[Ardour-Users] ardour & "phoning home"

Ross Johnson Ross.Johnson at homemail.com.au
Fri Aug 6 17:16:58 PDT 2010

Paul Davis wrote:
> Why am I adding this to Ardour?
> --------------------------------------
> * better data on how much Ardour is actually used
> * better idea of the balance between OS X and Linux platforms
> * a way to alert users that new versions are available
Why do you want to know (1) and what consequences could the results have?

(2) can be done with a statistical sample via a voluntary registration 
dialog on first run after install or update. I.e. the proportion of Mac 
v Linux users who register is likely to be roughly the same regardless 
of the voluntary/mandatory nature of registration. You probably have 
this split already from the subscription details, or could add it there.

(3) could/should be a simple user preference uption.

Essentially, you intend to impose opt-out rather than allow opt-in.

I don't know what you intend with a "watermark" system is but it 
suggests "crippleware", i.e. by definitiion a watermark corrupts in some 
way whatever is being watermarked and serves no purpose other than to 
affect some form of control over it's use.

"Software watermarking methods are employed to secure software from 
hacking. Alas, watermarking only can not kill piracy completely. Rather 
it is utilised to discourage a pirate from illicitly redistributing 
copies of the application. The standard idea of software watermarking is 
very similar to media watermarking in which a unique identifier is 
enclosed in images, video, text, or audio. In digital media 
watermarking, the system is implemented through the creation of 
insignificant faults, which are not remarked by users. On the other 
hand, software depends completely on an error free functioning. It makes 
that the software watermark can't be implemented through error inducing 

I assume you aren't contemplating "media" watermarking, so guess you 
mean "software" watermarking. For what purpose? Where is this leading?

> How does it work? What does it do? Etc.
> ------------------------------------------------
> * the phone home is implemented via an HTTP POST request to a URL at ardour.org
> * it will execute once per instance of ardour, asynchronously (it will
> not block startup in any way)
> * the phone home will not be enabled in debug builds (i assume there
> is mostly testing going on, not real work)
> * the phone home will be enabled by default. users or distro package
> builders could choose to disable it
> * the phone home will pass the following pieces of information to ardour.org:
>                * the ardour version
>                * the output of uname -srm
> * if ardour ever gets a "watermark" system (not planned at this time),
> it will also pass the watermark along if such a watermark exists
> * no personal information will be transmitted
> * no machine-based information will be transmitted, but the IP address
> will be recorded on ardour.org
> * if a single file exists (e.g. ~/.config/ardour3/.offthehook ?) then
> no phone home will be initiated
> * no phone home will be initiated if the machine appears to have no
> functioning network interface
> * there *MAY* be a GUI-accessible way to disable the phone-home mechanism
> What If I Don't Like it?
> ------------------------
> You will have several choices:
>   * compile with --phone-home=no
>   * create ~/.config/ardour3/.offthehook or ~/.ardour2/.offthehook or
> whatever we decide to call the file(s)
>   * use ardour on an offline machine
>   * edit it out of the code (its just 1 line)
>   * if I add the GUI-accessible method, use that to disable the mechanism
> 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,  but instead want to
> be able to better understand the user-base and alert ardour users who
> don't watch the website or mailing lists about new releases. We still
> have people trying to download Ardour 0.99 (about 50 per month!) and
> other evidence suggests that a lot of people simply don't upgrade.
> This in turn harms them, and blocks us from getting fixes and
> improvements out to users who can benefit from them.
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> ardour-users at lists.ardour.org
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