Editors' Choice Awards 2005
Ryan Boren, Matthew Mullenweg and Contributors, WordPress 1.5
Reuven Lerner writes, “After trying different Weblog software (in my column, on my server and on my desktop machine), I chose to go with WordPress for my own work, as well as to recommend it to others. The release of WordPress 1.5 several months ago demonstrated that the project has reached maturity. Not only is the code solid, but it's easy to install, easy to use, has a plugin architecture that's simple to work with and can be extended in a number of different ways by programmers and non-programmers alike.”
We're seeing more and more WordPress blogs—especially from smart people who aren't full-time Webmasters and just want to get a virtual host, drop in a blog package and go.
Call it a mail and calendar program or a “groupware client”, this software plugs you in to collaboration with your coworkers, even if they're still running a legacy mail server. Evolution saved Paul Barry from having to switch desktop environments. He writes, “I hadn't looked at it until work recently made the move to Microsoft Exchange and 'gently forced' everyone to get their e-mail through the truly awful 'Outlook Web Access'. I opened up Evolution, pointed it at the Exchange server and kept on using my preferred working environment: Linux.” For keeping your Linux desktop afloat in a sea of proprietary jibber-jabber, we salute you.
Our runner-up in the desktop category is GnuCash. Reuven writes, “Accounting software doesn't have the flash or appeal of many other desktop applications. Moreover, it has an even greater responsibility to get everything perfectly right. And the ability to create your own reports, record regular transactions and synchronize your accounts with OCX files from your bank makes it even more useful.” As a bonus, the documentation provides a non-accountant's friendly intro to how double-entry bookkeeping works.
C# Language Design Team and The Mono Project, C#
Robert writes, “Finally, a usable, fun, rapid-development-yet-powerful language for Linux, with excellent GNOME and Gtk bindings.” You can tell a good language by one simple test: do people write great original software in it? For C#, the answer is yes, as you'll learn from a quick Beagle demo. Beagle, written in C#, is “a GNOME-based search infrastructure that ransacks your personal information space to index and find whatever you are looking for instantly”, Robert writes. While you work, it watches you and comes up with relevant and potentially helpful information. And it provides a counterexample that will help you put the tired “open-source desktop software only copies proprietary apps” argument to rest.
Simon Cozens and Sebastian Riedel, Maypole
Don't give yourself a repetitive strain injury pounding out thousands of lines of scripting language, HTML and SQL to create a Web app. You'll only have to maintain it later.
Paul Barry did it smarter for our March 2005 issue—in 18 lines, thanks to Maypole. And others are catching on too. “I've had a number of readers contact me via e-mail with queries about my '18 lines of code' article. They are all new to Perl but are still willing to give Maypole a go, which is a great sign”, he writes, and adds, “I think Jerry Pournelle (from BYTE magazine) used to have a saying for stuff like this: infuriatingly excellent.”
PostgreSQL Global Development Group, PostgreSQL 8.0
More and more organizations are working with high-end database systems but can't afford, or don't want, a full-time database administrator. PostgreSQL complies with SQL standards but needs less babysitting than complicated legacy databases. Ludovic calls it, “easy to install, configure and relatively easy to tune for performance.” In our June 2005 issue, he covered Slony-I, which adds replication to PostgreSQL, giving you multisite redundancy, increased performance or both. Reuven points out that PostgreSQL has programmer-friendly features, which for 8.0, include server-side scripting in Perl.
Alfredo K. Kojima, Michael Vogt, Gustavo Niemeyer and contributors, synaptic
Paul Barry is happy with the Ubuntu distribution, and one reason is this “embarrassingly easy-to-use” tool for installing software and keeping it up to date. Click what you like, and synaptic will install it with all dependencies—even browse the documentation so you know what you're getting. More info in our Ubuntu review on page XX.
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