BTW, Scoundrel: The dongle came as part of the package with the free laptop, all glugged up with a glacial XP install. It is a Chinese item, with no model or manufacture id, just a bunch of complience marks. I believe I found out what it might have been back when Joble sorted me out with it on KDE 2007. Lost in the mists of time. It definitely is an AR5523 device though.
Now that the laptop has the update equivalent 2011.06 aboard, the scratchpad sorted, AR5523.inf installed and ndiswrapper modprobed, it has settled to being its old reliable self and is lighting up halfway through the bootup so that it is all in by the time the Desktop is up.
LXDE 2011.06? Luvit!