[ubuntu-uk] Ubuntu Usage in the UK

Alan Pope alan at popey.com
Mon Jul 30 22:13:21 BST 2007

Hi Alan,

On Mon, Jul 30, 2007 at 08:49:14PM +0100, alan c wrote:
> When my UK machine get security updates, what does the repos. server 
> record?

As I understand it this is indeed one of the ways that Ubuntu sysadmins can 
roughly determine the number of users. Of course this isnt perfect. There's 
the problem that more than one person might use one computer, some people 
cache their updates, and many requests will come through an ISP proxy and 
will thus all come from the same/similar IP.

I understand they also use the time server requests that Ubuntu makes after 
an install to determine rough number of users. Each machine (if net 
connected) checks in with ntp.ubuntulinux.org to sync the time. Also 
suceptable to error of course as with checking web requests.

Then there is the "popularity contest" package, which allows the ubuntu guys 
to know what packages are being installed. Problem with this is that it's an 
optional feature, so many people will not enable it.

I recently heard from a Canonical person that this whole subject of 
measuring numbers of users is one that comes up frequently - especially 
within marketing circles. It's very difficult to say what market penetration 
you have when you really don't know. :)


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