Editors' Choice 2006

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

Firefox 1.5.0.6

Is there really any other choice but Firefox? Actually, there are good alternatives. Konqueror is reportedly faster than Firefox. Opera is no slouch in terms of speed and features either. But, after all is said and done, Firefox is the clear winner, and one of the easiest decisions we had to make for Editors' Choice. How do you beat a browser that can please virtually everyone? Choose your favorite theme and add a few extensions, and you can make it look exactly the way you want it to look and do just about anything a browser can do.

Firefox is easy to use, easy to install, speedy, compliant with standards and compatible across different platforms. As we mentioned, it has a huge number of extensions that allow you to customize it for your own tastes and needs. Do you want to synchronize bookmarks from one platform to another? Grab an extension, and you can use commercial bookmark storage or your own server as the central repository for your bookmarks, depending on the extension you choose. Install another extension to manage all your passwords. Install yet another extension to have Firefox check your Gmail or Yahoo accounts. Some favorite geek extensions are Web developer, Book Burro (to feed your used-book-buying habit), Firebug (for modern JavaScript debugging), Flashblock (to stop Flash animation from starting until you want it to), Session Saver (to return to the same set of windows) and Greasemonkey (for client-side JavaScript programs). There is practically no limit to what you can do with Firefox.

www.mozilla.com

Mail Client

Thunderbird 1.5.0.5

It may be a no-brainer to pick Firefox for Editors' Choice, but the decision to elect its sister mail program, Thunderbird, was far more difficult. There's no lack of good e-mail clients for Linux. Evolution and Kontact are not only excellent e-mail clients, they include calendars and other nice features—not that features make the e-mail client. Heck, some of us at Linux Journal still think the character-based Mutt is the bee's knees.

We ended up choosing Thunderbird for some of the same reasons we picked Firefox—extensibility. You may be satisfied with Thunderbird right “out of the box”. But are you frustrated when you get an e-mail with a URL that is broken into several lines so that you can't just click on it to bring up the Web page? Install the URL Link Thunderbird extension—problem solved. Is the default spam filter for Thunderbird failing to catch all your spam? Install the Spamato4Thunderbird extension—problem solved. Although there aren't as many extensions for Thunderbird as there are for Firefox, and the best expansion is yet to come (the Lightning calendar extension is still in the works). There's enough flexibility in what you can do with Thunderbird to make it suit almost any taste.

Nevertheless, we gladly award honorable mentions to Evolution, Kontact and, yes, even Mutt.

www.mozilla.com

Database

PostgreSQL 8.1.4

Time to put on our flame-retardant suits. How could we pick any database other than MySQL? MySQL is the M in the LAMP stack. Much of the Web practically runs on MySQL. But, we continue to be most impressed by the open-source PostgreSQL. It handles everything we throw at it and just keeps working, flawlessly. It's almost invisible from an administrative perspective. It handles huge quantities of data, and it has all of the goodies that we expect in a relational database (such as referential integrity, column-level constraints and checks, server-side functions, subselects and unions). The original 8.1 release, which came out in November 2005, included a number of new features, such as two-phase commits. We can't recommend PostgreSQL highly enough.

Having said all that, MySQL certainly deserves an honorable mention at the very least. It is a staple and deservedly so.

www.postgresql.org

______________________

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

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