December 2012 Issue of Linux Journal: Readers' Choice

Data, Data Everywhere

When I was younger, I read a lot of books. Although they've fallen out of style, some of my favorite books were of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" variety. The only downside is that three or four nested page-turning decisions into the book, I'd run out of fingers to hold my place. See, I didn't want to commit to the wrong choice. (I may have missed the point of those books.) Based on feedback from last year, I suspect most of you read "Choose Your Own Adventure" books in the same way. After last year's Readers' Choice issue, you wanted more data! This year, we obliged and are are giving you the full results, down to tenths of percentage points. (Those writing in for more precise numbers will get such a pinch!)

Normally with the Readers' Choice issue, I feign laziness and claim that readers have done all the heavy lifting. This issue, however, is chock full of interesting articles. Reuven M. Lerner starts off with his annual book roundup. I always struggle with which books are worth my time, and Reuven aims to help with that problem. Dave Taylor, on the other hand, gives a lesson in stdin, stdout and stderr. If you've ever been confused about adding 2>&1 to the end of your cron jobs, Dave will enlighten you.

Kyle Rankin takes us to the depths of system administration with his real-life data-center problems (his own data center). There's no way to learn Linux administration quite like doing it, so follow along with Kyle and his escapades, and be sure to take notes. I follow Kyle with my Open-Source Classroom column and reach for the opposite end of the server spectrum: the Raspberry Pi. Although the RPi can do countless cool things, when it first arrives in its tiny little box, it can be a bit overwhelming. I do my best to make your first taste of Pi a little sweeter and show you some cool things along the way. If you bought a Raspberry Pi, but don't know where to begin, I can hook you up.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I whine rather regularly about wanting a Nexus 7 tablet. Although the gift-giving fairies at Google apparently don't subscribe to my tweets, Philip Raymond helps a little this month with his review of the Nexus. The downside is that now I want a Nexus 7 even more, and since Google recently has released an updated model with cellular options, I'm hoping Santa Claus reads my tweets!

Speaking of Google, if you're a faithful fan of its products, yet feel abandoned by the lack of a native Google Drive application, Mehdi Poustchi Amin might soothe those wounds with his introduction to Grive. Grive is an open-source implementation of Google Drive, and it aims to bring Google's latest feature to the penguiny masses. Google still promises that a Linux native client is in the works, but Grive is open source, and it's available now.

Although it's a bit of a spoiler, the GIMP has won favorite Graphics/Design Tool in our Readers' Choice survey once again. That's not likely a surprise to anyone who ever has edited a photo in Linux, but in light of our readers' votes year after year, we've included Shashwat Pant's introduction to GIMP 2.8. This trusty editor is sporting a brand-new UI this season, and looking at its current iteration, a victory for the GIMP in next year's Readers' Choice is looking like a big likelihood as well.

The main feature of this issue is the Readers' Choice results. If you wonder where you line up with the bulk of our readers, or if you're just curious about what companies are currently the most Linux-friendly, you're reading the right issue. We also have product reviews, product announcements and many other helpful, geeky things to make this issue useful and entertaining. To begin your adventure, turn to page 10 now. To reread this article, turn to page 8. To start your adventure anew, turn to page 1....

Available to Subscribers: December 1

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Shawn Powers is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal. You might find him chatting on the IRC channel, or Twitter

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A very nice post, i always

Garry McNeil's picture

A very nice post, i always find such things in readers' choice is mentioned, it definitely helps a lot, i am going to tell my friends as well.

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I think what we are seeing

Anonymous's picture

I think what we are seeing here is, "What the majority of users are using or are fed, vs. what actually works." In other words, the majority of users of computers are simply voting Cleaners London for what they are fed by their administrator or distribution manager.

Instead, it will place a file

autel code reader's picture

Instead, it will place a file on your local drive which it will use as a virtual hard drive. In most Windows installations, C: is the local hard drive, so choose it from the dropdown menu as your installation drive.

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Reader's Choice Awards seem Skewed

rogerx's picture

Looking over the Reader's Choice voting, they seem sincerely offset from the past norms this year.

In the past, Irssi was always voted the number one IRC client. For due reason, it's a text chat messenger, why use GUI when all it does is add overhead? Now, it seems Irssi is at the bottom while graphical frontends are number one. This scenario seems similar across the board. The Seamonkey Browser is faster and far more stable then cpu/memory hungry Firefox. OOWriter over Abiword? Abiword is, again, far faster and quicker, and more stable then OOWriter. Abiword is also much lighter on system resources and takes a whole lot less to compile. I've never used VLC, as configuration was a nightmare or had compile time issues, mplayer was always much more reliable. And yet, somehow VLC is number in all two or three categories?

I think what we are seeing here is, "What the majority of users are using or are fed, vs. what actually works." In other words, the majority of users of computers are simply voting for what they are fed by their administrator or distribution manager. It's also possible, the Readers' Choice voting was somehow more targeted towards users versus developers. Another aspect, it's quite natural or common to see users out-number the number of developers by a far margin. As Linux gets more popular, the margin of developers to users is increased.

What further confirms this is, the best stated database or backup tool seem quite accurate. It might be a good idea to also post the number of votes for programming languages vs. just applications, or perform comparisons here to provide a better aspect as to the truly best program versus based on popularity.

Wha?? Best IDE is Eclipse? Again, could never get Eclipse working here with simple C, as it's focus is Java. VIM, Geany, Anjuta, KDevelop seems far more reliable. Oh, and Emacs. ;-)

No surprise to see Google Web and Apps, Amazon.com and Dell rising within the ranks.

I would also like to see some voting on Best Books. Although Amazon.com does quite well, might provide a different aspect. Of course, OReilly is awesome with publishing in all formats.

Just compiled FireFox here on

rogerx's picture

Just compiled FireFox here on Gentoo 64-bit, and see Firefox is now using much less system resources then Mozilla Seamonkey. Going from memory, this is much better then what I noticed six plus months ago? But then again, it would be expected as Firefox is browser only, containing no web page composer, no email frontend, etc... But since my computer is now a 8x3.5Ghz w/ 32GB RAM, think I'll probably stick with Seamonkey, as I need a web composer when I'm too lazy to use VI/VIM. Also, I see it's lacking some of the default tools Seamonkey has such as "Translate (Page)" and Password manager. However, I would expect there are also obvious plugins for Firefox as well -- but it's nice to see these programs "already installed".

Best Hardware for Linux

Anonymous's picture

Now if they'd get one or two issues with content related to, Best Hardware for Linux.

Currently, us consumers have to muddle through tons of advertisements with some companys only stating they support Linux or get lazy supporting Linux.

Linux Journal used to build a yearly Ultimate Linux box.

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