Linux: the CHOICE how-to guide.

Free, stable, fast — there's a lot to like about Linux. We take an in-depth look at this powerful, open-source operating system.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

01 .Use the source

Linux penguin logo with coloured balls

You've heard about Linux. It powers everything from servers to mobile phones, can be found in schools, governments, industry and homes, and a good chunk of the internet’s infrastructure is powered by it. CHOICE Computer’s Editor even runs it at home!

Linux is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, and traditionally the domain of hardcore computer geeks. But that’s changing. The last few years have seen rapid development in the desktop sphere for Linux, so much so that it’s now emerging as a replacement for Windows.

That’s not to say it’s everyone’s cup of tea — Linux isn’t Windows, and works a little differently. Nevertheless, it’s making inroads into mainstream consumer systems, thanks in part to low-cost Linux-based laptops such as the ASUS Eee PC.

If you remember your first few days with Windows, you’ll know that learning a new operating system isn’t something you pick up overnight. Fortunately it’s easy to explore Linux alongside Windows, so you don’t need to give Windows up — unless you want to!

In this report we tell you all about Linux — what it is, the various distributions, where you get it from, and what it's capable of. We also provide a tutorial on how to install Ubuntu Linux alongside Windows, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Reasons to try Linux:

  • Tired of paying for Windows, MS Office, security suites and basic applications.
  • Tired of worrying about viruses and other malware.
  • Want to learn more about Linux.
  • Have old hardware you want to keep using.
  • Want to try something different to Windows for your main desktop operating system.
  • Want to support open source and even contribute to the community yourself.

Reasons not to try:

  • Limited free space on Windows computer.
  • Windows games or desktop publishing are a priority.
  • Need to back-up your data first whenever installing an OS.
  • Learning to use a new operating system.
  • Other people who use the computer may not share your enthusiasm!

Please note: this information was current as of March 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.

 
 

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Chef carving chickenCHOICE tested eight chickens: two organic, two free-range, one corn-fed and three regular factory-farmed birds.

A chef cooked the chickens, without seasoning or stuffing them. They were identified only by a number on a metal tag attached securely to a leg, so the expert tasters didn’t know the brand or type of chicken they were eating.

Each taster was served a portion of breast and leg meat with a plain green salad and slices of baguette for cleansing the palate between samples.

We asked the tasters to separately rate the breast and leg meat for aroma, texture, flavour and overall impression on a five-point scale.

Chickens tested

  Features
Brand (in alphabetical order) Type Price per kg ($)
Ingham Broiler 3.99
Inglewood Farms Organic Organic 12.5
Lilydale Free-Range Free-range 7.26
Steggles Broiler 4.27
Steggles Corn Fed Corn fed 5.99
Woolworths Free Range Free-range 6.49
Woolworths Organic Organic 9.99
You'll Love Coles Broiler 5.09
 

The result was unexpected

There was no significant difference between the scores for free-range or organic chickens and factory-farmed birds. No brand or type stood out as specially tasty. In fact there was general agreement among the experts at the end of the test that "none of them tasted much like the roast chicken that mother used to cook for us when we were kids.”

Two of the chooks divided the experts a bit, but not enough to single any brand out in the taste ratings. Two experts found the most expensive chicken in our test, Inglewood Farms Organic, "dry and unappealing", whereas the others quite liked it.

The Steggles Corn Fed chicken polarised the tasters the most. They either found it "flavoursome and very tender" or thought it had "no real chicken flavour" and questioned whether it had been "pumped up with something".

Our chef didn’t season the chickens at all, whereas most people use salt, pepper, butter, paprika or other herbs and spices on the bird itself, and add still more flavour with stuffing. (See Cooking the best chicken.)

Left to its own devices, chicken meat — no matter where it comes from — doesn’t seem to stack up to much. All in all, it doesn’t seem to matter what chicken you buy from a supermarket. Follow your conscience and go for free-range or organic, or save money on a standard chook — they all taste much the same. And there’s a reason for this (see Fast and faster food).

Meet the experts

  • Images of the tasting judgesSydney Pemberton
    Syd runs Pemberton’s Food Workshop in Sydney, where she gives demonstration cooking classes for adults and children. She’s the author of How to Clean Practically Anything, published by CHOICE Books.
  • Kim Coverdale
    Kim is food editor of Super Food Ideas. Prior to that, she was deputy food editor of Woman’s Day and New Idea.
  • Debbie Solomon
    Debbie is an Asian food specialist who organises and runs food tours of Sydney’s markets and more colourful food locations.
  • Dave Kasmoroski
    Dave has been both a butcher and a chef. He runs Eumundi Smokehouse in Sydney, where he makes traditional charcuterie products using recipes inherited from his Russian grandfather.

Chef carving chickenCHOICE tested eight chickens: two organic, two free-range, one corn-fed and three regular factory-farmed birds.

A chef cooked the chickens, without seasoning or stuffing them. They were identified only by a number on a metal tag attached securely to a leg, so the expert tasters didn’t know the brand or type of chicken they were eating.

Each taster was served a portion of breast and leg meat with a plain green salad and slices of baguette for cleansing the palate between samples.

We asked the tasters to separately rate the breast and leg meat for aroma, texture, flavour and overall impression on a five-point scale.

Chickens tested

  Features
Brand (in alphabetical order) Type Price per kg ($)
Ingham Broiler 3.99
Inglewood Farms Organic Organic 12.5
Lilydale Free-Range Free-range 7.26
Steggles Broiler 4.27
Steggles Corn Fed Corn fed 5.99
Woolworths Free Range Free-range 6.49
Woolworths Organic Organic 9.99
You'll Love Coles Broiler 5.09
 

The result was unexpected

There was no significant difference between the scores for free-range or organic chickens and factory-farmed birds. No brand or type stood out as specially tasty. In fact there was general agreement among the experts at the end of the test that "none of them tasted much like the roast chicken that mother used to cook for us when we were kids.”

Two of the chooks divided the experts a bit, but not enough to single any brand out in the taste ratings. Two experts found the most expensive chicken in our test, Inglewood Farms Organic, "dry and unappealing", whereas the others quite liked it.

The Steggles Corn Fed chicken polarised the tasters the most. They either found it "flavoursome and very tender" or thought it had "no real chicken flavour" and questioned whether it had been "pumped up with something".

Our chef didn’t season the chickens at all, whereas most people use salt, pepper, butter, paprika or other herbs and spices on the bird itself, and add still more flavour with stuffing. (See Cooking the best chicken.)

Left to its own devices, chicken meat — no matter where it comes from — doesn’t seem to stack up to much. All in all, it doesn’t seem to matter what chicken you buy from a supermarket. Follow your conscience and go for free-range or organic, or save money on a standard chook — they all taste much the same. And there’s a reason for this (see Fast and faster food).

Meet the experts

  • Images of the tasting judgesSydney Pemberton
    Syd runs Pemberton’s Food Workshop in Sydney, where she gives demonstration cooking classes for adults and children. She’s the author of How to Clean Practically Anything, published by CHOICE Books.
  • Kim Coverdale
    Kim is food editor of Super Food Ideas. Prior to that, she was deputy food editor of Woman’s Day and New Idea.
  • Debbie Solomon
    Debbie is an Asian food specialist who organises and runs food tours of Sydney’s markets and more colourful food locations.
  • Dave Kasmoroski
    Dave has been both a butcher and a chef. He runs Eumundi Smokehouse in Sydney, where he makes traditional charcuterie products using recipes inherited from his Russian grandfather.

Chef carving chickenCHOICE tested eight chickens: two organic, two free-range, one corn-fed and three regular factory-farmed birds.

A chef cooked the chickens, without seasoning or stuffing them. They were identified only by a number on a metal tag attached securely to a leg, so the expert tasters didn’t know the brand or type of chicken they were eating.

Each taster was served a portion of breast and leg meat with a plain green salad and slices of baguette for cleansing the palate between samples.

We asked the tasters to separately rate the breast and leg meat for aroma, texture, flavour and overall impression on a five-point scale.

Chickens tested

  Features
Brand (in alphabetical order) Type Price per kg ($)
Ingham Broiler 3.99
Inglewood Farms Organic Organic 12.5
Lilydale Free-Range Free-range 7.26
Steggles Broiler 4.27
Steggles Corn Fed Corn fed 5.99
Woolworths Free Range Free-range 6.49
Woolworths Organic Organic 9.99
You'll Love Coles Broiler 5.09
 

The result was unexpected

There was no significant difference between the scores for free-range or organic chickens and factory-farmed birds. No brand or type stood out as specially tasty. In fact there was general agreement among the experts at the end of the test that "none of them tasted much like the roast chicken that mother used to cook for us when we were kids.”

Two of the chooks divided the experts a bit, but not enough to single any brand out in the taste ratings. Two experts found the most expensive chicken in our test, Inglewood Farms Organic, "dry and unappealing", whereas the others quite liked it.

The Steggles Corn Fed chicken polarised the tasters the most. They either found it "flavoursome and very tender" or thought it had "no real chicken flavour" and questioned whether it had been "pumped up with something".

Our chef didn’t season the chickens at all, whereas most people use salt, pepper, butter, paprika or other herbs and spices on the bird itself, and add still more flavour with stuffing. (See Cooking the best chicken.)

Left to its own devices, chicken meat — no matter where it comes from — doesn’t seem to stack up to much. All in all, it doesn’t seem to matter what chicken you buy from a supermarket. Follow your conscience and go for free-range or organic, or save money on a standard chook — they all taste much the same. And there’s a reason for this (see Fast and faster food).

Meet the experts

  • Images of the tasting judgesSydney Pemberton
    Syd runs Pemberton’s Food Workshop in Sydney, where she gives demonstration cooking classes for adults and children. She’s the author of How to Clean Practically Anything, published by CHOICE Books.
  • Kim Coverdale
    Kim is food editor of Super Food Ideas. Prior to that, she was deputy food editor of Woman’s Day and New Idea.
  • Debbie Solomon
    Debbie is an Asian food specialist who organises and runs food tours of Sydney’s markets and more colourful food locations.
  • Dave Kasmoroski
    Dave has been both a butcher and a chef. He runs Eumundi Smokehouse in Sydney, where he makes traditional charcuterie products using recipes inherited from his Russian grandfather.

Chef carving chickenCHOICE tested eight chickens: two organic, two free-range, one corn-fed and three regular factory-farmed birds.

A chef cooked the chickens, without seasoning or stuffing them. They were identified only by a number on a metal tag attached securely to a leg, so the expert tasters didn’t know the brand or type of chicken they were eating.

Each taster was served a portion of breast and leg meat with a plain green salad and slices of baguette for cleansing the palate between samples.

We asked the tasters to separately rate the breast and leg meat for aroma, texture, flavour and overall impression on a five-point scale.

Chickens tested

  Features
Brand (in alphabetical order) Type Price per kg ($)
Ingham Broiler 3.99
Inglewood Farms Organic Organic 12.5
Lilydale Free-Range Free-range 7.26
Steggles Broiler 4.27
Steggles Corn Fed Corn fed 5.99
Woolworths Free Range Free-range 6.49
Woolworths Organic Organic 9.99
You'll Love Coles Broiler 5.09
 

The result was unexpected

There was no significant difference between the scores for free-range or organic chickens and factory-farmed birds. No brand or type stood out as specially tasty. In fact there was general agreement among the experts at the end of the test that "none of them tasted much like the roast chicken that mother used to cook for us when we were kids.”

Two of the chooks divided the experts a bit, but not enough to single any brand out in the taste ratings. Two experts found the most expensive chicken in our test, Inglewood Farms Organic, "dry and unappealing", whereas the others quite liked it.

The Steggles Corn Fed chicken polarised the tasters the most. They either found it "flavoursome and very tender" or thought it had "no real chicken flavour" and questioned whether it had been "pumped up with something".

Our chef didn’t season the chickens at all, whereas most people use salt, pepper, butter, paprika or other herbs and spices on the bird itself, and add still more flavour with stuffing. (See Cooking the best chicken.)

Left to its own devices, chicken meat — no matter where it comes from — doesn’t seem to stack up to much. All in all, it doesn’t seem to matter what chicken you buy from a supermarket. Follow your conscience and go for free-range or organic, or save money on a standard chook — they all taste much the same. And there’s a reason for this (see Fast and faster food).

Meet the experts

  • Images of the tasting judgesSydney Pemberton
    Syd runs Pemberton’s Food Workshop in Sydney, where she gives demonstration cooking classes for adults and children. She’s the author of How to Clean Practically Anything, published by CHOICE Books.
  • Kim Coverdale
    Kim is food editor of Super Food Ideas. Prior to that, she was deputy food editor of Woman’s Day and New Idea.
  • Debbie Solomon
    Debbie is an Asian food specialist who organises and runs food tours of Sydney’s markets and more colourful food locations.
  • Dave Kasmoroski
    Dave has been both a butcher and a chef. He runs Eumundi Smokehouse in Sydney, where he makes traditional charcuterie products using recipes inherited from his Russian grandfather.
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