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Posts Tagged ‘Fedora 16’

Lies, damned lies and statistics

November 25, 2011 36 comments

After awakening from a Thanksgiving-induced food coma — actually, it wasn’t that bad — most of the daily articles about Linux posted this morning by our friends in Mountain View known as Google revolved around the fact that Ubuntu is dropping like a lead zeppelin in the Distrowatch standings, while Linux Mint is surging.

Ireland 1, Isle of Man 0.

There is no surprise here, at least on Linux Mint’s part. Plus, I think it’s interesting to see how that Unity thing is working out for Ubuntu, and as I’ve said before, I’d venture to say “not very well” (which is why, as a frequent Xubuntu user, I fight the urge to be smug).

All that has been written recently about this issue would normally be interesting except for a couple of unmentioned, and glaring, caveats missing from the stories by those who are ringing Ubuntu’s death knell.

First, Distrowatch numbers are based on page visits, not downloads. Show me the downloads, and then let’s talk. Web page hits don’t tell me if people are actually downloading a particular distro and using it, or if they’re just looking at the pages for whatever reason they might. Page visits might translate into distro downloads, but they also might be visits to forums, wikis, etc., as well. So I’m not convinced this is a valid measurement.

Second, even if you were to use Distrowatch’s page-view metric as your yardstick, you’d still have to take into account that a distro’s recent new version release — Linux Mint and Fedora, while always both close to the top at Distrowatch, qualify here — gets an extra bounce in views by virtue of the fact that, well, these distros have released a new version. An increase in visits from curious folks doesn’t necessarily mean more downloads and subsequently more distro use.

In talking to others and in taking a look at the FOSS landscape lately, my sense is that the numbers for Linux Mint reflect a rising interest that is translating into new users and new community members, whether they’re refugees from Ubuntu, they’re coming over from other distros or just brand new “walk-ins” using Linux for the first time. After all, Linux Mint has done a huge service to FOSS by developing the Mint GNOME Shell Extensions (MGSE) and MATE, and for that reason perhaps people are joining the ranks of the Minted. Couple that with the recent edict of Unity uber alles handed down by Ubuntu SABDFL* Mark Shuttleworth, and you have the recipe for a rise in Linux Mint at the expense of Ubuntu.

But I’d rather have more accurate data to back this up.

Show me the downloads.

*SABDFL — Self-Appointed Benevolent Dictator for Life, a moniker picked up from a recent blog item by Steven Rosenberg. Thanks, Steven.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Scaling up for SCALE 10X

November 10, 2011 7 comments

The fall and winter may turn our attention to the holidays — pick whichever one you choose to celebrate in your own way — but the folks at the Southern California Linux Expo are busy putting together what could turn out to be a landmark FOSS event for North America.

The Southern California Linux Expo — SCALE 10X — celebrates its 10th year when it opens on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend (Jan. 20-22). As this is a month ahead of the usual February date for SCALE, things seem to be coming together for the event.

SCALE started 10 years ago with a single day event at the University of Southern California with two tracks and 400 attendees. Considering that SCALE 10X will be a three day event, with as many as a half-dozen tracks and possibly as many as 2,000 attendees, it’s clear that FOSS is alive and thriving.

The response to the Call for Papers — which closes next week on Nov. 17 — has been strong, so get those papers in, if you haven’t already. A winner for the design contest, which allowed artists to design the logo to go on signs, swag and other SCALE 10X items, has been chosen (I know who it is — nee nur nee nur — but a release is going out on it later so everyone will know).

Some of the “usual suspects” for all day events — Fedora with their Fedora Activity Day and Ubuntu with UbuCon, for starters — are already on board, as well as SCALE University being in session again this year. In addition, the annual DevOpsDay LA and PGP Keysigning party are on tap again this year.

What deserves special mention are two things new to SCALE this year: Linux Beginner Training and SCALE Kids Conference.

Linux Beginner Training is targeted for the absolute Linux beginner, or for someone who’s interested in Linux but has no idea how to get started. The course will run all day Saturday and Sunday and consists of a half-day of introductory and overview tutorials, followed by a day and a half of intensive training in how to install, configure and maintain a Linux desktop installation. Not a bad deal for $25.

SCALE Kids Conference — soon to be “SCALE: The Next Generation” — lets the FOSS community leaders of tomorrow spotlight their talents and ideas today. Open to kids 10 and older, the goal of conference is to be as “kid driven” as possible, offering a unique opportunity to see & experience the inner workings of planning a conference. Kids will be able to determine the content and help steer the direction that this mini-conference will take.

As developments occur, I’ll report them, but meanwhile if you want to keep up on your own — not to mention registering early for SCALE 10X (always a good idea) — you can do so here.

See you in Los Angeles.

[The truth-in-advertising small print: I have worked as a volunteer for SCALE for the last three years, and I serve on the Public Relations Committee as a co-chair as well as a press liaison for the event.]

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Three for the road

November 9, 2011 1 comment

It’s one of those days: Driving a lot today taking family from point A to point B allows one a significant amount of thought that can go into a blog post. But we’ll have to tackle the weightier issues of FOSS another time in order to give you a few tidbits, like

Take ‘er down, ensign: Fedora 16, with the release name Verne (as in Jules, as in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” — hence the submarine motif), is ready and available from the Fedora Project. This one is a keeper — a solid release. Kudos to the Fedora Project team once again. Clearly there will be more on this in forthcoming blog item.

SCALE 10X registration opens: Yep, that’s right. It’s only November, but since SCALE 10X happens a month earlier next year — the Martin Luther King Day weekend in January — things are ramping up for the Southern California Linux Expo. Want to go? Head on over to the site and register.

You don’t have to live like a refugee: Michelle Blowers wrote in her blog yesterday about the open arms Debian has for anyone — from developers to users — who are unhappy with the direction Ubuntu is taking to “return home.” Without Debian, of course, there’s no Ubuntu, so keep in mind your lineage, Ubunteros.

Now to go pick up my daughter from her science class . . .

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

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