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.
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!