Call for OSS Project Instrumentation

2013-05-28 09:56:28 by jdixon

As an open source developer, some portion of my time is spent not just coding and responding to user feedback, but to act as a Project-slash-Product Manager. I have to determine which bugs to prioritize, which features are necessary, and where to allocate my finite resources. Much of this is driven by what interests me at the time and which features will best fit into my overarching vision for the project.

The Proposal

And yet, it's important to me that the software I develop is useful for a larger audience. Knowing which features are used (or rather, which are completely ignored) helps me refine my plans and better understand the Value Proposition that these projects offer. Therefore, I'd like to propose incorporating instrumentation into software like Descartes.

The Ground Rules

I think it's important to set some ground rules, as this is somewhat new territory (afaik) and subject to scrutiny and skepticism.

Disabled by default

All instrumentation would be disabled by default and enabled only when you set the appropriate environment variables.

Anonymous reporting

All data would be anonymized. No personally (or business-ally) identifiable information would be stored with the metrics.


All data would be available for public consumption.


I'd really like to get your feedback here. As a [potential] user, have I addressed your major concerns? Are there other projects that have attempted public instrumentation successfully (or unsuccessfully)? Anything else I can answer for you (besides the implementation, which is TBD) before I start to dedicate resources to this endeavor?

Please add your comments below.


at 2013-05-28 16:08:40, Arnaud wrote in to say...

Did I understand right that you mean analytics?

It would certainly help you know what is used or not.

I think your proposal is fair and makes a lot of sense as it will help build a better product.

For all it's worth I support this proposal.

at 2013-06-07 14:45:29, schvin wrote in to say...

this could be very cool. seems like a reasonable set of rules.

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