More reliable Drupal statistics?
Fact: Using the Update module for collecting data has been the standard since Drupal 6.0.
Another fact: Sites not using that module aren't submitting usage statistics to drupal.org.
Yet another fact: Third-party monitoring services are rendering the Update module rather useless.
Result: Misleading statistics on Drupal core and module usage.
When Drupal 6.0 was released the Update module started submitting statistics to Drupal.org, a great initiative. Though, you can disable this module for different reasons, thus creating misleading statistics on Drupal.org. The same goes for Drupal 7, you can disable the module there as well.
Third-party services rendering the Update module useless
A couple of weeks ago the third-party service Droptor shut down unexpectedly and at the same time, DrupalStatus.org experienced a major boost in both design and functionality. (You can read more about it here.) I can't be the only one making the switch from Droptor to DrupalStatus, but with this service I discovered something that made me think.
Droptor, and another service called DrupalMonitor, used a module to send the information from your Drupal site to it's service - and these modules had a dependency on the Update module. DrupalStatus sends it's data on it's own, without using the Update module. (Don't get me wrong here, I love DrupalStatus, it's making my life easier in many ways, but the way it works result in information loss at drupal.org.)
Naturally, you shut off the Update module. Why use it, if it's not needed? Sure, by enabling it you get a GUI for adding and downloading new modules, but as an experienced Drupal user I don't do that, I use Drush to do those kind of things. So, I disabled the Update module. On every site I own. Since I don't need it. And Drupal.org is experiencing some loss of statistics.
Why does this matter?
Statistics are a good way of trashing systems like Drupal (or any other system for that matter), and if we can present more accurate statistics, we are also better prepared for such attacks. Also, as accurate statistics as possible is a good thing, both for Drupal itself as for module developers (seeing the individual module statistics going up is a great thing!). By using as correct statistics as possible in marketing, Drupal can benefit from it in the long run.
So what's the solution?
So what do I suggest? I suggest moving the reporting functionality away from the Update module - or any module - so every Drupal installation sends statistics of it's version and modules to drupal.org. Let Drupal report statistics all the time. It's as simple as that, and at the same time I realize it's not a trivial thing to accomplish. At least, I raised my voice in favour of getting better statistics for the system I care about - Drupal. Or am I completely wrong? Give me your opinion in the comment section!
My issue on Drupal.org: Collect all module usage and send it to drupal.org
Source: Drupal.org (Popularity of modules)