[nycbug-talk] FreeBSD & Google Analytics

Michael W. Lucas mwlucas at blackhelicopters.org
Mon Dec 10 14:25:48 EST 2012

On Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 11:47:42AM -0500, George Rosamond wrote:

> 2.  I'm not concerned about 'black helicopters' 

Excellent. We don't want you to be worried. But seriously...

> There is a slippery slope for open source projects at work here:  a 
> third party who profits from their 'free' services allows a path to 
> broaden functionality.  But they aren't doing it for free.  They are 
> benefiting in terms of data collection, and we merely become will parts 
> of their game.

This is a very valid concern.

Now that I'm a small business owner, as well as an engineer slaving
away in the trenches, I find myself making this same sort of
decision over and over again.

As an engineer, I find handing my data to a third party abhorrent. It
makes my bowels churn in a most unpleasant manner.

As a guy who is trying to get stuff done with the least amount of
effort, so I can get on to tasks that actually increase my
productivity... I find myself handing my data to third parties.

I grit my teeth every time. I look at my to-do list. I look at the
choice. And... now I'm sharing data with my contractors via Google
office, distributing my work via Amazon and B&N, and on, and on, and

People have attempted to address GA's lack of real competition
before. The proposed alternatives are all partial solutions. And I
would argue that just as people who write web log analyzers make
mediocre operating system designers, operating system designers make
mediocre web active analyzers.[1]

I don't want the any BSD people spending their time writing a web log
analysis system. I want them writing more BSD.

What the broader open source community needs is a real alternative to
GA, written by people who understand the problem.

If you're looking for a space to contribute to the world, improving an
existing open-source analytics engine, or writing a new one, to take
on GA would be worthwhile. If it gets good enough, people will use it.

I'll also say that Google is much more open than either Amazon or
B&N. I desperately want data from Amazon, but I will never get it.

Me? I'm still back on awstats. When I bother. Most of my web logs are
exploit attempts.


[1] Yes, there are exceptions. PHK has been notably successful with
Varnish. But he spent a lot of time debugging Squid before taking on
that project, and he's smart enough to get the necessary education,
and he devoted his time and attention to it, to the detriment of his
BSD work. Having spent over a decade on FreeBSD, though, we can hardly
begrudge him a new hobby...

Michael W. Lucas 	
http://www.MichaelWLucas.com/, http://blather.MichaelWLucas.com/
Latest book: SSH Mastery http://www.michaelwlucas.com/nonfiction/ssh-mastery
mwlucas at michaelwlucas.com, Twitter @mwlauthor

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