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Re: Metrics: RFC



Jason L Tibbitts III wrote:
I and I'm sure a good portion of Fedora users would happily install
a package that periodically sent various bits of info related to what
hardware is in the system, what packages are installed, what kernel is
currently running, etc.  Such information could be immensely useful to
community packagers as a validation that their packages are actually
being used somewhere.

That would be useful. But I want us to stay focused one one thing to start and one of the areas we're really hurting in is good hardware support. That can really have a positive impact on our users, so I think it's worth it to try and start there.


There are all sorts of useful bits of information we could collect,
most of which require that some client be installed.  I suggest that
this isn't a problem as long as:

There's only one thing to install, not a collection of random
info-gathering clients.

Keeping in mind what we want to measure, I would guess that we have a few things here:

1. Something that's run every time you change the kernel that can ask users to run through a set of simple tests? Annoying, but maybe we can only run it for 1/20 people and since we're just interested in statistical information, that's enough. Think high level (external monitor support, sound, suspend/resume, etc.)

2. A small program that's run during each suspend and resume. Leaves a file behind reporting success/failure and what was running right before and after each suspend. This gets picked up by a program, maybe from cron and is submitted.


The client runs from cron and doesn't consume any memory when it's not
running.

It is not installed by default.  The installer can ask, sure.  "Please
help us improve Fedora!  Do you want to install the blahblah client?".
"Yes" should probably not be the default choice.  (It could be
installed by default but not enabled by default, but even that is
probably pushing it.  It's about the appearance of impropriety.)

Yeah, we'll need to be careful. But I also want to make sure that we talk about really what we're trying to do here (really improve the system) as opposed to just find out how many users we have. The second is just a side effect of the first.

The list of information gathered is presented to the user somehow.  An
option should be there to provide someone (root?) with a report of
everything sent in when it's sent in if someone really wants to know.
Updates to the package which provide new information-gathering plugins
should not cause those new plugins to be enabled without user
intervention.

That's pretty much all the evil-minimization you can reasonably do.
The question is whether the response rate will be high enough and
whether the responses you get give you a statistically valid sample.

A sample of even a few thousand systems can give us a sense of what hardware people are using. If we can connect hardware -> drivers -> kernel version -> suspend success/fail and higher level success/failure metrics (like, does my backlight control work? How about sound?) we can really start to make dave jones' life much easier. And that's one of my real goals.

--Chris


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