Our September 2008 issue is going to focus on "underdog" software/programs, and we're looking for writers. If you're interested, please read on. What's an underdog? Well, for example, in Web servers, Apache is generally recognized as the top-dog, so an underdog might be lighttpd.
If there is no obvious top-dog to compare your underdog to, it's probably not an underdog. For example, if you use vi, emacs is not an underdog, it's just another choice. The vi/emacs case makes a good point: if your top-dog/underdog choice is sure to start a flame war, it's not a good set of choices. Similarly, between KDE and GNOME, there's no underdog (at least not since Ubuntu), but there are other possible underdogs to them.
An underdog also should be a reasonable alternative to the top-dog(s). So, for instance, if your idea starts with a phrase that goes something like, "I use a 33MHz 486, so I run Lynx cuz Firefox is a pig", that's probably not a useful idea. We want to compare dogs to dogs and not dogs to cats (or pigs).
To make a reasonable argument for why something is a good underdog, you also need to have some understanding of the top-dog(s). So, saying "I use Lynx and I've never tried anything else" isn't gonna cut it.
What the article should include:
- Introduce the underdog.
- Explain why it's a good alternative compared to the top-dog(s).
- Discuss its features.
- Discuss the features it has that the top-dog(s) don't have.
- Discuss the features that it doesn't have that the top-dog(s) do have.
- If it has special installation or configuration needs, give an overview of them.
- If performance is an issue, include (if possible) some performance comparisons. These can be subjective evaluations.
- If scaling is an issue, include some data to highlight the issue.
Possible topics (although other ideas are always welcome):
Possible Probable Category Underdog(s) Top-dog(s) ====================================================== GUI xfce, Enlightenment KDE, GNOME Word Processor AbiWord, KWord OO Writer Spreadsheet Gnumeric, KSpread OO Calc PackageManagers Smart rpm, apt Distros Gentoo pre-built distros Graphics ??? GIMP WebServer lighttpd Apache *taken*
Other possible categories, top-dog/underdog not as obvious:
- Web Browser
- E-mail client
- Compilers (maybe the Intel C compiler compared to GCC)
- Integrated Development Environment
If you're interested in taking on one of these topics (or have a different underdog topic in mind), please send proposals to ljeditor-at-linuxjournal.com (plain text only). The deadline for completed articles is June 11, 2008.