Penguin Playoffs Awards

by Peter H. Salus

This fall, Linux Journal and the Linux Business Expo teamed up to present the first annual “Penguin Playoffs”. These awards are designed to showcase outstanding enterprise products from those exhibited at the Linux Business Expo. The Expo was held in Las Vegas as part of COMDEX/Fall 1999 by ZD Events. The awards were given out at a ceremony on November 16, 1999, in conjunction with the presentation of LJ's Editors' Choice awards announced in last month's issue. Linus Torvalds was there personally to hand out the awards to the winners.

This year's judges were Jason Kroll, Linux Journal's Technical Editor; Marjorie Richardson, Editor in Chief of LJ; and Peter Salus, Editorial Director of SSC. There was a large number of submissions in the overall, office and web categories, but none in manufacturing. We agreed to change this category to “hardware”, so that we could reward a truly outstanding product.

Linux has been loved from the beginning by the hacker community, and for the last year has been making steady inroads into the business community. One reason for this is more companies have come up with software applications designed to solve the problems of the enterprise. To reach Linus' goal of “world domination”, Linux must be accepted in the corporate world, and our winners are helping to make that happen.

Best Web Solution: TurboCluster Server from TurboLinux

Penguin Playoffs Awards

The TurboCluster Server ( aims at providing a low-cost, high-availability server for electronic business. It possesses automatic “failover”--should a machine in the cluster fail, the others pick up that load—dynamic load-balancing and redirection, support for Linux, Solaris and NT, notification support and recovery and maintenance support. In fact, if an application were to fail on a single machine, TurboCluster cleverly routes around it. Clusters of Linux machines provide a lot of power to the business community, and this excellent software is designed to support the company that chooses to exploit that power.

Targeted at corporate web administrators and ISPs, the TurboCluster Server was clearly this year's Best Web Application solution.

Best Hardware Solution: The Happy Hacking Keyboard

Penguin Playoffs Awards

The Happy Hacking Keyboard from PFU America ( was the clear winner in this category. Based on the Sun Type-3 keyboard with only 60 keys, it is smaller than a laptop keyboard. The ESC key is positioned next to 1 for devout vi users, and the CTRL key is next to the A, perfect for Emacs enthusiasts. The keys are full size, but function keys and the number pad of extended keyboards have been eliminated in order to maintain the small size. You never have to move your hands from the keys or stretch your fingers into uncomfortable positions; this means faster typing and no muscle strain. This is an ideal keyboard for UNIX and Linux users in the office. And it lists for only $69 US—a useful, pleasant bargain!

Best Office Solution: Appgen Business and Accounting Applications

Penguin Playoffs Awards

We like Appgen's PowerWindows Business and Accounting Applications ( very much.

All businesses need accounting software—it's one of those facts of life. Appgen includes all the necessary modules to keep the books balanced and the office records in tip-top shape. This package ships with eleven applications, all with source code:

  • accounts receivable

  • accounts payable

  • general ledger

  • inventory control

  • sales order processing

  • purchase order processing

  • payroll processing

  • job cost tracking

  • bill of materials

  • billing

  • bank reconciliation

Appgen provides a user-friendly system which features customization of all financial statements, the general ledger, inventory accounts and more. Customization features make this product work well for any size business, from small to large. Information from each module flows to the others effortlessly. A reminder system and security features are included.

This product is on the same level as accounting packages such as Platinum, Lawson and Eagle Systems. Don't let anyone tell you there aren't solid business software packages running natively on Linux. Appgen's solution is first-rate—one that will be welcome in any office.

Best Overall Solution: Global Media Corporation

Penguin Playoffs Awards

We think that as time goes on, more and more transactions will be conducted electronically. For this basic reason, we have awarded Global Media Corp. ( our award for Best Overall Solution.

Global Media focuses on e-commerce tools for entertainment companies. They have built a network for the transmission of live audio and video over the Internet; their ready-made infrastructure is based on Linux.

The quality of Web content depends upon the quality of the stream for both audio and video, and we feel Global Media's private frame-relay network will result in a far better experience than what we have received in the past. The broadcast-encoding boxes all run a customized distribution of Linux. Global Media has teamed with RealNetworks where content is concerned.

As the producers of a product with the potential of impinging on all our lives, Global Media has earned the Best Overall award.

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