Growing figures show trends. More Twitter followers means more good followers (and more bad followers). More business cards collected at a seminar means more good connections (and more bad connections).
More OpenOffice.org downloads means more OOo users (and more wasted downloads).
We at Associazione PLIO have been very punctual in announcing each and every download milestone reached by the Italian version of the suite since late 2006. In three years, the download rate has increased 40 times.
At the end of 2006 we were at 800.000 downloads per year, now we are at an average of 680.000 downloads per month (for those used to analysts numbers, the CAGR has been an astounding 240%).
OpenOffice.org users in Italy have been growing steadily. Of course, wasted downloads have been growing steadily as well.
Growing figures make news stories. Office suites are personal productivity tools, and personal productivity tools are commodities.
Commodities are measured by numbers, not by features (although OOo has some interesting features, such as the Hybrid PDF, a format which has not even scratched the surface of the market).
Users have a clear understanding of office suites, and most of them ask for improvements in key areas of personal productivity.
Users are interested in a growing community, because it means a larger ecosystem, more volunteers, more experts, more extensions, more and better resources, and so on.
Users do understand numbers, and are perfectly able to “read” between the lines of our announcements.
Of course, in the future they will be interested in a more sophisticated user interface and (maybe) in real time collaboration features. They know that OpenOffice.org will be there when they will need it.