Idea: user monitoring
mdgeorge at cs.cornell.edu
Sat Jun 4 00:16:17 EEST 2005
I've been thinking that a framework for monitoring my use of various
applications would be useful. I would like to implement something that
could be useful for the following kinds of use cases:
- Joe has no self-discipline. He wants to monitor the amount of time he
spends reading slashdot and playing games, and possibly pop up a notice
if he's wasting too much time
- Mary's children are only allowed to use the computer for one hour a
day, unless they are working on a school project. She wants the desktop
to enforce these rules.
- Bob loves free software, and is trying to decide what projects to
donate to. To help him think of good possibilities, he wants a list of
all the applications he uses regularly, and how much time he spends
I imagine this being implemented as a service which makes an educated
guess as to what task the user is focusing on, and then records the time
spent on each task. There would also be an API that allows applications
to provide more information (for example, a web browser might say what
page is being visited (perhaps via a plugin), or an xterm would tell the
system that the user is really using emacs). In addition, an API would
be provided for querying this information, or to be notified when
certain events occured.
Such a framework would almost certainly need to be desktop-neutral in
order to monitor all applications, which is why I am proposing it here.
Does anyone have any comments on this idea, especially how I might start
building such a thing? It's a little underspecified right now because I
don't have a good feel for the technologies that would help support it.
For example, I think this would work really well on top of DBus, but I
don't know much about DBus. Any comments would be appreciated.
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