GitLab is ramping up the amount of data it collects on how customers are using its products, leaving it walking a fine line between improving its product and alienating users.
The move was disclosed in a blogpost yesterday from vp of product Scott Williamson titled “Update on free software and telemetry”.
On the telemetry front, he wrote, “To make GitLab better faster, we need more data on how users are using GitLab. SaaS telemetry products, which provide analytics on user behavior inside web-based applications, have come a long way in the past few years.
“GitLab has a lot of features, and a lot of users, and it is time that we use telemetry to get the data we need for our product managers to improve the experience.”
At the same time, he said “to service the needs of GitLab.com and GitLab Self-Managed users who do not want to be tracked, both GitLab.com and GitLab Self-Managed will honor the Do Not Track (DNT) mechanism in web browsers.”
And as for that mention of “free software”? He said the GitLab Core line will “continue to be free software with no changes” and will continue under the MIT License. “Nothing is changing with Core,” he repeated, which we take to mean the telemetry effort will not extend to Core.
Measurement and analytics certainly seems to be on GitLab’s mind at the moment. Outlining future product plans at its London get together this week, director of product development Eric Brinkman said it was ramping up its monitoring features, and wanted to be “a complete replacement for Datadog.”