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Yesterday I downloaded two software releases. And was left underwhelmed.

First up was the official launch of Internet Explorer 8. Nothing much appears to have changed since the Beta versions and I continue to be left disappointed.

People are turning towards Firefox, not because it shows web pages better, but because it’s more customisable – plugins, themes, etc. Microsoft has never really got this. Yes, Windows has themes and IE has addons, but there are few available and they’re hard to develop and implement. Instead we have Web Slices and Accelerators, requiring web developers to change their code and are deeply, deeply dull.

Next up, the people behind Xandros Linux launched Presto, which is intended to be used as a fast startup alternative to Windows. I’ve tried it on both my home PC and my Netbook and, yes, it works. It installs easily and configures Windows automatically to dual boot. Unfortunately, on both PCs I had different BIOS errors during the Presto boot and, yes, it’s still in Beta but it’s only a few weeks before the final version is released. Yet it lacks the basic ability to change languages and keyboards. So I’m stuck with a US keyboard layout.

By default it books with Firefox, Pidgin and Skype and you can add (some free, some you must pay for) extra applications via their website.

The final version is going to cost about $20, but that’s as much as they’re giving away right now. Personally, I’m going to wait for the final version as, at the moment, it’s seriously lacking that “oomph” that would get me excited.