Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations
Just uploaded to the Ubuntu Lucid repository for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (and we imagine it will appear shortly in Maverick too for Ubuntu 10.10) is a new package called canonical-census, which marks its initial release. Curious about what this package provides, we did some digging and found it's for tracking Ubuntu installations by sending an "I am alive" ping to Canonical on a daily basis.
The canonical-census v0.1 description is simply "canonical-census - send "I am alive" ping to Canonical." When looking at the Debian package source to this Python program, "Send an "I am alive" ping to Canonical. This is used for surveying how many original OEM installs are still existing on real machines. Note that this does not send any user specific data; it only transmits the operating system version (/var/lib/ubuntu_dist_channel), the machine product name, and a counter how many pings were sent."