I'm not sure why we continue to persist in talking about downloads, but I'm with Stephe on this one: downloads are not the best measure of success in open source. In fact, they're often not even a remote predictor of success (i.e., sales). Having them, as Stephen O' Grady notes, is much better than not having them, but it would be erroneous in the extreme to assume a company with 100,000 downloads per month necessarily has a bigger market opportunity than a company with 20,000 downloads per month.
The 451 Group's Matt Aslett points out that marketing automation software like Loopfuse can help to supercharge an open-source company's conversion rate. Same number of leads in, many more conversions (sales) out. I agree with that. Aslett writes:Of course, the statistic [in Loopfuse's results] that will have jumped out for many people is the drop from a 40X increase in qualified leads to an 8X increase in engagements. The theory that leads are not enough in open source software has also been well documented. The ability to turn those qualified leads into paying customers remains a missing piece of the commercial open source puzzle.… Read more