Subject: Re: Data on open source business impact
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 20:31:12 -0400

> Well, I'm a big fan of data, and I do think that there is a huge
> opportunity for us in the open source/free software community to collect
> useful data that the big market research firms will never think of.
> (Some of you may have heard me talk about the impact of the netcraft
> survey on business perception of the importance of Apache, for
> instance.  This would have been completely overlooked by traditional
> market researchers.  This is why we need to keep remembering that the
> "hacker community" of friends and potential allies is considerably
> larger than people who share any particular slice of this migration.)
So what data would you suggest collecting?  Here are a few items
that I would consider relevant:

 - How many unique names appear on the credits in an average
   free software distribution?

 - How many downloads are there from popular sites X, Y, Z, with
   (if possible) statistics by project, project type, licence, etc.

 - How regularly do updates happen to free projects?

 - For projects which use standard bug-tracking software, can we
   get estimates on numbers of bugs, the turn-around times on bug
   reports, etc?  Break this out by the severity of the bug.  The
   second statistic is what the same statistics are for people who
   had support contracts with companies who are in the business of
   supporting this software.  (eg LinuxCare and Red Hat.)  If
   comparative statistics can be drawn (eg through surveys) of the
   response times from various vendors, the resulting study could
   be *very* valuable...

 - In a survey of people who work with various pieces of software.
   How many bugs are you aware of outstanding in current/your
   versions of said software?  Specify by type of bug.  (This may
   be subject to interpretation.  For instance I consider it a serious
   design bug in JavaScript that the variables are untyped AND
   the operators are untyped.  That may be the spec but one of
   those two REALLY SHOULD be typed.  Programmers should
   not be left wondering why 2+2 is 22!)

What other statistics am I missing..?