Counting Linux users is always a challenge since most distributions do not track installations. Some projects make an effort to estimate usage by counting downloads, unique IP addresses contacting download mirrors, or other methods, but they all have limitations which can cause great over- (or under-)estimates. The Fedora project is examining options for getting a better user count using unique identifiers through the package manager. The proposal reads: "Right now, we estimate installed Fedora systems by counting unique IP addresses which show up in our updates mirror statistics. We need better data than that. There are some proposals for more complicated systems, but a quick thing we can do now to greatly improve what we have without a gigantic new infrastructure. This is an update of a previous proposal to use a UUID to distinguish unique systems, as openSUSE does." (Data collected by openSUSE's zypper package manager can be found on the project's Metrics website.) Any user tracking tends to raise concerns in the open source community and LWN has an article discussing some issues with the proposal along with alternative options for counting Fedora users.
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