back to article Latest sneak peek at PowerShell 7 ups the telemetry but... hey... is that an off switch?

Microsoft emitted a fresh preview of command-line darling PowerShell 7 last night, highlighting some additional slurping – and how to shut it off. PowerShell 7 Preview 3, which is built on .NET Core 3.0 Preview 8, is the latest step on the way to final release at the end of 2019 and a potential replacement for the venerable …

  1. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Terminator

    MS Knows Best

    If previous MS actions count for anything, we'll soon be seeing it turned back on in a future patch.

    The typical "Oh, you really didn't mean to turn that off. We'll just flip it back on, for your convenience." MS attitude runs deep.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    What the hell is the use of that ?

    What is the point of getting a log on people's use of a given command ? If you're going to log command usage, why limit logging to a subset ?

    I can't even begin to fathom the reasons for Microsoft's telemetry. It is useless to prevent botched patches, so what is MS doing with it ?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

      Even the calculator has telemetry, the source code on guthub shows it... I wonder if their data centre is in Utah.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

        For those that are interested, you can see what's being logged here.

        Of course, it's disabled by default, but lets not let that get in the way of a good rant eh?

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

          I don't get it.

          If you're stuck with Windows but they offer the source of the utilities, why wouldn't you just disable the slurping ?

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

          Er, yes, I think they compile it with SEND_DIAGNOSTICS in the production build?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

      Enterprising souls may could disrupt Microsoft's reciept of telemetry by repeatedly spamming useless commands?

      I absolutely despair I do. I think of all the extra security gubbidge installed over the top of Windows to protect our client side IT. FireEye, Tanium Client, McAfee (not my choices I hasten to add!) - and that's just client side never mind enterprise spyware. Yet more features keep being added that need closing up.

      What the hell is wrong with providing BASIC tools that have audible code from end to end, that "Just Work"? I'd pay a premium for that in fact.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

        What the hell is wrong with providing BASIC tools that have audible code from end to end, that "Just Work"? I'd pay a premium for that in fact.

        I think what you just described is UNIX. Apart from having to pay a premium.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

          I'd agree with the definition of UNIX in earlier, simpler forms, however I can't be the only one that feels that the sharding and fragmentation of effort takes us away from the Simple goal, particularly with respect to audit.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan

          Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

          I think what you just described is UNIX

          Except any Linux variant that uses systemd of course..

          (And let's not get into the whole "linux is not unix" arguement)

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: What the hell is the use of that ?

            I wasn't going to, I was thinking of BSD.

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    How about opt in telemetry

    rather than opt out ? For all sorts of reasons setting the opt-out variable will get lost and, potentially, private information slurped. Even if you switch it off does it stop, does it only blab stuff that MS claims ?

    Mind you: if you are using a MS system you are getting slurped anyway, but powershell is available on Linux - maybe the NSA wants another way of snooping on Linux boxes and MS has obliged.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Alain williams - Re: How about opt in telemetry

      No company in its right mind would consider opt in. That would be insane. Even opt out is too much for some.

      Lack of slurping, sorry, telemetry in Linux is severely hampering its widespread adoption.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: @Alain williams - How about opt in telemetry

        @AC Your argument is incomplete.

        But you're an AC so perhaps just trolling.

        'No company in its right mind would consider opt in. That would be insane. Even opt out is too much for some.'

        That once wasn't the case. It's quite a recent thing. Don't assume that the old business model of selling something useful for a reasonable price is dead - plenty of people work with that, especially outside of COTS products.

        'Lack of slurping, sorry, telemetry in Linux is severely hampering its widespread adoption'

        That simply doesn't follow. It implies the only way to get 'widespread adoption' is via a company that's got an interest in distributing it, and sees slurping as a way to make more return. This is a very limited and limiting worldview and in many cases total bollocks. It reminds me of those absurd people who sell products by appealing to the self-importance of 'enterprise' and 'business'. Parochial is the kindest word I can think of for it.

    2. ST Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: How about opt in telemetry

      > [ ... ] but powershell is available on Linux [ ... ]

      I can't stop laughing. Seriously.

      You really think NSA is so stupid that they would rely on someone installing Windows Powershell on Linux so they can use it as a backdoor?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about opt in telemetry

      "but powershell is available on Linux - maybe the NSA wants another way of snooping on Linux boxes and MS has obliged."

      If you're dumb enough to use powershell on linux instead of bash or some other unix shell then you deserve what you get frankly. Can it even do job control given how lame the windows process (not thread) model is?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How about opt in telemetry

        Well, say what you will, but unlike unix shells, you don't waste 50% of your command line assembling and disassembling strings and worrying about spaces in filenames, because powershell actually has more strctured datatypes than "some sort of string".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How about opt in telemetry

          Unix command line tools don't do object input and output so all that functionality is wasted. They do however do formatted string intput and output so if its crap at that AND job control then its a total waste of space on a unix box.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " will be supported for as long as the underlying .NET Core 3.1 is."

    So about a year or 2 then.

  5. Tom Melly

    Plain text output

    Has anyone worked out a way to set the text output to plain ascii by default?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plain text output

      $object | Out-String

  6. Winter is Coming!

    Is the POWERSHELL_TELEMETRY_OPTOUT the same Environmental Variable you can define in Group Policy?

    Just curious of those of you have tried this. Is the POWERSHELL_TELEMETRY_OPTOUT pulling from Windows Environmental Variables or some other PowerShell specific Environmental Variables?

    If this is pulling from Windows Environmental Variables, then you could define this in your Default Domain Group Policy object using Group Policy Preferences (GPP).

    See: Computer Configuration\Preferences\Windows Settings\Environment

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PowerShell Long Term Servicing (LTS) release

    PowerShell .. will be the first Long Term Servicing (LTS) release of the tool

    Is Microsoft “Long Term Servicing” (LTS) anything like Ubuntu “Long Term Support” (LTS)

    1. RunawayLoop

      Re: PowerShell Long Term Servicing (LTS) release

      No

  8. HmmmYes

    7?

    I gave up at 5.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow

    "The ability to stick a -Parallel parameter to ForEach-Object in order to execute scriptblocks in parallel is a good example, "

    I admit, I got a bit of a woody when I read that.

    1. Scott 26

      Re: Wow

      Up to now you had to rely on this trick:

      $result = 1..15000 |

      ForEach-Object {

      "Line $_"

      }

      becomes

      $result = 1..15000 |

      & { process {

      "Line $_"

      }}

      for about a 200x increase in speed....

      -parallel SHOULD be better

  10. Kev99

    Sometimes having the government intervene is actually good. In this case, mandating that features like the telemetry mentioned by Opt In only.

  11. steviebuk Silver badge

    Surely...

    ....to comply with GDPR they need to make the slurping "Opt-In" and not "Opt-Out" as opt-out is essentially having a box automatically ticketed, like on websites marketing section when you fill in your address, which now, under GDPR, is a breach of GDPR.

    Hmm.

    I like Powershell, still need to learn it and stop being lazy but I like the fact in CMD I can still do the likes of

    gpresults /h a.html & a.html

    Which will run the gpresults command AND then open the html after.

    Not found a similar command in Powershell yet that does what the & does. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough.

    1. Keith Langmead

      Re: Surely...

      "....to comply with GDPR they need to make the slurping "Opt-In" and not "Opt-Out" as opt-out is essentially having a box automatically ticketed, like on websites marketing section when you fill in your address, which now, under GDPR, is a breach of GDPR."

      Only if the data they're slurping is personally identifiable information, if it isn’t then GDPR doesn’t apply. Whether their belief that it’s not PIR is accurate is another matter of course. :)

    2. bsper

      Re: Surely...

      To do that in powershell:

      gpresult /h a.html; .\a.html

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Surely...

        Ah yes, thanks :)

  12. Harry Stottle

    Not Traceable? Bah humbug...

    "As for that unique identifier, he told us it was "to help us understand if our user base is growing and not just usage." The identifier itself, he said, is "a unique guid for the machine and user, so it can’t be traced back to either the machine nor the user.""

    er... excuse me?

    unless that quote is misreported or I've badly misunderstood it, that claim is nonsense.

    If that's a static "unique identifier" (remains same between sessions) as opposed to a new random session id every time, then, given all the other identifiers slurped by MS telemetry, that would make the powershell ids trivially traceable to the given machine and, with a little more effort, the exact user

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not Traceable? Bah humbug...

      Sounds like PII to me.

  13. Trixr

    Not even a prompt?

    Surely it can't be that hard to bake in a prompt on first run. Even if they do set the default to opt-out (ugh), if you are asked, you a) are actually made aware of the fact it will slurp (I didn't know about this previously!); b) have an opportunity to say "no".

    Of course it should be opt-in by default, but a prompt would be way better than nothing.

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