Op Slashdot.org is er redelijke ophef ontstaan over een posting waarin LinuxQuake bericht dat Quake III Arena gegevens verzamelt over de gebruiker en terugstuurt naar id Software. Klinkt op zich spooky maar blijkt uiteindelijk allemaal nogal mee te vallen: de enige data die wordt verzameld is een stringetje met het type videokaart dat wordt gebruikt en de aanwezigheid van deze 'feature' heeft ooit in een readme gestaan, alleen werd deze info per ongeluk niet meegeleverd met de nieuwste releases van Q3Test. Reaktie #1 van John Carmack:
This has been discussed before, and has been going on with the previous tests. The message of the day server was intended as a half-assed auto update feature that could be cross platform. We send a normal message most of the time, but if the version is out of date, we can send a message with telling you where to get the update. I didn't want to deal with binary auto-updates on three platforms, and I worry a bit about security issues with that in any case.
You can disable it by setting "cl_motd 0" when the game starts up if you really don't want to send anything or see our message.
We added the result of glGetString( GL_RENDER ) to get some much needed information about the distribution of video cards and drivers.
We can see how many people aren't following directions and running glsetup. This is a big support issue. We can see how many people are running minidrivers, which are going to make our lives a mess in the future. We can see how many mac (steady 5%) and linux (5%at initial release, tailed off to 2%, probably due to dual booting) people are playing.
Getting this information has been usefull. We can compare the numbers of people playing with a given card with the amount of support emails we field, so we know which vendors (3DFX) we need to give more crap about their driver quality.
John Carmack [break] En post #2: [/break] When the article first showed up, I thought "It IS documented in the release!". I went and looked, and unfortunately, that documentation from the previous release didn't make it into the latest release. Sigh. Our fuckup.
Apropriate quote: "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence".
I remain unconvinced that we have done something morally offensive.
Yes, we could have (should have, meant to) included a notice that it was going on in the EULA, but honestly, how many people carefully read and consider every line of all the EULA's they click through? How much of a difference would that have made to people?
I dislike lengthy legal verbiage, but it is reactions exactly like these that cause them to grow. Every time someone says "Sue 'em!" over something, a lawyer proposes another paragraph in a license document.
The most upstanding thing to do would be to have explicit UI that asks on installation if you don't mind sending your data when you play multiplayer games. I would consider that justified if we were sending a detailed system spec. That is something we may want to do in the future. Data like that is helpfull in making good development decisions. But this is just a driver string riding along with your game version. It just seems silly, like requiring you to acknowledge before leaving your house that someone might see you. I would rather have fixed a bug somewhere.
I can see that it is a slipperly slope to be on, and I can easily project it to a scenario that I would be offended by, but I just can't convince myself that knowing the reletive distribution of different OpenGL implementations is violating people's rights.
The system was set up to allow us to notify people with a one-line message when their versions are out of date. I imagine some people are offended even by that, but I consider that a positive service to the community.
Including the renderer string was an afterthought to get some good unbiased data to help make future decisions on. Every once in a while we tally up the numbers, then dump all the logs. That's it.