2002 Readers' Choice Awards
Judging by the results of this year's Readers' Choice Awards, things in the world of Linux are holding steady. Almost 6,000 voters participated this year, casting ballots in such categories as favorite distribution, office suite and development tool—a total of 25 categories. All in all, while a few nominees switched places, this year's results aren't that much different from 2001's results. Perhaps this represents a solidification of the market? Have the best products made it to the top of the heap and are only improving their offerings? Or will 2003 bring something revolutionary—assuming politics and Hollywood haven't outlawed open source and the Internet completely by then, of course.
1. Mandrake Linux
2. Red Hat
The distributions in the top three spots have been the same for several years now, but the lineup this year is different. For the first time in three years, Red Hat isn't in the number one position, having been outvoted by Mandrake Linux. The most popular write-in distribution was Russia's ASPLinux. For some, it doesn't seem to matter what the distribution is, as one voter wrote, “I'm addicted to the installation process, so I switch all the time.” Yeah, that's good fun.
1. The GIMP
I swear, I don't know why we even bother with some of these categories—like favorite graphics program. In the entire time we've had this category (six years), nothing has come close, ever, to beating The GIMP. The GIMP: good for graphics, bad for contests.
Our voters certainly won't complain about getting a free, featureful processor (or office suite, for that matter), especially when the original StarOffice it's based on is no longer free of charge. StarOffice drops to second place (OpenOffice received over a 1,000 more votes), and the love for AbiWord keeps spreading.
2. vi (and vi clones)
3. GNU Emacs
Are Vim users “a rabid pack of fanatical lunatics”? The Vim web site denies it, so we won't push the matter. Vim is simply a wonderful tool and, apparently, much better than vi, which received half as many votes. Now if you want to talk fanatical, look no further than the users who made Emacs the third-place editor; those guys are nuts. Over on the write-in side, Kate is proving popular enough to be on our official list next year.
3. Window Maker
The top three picks this year were the same as those from last year, in the same order, with about the same percentage of votes for each (twice as many votes for KDE as for GNOME). Looking beyond the mainstream, the most popular write-in was fluxbox. Quite a few voters also like the minimalist approach to window management employed by Ion.
The OpenOffice love grows even stronger in the office suite category, beating StarOffice by almost 2,000 votes. A lot of write-ins said they use Microsoft Office because that's “what the office uses” or for compatibility. The next year could change all of that based on rumors of what's being planned for Linux on the desktop.
C++ kicked Perl out of the second-favorite position this year, and only 17 votes kept C++ out of the top spot. In its first year on the “official” list, Kylix/Object Pascal came in fourth. Following that was a close vote spread between PHP, Java and Python, in that order. One quite reasonable voter wrote in that he uses “whichever is best for the project”. And to the voter who felt bad about preferring bash shell scripting, don't worry, you're not alone.
GCC won by a country mile again this year, but Kylix made a strong second-place showing in this category, collecting two-thirds as many votes as GCC. Fans of the ever-flexible Emacs kept it in the top three again this year. The write-in list for this category was extensive and included Vim, Visual Works Smalltalk, Visual SlickEdit and mod_perl.
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