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Re: [K12OSN] Privacy vs vendor support

On Wed, 2003-07-02 at 21:25, Eric Harrison wrote:
> I just rolled in from the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC).
> One of the interesting problems we face when talking with vendors is 
> that they ask for number of users. Since it's open source, we don't
> really have any idea. We can tell them how many downloads we've had off
> our servers, but not off the various mirrors, or how many have been
> burned onto CDs and handed out, etc, etc.
> We can see how many people are on the K12OSN list (850 last time I checked).
> We can see how many sites are syncing to the SquidGuard web filter black
> lists (~2,500). But we don't really know that the installed base of K12LTSP
> happens to be.
> I'm a big privacy advocate myself, so I'm not very fond of the idea of
> installing spyware. On the other hand, it is really hard to get vendors
> to listen to us if we can't give them some sort of reasonable numbers.
> The best idea I have so far is to create a package (maybe named something
> like "privacy_violator" ;-) that added an anacron job that ran once a
> month which did something like "wget -q http://k12ltsp.org/I_USE_K12LTSP";
> That would leave a log entry in the K12LTSP.org web server logs that 
> looked like this:
> - - [02/Jul/2003:19:11:43 -0700] "GET /I_USE_K12LTSP HTTP/1.0" 200 0

    I, too, have concerns over privacy...but it's really getting in the
way right now.  One thing that the other guys have in spades is a

    Some folks at linux.counter.com (org?) are working on is such a
device. They're having some kind of problem with it...I think they're
trying too hard, to be honest.

    How about freehanding some small bash script (the most portable
software, no matter what Sun says) to collect the information (IP
address, manually-entered system description, and the number of
users/workstations, and send'em with something equally compatible: wget.

    Have it hit a
webserver...your.domainname.com/check-in?ip-address=blah, blah, blah.

    There isn't much information needed- or desired- so it should be
easy to have Perl mung the log and give you details.

    The upside is that everyone knows what's going on, it's delightfully
simple to implement, and it's motivated to keep the data out in the
open, and eat up minimal bandwidth.

    Give it a try, aye?

Brian Fahrländer          GNU/Linux Zealot, Conservative, and Technomad
Evansville, IN                    My Voyage: http://www.CounterMoon.com
ICQ  5119262

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