1999 Readers' Choice Awards

You voted, we counted—here are the results.

Welcome to the 1999 Linux Journal Readers' Choice Awards, brought to you by the same people who brought you the Editors' Choice Awards last month (remarkable). The Linux scene has exploded since this time last year, with more software than we could keep up with. Hence, omissions were so frequent, the poll was almost a comedy of errors, but fortunately no spreadsheets showed up listed in the games section. Over 8,000 people voted, more than twice last year's turnout. It was fun, and the results were even different from last year! Worth noting is that Emacs received numerous write-ins in nearly all of the categories. Apparently, it does more than we thought. Included are some voter write-ins and comments (in italics) for your delectation.

Favorite Distribution: Debian GNU/Linux

“Better than all the rest.”

Debian GNU/Linux with 27.3% scores a 21-vote upset over last year's winner SuSE which got 27.0%, while Red Hat falls to number three by about 200 votes, with 23.6%. This victory for Debian GNU/Linux is sure to warm the hearts of free-source enthusiasts everywhere. In other news, Slackware is still alive at 5.7%, Mandrake and Caldera received 7.1% and 6.1% respectively, and the others have their followers, though not many (no other distribution scored 1%).

Favorite Window Manager: KDE

“I prefer console mode.”

“GNOME with Enlightenment in the future, KDE now.”

The K Desktop Environment (technically speaking, the K Window Manager) wins again with 36.6% of the vote, far ahead of its nearest competitors WindowMaker and Enlightenment, which gathered 17.8% and 16.1%, respectively. Other niche managers have devoted followings, but it appears as if the days of FVWM have wound down and a new era has begun—that of the desktop environment. Many window managers added and improved theme support, making it easier to change managers and aesthetics. The windowing diversity on Linux makes it easy to forget that other operating systems don't offer the freedom to choose in this area.

Favorite Audio Application: mpg123

“mpg123 lets me play Pink Floyd; cthugha lets me see it...”

mpg123 garners 35% of the vote to prove the overwhelming popularity of the mpeg format which is so efficient, many lobbyists tried to have it outlawed. Fortunately it's still legal, and we're having a lot of fun with it. RealAudio is number two with 20%, while paranoia (to rip CDs into mpegs) with 10% takes third place. XMMS/X11Amp received several write-in votes.

Favorite Programming Language: C/C++

“Something wants to make me vote for Logo... but I'll spare you. :)”

The old UNIX standard—the closest thing we have to a cross-platform assembler—wins nearly half the vote at 49.4%. We'll have to split C and C++ next year; we received countless “I hate C++” comments, a sentiment shared by nearly everyone who voted. Perl had an excellent showing, with 20.6% of the vote, compared to the up-and-coming Python which scored 4%. At 9.5%, Java appears to have become rather popular, and a concerted effort from PHP enthusiasts managed to score it 4.6%. Emacs (meaning ELisp, probably) received a large number of write-ins. Doesn't anyone use assembly code anymore?

Favorite Text Editor or Word Processor: vi & clones

“vim vim vim vim vim vim vim vim vim vim vim vim vim vim.”

“Emacs is the true path to Nirvana!”

Yet again, vi scores a large victory with 31.1% of the votes, over StarOffice and Emacs which had 15.2% and 14.9%. XEmacs, last year's runner-up, appears to be less popular this year, taking 10.4%. Popular with old UNIX hacks, vi is gaining a large following in the GNU generation. “Ack! Are you still using vi?” I once asked. “No, man. I learned vi.” Vintage software—the next cool thing.