Gemini version available ♊︎

Misleading Stories Based on Misleading Statistics (Microsoft and GNOME)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Vista 7, Windows at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Acid 2 compliance by usage
From Wikipedia: “Example of biased sample, claiming as of June 2008, that only 54% of web browsers (Internet Explorer) in use do not pass the Acid2 test. The statistics are from visitors to one website comprising mostly web developers.”

Summary: Why Microsoft’s latest Vista 7 ‘usage’ hypnosis is false and why the GNOME census does not tell the whole story

WE ARE NO FANS of statistics (although we quite like Netcraft saying that Techrights is ranked 1060th on the Web for traffic because it’s skewed towards/in favour of UNIX/Linux users). While statistics are enormously valuable in scientific research, a lot of statistics are being delivered without the raw data or the methods used to arrive at the statistics’ output, e.g. tables and charts.

To give an example, right about now the hardcore Microsoft boosters (e.g. Ina Fried) cite the Microsoft-sponsored “NetApps” to pass a talking point: new Windows is better than old Windows. Wow! How can Vista 7 possibly be used more than Vista, according to a Microsoft-sponsored source? Well, whatever. Net Applications does not share information about its methods or its data (let alone the data itself) and it declined when asked to. Based on the evidence we have, Vista 7 is not selling well, but Microsoft hypes it up with some meaningless numbers, just as it did when Vista was ‘sold’ (these are not real sales for reasons we listed before).

The point we are trying to make here is that there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics,” as the old saying goes. To quote Wikipedia, “A misuse of statistics occurs when a statistical argument asserts a falsehood. In some cases, the misuse may be accidental. In others, it is purposeful and for the gain of the perpetrator. When the statistical reason involved is false or misapplied, this constitutes a statistical fallacy.

“The false statistics trap can be quite damaging to the quest for knowledge. For example, in medical science, correcting a falsehood may take decades and cost lives.”

“Asay needs to learn basic math. So RH existed ~2x as long as a Gnome contributor. Still doesn’t explain 16:1 ratio.”
      –Fab Scherschel
Yesterday was the last time we wrote about the flack Canonical was getting over the volume of its contributions to GNOME [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some moments ago we found an interesting remark from Matt Asay, Canonical’s COO. He is saying that all-time contributions were measured for the GNOME census, going back well before Ubuntu’s existence, to which Red Hat’s Wildeboer responded to me with: “…which is partly correct, but Neary only looks at stuff in GNOME 2.30, so subset only. [...] It is all components that are in 2.30 with their full history. Not full hist of GNOME.”

There is an ongoing thread about the subject (see the arguments there for more details). Fab Scherschel takes Wildeboer’s side and says: “Asay needs to learn basic math. So RH existed ~2x as long as a Gnome contributor. Still doesn’t explain 16:1 ratio.”

I have actually been attempting to defend Ubuntu here, right from the very start. Here is an article from Bruce Byfield and from several others who wrote about the same subject this week (analyses and opinion we have not mentioned yet):

  • Does Ubuntu Contribute its Share to Free Software Projects?

    But, whatever the reason, responses from Canonical were quick in coming. Canonical Chief Operating Officer Matt Asay tweets that Neary’s analysis “tracks *all-time” Gnome contributions. Canonical will never catch up w/ RHT. It’s not helpful data.” Asay is referring to the fact that Red Hat was already founded when GNOME began in 1997, while Canonical did not exist until 2004.

  • Commercial Firms–Especially Red Hat–Move GNOME Along

    Dana Blankenhorn hits the nail on the head regarding the Red Hat contributions. “GNOME is far more valuable to Red Hat than a Red Hat UI could ever be, because it’s open source, because it’s a commons,” he writes. Exactly, and efforts to refer to GNOME as “The Red Hat UI” are off-base. It’s an open source interface–open to everyone, benefiting from contributions from a commercial open source company that is doing well.

  • GNOME and the long tail of the commons

    Now it’s true, there are opportunities here for people who run GNOME to take some meetings with firms who currently get more in benefits from its code base than they contribute. How can we help you help us, they might say. I suspect, though, that the answer is simply they have other priorities right now beyond a desktop Linux UI.

  • Red Hat Is Number One Gnome, Is There A Control Freak Problem?

    Red Hat says that it is committed to the collaborative development of an open alternative to proprietary client operating systems. The company Red Hat serves as a member of the Gnome advisory board, in addition to Canonical, Collabora, Debian, Free Software Foundation, Google, IBM, Igalia, Intel, Motorola, Mozilla Foundation, Nokia, Novell, OLPC, Oracle and the Software Freedom Law Center.

  • Courage, Class, and Canonical

    DeKoenigsberg’s story reminds us all that behind the code, the business strategies, and all of the words that are thrown out at each other in the Linux community, there are still real people with real emotions running this crazy, chaotic show.

  • Who Really Contributes the Most to Linux?

    Now, this is a dynamic that plays out in individual organizations, and isn’t the case in the anti-Canonical world. Canonical’s “marketers” aren’t making promises that Linux developers must deliver on, so I think the anti-marketing bias is residual. Or maybe it’s resentment that the Linux distro that gets all the glory isn’t an engineering powerhouse, but just a re-packager that’s riding everyone else’s coat tails.

Ignore the flames from longtime freedom basher Andrew Orlowski, who also loves to promote the MPAA|RIAA. He is one of the reason I quit reading The Register.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

A Single Comment

  1. lightpriest said,

    August 4, 2010 at 12:06 pm


    I seriously don’t get it. Is it written somewhere that distributing some open source project forces the distributor to give back to the project, in code? (Other then what’s stated in the license of course)

    Is a donation in the form of spreading the word equals less then in the form of actual lines of code?

    Let’s keep it under proportion. Canonical doesn’t violate GPL, it provides many tools for beginner users to make the move to GNU/Linux, it takes a big part in the free software world (to say the least).
    All of these, contrary to other, many, big companies that violate GPL, don’t give anything back and sometimes act like proprietary software companies that we all wish we didn’t know about.

DecorWhat Else is New

  1. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?

  2. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him

  3. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)

  4. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day

  5. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021

  6. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://

  7. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day

  8. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day

  9. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large

  10. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)

  11. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary

  12. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)

  13. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021

  14. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)

  15. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.

  16. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...

  17. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)

  18. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day

  19. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day

  20. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day

  21. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021

  22. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day

  23. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year

  24. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be

  25. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them

  26. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing

  27. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day

  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021

  29. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day

  30. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts