Linux Planet article

Ok so there has been some talk about how many Ubuntu installs there really are versus how many Fedora installs there are.

The main contention was over Sean Michael Kerner's line:

In contrast, as of March 29, Red Hat's Fedora Linux was reporting usage of its Linux distribution at approximately 24 million installations.

Like most engineers, I look at that and say "Bwa?" and could go into a deep nitpicking about apples and orange comparisons.. instead I am going to nitpick another line:

"We have no phone home or registration process, so it's always a guesstimate. But based on the same methodology that we came up with for the 2008 number, our present belief is that it's somewhere north of 12 million users at the moment," Chris Kenyon, vice president for OEM at Canonical, told InternetNews.com

Mr Kenyon is right. The Ubuntu install and OS does not have a registration process, nor an explicit 'phone home' system. However on the one that I am using it does do the same sort of check that is used by Fedora to get our data.. checkins to see if you have updates. This should allow for an apples to apples comparison of number of unique IP's asking per release for updates.

[This does not say how many users there are... but should give an answer within +/- 1 order of magnitude due to the fact that many users will checkin with different IP addresses and many users will check in proxied behind one IP address.]


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I don't think an apples-to-apples comparison is quite so easy.

I don't know much about how Fedora's update system works, but Ubuntu systems talk directly (and only) to a repository mirror over HTTP. Most of these mirrors are independently operated, and (along with their logs) are not under any central control. New mirrors come and go on a fairly regular basis.

This arrangement is beneficial for a number of reasons, but it does have the drawback that the collection of global statistics is not feasible.

ronin3510 said...

How about ntp related hits on the same unique IPs ? Major distro's nowadays use a number.distro-name.pool.ntp.org dns hostnames in ntp.conf, where neither Fedora nor Ubuntu make an exception. I think some statistics could be summed up using ntp facility