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For me there are two use cases when I am interested in the popularity of a given application or an application version on Ubuntu:

  • There is a choice of several similar applications. Before I install one of these I would like to know which one is the most popular.
  • To continue developing I get quite some motivation impulse from knowing that people actually do use my application.

Other than the Ubuntu Populary Contest I am not aware of any other service to tell me. Sadly Popcon Ubuntu is rather out of date lately (see bug #1067227 and more). Alternatives listed in answers to "Tracking the popularity of a package over time?" are even more outdated.

When an application source or a DEB package is published on Launchpad we can see the download statistics of this package in the "Download project files" section, but this does not cover installations through a ppa, or when people installed an application from the repositories (which will be the usual case).

Is there any other way I may have missed to find out about an application's popularity?

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I think popcorn is the only thing that would actually do exactly what you are looking for, apart from the not-updating thingy :( –  Nanne May 6 '13 at 12:36
    
the application needs to phone home. Most server users probably do not want that. –  Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen May 6 '13 at 12:59
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1 Answer

A very raw way to understand the popularity of an application, if you don't think yours way are good enough, should be a search in google and see how many page are relate

example:

libreoffice ubuntu -> 5.710.000

openoffice ubuntu -> 7.280.000

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Some problem to understand the meaning of popularity? –  gio900 May 6 '13 at 12:11
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