2001 Readers' Choice Awards

by Heather Mead

Sorting through the results of the 2001 Readers' Choice Awards, ballots gathered from six weeks of on-line voting, it's clear that Linux Journal readers have opinions on everything—lots of opinions. Also evident is the fact that more options, tools and methods exist now than ever before; a good thing to keep in mind during a year so turbulent.

This year over 6,500 readers voted in 24 categories, from favorite Linux book and office suite, to favorite communications board and backup utility. Thank you to everyone who participated. Now, on to the results.

Favorite Distribution

1. Red Hat 2. Debian 3. Mandrake

Red Hat received 30% of the votes this year, repeating their victory from last year. Debian moved from fourth to second place this year, and Mandrake stayed at third. Linux from Scratch and the Polish Linux Distribution (PLD) were the most popular write-ins.

Favorite Graphics Program

1. The GIMP 2. xv/xview 3. CorelDRAW

The winner here is what you would expect; the GIMP received 77% of the total votes. xFig and Photoshop were the favorites among write-in votes, with pleas for a Photoshop port abundant.

Favorite Word Processor

1. StarOffice 2. AbiWord 3. Kword

StarOffice wins this category for the second consecutive year. Its nearest competitor, AbiWord, received half as many votes, and the spread between it, KWord and Emacs was only 19 votes. Though not really a word processor, LaTeX was the favorite write-in.

Favorite Text Editor

1. vim 2. vi (and clones) 3. GNU Emacs

We took your advice from last year and split vi and vim into separate categories. This time around vim wins with twice as many votes. mcedit took the write-in vote.

Favorite Desktop Environment

1. KDE 2. GNOME 3. Window Maker

This was one of the most popular categories, and KDE is the clear winner, receiving 40% of all votes. GNOME came in second with 24.5%, and the favorite write-in was xfcr. And special mention, of course, for the command line.

Favorite Office Suite

1. StarOffice 2. KOffice 3. WordPerfect

StarOffice is your favorite word processor and your favorite office suite this year, same as in 2000. KOffice finished a strong second this year, after a small showing last year. And, the write-in opinions want everyone to check out Open Office.

Favorite Programming Language

1. C 2. Perl 3. C++

Here's another category where we took your advice from last year and split C/C++ into separate categories because, hey, they're not the same. Java and PHP finish out the top five, with Python just missing out by 15 votes. Kylix/Object Pascal had a strong write-in showing, over 200 votes.

Favorite Development Tool

1. GCC 2. Emacs 3. KDevelop

GCC took first place again this year, but by a percentage significantly lower than last year. Emacs continues to prove its flexibility here, too. Last year's popular write-in, KDevelop, took third place this year, while Borland's Kylix made another strong write-in showing.

Favorite Shell

1. bash 2. tcsh 3. ksh

Eighty-one percent of all voters chose bash as their favorite shell, with tcsh coming in a distant second. ksh came in third, but only by receiving five more votes than fourth-place zsh.

Favorite Processor Architecture

1. AMD Athlon 2. Intel Pentium 3. PowerPC

Readers' favorite processor is the AMD Athlon, tallying 42% of the votes. AMD's Duron, K6-II and Celeron were popular write-ins. Quite a few votes commented that their selection of Pentium was out of necessity, not performance.

Favorite Communications Board

1. Cyclades 2. Digi International 3. Equinox

This one received the fewest total number of votes and, judging from some of the comments, it's because not everyone knows what we're talking about. Well, it's not a surfboard and it's not a bulletin board. Of those who did get our meaning, Cyclades is the favorite.

Favorite Database

1. MySQL 2. PostgreSQL 3. Oracle

For a second year in a row, MySQL beat PostgreSQL by a 2:1 ratio. Combined, they received almost 80% of all votes. Write-in favorites were the Red Hat Database (powered by PostgreSQL) and GemStone/S.

Favorite Backup Utility

1. tar 2. Amanda 3. Arkeia

tar is by far the favorite backup tool our readers use. Amanda and Arkeia came in second and third place, respectively, but only by a one-vote difference. BRU, dump and homemade backup tools are also still in widespread use.

Favorite Linux Journal Column

1. Cooking with Linux 2. Kernel Korner 3. At the Forge

Fans of Marcel Gagné, author of the Cooking with Linux column, came out in full force this year and moved him to the top position. Second was the revolving-author Kernel Korner. The most popular write-in—no, we're not making this up—was “all of them”.

Favorite Programming Beverage

1. Coffee 2. Water 3. Tea

Who would have thought this would be one of the most debated categories on the ballot? We added Mountain Dew after last year's outcry, only to be chided for forgetting Dr. Pepper (Other Soft Drinks). Coffee keeps its power over all of us, and over 100 brave souls admit to consuming foo-foo frilly coffee drinks.

Favorite Linux Game

1. Quake III 2. xBill 3. Tux Racer

Some write-in comments claim games aren't for serious Linux users, but they sure do bring in the money and drive development. And we all need a little fun now and then, right? Quake III is the favorite again this year, and the classics Mahjongg and Shisen-sho dominate the write-ins.

Favorite Web Browser

1. Netscape 2. Mozilla 3. Konqueror

Netscape captured 30% of the votes this year; Mozilla (bugs and all) trailed by just over 300 votes. Internet Explorer was the favorite write-in, but a sentiment shared by many is that they “all suck, just differently”.

Favorite Linux Web Site

1. Slashdot 2. Freshmeat 3. LinuxToday

From company web sites promoting Linux products and service, to international sites and community help sites, the list of write-in favorites goes on and on. Of course, Slashdot is still the first stop for the majority of voters, almost 30%. The most popular write-in is www.linuxnews.pl, a Polish Linux site.

Favorite E-mail Client

1. Netscape 2. KMail 3. pine

Although there are winners in this category, none claim dominance. Barely 70 votes separated Netscape, in first place, from third-place mutt. One-time favorite, elm, has fallen to the bottom on the list.

Favorite Instant-Messaging Client

1. Xchat 2. Jabber 3. BitchX

For those that participate in IM, Xchat is the favorite over Jabber by 4%. The most popular write-ins are Licq and GnomeICU. And quite a few you express disdain for all forms of IM or IRC. Even more of you resort to AOL, Yahoo or MS's versions 'cause “that's what all my friends use”.

Favorite Distributed File-Sharing System

1. Gnutella 2. Freenet 3. OpenNAP

Remember last year when debate over this whole topic was being played out in every coffee shop and courthouse across the US? Well Metallica avoided the poorhouse, and Gnutella and Freenet remain the preferred methods of file sharing. Among the write-ins, audiogalaxy and MORPHEUS are mentioned most.

Most Indispensable Linux Book

1. Linux in a Nutshell by Ellen Siever 2. Running Linux by Matt Welsh, et. al. 3. Linux System Administration by Vicki Stanfield, et. al.

Perennial favorites, Linux in a Nutshell and Running Linux, once again find themselves in the top two spots, but in a reversal from last year, Linux in a Nutshell is this year's first choice. Man pages and other on-line documentation are the write-in favorites, and it looks like just about every other Linux book printed received at least one vote.

Favorite Ad Filtering Tool

1. Junkbuster 2. Homemade 3. Squidguard

One person wrote in, “Ads are a part of the page's design and intended viewing.” Apparently, he or she is alone in that sentiment, as just about everyone else uses a filter, Junkbuster being the one most named. A lot of people are making their own proxies, too.

Favorite Audio Tool

1. xmms 2. pmg123 3. RealAudio

Receiving 58.4% of the total vote, xmms is once again readers' favorite audio tool. Comparatively, none of the others accumulated more than 9%. Grip shows up most amongst the write-ins, and support is still strong for the ogg tools.

Heather Mead is associate editor of Linux Journal. In her free time, she enjoys photography, movies, music and writing short stories.

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