Fedora Planning A Per-System Unique Identifier For DNF To Count Users

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 7 January 2019 at 12:14 PM EST. 63 Comments
Fedora developers are looking at implementing a per-system UUID identifier leveraged by the DNF package manager in order to more accurately count their user-base.

Red Hat's Matthew Miller who currently chairs the Fedora Council has laid out the proposal for Fedora 30 that would roll out a per-system unique identifier used exclusively by DNF in order to better estimate the Fedora user-base. As it stands now, Fedora tries to estimate its user-base solely upon unique IPs dealing with their package archives.

Besides communicating the UUID to Fedora servers, the Fedora variant (e.g. Fedora Workstation vs. Fedora Server and the different spins) would also be communicated in order to gauge their popularity. It would also be communicated whether it's a short-lived installation like a Fedora container or on-demand cloud instance as opposed to a long-term installation. But the proposal is quick to acknowledge the intent isn't for tracking users but only counting and this UUID wouldn't be re-used by other systems.

A package manager UUID isn't entirely new as openSUSE already leverages a similar approach for providing metrics on their install base. Having an accurate numbers on the Fedora user-base will hopefully prove useful for at least maintaining funding/resources (well, ideally, increasing) of Fedora at Red Hat, especially with IBM's acquisition of Red Hat closing later this year and any unknown changes ahead.

Details on this plan for Fedora 30 can be found via the Fedora Wiki. For those not comfortable with a DNF UUID, there would be a "easy" means of opting out of this data collection.
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