Open Source Census Gaining Steam


When the Open Source Census launched in April, many observers thought it got off to a pretty slow start. In the first day, fewer than 100 machines were scanned for open source. Organizers, however, weren't discouraged. Kim Weinz, a VP at census sponsor OpenLogic, reminded me at the time that the effort was not a sprint, but more of a marathon. She said:

Our plan for the Census always anticipated that we would need to build participation over a long period of time. We are actually on track for where we thought we would be at this time -- less than 60 days from launch ... We are now working to actively recruit large enterprises to scan a sampling of machines. We expect that many of these enterprises will scan hundreds or even thousands of machines. The process for enterprises to participate takes longer than an individual participating, since companies need to understand why they might want to participate, decide to participate and then execute the scans.

Now, nearly six months out, the census is gathering steam. InformationWeek blogger Serdar Yegulalp wrote Tuesday that there are open source installations all over the place in Europe, largely because there's not as much "by default" loyalty to Microsoft. Governments in Europe are also more inclined to use open source, he says.


Census reports indicate that to date, nearly 306,000 open source installations have been detected on the 2,234 machines scanned. Ubuntu's Hardy Heron and Gutsy Gibbon releases combine to account for 47 percent of the Linux distributions found on census participants' machines, followed by Debian and SuSE Linux, at 13 percent and 12 percent respectively. As Yegulalp points out, the absence of Red Hat Enterprise on the list reveals that participants are still scanning work stations as opposed to server systems. That, however, should change with time.


In fact, encouraging other enterprises to participate may have been part of the reason Microsoft signed on as a census sponsor in June. Weins told me then:

Prior to launching The Open Source Census, we began the process of reaching out to a wide variety of participants in the open source community and ecosystem. The list included large platform vendors, commercial open source vendors, open source communities and organizations, law firms and analysts.... In the case of Microsoft, we had started discussion with them prior to the initial launch..., but it took some time to get through the process of signing them up as a sponsor.