Telemetry (WAS: Attempt at a real world benchmark)

Ben Gamari ben at
Fri Dec 9 15:53:15 UTC 2016

Simon Peyton Jones via ghc-devs <ghc-devs at> writes:

> Just to say:
> · Telemetry is a good topic
> · It is clearly a delicate one as we’ve already seen from two widely
> differing reactions. That’s why I have never seriously contemplated
> doing anything about it.
> · I’m love a consensus to emerge on this, but I don’t have the
> bandwidth to drive it.
> Incidentally, when I said “telemetry is common” I meant that almost
> every piece of software I run on my PC these days automatically checks
> for updates. It no longer even asks me if I want to do that.. it just
> does it. That’s telemetry right there: the supplier knows how many
> people are running each version of their software.
Does this necessarily count as telemetry? To be useful for statistics
each installation would need to be uniquely identifiable; it's not clear
to me for what fraction of software this holds. Certainly in the
open-source world it's rather uncommon to tie telemetry to updates. I
suppose in the Windows world this sort of thing may be more common.

I'll point out that in general telemetry isn't a terribly common thing
to find in open-source software save a few major projects (e.g. Firefox,
Debian's popcon). I think we would be the first widely-used compiler to
use such technology which does give me pause. Developers in particular
tend to be more sensitive to this sort of thing than your average user.


- Ben
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