Help improve GNOME!

This is a guest post by Vojtech Stanek, who has been interning at Red Hat and who has been working on an exciting new tool for the GNOME project.

gnome-info-collect is a new tool which collects anonymous data about how GNOME systems are configured, and then sends that information back to GNOME servers, where it can be analyzed. The goal of this tool is to help improve GNOME, by providing data that can inform design decisions, influence where resources are invested, and generally help GNOME understand its users better.

As of today, gnome-info-collect is ready to be used, and we are asking all GNOME users to install and run it!

The more people who provide data, the better! So, if you would like to help us improve GNOME, please consider installing and running gnome-info-collect on your system. It only takes a second.

How to run the tool

Update, 20 September 2022: as announced, the collection period for gnome-info-collect is now over, and the collection server has been turned off.

Simply install the package for your distribution, and then run gnome-info-collect from the Terminal. The tool will show you what information will be shared and won’t upload anything until you give your consent.

Packages are available for Fedora, Ubuntu, Arch and openSUSE: see the installation instructions for more details.

We’d love to expand the list of distributions covered.

How it works

gnome-info-collect is a simple client-server application. The client can be run on any GNOME system. There, it collects various system data including:

  • Hardware information, including the manufacturer and model
  • Various system settings, including workspace configuration, and which sharing features are enabled
  • Application information, such as which apps are installed, and which ones are favourited
  • Which GNOME shell extensions are installed and enabled

You can find the full list of collected information in the gnome-info-collect README. The tool shows the data that will be collected prior to uploading and, if the user consents to the upload, is then securely sent to GNOME’s servers for processing.

Data privacy

The collected data is completely anonymous and will be used only for the purpose of enhancing usability and user experience of GNOME. No personal information is recorded, like usernames or email addresses. Any potentially identifying information, such as the IP address of the sender and the precise time of receiving the data, is discarded on the server side. To prevent the same client from sending data multiple times, a salted hash of the machine ID and username is used.

All of this ensures that the collected data is confidential and untraceable.

Spread the word!

The best way to help is to take part by running gnome-info-collect and uploading your anonymous data.

You can also help by sharing this post with other GNOME users, and by encouraging others to run the collection tool themselves. The more users run gnome-info-collect, the better conclusions we can make from the collected data, resulting in an improved GNOME system comfortable for its users.

So, do not hesitate to help improve GNOME. Simply install gnome-info-collect, run it and go tell all your GNOME friends about it! Thank you!

16 thoughts on “Help improve GNOME!”

  1. DONE

    As requested by our leaders. Now you know my favorite (graphical) applications :)

  2. I would love to contribute but the tooling RPM does not come in ppc64le and aarch64 variant. Would you be able to configure copr to make packages for those 2 platforms too?

    1. Thank you for the effort and suggestion, copr will now makes packages for all of x86_64, aarch64 and ppc64le. You should therefore be able to run it on these platforms aswell.

  3. Can someone provide instructions for how to add the COPR repo on Fedora Silverblue? Will it work as expected?

    1. Hello Fabrício,

      gnome-info-collect will work both on regular workstation and Silverblue, no need to worry. The instrucions for installing on Silverblue are in the copr repository description (, it is pretty simple:

      1. Navigate to the copr repository using link above.
      2. Download the appropriate repository for your distribution (Fedora)
      3. Copy/move the downloaded repository to /etc/yum.repos.d/
      4. Install using your package manager, for Silverblue #> rpm-ostree install gnome-info-collect
      5. Reboot and run #> gnome-info-collect

      Let me know how it goes!

  4. I hope future versions would be available as a GUI application so non-technical users could participate as well.

  5. So, if we don’t need to send data multiple times, should we just install and run it once and then uninstall it?

    1. Yes, you can do that! No need to keep the tool around once you’ve run it.

  6. Shouldn’t this be a Systemd service and timer, so that data is collected over time? Some of the data collected is bound to change over time.

    1. We’re just planning on running the collection for a limited time. This is a one-shot data collection exercise rather than something longitudinal, mostly because of resource constraints.

  7. Would you like to make it available in Fedora repositories instead of COPR? I could help with that.

    1. As mentioned above, the tool isn’t planned to be used over the long term, so a COPR seems like a good fit.

  8. Missing info in the post: who and how will be analyzing the data, how often, how decisions will be made based on the collected data etc. That is the most important information.

    1. The project readme includes research questions for each of the pieces of information that we’re collecting. We’ll certainly share our analysis and publish the data online.

  9. I hope you plan on being 100% transparent and *provably* open about the data collected otherwise this is going in my “spyware” bin just like the KDE built-in info collection tool. Speaking of… I hope this never gets built-in to GNOME and always stays 100% separate.

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