Thursday, 15 February 2018

Re: More diagnostics data from desktop

On 15 February 2018 at 07:10, Juerg Haefliger <> wrote:
On 02/14/2018 04:22 PM, Will Cooke wrote:
> Dear all,
> We want to be able to focus our engineering efforts on the things that
> matter most to our users, and in order to do that we need to get some
> more data about sort of setups our users have and which software they
> are running on it.
> We would like to add a checkbox to the installer, exact wording TBD, but
> along the lines of "Send diagnostics information to help improve
> Ubuntu".  This would be checked by default.

Please make this an opt-in rather than an opt-out. This just smells like
a trend towards a Windows/Android installation where you have to unset
gazillions of check boxes to prevent the machine from posting your life
to the vendor. We shouldn't go there.

I can understand why you would feel that way, but I honestly believe it's not the same.  We want to be as transparent as we can be, and making data available, and indeed the source code to show what's been gathered, and that we posted the proposed list of data here I hope would assure you that this isn't the same as other platforms.  If we make it opt-in I think we will lose out on a lot of valuable data.  We're working with design to make sure that the message is clear and understable to everyone so people can make an informed decision.

> * Information from the installation would be sent over HTTPS to a
> service run by Canonical's IS team.  This would be saved to disk and
> sent on first boot once there is a network connection.

So sent only once or after every reboot?

Only once.
> * Popcon would be installed.  This will allow us to spot trends in
> package usage and help us to  focus on the packages which are of most
> value to our users.

Are you saying that popcon is automatically installed and enabled? I
haven't performed an Ubuntu install lately but isn't there an install
question asking whether to enable popcon or not (with the default being
no). Or is that Debian?

If the box is left checked, then popcon would get installed.  In the normal desktop installer there isn't an option for that any more.  There used to be in the past, and there was an option to turn it on in Software Sources, but that went away ages ago.  10.04 I think.

> * Apport would be configured to automatically send anonymous crash
> reports without user interruption.

I hope this will be clearly articulated during install time.

We're working with design to get the wording just right.

> The results of this data would be made public.

Same here. People need to know that their data is publicly (yet
anonymously) visible.

> E.g. People would be
> able to see that X% of Ubuntu users are based in .de vs Y% in .za.  Z%
> of our users run Dell hardware, and so on.
> The Ubuntu privacy policy would be updated to reflect this change.
> Any user can simply opt out by unchecking the box, which triggers one
> simple POST stating, "diagnostics=false".

Why does this require a POST (over the network)?

This will allow us to gauge participation rates and to better quantify the data we do get.


> There will be a corresponding
> checkbox in the Privacy panel of GNOME Settings to toggle the state of this.
> And to reiterate, the service which stores this data would *never* store
> IP addresses.
> We value your feedback and comments!

I don't believe that sending data by default is 'a thing that matters
most to our users'. Quite the opposite in fact. MS was/is getting a lot
of heat for their data collection and we shouldn't go down that very
same route by making data gathering the default.