[Ardour-Users] ardour & "phoning home"

Lamar Owen lowen at pari.edu
Thu Aug 5 14:39:31 PDT 2010

On Thursday, August 05, 2010 04:39:13 pm Paul Davis wrote:
> i recently committed some changes to ardour3 that will enable it to
> "phone home" (contact ardour.org) as it starts up. i wanted to alert
> existing users to this, since it will likely be added to ardour 2.X as
> well.
> If anyone has any serious objections to the scheme I'm describing that
> are not addressed in the last section, please speak up. I certainly
> don't want to irritate people with this scheme,  

While I'm not at all opposed to the concept, the term 'phone home' is unfortunately a loaded one (unless you're a fan of ET).

After all, Fedora has this ability with smolt (which does gather hardware info, but it is opt-in and off by default), OS X does this to a degree for update checking, Windows does this for a lot of different things (which is where 'phone home' gets most of the bad rep from), and other programs check for updates on startup (this is configurable, usually).

For instance, I also own Wave Editor by Audiofile Engineering (DDP import and export and the cleanest flexible CD creating interface around) for OS X; I use it in tandem with Mixbus.  Wave Editor is configurable to automatically check for updates; it's off by default, but the option is there.

There's already a registration/subscription reminder at initial startup (at least on Linux); I'd suggest that this facility be mentioned there with a checkbox there to select whether to do that on every startup or not (prior to actually doing it); the check can be on by default.  Perhaps even a dialog at every startup noting this until the user either checked 'yes, go ahead always' or 'no, don't do that ever' so that the user has to make a conscious choice (it just brings notification up to a higher level and grabs their attention so that they can't say they didn't know about it).

You could call it 'check for updates' or 'enable usage data' or 'enable ardour.org notification' or whatnot; I just think the term 'phone home' is potentially too negative in the eyes of especially some of the Linux crowd (I don't think the OS X group would mind as much; and I'm technically a member of both crowds....).  And a thorough explanation (like you've given in your message on the subject) is very good; but I'm sure there will be those who will gripe about it if it's on by default without their knowledge, as that's something many folks are overly sensitive about.

Just my half shekel; take it for what it's worth.  Speaking as a subscriber, I'm ok with it, personally, as proposed since there's a way to disable if I so desire.  

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