Thursday, 15 February 2018

Re: More diagnostics data from desktop

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 1:10 AM, 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.
>> The result of having that box checked would be:
>> * 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.

>> The file
>> containing this data would be available for the user to inspect.
>> That data would include:
>> * Ubuntu Flavour
>> * Ubuntu Version
>> * Network connectivity or not
>> * CPU family
>> * RAM
>> * Disk(s) size
>> * Screen(s) resolution
>> * GPU vendor and model
>> * OEM Manufacturer
>> * Location (based on the location selection made by the user at
>> install). No IP information would be gathered
>> * Installation duration (time taken)
>> * Auto login enabled or not
>> * Disk layout selected
>> * Third party software selected or not
>> * Download updates during install or not
>> * LivePatch enabled or not
>> * 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?

There is currently no "enable popcon" install question in Ubuntu
(maybe there is in Debian)?

In Will's proposal, there's a single, simple, clear checkbox, along
the lines of "[X] Send diagnostic information", which, if enabled,
(1) post this initial list of installation options and hardware capability,
(2) enable popcon to periodically report lists of installed packages, and
(3) enable Apport to post crash reports

Declining to send diagnostics, would disable all 3.

>> * Apport would be configured to automatically send anonymous crash
>> reports without user interruption.
> I hope this will be clearly articulated during install time.
>> The results of this data would be made public.
> Same here. People need to know that their data is publicly (yet
> anonymously) visible.

Indeed. DockerHub does a nice job of making their statistics publicly
available, and many, interesting 3rd party tools exist to treat that

Here, you can see how many times the Ubuntu (or any other) Docker
image has been pulled, updated in real time:

$ wget -q -O- |
python -m json.tool

>> 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)?

Understanding the sample size, as a ratio to the total population, is
an essential characteristic in determining statistical validity, and
required to draw accurate inferences based on the data.

>> 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.

I do believe that quality, stability, security, usability, and free
availability are what matters most to Ubuntu users.

We can drastically improve the quality of Ubuntu through tastefully,
anonymously gathered diagnostics. We can significantly improve the
stability of Ubuntu by automatically processing crash reports. We can
seriously improve the security of Ubuntu by analyzing the package sets
most frequently installed and focusing our resources on the software
that matters most.


> ...Juerg
>> Cheers, Will
>> On behalf of the Ubuntu Desktop Team
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