When I first unpacked my S3Esk and tried it out, I used Chipscope on a WinXP system to download bitstreams. Chipscope is pretty agnostic about drivers, firmware etc and doesn't usually insist on updating.
I tried installing the USB drivers on an FC3 Linux system (22.214.171.124-1373_FC3 kernel) with WebPack 8.1. I got the windrvr6 installed, ran Impact and it saw the S3Esk but insisted on updating the firmware. Impact eventually got to 92% and bailed on the update, leaving the CPLD programming unfinished. Further action in Impact on Linux resulted in repeated attempt/failure to update.
Putting the S3Esk on WinXP+Impact updated the firmware and worked fine. Taking it back to Linux resulted in repeated attempts to update the already updated firmware.
My motherboard is fairly old and the on-board USB is 1.1, so the driver was complaining that it wanted to be plugged into a USB2.0 port. When I hooked it to a USB2.0 on a PCI card then it started at high speed but then backed off to full speed. Then iMPACT couldn't open it up.
I see others have gotten Linux + USB cable working. Anyone gotten the S3E Starter kit working?