I have stumbled on free software when I was 50, searching for an alternative to Microsoft Office. I was fed up with Microsoft Outlook, the worst piece of software ever developed. I am now over 60, and after ten years in the free software trenches, I have some ideas to share.

NAIF Metrics

NAIF Metrics is a new and creative measurement, which stands for Native Americans Inflated Figures. It is being used by free software projects pretending to be successful, to artificially inflate numbers which are simply not there.

The new measurement was created the very day that a Boston based (not even) native American decided that it was time to pretend that the project’s developers were more than the real dozen they are, and added to the code repository also the web and the wiki ones.

If The Document Foundation used NAIF Metrics instead of real figures from independent third parties, LibreOffice whould have over 1,600 developers, or more than three times as many than in the reality (544).

You can then imagine how many developers might have in the reality a projects that has less than 80 developers (based on NAIF Metrics).

Funny enough, there are several people that do believe in NAIF Metrics, and have embraced them to the point that today – in order to pretend that the software is popular in more countries than in the reality – they are faking the number of world countries.

According to a recent native americans press release, the free office suite – which is available in a mere 20 languages [1] (against 109 for LibreOffice) – is available in 228 countries, or 22 more than the highest number available from any source, which is 206 ( including all territories claiming their indipendence but not always recognized, such as Abkhazia, Cook Islands, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Niue, Nothern Cyprus, Palestine, Sahrawi, Somaliland, South Ossetia, Taiwan and Transnistria.

It looks like analysts are not interested in implementing NAIF Metrics, so I do not think they will start to be used outside the native americans territory (which is probably one of the 22 additional countries mentioned in the press release…).

[1] Arabic, Chinese (Simplified + Traditional), Czech, Dutch, English (UK + US), Finnish, French, Galician, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian and Spanish.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Roman October 19, 2012, 10:38 am

    Wow! Very interesting! Thank you, Italo, very much for your research! I will certainly recommend the usage of NAIF Metrics to friends of mine.

    E.g., I know of some Christian parishes in Germany which are in fear of loosing money from the church and from the state because they loose members. Propagating that NAIF Metrics is the newest trend from America, and emphasizing that we need to follow all American trends early, they can multiply their membership counts easily using NAIF Metrics, and therefore claim that they need to get more money, instead of less …

    Regarding the number of countries, which was increased by the use of NAIF Metrics, I am sure that geographers and political scientists will be happy about these news, because the research about these additional countries will help to justify many research projects, giving work and money to unemployed scientists.

    So many people will be happy now. How simple it is to help mankind!

  • Ralph Aichinger October 19, 2012, 10:39 am

    I don’t think your posting is fair towards (the real) native Americans.

  • Liam Brennan October 19, 2012, 3:11 pm

    It looks like a terrible waste of energy to spend to go attacking another project in the same space. For me the attack demeans the Libre Office community much more than it reduces faith in the other project trying to provide a good office suite to the world.


  • Roman October 19, 2012, 4:51 pm

    @ Liam: I completely understand your abhorrence of attacks against ?another project in the same space?. But IMHO it is obvious that Italo did not want to attack that ?other project? itself here; he just ironizes the marketing strategies some of the supporters of that project use ? namely questionable claims and numbers, and sometimes unfair attacks against LibreOffice, too.

  • Anonymous October 19, 2012, 9:17 pm


  • Rob Weir October 22, 2012, 3:06 pm

    We didn’t claim 228 “Sovereign States”, so I’m not sure why you feel justified to reference that Wikipedia page. The word we did use was “countries”, and if you use that Wikipedia page as an authority, you will read:

    “Sometimes the word country is used to refer both to sovereign states and to other political entities, while other times it refers only to states. For example, the CIA World Factbook uses the word in its “Country name” field to refer to “a wide variety of dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, uninhabited islands, and other entities in addition to the traditional countries or independent states”.

    Specifically what we used were ccTLD’s, which are IANA-recognized “countries”, based on allocation of IP address blocks. If you want to map them to, say, UN member states, you will find Apache OpenOffice downloads from every one except North Korea.

  • italovignoli October 22, 2012, 3:30 pm

    I did not mention ANY project name, so the assumption that I could refer to a specific project you are involved in is a simple speculation.

  • FGM November 15, 2012, 11:43 am

    Using ccTLDs as a basis for countries is a far stretch from most current representations of reality. On that basis, my own country (France) counts for: .fr, .gf, .gp, .mq, .nc, .pm, .pf, .re, .tf, .wf, .yt, and yet I can hardly imagine claiming that France means 11 “countries”.

    As ISO 3166 describes: it lists “countries AND THEIR SUBDIVISIONS” (emphasis added), so having an entry in 3166-1 does not make some territory a country.

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