Readers' Choice Awards 2009

If you pick it, they will come.
Favorite Linux-Based Gadget

ASUS Eee PC (24%)

Honorable Mention

Android G1 (22%)

Last year, we admittedly were dorks for having the category Favorite Linux Handheld Device, which left so many cool Linux gadgets out in the cold. The Nokia N800 won that one. This year, however, we've taken our smart pills and expanded the category, calling it Favorite Linux-Based Gadget. Not surprisingly, one of the most well-known devices, the ASUS Eee PC won the category with 24% of the vote, followed by the Android G1, which achieved Honorable Mention status with 22%. After the G1, the field was so crowded, making it impossible, unfortunately, for any other device to crack the 10% barrier. The Nokia N810 Tablet, Acer Aspire One, TomTom Navigation System, OpenMoko FreeRunner, Amazon Kindle, the Palm Pre and several write-ins all received a fair share of your vote, which shows how sophisticated, interesting and crowded the Linux device space has become.

Favorite Linux Laptop

ASUS Eee PC (32%)

Honorable Mention

Lenovo T61p (16%)

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (12%)

Acer Aspire One (10%)

There is something oddly liberating about the “big guys” pre-installing Linux on their PCs. At long last, when we go to buy a PC, a device so central to our identities and livelihoods, we find the well-thought-out preference for Linux taken seriously by the companies we want to buy from. After being shut out so long for being too smart, it sure feels good, doesn't it? Your vote for the ASUS Eee PC as Favorite Linux Laptop (with 32% of the vote) tells us how much you appreciate the opportunity to buy a laptop designed with Linux in mind and not just a feature-handicapped afterthought to placate the pesky geeks. The group of Honorable Mentions includes not only the returning Lenovo T61p (16%) but also the newcomers Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (12%) and Acer Aspire One (10%). Despite such euphoria over the big guys, you didn't forget our Linux-specialist friends like Linux Certified, EmperorLinux and R Cubed who kept us motoring during darker times. They fared well as a group if you add up all the votes for their various models.

Favorite Linux Desktop Workstation

Dell (41%)

Honorable Mention

Hewlett-Packard (16%)

Let's start with the official results for Favorite Linux Desktop Workstation. Dell won the category with 41% of your votes, and Hewlett-Packard earned Honorable Mention with 16%. Unfortunately, the official results fail to appreciate the “roll-your-own” spirit that is so vital to our community. Because we didn't include a choice like “I configure my own desktop PCs”, you told us as much in your own words. In a classic survey creator's nightmare, the responses “I do. :)” and “I do, as in self-built” and “Home-brewed” all registered as separate votes worth 0.05% each even though they mean the same thing. Allow me put on my Katherine Harris hat and have a look at these “hanging chads”, Florida-election-style, to shed some light on your roll-your-own tendencies. Hours of investigative sleuthing revealed that roughly 12% of you configure your own desktop PCs. Therefore, the honorary Honorable Mention award in this category goes to the roll-your-own spirit of the Linux Community.

Favorite Linux Server

Dell (32%)

Honorable Mention

IBM (16%)

Hewlett-Packard (15%)

While the roll-your-own philosophy is alive and well when it comes to servers, you tend to feel more comfortable giving this business to the big guys. Dell is the winner of the Favorite Linux Server category with 32% of your votes. Your Honorable Mention winners, IBM and HP, trailed Dell with 16% and 15%, respectively.

Favorite “Green” Linux Product or Solution

Virtualization (45%)

Honorable Mention

PowerTOP Tool (16%)

Last year, VMware took top honors as Favorite “Green” Linux Product or Solution partly because of how we phrased the question. This year, to be more fair, we grouped virtualization solutions together, and they won the category with 45% of your votes. The win makes sense given the technology's impressive improvement in the efficiency of servers. The PowerTOP tool for finding energy wasters on your systems also is popular and won Honorable Mention with 16%. We failed to list the recent (kernel 2.6.21) innovation of the tickless idle on Linux, which takes advantage of low power states in modern processors. Are you taking advantage of this feature? Next year, we'll ask you directly. Finally, this author wishes to express his dismay at the significant number of disparaging remarks in this survey toward green solutions. Although the vast majority of respondents are positive to neutral in this category, responses such as “Don't drink the green Kool-Aid” and “I don't care!” were plentiful. Will our progeny admire our arrogant proclivity to waste natural resources and do little to change our ways? I doubt it.


James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.


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Brandon2121's picture

Amazing how firefox has managed to stay on top of the game. In my opinion, it's because they stuck to what made them famous and kept doing it better. What sets them apart for me is the add-ons and plugins. FireFox, then, becomes a totally customizable browser. Not too many of those around. It's lightweight, too!


Great article!!

Anonymous's picture

As a linux noob, this article is of great help in finding out about whats popular in the linux scene. Thanks for this article!!

Am off to read Linux in a nutshell...

Nagios tops

Anonymous's picture

Nagios is a superb product. Totally deserves it's top ranking.

Python Bloomed Once Again

Slacker 12.2's picture

Wow since 2008 Python is blooming non-STOP!!
It won again, and in other articles/forums it also won!

Here take a look:

Well, I can't agree more! ^__^


Favorite Primary Linux Distribution of Choice

PixelatedDwarf's picture

In the category of "Favorite Primary Linux Distribution of Choice" it is a hard choice - Are we talking about servers or workstations? Maybe break them down next time. Like many people I love Ubuntu for my workstations but I use CentOS/Red Hat for my servers.

no geany in IDE category

Anonymous's picture

The fact that the second place for favourite IDE is "others", means that the options given were not good enough. I wonder why geany was not included.

Are the full data available anywhere?

Aleve Sicofante's picture

I'd love to see the absolute number of votes, as well as the full ranking for each category. I'm especially intrigued about how many people voted for the Favorite Linux Distribution and what's Fedora's or OpenSuse ranking.

If voters are in the hundreds, this poll is definitely meaningless. If they are in the hundreds of thousands I'd give it more relevance.

Favorite Linux Distribution

Carlie Fairchild's picture

Here are the top 10:
Ubuntu (any flavor, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, etc.) 44.98%
Debian 9.78%
Fedora 7.96%
Red Hat 7.35%
CentOS 5.56%
Gentoo 5.50%
Novell/SuSE 5.46%
Arch Linux 4.35%
Mandriva 2.46%
Slackware 2.46%

(There were nearly 5,000 total participants in the survey.)

Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.


Anonymous's picture

I don't see what the appeal of Ubuntu is, don't people care about technical substance rather than flashy and if I may say so, ugly, desktops? I will keep using good ol' Red Hat-based Fedora (the best distro for gaming, and a leading-edge powerhouse that respects technology and doesn't care blindy about winning people over from Windows or Mac). Parlty since I consider Fedora the desktop king for not thinking that making you use a seperate version of the OS just to use KDE or XFCE instead of GNOME is a good idea. Other than that, great results!

Ubuntu as the desktop winner

daved1948's picture

It's true of course, Ubuntu on the desktop is not as techy as CentOS or Debian...but then, if Linux is to make the jump from "geek" to "user", it needs to get on a lot more desktops.

And to do that, it must be used by more and more non-technical end-users so that those at both ends of the scale (uber-tech and tech-less) can truly benefit by it's success.

The product needs to be excellent at both. And since Ubuntu "is" Linux in every sense, yet easy enough for a green end-user, I'd say you're getting what you want, and they're getting what they need.

To me, Ubuntu's rise is very exciting, and just what the doctor ordered. I'd bet it coincides with a growing number of Linux desktops more than it steals pure technical developers away from the other distros. But then, I have no real data to support that theory. I wonder if Linux Journal does?

Ubuntu has the potential to introduce Linux to non-Linux users. And isn't that what we want?

Early on, RedHat abandoned the post of desktop champion in favor of the server. They went where the $$ were to develop for a smaller, but critical market. And they did a good job of it.

Ubuntu on the other hand, targeted developing nations' hunger for a low or zero-cost alternative to Micro-Rip-Off's bug-ridden abomination for user's desktops. And they did a good job of that.

I'm happy.

Again...NO MINT

mtnbiker72's picture

If Linux Mint would have been an option, it would have far surpassed Debian for honorable mention. I can't believe the LJ Editors left that distro out of the running!!!

About as fair and balanced as Fox News


Carlie Fairchild's picture

The Fox News comment zings a little. ;-)

We select a list of top distros based on reader feedback throughout the year and of course always encourage write-ins.

Mint has indeed been gaining some ground, as has Sabayon and a few others. Lets pose the question to web readers today but split up "favorite distro" in to "favorite distro for your desktop" and "favorite distro for your servers". I think that could also prove interesting.

(We'll post the server question to the site some time next week.)

Thanks for your feedback!

Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.

Linux Geek

Vmax's picture

Ok, your entirely too hot to be a Linux Geek.....

You must be a computer generated BOT !!!

So we have the results from

Mathews's picture

So we have the results from the readers for the Linux Journal Readers' Choice Awards for 2009! As usual there is one winner in each category with strong contenders being awarded the Honorable mentions Awards which could go up to here where they would have to get a minimum of 10% vote!! It is a wonderful way of both encouraging the users and the companies to keep on giving their best to their users who will be judging them according to their rapid prototyping performance - each complementing the other!!

Great stuff. Ubuntu + Gnome

Anonymous's picture

Great stuff. Ubuntu + Gnome are doing quite well.

Deleting comments that don't

Anonymous's picture

Deleting comments that don't praise ubuntu, I didn't know you were such an ubuntu fanboy.

Authors don't delete comments

Webmistress's picture

We only delete comments that are obvious spam comments (typically full of odd-looking links, etc). It is possible that a legitimate comment was accidentally deleted due to some overly aggressive spam cleaning though. If this ever happens, please feel free to re-post. This is definitely not a frequent occurrence.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit


Anonymous's picture

Nagios is truely a great project and product.
Although Ethan should allow more input from the community and start to think of building a DB backend, so a frontend can be developed away from the program logic, also this would make 3rd party addons to be more streamlined and orchestrated through standard api's.
If you look at how old Nagios is, and what progress it has made(roadmap?), it's not very impressive compared to the other monitoring suites and where they are on this moment.
Don't get me wrong, a fantastic product but let's evolve please!


Guezala's picture

Hi guys... like this article but I'm pretty sure it's only just May 2009?

Linux Compatible Online Backup and File & Folder Sync FREE

Anonymous's picture

I just wanted to inform you that SpiderOak Inc offer a free Linux compatible Online Backup for a multitude of distributions at

2GB of storage Free for life, Online Backup, Sync, Storage, Access and Share for cross-platform use (Windows, Mac and Linux) so check us out!

SpiderOak Inc Marketing Manager


Anonymous's picture

Dropbox ( offers the same thing...

Sorry for 3 part post, stupid spam filter robot

Tom Chiverton's picture

See and make sure you vote in

(odd, stripping the http:// allows this final part to pass the spam filter)

Editors: Fancy doing an

Tom Chiverton's picture

Editors: Fancy doing an actual article on this strange decision ? Maybe you could ask what 'not enough requisition for the product' means - given you can't buy dedicated Linux licenses (only apply Windows or Mac ones) and that the bug is *the most voted* in their bug tracker, in only a week of being open.

Given "Favourite Platform

Tom Chiverton's picture

Given "Favourite Platform for Developing Rich Internet Apps" is Adobe's Air product, it seems a really poor time to find out Adobe are no longer working on the Linux version of the 'Builder' IDE for Air (and Flex) applications !

Mr. Gray's Editorializing Has No Place In This Article.

Jay Dugger's picture

James Gray's comment "Finally, this author wishes to express his dismay at the significant number of disparaging remarks in this survey toward green solutions..." disappoints me.

While understandable, given his profession and assuming his legitimate concern for our mutual home, it has no place in a column devoted to reporting poll results. His irrelevant editorializing should have been deleted before publication by another editor. That failure also disappoints me.

Linux Journal provides value to its readers by remaining on-topic, which Mr. Gray did not do. If I care to read about the environment, I can reveal that preference by spending my time and money elsewhere.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

I am surprised that there

zak89's picture

I am surprised that there was even noticeable response from the not-so-green angle. I had thought that all thinking people had vanished from this planet.

I doubt Linux Mint would have beaten Debian. Mint is a great distro (Ubuntu done right, as I say), but Debian is too entrenched for now.

Yes. Clearly this has been

Anonymous's picture

Yes. Clearly this has been a travesty, an insult to all people of good taste and refinement. In fact, the mere shock of such an affront to my senses has left me in a state of bewilderment. Where am I? Who are you? Why are you such an uptight jackass?

I fear I may never truly know.

I second that, he's an

Anonymous's picture

I second that, he's an uptight jackass