Programer Woes

I have a pro mini 328 connected to a FTDI breakout board.
I can program this on one machine but not on another
The machine that fails says 'No Programmer' and indeed avrdude with -v -v -v -v shows both systems saying '0 0 0 ' to the arduino and one receiving a reply, but not the other.
When I setup the serial port identically to the programmer and send '0 0 0 ' to the board NEITHER machine responds. Both machines do work (also simple serial comms) to a usb-bit-wacker board.
How can I get an arduino+FTDI to say 'something' to me so that I can troubleshoot more.
I have compiled avrdude and can run it under gdb


It seems that the RESET is not being asserted to the arduino board, so ...
sleep 2 && echo NOW && make upload

As you see 'NOW' press reset switch and all loads normally.
This seems to be idiosyncratic of THIS (ASUS M2N68-AM) motherboard. I will look further and post any findings