2011 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners – Thoughts

The polls are closed and the official results are in. You can view the detailed results here, but I’ll include a list of winners at the end of this post for convenience. We also have a nice visual overview of all categories on a single page, new last year, available here. This was the eleventh annual LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards and we’ve set a record for participation each and every year. We once again had some extremely close races, including multiple categories decided by a single vote and our first ever tie. If you have feedback on how we can improve the Members Choice Awards, let us know.

My thoughts on a few of the categories:

Browser of the Year – I’m fairly surprised how handily Firefox beat Chrome here. It’s significantly more skewed than our actual browser stats are.

Desktop Environment of the Year – After a multi-year run, Gnome has been unseated by KDE. Xfce had a very strong showing, while it’s clear many are still not happy with Unity.

Desktop Distribution of the Year – Ubuntu squeaked out another win, but Mint is definitely coming on strong. Note that as LQ is the official Slackware forum, we tend to skew toward that distro more than the general Linux community. I’d say that one of the only places where we’re not indicative of the general community consensus though.

NoSQL Database of the Year – Our first ever tie and the next runner up was right in the race. It’s clear that this nascent category of products is going to be a very competitive landscape for the time being.

Database of the Year – Despite the acquisition by Oracle, MySQL still easily won this category.

Office Suite of the Year – The same can’t be said for OpenOffice.org, however, which got crushed by LibreOffice in a category it has easily dominated for years.

The complete list of the winners is as follows (percentage of votes received in parentheses):

Desktop Distribution of the Year – Ubuntu (21.83%)
Server Distribution of the Year – Debian (31.15%)
Mobile Distribution of the Year – Android (69.43%)
Database of the Year – MySQL (49.54%)
NoSQL Database of the Year – Cassandra and MongoDB (26.23% each) <- first MCA TIE
Office Suite of the Year – LibreOffice (81.01%)
Browser of the Year – Firefox (56.60%)
Desktop Environment of the Year – KDE (33.01%)
Window Manager of the Year – Openbox (15.90%)
Messaging Application of the Year – Pidgin (53.57%)
VoIP Application of the Year – Skype (59.67%)
Virtualization Product of the Year – VirtualBox (61.13%)
Audio Media Player Application of the Year – amaroK (19.52%)
Audio Authoring Application of the Year – Audacity (77.46%)
Video Media Player Application of the Year – VLC (60.92%)
Video Authoring Application of the Year – FFmpeg (34.32%)
Graphics Application of the Year – GIMP (72.08%)
Network Security Application of the Year – Wireshark (24.35%)
Host Security Application of the Year – SELinux (50.42%)
Network Monitoring Application of the Year – Nagios (64.71%)
IDE/Web Development Editor of the Year – Eclipse (22.14%)
Text Editor of the Year – vim (31.21%)
File Manager of the Year – Dolphin (24.63%)
Open Source Game of the Year – Battle for Wesnoth (18.70%)
Programming Language of the Year – Python (29.48%)
Revision Control System of the Year – git (58.73%)
Backup Application of the Year – rsync (37.35%)
Open Source CMS/Blogging Platform of the Year – WordPress (48.62%)
Configuration Management Tool of the Year – Puppet (54.55%)
Open Source Web Framework of the Year – Django (32.38%)
Media Center of the Year – XBMC (47.76%)


SCALE 10x Musings

I’m currently on a flight home after attending SCALE 10x, which seemed like an opportune time to reflect on the event. SCALE was once again an amazing event. Kudos go out to Ilan, Gareth, Phil and the entire SCALE team; the tracks were excellent, the event well managed and well attended (I don’t know if official numbers are out, but I believe they fell *just* short of their goal of 2,000 attendees) and the social scene was as vibrant as ever. SCALE really is the bar by which local community events should be measured.

While I didn’t live blog the event this year, as I have in the past, I did live tweet it. Visit the @linuxquestions twitter account if you’re interested. Some general thoughts after attending SCALE.

* Open Source and Open Standards, as they pertain to the cloud, are going to be huge and hotly debated topics in 2012; and likely well beyond. There seems to be a feeling that this is something huge that’s still just in its infancy, and that makes the topic interesting and exciting.
* Big data and distributed filesystems also appear to be heading for widespread mainstream adoption in the near future. On that note, LQ is considering moving away from OCFS2 as part of our next infrastructure update. If there’s anyone with GlusterFS experience in a production web environment, we’d be interested in hearing from you. We’d also be interested in other solutions you feel may be well suited.
* The MySQL ecosystem is not only thriving, but wildly more diverse than when it was just MySQL AB.
* Very small but very powerful devices such as the Raspberry Pi and the Pandaboard are not only remarkable, but should open the door to a whole new class of devices and possibilities. The amount of innovation here should be awesome.
* DevOps has really matured at an impressive rate.

I look forward to attending SCALE 11x, which will be my 8th, next year.


Sun acquires MySQL III

Another quick follow up, hopefully my last on the topic (at least for a while). Things are finally starting to quiet down a bit on the MySQL Sun acquisition front, but I wanted to post a few recent links I’ve run into.

Jonathan posted a little about how the deal went down, how in will impact partners/employees and some other tidbits from an internal Sun perspective.

Are there revenue synergies in the deal?

Everywhere we look.

Where are the revenue synergies?

The more interesting question is “where aren’t the synergies?” Wherever MySQL is deployed, whether the user is paying for software support or not, a server will be purchased, along with a storage device, networking infrastructure – and over time, support services on high value open platforms. Last I checked, we have products in almost all those categories.

In addition, the single biggest impediment to MySQL’s growth wasn’t the feature set of their technology – which is perfectly married to planetary scale in the on-line/web world. The biggest impediment was that some traditional enterprises wanted a Fortune 500 vendor (“someone in a Gartner magic quadrant”) to provide enterprise support. Good news, we can augment MySQL’s great service team with an extraordinary set of service professionals across the planet – and provide global mission critical support to the biggest businesses on earth.

Where will you take MySQL next?

That’s a question you’ll need to vector to MySQL – both before the acquisition (given that we’re still separate companies), as well as after. We’re not acquiring them to tell them what to do – we acquiring them to listen. To their leaders, their community, and their customers.

And having listened to about 10 customers face to face over the past couple days, I’ve heard only one comment, made consistently – “Congratulations, this is absolutely fantastic news for all of us!”

I totally agree.

marcf is still left scratching his head a bit.

So I will repeat the party line as if I had understood it.

MySQL is everywhere (true). They had flat revenues because they couldn’t monetize their installed base due to lack of services (probably true). SUN will be able to monetize this by bringing to bear a huge structure that gets it and will sell, sell, sell (maybe if they don’t mess up the integration and SUN has a really bad track record here but whatever). The most insightful thing I have heard from a good friend is “the margins on MySQL will be higher than anything they have seen in hardware”.

So I turn to other aspects of analysis. Vanity provides some avenue of progress. PTB’s quote that this is “the most significant acquisition for SUN” points to a CEO wanting to make his mark on the company he heads. It is vanity, but in this particular case, vanity served by intelligence so it is worthy of praise as it shows COJONES.

The most signal I get is in marketing. For anyone that doubted that SUN wanted to be a software company, this is it. I mean how more serious a signal do you need. SUNW makes 13B in hardware and is saying loud and clear: software is our future.

Because, unlike IBM and ORACLE they have NO SW business to speak off, they can embrace OSS fully. Fair enough. All I have to say to them is God Speed to them.

Stephe posts about business models and how Sun is evolving its message.

Christensen is the first to point out in his presentations that what he originally called “disruptive technology” in The Innovator’s Dilemma was later observed to be a “disruptive business model” by Andy Grove during a presentation at Intel. (The book had already gone to print, and so we now have loads of technology companies running around thinking their technology is more important than their business models.)

Christensen models demonstrate that a disruptive business model generally begins with an inexpensive “inferior” technology offered at a lower price in a different margin business model that enables customers either to do something they’ve never been able to do or to avoid the expensive control point. The “inferior” technology matures as the business grows and eventually the business grows into mature markets (i.e. the business model is disruptive). Think Linux from undergraduate project in 1991 to the IBM and Red Hat/MSDW Wall Street keynotes at LinuxWorld in 2002. So too with MySQL.

IBM evolved to be a company that offered their customers all the technology choice AND the expertise to knit it together into a coherent unique customized solution. It doesn’t matter how imperfectly true that statement may or may not be — but rather what customers perceive it to be. That doesn’t mean IBM isn’t happy to push an IBM-centric technology agenda, but it’s the customer relationship that’s important (since they’re the people with the money and the choice) and IBM focuses on ensuring they have the breadth of product offering to best map their customers’ self-selected heterogeneous needs. They are no longer the “Selectric” company and have even evolved with the networked IT world to be more than the “mainframe” company. IBM continues to build their message around open systems, standards, and open source, which suits their customer’s heterogeneous decisions. IBM is the “data center” company.

Sun is also evolving its message and its offerings to suit their customers heterogeneous web-based applications needs. They’re building relationships with IBM, Microsoft, the Linux community, and now they’re acquiring MySQL. Sun is in a position to deliver a heterogeneous technology base to their customers’ heterogeneous needs and to shape a marketing message that began as technology slogans around “the network is the computer” and “the dot in Dot Com” into a customer centric idea like the “Web” company. That doesn’t mean they won’t meet severe competition from IBM for which idea word is more important in customers’ minds, but they’re still in the game after being counted out too many times in the past.

It seems pretty clear to me that people are seeing this acquisition from a ton of different angles. Opinions vary quite a bit on this one, and a lot of it is going to come down to execution and integration. Overall I think it really could be a great pickup for Sun and a real win for Open Source. As you can probably tell, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.