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"and have included synaptec as their software mgt. program, "
did they fix it to work with proxy's?
can't trust my mother with a software mgt prog that wont work because she has to use a proxy (provider blocks port 80 here).
if they didn't their mgm tool is nothing more than using synaptic to browse through the packages and then resorting to CLI for installing them (luckily the command line apt works fine, even with proxy's)