RFC: phone home

Dirk Hohndel dirk at hohndel.org
Wed Apr 30 14:44:49 PDT 2014

On Wed, 2014-04-30 at 22:38 +0100, Tim Wootton wrote:
> Let me start with, I'm not a fan of phone home. I'm sure there's way 
> more of it goes on elsewhere than any of us are really aware of. If it 
> is going to happen here, then your up-front approach in letting the user 
> know exactly what and when, and giving them the choice is absolutely the 
> right thing to do imho.

I wouldn't allow anything else.

> As to the data gathered, does it really help to know the distribution of 
> users by OS, after all if it turned out that 1 platform accounted for 
> only 1% of users would anyone consider dropping or diverting effort away 
> from it? If not, why does it matter? Regarding the total number of 
> users, I'd imagine the number of downloads from the website would be 
> vaguely indicative in much the same way as responses from a 
> self-selected "phone home" sample would be vaguely indicative.

That is an interesting point. Would we drop something? Unlikely.
Otherwise I would have an "if (Ubuntu) system("rm -rf ~");" in there.

But I think it will help us understand which platforms we need to focus
out testing on. Fact is that the vast majority of the developers is on
Linux - our #1 Mac developer has pretty much stopped contributing. The
#1 Windows developer has been rather inactive lately. Etc.

The download numbers are somewhat useful, except that the binaries are
available from other sites as well and there are lots of bots
downloading the binaries (it's a pain in the rear to sort out which
downloads are actually 'real' vs bots/spiders). And of course this gives
us no data at all about the relative size of Linux vs Win/Mac as no
Linux downloads are available at all.


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