I had previously managed to install the software on the laptop running Linux and I was going to play with it off-line first to get the hang of it. However, sadly the laptop died today. *sniff* Of course it was about 11 years old and I had bought it second hand (it was running Windows 98 before I installed Linux on it) and most of the keys had been worn blank with use, so I suppose one can't expect it to last forever.
Anyway, I decided to take the plunge and have a go at installing it for real. After a couple of false starts and a bit of faffing, it seems to have worked!
I've decided that's a big enough step for one day, so I'll have another play tomorrow, but if I can get to grips with managing forums over the weekend, I will explain what my plans are next week and will put out a call for volunteers to help me test everything.