Instead of maintaining and distributing your open-source project in the dark, take steps to ensure its success. Scarf helps you understand how your code is used and connects you with the right people at the companies that rely on your work.
Would you like to understand your project's impact, identify potential customers, or showcase growth without sacrificing end-user privacy? Scarf helps you understand how users are interacting with your open-source project at every step of their journey with your software.
You had me at "in the dark"!
Anyone else heard of Scarf, or even tried it yet?
Scarf's Documentation Insights provides simple tracking pixels for a better understanding of your project's web traffic. By instrumenting your READMEs, documentation websites, tutorial pages and other web properties of your project, Scarf can tell you which companies are frequently viewing your documentation—providing access to those more likely to pay for training or support.
I want this. But I don't think this would be able to track users reading READMEs on GitHub, due to https://github.blog/2014-01-28-proxying-user-images/.
Also, if this is done "without sacrificing end-user privacy" (as promised), how do they get informed consent from users now that they're being tracked (which is legally required in many jurisdictions)? E.g. If a maintainer adds this to their docs site, will they have to add an annoying cookie banner to their site? Etc.
SDKs for package authors
Scarf's SDKs provide an easy way to understand how your software is being used. By simply adding a dependency on a Scarf library (eg scarf-js), you can start collecting actionable installation analytics that can help you keep your package working smoothly.
Want to know which versions of your package are being used? Did your most recent release break things for your users? Are there companies using your library that would pay you for a support contract? You won't have to write a single line of code to find out!
I want this too, but again, there seem to be some unanswered legal and UI questions about getting users' consent, as well as technical concerns about how this could work for open source libraries that are running in an environment without internet access.
Still, there is certainly a compelling value proposition here and the various questions may have good answers. I can post back here if I find out anything and people are interested, but please feel free to beat me to it and/or share your thoughts in the meantime!