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More diagnostics data from desktop

On 19 February 2018 at 13:55, Matthew Paul Thomas <mpt at> wrote:

> Will Cooke wrote on 14/02/18 15:22:
> >â?¦
> > We want to be able to focus our engineering efforts on the things that
> > matter most to our users, and in order to do that we need to get some
> > more data about sort of setups our users have and which software they
> > are running on it.
> >
> > We would like to add a checkbox to the installer, exact wording TBD,
> > but along the lines of â??Send diagnostics information to help improve
> > Ubuntuâ??.  This would be checked by default.
> Iâ??ve just drafted a design for this. <> Itâ??s
> basically a subset of the System Settings screen.

Thanks, we will take a look at that, but on first scan it looks good.

> > The result of having that box checked would be:
> >
> > * Information from the installation would be sent over HTTPS to a
> > service run by Canonicalâ??s IS team.  This would be saved to disk and
> > sent on first boot once there is a network connection.
> Information from the installation would be fascinating, for improvement
> of the installer in particular. However, I donâ??t think it would give you
> an accurate idea about the â??sort of setups our users haveâ??, for
> improvement of Ubuntu in general. It could lead you to think that, for
> example:
> *   Internet connection is less common than it really is. (Because of
>     things like proxies, as mentioned by Ernst Sjöstrand, or
>     not-yet-installed wi-fi drivers. And because if people still canâ??t
>     get online later, they might uninstall Ubuntu and youâ??ll never get
>     a report.)
> *   Wired Internet connections are more common than they really are.
>     (Because theyâ??re being used temporarily during installation, while
>     wi-fi isnâ??t working.)
> *   Typical screen resolution is lower than it really is. (Because
>     people donâ??t tweak the resolution until after installation. And
>     because if they fail to do so, they might uninstall Ubuntu,
>     resulting in a report for a system that soon stops existing.)
> *   Bluetooth devices are much less common than they really are.
> I think it would be much more interesting to measure these things month
> by month.
Yes, general trending is what we're aiming for here.  Thanks for the input
on those specifics.

> >                                                         The file
> > containing this data would be available for the user to inspect.
> >
> > That data would include:
> >    * Ubuntu Flavour
> >    * Ubuntu Version
> >    * Network connectivity or not
> If I understand â??on first boot once there is a network connectionâ??, that
> would exclude devices that were offline until the second startup or later.

We were thinking along the lines of something which would try to send the
data at login a number of times, let's say.... 10, and then give up.  So if
the machine never comes on line, then the data never gets sent.  If the
machine travels between various locations before arriving at a working
internet connection, then it should eventually be able to send it.  I think
that would cover the vast majority of cases.

> >    * CPU family
> >    * RAM
> >    * Disk(s) size
> >    * Screen(s) resolution
> >    * GPU vendor and model
> >    * OEM Manufacturer
> >    * Location (based on the location selection made by the user at
> > install).  No IP information would be gathered
> >    * Installation duration (time taken)
> >    * Auto login enabled or not
> >    * Disk layout selected
> >    * Third party software selected or not
> >    * Download updates during install or not
> >    * LivePatch enabled or not
> >
> > * Popcon would be installed.  This will allow us to spot trends in
> > package usage and help us to  focus on the packages which are of most
> > value to our users.
> This effectively singles out .deb package installation as the only thing
> that should be reported periodically, with everything else reported
> one-off. Is that just for ease of implementation, or is there a reason
> not to report the other things periodically too?

Mainly ease of implementation.

> For example, if we could see how often people change their reported
> location, weâ??d have info on how accessible the time zone UI should be.
> And if it turns out that only a tiny fraction of Livepatch users turn it
> on during install, vs. afterwards, that would influence future installer
> design.

Wouldn't that involve us being able to track a person/machine to know when
it had been changed?  Or would something in the location picker send a
signal?  I don't like either of these options, I've probably misunderstood
the idea.

> >â?¦
> > Any user can simply opt out by unchecking the box, which triggers one
> > simple POST stating, â??diagnostics=falseâ??.
> What is the purpose of this?

To try and measure engagement rates.  This would be important in the
"opt-in" case I think, how representative of users is the data?  < 10% of
people are submitting data, then probably not very useful.

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