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Acorn still thrives in IT forest;Shop Window;Computers

Acorn supporters remain distinctly underwhelmed by what they see as Windows hype, claiming that Risc-OS computers are more stable and reliable than IBM-compatible PCs.

Xemplar, for instance, reckons that a secondary school using Windows 95 on average spends 25 minutes per machine on maintenance per month, compared with six minutes on an Xemplar RiscOS system. It's also a misconception that software support for Acorn products is thin on the ground. Perhaps one has to look harder to find resources but, for Acorn users, it's obviously worth it.

But what about CD-Rom? On a network with a CD-Rom jukebox, there's no problem, according to Xemplar. It claims that, with its OmniClient network software, schools can successfully run a mix of different makes: RiscPC, Acorn, Apple and IBM-compatible PCs.

Users of stand-alone Acorn computers have two choices, neither of which are completely satisfactory. First, individual filters or CD-readers have been written by third-party firms to enable Acorns to read disks. The second is to install a PC emulation card.

Xemplar is confident ICT co-ordinators and purchasers are aware of the brand's educational advantages. As its managing director Brendan O'Sullivan points out, while many PC-only titles fall into the dreaded "edutainment" category, educational software developers are producing excellent titles for the Acorn platform.

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