Editors' Choice Awards 2005

Server Hardware

IBM eServer xSeries

When he's not writing for LJ, Ludovic Marcotte is architecting big enterprise IT projects, including last year's 35,500-user mail project at the Canadian business school HEC Montréal. He chose IBM eServer xSeries x305 and x335 servers for the project and recommends the server line for Editors' Choice. Systems are available in all sizes from blades up to a 32-way xSeries 445.

Figure 1. Each box in this enterprise mail project is an IBM eServer xSeries system.

Figure 2. This IBM eServer 336 is the new model in the eServer xSeries, replacing the discontinued x305 and x335 mentioned in last year's article.

Personal Computer or Workstation

Apple/Terra Soft PowerMac G5

Robert Love writes, “Fast, beautiful and it even runs Linux.” Don't forget “quiet”. With fans under software control, this box will run only as loud as it needs to in order to stay cool. The idea is as simple as a thermostat, and we're surprised more manufacturers don't do it. Terra Soft Solutions sells the G5 with Linux pre-installed, including the driver for the fans. Based on the POWER architecture and the PCI-X bus, this system's other features include Gigabit Ethernet, serial ATA and two FireWire interfaces.

Figure 3. Terra Soft pre-loads this Apple G5 with Linux.

Security Tool

Max Moser and Contributors, Auditor Security Collection

Mick Bauer calls this Knoppix-based bootable distribution, “the best one for network scanning, particularly wireless and bluetooth scanning.” He adds, “If you need to validate the security of your networked systems periodically, or even if you perform security assessments for a living, Auditor provides most of what you need to do the job, especially if you don't want to dedicate hardware for the purpose.” You don't need to set up a disk partition or, worse, transfer sensitive data over the network. Use a USB drive or some other removable media to take your security data out and take it with you.

Honorable mention goes to OpenSSH. Paul Barry writes, “It really comes into its own when I combine it with one of those bootable/live Linux CD distros (I use Morphix). When supervising student lab sessions, I can pop Morphix into any PC on campus, reboot into Morphix, open up a terminal, do an ssh -C -X -l barryp to my main office desktop and keep working. All my apps and my environment are right there with me. And, of course, my traffic is nicely encrypted, so any students running sniffers can't see what's going on.”

Web Browser or Client

The Mozilla Organization, Firefox

Robert says, “Firefox isn't just a great browser, it is a great example of doing a cross-platform project that everyone, on every platform, loves.” You can tell when hackers love something by the volume of tweaks, add-ons and extensions. Nigel McFarlane covered configuration hints in the April 2005 issue, and watch for more on our favorite Firefox extensions coming up soon.

Thanks to Firefox, the Mozilla Organization dethroned Microsoft as the number-one browser source for linuxjournal.com readers too. Mozilla browsers, not counting old proprietary Netscape, rose from 28.1% to 44.4% since last year.

Graphics Software

inkscape.org, Inkscape

Ludovic writes, “I always missed a good tool like Corel DRAW on Linux, but I think Inkscape is one truly great scalable vector graphics editor.” Vector graphics aren't only for print these days—with users' browsers ranging in size from mobile devices to multi-monitor desktops, you're going to need graphics that look good at a variety of sizes no matter what you use them for.

Figure 4. Inkscape lets us zoom way in on this SVG penguin, drawn by Nicu Buculei for OpenClipart based on Larry Ewing's original design. Look, Tux, no jagged pixels!



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What about the text editor?

wgshi's picture

Isn't that a vital choice for an editor?

What happened to winner of Distribution???

mattboston's picture

There were 3 choices for distribution, but no winner announced on the website or in the magazine.

distribution: CentOS
distribution: Fedora Core
distribution: Ubuntu