I like to track the conversation data on the Jive web discussion forums on opensolaris.org — the total views, the unique visitors, the number of threads, the number of posts per thread. Generally, I don’t treat website data as 100 percent accurate, but numbers sometimes make for some interesting observations and conversations. I’m not as interested in the website itself and the page hits it generates because the site is static, whereas the forums and mail lists are fluid and alive with people talking and debating and creating. And flaming, too. At present, the action is on the forums because that’s where the majority of conversations live. Anyway, now that I’m in Japan, I wanted to see how this region fits in with the rest of the world on the OpenSolaris forums. One quick data point is “total views” to the 120 or so web discussion forums since the project launched last year — and with that Japan comes in #5:
It’s not completely accurate because you can “view” via email and not the web interface, but like I said, it’s just something to talk about and perhaps spot obvious trends.
Now, no one is going to catch the United States any time soon because that market garners the vast majority of everything that’s OpenSolaris right now. And it’s so not even close, too. But I’m not sure about a couple of things:
First, I’m not sure we are accurately tracking the activity in other regions of the world due to language and cultural issues, although the numbers probably accurately represent community members in those regions who are hitting the forums. Personally, I’m more interested in what’s happening outside the forums (and the site, for that matter) or activity that’s not even occurring at all due to a lack of awareness. Both of those issues represent opportunities for growth for the OpenSolaris community. Too many times I hear of people doing things with OpenSolaris who don’t necessarily participate on the site or in the forums or people who don’t even know that we’ve opened. How many new connections can we make in areas people aren’t even looking right now or with people who aren’t even being counted? Everything about that interests me.
And second, even with our current measurement criteria, I’m not sure that Japan can’t be a solid #2 behind the U.S. right now. I know India and China and Brazil are economies on fire with significant software development going on, but Japan is still a much larger and diverse playground economically. Why aren’t Japanese developers better represented in our data? I’m going to find out, of course. And what about China, India, and Brazil? How come we don’t see those guys in the top five? It will be interesting to track this.