Canonical Pursuing A Hardware/Software Survey For Ubuntu Installations
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 14 February 2018 at 06:48 PM EST. 25 Comments
Will Cooke, Canonical's Director of Ubuntu Desktop, has announced plans to collect more diagnostics data from Ubuntu installations. This would involve collecting system hardware/software details during the installation process and be uploaded to Ubuntu servers, but users could opt-out of said survey.

In the name of engineering, Canonical is looking to collect more system information about users from what graphics cards and drivers they are using to whether they have network connectivity and how their disk layout is configured. It would also note if they download updates during the Ubuntu installation, have kernel live patching enabled, and their location based upon the selected timezone information.

But what Canonical's clear about what they are not collecting would be the user's IP address. Those not comfortable sharing their system hardware/software information with Canonical could uncheck the box during the installation process to opt-out of the data collection process.

Canonical also plans to make public this survey data, akin to the Steam Survey with allowing to drill down on statistics around Ubuntu desktop installations world-wide.

Of course, privacy-minded individuals may be against this though there are also valid uses for this particularly for being able to gauge their investments into improving certain GPU drivers and also lobbying of hardware vendors for better Linux support based upon usage statistics. Of course, there is also the possible ulterior motive of Canonical wanting more solid statistics about their user base with their rumored IPO expected in the next few years.

Those wanting to learn more about these plans for the April release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS can do so via the Ubuntu-devel mailing list.
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