Support Your Freedom to Speak:
LibreQuest Episode 24 - Christoph Cullmann on Kate Telemetry
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Published 3 years ago |


Questions from LibreQuest to Christoph Cullmann of

About Christoph Cullmann

Christoph started the application that later became Kate back in 2000, and have stayed with it as a core developer and active maintainer ever since. He has contributed major parts of the code, and is the brain behind the excellent named sessions feature found in Kate 2.5.

Q. Let's say I am unfamiliar with telemetry data and have not read the
telemetry policy of the Kate project, how would you describe the

A. If you opt-in to the telemetry submission, you allow the application to
some statistics about how you use our application to our (KDE's)

We guarantee that we don't uniquely identify you and will not transmit
stuff than we show you in the dialog you can opt-in with.

You will benefit by providing us (the developers) with a bit more ideas
about how our stuff is used.

Q. In what ways can you see the collected data being used in future
development of the Kate project?

A. For example: Is HiDPI a thing for our users? Or are HiDPI screens still
only used by a minority? Do we need to care about dual-head setups?
Do new versions arrive at our users at all or are they e.g. in 2022
still stuck
with the first 2020 version? Do people use the stuff at all on e.g. BSD
is only Linux important for the Unices?

Q. How was the decision made to include the telemetry functionality
opt-in service in Kate?

A. We get telemetry for the stuff we distribute via the Windows Store (if
have enabled the telemetry in their Windows settings).

Even alone, the installation statistics and usage counts show that e.g.,
we get some higher adoption on Windows with each new version we publish.

This both motivates and shows: oh, bad, the last update is no longer
something went wrong :/

Q. How is this data transferred from the users system to your servers
and how often?

A. Once a week over HTTPS to

Q. I opt-in to share my telemetry on machines running Ubuntu. Do you
think that telemetry services are becoming the status quo in free
software projects?

A. I think they get more and more common.

Without any such feedback channel, you really are lacking a lot of
knowledge about
your user base.

For example you can try to focus your development efforts on areas that
will make most of your users happy.

At the moment, you just have the bug tracker (or mailing lists/forums)
as feedback.

But is e.g. some HiDPI bug really more important compared to some
dual-head issue?

Without a bit of information of what is used in the wild, this is hard to

Q. What would your response be to someone who would criticize the
decision to include the opt-in telemetry data?

1) It's opt-in, nobody is forced to turn it on.
It's a bit like somebody complains: Why is this plugin bundled?
My natural response would be: who cares if it is default off?

2) If you really distrust it is open source, patch it out and compile
your own version.
Though I really would appreciate if e.g. distributions/packagers don't
do that and give
the users the choice to decide themselves.
linuxlibrequestlinux newslinux podcastchristoph cullmann

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