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dogle

Joined: 11 Oct 2007
Posts: 328

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 17:31    Post_subject:  Forum member activity statistics
Sub_title: Skewed distribution raised concern
 

It's grand to see Puppy up there at the top end of the Distrowatch clickcount, but let's not be too complacent - that's just telling us that lots of fairly-Linux-savvy people have an interest in finding out something more about it.

We just have no way of knowing how many Puppy users there are out there, nor the 'profile' of the userbase. If - Heaven forfend! - Puppy were being 'marketed' as a commercial product, the marketing types would see this as a ludicrous, chaotic situation, in which they were blindfolded in their attempts to gain market share. Seems right now we're stuck with that.

Download counts may give a slightly better idea than Distrowatch, but there's no way of knowing how many of those are just casual distro-hoppers. The recent Puppy user age poll was very interesting, especially by comparison with Ubuntu, but a very small sample and not really adding a lot. Ah, but wait! - the forum can give us some 'gen .... maybe.

Last year I snook a look at the forum Memberlist (recommended, if you haven't been there yet). I was disturbed by what I saw, and so more recently I looked again and did some more determined number-crunching. The results to me were pretty scary.

On the one hand, the roster growthrate is increasing healthily, though not dramatically. (Up ~ 3200 '06, 3900 '07, 5200 '08, and now touching 16k). Ah, but wait! - dead dogs are not delisted - and here comes the bad news.

In brief, ~ 30% of newcomers never post before they fade away. 75% post not more than four times, then they are gone. After that there is a very slow tailing off of the remaining 25% to the relatively few stalwarts who are here for ever; maths buffs may see this a classic Poisson probability distribution (and their interpretations would be very welcome). I would agree that the forum roster gives only a fairly tenuous handle on what may be going on - I for instance had been a Puppy devotee for the best part of a year before I got round to signing up - but I fear it is the best source of information we have.

Why this shocking haemorrhage of new blood? What is going wrong? How can we find out, and what can we do about it?

As an incorrigible Puppy addict I find this not only baffling, but saddening; Puppy has brought me great satisfaction and joy, (and OK, I'll admit, a fair bit of frustration along the way), and I'd like to share this (sans frustration) with the rest of the world, but the rest of the world seems to be hoofing it - I mean, for pity's sake, after 6 years only ~25% OF 16k worldwide hanging in with interest on a distro of this supreme quality just beggars belief.

I have some firm views of my own on what some of answers might be, but they can be no more than subjective speculation given the info available, and I'd like to know what others think.

Edited_times_total
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Béèm


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 11782
Location: Brussels IBM Thinkpad R40, 256MB, 20GB, WiFi ipw2100. Frugal Lin'N'Win

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 17:37    Post_subject:  

It's not because someone don't post that he doesn't uses the product. If he is satisfied and has no problems.
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dogle

Joined: 11 Oct 2007
Posts: 328

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 18:36    Post_subject:  

Agreed, Béèm, of course; indeed as indicated that was my own situation for a little while, and thank you for your response.

Given however the way the numbers fall, I don't feel able to draw too much comfort from this - I'd love to believe there's a zillion happy silent users out there but, from what I see, I can't.
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Béèm


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 11782
Location: Brussels IBM Thinkpad R40, 256MB, 20GB, WiFi ipw2100. Frugal Lin'N'Win

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 18:40    Post_subject:  

There are many many happy linux users of which puppy is some part.

Are you sure that every person who is forced to buy a PC with Windows is a happy Windows user? You'd be surprised.

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markofkane


Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 314
Location: Kane, IL USA

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 18:42    Post_subject:  

What I cannot understand is Slax being No.1. Or was.
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davec51

Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 483
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 19:44    Post_subject: Not Yelping is Not Necessarity Fleeing
Sub_title: Some just lie there
 

How many drivers of automobiles have any interest in auto mechanics or design? Most drivers who enjoy their cars just want it to start up when they turn the key. So with computers: most of us want to surf, email, play, listen with no hassles.
Puppy is a great distro because it allows just that; it just works. I have been using Puppy for several years now without knowing much about command lines, bash scripts, or (Lord preserve us all!) the dreaded .intitrd file. Such users won't join a forum any more than your neighbor will read "Road and Track" magazine.
In this regard I'll mash Alelxander Pope a bit:
"Let nerds with nerds about their distros fight,
I know but this, whatever works is right."
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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 20:18    Post_subject:  

Quote:
The results to me were pretty scary.


Maybe you can find some comfort in Isaiah 43:2-3

Quote:
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.


PS.
Do not try this at home . . . Smile

Quote:
How can we find out, and what can we do about it?


[shrug] Nothing to be done.

More people are using as has been pointed out
More people testing and developing
Puppy is more popular and is heading for top 5 distro status

Quote:
If - Heaven forfend! - Puppy were being 'marketed' as a commercial product, the marketing types would see this as a ludicrous, chaotic situation


Hallelujah Hallelujah Smile
Keep up the good work guys, these marketing hypes
are being thwarted . . .

Puppy
Not suitable for marketing

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benali72

Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 21:34    Post_subject: Have we ever tried a Survey?  

Have we ever tried to survey the Puppy community? Or the Linux community about Puppy? (my searches did not turn up an such survey)

We'd have to think carefully about how to design the questionnaire, but if we do it right, we might learn more about why some people try Puppy and decide it's not for them -- as well as many other topics we might ask about.

What does everyone think? Lame idea, or worth the effort?
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mowestusa


Joined: 14 May 2009
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun 17 May 2009, 23:39    Post_subject:  

Might I suggest a little bit of a calmer approach.

I'm brand new to Puppy, tried it a year or two ago, didn't like it then, but now I'm really enjoying it. I just installed it on another machine on Friday.

I will let you know why I don't stick with Puppy if that happens. But in the mean time, I would encourage us to simply make Puppy better using the tools that are in place. Use the Blogs to give "Positive Puppy Use Stories", try and answer all new posts in the forum from new users quickly and with respect, add good documentation to the wiki, which I have been reading with lots of interest since installing Puppy on an old machine.

These are marketing things that we can do easily with the tools that are out there right now. If we are really interested in marketing, I noticed that there is a sub group on the forum for "documentation" under "Puppy Projects". Perhaps we could get a sub forum for marketing that could meet in that channel?

My experience in other Linux communities the following seem to keep new users excited:
1. Clear documentation (Puppy's user guide is actually really nice for this, a good start)
2. Friendly community (no dumb questions, newbie questions respected and answered kindly) - So far I have had a warm welcome to the community, so the Puppy community might be doing a good job with this too.
3. Community channels in lots of areas (IRC, forums, newsletters, mailing lists, blogs) - Once again Puppy seems to do a good job with this.

Perhaps, we have things in place that will only get better with time as the community takes a more active role in meeting the needs of new users using all of these channels that are in place.
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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11080
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Mon 18 May 2009, 00:18    Post_subject:  

dogle wrote:
The results to me were pretty scary.


Lobster wrote:
Maybe you can find some comfort in Isaiah 43:2-3


Lobster quoting (God of Israel to Isaiah) wrote:
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.


{ skipping text and some context for brevity }

dogle wrote:
How can we find out, and what can we do about it?


Lobster - replying wrote:
[shrug] Nothing to be done.


Then, Bruce wondered a bit and decided to come right and and say: "Lobster, you can PRAY about it."



~~~~~

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popeye

Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Mon 18 May 2009, 02:19    Post_subject:  

This is my first post as a new Puppy user and thought this forum would be a good place to share with you a newbie's perspective. First, I would like to thank everyone that has worked so hard on Puppy. I think this is a fantastic distro.

I have tried Puppy of couple of times in the past but stopped because it was too difficult to get my hardware working (as a newbie I can't always follow the the explanations in the forum or the explanations just don't work as described). Puppy 4.2 is the first version that recognizes all my laptop hardware. Having said this I tried to install it on my new family computer and the wireless card was not recognized. Once I swapped out the new card for the old one all was fine but many newbies would be afraid to do this.

For me, another major obstacle is the lack of an 100% compatible MS Office program. This is not a Puppy problem but a Linux issue. I use OpenOffice and it's great for my own work but in my work world most files I receive (student term papers) are written in MSword. Many of these contain nested tables or specialized formulas that don't print correctly in OpenOffice hence I must rely on a dual boot with Vista to correctly read these. I have used wine and have gotten MSword 2003 up and running but even this is not fully compatible and has printing issues. Having to reboot between OS gets to be tedious after awhile.

Also not having had any formal computer training, using the command line is somewhat challenging. Many of the explanations in the forum make assumptions / expectations that the reader is familiar with Linux commands. For most of us this is not true. Instead what us newbies do is type in exactly the code we find on the forum pages and if this doesn't work we more than likely give up and go back to whatever system we were using before.

For example I needed to get an OpenOffice version that recognized .docx files installed on my full 4.2 install. If I couldn't get this to work then from a practical point of view Puppy would not do. I couldn't find a pet package to do this but I did find an SFS package. It took me a few tries, and lots of reading, before I realized that SFS packages are not for full installs.

Luckily on the forum I found a post that walked you through how to install SFS to a full HD install (thanks DesertPuppy). However the explanation was for version 3.0.1 and the instructions were to modify the /etc/rc.d/rc.modules file. I couldn't find this file in 4.2. I did poke around a bit and found something in rc.services that somewhat resembled the description in the the post so I took a chance. I was lucky and it worked but if it hadn't I most likely would have gone back to Ubuntu.

I plan on sticking with Puppy for as long as I can as I love its speed and the ability to to make Puppy my own (Puppy unleashed) although I am having a hard time adjusting to ROX and haven't been able to get Thunar working for me yet.

I think the forum is great and have been doing my best to try and follow these suggestions even if I don't always understand why.

Thanks for all your hard work.
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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11080
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Mon 18 May 2009, 03:07    Post_subject:  

Welcome!

I enjoyed reading your article (post). You have most
excellent writing skills.

A comment for all. Most .sfs packages are for Frugal
installs. But if a package is made for a Frugal install, that's
usually because - it's made for a Frugal Install.

I make mine for Puppy Frugal or Full and by no coincidence
would work on many other Linux also.

Example to follow: (The Java Runtime is for OO)

/dev/loop6 on /opt/jre type squashfs (ro,noatime)
/dev/loop10 on /opt/office type squashfs (ro,noatime)


Wondering what I could do

Bruce

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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Mon 18 May 2009, 03:43    Post_subject:  

Quote:
I am having a hard time adjusting to ROX


Welcome to the kennels. Smile
That surprised me.
I can not even remember what we used before Rox . . .
. . . seem to remember a few file managers . . .

I find Rox very intuitive - always did
Once you learn to right click on a file to get some options . . .

Be interested what you find hard about Rox?
It may be the adjustment period?

MU seems to prefer the filemanager approach
and we have many fine
examples available - not sure which to recommend . . .

Smile

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Sylvander

Joined: 15 Dec 2008
Posts: 3400
Location: West Lothian, Scotland, UK

PostPosted: Mon 18 May 2009, 04:12    Post_subject:  

Take a look at the Linux forum at the PC-Guide.

Notice that most of the posts there are about Puppy Linux.
OK, OK, so a lot of those were started by me.
But there IS quite a bit of interest that has arisen just recently.

Paul Komski, who is a VERY knowledgeable member, runs Puppy Linux, but he has never posted here.

And others have just recently began to run a Puppy, and they also have never posted here.

I've not yet seen anyone who tried Puppy say they were disappointed by it.
In fact, 1st impressions are generally reported as good.
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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Mon 18 May 2009, 06:12    Post_subject:  

Sylvander,
I was completely unaware of that forum
there are more Puppys than we know of . . . Smile

Quote:
Then, Bruce wondered a bit and decided to come right and and say: "Lobster, you can PRAY about it."


I am on it Smile
If it is useless - I can do it

Maybe we can downgrade this from Defcon 1
to Green Alert
New Puppys arriving every day . . . or put a [Solved] after it?

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