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Changes in Ubuntu Default Package: Popularity Contest

Image Source: Pixabay

Michael Hudson Doyle, a Software Engineer at Canonical, has recently announced that starting now, fresh installations of Ubuntu desktops will exclude the “Popularity Contest” package by default. This decision was made because Canonical discovered that the package and its backend were not functioning correctly.

Understanding Ubuntu Popularity Contest (PopCon)

Before delving into the implications of removing PopCon, it’s crucial to understand this package. Ubuntu Popularity Contest, commonly known as PopCon, has been a pre-installed package in Ubuntu Linux since 2006 (Ubuntu 6.10). Its primary function is to collect data from users to determine the popularity levels of various packages.

However, PopCon does not automatically track package usage by Ubuntu users. Even though it comes pre-installed on Ubuntu systems, users must actively enable it and submit system package reports to Ubuntu anonymously if they choose to participate.

Users can vote on their favorite and most-used applications on a weekly basis. Based on the data provided by users, Ubuntu compiles statistics that include:

  • Number of users who installed a particular package
  • Number of users who regularly use the package
  • Number of users who installed the package but do not use it regularly
  • Number of users who recently upgraded the package
  • Number of users whose report lacks sufficient information

The collected data is publicly accessible at

Absence of PopCon in Future Ubuntu Installations

The statistics provided by PopCon play a key role in helping Ubuntu developers determine which packages should be included in the default Ubuntu ISO and which package bugs need to be addressed.

Given that PopCon is dysfunctional and no longer operational, Ubuntu will no longer include the package in default installations. For end-users, the removal of PopCon does not bring any significant disadvantage or advantage.

While PopCon requires user activation and consent to function, users can eliminate it from their existing Ubuntu Linux systems by executing a single command:

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sudo apt remove popularity-contest

Removing the Popularity Contest package will also uninstall the ubuntu-standard package, which is not recommended. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain the status quo as the package does not pose any privacy or security risks.

Source: omg!ubuntu!, Front Page Linux

Image Source: Pixabay

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