As we wave a fond farewell to 2013, we close out the year with one of our favorite issues. I know, I often tease about being lazy and having the readers write the Readers' Choice issue, but I only do that because it's absolutely true! Seriously though, this is one of our favorite issues because we get to hear from you. Some of your feedback was expected, some was a little surprising, but it was all appreciated. If you want to see how you line up with your fellow readers, you can skip ahead to the Readers' Choice article, but if you do, you'll be missing out on tons of great content!
Reuven M. Lerner, for example, gives us his annual summary of the most interesting books he's read. Whether you're looking for a nice holiday read or want to make sure you haven't missed any gems this past year, Reuven shares his insight from his library. Dave Taylor follows up with another column on the library of tools available in the ImageMagick suite. If you need to edit photos, especially in an automated or bulk way, the command-line image editing tools Dave describes are invaluable.
SSH is a tool just about every geek knows well. There are countless tutorials for creating SSH key pairs for adding security (and convenience) to server logins, but that same layer of security comes with the danger of stolen key files. Kyle addresses the issue of SSH security while keeping as much convenience as possible. SSH Agent may be the best of both worlds: convenience and security. I follow Kyle's article with a how-to for implementing LVM. Logical Volume Manager adds convenience and expandability to your system with far less complexity than it might seem. If you've ever been scared of LVM, be sure to check out my column.
Jim Hall helps point out the warts in open-source software this month with his article on usability testing. If you're tired of hearing how hard the GIMP is to use because of its interface, Jim's article will interest you. As longtime geeks, it's often easy to overlook an interface's shortcomings. This article helps us take off our rose-colored glasses and see our programs for what they are.
We also had the opportunity to interview a Linux user, musician and developer: Australis. I always love to meet folks who use Linux on a daily basis for their livelihoods, and Fred Mora had the fortune of interviewing the indie artist. If you like to hear how Linux and open source can influence and empower artists, you'll really enjoy the interview. I know we sure did.
I don't normally mention Doc Searls' closing column in my Current_Issue column, but this month, he brings up an interesting discussion about the tech world, and Linux Journal specifically. In a male-dominated industry, Linux Journal is owned and managed by women. What does that mean in the bigger picture? Doc starts a great discussion on an important topic.
Of course, the big story this month is the Readers' Choice article, or as we're tempted to call it, “The Raspberry Pi Award Ceremony!” I probably should have said “spoiler alert”, but I'm sure it's no surprise that the Raspberry Pi is still very popular among readers. Thankfully, there's a boatload of other categories, all of which were chosen by you. This year, not only did readers cast the votes, but there was an entire nomination round as well. Thank you to everyone who participated. You made this issue an awesome one.