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Re: [K12OSN] Privacy vs vendor support

On Wed, 2 Jul 2003, Eric Harrison wrote:

> I just rolled in from the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC).
> One of the interesting problems we face when talking with vendors is 
> that they ask for number of users. Since it's open source, we don't
> really have any idea. We can tell them how many downloads we've had off
> our servers, but not off the various mirrors, or how many have been
> burned onto CDs and handed out, etc, etc.

In my "real" job I have to do a lot of statistical modeling,  with a few
samples and regular proving of the sampling we could probably be just as
accurate as people who count "licenses" but have no idea how many are
actually being used and/or prirated

> We can see how many people are on the K12OSN list (850 last time I checked).
> We can see how many sites are syncing to the SquidGuard web filter black
> lists (~2,500). But we don't really know that the installed base of K12LTSP
> happens to be.

if we know from 8 folks who give us some very detailed information that
each list user z (850) has an average of x servers (3) and each server
handles y number of workstations  (20) we would then know that X x Y x Z
equals number of users "A" (51,000) and this number is 20% of the
installed user base meaning there are 255,000 users nationwide.

> I'm a big privacy advocate myself, so I'm not very fond of the idea of
> installing spyware. On the other hand, it is really hard to get vendors
> to listen to us if we can't give them some sort of reasonable numbers.

no spyware and you get numbers that are accurate within 1-5 percentage
points.  good enough for most vendors.  and no privacy problems

start by asking the list to volunteer raw numbers. then extrapolate that
out to the whole list and go from there..

> What you all think? Does anyone have a better idea?  Is a small decrease
> in privacy worth greater influence on vendors to help support us and/or
> port their software?

I think programmers just like to program ;8*}


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