[Ardour-Users] ardour & "phoning home"

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Mon Aug 9 03:49:35 PDT 2010

On Mon, 2010-08-09 at 14:43 +0800, Simon Wise wrote:
> On 09/08/10 10:26, Ross Johnson wrote:
> > Arnold Krille wrote:
> >> On Saturday 07 August 2010 02:16:58 Ross Johnson wrote:
> >>> Paul Davis wrote:
> >>>> Why am I adding this to Ardour?
> ...
> >> I would advice to go a similar route to what ffado does: ask the user,
> >> tell him why we want to know, tell him what we want to know, allow for
> >> anonymous sending and not sending at all (as well as identified
> >> sending). And redo that procedure on every new version so you get more
> >> accurate numbers.
> >>
> > This is ok with me provided it's not hidden away or obfuscated so the
> > user has a clear choice. That why distributions are less likely to turn
> > it off as well.
> The challenge here is to avoid the situation where very few people opt in. There 
> seems to be a couple of issues here ...
> 1) It IS important to have this data.
> One of the reasons is that there is an ongoing argument with the companies that 
> manufacture audio hardware, to ask them to enable their devices to be supported 
> in Linux. Without supported hardware apps like Ardour are almost useless, and 
> Paul is in a much better position than most to put these arguments to those 
> companies, like the ffado developers wrt firewire devices.
> These companies often state that the data requested is private and they won't 
> share it, that they prefer to keep it secret.
> One of the only reasonable arguments against this is that many people are using 
> Linux systems for audio and they will miss sales if they ignore these potential 
> customers. It is easy to count the numbers of copies of software that have been 
> paid for, or that have been distributed via some registration scheme. It is much 
> harder to count the users of FLOSS systems unless those users are prepared to 
> acknowledge their use of these systems in some real, countable way.

A list of signatures of Linux audio users that are annoyed by the
hardware companies would be more effective for this special issue.

> If the majority of FLOSS users choose to keep the fact that they are using Linux 
> secret they will, quite reasonably, be ignored in these situations. There are 
> many other situations where numbers of FLOSS users is important, for example 
> when arguing for public documents to be accessible in formats usable in FLOSS 
> systems,

I never had any manual in a format that wasn't readable by Linux.

> or when a developer is deciding which issues they should spend their 
> limited time on.

IMO this is the only valid argument, but it needs to ask for a lot of
data, at best also about the used software combinations.

> 2) If a person can't trust Paul enough to tell him which version of his software 
> they are using and which OS they are using it on, how can they possibly trust 
> him enough to allow his software to run on their system! I am assuming of course 
> that very few have actually studied the code and the libraries it uses closely 
> enough to understand them fully before compiling, then installing, the binaries.

But people trust the control by the community! This is one of the big
advantages of FLOSS.

> FLOSS development is collaborative, it is not a private or individual effort. It 
> relies on people sharing their knowledge, time and work. It is a collective 
> effort. Developing it requires trusting other developers and maintainers, using 
> it requires trusting the authors and maintainers. It would be extremely 
> difficult for an individual to find time to read all the source code that makes 
> up a typical system, and completely impossible to study it all closely enough to 
> understand it given there are only 24 hours in a day.
> The whole FLOSS framework relies on trust, openness and sharing, asking a user 
> to formally acknowledge that they are a user requires a very low level of trust 
> in comparison.

What data is wanted? What of this data will be given to third parties? I
guess most people do trust, but wish to avoid a trend that could lead to
a Google effect.
I'm pro phoning home, but also pro data protection.

> I'm not at all sure how to make a convincing argument in the space of a dialogue 
> box, especially given the context of very widespread arguments circulating 
> against sharing any information or data.

Than make a scroll box with a very long text.
Widespread arguments circulating against sharing any information or data
refer to special issues, e.g. how the data is used by third parties or
storage of data that enables to know to much about a user, e.g. at what
time for a special IP Ardour was launched and closed.

Btw. a lot of common stuff hurts the German data protection law, e.g.
all those Google trackers on homepages and commercial sides. The Germans
still put up with this things, but especially Google is in our sights.

Half (off) topic: How many people do run Ardour + an Internet connection
and how many people do run Ardour without an Internet connection?

IMO it's less dramatic. I suspect professional and semi-professional and
committed amateur home recording is done with computers that aren't
online all the times. Especially when making music an Internet
connection usually should be useless. The amateur radio might need to do
some web research, while recording a report.

- Ralf

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