Audacity and its telemetry: New management's middle finger to the community

Sicherheit (Pexels, allgemeine Nutzung)[German]Open source enthusiasts are currently on the barricades, because Audacity has a new management. And this has simply given the audio player a set of functions for telemetry data collection. This does not go down well with the community, which interprets it as getting the "finger". Brief overview of what it's all about specifically.


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Audacity is a free audio editor and recorder, so writes the Wikipadia, which allows mixing and editing of any number of tracks of audio files. The program is written in C++ and uses the wxWidgets GUI toolkit to provide the same graphical user interface on different operating systems.

The open-source Audacity audio software has been acquired by Muse Group, which also brings a new management team in charge of operations. A few days after the change, the new management decided to have some "basic telemetry features" added to the software. The announcement was made this week on GitHub by Dmitry Vedenko, who explained the approach. Among other things, it said they were using Google Analytics to track the following events:

  • Session start and end
  • Errors, including errors from the sqlite3 engine, as we need to debug corruption issues reported on the Audacity forum
  • Usage of effects, sound generators, analysis tools, so we can prioritize future improvements.
  • Usage of file formats for import and export
  • OS and Audacity versions

To identify sessions, people use a UUID that is generated and stored on the client machine. The developers also use Yandex Metrica to correctly estimate the daily active users. The reason given for using the second service is that Google Analytics is known for having some very tight ratios. Both services also record the IP from which the request comes.

It is said that telemetry collection is optional and configurable at any time. The open source community is far from enthusiastic about this new development, as The Register writes in this article. One user writes, "Currently, over 99.97 percent of the responses to the initial commit are negative. Obviously, users are overwhelmingly against it. If it [telemetry] is added, it's a massive middle finger to the people who have used Audacity all these years and will most likely result in a loss of users."

The U-turn

Addendum: After media reported about the plans to use telemetry in Audacity, the new management has decided to do a u-turn. A message states "We are dropping the telemetry features proposed in PR #835". More explanation follows in the text. The Register picked it up here.


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One Response to Audacity and its telemetry: New management's middle finger to the community

  1. P.D. says:

    So, to the Muse Group, I say, "Fini-culi, fin-ick youself," or something from Brooklyn like that!

    You want Telemetry? We'll give you Telemetry! Hoo, boy, will we! Come on down to Brooklyn and ask for "Tony"!

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