Date: 2011-07-27 04:06:47 +0000 (Wed, 27 Jul 2011)
Add an extensive section on usage statistics, a minor section
on our developers, and many tweaks.
--- trunk/ABOUT 2011-07-27 00:30:08 UTC (rev 11822)
+++ trunk/ABOUT 2011-07-27 04:06:47 UTC (rev 11823)
@@ -1,15 +1,15 @@
What is PLplot?
-PLplot is relatively small, portable, freely distributable plotting library,
-that is rich enough to satisfy most users. It has a wide range of plot types
-including line (linear, log), contour, 3D, fill, and it supports unicode text
-so that plots can be labeled in pretty much any language. The package is
-designed to make it easy to quickly get graphical output; only a handful of
-function calls are typically required. For more advanced use, virtually all
-aspects of plotting are configurable.
+PLplot is relatively small, portable, freely distributable plotting
+library, that is rich enough to satisfy most users. It has a wide
+range of plot types including line (linear, log), contour, 3D, fill.
+It also supports unicode (UTF-8) text so that plots can include a very
+large range of mathematical symbols and be labeled in every human
+language. The package is designed to make it easy to quickly get
+graphical output; only a handful of function calls are typically
+required. For more advanced use, virtually all aspects of plotting are
Why and when did PLplot came to be?
@@ -19,49 +19,89 @@
PLplot is developed in primarily C, with language bindings for Ada, C++,
D, Fortran, Java, Lua, Perl, Python, OCaml, Octave and Tcl/Tk. Every effort
-is made to support the Linux, OS-X and Windows platforms.
+is made to support the Linux, OS-X, and Windows platforms.
+Also answering the question from the human language perspective,
+PLplot is developed exclusively in English. However, it has both a
+fine mathematical reputation and international reputation because of
+its complete support for unicode (UTF-8) for all text strings and
+symbols that are plotted by our modern device drivers. We presume
+this is one of the reasons why PLplot usage is spread between 100
+different countries (see below).
-Does PLplot has sponsors (private, academic, other)?
+Does PLplot have sponsors (private, academic, other)?
+Virtually all of our developers have been unpaid volunteers. The
+exception has been a recent important development contribution from
+the Cluster Science Centre QSAS team, Imperial College, London
How are the sponsors supporting the project?
-QSAS donated the original version of the Qt driver, along with a month(?)
-of developer time to help with the integration into PLplot.
+QSAS donated the original version of the Qt driver, along with ~two
+months of developer time to help with the integration into PLplot.
+How many users do you estimate PLplot has?
-How many users you estimate PLplot has?
+16 000 binary and source users actively use it divided between Linux
+(73 per cent), Windows (22 per cent), and OS X (5 per cent). Users
+are widely spread between about 100 countries with US users leading
+the pack but only with a 22 per cent share and with 18 countries in
+total having more than a 1 per cent share each.
+These estimates are necessarily extremely approximate, but here is how
+we arrived at these figures. Statistics at
+http://qa.debian.org/popcon.php?package=iceweasel show roughly half of
+Debian users are desktop users. Thus, multiplying the popularity
+contest statistics at http://qa.debian.org/popcon.php?package=plplot
+by a factor of two to obtain the desktop share for PLplot, 0.2 per
+cent of Debian desktop users, use it regularly. Furthermore make the
+(conservative?) assumption there are 5 million Linux desktop users in
+the world with similar needs to Debian desktop users. Combining the
+above estimates leads to an estimate of 10 000 Linux desktop users who
+use a binary version of PLplot regularly.
+An additional type of PLplot user downloads and builds PLplot for
+themselves rather than using a binary package. The result from
+is ~3500 Windows downloads, ~1700 Linux downloads, ~800 Mac OS X
+downloads, and ~500 downloads where the OS could not be identified.
+The total downloads for all OS's were ~6500. Presumably most of these
+downloaders (say 6000 of them) will build PLplot for themselves and
+use it regularly. When the unknown OS is split between the various
+OS's appropriately, and those splits adjusted for
+the 10 000 Linux binary package users we arrive at the final estimate
+Note the above summary of the country statistics comes directly from
+SourceForge PLplot source download statistics site so these splits are
+likely distorted by lack of similar evidence from the binary package
+users of PLplot.
Do you know where is PLplot used (corporations, universities, other)?
How many team members does PLplot has? (You can list their names)
-10? Do we want to list names?
+There are 10 PLplot developers who currently have write access to our
+subversion repository. There names are Alan W. Irwin, Andrew Ross,
+Arjen Markus, Geoffrey Furnish, Hazen Babcock, Hezekiah M. Carty, Doug
+Hunt, Jerry Bauck, Maurice LeBrun, and Werner Smekal.
In what areas of PLplot development do you currently need help?
-This project is fairly mature, so we are primarily looking for help
-in testing on various platforms, particularly windows. Bug reports
-are also appreciated.
+This project is fairly mature, so we are primarily looking for help in
+documentation and testing on various platforms, particularly
+windows. Bug reports are also appreciated.
How can people get involved with PLplot?
The best way to start is by submitting suggestion and patches to the
mailing list. Users who seem particularly enthusiasitic and who have
-a history of contributions are often added to the project as developers.
+a history of contributions are often added to the project as developers
+with subversion repository write access.
What features are in the roadmap?
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