The 2003 Linux Journal Readers' Choice Awards
saw the addition of a few new categories, mostly
hardware, and the loss of a couple old ones—thank
the heavens for built-in pop-up blocking in
browsers. Overall, voting was up from last year;
more than 7,500 people participated in 2003's
four weeks of on-line voting. The results showed
a bit of a shake-up in the Favorite Distribution
category, but most of last year's winners are back
xmms continues to rule this category, taking the top spot for the third
consecutive year. In its first year on the official list, noatun claims
second place. Your new favorite write-in choice is mplayer.
Other than the Favorite Workstation category, Favorite Backup Utility
seems to be the category least dependent on commercial offerings. In a
repeat of last year's winners, tar, Amanda and Arkeia take the tops
spots. rsync is the favorite write-in. Thankfully,
fewer of you still seem to believe backups are only for wimps.
Most Indispensable Linux Book
Linux in a Nutshell, 3rd Ed., Ellen Siever, et al.
Linux System Administration, Vicki Stanfield and
Roderick W. Smith
Running Linux, 3rd Ed., Matt Welsh, et al.
Once again, the top three titles are the same, although Linux System
Administration and Running Linux switched places this year. Many of the
purists opt to rely solely on man pages. Judging by the sheer volume of
write-ins and new releases that come through the LJ offices for review,
the Linux book market is picking up speed.
Here, too, the top three choices are the same this year, with
Konqueror and Galeon switching spots in 2003. Netscape's popularity
continues to decline; 6.x received a mere 236 out of 7,362 votes in this
category. Firebird is making a lot of noise as a write-in, coming in
Favorite Linux Journal Column
Cooking with Linux
Ah, Marcel; il est un homme savant, gentil and trés
drôle. How can we not respect a man
as concerned with raising our sysadmin awareness as with educating our
wine palates? Many people also like Kerner Korner and its rotating
author bylines—must be all the 2.6 news.
After a brief respite last year, when InterBase claimed third place,
Oracle returns to the top three this year. Although MySQL retains the top
spot, PostgreSQL continues to narrow the gap. Firebird, the
independent database based on InterBase code, is once again the favorite
Favorite Desktop Workstation
Monarch AMD 2000+ System Special
Los Alamos ULBx
Perhaps we should have named this new category Open-Source Junkyard
Wars. Although Monarch, Los Alamos, Apple G5, Dell and a few Sun
machines received votes, almost 90% of those who voted in this new
category selected Homemade as their favorite workstation. Picture it:
two teams of four people, $100, two days and a bin of recycled
parts—just imagine what we could build.
Favorite Distributed File-Sharing System
Every time I see Gnutella, I think Nutella, that yummy hazelnut/cocoa
spread from Europe. Apparently, Gnutella is almost as good. Freenet
cracked the top three this year, pushing audiogalaxy down to fifth position,
while spots one and three are a repeat of last year's. eDonkey is all over the
write-ins, as are Kazaa, mldonkey and Bit Torrent.
In a year of major talk of Linux on the desktop and
boasts of super quick and easy installation tools,
Debian claims first place in the distribution
category for the first time ever. Is this a revolt
by the hard-core technophiles? Or, is the seductive
power of apt-get luring in new recruits?
Favorite Programming Beverage
The beauty of this category is the write-in section, which offers a
wondrous and intriguing display of personal tastes. The top spots are
always coffee, water and tea. But the write-ins range from vodka to an
assortment of microbrews to Yerba Mate and Tang. This year's winner for
nastiest-sounding beverage: coffee with cinnamon and red pepper. PS:
kudos to the person who correctly spelled Merlot with both an R and a T.
Last year's attack on the top three position by GUI e-mail
clients holds on for another year. mutt, in fourth place, had only half
as many votes as Mozilla. Evolution, in its second year, bested
KMail by only 151 votes.
Favorite Embedded Distribution
2003 is the second year the embedded category has been a part of these
awards, and it received twice as many total votes as last year. Qtopia
and MontaVista switched positions this year, and SnapGear Embedded
jumped straight to fourth place its first year on the market. The most
popular write-in is the Familiar Project for PDAs.
More addictive than crystal meth, more entertaining than a Michael
Jackson scandal and more dangerous than a lawyer defining “intellectual
property”, Frozen Bubble jumped straight to number one in its first year
on the official nominee list. Will it be replaced next year by
Neverwinter Nights, this year's first place write-in?
Favorite Graphics Program
The GIMP won again; we know, we were shocked too. More interesting is
the number of write-in votes that list Adobe Photoshop used via CrossOver
Favorite Instant-Messaging Client
By a three-to-one margin, gaim is once again your favorite IM client. Second
and third place went to different clients from last year. Last year's
runner-up, Licq, dropped to fifth place with only 388 votes. irssi is the
favorite write-in for 2003. And although I don't know a lot about guns, I
am fairly confident in saying a 12-gauge Mossberg 500A is
not an IM
Favorite Programming Language
Quick, everyone to your keyboard: the flame war begins in 5, 4, 3, 2....In a reversal of last year's winner and runner-up, C++ moved into first
place in 2003 by a mere 23 votes. Perl, meanwhile, got kicked out of the
top three for the first time in the history of our awards. Continuing
the C theme, C# is the favorite write-in vote.
For 2003, we combined Office Suite and Word Processor into a general
Favorite Office Program category, which was won handily by
OpenOffice.org. Out of 6,650 votes, 4,317 went to OpenOffice.org,
followed by 477 for AbiWord. Free, featureful office programs are a good
thing. And kudos on the significantly fewer write-ins for MS Office—have
you made the switch or are you not talking about it anymore?
Favorite Processor Architecture
The frenzy of all things Opteron extends to this year's Readers' Choice Awards, where
it premieres as your third-favorite architecture. Last year's
third-place choice, AMD Duron, slips down to fifth place, with fourth
place going to PowerPC. For the third year in a row, though, Athlon is
the top choice.
Favorite Portable Workstation
QLi 15" AMD Notebooks
QLi Pentium 4 Notebooks
QLi Centrino Notebooks
Another category new to this year's awards, Favorite Portable
Workstation didn't receive nearly as many votes as other categories. And
most of the votes we did receive came as write-ins. Almost everyone
selected a laptop as their favorite, although the Zaurus picked up a
handful of votes. Other popular write-ins were laptops by Dell and IBM,
as well as Apple PowerBooks.
Favorite Network or Server Appliance
Cyclades AlterPath ACS
SnapGear SME 550
We added this category to the awards for 2003 because of the sheer
multitude of offerings on the market. The winners plus the many
write-in votes demonstrate the variety of products that can fall under
this heading. It seems a lot of you are using Cyclades AlterPath ACS
(advanced consoler server) to manage networks remotely. And Linksys
routers are near and dear to many voters' hearts.
SGI Altix 3000
IBM DB2 OLAP Server
Tyan Thunder K8S
It was our snazzy February 2003 Altix cover story, wasn't it? Or, did
voters stumble across the big Altix machines on display at LinuxWorld
New York 2003 last January? Either way, the love affair with the Altix
3000 is officially underway. Dell, HP, Sun and Compaq split the write-in
votes, while some wonder why you'd buy a server when you can build one
yourself—homemade was the first choice of the write-in voters.
Favorite System Administration Tool
Ximian Red Carpet
With the plethora of sysadmin tools now available, we figured it was
time to give them their own category. Automatic updating tools had the
most mentions. Capturing more than 30% of all votes, Perl-based Webmin
is the winner. Coming in at a distant second is SuSE's YaST. Many voters,
of course, said they need only a command line and vi or vim in some
combination to handle their sysadmin tasks.
vi and clones
Last year, Vim beat vi by twice as many votes; this year it received
three times as many. The rest of the top three holds steady this year as
the Emacs folks find more and more things they can do with it. But
where's the love for Elvis? A mere 14 votes this year is the best we can
do? As for Kate, having made the move to the official list this year, it
winds up in fourth place.
Favorite Development Tool
Like The GIMP, GCC wins its category every year and always by a sizable
lead. You feel almost sorry for their competitors. Although Emacs is in
third place again, last year's second-place winner, Kylix, slipped to
sixth place this year as KDevelop returns to the top three. Anjuta,
which combines Glade, text-editing tools and a simulator in a single
IDE, is the favorite write-in this year.
SuSE Linux Training
Linux Lunacy Cruise
Sun Wah-Pearl Linux OpenLDAP Workshop
We know official Linux training is anathema to some of you (like reading
a manual for just about anything), but now more training classes and
programs are available than ever before. SuSE's is the most popular
distribution-related training, followed by the RHCE program. The
write-ins covered everything from man pages and users to self-study and
Usenet. We're glad to see so many of you are finding the Linux Cruise useful
as well as fun.
In the closest race this category has seen in years, Slashdot beat
LinuxFR by only 343 votes—pretty impressive when you consider 6,588
people voted. It's nice to see the rampant silliness of this year's
freedom fries and freedom toast didn't extend to Da Linux French Page.
Still, Slashdot is the first choice for updates on supercomputers, candidates
for governor of California
and two-hour Cadillac commercials—I mean Matrix sequels.
Favorite Web-Hosting Service
eZ Publish CMS
Perhaps this category is too new for regular Linux users to have
developed a consensus. Only 893 people voted in this category, and 637
of those votes were write-ins. Rackspace is the only service to garner
more than 10% of the vote. Or, perhaps people felt like one voter who
said he found it hard to name his favorite because “I love/hate my
host!” As usual, many of you take the DIY approach to Web hosting as
Favorite Desktop Environment
This category received the most votes of any except Favorite
Distribution, which makes sense given the push for Linux on the desktop.
With 44% of the votes, KDE is the winner for the sixth consecutive
year. GNOME holds on to second place with 23% of the votes. Ion is the
new favorite write-in vote, as last year's favorite, fluxbox, comes in
fourth in its first year on the official list. Oh good, I was beginning
to think I wouldn't see this write-in comment this year, but you didn't
disappoint: “None, they all suck!”
Heather Mead is senior editor of Linux Journal.