Friday, April 18, 2008

Open Source Census: Stand Up And Be Counted

Just how much open source software are people using? Getting hard numbers about open source usage is one of those tough-to-crack problems that doesn't seem to have a definitive solution -- partly because of the nature of open source itself. Self-reporting seems to be about the only way to get any numbers at all, unreliable and biased as that may be. But if self-reporting open source usage is made as easy as a couple of mouse clicks, why not do it?

That's at least part of the impetus behind the Open Source Census, a project sponsored by (among others) open source vendor OpenLogic. The idea is to have users perform scans of their systems and submit data about what open source applications and packages are in use, and complement that with package-fingerprint information submitted by the creators of open source software. Information sent back to the OSC is anonymized as heavily as possible, to keep down the amount of proprietary information that might be transmitted. Reports derived

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