2003 Readers' Choice Awards

Thank you to everyone who participated in the voting—now, on to the results.

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 this year.

Favorite Audio Tool
  1. xmms

  2. noatun

  3. mpg123

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.

Favorite Backup Utility
  1. tar

  2. Amanda

  3. Arkeia

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
  1. Linux in a Nutshell, 3rd Ed., Ellen Siever, et al.

  2. Linux System Administration, Vicki Stanfield and Roderick W. Smith

  3. 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.

Favorite Web Browser
  1. Mozilla

  2. Konqueror

  3. Galeon

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 seventh place overall.

Favorite Linux Journal Column
  1. Cooking with Linux

  2. Kernel Korner

  3. Paranoid Penguin

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.

Favorite Database
  1. MySQL

  2. PostgreSQL

  3. Oracle 9i

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 write-in vote.

Favorite Desktop Workstation
  1. Homemade

  2. Monarch AMD 2000+ System Special

  3. 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.

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Re: 2003 Readers' Choice Awards

Anonymous's picture

I was pretty fond of my QLI laptop until I tried to get it repaired.

In September, 2003, the power regulator on my QLI Emperor Laptop went belly-up. I emailed QLI and they recommended that I send it to them for a repair estimate. On September 20th I did. I haven't seen the laptop since. It's now February, 2004.

At the end of September I wrote in to ask if they'd received the laptop, and they replied "your system is being evaluated, and we should have a repair estimate in the next 5-7 days." Three weeks later I wrote to ask about the estimate and was told "give us a day or two and with all luck we will have your estimate, and possibly even the parts needed."

Ten days after that (now we're at the end of October), they respond to my increasingly worried email: "The best info we've been able to gather on that unit so far is 'No Problem Found'... We will keep you posted as soon as we hear word."

This is starting to look bad. Over a month after receiving my laptop, they've gone from saying they're on the verge of having the parts needed to repair it to saying that they haven't found any problem. I call QLI and talk to a representative there who tells me that the motherboard will have to be replaced because the power regulator is part of the motherboard and can't be replaced seperately. I ask them to send me a repair estimate for the motherboard replacement.

On November 11th, they finally send me an estimate: "The repair estimate is $475.00 to completely fix the system, as there is a motherboard/power connector problem." I decide to go ahead with the repairs and I PayPal the $475 to QLI the same day. I ask QLI: "Do you have any estimate for when the repairs will be complete?"

The response: "We ask, and get back to you later today or tomorrow. Our rough guess would be about a week."

They did not get back to me "later today or tomorrow" so on November 28th I asked again: "Do you have an estimate as to when the repair work will be done and I'll have my laptop back?"

On December 2nd they replied "Your system is at the manufacturers facility in China/Hong Kong. We have been charged for the replacement part, however that is their standard policy for any out of warranty service. We can drop a note to them and see how things are progressing.... As we are updated, we will pass information along to you."

I thanked them for the update, and waited until January before emailing again to ask if there was any change in status. My January 5th letter wasn't answered. Ditto January 16th, January 20th and January 23rd. I called the QLI toll-free number - it was down (and was still down a month later when I called again).

So I sleuthed around and found the owner's cell and home phone numbers and left messages for him there. That finally got a response: "We had to put in another call to the manufacturer. The word we have is the power board is not the cause of the problem, and they are now claiming it is the motherboard. We are waiting for a price estimate, and there is currently an amount on deposit, as you were charged a deposit fee from our records. The manufacturer was shut down for the chinese new year, we've just been getting caught up from the holiday rush, please excuse the delay."

Naturally, I was flabbergasted, and wrote back explaining that the $475 was not a deposit, that the motherboard had always been the problem, and that they'd had my laptop more than long enough to fix it and return it to me. It's mid-February. My laptop has been missing for almost five months now. I've put in a complaint to the Better Business Bureau (and that's when I found out I wasn't the first one).

Could you give an update?

Anonymous's picture

Could you give an update? How this worked out? Did you get your machine back?

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