The Dell machine arrived. After much faffing around trying to get Windows 98SE running on it (it's a pig, it can't find all of the device drivers for the network etc), I decided to go for a simpler solution. I found this FreeDOS thing, which at first sight seemed to be ideal.
So, I downloaded FreeDOS onto a bootable CD, booted the machine with that and created a 2GB (cuz that's how big a normal DOS partition could be) partition.
I then installed Linux on the beast, running dual boot so I could get the machine on the network, and copied over the files from the Fireball server on to the DOS partition. (Linux can write FAT file systems, you know).
I then ran FreeDOS up, so I could try to run LIFUTIL - and was shocked to find it works. Now all I had to do was to find a 720K diskette, format it in LIF format, and then put the right driver for the 1GSa/s card on. I went through all the files, and eventually found that the SYSTEM_0.13 file was the correct one (by a process of hex editing the files and looking for the description string), put that on the disk and moved it over to the HP 16500A front drive.
Wow. We have a working scope.