Two interesting tools popped up recently.
Good old Linux Counter has been passed down to a new maintainer. This is a classic project which attempts to get Linux usage data from user input. Its hard to tell if its particularly relevant, but it is interesting to see relative usage across platforms and by region. As for estimating global Linux use? Hard to be convinced this provides a good enough sampling to be very convincing. Nevertheless, I keep my machines at home registered there. Or at least some of them :P
Another one I really like is Debian Popcon which tracks popularity of Debian packages by installs and by "votes". Popcon is actually just a Debian package which phones home your installed package list and it is installed by default on some distros while not others. What I like about popcon is that when there are a wide variety of F/OSS tools available, you can check the list to see which tools are ranked highest so you can at least start by trying the most used tool rather than taking a total wild guess. For example, in looking for a SVN GUI tool, I did a "yum search svn" and there were a lot of hits. So I opened up popcon, search the list top to bottom for "svn" and took the highest hit which was a GUI tool which was RapidSVN. Well, then I checked with Dante which tool he used, but lo and behold, it was RapidSVN :)
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