Linux - Partial Success
Well it seems I have had at least a partial success with the installation of Linux onto this machine. Numerous attempts with openSUSE, Ubuntu and Solaris all failed dismally.
openSUSE 10.2 in both 32 and 64bit versions refused point blank to find the USB device (previously they found it) and certainly wouldn’t give me the facility to configure it. This is doubly strange as I have openSUSE 10.2 running on an older machine in the spare room which uses an identical USB WiFI dongle, and it worked straight out of the box. This really is a shame as over the years, I have come to like SUSE and thought it’s progress was excellent.
Ubuntu 6.10 (32/64bit) and Ubuntu 6.06 (32 bit)
This brings me to my last attempt. PCLinuxOS. Worked straight out of the box. I even did it twice to check.