The next stable release (Sarge) of Debian GNU/Linux will come on 13 CDs with approximately 13500 packages.
These days, the next stable release of debian is being packaged. It will as usual also be released on CDs, and the current CD count is 13 binary CDs filled with approximately 13500 packages. And to distribute these packages on the 13 CDs, we need to come up with some sorting order. At the moment, some of the packages on the first and second CD is selected based on various criteria, while the rest are sorted based on their usage as reported by popularity-contest.
The Debian popularity-contest is a concept created by Avery Pennarun a few years ago. It set up a program on the hosts installing the popularity-contest package, to email the list of packages installed and in use to a central collection point. It also collect the host architecture and we plan to collect kernel version and modules used as well. The summaries are presented on http://popcon.debian.org/
and used to sort the packages on the Debian CDs.
The information can be used in other areas as well. It can detect which packages in the debian archive which aren't installed on any hosts. Such packages should probably be checked out and possibly be removed from the archive. It has already been used to check which non-free packages are actually in use, while discussing the future for non-free.
So this is an request to all of you out there, to install the popularity-contest package, say yes to participate (and verify 'PARTICIPATE=yes' in /etc/popularity-contest.conf), and give us more info on which packages are in use in Debian.