Zeitgeist Project

About Zeitgeist

What is your motivation?

Zeitgeist’s motivation is to bring the element of human contextual awareness to computer systems, paving the way for more user friendly and easier to use software.

Reading Metadata is not like interpreting content as “similar”.

But a live tagging system, evolving metadata… that’s more like the human brain, which abstracts patterns after repeated encounter. After a while, it simply “recognizes.”

Learning is an incremental process, only possible with selective memorization and pattern abstraction.

What is Zeitgeist?

Zeitgeist is a service which logs the users’ activities and events, anywhere from files opened to websites visited and conversations had.

It makes this information readily available for other applications to use. It is able to establish relationships between items based on similarity and usage patterns.

The service consists:

  • Engine
  • Extensions
  • API
  • Dataproviders

Who uses Zeitgeist?

Zeitgeist technology is already being used by a lot of mainstream software solutions, e.g. Ubuntu, GNOME and KDE.

The project is currently being sponsored by several institutions and foundations in the domain of Free & Open Source Software (FOSS).

It is also endorsed by some very successful community projects such as Docky, AWN, and Synapse.

What about security?

People are sometimes scared that information Zeitgeist has logged can be dangerous if it gets leaked. If you feel worried that malware might gain access to your information you need to be a bit more paranoid.

Zeitgeist events are available in the same way your Firefox and Chrome browsing history is very easily accessible. Pidgin even saves your password in plain text in your home directory.

Now remember the two golden rules of security on a Linux installation.

  • Don’t run as root
  • Don’t install untrusted applications

If you are running as root and you are attacked by malware, the damage done is more than running with your normal user account. Under a root user the malware can install itself in global location or put itself to run every time you boot your system.

If you are running untrusted applications, then you can be at risk. If the application is malicious, they can steal your passwords stored in browser, browsing history, bookmarks, Pidgin passwords and if they are intelligent they can also steal your Zeitgeist events.

Don’t install applications from a PPA (for Ubuntu users) if you don’t trust the PPA owner.

Which technologies does Zeitgeist use?

Vala, DBus and SQLite.

The Legacy Zeitgeist is written using Python, DBus and SQLite