You and I both know that there are a lot of people who get caught up in "the numbers." We see it periodically when someone posts in the PCLinuxOS forum that PCLinuxOS fell two places in Distrowatch's "ranking." That "ranking" is a measurement of how many "hits" that distro's page has received in a day, averaged out.
For what it's worth, PCLinuxOS still sits in the top 20 of the top 100 distros, as ranked by "hits per day" on Distrowatch. PCLinuxOS, at the time I'm writing this article, is solidly ranked 16th in the Distrowatch HPD rankings.
I was around many years ago when PCLinuxOS actually (and briefly) held the number one rank for HPD on Distrowatch. It was somewhat chaotic, uncharacteristic for the calm that typically envelops the forum. Texstar and many others have stated they don't want to be the number one ranked Linux distro. It brings all the "weirdos" out from the woodwork. It makes you a target. After all, who does everyone aim for? Who does everyone look to "dethrone?" Of course, it's the "Big Guy" on top.
Numbers can also tell a lot about what's going on. Early on in my stint as the magazine's Chief Editor, I added download counters for the PDF, and a site visitor counter to each month's HTML entry page. That way, we could get an idea of how much the magazine was being read.
Over the years we've watched the numbers slowly fall, both with the number of downloads of the PDF, and with site visits on the magazine's HTML version. This past month (for the September issue), we saw the lowest numbers we've ever seen for downloads. By the month's end, it isn't/wasn't uncommon to see at least 1100 downloads of the PDF. But, by the end of September, we're barely over 800. Now 300 downloads, give or take, doesn't seem like that huge of a number. But that's over a 25% drop, compared to recent months.
For the few of us that work on producing this magazine every month, it raises some questions for us. Like, are we not writing interesting enough articles? What could/should we be doing differently? What are we doing that isn't liked? Or, has our readership numbers just fallen to such lower levels because fewer people are using PCLinuxOS? These are all valid questions, I think.
One of my guidelines on deciding what to write about every month goes something like this. First, cover PCLinuxOS first. Second, cover Linux. Third, cover computing and computing issues and advances. Fourth, cover things that PCLinuxOS/Linux users might find interesting. So, to that end, I do know that users of other distros do also read "our" magazine. I've heard it many times.
I mentioned it in a PCLOS-Talk channel chat with Meemaw, our Assistant Editor. She too admitted that she had really noticed the decreased download counts, as well. Neither of us can come up with a satisfactory explanation for the decrease.
We certainly hope that the number of PCLinuxOS users isn't dropping all that much. Some gains and losses are to be expected, after all. We all here at the magazine, and I'm sure that many of you out there, already know that PCLinuxOS is the BEST Linux distro in the Universe(s). The rest of the world just hasn't caught on or caught up. Shame on them! But then again, do we really want an "invasion" of our calm little corner of the Linux world?
We usually hear from the same regular readers when we release an issue of the magazine. But, if there is something you want to see more of, please let us know. We do have quite limited resources, but we will try to see what we can do to get the requested information to you. Even if that means learning it ourselves to a point where we can teach others (as we've done many times in the past). OR, write the article yourself and submit it to us! We are ALWAYS interested in original articles, especially if they come from within our own PCLinuxOS family.
This month's cover celebrates Halloween, and was created by Meemaw.
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity, prosperity ... and continued good health!