Friday, July 31, 2009

FEATURE Readers’ Choice Awards 2009

Favorite Primary Linux Distribution of Choice

Ubuntu (45%)
Honorable Mention
Debian (10%)

The Ubuntu phenomenon, even by Linux standards, is truly paradigm-shifting and it doesn’t appear that it will be tanking any time soon. In the 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards, we dubbed the ubiquitous Ubuntu “the big distro that did” for unexpectedly leaving its myriad rivals as mere dots in the rear-view mirror. In the 2009 tally, Ubuntu deserves an “Energizer Bunny Award” for winning the Favorite Primary Linux Distro category, increasing its popularity and becoming untouchable for the time being. Ubuntu and its related Kubuntu and Edubuntu siblings raised their vote tally from 37% in last year’s awards to 45% this year. At whose expense is Ubuntu gaining? Although Mandriva tumbled most dramatically from 14% to 2%, Fedora and Novell/SUSE hemorrhaged more than a few percentage points. Meanwhile, Red Hat, CentOS and Debian ticked up a few points from last year, the latter enough to warrant Honorable Mention with its 10% share of your vote.

Favorite Desktop Environment

GNOME (53%)
Honorable Mention
KDE (30%)

During the past year, GNOME has reached majority rule status, with 53% of you electing it your favorite desktop environment. This trend is despite the breakneck development of KDE 4 during the past year. Although GNOME garnered only a few more votes than it did in 2008, KDE’s vote count slipped as you’ve warmed to Xfce, Fluxbox and Enlightenment. The long and influential coattails of Ubuntu can only make any presidential candidate green with envy.

Favorite Web Browser

Firefox (87%)

Firefox takes first prize as both your Favorite Web Browser for 2009 and the most extreme “category crusher” of this competition. No other application (besides the competitor-less Apache) racked up a higher share of votes (87%) than Firefox, although wasn’t far behind. Who can argue, as Firefox keeps getting faster and accumulates more useful extensions? This year’s surprise gainer was the historically underappreciated Opera browser, which ratcheted up from 5% to 8% on the heels of its impressive 9.5 and 9.6 releases. The worthy Konqueror and the browsers based on the Firefox Gecko engine (for example, Flock and Epiphany) were left behind in the catchall “Other” category. How will this category look next year? Look for an inevitable battle royale if Google can deliver a polished Chrome for Linux in time for you to give it a test drive.

Favorite E-Mail Client

Mozilla Thunderbird (38%)
Honorable Mention
Gmail Web Client (31%)
Evolution (11%)

Congratulations to Mozilla Thunderbird for its third consecutive win in the Favorite EMail Client category with 38% of the vote. The “Holy how did that happen, Batman?” award, as well as Honorable Mention, go to the runner up, Gmail, which got 11% more of your votes than last year, while Thunderbird dropped 7%. Meanwhile, other non-Web based clients, Evolution and KMail, are ever more the favorites of fewer. Is the trend toward Web-based clients inexorable, or can the non-Gmails of the world find a formula to stanch the decline?

Favorite Office Program (85%)

No news here, gang., bolstered no doubt by its recent 3.0 release, retains its crown as your Favorite Office Program with the same share of your vote as last year, 85%. The alternatives, AbiWord and KOffice, each similarly continue to be the favorites of merely 3% of you. As with Firefox, there seems to be some sort of correlation between a program’s cross-platform characteristics (should any exist) and its category-crusher status. Honorable Mention for most definitive response in this category goes to “I hate all office programs”.

Source of Information : Linux Journal Issue 182 June.2009

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