Finally I have managed to get my ubuntu linux system connected to the internet, and here is the obligatory posting!
In the end I bought an ADSL router which I was able to configure for both windoze and linux without too much hassle. This afternoon has been spent having fun exploring the repositories and installing loads of updates.
What has amazed me is how smooth it has all been, getting online, listening to some music and moving across my Thunderbird email. I’ll try to go into more details of what I have managed to get working in the next few days, along with my thoughts as I really start to use it. But if things carry on in this vein, I can’t see myself spending much time in WinXP!