Sun is taking advantage of a NetBeans feature that phones home twice each month to record numbers of active users.
Jean Elliott, senior director for Java software product marketing, says Sun is not spying on users. The company merely wants an accurate measurement of the size of the NetBeans community and break the habit of open source vendors of citing downloads as proof of success. That’s important for companies like Sun trying to make money from services targeting developers and users.
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“We won’t rat out John Doe, we are using an active user measurement,” Elliott told Evans Data Corp’s (EDC’s) Developer Conference in Redwood City, California. “We got very obsessed at Sun with download rates.”
We understand NetBeans has incorporated the phone home feature for some time and the feature is on by default. However, Elliott said, NetBeans users can opt out and also specify when NetBeans should call Sun. To date, the company claims 300,000 active NetBeans users, up from 72,000 in November 2004. In due course, Sun wants to extend data capture to cover deployments.