[plt-scheme] Version Check

From: Anton van Straaten (anton at appsolutions.com)
Date: Thu Apr 27 01:37:17 EDT 2006

Eli Barzilay wrote:
> On the ethical side, the fact that DrScheme does the check means that
> we get some idea of its usage -- seems like this should be documented
> in the DrScheme manual -- some disclaimer that says that this is used
> to check for newer versions, that such data as http log files is never
> given out, and that it might be used to get an estimate of the number
> of users (which is always a necessary argument for getting funds to
> support the project, currently done through tedious guesswork).
> However, if it's only in the manual, it may not be obvious enough, and
> some people may consider this bad ethics.  (Although it seems like
> this is becoming common enough to almost be expected.)  On the other
> hand, some on-first-run dialog is a bad idea since it's one step back
> to the dialog that was unsuccessful in making people choose their
> language level etc.

The language level dialog was unsuccessful at least partly because it 
was complicated, and was communicating something that new users didn't 
understand.  Having a couple of checkboxes about checking for updates 
and communicating usage statistics is much more likely to be successful. 
  Many commercial products have something similar at install time.

Also, people who are sensitive to applications that phone home are more 
likely to pay attention to dialog boxes at install time.  The checkboxes 
could default to phoning home, as long as someone who doesn't want that 
can simply uncheck them, and not have to ever worry about it again.

BTW, I recommend that that automatic update reminders be clearly 
separated from gathering usage statistics.  There are many reasons to 
want to disable one but allow the other.  For example, someone may not 
want to be nagged about updates, but may not have a problem 
participating in statistics-gathering.


Posted on the users mailing list.