Friday, April 27, 2007

Ubuntu votes for people's favorite packages automatically

While ransacking the system files to look for logs and other things, I noticed that cron runs an application called "popularity-contest" every month.

user@ubuntu:/etc$ ls cron*


apt find man-db samba sysklogd
bsdmainutils logrotate mysql-server standard



man-db popularity-contest sysklogd

I was curious as to what is "popularity-contest"! The name is interesting! So I ran this application from CLI, and it spitted out a list of packages in Terminal. A quick google search revealed the following:

The popularity-contest package sets up a cron job that will periodically anonymously submit to the Debian developers statistics about the most used Debian packages on this system.

This information helps Debian making decisions such as which packages should go on the first CD. It also lets Debian improve future versions of the distribution so that the most popular packages are the ones which are installed automatically for new users.

This is a nice and democratic way, but a little creepy for the unsuspecting and new users like me.

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