The GNOME Project Introduces a Telemetry Data Collection Tool

The GNOME Project Introduces a Telemetry Data Collection Tool

GNOME released a new gnome-info-collect tool that collects (anonymous) information about your system and some of the choices you’ve made.

Above all, we want to stress that there is no cause for concern, especially for highly sensitive users regarding data privacy.

In today’s world, users have mixed feelings about telemetry. But first, for those not in the know, let’s define telemetry in its use as software.

Telemetry typically comprises software running in the background, gathering data about your computer and how you interact with it, and forwarding it to third parties – for example, hardware vendors or operating system makers.

In short, telemetry in software refers to the ethical and transparent collecting of user and usage data from the software.

At the same time, we can say that the term telemetry is a comprehensive concept. On its positive side, for example, it can collect temperature data on your GPU under various loads. These are then forwarded to the hardware vendor to improve the quality of future software drivers operating it. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, telemetry can also have a dark side, which any computer user would object to. For example, consider that the browser you use collects data about your profile and the websites you visit and sends it somewhere. Sounds pretty startling, doesn’t it?

That’s why, when the phrase “telemetry” is mentioned, the computer user usually enters “Warning, danger!” mode. Fortunately, the new GNOME tool does not fall into this category.

The gnome-info-collect tool is a small client-server command line application that allows users to contribute data about their GNOME system to the GNOME Project in an anonymous manner.

These data will be used to improve GNOME by informing design decisions, affecting where resources are to be invested and generally assisting the GNOME Project in better understanding its users.

It is essential to notice that gnome-info-collect does not come preinstalled in any GNOME version. You must explicitly install it on your Linux system to utilize it and thus help the GNOME project.

This is how it looks when used.

The gnome-info-collect tool

Following data collection, the data is given to the user for confirmation and legal approval before being securely transmitted to a server for processing. After submitting successfully, you will receive the following confirmation:

The gnome-info-collect tool

As you can see, there is nothing wrong or sensitive personal information is present. Furthermore, we also publish a table that contains the complete list of data sent to the GNOME Project and the reason for doing so.

Research Questions Data Sent
Who is providing data? Is the information influenced by the distribution used? Distribution, variant, version
Which hardware should GNOME prioritize its support for? Hardware (manufacturer/vendor, model)
To what extent should GNOME Software be designed around Flatpak being available? Flatpak installed?
To what extent should GNOME Software be designed around Flathub being available? Flathub status (enabled/filtered/disabled)
Which applications should GNOME prioritize the development of? Are there any 3rd party apps that could be moved to the core? Installed applications
Is the customizable dash a useful feature? Which apps should be favored by default? Favourited applications (the ones in dash)
Which accounts does GNOME need to continue supporting? To what extent is GOA used? Types of GNOME online accounts setup
Which sharing settings need to continue being part of the Settings app? Which could be moved elsewhere? Sharing settings enabled (file sharing (DAV), remote desktop (VNC & RDP), multimedia sharing, remote login (SSH))
What level of resources should be in invested in workspaces on all displays? Workspaces on primary only/workspaces on all displays
What level of resources should be invested in static workspaces? Dynamic/static workspaces
Does the multiuser experience deserve more attention? Number of users on the system
Where should browser integration work be focused? Default browser
Any changes from extensions that should be considered for the default shell experience? Enabled GNOME extensions
Used to de-duplicate responses Salted hash of machine ID+username

In conclusion, we encourage any GNOME users who want to support and shape the future development priorities of this leading desktop environment to install and use the gnome-info-collect app once.

It is pretty simple to use. Just install the package for your Linux distro as shown below, then run the following command in the terminal:

gnome-info-collect

Install gnome-info-collect

The gnome-info-collect package is available for the majority of popular Linux distributions. Here’s how to install it.

Ubuntu

sudo snap install --classic  gnome-info-collect

Fedora

sudo dnf copr enable vstanek/gnome-info-collect
sudo dnf install gnome-info-collect

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S gnome-info-collect

openSUSE

zypper addrepo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/GNOME:Next/openSUSE_Factory/GNOME:Next.repo
zypper refresh
zypper install gnome-info-collect

You can refer to the tool’s GitLab page for detailed information about gnome-info-collect.

4 Comments

  1. One missing question. Does anyone use tray icon indicator? Answer: none (b/c Gnome doesnt have this). Good we will continue to NOT implementing this feature.

    Next question, does anyone need the clock in a different position? Answer: No (b/c this setting doesn’t exist). Good, we will continue to make it non-configurable.

    Next question. Does anyone need colors in theme? Answer: no (b/c libadwaita forces all black and white). Good we will continue with B/W.

    Does anyone need to configure anything? No, b/c Gnome is dumbing down. Good we will go dumb for good.

    To compensate we will add data collection. To improve features nobody needs.

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