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Ubuntu accused of being “Spyware”
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Ghosty
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Default Ubuntu accused of being “Spyware” - 12-10-2012, 19:00 | posts: 3,468 | Location: UK

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Richard Stallman accuses Canonical of spying on Ubuntu users.
Canonical, the company behind the wildly popular Ubuntu distro is under siege from Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman. Stallman has accused Canonical of spying on users, and oddly enough, they aren’t even denying it. In fact, they even admit plans are in the works to expand their efforts in upcoming releases.
The complaint Stallman has highlighted in particular is a controversial new feature introduced in Ubuntu 12.10 that combines a user’s local desktop search, with results from Amazon.
"When the user searches her own local files for a string using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends that string to one of Canonical's servers. … Ubuntu uses the information about searches to show the user ads to buy various things from Amazon."

If a user goes through and makes a purchase, Amazon provides Canonical with a cut in the form of an affiliate fee. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has defended the decision on his blog, but is facing mounting criticism from users who are used to getting a free OS with no strings attached.
It’s a simple matter to disable the feature, but Stallman doesn’t think users should accept this as the solution.
“Ubuntu allows users to switch the surveillance off. Clearly Canonical thinks that many Ubuntu users will leave this setting in the default state (on). And many may do so, because it doesn't occur to them to try to do anything about it. Thus, the existence of that switch does not make the surveillance feature ok.”
Would this bother people enough that they wouldn't use Linux in future?
   
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Default 12-10-2012, 19:14 | posts: 9,769 | Location: UK

Well yeah, that particular branch if they cant be trusted.
They deserve a veto simply for doing that.
Its the Facebook effect, see what you can get away with.
   
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Default 12-10-2012, 19:17 | posts: 1,749 | Location: BBQ Capital of the World

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mufflore View Post
Well yeah, that particular branch if they cant be trusted.
They deserve a veto simply for doing that.
Its the Facebook effect, see what you can get away with.
and the answer is a LOT... you can get away with a whole lot of very questionable stuff.
   
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Default 12-10-2012, 19:35 | posts: 11,305 | Location: Finland

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Originally Posted by Ghosty View Post
Would this bother people enough that they wouldn't use Linux in future?
Perhaps not Linux, but Ubuntu as (AFAIK) other distros dont have this kind of stuff.
   
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Default 12-10-2012, 19:57 | posts: 1,503 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Ubuntu used to be ok, but it's heading in a wrong direction.

As already stated, there are a lot of great distros around, like Gentoo, Arch, Slackware, or others. Pick any you'd like.
   
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Default 12-10-2012, 20:09 | posts: 6,918 | Location: Dubai

Mint ftw! The Linux using crowd isn't the type that takes this lightly, what were they thinking .. lol.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 04:57 | posts: 4,527 | Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

I don't see what's all the fuss about. People should be grateful, not complain about this. If you don't like the Amazon features, you run a simple command and voila, they are gone. It is thanks to Shuttleworth that Ubuntu got to be such a big distro and the one that put Linux on the PCs of average non-nerd people, for FREE. Why should he continue offering it for free anyway?. People are being disrespectful.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 05:10 | posts: 9,769 | Location: UK

He shouldnt sneakily do this.

If he must do it, it should be an option.
It should be presented to the user with a good description before they start using Ubuntu, so they can make an informed choice.

Last edited by Mufflore; 12-11-2012 at 05:12.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 05:52 | posts: 16,632 | Location: US East Coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrés View Post
I don't see what's all the fuss about. People should be grateful, not complain about this. If you don't like the Amazon features, you run a simple command and voila, they are gone. It is thanks to Shuttleworth that Ubuntu got to be such a big distro and the one that put Linux on the PCs of average non-nerd people, for FREE. Why should he continue offering it for free anyway?. People are being disrespectful.
Linux has always been available for free.... Canonical didn't do ****.. Slackware, Damn Small Linux, OpenSuSE, FreeBSD....all existed before Ubuntu and all FREE. This stupid **** will do nothing but hurt Linux. Hell, there was even the "Lindows PC" before Ubuntu where you could buy the computer with Linux pre-installed for $200USD.


   
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Default 12-11-2012, 06:02 | posts: 2,865 | Location: The Freak Show - Earth.

And this is any different to what windows 8 is doing, how?

Anyway, they have to finance themselves somehow or they wouldn't be doing it.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 06:23 | posts: 5,632 | Location: In a house, on a hill, by a road.

Mufflore, for all we know it could be in one of those agreements no one ever reads.

That said, i agree it should be more open though.
In other words, people be presented with the option to have it turned off, instead of having to look for it.
I wouldn't consider it a problem, Just as i don't consider the ads on guru3d to be a problem. Though i'll admit the adwords when reading news are a little overkill, 4-5 per paragraph, where even passing the mouse over one, starts a video.. those need to go. OR at least require a click to open.

But I have to ask, are these amazon ads being shown while just using the OS like on the side of the file manager? or do they only show when you load browsers that support ads from amazon? If the first, then it's a super big problem. If the second, not a problem.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 06:47 | posts: 282 | Location: Northern India

Companies need money to function. Ubuntu didn't cost money the last time i checked. They should provide an option asking the user if they want to use that feature..? But tell me, if they do that, how many of you will actually leave the feature turned on?

That's right, no one.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 07:03 | posts: 9,769 | Location: UK

Yep, that spells it out really, it isnt wanted by anyone.
He should raise cash in another way.
As you say, voluntary donations. He can run a publicity scheme to let people know the predicament and appeal to them, rather than abusing them.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 07:40 | posts: 171

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mufflore View Post
Yep, that spells it out really, it isnt wanted by anyone.
He should raise cash in another way.
As you say, voluntary donations. He can run a publicity scheme to let people know the predicament and appeal to them, rather than abusing them.
It already asks you to donate when you download Ubuntu...
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 07:48 | posts: 2,169 | Location: USA, Pennsylvania

Quote:
Originally Posted by sykozis View Post
Linux has always been available for free.... Canonical didn't do ****.. Slackware, Damn Small Linux, OpenSuSE, FreeBSD....all existed before Ubuntu and all FREE. This stupid **** will do nothing but hurt Linux. Hell, there was even the "Lindows PC" before Ubuntu where you could buy the computer with Linux pre-installed for $200USD.
Yeah I don't know where people get that thought from. There is nothing to be grateful over. The software itself is illegal to make a distro to sell retail.
If you think about it, information collecting is done ultimately to make money. Donations are different, there is no direct trade of money, you can donate and not use the product, or use it and not donate (obviously).
Maybe whats going on here is almost illegal. Under that GNU/whatever software release thing. This stuff makes my brain hurt.

Last edited by Cyberdyne; 12-11-2012 at 07:51.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 07:50 | posts: 3,714

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chouji View Post
But I have to ask, are these amazon ads being shown while just using the OS like on the side of the file manager? or do they only show when you load browsers that support ads from amazon?
It's neither.
The first guess is a closer one, though.

The crux of the problem here is the Home Lens universal search on Unity Dash.
It basically shows product suggestions from Amazon while you're searching for things either locally or online.
The problem is, this means your searching keyword(s) gets sent to Canonical and Amazon's servers without any user consent.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrés View Post
It is thanks to Shuttleworth that Ubuntu got to be such a big distro and the one that put Linux on the PCs of average non-nerd people, for FREE. Why should he continue offering it for free anyway?
Sense.
You're not making any.

Ubuntu is just "Debian made easy".
Before Ubuntu, there were many big name GNU/Linux distro offerings for free.
Anyone could put any distro on any non-nerd people's computers for FREE without Ubuntu.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrés View Post
People are being disrespectful.
And you're being gullible.
Shuttleworth isn't promoting FOSS, he's promoting Ubuntu.
End of story.




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Default 12-11-2012, 10:14 | posts: 5,593

I think all pissed off ubuntu users should band together and type 'butthole gape' a 100 times a day in the Home Lens search to throw them off.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 10:39 | posts: 2,021

I'm not using Ubuntu or unity, but a fork of Ubuntu so this doesn't concern me that much tbh.
But this like goes against everything what linux means to me, I can't believe this is where Ubuntu is going...
I think Ubuntu as a name is also taking a lot of heat just for its utterly crap Unity, which is pretty misleading. Even OP thinks Ubuntu = all of linux, just imagine what most of the people think of linux now after Ubuntu did this retarded move with Unity. My point is that by doing this, even though it's only a desktop environment, the whole linux thing is getting bad influence/a bad image...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrés View Post
I don't see what's all the fuss about. People should be grateful, not complain about this. If you don't like the Amazon features, you run a simple command and voila, they are gone. It is thanks to Shuttleworth that Ubuntu got to be such a big distro and the one that put Linux on the PCs of average non-nerd people, for FREE. Why should he continue offering it for free anyway?. People are being disrespectful.
The WHOLE point of linux is it being free and open source, you should really read about linux before you post BS. Also, it's not like Ubuntu is the first major distro that is known and has made linux more popular, OpenSUSE for example.

Last edited by naike; 12-11-2012 at 10:47.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 12:24 | posts: 3,468 | Location: UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by naike View Post
I'm not using Ubuntu or unity, but a fork of Ubuntu so this doesn't concern me that much tbh.
But this like goes against everything what linux means to me, I can't believe this is where Ubuntu is going...
I think Ubuntu as a name is also taking a lot of heat just for its utterly crap Unity, which is pretty misleading. Even OP thinks Ubuntu = all of linux, just imagine what most of the people think of linux now after Ubuntu did this retarded move with Unity. My point is that by doing this, even though it's only a desktop environment, the whole linux thing is getting bad influence/a bad image...



The WHOLE point of linux is it being free and open source, you should really read about linux before you post BS. Also, it's not like Ubuntu is the first major distro that is known and has made linux more popular, OpenSUSE for example.
Ubuntu has been the only distro I've used so far. With it being one of the most popular, which was one of the reason's I started this thread. Personally it will make me look at different variations of Linux because of this.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 13:09 | posts: 5,593

Top 3 distros are Mint, Magea then Ubuntu in terms of user interest (hits per day) according to distrowatch. I've tried most of the top 10 and found mint the most polished, best for my purposes.
   
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Default 12-11-2012, 13:31 | posts: 2,021

Quote:
Originally Posted by alanm View Post
Top 3 distros are Mint, Magea then Ubuntu in terms of user interest (hits per day) according to distrowatch. I've tried most of the top 10 and found mint the most polished, best for my purposes.
Same here, I also find mint to be the best for my use, it's so easy since it's basically ubuntu underneath (for software and guides etc.)
I've tried soo many distros and mint just seems the only choice.
   
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Default 12-12-2012, 09:18 | posts: 3,714

Before Ubuntu, I regularly used Mandriva (formerly known as Mandrake).
If there was anything close to Windows' looks & usability (apart from the obvious lack of native Windows programs), that'd probably be it.
After Unity showed up, I promptly moving to Mint, and that's all I use these days for general desktop usage.

Mint has started selling mintBoxes & bundled systems for months.
These guys actually know other ways to get funding without literally selling their own customer base out.




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Default 12-12-2012, 12:42 | posts: 16,632 | Location: US East Coast

The company formerly known as Lindows and Linspire sold their own computer bundles too. Pretty cheap at $200. Now they're owned by Xandros.

Mandrake offered what was probably the easiest way for people to get into Linux with their "Lin4Win".


   
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Default 12-13-2012, 04:21 | posts: 79

Debian has always been free and to think that Ubuntu would try a scheme like this is truly terrible. Debian is much better than Ubuntu and actually does the job of getting people to learn how their operating system works, allowing them to greatly develop their skills.

The move to make operating systems remove most user control and access from the underlying system will leave many technically illiterate which in the long term will work against the interests of software developers and users alike. A future in which an ever decreasing number of people actually understand how software works creates a dangerous precedent where many will increasingly lose control over certain aspects of their life and how their own personal information and privacy is handled.

It was free software and the initial learning curve that got many interested in developing their own software. If you never learn basics like to customise your kernel and optimise your build for your hardware or use a terminal then you can hardly call yourself an experienced user. If you don't have control over what information leaves your terminal then someone else has.
   
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