but it figures. They can't help me there. Others who have the same kernel have avoided this problem, or maybe I'm the only one using this kernel? In their own documentation it does say "Don't use 2.6.9 as it has cp problems" but naturally I didn't see that till after I gave my 15 bucks.
Happy to post any and all files deemed necessary. I expect I'll see this problem again if I try other games so if anyone has ideas, that will be great. I can't imagine that SecuRom can, in a linux environment, actually go out and detect CD emulation software or whatever else it does. Nevertheless, the behavior is exactly like that of some Windows users.