Measuring success/failure in the installation

Evan Dandrea ev at
Wed Jun 15 11:17:07 UTC 2011

I would like to expand my initial proposal to measure installation
failure and success. I originally felt that it would be best to
request this functionality in its most simple form, so that we could
avoid bike-shedding and to provide precedent for those who wish to
implement similar functionality in other parts of the operating

However, I feel that this is too simple to be useful.

Instead of operating entirely in the background without user
intervention, I am proposing that the installer include a checkbox
with the label, "Send information about setup to help improve the
experience."  It will be present on the last page of the installer as
well as the quit and crash dialogs.

In order to get accurate statistics, we need data from the type of
individual who will not mind if this is enabled, but will equally not
read and understand the option to manually enable it.  Therefore, this
option will be checked by default.

By leaving the box checked, the following information will be sent to
a database on our server:

- Installer version, live CD label, and build date.
- Is the user in the desktop session or the installer only session?
- System hardware profile (some pared down combination of xvinfo,
dmidecode, lshw, udisks).
- Installation time and individual step length.
- The options selected in the install, excluding the user page entirely.

If the installation crashed, the following extra information will be collected:

- Whether it was an unrecoverable failure.
- The stack trace.
- The debug logs.
- A process listing.

I believe this meets the requirements of the law Colin mentioned
(, regardless of
whether or not it actually applies here, though I am happy to run this
by Canonical's legal department once we have a decision.

I leave it to the Technical Board to decide whether this information
should be public or not.  As mentioned previously, my only concern
with it being public is the data being misrepresented as a count of
users, when it will simply not be used by a sizeable enough proportion
to accurately measure that.


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