Scott J. Remnant claimed that itâ€™s the development community that use Debian testing or unstable. This doesn’t match my personal experience (I know many people running Debian testing/unstable who aren’t interested in Debian development), however I needed a better way to check this than just “my personal experience”. So I tried to answer the following question :
Are normal users using Ubuntu edgy and Debian testing/unstable, or do they stick with Ubuntu dapper and Debian stable ?
Simplified summary: (read below for details)
…Ubuntu dapper (stable): 96%
…Ubuntu edgy (development): 4%
…Debian sarge (stable): 24%
…Debian testing/unstable (development): 76%
First, I did a poll on #firstname.lastname@example.org using a CTCP VERSION query, and looked at people using Xchat and Ubuntu (Ubuntu is displayed in CTCP VERSION replies). I got 288 replies from Xchat users, 197 of them were using the Xchat package from Ubuntu. 189 (96%) of them are using version 2.6.1 (the version in Dapper), 8 (4%) of them are using versions 2.6.4 or 2.6.6.
Then, I did the same poll on #email@example.com. I got 85 replies from Xchat users, and filtered out 15 of them because they weren’t from Debian users for obvious reasons. 17 users (24%) are using versions 2.4.0 or 2.4.1 (Debian sarge), 53 users (76%) are using versions 2.4.3, 2.4.4, 2.4.5, 2.6.1 and 2.6.4 (Debian testing/unstable – v.2.6.4, the current version in testing/unstable, has 41 users on its own). Statistically speaking, this isn’t very good, so I compared those results with another source of information : Debian popularity contest. 3002 submitters are using v.1.28 of the popularity-contest package (version in sarge) while 9682 submitters are using v.1.33 (version currently in Debian testing/unstable). That accounts for respectively 24% and 76% ! Same as above ! (OK, this is not so good, because I haven’t considered the intermediate versions here, while I did above)
Of course, those numbers are huge approximations, and are subject to a lot of hypotheses and questions, amongst them:
- Are people on #ubuntu and #debian comparable ?
- Are Xchat users or popcon participants representative enough ?
- What about users of other IRC clients ? (I can’t do it with irssi, since its version didn’t change between dapper and edgy)
- What about people who change their CTCP VERSION reply ? Or disable it ?
- This only shows the system that people use to do IRC.
- Xchat users obviously run X on the system they are using. Irssi users don’t necessarly do, and I got slightly different results with #debian and irssi : 55 users of v.0.8.10 (Debian testing/unstable), versus 30 users of v.0.8.9 (Debian stable). That makes 65%/35% instead of 76%/24%.
- This is done in the middle of the edgy dev cycle, and near the end of the etch dev cycle. This could change over time.
I didn’t run the same poll on #debian-devel and #ubuntu-devel because I received some unpleasant comments already, and don’t want to run into angry Debian or Ubuntu developers (I’m still waiting for DAM approval after all :-)