GNOME has launched a new campaign that it hopes will help to ‘better understand’ its users — and you’re invited to take part.

To get involved, you need to install a new CLI tool called ‘GNOME Info Collect’. This gathers (anonymous) data about how your GNOME system is set-up, and sends it to GNOME servers, where it can then be analysed.

“The goal of this tool is to help improve GNOME, by providing data that can inform design decisions, influence where resources are invested, and generally help GNOME understand its users better,” Vojtech Stanek, an intern at Red Hat who created the tool, explains in a blog post.

And, as they add: “The more people who provide data, the better.”

So what sort of the data does this tool collects?

  • Distribution and version number
  • Hardware OEM, model, etc
  • If Flatpak and Flathub are installed/enabled
  • Favourited applications
  • GNOME extensions installed
  • Default browser

A full list of what the tool collects (and why) can be found on its Gitlab page.

Personally, I think this is a great initiative by the GNOME project. Some often like to claim that “GNOME ignores users”. It’s a recurring and not entirely fair criticism levelled their way. But GNOME predicates most of its decisions based on user testing and feedback.

So if you’ve got a few minutes to spare between drum lessons/feeding the cat/child rearing/contemplating life, the universe, and everything, do give it a go.

Who knows, maybe they’ll find out so many people use Dash to Dock that they’ll move the Dash on to the desktop — hey, I can dream! 😅

Installing GNOME Info Collect

To install gnome-info-collect on Fedora or openSUSE you need to add the relevant repo for your distro as listed on the Gitlab page. Ubuntu users can install the tool from the Snap Store (just be sure to use the --classic flag), and those on Arch-based distros can snag it directly by running sudo pacman -S gnome-info-collect.

When the tool is installed just run gnome-info-collect from your favourite terminal emulator (I’m liking Blackbox these days) and follow the prompt(s) you see printed. You’ll be able to review the collected data prior to sending it on.

Once done, remove the tool and its repo (if you added one). Then carry on with your day with an air of satisfaction at helping the world’s most popular free desktop become that little bit better.