Readers' Choice Awards 2010

The votes are in! Read on to find out how your favorites fared in this year's awards.
Best E-mail Client

Thunderbird

Honorable Mention: Gmail Web Client

In 2009, we suggested the apparently inevitable decline of the desktop e-mail client in favor of Web-based clients like Gmail. It looks like the official LJ Magic 8-Ball was in need of another shake, for Thunderbird handily has won the Readers' Choice Award for Best E-mail Client for the fourth consecutive year. Surprisingly, the previously upward trend for Gmail hit a ceiling (at least for now), and it lost a few points from last year, at the primary expense of Kmail, which came back onto your radar screens to garner a healthy 14% of the vote.

Best IM Client

Pidgin

Honorable Mention: Skype

Despite our redubbing of this category from Favorite Communications Tool to Best IM Client, the results changed only slightly. For the third year in a row, the no-protocol-left-behind Pidgin Internet Messenger took top honors—with an identical 43% share of your votes vs. last year to boot. In the honorable mention column, the closed-source but so useful Skype took top honors, dropping a point from 2009 (17% vs. 18%).

Best IRC Client

Pidgin

Honorable Mention: XChat

Although you have plenty of choices when it comes to IRC chat clients, the overwhelming majority of you stay put on Pidgin or fire up the multiplatform XChat for your IRC-based chats—39% of you prefer Pidgin and 33% prefer XChat.

Best Microblogging Client

Gwibber

Honorable Mention: Choqok

This new category for 2010, Best Microblogging Client, also would have the top five entrants in Best-Named Linux Application. The hands-down winners would be Gwibber, Choqok, Nitwit and our personal favorite, Spaz. Despite parity regarding the name-related coolness factor, the generalist and GNOME-based Gwibber easily took the crown for Best Microblogging Client, followed by the more specialist KDE-based Choqok.

Best Office Suite

OpenOffice.org

No shake-ups here, gang. OpenOffice.org remains your uncontested choice for Best Office Suite, and no program even passed the 10% threshold to warrant honorable mention. Keep your eye on Google Docs though, because it showed up this year for the first time with 8% of the vote. In this as in most categories, cross-platform capability appears to boost a program's popularity significantly. Are Web-based apps going to take over, or will desktop apps remain dominant in this space? This area will be interesting to watch.

Best Single Office Program

OpenOffice.org Writer

Honorable Mention: AbiWord

Given that there are many more office applications than office suites, we created this new category (Best Single Office Program) to understand the nuances of our community's work habits better. Although the OpenOffice.org apps Writer and Calc both performed well, with Writer winning the category handily with 39% of the vote. AbiWord from GnomeOffice also helps you get your work done quickly and effectively.

Best Graphics/Design Tool

GIMP

Honorable Mention: Inkscape

This year's plebiscite features identical award winners in the Best Graphics/Design Tool category—GIMP for the win and Inkscape for honorable mention. The only difference from last year is that GIMP inched down a few points and Inkscape up a few points.

Best Digital Photo Management Tool

digiKam

Honorable Mention: Picasa

The back-and-forth tussle between digiKam and Picasa is looking more and more like a WWE SmackDown. In 2008, the two photo apps were tied for your favorites in the crowded category of Best Digital Photo Management Tool. Then last year, Picasa gave digiKam a royal piledriver and racked up nearly triple the votes of its poor rival. But this year, digiKam had a surprise Diving Bulldog up its sleeve and had enough energy left to pin Picasa to the mat for the win.

______________________

James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal

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