2003 Readers' Choice Awards

Thank you to everyone who participated in the voting—now, on to the results.
Favorite Distributed File-Sharing System
  1. Gnutella

  2. Freenet


Every time I see Gnutella, I think Nutella, that yummy hazelnut/cocoa spread from Europe. Apparently, Gnutella is almost as good. Freenet cracked the top three this year, pushing audiogalaxy down to fifth position, while spots one and three are a repeat of last year's. eDonkey is all over the write-ins, as are Kazaa, mldonkey and Bit Torrent.

Favorite Distribution
  1. Debian

  2. Red Hat

  3. Mandrake Linux

In a year of major talk of Linux on the desktop and boasts of super quick and easy installation tools, Debian claims first place in the distribution category for the first time ever. Is this a revolt by the hard-core technophiles? Or, is the seductive power of apt-get luring in new recruits?

Favorite Programming Beverage
  1. Coffee

  2. Water

  3. Tea

The beauty of this category is the write-in section, which offers a wondrous and intriguing display of personal tastes. The top spots are always coffee, water and tea. But the write-ins range from vodka to an assortment of microbrews to Yerba Mate and Tang. This year's winner for nastiest-sounding beverage: coffee with cinnamon and red pepper. PS: kudos to the person who correctly spelled Merlot with both an R and a T.

Favorite E-mail Client
  1. Evolution

  2. KMail

  3. Mozilla

Last year's attack on the top three position by GUI e-mail clients holds on for another year. mutt, in fourth place, had only half as many votes as Mozilla. Evolution, in its second year, bested KMail by only 151 votes.

Favorite Embedded Distribution
  1. Qtopia

  2. MontaVista

  3. Lineo

2003 is the second year the embedded category has been a part of these awards, and it received twice as many total votes as last year. Qtopia and MontaVista switched positions this year, and SnapGear Embedded jumped straight to fourth place its first year on the market. The most popular write-in is the Familiar Project for PDAs.

Favorite Linux Game
  1. Frozen Bubble

  2. Quake 3

  3. TuxRacer

More addictive than crystal meth, more entertaining than a Michael Jackson scandal and more dangerous than a lawyer defining “intellectual property”, Frozen Bubble jumped straight to number one in its first year on the official nominee list. Will it be replaced next year by Neverwinter Nights, this year's first place write-in?

Favorite Graphics Program
  1. The GIMP

  2. ImageMagick

  3. CorelDraw!

The GIMP won again; we know, we were shocked too. More interesting is the number of write-in votes that list Adobe Photoshop used via CrossOver Office.

Favorite Instant-Messaging Client
  1. gaim

  2. Jabber

  3. Kopete

By a three-to-one margin, gaim is once again your favorite IM client. Second and third place went to different clients from last year. Last year's runner-up, Licq, dropped to fifth place with only 388 votes. irssi is the favorite write-in for 2003. And although I don't know a lot about guns, I am fairly confident in saying a 12-gauge Mossberg 500A is not an IM client.



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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?