Telemetry (WAS: Attempt at a real world benchmark)

Phyx lonetiger at
Fri Dec 9 19:31:45 UTC 2016

On Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 3:53 PM, Ben Gamari <ben at> wrote:

> 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.

Even in the Windows world this would be a hard to swallow thing.
I'd like to point to when Microsoft tried this with Visual Studio 2015 Beta.

The intention was that if you wanted to, while using the beta, if your code
didn't compile
or crash you could send the feedback data back to Microsoft. The backlash
when this was
found..., even though legally you agreed to it when agreeing to the EULA to
the beta was huge.

Do we really want to do this? For so very very little gain? Trust is hard
to gain but easily lost.

> 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.

Not only developers. Currently for instance, GHC Is on the approved
software list at work.
Mainly because of it's open source status, it's license and small amount of
libraries it ships with
with sensible licenses.

If GHC adds telemetry. I'm pretty sure I'll have an uphill if not
impossible battle to get GHC approved again.
And the lawyers would have a good point in blocking it too.

> Cheers,
> - Ben
> _______________________________________________
> ghc-devs mailing list
> ghc-devs at
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