Well, now he have linux on the laptop. Still typing this on the mac as I'm a bit bewildered trying to set up my wireless network, but let's face it - that's the fun involved with jumping into something new.
Thanks for your help, Nigel and towy. Everything went ok as far as the first three isos, but the last one came up as a .tmp file. I experimented by burning this fourth one as a disk image and wouldn't have it - i was told that the installation procedure couldn't find:
But given the option of battling on regardless I still have this new OS to start playing with. I don't know if those files were important (in fact I have squit all idea about a lot of this) but wonder whether there is a linux equivalent of (whispers) Windows update, where I could hook up (once I've sussed getting my linux online) and let it sort itself out.
Otherwise, we have made progress today