Fedora Workstation 42 Looking At Adding Opt-In User Metrics Collection

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 1 July 2024 at 04:40 PM EDT. 28 Comments
Data collection around users tends to be a very touchy subject in the Linux/open-source world even when opt-in and Fedora Workstation 42 has just seen a proposal raised to do just that. If approved the Fedora Workstation 42 release would roll-out an opt-in metrics system of anonymous user information from system settings to hardware information and desktop usage patterns.

The proposal aims to collect more real-world representative information about Fedora Workstation use that would help developers focus their efforts moving forward and help with data/use-case discovery and analysis. Collected would be system hardware information, various system settings, desktop usage patterns like what apps are used and how often system settings are accessed, performance details like disk and memory use, and then any evidence of problems. In looking for projects, details like the number of system crashes, OOM events, and app crashes would be collected.

Fedora data metrics collection

With aiming to address privacy concerns, IP addresses and other personal identifying details would not be collected. All data points would be collected individually as well to prevent system/user finger-printing. And, again, this information reporting is all opt-in.

Those wanting to learn about this early change proposal aimed at Fedora 42 next spring can find it laid out on the Fedora Wiki. The proposal was just posted to the Fedora devel mailing list to which there have been no comments yet but given the topic will certainly lead to an active discussion. This isn't the first time such a change has been proposed for Fedora Linux but over the years have been various efforts around privacy-preserving telemetry, per-system unique identifiers for DNF, etc.
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