Ubuntu has announced that new installs of the package on desktops will no longer include the Popularity Contest (PopCon) by default, after it discovered that the package and its backend are broken.
Ubuntu Popularity Contest (PopCon) had come pre-installed in Ubuntu Linux since the debut of Ubuntu 6.10 in 2006, which help to gather statistics from users to determine what's the most installed packages on Ubuntu systems.
Going forward, Ubuntu plans to remove the popularity-contest package from the standard seed, and all new installs will not include it, haven found it broken since 18.04 LTS without users missing it; so they decided to remove it and discard the Ubuntu delta for the package.
How Ubuntu Popularity Contest (PopCon) works
Ubuntu Popularity Contest (PopCon) gathers statistics from its users to determine the most or least popular of the packages. Although, it is not enabled to track package usage by default, it comes pre-loaded on Ubuntu; which means users have to enable it to anonymously submit a system report.
While the popular and most-used packages are calculated every week on the basis of data submitted by users, and Ubuntu generates the following statistics: total number of people who installed the package, those who use the package regularly, those who installed, but don’t use the package regularly, and those who upgraded the package recently.
Additionally, it records the statistics of the number of people whose entry didn’t quite contain enough information.
Does it Matter if PopCon is Removed from Your Ubuntu Installs?
Given that PopCon is currently broken and no longer works, therefore Ubuntu plans to remove the package from the default installation in future releases.
You don’t have to do anything yet, as the package doesn’t actually compromise your privacy and security. PopCon doesn't work without you giving permission and enabling it, however, if you want to remove it from your current Ubuntu Linux system, simply run the following command:
sudo apt remove popularity-contest
But it isn't recommended to uninstall the Popularity Contest package, as the removal will also remove the ubuntu-standard package.