40 million. A number like this is hard to imagine. With news every day of government budgets and deficits in the trillions, what does 40 million mean?
One way is to look at the value, as free open source software, this brings to the public. We looked at it from this angle in a previous blog post, $21 million per Day.
Another way is to think in physical terms. What if the 40 million copies of Apache OpenOffice were distributed on CD ROM rather than distributed electronically (with the generous support of Geeknet and their SourceForge distribution network)?
Consider: A CD ROM has a diameter of 120mm. So 40 million CDs, if placed side-by-side, would be 4,800 km (2,983 miles). That is a distance we can think about and visualize better than the abstract "40 million downloads".
Imagine a road trip from Los Angeles to New York City. It is only 2,789 miles, less than 40 million OpenOffice CDs would stretch:
Or, in Europe, imagine a trip from Lisbon to Moscow. That is 4,575 km, less than our Apache OpenOffice downloads would stretch:
Or try Istanbul to Islamabad. That is 4,963 km, just a little longer than the CDs would reach:
Consider the CD ROM once more. Its thickness is 1.2mm. So if we stacked the 40 million CDs (very carefully!) they would be 48 km high, longer than a marathon, 100x taller than the Empire State Building, 5x taller than Mt. Everest, and higher even than Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking skydiving jump.
Of course these are all fun statistics, but our users are much more than just numbers. They are students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, ministers, public servants, and business people from all industries. Many of them choose to engage further with the project, by following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, by posting questions on our support forums, or by volunteering to help the project in areas such as Documentation, QA, Marketing or Translation. We're happy to welcome new volunteers at any time and look forward to serving many millions of users more in the coming months and years.