In the following article, we will see how we can provide data on the use of our .deb packages to the Debian team through popularity-contest. Obviously, the fact of providing the data of the packages that we use the most will be optional and totally anonymous.
WHAT CAN BE USEFUL FOR THE PACKAGES WE USE THE MOST?
Some of the utilities that Debian knows the most used packages are:
WHAT DATA DOES THE DEBIAN POPULARITY-CONTEST PROGRAM COLLECT?
For each of the packages installed on our Debian team, it collects the following information:
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DEBIAN POPULARITY-CONTEST PROGRAM AND INFORM DEBIAN OF THE USE WE DO OF THE DISTRIBUTION PACKAGES?
At the time of installing a Debian operating system, we are asked if we want to participate in the Debian popularity-contest program in order to provide data on the use we make of our packages. Once we meet with such a request, we will only have to answer if we want to participate in the program:
Note: If you look at the screenshot you will see that the default answer is no. We’ll see if the canonical people are as reasonable as Debian in this section.
In the event that we have installed the system and we do not remember our choice, we must act as follows:
Initially, we will check if we have the popularity-contest package installed on our computer. For this we will execute the following command in the terminal:
lateef @ debian: ~ $ dpkg -l popularity-contest dpkg-query: no package matching popularity-contest has been found.
Since the package can not be located, it means that it is not installed. As it is not installed it means that I am not giving the data of use of my packages to Debian. In the case that I want to provide information to the Debian team, I will have to install the popularity-contest package by executing the following command in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install popularity-contest
During the installation, we will be asked if we want to participate in the popularity-contest program. As we want to participate, select the answer Yes and press Enter.
Once the installation is complete, we will be providing information on how we use our distribution packages automatically and anonymously to the Debian team.
If one day we decide to abandon participation, we should only uninstall the popularity-contest package by executing the following command in the terminal:
sudo apt-get remove--purge popularity-contest
Another option to stop providing information without uninstalling popularity-contest would be to execute the following command in the terminal:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure popularity-contest
Once executed, we will be asked again if we want to participate in the survey about the use of packages. If we want to stop participating, we select the No option and press Enter.
HOW IS THE DATA SENT TO DEBIAN AND HOW FREQUENTLY?
The process of data collection is done as follows:
At the moment that the popularity-contest package is installed, a cronjob is configured that automatically, anonymously and weekly sends the use we make of our packages to Debian.
So in this simple way, we will participate in the popularity-contest program without having to do anything at all.
HOW TO CONSULT THE DATA COLLECTED BY Debian?
If we want to visualize the statistics compiled by Debian, we just have to visit the following URL: https://popcon.debian.org
Inside this web page, you will find detailed information about the use made by the users of the Debian package. If you want to get information about the use of a certain package, you just have to do the following:
Once the process is finished I get the following information about the corebird package:
If you think it is convenient, you can consult much more information. If for example, they want to consult the totality of packages ordered from more to fewer installations of the stable branch they should click on the following options:
and the result obtained will be as follows:
Note: If we deem it convenient, we can also download the data in a text file to processed a Subsequent with a spreadsheet.
If we continue browsing the URL you can get additional information such as:
CONCLUSIONS ON THE COLLECTION OF INFORMATION BY THE DEBIAN TEAM
Obviously, the fact of providing our data to a third party is a matter of trust. If you trust this third person or entity, there would not be any problem. As in my case, I trust Debian, my opinion is that there is no problem involuntarily and anonymously assigning our data. And if in addition, the data collected serves to improve my preferred distribution then better.
However, in my case, I do not trust so much in companies as for example Canonical. It seems that from version 18.04 Canonical will implement mechanisms so that users who wish to provide certain data on the use and hardware of their equipment.
Unlike Debian, it seems that the data collection by Canonical will be more aggressive. Some of the data that will be collected will be the following:
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