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Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations 548

Posted by Soulskill
from the following-bitprints-and-scrapes-on-the-router dept.
suraj.sun passes along this excerpt from Phoronix: "Just uploaded to the Ubuntu Lucid repository for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (and we imagine it will appear shortly in Maverick too for Ubuntu 10.10) is a new package called canonical-census, which marks its initial release. Curious about what this package provides, we did some digging and found it's for tracking Ubuntu installations by sending an 'I am alive' ping to Canonical on a daily basis. When the canonical-census package is installed, the program is to be added to the daily Cron jobs to be executed so that each day it will report to Canonical over HTTP the number of times this system previously sent to Canonical (this counter is stored locally and with it running on a daily basis it's thereby indicating how many days the Ubuntu installation has been active), the Ubuntu distributor channel, the product name as acquired by the system's DMI information, and which Ubuntu release is being used. That's all that canonical-census does, at least for now. Previously there haven't been such Ubuntu tracking measures attempted by Canonical."
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Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations

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  • It's about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unixcrab (1080985) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @06:08AM (#33201654)
    It seems like any kind of Linux usage statistics you see these days are just a load of hot air. Hopefully this will provide some solid data and hopefully Canonical will make it public. I for one will happily enable it.
  • Test Your Bias! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gravos (912628) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @06:40AM (#33201852) Homepage

    Test your Free Software bias! If this article had the following summary, would you react differently?

    "Just released as part of the latest patch Tuesday for Windows 7 (and we imagine it will appear shortly in Windows Server, too) is a new feature called microsoft-census, which marks its initial release. Curious about what this feature provides, we did some digging and found it's for tracking Windows installations by sending an 'I am alive' ping to Microsoft on a daily basis. When the microsoft-census update is installed, the program is to be added to the daily scheduled tasks to be executed so that each day it will report to Microsoft over HTTP the number of times this system previously sent to Microsoft (this counter is stored locally and with it running on a daily basis it's thereby indicating how many days the Windows 7 installation has been active), the Microsoft distributor channel, the product name as acquired by the system's DMI information, and which Windows release is being used. That's all that microsoft-census does, at least for now. Previously there haven't been such Windows tracking measures attempted by Microsoft."

  • by blackest_k (761565) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @06:45AM (#33201886) Homepage Journal

    I'll let it run at least initially, I am curious as to how many people run ubuntu and where (to at least the country level). If ordinary users can access that information I will be happy enough to run it on my systems.

    If that access isn't available then I won't.

     

  • I'm torn (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mpeskett (1221084) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @07:50AM (#33202438)

    Is this a good thing for creating verifiable stats on the number of users, or a bad thing because of the "phone home" behaviour.

    At least it's not doing this secretly...

  • Re:It's about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quantumphaze (1245466) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @07:58AM (#33202484)

    They should send the usage statistics to the mailing addresses of all the big name game developers so we can finally get rid of Windows.

    Also send them to hardware companies that seemingly sabotage any attempt to write Linux drivers.

  • Re:Phone home? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:48AM (#33202922)
    the slashdot submission summary says it is a cronjob, it would be easy to look in /etc/cron.* and remove the entries for it, check Top for any running dameons for it, and remove the binary from /bin /sbin /usr/bin /usr/sbin (where they installed it) or apt-get remove "package_name" could do it all for you automagically
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:14AM (#33203164)

    Microsoft already does this...remember registering your activation code? What about WGA (and whatever came after that, I jumped ship around that point)?

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:41AM (#33203498) Journal

    Certain games work better under WINE than they do in Windows, though few of them are current-market games.

    I'm mostly referring to older adventure-type games that used things like Quicktime. My wife has an old favorite (Amber: Journeys Beyond) that we lost access to when we went to Windows XP, but I discovered recently that it is very well supported in Wine, and my wife was thrilled to have an old favorite back. We have a catalog of older games, many of which don't work in XP that I need to try out (Obsidian, Sanitarium, and a few other Myst-like games including the entire Myst series).

    There could actually be a market for some of these older games in Linux where none can possibly exist in Windows without costly redevelopment of the game. The software houses could sell them in their original form (no redevelopment costs, only pressing the discs) with a one-page installation FAQ and milk a little more cash out of them with almost no effort.

  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:16AM (#33203932) Journal

    I always find it funny when people set a number, "If you knew say you could add
    2 to 3 million potential customers"

    Some say, based on web site hits to non-geek sites, that linux is .5% of the hits so it is a small % of the total computer market. So lets take a quick look at that .5%

    As of 2004 there were an estimated 223,810,000 Personal computers. Note, these are not servers these are Personal computers for home use.

    So what is .5% of that you may ask?? (Came from a site that was a financial site geared towards 45-55 year old men)

    1,119,050 Linux desktops, Yep that little .5% is 1.1 million users!!

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:34AM (#33204128) Homepage Journal

    My reaction to your reaction would be: why doesn't Ubuntu Update already do this?

    Each program on a *n?x system is supposed to do one thing and do it well [wikipedia.org]. If it's just as easy to do this in a separate, purpose-built package instead of inside APT, then why do it in APT?

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