1999 Readers' Choice Awards

You voted, we counted—here are the results.
Favorite Backup Utility: BRU

“Backup? Who needs backup? Maybe it sounds crazy, that's okay, it is.”

BRU, with 35.5% of the vote, comes in ahead of its closest rivals Amanda which had 15.3% and Lonetar which had 10.8%. Worth noting were the number of write-ins advocating tar, a simple solution you can insert easily into cron. While BRU and Lonetar are proprietary, Amanda is freely available, in case you actually want to back something up—but Linux is so stable!

Favorite Communications Board: Cyclades


Cyclades, with 37.7%, seems to be more popular than its competitors Digi International with 15.8% and Boca with 10.0%. Cyclades has a cool name, but do you pronounce it like the island chain?

Favorite Database: MySQL

“Who needs databases?”

MySQL, the free database from Finland and Sweden, scores big points with 42.4%, compared to PostgreSQL with 19.5% and Oracle with 15.2%. The Berkeley Database, which is embedded in practically everything, scored only 1.4%, which is odd. Still, it stands to reason that MySQL would be a favorite choice of the Linux community, considering its origins and relatively free license. Someone wrote in M$ SQL, as a joke... I think.

Favorite Graphics Tool: GIMP

“I hope to earn my black-belt in script-fu some day.”

In an amazing upset victory... oh, wait. The GIMP wins again this year, with 76.8% of the vote. xv and CorelDraw each got 8.1% of the votes (though xv was ahead by 4 votes). The GIMP blew away everything years ago; now it is polished and beautiful. You can do anything with it, even if you're not a graphics expert. Then, you can use SatanPaint (which scored 0.1%) to convert your drawings into C include files. It is interesting that Linux has such a fantastic graphics package, while audio seems to have been largely neglected. Are Linux types visually inclined? Apparently so, and projects like the GIMP, GNOME, Enlightenment, KDE and the themes trend are all evidence, as well as the new wave of screen savers and demos.

Favorite Linux Demo: State of Mind by Skal of Bomb

“Linux has a demo scene? I have to check this out!”

Even though we can't take over every processor cycle and sync our routines to raster positions, Linux finally has demos, lots of them. It is no surprise that State of Mind would win for this year, but what is a surprise is the third-place finisher, BB by AA (Big Brother, the aalib ASCII demo), which was not included but had many write-ins. Second place went to XDemo8 by Lame Over. Technically speaking, most write-in votes went for “What is a demo?” or some variant thereof. Someone wrote in linus.au; hmmm. Truly we have a cool scene, small though it may be.

Favorite Mailer: Pine

“Pine is evil.”

Pine has displaced last year's winner Elm with a 41.4% vote, compared to the second-place finisher Netscape Communicator with 32.2% and the up-and-coming Mutt which had 14.7%. What happened to Elm? It fell to number four, with 6.8% of the vote. Several variants of Emacs mailers received numerous write-ins. A growing Pine/Pico recovery and support community will probably lead Mutt to greater popularity next year; in any event, it has colors and that's cool.

Favorite Development Tool: gcc


What would development be without a compiler? The GNU C Compiler wins with 65.8% of the vote, while the Experimental GNU Compiler System took 20.9%. Now that the two are reconciled and together again, that would be an 86.7% collective. The recently delivered Metrowerks CodeWarrior scored 5.9%, a number which might be higher if it only ran on more distributions. The free Code Crusader was fourth with 2.7%, GNUPro Toolkit was fifth with 2.5%. The Linux standard, Emacs/gcc/make or some variant thereof, was the most common comment. Where would we be without GNU, or would we be at all without GNU?