Misunderstood

Based on the number and passion of comments generated by my last post, it was one of my most “popular” ever.  It even got referenced in someone else’s blog post.

Many (probably most, but I didn’t count) of the commenters seem to me to have misunderstood my last post.  I think it is great if people want to voluntarily include their systems in a census of Ubuntu systems.  We have a great tool for doing that, popcon.  What I object to is collecting information from users that is not required for technical reasons without their consent.  I believe it’s inconsistent with the Ubuntu project’s stated values.

Voluntary = OK
Involuntary = Not OK

Clear enough?

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7 Responses to “Misunderstood”


  1. 1 nixternal August 16, 2010 at 01:36

    huh? can you clarify that?

    ;p

    /me runs and hides

  2. 2 ethana2 August 16, 2010 at 02:03

    I still say if they ensured that every single web browser identified as Ubuntu and not just ‘linux’, this wouldn’t be necessary. Guess they don’t want quite so much packaging overhead 😛

  3. 3 shermann August 16, 2010 at 02:33

    As long as this package is used only on pre-installed OEM Ubuntu versions, I don’t have a problem with it.

    This is more a business decision between Canonical and (Dell|.*), I believe.

    But regarding the wished result, I wonder if this is possible to determine the real userbase, even on pre-installed OEM installations.

    Regards,

    \sh

  4. 4 Frank Dalton August 16, 2010 at 07:32

    Iff there’s no personal data stored, how does it differ from any other decision Canonical makes for Ubuntu’s users (eg. choosing Firefox as standard web browser)?

  5. 5 DP August 16, 2010 at 07:42

    And don’t forget that much of Europe has data protection laws that require explicit opt-in. Census would be required to display a dialog and wait for user-input to commence data collection.

    Apple and Microsoft OS installation includes, at some point, and possibly buried in some arcane licence agreement, an opt-in to collect data during updates etc.

    (Interesting that all the Ubuntu Forum threads, which were admittedly pointless, hot-headed slanging, were all locked).

  6. 6 Aoirthoir An Broc August 16, 2010 at 12:30

    “This is more a business decision between Canonical and (Dell|.*),”

    And anyone that purchases a Dell.

    “Iff there’s no personal data stored, how does it differ from any other decision Canonical makes for Ubuntu’s users (eg. choosing Firefox as standard web browser)?”

    Um, because it has to do with sharing information with others? There is information that can be shared “without” my consent simply because it is needed for the technology to work. For instance when I go to a website they are going to have my IP Address. Just a fact and needed to get the job done. On the other hand people knowing I have Ubuntu, is not *required* to get the job done. Though having this information would certainly help with understanding uptake.

    So I side simply with the Opt-In view. A side note, whenever I install Ubuntu for folks, or an app, or help them sign up to a service, they have all universally decided to opt-out of all such things, even when I tell them I opt in and there’s no harm in it. I would image thus quite a few would opt out, if they knew such a feature existed.

  7. 7 Dieki August 18, 2010 at 20:04

    @Aoirthoir
    Nobody is suggesting that Canonical “[know] I have Ubuntu”. Canonical would merely know that someone, somewhere has Ubuntu. What’s wrong with that?


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