Surveys, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the silent majority

Phil Hannent phil at
Fri Jan 9 05:11:15 EST 2009

Casey Ho wrote:
> Demographics
> -------------------------
> - At least 1/3 of Pidgin users have Pidgin installed on both Linux and Windows.
> - The top reasons why people use Pidgin: It's free (89%), it supports
> all accounts (73%), and it has no ads (70%)
> - The top protocols: MSN (67%), Google Talk (51%), ICQ (44%)
This was a surprise to me, ICQ while being one of the oldest chat protocols
seemed to me to be one that was on its way out.

> - Out of the other items, stability is the least liked.  While the
> 2.5.3 hang issue probably skews this number, results from the first
> few days of the survey indicate that this was a problem before 2.5.3,
> and write-in comments often mention crashes.
This also surprised me, although I guess it should not have.  Pidgin is a very
stable client (I run it for weeks at a time on my windows PC at work) on the
support list 99% of all problems with stability are due to 3rd party plugins or
poor network conditions.

I would love to see an automated crash reporting tool, it would provide much
better statistics for software stability.

The survey is kind of interesting in that by asking users about the client, they
are responding by saying they are happy with it.  Which is kind of what you
would expect, if people were not happy with Pidgin they would find another
client which they were happy with.

I would be more interested in a survey that asked users of other IM clients what
makes them choose their current client, that way you might learn something that
is missing.

Phil Hannent

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