Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Download statistics by operating system

Have you wondered which operating system is the most popular? Well, I mean among BleachBit users.

More than idle fancy, the information helps guide important development decisions such as packaging and as platform-specific cleaners. There are specific cleaners for Windows, Ubuntu, Fedora, and maybe others. Slackware required a special tweak to prevent deleting important files. Debian and Ubuntu require .deb packaging which is completely different than the .rpm packaging for CentOS, Fedora, Mandriva, and OpenSUSE, and Red Hat. Of course, Windows users need .exe files with PyGTK included. All these special needs require extra time, which is time taken away from other platforms.

When I started BleachBit seven months ago, I first packaged it for Fedora, which I myself use. Then, I used openSUSE Build Service to build packages for Debian, Mandriva, openSUSE, and Ubuntu. I was surprised by the disparity and quickly realized most downloads were for Ubuntu, many for Debian, and only a few for Mandriva.

The major change is BleachBit now runs on Windows. When Download Squad reviewed BleachBit, the Windows numbers gave Ubuntu some competition. For the last week since 0.5.2 was released, the chart below shows Ubuntu is back in the lead. (Note: SourceForge doesn't update its stats often. These were the same numbers as yesterday, so who knows how old they really are.)

BleachBit 0.5.2 download statistics for about one week

Mark Twain one wrote, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Indeed, this chart doesn't tell the whole story. BleachBit is included in the Debian and Ubuntu repositories, so there are more Debian and Ubuntu downloads than shown. However, Ubuntu Janty Jackalope users still download BleachBit from BleachBit because the version 0.3.x in the repository is old. SlackBuilds for Slackware has an old version 0.4.1, but I don't provide a package for Slackware. I don't know which version openSUSE's repository has, but a few weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised to find it in openSUSE. Last time I checked, Fedora's repository had too many rules for me to try to submit a package, and no one has volunteered. Last of all, Windows of course doesn't have a central repository (try to keep up, Microsoft).

Another factor is BleachBit for Windows is new, relatively unknown, and advertised as a "preview." Depending who you ask, there are 10-100 Windows desktop users for each Linux desktop user. As BleachBit matures on Windows, Ubuntu will likely take second place.

Now I'm confused which platform is still the most popular, but I still think Ubuntu wins— for now.

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