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I am bemused by the BBC's recent sponsoring of the Evil Empire's latest version of Windows, aka Vista. At the launch, populated by fawning BBC reporters, Bill Gates failed to discuss Vista's unpleasant digital-rightsmanagement system and the equally disturbing reports that Vista will close down software it deems illegal - whether it is or not. Asked why Vista costs twice as much here as in the US, the world's richest man explained lamely that he hadn't 'followed currency rates that may have made that drift'.

Drift? Commenting from the US, consumer advocate Brian Livingston says: 'I can't see any logical reason why Vista would cost so much more in the UK. Perhaps someone who fixes the prices at Microsoft thinks dollars and pounds are equal to each other.' At http: // windowssecrets. com Livingston details a way of legally installing the (cheaper) upgrade version of Vista on to a PC that doesn't have Windows XP. But even that would still cost us Brits more than the everyday retail version does in the US.

Me? I have at last got SUSE Linux running sweetly on a dual-screen PC. But I continue to fail miserably on another one. Sigh.sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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