Audacity's future is uncertain

Heads up for those who care about privacy / FOSS! :postal_horn:
I know Audacity userbase is huge on Linux, so it might be important for you.

Unfortunately Audacity have new management which starts with some wacky decisions. :woozy_face:

See all edits for this issue here

3:50 - 24:30

Personally, if i’d use Audacity - i’d fork / drop it when it starts with this shady stuff.

I read this yesterday and am still wondering how they think this is acceptable. I expect a fork soon as someone will want it enough.

3 Likes

So, I didn’t read all 817 comments but the PR explicitly states that all telemetry is disabled by default. Has someone reviewed it and determined that this isn’t the case?

Personally, I don’t care if products have optional telemetry that is disabled by default.

2 Likes

tl;dr

  1. There are / were a lot of edits for this pr related info (dude in the video speaks about it)

  2. At first they’ve stated that there will be telemetry, BUT Google / Yandex telemetry won’t get any of your personal bla bla bla (gimme a f***ing break :exploding_head: :rofl: )

  3. Then after backfire they’ve rolled back, made loads of edits to butter things like opt in etc…

That’s serious breach of trust, as first action made by new management.


My question is: Who the HELL needs any telemetry and even internet connection at all for simple audio-editor, especially which was established for ages and used by millions of people?

What’s up with that stupid IOT mentality, i don’t need telemetry in my toilet paper, it’s lunacy.

2 Likes

As long as it is opt-in telemetry, I don’t see any issue with it personally.

In general, telemetry is extremely useful to a developer. Especially for long established products. The reason is that the feedback you get from users is often misleading. The feedback you get is typically from a very small percentage of your user base and highly skewed by people who want certain changes.

Having telemetry data, provides real insight into how your tools are really used in the field.

From a privacy perspective, I don’t want to share that information but many people don’t mind. That is why having it be opt-in is a great compromise. It lets the people who are willing to share it, do so. The develop benefits and the people who prefer privacy are also protected.

Of course, that only applies if that is the type of data they are collecting here. In this case, they seem to be using google analytics and yandex. I am not sure why you would use those particular tools to collect usage data from a non web-based client.

7 Likes

Isn’t the telemetry closed source Google tech?

Personally, I wouldn’t use any software with built in Google tracking tech, I mean software telemetry, regardless of any supposed ability to “opt out”.

I feel a fork coming.

4 Likes

forks over knives! forks over knives!

I also do not mind telemetry if it is optional and disabled by default.

However, the fact they are using Google and Yandex for their telemetry service raises some huge red flags.

I’m not too worried, because it’s free software, so there will be a community build with questionable stuff removed. I foresee it being called “Libredacity” or “Audacium” or something like that…

2 Likes

Obviously the first fork can be seen on the horizon :

Getreu nach dem Motto «That Escalated Quickly» steht bereits kurz nach der Ankündigung der Muse Group die Leitung des Audacity-Projektes zu übernehmen, ein Freier Fork zur Verfügung.
FOSS Audacity möchte das Projekt auf Basis von Community Grundsätzen fortführen und eine zu 100% Freie Lösung anbieten.
Auslöser für den Unmut im offiziellen Audcacity-Projekt waren Pläne, Telemetrie mittels Google Analytics und Yandex Metrica zu implementieren. Der Ersteller des Pull-Requests Dmitry Vedenko ist seit 20. März technischer Leiter des Audacity Projektes.
Bisher wurde der PR noch nicht gemerged und die Reaktionen darauf sind alles andere als fürwortend. Zwar ist die Funktion als Opt-In geplant, doch die Verwendung von proprietären Technologien zur Telemetriedaten-Übertragung stösst auf heftige Kritik. Daher bleibt abzuwarten, ob ein Fork langfristig nötig ist, oder ob sich die Situation innerhalb des Projektes klären lässt.

Translation with google translate :

True to the motto * «That Escalated Quickly» *, a free fork is available shortly after the [Muse Group] (https://mu.se/) announced that it would take over the management of the Audacity project.
[FOSS Audacity] (https://github.com/yonderbread/foss_audacity) would like to continue the project based on community principles and offer a 100% free solution.
The trigger for the displeasure in the official Audcacity project were plans to [implement] telemetry using * Google Analytics * and * Yandex Metrica * (https://github.com/audacity/audacity/pull/835). The creator of the pull request Dmitry Vedenko has been the technical director of the Audacity project since March 20th.
The PR has not yet been merged and the reactions to it are anything but favorable. Although the function as an opt-in is planned, the use of proprietary technologies for telemetry data transmission has met with heavy criticism. It therefore remains to be seen whether a fork is necessary in the long term or whether the situation can be clarified within the project.

Source : https://gnulinux.ch/foss-audacity

2 Likes

I don’t see that staying that way. If the telemetry is there, and is opt-out, there’s a lot of ways to change that. Later discussions will revolve around that most users never activating the telemetry, and therefor it would be beneficial to change it to opt-out. The arguments for telemetry haven’t changed, the group still views it as beneficial for everyone, but now you’re having a different conversation, not about telemetry being collected, but for whom. Or somehow, during an update, there way a mistake that accidentally activated telemetry for everyone - software error, can’t be done anything about that.

If there’s a foot in the door to collect data, and the data has value, it is in the nature of capitalistic entities to make use of it. Not having the data collected is the only way to make sure that it is never stolen, sold, misused.

1 Like

First of all, I think this is “opt-in” which is better than “opt-out”.

In a general sense, I understand what you are saying but I if I stopped using every piece of software that had opt-in telemetry I wouldn’t be using much software. I mean, both plasma and Arch Linux itself have optional telemetry which can be enabled if you choose to do so.

Also, it seems unreasonable to deny developers access to telemetry data from people who volunteer it willingly.

I think the real question should be what data is being collected and who is it being provided to. In this case, it is a bit concerning that they chose to connect to yandex and GA. There doesn’t seem to be much reason to do that for an application of this type.

What? Where? :scream:

pkgstats. It reports what packages you are using. They were considering expanding it a bit but I am not sure if that ever happened or not.

Given that Arch more or less installs nothing by default, you have to install it to opt-in unless you are using a distro that pre-installs it.

1 Like

Well, that’s exactly right way to do that in my opinion, it solves “potential for mistakes” problem.
If someone would introduce optional package audacity-telemetry - there would be zero questions.

A few things:

  • Comparing the way a distro can optionally include something to the way a software application can include something isn’t apples to apples.
  • Packaging isn’t up to the software developer. The packagers for each distro decide how things are split or combined into different packages.
  • Telemetry for a software application usually has to be compiled in because of the nature of what you are tracking. Having it be split into a separate package isn’t always even an option.

To be clear, I am not saying what the developers of audacity are doing is OK because, honestly, I haven’t looked at in enough detail to know. I just also don’t believe that having optional for telemetry is definitively a bad thing in a general sense.

It could just have audacity-telemetry as an optional dependency and a mention in the docs to add it.

Again, software developers don’t make those decisions. Distro/package maintainers do.

Also, depending on what you are capturing at an application level and the architecture of the application in question, it may need to either by compiled in or not compiled in. It may not be possible/practical to have an optional add-on component. Every situation is different.

Bottom line is change of ownership and first thing new owners do is integrate Google tracking tech.

Enough said.

This is only their first step, which will hopefully lead to a telemetry free fork sooner.

1 Like

:penguin: :upside_down_face:

1 Like

Yes, they have some audacity. (sorry, couldn’t help myself :grinning:)

In my oppinion if there is not a deliberate hidden agenda then most reasonable explanation is laziness. Developer sometimes take first ok-ish library that does what they want to do and ignore the side effects.

2 Likes