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Re: thoughts on LWN "how many Fedora users are there"

Andy Green wrote:
Anne Wilson wrote:
On Thursday 12 October 2006 22:26, Rahul Sundaram wrote:

There really is a lot of bs talked, isn't there? I get Fedora for free. I've always assumed that it was perfectly reasonable that Fedora should be able to know that I use their update systems. So they want to actually count? So what? 'Tracking system' implies watching where you go and what you are doing. I don't see any reason to believe that that was the intention.

I think the concerns were overblown.

There is a rich vein to mine about the way that a funded organization in control of a free project (let's not forget, Novell, Ubuntu, Mandriva) affects the relationship of the users and in decision making. I don't think the tracking jpeg is a good way to come at acquiring stats on the userbase, but if RHAT wanted to put it in it hardly seems worth objecting to, since the box will shortly have its fingerprints all over the mirrorlist and update mirrors anyway, for which we must thank RHAT for managing for $0.

Well, a hit counting image was suggested as a way to do things easily while giving approximate numbers. Firefox users are probably "desktop" kind of users and are likely to be connected. Here is the proposed page FYI


I suggested a title change to "Counting Desktop Users" because thats what was attempted. Anyway, this plan has been dropped in favor of just analyzing the mirror hits.

I think the guy that proposed the mirrorlist fetch tracking was on to the right way for sure. Even better would be a programme to process mirror logs to get anaonymized stats, done at the mirror site. I know they are independently managed and using a wide set of platforms, but you wouldn't have to capture all of them to get a statistically useful window into how many boxes are installed, and on regular or irregular updates, with nothing on the clientside. It would be quite interesting to look at security update uptake over time as well.

We probably dont have to coordinate all these before FC6 release but I believe some of the mirrors would be willing to provide access logs to calliberate metrics.


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