[kde-community] user stats for Neon

Agustin Benito (toscalix) abenito at kde.org
Wed Apr 20 23:49:12 BST 2016


(long mail)

I went through this same discussions a few years ago in openSUSE. Let
me outline my personal experience/point of view through that

At some point, openSUSE was in crossroad and those involved in taking
action, including myself, were not able to agree on the diagnosis of
the situation. So it was impossible to agree in the next steps.

In short, my take on that situation was:

no data -> no common language -> no objective analysis -> no shared
diagnosis -> no alignment  -> no improvement

I took the decision to collect and analise data as a key input for
taking decisions. We worked with UID in combination with existing
download/page hits numbers to support answers to simple questions
first and more complex ones over time.

Leaning from what happened to Canonical in a similar situation a
couple of years earlier, some requirements were established. The main
ones I remember were:

- Transparency about:

* How we were going to collect the data.
* What was going to be used for.

- Publication of the process to collect the data and the mechanism to
disable it in your computer.

- Publication of the analysis on regular basis.

- Protect the raw data so it could not be used for any other purpose.
We applied measures to ensure that no identification was possible,
like linking UID to IP and geo info, in the line of what Kevin pointed
in a previous mail in this thread.

Despite our efforts to implement a perfect process, trust on those
handling the information was a requirement for this action to succeed.
This is always going to be the case, right?

I had to suffer strong criticism back then, even in public, specially
from relevant community members. Many did not trust me nor those
handling the info. Others simply did not understand the need and
potential impact that this measure would have for the project. Some
also feared that the project would start becoming "data driven"
instead of "people driven".

The impact of the action has been huge. In my opinion, way bigger than
most think, specially at that time.

What today is Tumbleweed, Leap.... would have been different, way
worse, without the learning process those involved back then in
openSUSE delivery went through as a consequence of this action. We
talked less and less about our personal experiences and impressions
and more and more about the interpretation of the data. A first and
necessary step towards reaching a common diagnosis.

Over time, this action stopped being controversial. I think that now
the outcome of this action is seen within openSUSE as an asset.

Fedora recently presented at FOSDEM similar analysis to the one done
by openSUSE. They even extended it and agreed on the potential impact
in the decision making process that this action will have in the
future of the project.

KDE will be criticized too. Even some of our community members will
claim that our core principles are being violated. But in my opinion,
those criticisms are unfair, at least until the result of this action
is evaluated. The risk to screw it up is there, but risk is something
that can and should be managed.

No doubt that privacy is a core value in Free Software. I assume it
and defend it. But understanding how our software is consumed and by
who, instead of pretending we know what users want and how they use
KDE, is essential to improve, to increase the value we provide to

In summary, to me back then, it was a matter of putting our users and
the project first, even before my personal values. It was a tough
decision but I would take it again.

So my suggestion is:

* Let's do our best to be transparent about our goals, process and output,

* Let;s provide a simple way for those who think that collective
ignorance is an affordable side effect of privacy to not participate
on the data gathering, They have the right to think that way and we
should respect it. We should work hard to prove them wrong. We have no
spurious intentions.

* Let's make sure we establish a trusted process and rely on trusted
people for this action. We already has proven in other areas that we
can trust ourselves when dealing with sensitive topics/info.

* Let's assume we will be criticized for this. We will need to put
energy in explaining our intentions and motivations but that will
never be enough for some, even if we succeed.

But let's also assume also that:

* Ignorance is already hurting us. Again, no, we do not know what our
users want and how they consume our software. This ignorance has deep
consequences for the project.

* Even if we share a vision, it will be impossible to align as a
community if we do not agree where we are. Speak the same language is
a requirement to reach a plausible diagnosis, a requirement to take
the right actions to accomplish the shared vision. Numbers are a key
part of the solution, not the problem.

* It will take time, but if we improve as a consequence of this
action, those who do not trust today that privacy and science are
compatible, will at least understand that the sacrifice might be worth
it for most. This is a very positive outcome.


please, leave your fears behind. Let's give such action a try. Let;s
bring some light. I think that KDE, as openSUSE back then, desperately
need it.

Note: it would be very interesting to talk with Alberto Planas, the
person behind the openSUSE data analysis action, in order to better
understand the risks and how openSUSE deal with them today. Also to
better understand the potential benefits.

Best Regards

On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 12:07 AM, Martin Konold <konold at kde.org> wrote:
> Am Dienstag, 19. April 2016, 00:32:16 CEST schrieb Albert Astals Cid:
> Hi,
>> +1 Firefox does it well (imho) and i have not seen any backslash about it,
>> so kudos to its researchers that came up with it.
> FYI: I am really annoyed by FF spying on me through different means not only
> the official metrics. (e.g. the opt-out "update of search engines")
> Yours
> --martin
> _______________________________________________
> kde-community mailing list
> kde-community at kde.org
> https://mail.kde.org/mailman/listinfo/kde-community

Agustin Benito (toscalix)
KDE eV member
Profile: http://es.linkedin.com/in/toscalix

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