Ubuntu to Start Collecting Some Data with Ubuntu 18.04

Feb 19, 2018

It will be an ‘opt-out’ feature.

Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, is planning to collect diagnostic data from its desktop operating system. In a message posted to the Ubuntu Developer mailing list, Will Cooke, Director of Ubuntu Desktop, explained the reason behind this move, “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 what sort of setups our users have and which software they are running on it.”

Ubuntu installer will have a checkbox with wordings like “send diagnostics information to help improve Ubuntu.”

Canonical has chosen to keep this feature opt-out, instead of opt-in, which means, unless you uncheck the box, Canonical will collect diagnostic data. Ubuntu privacy policy will be updated to reflect this change. In order to give users more control over the features, there will be an option in the Gnome System Settings to opt-out of it.

What kind of data will Canonical be collecting? Nothing invasive. They would like to know which flavor and version of Ubuntu you are running, whether you have network connectivity (one may wonder how will they get the data if there is no network connectivity?). They will also collect data about the processor, GPU, screen-resolution, memory, storage, and OEM manufacturer. Other data includes location (not IP address), installation duration, status of auto-login, disk layout.

Cooke said that all of this data will be made public. It could be a great way for Canonical to start collecting stats about Linux desktop. There are no credible stats about who is using the platform. Canonical’s move can be a step in that direction.

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