Readers' Choice Awards 2009
Mozilla Thunderbird (38%)
Gmail Web Client (31%)
Congratulations to Mozilla Thunderbird for its third consecutive win in the Favorite E-Mail Client category with 38% of the vote. The “Holy how did that happen, Batman?” award, as well as Honorable Mention, go to the runner up, Gmail, which got 11% more of your votes than last year, while Thunderbird dropped 7%. Meanwhile, other non-Web-based clients, Evolution and KMail, are ever more the favorites of fewer. Is the trend toward Web-based clients inexorable, or can the non-Gmails of the world find a formula to stanch the decline?
No news here, gang. OpenOffice.org, bolstered no doubt by its recent 3.0 release, retains its crown as your Favorite Office Program with the same share of your vote as last year, 85%. The alternatives, AbiWord and KOffice, each similarly continue to be the favorites of merely 3% of you. As with Firefox, there seems to be some sort of correlation between a program's cross-platform characteristics (should any exist) and its category-crusher status. Honorable Mention for most definitive response in this category goes to “I hate all office programs”.
In this year's competition, we decided it made sense to split up audio-related programs into two categories. The first is Favorite Audio Tool—that is, program for creating, manipulating and modifying audio streams. The second is Favorite Audio Player—that is, program for playing and organizing existing audio streams. The cross-platform Audacity sound recorder and editor is yet another—cross-platform rule holds—category crusher in the Favorite Audio Tool department, garnering top marks from 73% of you. Although the applications LMMS and Ardour each have a critical mass of adherents, each is the favorite audio tool of only 6% of you.
Although alternatives have knocked Amarok back a few points from last year, its 36% share of the vote tally helped the renowned audio player for KDE remain undisputed champion in the Favorite Audio Player category. Many of you also are aficionados of the audio players Rhythmbox and XMMS, each of which received enough votes to warrant Honorable Mention. It's interesting to see KDE flagging as your favorite desktop, yet the KDE audio player, admittedly more feature-packed, has double the support of the GNOME audio player, Rhythmbox.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new champion in the Favorite Media Player category. VLC, which last year landed in a close second place behind MPlayer, won the category in a photo finish by a single percentage point. Both players play pretty much any format you can throw at them, making usability a key factor in your decision. Thus, more of you are opting for the single-console approach of VLC rather than MPlayer. Other players that recorded respectable results were Totem (9%), Kaffeine (8%), SMPlayer (6%) and xine (5%).
Nothing changed in the Favorite Communications Tool category. Once again, Pidgin Internet Messenger, the Swiss Army knife-esque messaging tool formerly known as Gaim, took top honors with a 43% share of your votes. Pidgin users appreciate the ability to monitor all of their messaging accounts in 15 different protocols. Competitor Kopete, which slipped from its Honorable Mention status from last year, does only 11 protocols. Meanwhile, the closed-source Skype retained its Honorable Mention laurels by earning 18% of your votes. That may be its ceiling until its improbable open-source resurrection, as a sizable contingent of us will never fill the bubble of any closed-source application, regardless of how good it is.
James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal
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