[GSoC] MacPorts Usage Statistics

Rainer Müller raimue at macports.org
Wed Mar 30 01:36:42 PDT 2011

On 2011-03-30 02:28 , Ryan Schmidt wrote:
> I would find it useful to collect this info. We discussed it briefly
> some years ago and rejected it due to privacy concerns. Making it an
> opt-in model would resolve that concern, but make the data less
> useful. I had envisioned this information being available to our web
> site, which could then show things like popular ports this week,
> etc.

Definitely something I would like to see in MPWA. It could also be
enhanced with a "I use this" button.

> On Mar 29, 2011, at 19:01, Derek Ingrouville wrote:
>> Due to privacy concerns the opt-in model seems the best way to go. 
>> Users opt-in to the program by installing the port. It would also
>> be nice to let users choose what sort of data they would like to 
>> contribute though a configuration file. A default set of options
>> will be enabled which hopefully provide of good balance of privacy
>> to usefulness.
>> I'm interested in working on either porting Debian's popcon or 
>> developing a similar package for macports.

Under what license is popcon implemented?
Keep in mind that MacPorts is BSD and you cannot merge in GPL'd code.

> [...]

> I would have thought stats gathering would be an integral part of
> MacPorts base, implemented in MacPorts base, with new configuration
> options exposed in macports.conf for whether the user wants to
> participate, and perhaps, as you say, what specific information they
> want to disclose. But I have no idea how Debian's popcon works or why
> it's done that way.

Debian popcon also reports file accesses based on atime to find out
which programs are used regularly. This is much more than checking what
users have installed. It runs as a cronjob once a week and submits the
reports to a web server over HTTP. Users a being identified by a random
UUID generated once at installation time.


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