Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Stats Linux

The Linux Counter Relaunches 113

Posted by timothy
from the you're-spartacus-no-you're-spartacus dept.
psychonaut writes "Long-term readers of Slashdot may be familiar with The Linux Counter, which attempts to measure (through surveys and statistics) the number of people using GNU/Linux operating systems. The project started in 1993 and shot to fame six years later, largely as a result of three Slashdot articles (two of which brought the Counter to its knees). After four years of stagnation, project founder Harald Tveit Alvestrand has handed over the reins to a new maintainer, Alexander Mieland. Over the past few months, Mieland has completely redeveloped the project, with a modernized design and support facilities (including a bug tracker, mailing list, RSS feed, and Twitter account). The New Linux Counter is now up and running, with all the data for active users from the old counter. The old site will continue to operate for a time but will soon be shut down and requests redirected to the new site."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Linux Counter Relaunches

Comments Filter:
  • I have an account and log in once a year, when I get my reminder email. Usually, I have quite a lot to update: decommissioned machines, upgraded machines, new machines and that's only for my personal machines. They have a script which uses sendmail to update your information. That's unacceptable in a desktop setting. What they should have is a simple, but relatively robust update system like freedns.afraid.org uses. If on top of that they can package their updating script and convince major distros to carry it as an opt-in for default installations, it could get some accurate stats.
    • They have a script which uses sendmail to update your information. That's unacceptable in a desktop setting.

      If you think about it, back in those days most distros that I'm aware of included sendmail by default, so it sort of makes sense to use what was there.

      • Yes, absolutely. I understand where they come from. Every year, when I got my reminder email, I checked if they modernized the automatic script system. It stayed the same old one, always. Fine back when they started, not fine for at least the last five years. My post was mostly intended as constructive criticism, not to bash them. I do think the Linux Counter Project is a worthwhile initiative, but there is serious potential for amelioration.
      • Almost all distros install an MTA by defaul. Also, almost no distro set it by default in a configuration that would make that script work. On most computers setting the MTA for that isn't even a wise thing to do.

        I'd be happy if the counter provided an HTTP based script. It could use the same code, just need to create a page that gets the POST data and gives it to the code that currently parses the emails.

      • by Dark$ide (732508)

        They have a script which uses sendmail to update your information. That's unacceptable in a desktop setting.

        If you think about it, back in those days most distros that I'm aware of included sendmail by default, so it sort of makes sense to use what was there.

        These days most systems have Perl, curl, wget and stuff like that. Security using OAuth is simple. Identification using OpenID is simple. They could change their machine update script to use https to send the details of my machine. I'd prefer all of that to the current system.

    • by cobbaut (232092)

      Same here, mod parent insightful!

    • Why not just fix your desktop's MTA so it forwards someplace where it can reach you and the outside world?
    • I agree completely. The first thing I saw was, download this script which will use sendmail to tell us all about you. I haven't used sendmail since '05 and I don't want to set it up just to let them know I'm using linux. I mean if google can tell everything about my computer from the web, why can't LiCo? More and more people use linux and some will look at you with a blank stare when you say sendmail.
  • by russlar (1122455) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @09:39AM (#37361896)

    The project started in 1993 and shot to fame six years later, largely as a result of three Slashdot articles (two of which brought the Counter to its knees)

    Here's to keeping the tradition alive!

  • by giuseppemag (1100721) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [gameppesuig]> on Saturday September 10, 2011 @09:40AM (#37361904)

    ...as long as it works, who cares how many people use it?

    • Re:Pointless... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by robbrit (1408421) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @09:47AM (#37361936) Homepage
      I care. Also those manufacturers of complex hardware like Nvidia might care, so that they can justify putting the resources aside to develop Linux drivers.
      • Well said. I have read much bashing of Nvidia regarding the proprietary nature of their drivers, but I remember them being right at the forefront of manufacturers providing proper drivers at a time when I was unable to get 24-bit colour from the SiS GPU that I had in my box at the time. The fact that they have continued to provide good drivers when most other manufacturers have totally ignored Linux users has done a lot to ensure brand loyalty on my part.

        I just don't have the time or the inclination to wr
      • by pjstevns (232439)

        I care.

        Also those manufacturers of complex hardware like Nvidia might care, so that they can justify putting the resources aside to develop Linux drivers.

        If Nvidia gave a hoot about linux they would open-source the 3D driver or at least provide specs and docs to the nouveau project. I no, I seriously don't think they need to be told by LiCo how many people use linux. They Know!

        FWIW: LiCo smells like amateur-hour. Too bad!

        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          If Nvidia gave a hoot about linux they would open-source the 3D driver or at least provide specs and docs to the nouveau project.

          nVidia actively develop, maintain, support a Linux driver, I would call that giving a hoot, in which case, your prediction was wrong or a lie.

      • by chrb (1083577)

        The first thing they will ask is "where did this number come from?". The 29 million users estimate appears to be the ratio of new registered users multiplied by an old estimate from 2001. It seems like a very unreliable figure. I've been using Linux as my main desktop since 1996, I've installed hundreds of servers, several desktops, and I've never heard of this Linux Counter site before now. I would imagine most Linux users have also never heard of this site... and now it appears on Slashdot, registrations

    • ...as long as it works, who cares how many people use it?

      Quite a few care, obviously.

    • by westlake (615356)

      ...as long as it works, who cares how many people use it?

      It becomes much easier to attract money and talent if your "product" has a market of some measurable size.

      The Moz Foundation gets 97% of its funding through the add-click --- from its placement on the Windows desktop, for all practical purposes.

    • by deniable (76198)
      The competition. Don't look at desktops. Look at smart phones.
    • Because we need people to care about it for it to work? With OSS, what goes around comes around.
  • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @09:47AM (#37361942)
    Maybe not such a great marketing move. I wonder how Microsoft would react to much higher than expected numbers of Linux boxes. In the distant past, Linux was waved off on the desktop side as a hobbyist or novelty platform, but I've seen many of my friends and colleagues switch over to a Linux distro in the past few years for their primary OS.

    Of the three computers I have (not including gaming consoles and my phone running linux), all of them are either single, double, or triple boot optioned with a linux distro as one of the options.
    • by deniable (76198)
      Get the Facts, [wikipedia.org] Microsoft have been there for a while. It's Apple that are having problems now and they're already getting market share numbers for Android v. iPhone.
    • by arisvega (1414195)

      .. but I've seen many of my friends and colleagues switch over to a Linux distro ..

      I would advise you to take a harder look; whole universities, companies and public sectors of entire states have been using Linux for years now.

      Actually I do not think there are many universities that don't- most started with some package from RedHat provided support and uptime, but soon learned how to do it themselves. Companies would just use anything that works, but most DTP ones I know go for Mac systems (if they got the budget for it- else they go for pirated MS software). For the public sector the ch

      • I would advise you to take a harder look; whole universities, companies and public sectors of entire states have been using Linux for years now.

        Yes, and we have a 5 figure number of linux servers, but who wants to enter those details into this site? Who would allow us? And, their sendmail script, running on all those machines? Not a chance.

        None of the major users of linux will want to waste their time with this. This is really for retentive power users who want to show off their linux usage. I know, I've been getting the annual email for years, it still lists my first machine from 10 years ago on there. Well, it did until I finally updated the list

      • Well yes, I see REHL/HPUX/Centos/OS X just about everywhere in industry and in academia, but I'm talking about grassroots every-day-joe engineers and moderately technically minded people. Those are the ones that I've been seeing a rapid increase in desktop linux adoption.
    • Maybe not such a great marketing move. I wonder how Microsoft would react to much higher than expected numbers of Linux boxes. In the distant past, Linux was waved off on the desktop side as a hobbyist or novelty platform, but I've seen many of my friends and colleagues switch over to a Linux distro in the past few years for their primary OS.

      maybe anecdotal evidence, but evidence nonetheless... the supermarkets in my locality ALL have a small amount of shelf space allocated for Linux Format magazine and in

    • Of my 5 computers, of which 2 are desktops (mine and wifes), 2 servers and 1 laptop, I gave up the "dual-boot' several years ago. All of the systems run Ubuntu 8.04 (the two servers), or 10.04 on the desktops/laptop. For the ever-decreasing need for Windows, I have a Virtualbox VM on each, with a Windows 2003 server install, which as far as most apps are concerned, *is* WinXP.. Never had a need for a "bare-metal" Windows install in the last
      several years. One of the servers, a Dell PowerEdge 750 runs a headl

  • Well ... 500,000 Android activations a day, that should "count" for something ... or is that Gnu/Android ?
  • "This new project will be re-written in a total modern way."

    I can hear the counter devs talking now, you see we are going to use this really cool OOP hierarchy and this great ORM for mysql. The server is only going to consume 100MB of ram for each request it will be awesome.

    • "This new project will be re-written in a total modern way."

      I can hear the counter devs talking now, you see we are going to use this really cool OOP hierarchy and this great ORM for mysql. The server is only going to consume 100MB of ram for each request it will be awesome.

      ORMs and OOP don't consume that much memory per request (unless the developer using it doesn't have a clue and/or the project requires a lot of memory, which would be ORM independent). In the right hands, these tools will result in a more efficient app since they free up developer time to profile and optimize.

      • Yes but in reality the developers who are now working faster and more efficiently because of their freed up time, probably won't profile or optimize. Most* will consider themselves done and pat themselves on the back for a rewriting job well done without any further thought until something bad happens.

        *Most -- Yes I am aware that anyone reading this is the exception to the rule and you profile, optimize and test extensively while not wasting time, you are on /. after all.

    • by 6Yankee (597075)
      Surely you want nosql in there? New paradigm and all that.
  • It has a Twitter account! Instant success!
  • I've been on this tracker since 1996, and personally MS-free since 2001. I think its a worthwhile project and reply to the occasional update reminders. A reskin is news?

    But it counts all Linux systems, not only those which use GNU. I had an email chat with RMS when this all came out, trying to get some clarification. It was a bit confusing, but he said *BSD is not GNU/*BSD even though they use the GCC compiler extensively. What seems to make Linux "GNU" is its' use of GNUtils. RMS did not claim glibc

    • IMHO, RMS is full of it here, and trying to ride Linux' popularity. OTOH, I am quite willing to believe the GPL _is_ absolutely critical to all Linux' development -- it attracted many more developers than the BSDL, most likely those who were concerned about commercial exploitation -- those who wouldn't be proud Apple took their code and hid it in OS/X.

      I agree that the GNU/Linux thing is at this stage largely pointless. Linux has become the de facto name for Linux distributions - not just the kernel.

      You're aware that the GPL doesn't preclude commercial exploitation? Also, what do you mean by code being hidden? Is it not in compliance with the licenses for the code in question? If there is no compliance issue then why insinuate bad behavior? Are Debian "hiding" vim if they include it without adding a prominent "now contains vim!" banner to their site? D

      • by redelm (54142)
        Yes, I'm well aware the GPL allows commercial exploitation. I _like_ it, and believe the GPL encourages ethical coding -- including giving source to people who have paid for code, not just reselling binaries.

        The AT&T suit did slow *BSD, but was over long before Linux passed *BSD in installs or coders.

    • IMHO, RMS is full of it here

      Why? Because he is reasonable and says that a system that is GNU + Linux is GNU/Linux, whereas a BSD is not GNU/BSD, even if it does use the GNU compiler collection?

      I don't get the problem people have with this. The GNU project provides a Unix-like (and I would say, nicer than many actual Unices) userland. You can use it with a variety of different kernels (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_variants [wikipedia.org]) and the experience of using the GNU software will be much the same. Operating systems based on the GNU us

      • by redelm (54142)
        I don't think GNU at all "owns" the concept of a unix-like enironment. Apart from the licence, GNU is principally a series of software projets (find on their website).

        If a user chooses a distro with KDE (rather than gnome), she does not run any GNU software directly (emacs, anyone?). KDE & KApps are not GNU.

        Yes, bash and other utils used _are_ GNU, but these are hardly unique and quite replaceable by things like tcsh and BSDutils. Frankly, I do not see system identity tied to invisible utils.

        re BT

  • Almost a month ago, too. Given recent events, my trust in SSL certs is already shaken enough.

  • by SwedishChef (69313) <craig&networkessentials,net> on Saturday September 10, 2011 @10:13AM (#37362048) Homepage Journal

    "The project started in 1993 and shot to fame six years later, largely as a result of three Slashdot articles (two of which brought the Counter to its knees)"

    It's down.

  • Okay, this counter is ... all about Linux , I get that. But its NOT news worthy. The site is designed pretty crappily as well as the error handling on server load. On top of that, the news summary says 'a modern redesign' of the website.... which still looks like about 2002 era, with some ajax thrown in. That is not modernization of an older concept.
  • Nothing's better than see a guy fail so hard after writing things like "...not the whole machine, we are not on windoze! :-P " on his announcement page.
    • 1 No Debian package. What's it about to count at all, then?
    • 2 Slashdotted. So you can't really count on it.
    • Update: Page was available at 3rd attempt. Not too bad...
    • by hduff (570443)

      • 1 No Debian package. What's it about to count at all, then?

      It's a script with installation and usage instructions that should run on any Linux distro.

      What is this "Debian package" nonsense of which you speak?

  • Seriously? You're asking "What has happened?". You're slashdotted! And you made the mistake of ASKING US TO SPAM YOU WITH ANSWERS!!

    Oh boy, double fail!
    • I don't think Alexander knew about this article. And the traffic could have come from Digg as well, if someone posted the same article there. He was just curious.
      • by Jorl17 (1716772)
        Yes, I know, that's the funny bit: he requested a bunch of users who probably will only go there once to tell him what's going on. That's going to be a lot of spam!
  • and statistics is all this will provide.

    It is a neat thing and we all know how inaccurate it is. When even distributions are not sure how many users they have how could a good count exist.

  • This seems to rely on the fact that the user would have a working mail transfer agent setup on their system. This is a rarity, however. I happen to have mailx configured with sendmail to use an SMTP smart host, however most people probably do not.

  • ....ugly as the old site.
  • really a silly counter. I started in '98. I have had many computers since that first one so exactly what are the counting?
    • by hduff (570443)

      really a silly counter. I started in '98. I have had many computers since that first one so exactly what are the counting?

      From the looks of their their script, it appears that they are now counting each Linux computer that reports itself to them via that script on a weekly basis.

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries

Working...