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The Issue You Write

Shawn Powers

Issue #182, June 2009

That's right, it's our annual Readers' Choice issue of Linux Journal. Every year, we ask you, our readers, to share what you think really stood out over the past year. And, then we tell you about it. Certainly, it seems like an easy way for us to avoid writing articles for you, but rest assured, the Readers' Choice issue isn't our excuse to take a cruise for a month and leave you to your own wiles. It's more like a community issue. You give, we give, and everyone is happy. Well, maybe not everyone. Emacs users for instance, or perhaps KDE users. But, I won't ruin the results for you.

In fact, with the Readers' Choice theme this month, it allows our columnists a little more flexibility in regard to what they write, and they didn't disappoint. Marcel Gagné shows us a handful of ways to install and test products that you may have never considered before. From virtual machines to jumpboxes, if you want to try out some server applications, you'll want to read this month's Cooking with Linux column.

Kyle Rankin has another go at Lightning Hacks this month and gives us four quick but useful tips that make life a bit easier behind the keyboard. Kyle claims he got the idea for Lightning Hacks from the common Lightning Talks featured at many conferences. I suspect he's just jealous of our daily video tech tips over at LinuxJournal.com. Sadly, I don't have any way to validate my claim. Speaking of validation (nice segue, no?), Reuven M. Lerner shows us how to validate HTML code. Linux users are big fans of open standards. Unfortunately, we sometimes fail to follow them ourselves. Reuven aims to change that this month, so be sure to read his column to learn more.

Last year, we did an issue dedicated to high-performance computing. We got a lot of positive feedback from that issue and thought the Readers' Choice issue would be a great place to put in a High Performance section. Tom Lehmann demonstrates how easy it is to create your own computer cluster. We met Tom at the Supercomputing conference and asked him to prove it was easy to set up a cluster. I think I owe him a soda or something, because this month, he shows us step by step how to set up a Rocks cluster of our very own.

On the programmer's side, Matthew Russell is back this month showing off Dojo's Grid Widget. Sometimes displaying large amounts of data is difficult, but Dojo makes it a bit easier. If system administration is your thing, be sure to check out Jason Ellison's article on SNMP monitoring with Nagios. There's no such thing as too much monitoring data, and even if there were, Dojo can help us display it!

To finish up the Readers' Choice issue nicely, we have Dave Taylor's script-fu to help figure out the odds in the game show, Deal or No Deal. I don't think it's quite as frowned upon as counting cards in Vegas, but I'm not sure Howie Mandel would look too kindly on a contestant with a laptop calculating odds—perhaps if the script could be ported to an Android handset....

In the end, this issue and every issue is all about you, the reader. Enjoy the Readers' Choice issue. If your tastes line up with the majority of voters, you can bask in the comfort of commonality. If your application of choice didn't even make the list, you can smugly assure yourself the rest of the world just isn't as enlightened. After all, as Linux users, we're used to going against the grain. It has worked for us so far; I see no reason to change now.

Shawn Powers is the Associate Editor for Linux Journal. He's also the Gadget Guy for LinuxJournal.com, and he has an interesting collection of vintage Garfield coffee mugs. Don't let his silly hairdo fool you, he's a pretty ordinary guy and can be reached via e-mail at info@linuxjournal.com. Or, swing by the #linuxjournal IRC channel on Freenode.net.

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