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The Linux Counter Relaunches

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the you're-spartacus-no-you're-spartacus dept.

Stats 113

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."

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Slashdot is dying. FoxNews confirms it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37361854)

Re:Slashdot is dying. FoxNews confirms it. (2)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37361962)

You must be new here

Re:Slashdot is dying. FoxNews confirms it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362638)

No one gives a shit what Fox thinks.

Re:Slashdot is dying. FoxNews confirms it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37364600)

No one here gives a shit what Fox thinks.

FTFY

A few suggestions for the new maintainer (5, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 3 years ago | (#37361862)

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.

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362000)

"That's unacceptable in a desktop setting"

That's Linux!

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 3 years ago | (#37362144)

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.

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 3 years ago | (#37362618)

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.

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362836)

Hello,

there will be a new script soon. I'm already working on it.

Alex

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (1)

hduff (570443) | about 3 years ago | (#37363444)

The script works just fine using a properly configured /etc/nail.rc file and /bin/mail on my Mandriva system.

If you use GMail like I do, some special configuration is needed:

set smtp=smtp.gmail.com:587
set smtp-use-starttls
set from=USERNAME@gmail.com
set smtp-auth-user=USERNAME
set auth-login=USERNAME
set smtp-auth-password=PASSWORD

You may need to provide a link to /usr/bin/sendmail if /etc/alternatives does not already do that.

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 3 years ago | (#37365584)

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.

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (1)

cobbaut (232092) | about 3 years ago | (#37362232)

Same here, mod parent insightful!

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362966)

A simple replacement to the current mechanism is to provide a Python or Perl script that gathers all the information from your system and then asks you for username/password (or read them from a config file) and POSTs that information to a web form in their site via HTTPS. After all, it's only been 20 years since the web was invented. Maybe it's time to adopt that open technology.

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (1)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | about 3 years ago | (#37364524)

Why not just fix your desktop's MTA so it forwards someplace where it can reach you and the outside world?

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37364592)

> "That's unacceptable in a desktop setting."

Idiot elitist anti-geeks like you are unacceptable in a desktop setting too, but, like a cockroach, here you are!

Re:A few suggestions for the new maintainer (1)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | about 3 years ago | (#37365248)

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.

PHP Upgrade failed (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 3 years ago | (#37361880)

Opps

Re:PHP Upgrade^Wspelling failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37361958)

Oops

Already Slashdotted (4, Funny)

russlar (1122455) | about 3 years ago | (#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!

Noobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362028)

!linkID = @mysql_connect(localhost, lico, ***);
PHP-Version: 5.2.4-2ubuntu5.17

A properly configured production webserver does not leak this sort of info under load.

Re:Already Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362034)

Also the tradition of site down after slashdot article continues.

Re:Already Slashdotted (1)

sharkey (16670) | about 3 years ago | (#37362524)

Nice to see 7-digiters keeping up the side!

Re:Already Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362802)

I just clicked on the link. And waited. And waited. The tradition is alive!

Pointless... (2)

giuseppemag (1100721) | about 3 years ago | (#37361904)

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

Re:Pointless... (5, Insightful)

robbrit (1408421) | about 3 years ago | (#37361936)

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.

Re:Pointless... (3)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 3 years ago | (#37362270)

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 write my own drivers, and I am honest enough to admit that my own skills in this area are unlikely to stack up well against someone who does this for a living.

This aside, although I bought my first Nvidia card in 1998, I have never replaced one because it has failed. Motherboard manufacturers keep changing their sockets so my old cards no longer fit. But over the years, I have cobbled together a lot of boxes using my old components for various charities (with Linux pre-installed), and those old Riva and GeForce cards are still damn good components for anyone who doesn't need high-end gaming performance.

Re:Pointless... (1)

pjstevns (232439) | about 3 years ago | (#37362360)

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!

Re:Pointless... (2)

chrb (1083577) | about 3 years ago | (#37363038)

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 will suddenly jump, and the estimate will increase by several million users?! And how many non-English speakers will have registered with this site?

Here's another guesstimate I just came up with: 2 billion internet users, 2.38% Linux desktop share according to Wikipedia, so 56 million Linux users...oh well, quality is often more important than quantity...

Re:Pointless... (-1, Troll)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#37363722)

You want to get users? look at the above post to see what is wrong, with its half a page of config crap you have to put in simply to send a "I'm here!" to the counter through Gmail. That is fricking nuts folks!

This simple phrase bears repeating...you know what the definition of insanity is? It is doing the same action over and over and expecting a different outcome and sadly that is Linux in a nutshell. the world has spoken and the word is CONSUMERS! in giant 50 foot flaming neon. They want clicky clicky simple, nothing more than 3 GUI clicks away for basic tasks, CLI is a giant DO NOT WANT, and Torvalds and his kernel Goatse team need to "pursue other interests" because it is this attitude of "we do what we want not matter what" which he brags about in this article [kerneltrap.org] that makes Linux drivers a bad joke!

The clock is ticking Linux guys, the biggest shot since Vista is about to pop up right in front of you. Will you rise to the challenge? in 2014 hundreds of millions of XP machines will be EOLed. Nearly all of which is more than powerful enough for basic web and office tasks (average 2.2GHz-3.2GHz P4, 512Mb -2Gb of RAM) and they are all gonna fall into the laps of shop owners like me. Will we be stripping them for parts, upgrading the ones that can take it to Win 7 and tossing the rest, or will we be putting Linux on them? That is up to you people.

The reason I don't offer Linux is because every 6 months your drivers break and that is just unacceptable. We aren't talking funky Chinese cap cards here, we are talking Realtek, ATI, Nvidia, Intel, bog standard basic stuff. When I go to one of the forums and get told "Yeah well it does that, what you need to do is" followed by a page and a half of CLI gobbledygook...gentlemen that is simply unacceptable. you think I'm supposed to make Joe and Sally consumer learn bash scripting?

You don't want a stable ABI, you think you can do better than the kernel teams for BSD, MSFT, Apple, hell everyone BUT Linux? Fine then FIX THE PROBLEM but do it fast. No more excuses, no more "if they would just give us perfect drivers" bullshit, because that is what it is. NOBODY gets perfect drivers, they ALL have problems, but the others manage to get them to work consistently. hell you've had the Realtek drivers for ages yet the still fuck up! The clock is ticking folks, Apr 2014 isn't far away. get on the ball, give the people what they want, or don't be surprised when the new counter says you're stuck at 1%, just like you were 3 years ago, and which is you continue to try to force people to do things YOUR way instead of giving them what THEY WANT is where you will be in 3 years. The 1970s are over and disco is dead folks, trying to bring back the term is about as pointless as trying to bring back the 8 track. Its as out of date as RMS and how he calls everyone "hackers" like he is at a computer club in 1977.

Re:Pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37364754)

Your link has Linus stating something quite different from what you say he is saying in it...

Linus is saying that Linux does not have a set "we want it to end up... here!" but instead a model of "Oh hey, this is something that we need... let's do it" and "Hey, this isn't working so great, so let's do this instead that will probably work better." I agree with Linus--this is a good thing. It has its definite downsides in the way that it is executed in Linux (drivers, as you mention), but it does allow the kernel to evolve to fit the needs that it is being used in as opposed to just sitting around on theoretical ideas and not evolving to fit new needs that some have begun to use it in which were never thought of prior to that (honestly, it probably would have failed miserably to be used as a server, desktop, and embedded kernel all at the same time if it was too strictly controlled to fit just one of those needs like a lot of kernels end up at).

This is not a "we do what we want no matter what" attitude. This is a "we do what we have to in order to make it work in the situations where we need it to work in as we need them to work in those situations" attitude. And that's the right attitude.

Re:Pointless... (1)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | about 3 years ago | (#37361960)

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

Quite a few care, obviously.

Re:Pointless... (1)

westlake (615356) | about 3 years ago | (#37362066)

...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.

Re:Pointless... (1)

deniable (76198) | about 3 years ago | (#37362072)

The competition. Don't look at desktops. Look at smart phones.

Re:Pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362180)

It's very competitive on the desktop too. Microsoft artificially maintains a monopoly. Despite all that and people constantly saying dumb things that aren't true like "linux is for geeks" or "linux is hard" or "linux is for technical people" when in reality it depends on the version. Mac OS X is also based on the same software as most GNU/Linux distributions. GNU/Linux desktop distributions are easier to use than Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows provided users have comparable support and resources.

Suggestion for anybody who wants to move a non-technical user to GNU/Linux. Send em to:

http://www.thinkpenguin.com/

They have excellent support services. From hardware to software they tweak it and only tweak what needs to be for non-technical users. The default Ubuntu installations work out of the box so even a reinstall doesn't require any "custom" (another word for proprietary non-free stuff usually) software. This "just works" is because everything is designed for free software. Not just "Linux". This is unlike any other company selling computers or peripherals for GNU/Linux. It doesn't matter if you order a printer or a whole computer. The products work seamlessly together as things should.

They have a software add-on called Penguin Assist for Firefox which helps non-technical users get around some of the minor stumbling blocks of most if not all distributions in cases where site don't support or badly support GNU/Linux. The plug-in is targeted at users of Ubuntu / Trisquel although anybody can install it. The plug-in though may not be as useful to others on non-Ubuntu based distributions as apturl is called instead in some cases where a user visits a site that prompts them to download a package. Even things that aren't really that big a deal. Like the lack of Netflix and similar have pretty decent solutions to them. Instead of users seeing Netflix when the go to http://www.netflix.com/ they get redirected to the Penguin Entertainment Guide (https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/entertainment-guide). There they are introduced to other similar entertainment options such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, and dozens of other sites.

Re:Pointless... (2)

Omestes (471991) | about 3 years ago | (#37363002)

. Despite all that and people constantly saying dumb things that aren't true like "linux is for geeks" or "linux is hard" or "linux is for technical people" when in reality it depends on the version.

Its gotten better, but those phrases still, sadly, stand. Perhaps I'm bitter because I'm once again fishing for a decent distro (anyone have anything to say about Aptosid?), but Linux still isn't as easy to use as OS X or Windows. Sure, its more versatile and powerful, but that is something that only matters to geeks and technical people.Yes, the days of spending hours hand writing config files has passed (though not completely, no distro will support sound over HDMI on an Ion chip without messing with ALSA), but it still isn't as easy to use, it still breaks for somewhat arbitrary reasons, and Linux coders still can't make a GUI to save their lives.

When both Gnome and Ubuntu jumped the shark, ruining my years of Distro stability, I had to go fishing for a decent distro. None of them were very friendly, half of the ones I tried wouldn't recognize my 8 year old wifi chip. All them them were very, very, different, with different ways of doing things. Most of them have incomprehensible config GUIs.

Hell, there isn't even decent media software. When I was trying to make a Linux based HTPC, I couldn't find anything simple enough to use as a "roll your own" jukebox at a party, where people of all levels of computer skill could access music, and create playlists (ala iTunes party shuffle). I couldn't even find anything that was stable with a very large library (50Gb+). I spend around a whole weekend just trying various media players, to see if anything would even come close to my needs. None did. Well, Songbird was close, but they discontinued Linux support, and it still liked to crash or go unresponsive. What software there is, that a normal person would want, all looks terrible, and is often wrapped in an impenetrable mess of a GUI (with no consistency, even).

Hell, even the core isn't quite there. The Linux filesystem, for all its functional and logical glory, sucks for the average user. The fact that I still need to use the command prompt daily doesn't help either (I personally don't mind, buy my parents would). When something breaks in Linux, it breaks, when something breaks in modern iterations of Windows, there is generally a quick fix, and it generally is 100% the fault of the user.

I can attest to this, since I'm not a technical user. I'm a geek, sure, but I'm pretty much trying to teach myself Linux as I go. I'm not an expert user. I'm also not the average joe, since I've been attached to a key board for 28 years, and have probably tried around 300 distros over the years, waiting for Linux to be mature enough to be my daily OS. I love Linux, I use daily now. But it still isn't at the point where I'd recommend it to a complete novice. Ubuntu was making me hopeful that that point would be coming soon, but lately I have my doubts (Unity, wtf?). Hell, the easiest to use GUI (Gnome) decided to kill themselves as well. Its as if the community decided that they might be able to stand on their own (desktop wise), and got scared.

Though, I suppose, I respect the idea behind Unity and Gnome Shell, Linux should try to just be a Windows/OS X clone, and should try being competent on its own merits, in its own way. If I wanted OS X or Windows, I'd be running them. Sadly both implications failed completely. And going for "simpler than OS X" is probably a mistake, since Linux' strength sure as hell isn't its simplicity.

Re:Pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363762)

Hi!

Quick question: Are you from a parallel universe, or just really high? Inquiring minds want to know.

I'm betting on the latter, BTW.

Thanks!

Re:Pointless... (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 3 years ago | (#37365380)

Well said, mostly. Linux is great, very functional but it does require some fiddling around every now and then. Though it tends to support my hardware better than Windows, historically. WiFi out of the box is often a problem, but it's not that much better in Windows unless you happen to have an installation CD for your wireless card. Windows also tends to not recognize VIA audio drivers on every other computer.

Your complaints about the file system, though, were odd. Why would it suck for the average user? It's actually much more streamlined. Everything that's yours is in /home/you. That's it and it's bookmarked. The rest is just white noise. Windows, on the other hand, puts your shit all over the place. Is it in C:\Users\you\program? No. Ok, C:\Program Files\program? Ok, then try C:\Program Files (x86)\program. Is whatever you want there? Oh, it might be in C:\program, try that. Windows 7 annoyed me for a while because it did not bookmark my home folder by default and left me dumbly looking for a C:\Documents and Settings that I couldn't find until I saw Users. Then everything was ok again, but Windows is not in any way, shape or form better than Linux when it comes to the file system.

Regarding your distro hunting, if you liked Ubuntu, try Mint. Preferably the Debian Edition. It simply saves you the hassle of installing media codecs and flash and is the distro I'm now recommending to newcomers.

People who use it (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 3 years ago | (#37363326)

Because we need people to care about it for it to work? With OSS, what goes around comes around.

Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37361914)

> two of which brought the Counter to its knees

Yeah, make that three.

Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

deniable (76198) | about 3 years ago | (#37362080)

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.

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

arisvega (1414195) | about 3 years ago | (#37362122)

.. 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 change is slower, because -I guess- of some burreocratic inertia. But they are catching up, especially if there is a directive to "keep up to speed" with "cyberstuff"

A few years back, even microsoft was using it on its own microsoft.com domain (i.p. egg.microsoft.com), very much so visible by a simple nmap OS fingerprint extraction.

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

puregen1us (648116) | about 3 years ago | (#37365472)

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 properly this year.

But, really, this is about people showing off their personal machines, nothing more. I don't see how the stats can possibly be accurate.

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 3 years ago | (#37365840)

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.

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (-1, Flamebait)

westlake (615356) | about 3 years ago | (#37362488)

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...

It doesn't matter whether you look at the webstats from Net Applications. StatCounter, W3Schools, or any other reasonably credible, recognizable, source.

It doesn't matter if you look at the global numbers or a breakdown by region.

The numbers for the traditional community-oriented Linux desktop distribution are all eminently lousy.

If these were the trend lines for your grandmother in hospital, the doctors would be telling you it is time to let go.

The fundamentals never change.

Apple and Microsoft hit the ground running in the late seventies and early eighties.

Collectively, they have sixty years of experience serving the needs of the non-technical end user and a 99% share of the desktop by most measures.

Amazon.com alone returns 79,000 hits in a search for "Windows software." Gog.com is republishing for Win 7 every MS-DOS and PC game it can its hands on. 300 or so to date.

It is damn hard to compete with numbers like these ---

and it is time the geek learned that "Free as in Beer" is over-rated.

FOSS programs even remotely of interest to the masses are routinely ported to Windows or begin as native Windows apps.

To be perfectly blunt about this, the Linux repository has nothing in stock the typical Windows user doesn't already have or can find more easily elsewhere --- and he won't be moved by talk of ideological purity or political correctness.

It is not too much of a stretch to say that has become all but impossible to fund or staff development of a complex and truly compettive desktop application without the port to Windows.

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

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | about 3 years ago | (#37363246)

Really ?.. That's not 79,000 applications for Windows.. That's many vendors selling a lot of the same stuff.. Your post has not convinced me to give up Linux at all.. My numbers are more important than your delusions of grandeur .. Full time Linux user since 2001 = 10 years.. Virus infections = 0 .. Malware = 0.. Time spent reinstalling to fix a corrupted system = 0 .... I have never had a corrupted registry.. I have never had my web browser get borked to the point where I had to "reset it".. I have never had a "missing dll" error on rebooting my system... So you can keep your superior OS, I wouldn't switch to it if it was free.

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

westlake (615356) | about 3 years ago | (#37365150)

Your post has not convinced me to give up Linux at all..

It wasn't meant to.

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363814)

Amazon.com alone returns 79,000 hits in a search for "Windows software." Gog.com is republishing for Win 7 every MS-DOS and PC game it can its hands on. 300 or so to date.

And google returns 194.000.000 hits in a search for "idiot". What's your point?

and it is time the geek learned that "Free as in Beer" is over-rated.

And "Free as in speech" is under-rated...

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 3 years ago | (#37362864)

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 some cases, Linux Magazine as well... people must be buying the magazines, otherwise, the supermarkets would reallocate the space in a heartbeat... they monitor every item being sold and if anything is lacking in performance ie pounds coming in per week per foot of shelf then it gets dropped...

Re:Good PR for Linux in the tech world... (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about 3 years ago | (#37362894)

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 headless Virtualbox Windows 2003 server instance for putzing around with... I forsee the day when I won't even need the Windows VM's....

Android (0)

giorgist (1208992) | about 3 years ago | (#37361950)

Well ... 500,000 Android activations a day, that should "count" for something ... or is that Gnu/Android ?

Re:Android (1)

muep (901215) | about 3 years ago | (#37362058)

... or is that Gnu/Android ?

More like Android/Linux.

Re:Android (1)

armanox (826486) | about 3 years ago | (#37362134)

Either that or just Google/Linux.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362200)

OHA/Linux.

Re:Android (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 3 years ago | (#37362314)

Go nux

ha ha from the twitter feed (1)

codepunk (167897) | about 3 years ago | (#37361954)

"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.

Re:ha ha from the twitter feed (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 3 years ago | (#37362324)

"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.

Re:ha ha from the twitter feed (1)

trcollinson (1331857) | about 3 years ago | (#37362694)

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.

Re:ha ha from the twitter feed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362690)

Hell, It would be nice if you could choose a 'started using' date after 2007...

I mean... I started using G'Linux before that date, but In the past 4 years 20 of my friends & family now also use the OS.

Perhaps they already calculated the demographic of people who would actually register and concluded that if you haven't been using it for at least 4 years then you probably won't try to get counted? I suppose I fall within such boundaries, does everyone? Could a YEARLY update to their registration form be considered "modern"?

IMHO, "totally modern way" would be a package available in .deb and/or .rpm which installs a startup script that yearly or monthly, etc. sends machine info... I mean, I wrote a startup script in Bash to update DynDNS settings if the machine's public IP has changed (so I can VNC Grandma's 'puter), this shit isn't hard folks.

Re:ha ha from the twitter feed (1)

6Yankee (597075) | about 3 years ago | (#37363240)

Surely you want nosql in there? New paradigm and all that.

TWITTER YAY (1)

equex (747231) | about 3 years ago | (#37361964)

It has a Twitter account! Instant success!

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37361966)

2011 will be the year of Linux on the desktop!

Re:Interesting (1)

deniable (76198) | about 3 years ago | (#37362094)

It skipped the desktop and went straight for the pocket.

Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (0)

redelm (54142) | about 3 years ago | (#37361970)

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 was enough.

But I have many lightweight systems without GNUtils (often using busybox) and usually with a cut down libc. At the other end of the scale, when I have to use a GUI, I prefer KDE over gnome (and fvwm over both). None of these use much GNU software.

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.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362082)

[RMS] said *BSD is not GNU/*BSD even though they use the GCC compiler extensively.

No kidding. If using gcc somehow tainted things and made them GNU, it's a safe bet that gcc would be nowhere near as popular as it is.

That not withstanding, *BSD or FreeBSD anyway, is working to replace gcc. AFAIK they're trying to eliminate as much GNU software as possible.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (1)

laffer1 (701823) | about 3 years ago | (#37362498)

FreeBSD is moving to llvm clang. OpenBSD and NetBSD have put effort into getting pcc working again. DragonFly has embrassed the GPLv3 and put recent GCC in. MirBSD has been experimenting with pcc but I don't know their objective there.

MidnightBSD might switch to llvm but we're evaluating what will be the best objective c solution long term. The real problem is support from the GNU community is limited. Upstreaming patches as a BSD developer is a nightmare. They don't want us as users.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362176)

GNU forms an important and fundamental part of the system as a whole; the GNU system is even more fundamental than KDE or Gnome. While there are other important software, the codebase size of GNU combined with how fundamental it is (within a GNU/Linux system) makes it a significant candidate for this specific nomenclature.

Note that Linux/Android systems do not make fundamental use of GNU and so, GNU would be a less significant part of that system. This is also true for systems that rely on Busybox; GNU does not form a significant part of this system. Merely aggregating GNU software also does not signify GNU to be a fundamental part of the system. For example, installing Cygwin into a Windows system doesn't necessarily mean the system should be called GNU/Windows because Windows can operate with or without Cygwin; this would not be the case if you somehow modified the Windows system to fundamentally rely upon GNU.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (1)

staalmannen (1705340) | about 3 years ago | (#37366384)

I find the definition on when a system should be counted a GNU system is quite confusing. If it is the coreutils that determines it, Arch linux users can quite painlessly transplant GNU coreutils with busybox ( https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=48187 [archlinux.org] ) or heirloom ( https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=48399 [archlinux.org] ) equivalents. Is it a dependency on Bash-isms in init scripts and other stuff for running the system, then the Debian-derived distros should be out of the definition since they have moved on to Dash and Gobo linux is using zsh if I am not mistaken. Is it glibc that determies if a system is a GNU system? This one is more difficult to replace, but Android is using bionic, there are uClibc and musl libc linux variants out there. If it is binutils and gcc that determines if a system is a GNU system, a lot of the BSDs would also be considered GNU systems.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (1)

Slashdot Assistant (2336034) | about 3 years ago | (#37362326)

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? Do we want a return to the advertising clauses of the earlier MIT license? Developers should choose licenses that best represent their wishes, and if a developer wants to force Red Hat management to once a month march through the city waving OpenSSH banners and setting off fucking fireworks then that's what they should require in a license. Neither GPL nor BSD are inherently better licenses. If GPL works for Linux the same is not automatically true of something like OpenSSH. Choose the license that suits your needs - don't expect anyone to do anything more than that which is specifically required by the license.

GPL undoubtably helped renew and popularize the open source movement - including Linux. The legal difficulties surrounding BSD didn't do any harm to Linux adoption.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (1)

redelm (54142) | about 3 years ago | (#37362818)

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.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363474)

There have been articles posted to /. about Apple withholding source for (L)GPL components for six months. That's a violation. WebKit only exists at all because the contributions to KHTML that Apple upstreamed were too obfuscated to integrate into the main tree. That's irritating. That said, I have absolutely no problem with IBM, Google, Red Hat, Novell, or anyone else that contributes back. Even Apple has done some good things, like CUPS, keeping WebKit free, Bonjour/Zeroconf, and funding FreeBSD's development of Clang/LLVM. I'm glad that open source can be used to make people money - it'd be pretty useless in the real world if it couldn't.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | about 3 years ago | (#37362570)

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 userland are customarily referred to as GNU/. GNU/Linux is one instance of this.

With Linux, you also get the option of using different userlands than GNU. Android is an example of this, as are a number of installations I have performed using Linux and Busybox. These would be Linux, but not GNU. Hence, calling them GNU/Linux would be inappropriate.

In common usage, "Linux" is often used to refer to GNU/Linux systems, but, technically, Linux is only the kernel, and much of the personality of an operating system is determined by the userland. For example, Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 and Android 2.3 are quite different and applications written for one will likely not work on the other. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD 6.0 would be similar to Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 - even though /kFreeBSD isn't based on Linux and Android is.

Long story short, ideology and popularity aside, "GNU/Linux" makes technical sense. Then again, I may be "full of it", too.

By the way, regarding your statement that RMS is trying to ride on Linux's popularity, you may want to consider that Linux is riding on the (previously developed) GNU system. I think both are true, and this is mutually beneficial.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (1)

redelm (54142) | about 3 years ago | (#37362794)

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 BTW, Linus most certainly built upon gcc and GNUtils. But he doesn't them for popularity. Fighting over credit is discreditable.

Re:Also counts non-GNU Linux ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37364924)

Yes, bash and other utils used _are_ GNU, but these are hardly unique and quite replaceable by things like tcsh and BSDutils.

The same applies to the kernel, therefore if unreplaceability is the criterion for being mentioned in the name of the OS then we shouldn't call it "Linux" either.

Make it a game (1)

udachny (2454394) | about 3 years ago | (#37361976)

People don't know about this counter thing, why not make it a game for GNU/Linux and have it for download, and then count every download? How about using the counter as a game portal as well, and have an option in the game to have you counted? For servers maybe there should be another option, count download of some different types of server software (maybe count Apache for Linux Server)? Use some unique machine identifier data not to count the same machine twice.

SSL certificate expired (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 years ago | (#37361998)

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

Uh... make that three times... (2, Informative)

SwedishChef (69313) | about 3 years ago | (#37362048)

"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.

Meh. It's full of stars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362052)

What does this number mean if everyone knows it's way off?

You're never going to get numbers for all the TVs, BDplayers, cameras, phones, Linksys routers, and the thousands of other consumer devices that are running LInux under the covers.

Polish a turd, its still a turd! (2)

PenquinCoder (1431871) | about 3 years ago | (#37362090)

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.

Re:Polish a turd, its still a turd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362460)

So... what would make it more 'modern'? Flash?

Re:Polish a turd, its still a turd! (1)

hduff (570443) | about 3 years ago | (#37363538)

So... what would make it more 'modern'? Flash?

Mono.

Delicious (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 3 years ago | (#37362156)

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.

Re:Delicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362250)

I would say that it's a pretty good generalization of your average Linux user.

Double Fail (2)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | about 3 years ago | (#37362160)

  • 1 No Debian package. What's it about to count at all, then?
  • 2 Slashdotted. So you can't really count on it.

Re:Double Fail (1)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | about 3 years ago | (#37362190)

Update: Page was available at 3rd attempt. Not too bad...

Re:Double Fail (1)

hduff (570443) | about 3 years ago | (#37363554)

  • 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?

Re:Double Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37364252)

If you can't apt-get it, it's not useful or doesn't exist.

Seriously? (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | about 3 years ago | (#37362192)

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!

Re:Seriously? (1)

fireball74 (2441826) | about 3 years ago | (#37362282)

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.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | about 3 years ago | (#37362386)

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!

wohoo... not so much... stoooop... :-P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362230)

Yay... our online user counter explodes, thanks to slashdot.org! :-)
The server actually is extremly slow, but mostly the page still comes up. If not, then send you complaints to slashdot.org... haha. :-)
Alexander Mieland
http://linuxcounter.net

Lies, damn lies (1)

houghi (78078) | about 3 years ago | (#37362234)

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.

Re:Lies, damn lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37365366)

Inaccurate? It provides a minimum number to anybody who needs it. 56 million Linux users? Well, now they know that there are MORE than 56 million Linux users, don't they?

The new graphs are awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37362558)

- You're plotting total counts so you need to remove the prefix "Growth of" from titles and y-axis. Reserve "Growth of" for when you actually plot the derivative (users / day).
- There are two parallel curves on the plots, but only one has a legend. Oh one is the shadow of the other? Don't do that.
- Use piecewise straight lines to connect the data points. Your interpolating curves show invented trends.

Re:The new graphs are awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363000)

Thanks for these hints. I've changed that all.
Alex

A flaw in their script (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | about 3 years ago | (#37362680)

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.

Meet the new site.... (1)

darkpixel2k (623900) | about 3 years ago | (#37362988)

....ugly as the old site.

silly (1)

defective_warthog (776271) | about 3 years ago | (#37363154)

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

Re:silly (1)

hduff (570443) | about 3 years ago | (#37363562)

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.

hmm why would I register? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37364830)

so that the list can be stolen/sold to patent holders, which can then try to extort money from all registered linux users? So that non-registered installation can be considered "illegal"?
No thanks - and yes I am somewhat paranoid about this. Memories of Novell patent deals and recent google/Android linux-related "licensing" from various patent holders.

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