Linux

Linux Journal Readers' Choice Awards

The Linux Journal published the winners of its annual Readers' Choice Awards. The categories include favorite distribution, office tools, graphic tools, Web browsers, and more.

The Linux Journal published the winners of its annual Readers' Choice Awards. The categories include favorite distribution, office tools, graphic tools, Web browsers, and more. Ubuntu came up the big winner for distribution for the second year in a row.

The winners were compiled from 5,900 completed surveys during January and February. Check out the full list of winners and honorable mentions and tell us what you think. Did you take part in the original survey?

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

25 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

when the readers of Linux Journal use insecurity and bloatware as their basis for picking their favorites.

pgit
pgit

I agree. Amarok and firefox are leaky memory hogs. (tho noscript makes it a good argument) I guess the average end user wants all the goop, but xmms is all I need to listen most of the tech podcasts I listen to. Curious as to what you're seeing vis insecurity?

seanferd
seanferd

Is the bloat of which you speak something that can be remedied by choosing what is installed, or is it something in the required system components?

pgit
pgit

I'm guessing they refer to default settings. Every Linux distro I've seen is nearly infinitely configurable, you can pare things down to the bone if you wish. (or run a lean desktop like IceWM or blackbox) There's little of the system itself in the bloat department. It's the desktop/settings, and some of the apps. Run amarok and firefox and you start to see the performance degrade on the average machine.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Years ago when I did my last major upgrade, an AIW 9600 was about a generation behind and the cpu wasn't top of the price list by any means; I never skimp on RAM and specs when possible though. Yeah, I wouldn't have called it average at the time; only that it's well below average now but had little issue. It's now bound for an easy retirnment as a file and groupware server for home. I wouldn't call this year's upgrade (the first since) an average machine either being spec'd on gaming and how many VM it can run at once; I want to explore clusters and try a few different AD like setups. The ideal example of "older hardware" would be my parent's machine at home. When you retire from IT manager, you don't get to take your hardware or continue the yearly upgrades; the primary rig is showing it's age. It might have 512 but 128 is a better guess, the cpu is p3'ish and whole thing runs sluggishly behind win2k. I definately wouldn't push KDE and every heavy app I could find on it though I am happy to have the choice and a number of the lighter window managers to choose from should the day come for an OS replacement on that box. Deffinately an xfce or blackbox rig. Afterstep may be my preference though I may even go E as it can run nice and light on the hardware. For performance, My Mandriva installs never touch there swap and tend to idle around 35 meg or a bit more used. My Windows installs idle around 400 meg used and always have swap space on the go. For processor, I definitely see less usage in the *nix graphs than the Windows ones. For me, process or was more about the cores than highest ghz count since I'm aiming to push multiple VM regularily (4 per core without degradation, I've read). Actually, my one regret is that I can't keep up with RAM maximums anymore. I could put four gig in a 32bit motherboard but the maximum for a 64bit mobo is far and above my budget so I start with 4 gig and see how many VM it takes to fill that up or where the bottleneck apears. :)

seanferd
seanferd

But Jacqui is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the system, and I was wondering if he had something to say about core system files as opposed to apps or desktops. He's a compiling dude, rather than a binary-installing guy. I'll look into Ice WM. I've never tried it. I'll probably be installing Etch with XFCE, and adding e16 to it. I'll probably be trying out Fluxbox and others as well. I don't need a super-lean desktop, but I generally don't want Gnome or KDE, simply as a matter of taste, although I'm sure they are much improved over the versions I had been using with Shrike (I was just a bit out of date, what can I say?).

pgit
pgit

I'd call your specks well above average, though it's common in new equipment. A lot of people are running older hardware though. I'd say less than 512 MB RAM on any system or P-III and AMD equivalent are "below average." There's a lot of "average" in between, I guess it depends on the specifics of a given unit. A P-4 1.2Ghz with 512 MB RAM? Well, how much video memory? What's the sound system? Most likely a good candidate for xfce or blackbox never the less. BTW RAM is far more important than CPU speed when it comes to Linux performance.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Amarok and Firefox are open by default in KDE and they seem to run with no loss on an AthlonXP 2000, 2Gig ram, ATI 9600 GPU (community module) on an nf7-s motherboard. I'm writting this with Firefox holding seven flash heavy tabs open under KDE all within a gig of ram including "storage" off a liveCD but I don't have Amarok open as it's a notebook away from good speakers. True though, I would't choose KDE and all the heavy hitters for significantly older and resource limited hardware.

brian.mills
brian.mills

While a couple weeks ago I would've disagreed with you about Ubuntu being bloaty, upgrading my notebook to the latest version changed my mind completely. I suddenly found my previously very fast notebook straining to do the same tasks I did with ease before. That combined with the lack of power management support and several things that don't seem to work right since the upgrade have caused me to retreat back to the Windows XP partition I have on there. someone will have to let me know when they get the whole sleep/hibernate thing worked out so that laptops can truly be portable under Linux.

jlwallen
jlwallen

and that laptop will sing again. GNOME and KDE are getting far too big for their Linux britches!

pgit
pgit

Brian, I tinker with enlightenment on occasion. I am able to run KDE's smb4k share browser no problem. Have you checked out xfce? It'd be my second choice after KDE. It's got it's own file broswer, xffm, that mounts samba shares with a double click. Looks and feels like "finder" in Mac.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I remember having to alway copy too the mounted samba shares as root. My current setup usually has a NAS mounted read only for access by any program (music apps that don't like smb:// paths) with KDE shortcuts for read/write access. I've not tried Gnome in a long while and haven't used Elightenment primarily since switching to KDE so I don't know how the other two are but KDE is great; I can even slip in a default uname/passwd for shares.

brian.mills
brian.mills

Unfortunately it still won't sleep, which was my primary gripe with Linux on that notebook to begin with. Everything was really easy under Gnome, at least until I upgraded from Gutsy to Hardy. Especially working with Samba shares. I had a shortcut on the desktop that pointed to smb://@ that made browsing shares as easy as it was for me on Windows. Now I have to mount the share to see anything on it, leaving a nice icon on the desktop taht I didn't have before, and it's mounting them all read-only, which is highly annoying. How well does Enlightenment handle Samba shares these days? I used to have to use the command line to mount them, and that only ever seemed to work when I was running the command as root. Of course that left the mounted shares difficult to deal with from any user other than root.

Jaqui
Jaqui

actually, pclinuxos and mandriva both seem to have that worked out. at least on my laptops they do. but, like Ubuntu with it's bloatware G.N.O.M.E. , they have the bloatware K.D.E. in many ways, KDE is further along in development than GNOME, mainly because it is supposed to look and feel like windows I bet.

seanferd
seanferd

was Slax Popcorn. 128 mb, if memory serves.

pgit
pgit

You recommended e-17 a while back, and Mandriva finally packaged it so I did. Not sure if it was their packaging but the video was buggy. Too bad, because I liked what I was seeing... until it wouldn't go away. =) (after a few minutes it left remnants of closed windows all over the place) Of course the culprit could be this Dell Vostro 1000 craptop.

pgit
pgit

You using 2008.1? First flawless wifi distro I've used. Not sure how much experience you have with KDE, but it is massively configurable. There's even sliders for how much memory a function may consume, and one that turns on/off the eye candy, making it "more like windows" or leaner/faster. I've leaned out KDE to where it's little different than xfce. For a good look at a thinned out KDE desktop have a look at Slax. (live cd) A well featured desktop and the entire system is 190MB, fits on a mini CD.

jlwallen
jlwallen

i'm sure you'll join me in a rousing chant of GO ENLIGHTENMENT! i would love to see more alternative desktops showing up on polls and contests like this. linux was founded on choice and it always seems that gnome and kde are always at the top of these. sure they get more exposure but i would think the linux community better than to fall in quick step with only two desktops.

brian.mills
brian.mills

I actually kinda like Gnome. The interface reminds me of my wife's Mac. KDE reminds me too much of Windows, and I can't stand the Windows interface. I used to use Enlightenment a lot, but back then it was more confusing than my newbie mind could really comprehend. Fluxbox (or any of the other *box windowmanagers) was pretty nice too, especially when I was lacking in RAM. I may have to fire up my old tower and try some of this stuff out again. It was just getting too frustrating to be running on my notebook.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It seems the major prebuilt vendors are asking there OEMs the same question. Big vendors asking OEMs has a whole lot more effect than the millions of nameless FOSS advicates. Let's hope properly documented power api's are part of that; I suspect Dell and the other's would like there notebooks to sleep/suspend as much as we would. (On the Lenovo T60, suspend to RAM works great, I've not bothered to try suspend to disk in a few distro releases)

pgit
pgit

Do NOT try to run Linux on a Dell Vostro 1000. It took me 3 months to get everything working with Mandriva on this thing. Decidedly unfriendly to Linux, a big part is that power api. That is the biggest hurdle yet to overcome for this otherwise smooth OS.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My 27 consistantly locks on suspend and the linksys pcmcia gives me grief while the touchscreen remains completely inactive outside Windows. The screen apears as a mouse in the BIOS too so the Distro just has to add it in. I keep thinking I should up the ram as it's final upgrade befor retirnment but just can't make that final choice. By contrast, the previously mentioned T60 works great as all thinkpad's seem to these days. I can't install on the drive directly so I haven't bothered to configure Suspend to Disk but Suspend to Ram works great and all pieces are recognized. My first step these days with any hardware is checking it's vendor recommended compatability (user manuals) and then it's actual compatability (internet search). My money is for companies that support end user choice where possible. If your notebook hasn't gained support, I'd suggest looking at the Thinkpad and Apple offerings, both have business class hardware and seem platform agnostic. On the low end, I'd expect Dell's offerings to be well supported in future too. Since I won't be affording a toughbook update any time soon, Thinkpad is my current realistic preference.

brian.mills
brian.mills

I have a couple friends running Linux, and neither of them had as many problems with their notebooks as I have. One friend had no problems with sleep/suspend, and the other had no sound after resume, but was otherwise fine. Mine just freezes completely trying to go to sleep. It just sits there running full-steam with a blank screen. :( If there isn't better support by the time I'm ready to replace my current notebook, I think I'll buy a Mac, cause I know it'll work and I won't have to deal with Vista (or any of its successors)

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

"It's nice and certainly looks good but what is its function"?"May I make a few suggestions"?"One should use a standardized file type approach"."Work on that speed and you'll have it"."We simply could not get it to work"."All that intellect for no rhyme or reason"."We are not going to discourage you,we simply do not understand how you did this"---.

Selena Frye
Selena Frye

Did you see any surprises in the survey results?