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Ubuntu, security response, and community contributions

Ubuntu, security response, and community contributions

Posted Jul 18, 2008 23:26 UTC (Fri) by stickster (guest, #40146)
In reply to: Ubuntu, security response, and community contributions by mmcgrath
Parent article: Ubuntu, security response, and community contributions

Why don't we ever see responses to this question of statistics?


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Ubuntu, security response, and community contributions

Posted Jul 19, 2008 6:08 UTC (Sat) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

Because I have much better things to do with my time. Really? This is what you want to argue about, that Ubuntu is not running on enough machines to justify my statement that it has a userbase that is quite impressive? What kind of statistics are you hoping to see, and where would they come from? Maybe Google can give us some numbers, based on the browser ID strings they track. Try filing a lawsuit; it worked for Viacom. Let me know what you come up with.

I'm willing to take the fact that it's won the top spot in every desktop distro contest for the last few years, it's #2 on the Linux Counter list just a point or two behind Debian (which is pretty good considering that that list is unknown beyond long-time, harder-core Linux users--not necessarily the prototypical Ubuntu user), that it's being pre-installed on Dell desktops and laptops, that it's available from Best Buy both online AND boxed in the store, etc. etc.

If that's not good enough for you, then fine: we'll just agree to disagree, because I don't have the energy to argue about something so silly.

Ubuntu, security response, and community contributions

Posted Jul 19, 2008 13:46 UTC (Sat) by stickster (guest, #40146) [Link]

Statistics gathering doesn't have to be so random and haphazard.  Fedora does it openly and
transparently, as described here:
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Statistics

The smolt project was created as a non-Fedora, cross-distribution effort to help with this
need, and other distros have been repeatedly invited to participate so that we can confidently
talk about the size of the overall installation/user base.  Novell, for example, has recently
joined in.  (Smolt also produces useful hardware metrics too.)  Over 15 years into the Linux
story, there's no sense in making these numbers up or sticking our heads in the sand.

I doubt that a driver like accurately showing market size would be considered silly by anyone
basing their business on Linux.  But I understand that many people would rather not argue
about it; so be it.

Ubuntu, security response, and community contributions

Posted Jul 19, 2008 16:58 UTC (Sat) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

I think accurate stats are great, and I'd love to see them.  I don't know much about smolt but
I see no reason why it shouldn't be supported in Ubuntu.  Ubuntu has already the Ubuntu
Hardware Database, and it does have a nice user interface to report hardware info, but the web
site seems really lame and/or broken when I checked it.  There's also popcon, originally from
Debian, where you can register to have the packages you use reported upstream: this is used to
make sure that the CD, which has limited space, has the most popular packages installed.  But
you can also find out some info about how many machines are running Ubuntu:
http://popcon.ubuntu.com/

The problem with these as stats gathering vehicles is that not only are they off by default
(which probably every such package will always be, and I don't disagree with that) but they
aren't even publicized, so unless you happen to run across them you won't use them.  In order
to be anywhere close to accurate there has to be more "advertising".  Maybe an option to
restrict the data uploaded, for people who aren't interested in publishing details but would
like to be counted.

I also found this with a one-minute Google search, from last year:
http://www.starryhope.com/tech/2007/ubuntu-just-how-popul...

I'm saying that I'm not willing to get into an argument about whether or not Ubuntu has "an
impressive userbase" or not.  For one thing, it's completely ambiguous--if I'd said it has 82%
of the desktops then I would expect to be challenged to justify that statement.  However, I
believe my statement is obviously correct given any objective look at the Linux ecosystem.

If we want to talk constructively about possible ways we could get more accurate statistics
I'm all for that.


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