[Ardour-Users] ardour & "phoning home"

John Emmas johne53 at tiscali.co.uk
Sat Aug 7 04:34:10 PDT 2010

I come from the Windows world where this kind of activity is commonplace (in fact, "rife" would be a better description).  Under Windows, it's depressingly common for software vendors to assume that when you install their software onto your PC, it somehow becomes their PC too.  As if you've entered into some kind of joint agreement with them - or as if they've inherited some kind of "right" to use any data they can find (or extract) from your machine.  And as if you've granted them carte blanche to pester you with upgrade offers from that day forward.  I can (almost) forgive this interference if it's designed to deter software piracy but that is hardly a valid argument in the world of FOSS.

There has to be an underlying assumption that people should be free to use software in complete privacy if that's what they wish.  Yet I'd also question the wisdom of asking people to opt in (or out) of any ongoing arrangement at first usage.  From personal experience I suspect that too many people will choose to opt out - thereby rendering the collected data to be unrepresentative.  I'd suggest that users be allowed to opt in to a scheme which advises them about version updates (because most users will realise that this is in their own interests).  But instead of collecting usage data on an ongoing basis, collect it (say) once a year.  So if a particular version update was due out in September, send out the usual notification in August but add something to ask users if they upgrade during September, would they mind participating in an (automated?) annual usage survey.  In my view this is much more likely to be successful than any scheme which requires users to provide voluntary information before they've even tried the s/ware - because the majority of users will probably decline.


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