Re: How to make Debian more attractive for users, was: Re: The number of popcon.debian.org-submissions is falling
Hello DD's and Debian Users,
I have installed Debian around an year ago. Recently, I have subscribed to various mailing lists and reading them on daily basis, whether they are relevant to me or not. I am still learning about debian.
Prior to the installation of Debian, I don't have any experience with Linux or any kind of Linux Distributions. I did some research and concluded that Debian suits me well due to it's rock solid stability.
When I was first installing Debian, my room mate was also with me. My room mate has some kind of exposure to linux distros. When the option has come for installation of popularity-contest, he suggested me not to install it. He told me that "it will take you to places". Eventhough I never understood what that phrase was meant. I have contacted some other people and they too has same kind of impression.
The issue lies with a person's perception and privacy fears. The issue has to be dealt in a careful manner and with a holistic approach.
This is my two step approach :
Step 1 : We should know a person's idea about the package.
Q1 : Did you install the popularity-contest package at the time of installation ?
A : Yes or No.
Q2 : Do you know the purpose and use of popularity-contest package ?
A : Yes or No.
Q3 : What is a popularity-contest package ?
A : O1 : It sends the installed packages list to the Debian server anonymously.
O2 : It collects the data about the system architecture anonmyously.
O3 : It collects the information about your system hardware and installed packages and
distributes to various third party organisations for commercial and non-commercial
Step 2 : The above step will give us a clear impression about the package perception. If most of them think that package is
 invading the privacy : then we should dispel their fear. The popcon website should provide more information and it should be more interactive too. Like providing stats on weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis for each architecture.
 if they have right impression but did not installed the package : There are two reasons for the answer : [a] they do not have an active internet connection [b] they are not simply interested, since they find that it has no value.
[a] We can have a package similar to bugreport and ask them to send an e-mail. The user will know what they are disclosing exactly.
[b] Can be solved with more information and interactive popcon website.
The Step 1 can achieved by a detailed survey. The survey might be carried on the website or wiki page of debian. We can also encourage debian users with websites or blogs to carry out the surveys independently.
To me there is nothing wrong collecting information about system architecture and installed packages, as long it is anonymous. I hope this might be helpful for the community. Excuse for broken english.