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Posted Dec 19, 2003

The 2003 Editor's Choice Awards in Open Source

I'm very pleased to present the first annual Editor's Choice Awards in Open Source. As I'm sure you know, Dear Reader, it's always tough to sit down and choose a definite favorite application. There are usually many deserving projects in each category in which someone might ask you to recommend the absolute best. Myself... I like to move around from app to app just to see what I might be missing.

You'll see that there are a few more awards than you might be used to seeing, but I've tried to address the awards from four separate vectors. The first category recognizes the best project per Java, Perl, Python, PHP, and XML. This is for those of us who like to stick with one language and bend it mercilessly to our will. The second is on a usage basis. Which app does what best regardless of programming language? Thirdly, by platform. Some folks squeeze open source onto their windows box whenever they can. And lastly, some miscellaneous awards where we give you the top five new-ish & coolest projects and the top choice we couldn't live without.

And so, let's get down to business...

The 2003 OSDir Editor's Choice Award for Best Application in...

Java: Eclipse (Double Winner)
There is little doubt in people's minds that Eclipse has been and will continue to be one of the hottest stories in the Java world. From it's first release announcement to now being about to break off from the IBM mothership and go on its own we expect to continue to see good things from Eclipse. More below.

Perl: Movable Type
Not strictly open source, but it fits into my 'close enough' file just above qmail. Movable Type is a phenomenon unto itself with an incredibly loyal fanbase, a hugely popular hacks website, a VC funded offshoot, and not to mention the cutest darn pair of programmers behind the scenes. Anyone who says they don't have a secret crush on Mena Trott is a liar, and heck, they were on CNN.

Python: Bit Torrent
'Nuff Said. Well, almost. If Linux ISO distributors could smarten up and deliver their ISOs as Bit Torrent files the world would be a much happier, and speedier place

Ok, this is kind of a weird one. There are so many great PHP application to choose from out there that's it's almost impossible to pick one. Hence my nomination for PHP is PHP. Sun even thinks PHP might have a hand in rallying itself by integrating it with Java.

XML: Jabber
As of this year more people now use Jabber clients than ICQ. Sure ICQ stinks, but it was the entrenched player.

Editor's Choice for Best Application (Top 5 environments):

Instant Messaging: Gaim
Gaim almost makes my "can't do without" list, but only falls short because of the plethora of instant messaging clients available. Face it, there are a lot out there, but Gaim raises to the top every time someone asks me about an IM client for Linux.

Email: SpamAssassin (Double Winner)
SpamAssassin keeps me out of Anger Managent classes. If you are not running SpamAssassin get thee to Now. If you need your friendly neighborhood system administrator to do it.. start sending flowers or Scotch today with a nice little note asking to get SpamAssassin going medieval on your mail server.

Overall Desktop App: OpenOffice (Double Winner)
There's a lot of talk about putting Linux on the Desktop across the enterprise next year. I'll give you one guess why this can be done?

Database: MySQL
PostgreSQL is making waves, but MySQL is like Starbucks. It's yummy, and there's one on every block.

Web: Tiki
This will be contentious, but I have to go with Tiki on this one. Everyone has a weblog nowadays (mostly movabletype), but Tiki is the first to also start integrating the wiki which is enjoying a huge rebound in popularity as people discover they don't like being webmasters anymore.

Editor's Choice for Best of Platform:

Linux: openMosix and etherboot (Tie)
Linux clusters continue to pop up everywhere. So much so that someone decided to build a cluster out of Macs too. How else will you be able to afford grid computing next year?

And then there are all those Windows admins out there who haven't yet figured out that they don't need to outfit every single PC with an OS (licensed of course), HDs, etc. etherboot (with LTSP) might bring back good school computer labs by the time my kids go to middle school. Mind you, they may be the ones to set it up.

Mac & Windows: OpenOffice
Picking any other application for this category is simply negligent. No other project is making inroads with other operating systems (outside of Linux) like the big OO.

Miscellaneous Editor's Choice:

Top 5 1/2 Best New-ish Apps:
1) Geronimo - Apache Software Foundation's Open Source J2EE implementation. The project was started in late August. By ApacheCon, in November, the Java equivalent of "hello world", the PetStore application, was running.
2) RSS - Push with permission. Not exactly an application per se, but still creeping like a beautiful vine into more and more applications every single day.
3) Subversion - The new CVS. As of this year the code for Subversion itself is now stored in Subversion. A big step that many are following.
4) Ruby - The new Perl, in all the good ways.
5) Mono - Microsoft's newest and greatest (threat?) is C# and .Net. The Mono project is the open source implementation. Mono celebrated it's first birthday this year, is and starting to pick up momentum partly because the project's founder has finally convinced enough people it's important and cool. Mono will be a force to be reckoned with and a darn fine developer's language.
5 1/2) Mandrake Linux. Down, but not out, and clawing its way back into financial health, look for Mandrake to make a comeback on the desktop in 2004. You want an easy Linux Desktop? The Drake delivers.

Best News Site: Groklaw
Is there anyone who hasn't tuned into GrokLaw for coverage of the SCO comedy this year? Didn't think so.

Can't Live Without: SpamAssassin
The fact that this doesn't have to be explained says it all.

Favorite Linux Distro: It was Redhat. Now it's SuSE.
Like a lot of folks I was running Redhat. While Redhat announced it was discontinuing support for the regular version of Redhat the folks at Novell dropped the bomb that they were buying SuSE. The timing couldn't have been better to announce it. Expect to see a lot more little green geekos in 2004.

Development Tool: Eclipse
Normally application descriptions like Eclipse's "Eclipse is a kind of universal tool platform - an open extensible IDE for anything and nothing in particular." would send your project to the bottom of the interest heap, but Eclipse has filled that out like a champ becoming an IDE and more for just about every programming language. How could it not be popular?

All Round Fun: Frozen Bubble
My kids would rather play Frozen Bubble than watch TV or play Command & Conquer on a Windows machine. I may spend the odd time playing it too. But, only on the weekends, boss!

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the 2003 Editor's Choice Awards in Open Source for 2003. Here's to a prosperous 2004 for us all.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Re: The 2003 Editor's Choice Awards in Open Source (Score: 5, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Dec 20, 2003 - 12:03 PM
"Not strictly open source, but it fits into my 'close enough' file just above qmail."

I'm sorry, but I would expect that "Editor's Choice Awards in **Open Source**" at least adhere to the Open Source Definition.

Otherwise you should change the name of your awards.

"The New CVS" isn't very complimentary (Score: 3, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Dec 20, 2003 - 03:38 PM
...CVS being the revision control system everyone who knows revision control hates but puts up with anyhow (until recently) there just haven't been good open-source alternatives available.

Subversion is CVS with much of the suck removed -- but it still leaves out most of the truly innovative functionality that truly modern revision control systems possess. (Consider distributed branching -- permitting any arbitrary developer to fork off ones' code without having any write access to the revision control server -- as a representative example of such features). And yes, there are open source, actively developed, self-hosting revision control systems with real projects using them in the field right now that have these features.

SVN is an improvement on CVS, sure -- but it's an *incremental* improvement, as opposed to the massive leaps which several other efforts have recently made.

Re: Selfhosting of subversion (Score: 3, Informative)
by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2003 - 04:30 PM
Subversion has been selfhosting since
30 August 2001 (Milestone 3)

These comments and their scores (Score: 1, Troll)
by nm on Jan 01, 2004 - 10:53 AM
Why do all the interesting comments have score -1?

Nancy McGough
Infinite Ink

Please... (Score: 1, Funny)
by Anonymous on Mar 05, 2004 - 11:54 AM

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