Fedora 42 Proposes to Include Opt-In User Metrics Collection

A proposal has been made for Fedora 42 to collect user data via an opt-in system. Transparency and user control are promised, but doubts linger.

Fedora, one of the most popular Linux distributions, is again the subject of a heated discussion. This time, it’s over a proposal titled “Opt-In Metrics for Fedora Workstation,” slated for potential inclusion in the upcoming Fedora 42 release.

The proposal’s essence is straightforward but significant: to collect anonymous, generic data about how Fedora Workstation is used in the real world. According to the proposal’s architects, the initiative aims to “accelerate the development of Fedora Workstation” by tailoring improvements to actual user needs and habits. For data collection, Fedora plans to bet on using Azafea.

The proposal outlines strict measures to protect user privacy, emphasizing that no personally identifying information will be collected. Instead, the focus will be on benign data like hardware details, system settings, and desktop usage patterns. Here’s a sample of such data.

Despite these assurances, the proposal has not been met without reservations. Part of the community’s worry stems from the broader implications of data collection, even when anonymized.

Regarding these concerns, the proposal has been revised to enhance transparency and user control. Metrics collection will be completely opt-in, with no default settings pre-selected during the system’s initial setup. This means users will have to make a deliberate choice to participate in the data-sharing initiative.

Moreover, a new Special Interest Group (SIG) will oversee the metrics system and be open to community participation. This group will manage the data and share insights publicly, allowing users to understand and scrutinize the collected information.

However, it should be clearly stated that this is currently only a proposal. Before it can become a reality, it must first be approved by the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo), a key governing body within the Fedora Project that oversees various technical decisions related to the development of Fedora.

Whether this will happen remains to be seen. One thing is certain – gathering any data on a Linux distro is generally disliked in the open-source community. While some users are okay with it, others highly value their privacy and see it as a dealbreaker; crossing this line would make them stop using Fedora.

As always, we’ll monitor this situation and update you as it develops. In the meantime, you can view the proposal through this link.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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