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Over two years ago I became rather fed up with several aspects of the Microsoft computing solution, the main problem was repeatedly cleaning machines of virus infections at work and then having to repeat the process at home. Microsoft biggest weakest seemed to be Internet Explorer, however careful you are, viruses seemed to be able to sneak their way past your defences to wreak havoc.

After a period of using the Firefox web browser and not having been attacked I made the mistake of switching our home network back to IE for web browsing,  shortly afterwards being rewarded by infected machines.  We switched back to using Firefox. Installing a small addon called IETAB allowed selected sites to be viewed using the Internet Explorer engine to make up for sites that wouldn't work directly with the Firefox engine.

Happy with the use of Firefox, and with the children reaching early teens and needing to do homework I began to look around for an alternative to the rather expensive Microsoft Office (expensive when you have a number of home machines to be kitted out with it).  Openoffice.org was then at version 2 and we went ahead. Although not as user friendly or seemingly as feature rich as the Microsoft alternative it sufficed for most of what was required.

Armed with two pieces of software that were Open Source and that seemed to handle themselves well I returned, once more to looking at alternatives to the Microsoft Operating Systems.  Several issues with MS Operating systems had forced rebuilds of machines which normally meant losing a day of a weekend. Although I had tried various Linux distributions in the past I'd never been overly impressed. With the appearance of Ubuntu I decided to try again. Ubuntu at the time was again not satisfactory but encouraging and futher searching revealed PCLinux 2007.  This installed well, supported our hardware was reasonably fast. Now I could load up a system from scratch and within 2 hours have a system which was fully patched and contained an up to date web browser, Office suite, 3d desktop graphics and more software to be downloaded than you could sake a stick at. PC Linux wasn't without it's issues and finally Mandriva was located from which PCLinuxOS seemed to have branched from.

Mandriva (Mandrake) based distributions keep coming out the best when it comes to our hardware requirements. Ubuntu and it's derivatives do not seem to be able to support powersaving correctly on our desktop machines whereas Mandriva seem to have it nailed. 

The most recent aquisition as been an Asus EEE PC 900 model.  The Linux based distribution that came with turned out to be and the search for a non Microsoft O/S for this machine begn.  After trying Ubuntu's distribution for this machine and finding graphic/mouse handling to be painful - Mandriva has once again come to the rescue.

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