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Re: Anonymous metrics collection from Firefox

From:  Blake <>
Subject:  Re: Anonymous metrics collection from Firefox
Date:  Tue, 7 Feb 2012 11:55:56 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID:  <>
Archive-link:  Article

On Feb 6, 11:24 am, Dao <> wrote:
> I was just going to post this to bug 718066, now commenting here instead:
> (In reply to Daniel Einspanjer :dre [:deinspanjer] from comment #54)
> > (In reply to Dão Gottwald [:dao] from comment #52)
> > > I'd consider add-ons problematic, partly because the IDs alone can let you
> > > track down a person, partly because the use of some add-ons could be illegal
> > > in some countries. I also second Ben's view that IP addresses + GUIDs need
> > > to be considered personally identifiable information. You say you don't
> > > store IP addresses, but this just brings us back to good intentions vs.
> > > systems that inherently protect privacy by just not sending out problematic
> > > data.
> > Based on your feedback, we removed persona and theme IDs from the list of
> > data submitted.  We also implemented the honoring of the setting that an
> > add-on developer can put into the manifest to prevent submitting the add-on
> > ID to Mozilla services.  That preference was originally set up as part of
> > the features that support the Add-on manager.
> There's no direct link between the use of an add-on being illegal in
> some country and the developer setting that pref. In general, I wouldn't
> count on people setting that pref.
> > > The client has the list of installed add-ons, knows about crashes and could
> > > be told what to consider "slow". Providing it with a list of add-ons that
> > > generally tend to be problematic would probably cover 99.9+%. It's unclear
> > > why this requires fain-grained data from hundreds of millions of users.
> > That presumes that we can know with accuracy what add-ons tend to be
> > problematic for most of our users.  If we don't collect data from the
> > general usage base, the best we could ever hope to know is what AMO hosted
> > add-ons cause problems on our own specific test machines and what add-ons
> > people have told us cause problems for them.
> No, there's also telemetry, which I think we haven't fully utilized yet.
> I don't see how some user selection bias would hinder linking add-ons
> with performance and stability problems.
> (In reply to Blake Cutler from comment #57)
> > 2) I didn't say Mozilla is going to die. I implied it's headed toward
> > irrelevance. Let's look a the numbers:
> > * Webkit's market share is already 10 points higher than Gecko's.
> > * Gecko is losing .5% market share per month and has no meaningful presence
> > mobile devices.
> > * Webkit is gaining over 1% market share per month and dominates mobile
> > browsing.
> > * Mobile browsing is rapidly overtaking desktop browsing (gaining nearly 1%
> > share per month)
> It's unclear how the proposed Metrics Data Ping would change this. See
> again the questions I asked in
> <>.

The Metrics Data Ping is an attempt to apply scientific principles to
product design and development. Mozilla relies too much on gut
decisions, which directly translates to poor product decisions.
Firefox analytics are stuck in the dark ages. It shows.

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