can you help collect package popularity data?

Tim Abell tim at
Sun Apr 11 11:52:56 CEST 2010

Alfa21 wrote:
> 2010-04-10 at 23:36 Tim Abell
>> The code is at
>> improvements would be welcome, as would inclusion in the various distros.
>> Perhaps if it works out this could be hosted by the various distro servers.
> nice idea...
> but it works only with opkg based distros and only with _packages_ (no manually installed tgz or compliled sources)
i'm only interested in opkg distros (shr) at the moment. apt bases ones 
could presumably use popcon if they want this functionality. tracking 
multiple distros would be a much more ambitious project, needing more 
standardised communications, and a way of matching up varied package 
name conventions to actual software. You are welcome to have a go :-) 
One that tracks software accross *all* platforms (including windows) 
would certainly be awesome for the OSS community.

I don't think I mind missing other methods of installation, as generally 
all programs that see any decent usage *should* be packaged properly 
(it's very easy to provide an ipk, even if you don't put it any feeds). 
Besides, the itch I was scratching was for an app that *is* packaged <grin>.

I think it would be harder to figure out what has been installed from 
source & tgz, they can be too varied to track. (patches welcome though :-)
> also, it seems you do not do any check on duplicated submissions from the same user.
indeed, I'd need a unique id for that. the trade off for that is 
privacy. not that i'm particulary against it, I just wanted "some 
numbers" as opposed to "no numbers", so wanted to get something out 
there without trying to make it perfect (and therefore never releasing it)
> so I think a human submitted simple "poll" is more useful.
i think human polls have their own value, but I think you are more 
likely to get complete data from something more automated. for what I 
wanted, the programmatic approach suits best.
> fixed choices with the label of the application (imho version number is not strictly relevant)
version is part of the default output of "opkg list-installed". I 
stripped it out when processing the data to just get a count & package 
name. see for an 
example. Version number might be useful to see if people are running 
out-dated / insecure versions, prompting a push to get everyone upgraded.
>  and the possibility for any user to add a new slot for missing ones and when submitted these new slots are converted to fixed choices for the others.
> every user should have own identifier so it's possible to update the own list of installed stuff.
it would be good for a user to have their own unique id that they could 
enter as well as a per machine id, but it would have to be optional as 
it might put people off. better data vs. privacy again I think.
> the date of submission should be collected too.
the filenames contain the php date output, which presumably can be 
turned back into a meaningful value.
> and ask a captcha on submission (bots are everywhere!)
I'll deal with that when I have a problem with it ;-)

Thanks for your email, it's great to bounce these ideas around.


Tim Abell

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