Editors' Choice 2006

Excellent competition forced our editors to make some difficult decisions for the 2006 Editors' Choice Awards for software, hardware and services.
Office Suite

OpenOffice.org 2.0.3

There's a joke among musicians that Beethoven wrote only three symphonies: the third, the fifth and the ninth. These three eclipse the rest in terms of popularity such that most people are unaware the other symphonies exist. So it is with OpenOffice.org. OpenOffice.org is so popular, it eclipses the competition to the point that many people are unaware there is competition.

For example, Evermore Software's EIOffice suite has superior live links and duplicates the Microsoft Office interface almost exactly, but it is not open source, and it isn't marketed aggressively enough such that many people know it exists. KDE's KOffice suite is a powerful suite of productivity applications, but it is often overlooked because it doesn't attempt to mimic Microsoft Office.

OpenOffice.org delivers just the right combination of openness, power and similarity to Microsoft Office that it provides the features and familiarity people want in an office suite without the drawbacks of proprietary document format or proprietary code. It may not always import Microsoft Office files perfectly, but it does so without the crashes that sometimes plague suites like EIOffice when importing large, complex Microsoft Office files. Overall, OpenOffice.org has a way to go before it reaches its potential, but it still provides the best combination of features and compatibility, along with the distinct advantage of being an open-source project.

www.openoffice.org

Spreadsheet

OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 Calc

OpenOffice.org Calc makes good on the same formula that has made the entire suite so successful. It is an excellent blend of power and compatibility with Microsoft Office, and it has the added bonus of being based on open source and open document formats. Gnumeric and KSpread deserve honorable mentions, but if you're really serious about doing spreadsheet work, your best bet is with OpenOffice.org Calc.

www.openoffice.org

Word Processor

AbiWord 2.4.4

Here is where we break tradition and give the Editors' Choice Award to a productivity application that doesn't appear in the OpenOffice.org suite. Some of us just want to do word processing. We don't use spreadsheets or create presentations, so it isn't important to have a full office suite. We want a word processor that is lean and mean, starts up faster than OpenOffice.org Writer, imports Microsoft Word files adequately and offers all the features we need.

Two word processors fit the bill nicely: KWord and AbiWord. We could justify giving either of these the Editors' Choice Award. We went with AbiWord 2.4.4 primarily because it has a slightly more familiar look and feel for Microsoft Word users, and because it sports a number of very useful plugins. For example, one plugin allows you to place the cursor on a word and run a Google search on that word. Another lets you look up the word in Wikipedia. Still another is supposed to translate selected text via Babel Fish, although that plugin wasn't fully automated in our experiment. Still other plugins add the ability to read and write various document formats, including OpenOffice.org Writer files and Microsoft Word.

AbiWord has all of what most people will need in a word processor and then some, without the bloat and long load times of OpenOffice.org Writer.

www.abisource.com

Presentation Software

OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 Impress

We came back to OpenOffice.org for our choice of presentation software. As with the spreadsheet and the entire suite, it offers that optimal balance of features, power and familiarity for those who want to migrate from Microsoft Office. And, of course, it has the oh-so-important benefit of being open source and supporting an open document format. KPresenter deserves an honorable mention, as does the presentation module in EIOffice.

www.openoffice.org

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Comments

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thx

Annyka's picture

I agree with ya, it does miss some functions but for free .. its best tool.
Great selection, very useful. thx.

FireFox hands down for me

Perfume's picture

I have to choose FireFox. I hate IE 7. It has some issues but nothing like IE.

great!

Tom Black's picture

According to several Evans Data Corporation surveys, it is the most popular development environment among professional Linux developers. To say that Eclipse is extensible is almost an understatement. There are plugins to make Eclipse do just about everything except groom your dog (although we hear that plugin is in the works).

Choice 2007

Kourech's picture

Great selection, very useful. thx.
But can you to do Editors' Choice 2007?

[s]All, who are in higher and lower comments – .[/s]

Anonymous's picture

The Editor’s Choice is some kind of strange.
Here’s the alternative list from [s]vile kashenit[/s] breaded liuneksoid with gray-haired balls.
That is – what works, not that what is beaiyutiful(tm) or sells well.
Bold - nomination from the list.
Italics: my nomination.
Coded - I coincide with editogr.

  • Linux Distribution: Debian.
  • Desktop Environment: KILL IT WITH FIRE. EVERYTHING.
  • Window Manager: wmii. For the interesting idea. Long time favorite: fvwm.
  • Office Suite OpenOffice.org.
  • Spreadsheet: used OO Calc's once in eight years.
    That is why: vim + bash + awk + grep + sort.
  • Word Processor: emacs + auctex + latex/pdflatex (I have it all in tetex) + xdvi/xpdf + make.
    For letter writing there is dinbrief (or how it was called? Installed packadge once and forgot about space formatting, envelope window and other horrors just forever. Yes, this is the style for latex2e.)
  • Presentation Software: emacs + auctex + pdflatex with corresponding packedge. seminar, it seems.
  • Web Browser: icewasel (the same as: fireferfogz 2.0 in the girlhood before marriage is he) and lynx. Rarely Opera.
  • Mail Client: yes, the icedove (the thunderbird is he) is installed, but only for the sake of local beicking up of the gmailbox. Using gmail really (works, although it is not very kosher), while if I gather myself once some day to make kosher, then: exim + fetchmail + mutt. Or ... + imapd + emacs + gnus.
  • Usenet client: emacs + gnus.
  • RSS Reader: Haven’t found yet. Most likely something like Google Reader or rss2nntp + inn2 + emacs + gnus.
  • Database: PostgreSQL.
  • Game/Entertainment Software: do not play. Alasъ. Or it is yes, Quake 4 Arena or [s]tuxracer[/s] some nethack, but... see above.
    In the “entertainment

Quake 4 Correction

Anonymous's picture

Nice research on Quake 4. Not only was the title sold only for Windows and Macintosh, it came out in 2005.

q4llinux for n00b5

Anonymous's picture

dude, you download the linux binary and use the files from the game dvd, its on the site, this page gave you a link to it, and if you stepped off your l33t 455 for 5 seconds you would have spotted that

exactly.

fling's picture

exactly.

trigger-happy

firebird's picture

postgresql, yes. And check out firebird, it's a marvolious good dbrms, with triggers, stored procedures and easy to maintain. Don't be freightened by the ugly homepage. It's rock-stable and similar in apperance to ms-sql.

MySQL

Michele Costabile's picture

I see MySQL less and less as your typical open source project, that you download freely and install in production without strings attached.
PostgresSQL has always been a better database, with stored procedures, integrity constraints and all the rest. It's time that it gets the credit it deserves.

Communication

Mickaël Rémond's picture

In the communication section, what about the ejabberd Instant Messaging Server ?
It is a very good, very scalable platform for XMPP based IM.

--
Mickaël Rémond

3d modelling

Henk's picture

How about 3D modelling?
My award goes to blender (http://www.blender.org/).
Its free and powerful with tonns of examples and documentation.

And it's made for 3D

Anonymous's picture

And it's made for 3D mathematicians for other mathematicians, making is very hard to use for anybody else, while at the same time stuck in the Gimp-loop: three people who has been using it since the start and that for some reason gets to veto any changes that could help its adoption by more users "because they've always done it that way".

Maya is a fantastic product, extensible and incredibly powerful - expensive and closed yes, but if you don't like it, then Blender will have to start think about *users*.

Database

Anonymous's picture

I'd like to give an honorable mention to SQLite (http://www.sqlite.org). It's free (as in beer), free (as in speech - dedicated to the public domain, in fact), fast, capable (implements most of SQL92), embeddable and reliable. I've used it on a couple of projects, and have not been disappointed.

I want to know about 3D

dibos's picture

I want to know about 3D modeling too

re

Sierra's picture

Two word processors fit the bill nicely: KWord and AbiWord. We could justify giving either of these the Editors' Choice Award. We went with AbiWord 2.4.4 primarily because it has a slightly more familiar look and feel for Microsoft Word users, and because it sports a number of very useful plugins. For example, one plugin allows you to place the cursor on a word and run a Google search on that word. Another lets you look up the word in Wikipedia. Still another is supposed to translate selected text via Babel Fish, although that plugin wasn't fully automated in our experiment. Still other plugins add the ability to read and write various document formats, including OpenOffice.org Writer files and Microsoft Word.

I couldn't agree more

sennik's picture

I couldn't agree more with you - I used MySQL and after changing to SQLite I feel deferent in speed and reliability

PostgreSQL

Sam Fourman Jr.'s picture

GREAT Choice, I run OpenBSD and PostgreSQL it is ROCK Solid!

Graphics sotfware

Dragos Stefan's picture

Very dissapointing to see the superficial approach in the evaluation of graphics software candidates. There is Houdini, which is one of the most powerful systems for 3D animation and years ago was THE first professional 3D system to port to Linux. It surely deserved to be at least mentioned. And all the other softwares like D2 Nuke, IFX Piranha, Mistika etc. Not to mention that this was the year in which Flame (the most used and hailed visual effects system) from Autodesk was finally ported to Linux. This is something significant, much more significant and important for graphics in the Linux world than the release of Maya 8.

thanks..

teknoloji's picture

good thanks...

OO.o Calc vs. Gnumeric

atom probe's picture

if you're really serious about doing spreadsheet work, your best bet is with OpenOffice.org Calc.

I disagree. OO.o calc is better for styles/templates & MS Office compatibility. These are important for some users.

But Gnumeric seems to be better in nearly every other way--statistical accuracy and better formula tools; computation speed and even manipulation of charts after you've created them. It also works better for pasting tabular data. I think all of these are what "serious spreadsheet work" is about.

(It should also be noted that KSpread probably has the best charting of the three (though I think Gnumeric's is already flexible & fast & OO.o does have a useful beta of their new charting feature).)

I don't know, it a bold

photographer's picture

I don't know, it a bold statement about Open Office. I've tried it and it was really nice,but that's all. It's missing a lot of nice functions. Well,it's free and for that,it's an excellent piece of software,but not the best...

Cheers,
Dmitri