FAQ - Recording downloads via MirrorBrain
Why do we measure downloads?
One of the Marketing Project's key statistics is the number of downloads from the OpenOffice.org site. This gives us immediate feedback on the success of promotional activities, such as press releases, as well as trend information over time.
What is MirrorBrain?
When people request a download from the OpenOffice.org download page, they are directed to MirrorBrain. MirrorBrain redirects them to their nearest mirror site for the download they require, and records the request in a log file.
Does MirrorBrain provide the full story?
No! - it only records downloads started a single point, the OpenOffice.org download page. It omits:
- downloads which people make directly from mirrors
- downloads via other mechanisms, such as peer-to-peer networks
- downloads from other third-party repositories - including GNU/Linux distributions (see next question)
Note also that MirrorBrain logs when it successfully redirects someone to a download site - if the user chooses not to download, or cancels the download, then MirrorBrain will not be aware.
Why do MirrorBrain figures look low for GNU/Linux?
The OpenOffice.org Community provides OpenOffice.org software in the two most common GNU/Linux package formats (rpm and deb). However, the majority of GNU/Linux users receive software direct from their distributor's respositories. This is a significant omission and explains the relatively low number of GNU/Linux downloads in our figures. How big is the gap? When we released OpenOffice.org 3.0, Ubuntu - possibly the largest desktop GNU/Linux variant - estimated they had around eight million users.
Are MirrorBrain downloads the same as the number of users ?
No. Nothing like it.
- MirrorBrain records only a percentage of total downloads (see above)
- Downloads are only one distribution method - people buy CD-ROMs, or get one from a magazine cover, or borrow one from friends...; people buy PCs with OpenOffice.org pre-installed... etc.
- One download or CD-ROM can be installed on thousands of computers - or none at all
Note: the Distribution Project exists to make OpenOffice.org available through as many channels as possible.
Do other people provide statistics?
Several of the Native-Language Projects record download information for their languages.