utsl provided a patch that got sysvinit running - I now have a self-hosting Debian NetBSD system. Something's broken with dynamic linking (LD_LIBRARY_PATH needs explicitly setting before most libraries get found), and fakeroot is horribly broken (possibly something to do with the above). Other than that, things look promising. People can actually log in and do some development themselves now, even if the fakeroot problem does mean that building packages is awkward.
Fixed a stupid bug in my clustering simulation, and I now get pretty much the results I expected. I'm unconvinced by the route that Gestwickie and Kiessling get from their observations to their conclusions (both of which seem sane), and I can probably start doing something about that now. However:
My department has instructed me to stop using the departmental network for copying my simulation data to another machine as it's generated. Since departmental regulations also prohibit me from logging into the machine to get hold of the data, this makes it difficult for me to work the way I normally do (lie in bed thinking about the problem, have an idea, implement it then while I can still visualise what I'm thinking about) and productivity has decreased - the only way I can get anything done at the moment is to hang around in my office until 3 in the morning (entertainingly, the wording of the restriction actually prevents me from reading my email while at work as well). Needless to say, I'm not overly happy about this. I'm meeting the head of department at some point this week to see if they're willing to make any sort of concession here, but if not then I may be heading back to the Department of Genetics, data mining and several extra years before a PhD. Fun.