February 10, 2012, 8:00 AM — Popular community site LinuxQuestions.org has published the results of its 2011 Members Choice Awards, which have yielded results that might be a bit surprising for those who believe the Linux community has turned away from Canonical's Ubuntu distribution.
A distribution that garnered the most votes for desktop distribution of the year by a nearly 2:1 margin over Linux Mint, which has been portrayed as the heir apparent by many in the Linux sphere.
Perhaps that portrayal was a bit hasty.
Like any poll results, there are caveats. Voters were comprised of LQ members, and this is a self-selected survey, with all of the issues that entails. There was a notable vote, for instance, to get Slackware to the top of the polls for both the desktop and server distributions. Now, whether that vote was an organized effort or a genuine reflection of that community's preferences, it's a bit tricky to say. But that's what can be troublesome about self-selected polls: people vote who want to make sure their favorite wins.
Leaving that aside, though, the fact that Slackware was the number two distro in both of these categories is interesting, planned or no. I would suspect its presence so high in the results speaks of a community very interested in tight code and free software. Indeed, that Debian was voted number one in the server distribution category only confirms that.
Yet here was Ubuntu, taking the desktop distribution category with 21.83 percent of the vote.
I'm not trying to snotty about all those stories last year that looked at DistroWatch and declared Linux Mint to have "defeated" Ubuntu. For one, it's petty, and for two, I'm not that invested in Ubuntu and would have voted for Linux Mint in this poll anyway. There is a broader point to make: different communities reflect different values, and will appreciate different things.
That's why these Members Choice Awards are interesting, because they give a great snapshot of a rich community within the larger Linux community… but the results won't reflect the values of that larger community completely.
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 (tied): Cassandra and MongoDB (26.23% each)
Office Suite of the Year: LibreOffice (81.01%)
Browser of the Year: Firefox (56.60%)
Desktop Environment of the Year: KDE (33.01%)
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%)
Programming Language of the Year: Python (29.48%)
Revision Control System of the Year: git (58.73%)
Open Source CMS/Blogging Platform of the Year: WordPress (48.62%)
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