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Shuttleworth: Trust Us, We're Trying to Make Shopping Better

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the just-go-with-this dept.

Privacy 255

An anonymous reader writes "In a blog post responding to the latest controversy over Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth says 'integrating online scope results' are 'not putting ads in Ubuntu' because the shopping results 'are not paid placement', but 'straightforward search results'. He goes on to explain his plans to make the Home Lens of the Dash a place to find 'anything anywhere'. Like a cross between Chrome OS's new app launcher, Siri and Google Now 'it will get smarter and smarter' so you can 'ask for whatever you want' it 'just works'."

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255 comments

The future of operating systems (-1, Flamebait)

AE90 (2737939) | about 2 years ago | (#41437913)

I think this is how operating systems will compete in the future. At one corner we have premium OS like Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows and at another corner we have free ad-supported lite OS like Ubuntu and Chrome OS. Those who want full suited OS will get the premium one and those who don't care about their privacy or workflow will get lite OS like Ubuntu.

This way everyone gets what they want and are (supposedly?) happy.

Re:The future of operating systems (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41437961)

And here I thought the ones that don't care about their privacy or workflow were using Windows.

Re:The future of operating systems (4, Interesting)

AE90 (2737939) | about 2 years ago | (#41438059)

And THIS is modded funny? Stay classy slashdot. But in reality Microsoft always asks when they want to collect some anonymous data and it's always opt-in. With Google they outright collect and you have to know where to opt-out (if you even can).

Re:The future of operating systems (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438409)

Perhaps it was a joke about how virus and malware writers target Windows machines because they're the most used? Thus, people get their privacy compromised more often, hence the joke.

Re:The future of operating systems (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41438431)

But in reality Microsoft always asks when they want to collect some anonymous data and it's always opt-in.

No always. The smartscreen filter for Windows 8 is opt-out.

Re:The future of operating systems (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438025)

I would buy into this, if Ubuntu was actually a stable, quality OS in the Linux world, which sadly, it is not.

Re:The future of operating systems (1)

0racle (667029) | about 2 years ago | (#41438111)

I use CentOS, Fedora and Slackware. Where do they fit into your simplified future?

Re:The future of operating systems (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 2 years ago | (#41438247)

I am still trying to figure out what is not full featured about Ubuntu...

Nor do I see it any different from Bing integration.

Re:The future of operating systems (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41438281)

Or Mint, or plain-old Debian, or Arch, or Gentoo, or rolling your own, or ...

Basically, GP's fundamental mistake was seeing OS's entirely through the lens of "How does the source of the OS make money?"

Re:The future of operating systems (1)

inotrollyou (2526854) | about 2 years ago | (#41438241)

A little scary. I wonder what price I have to pay Canonical to get Ubuntu Premium?

Re:The future of operating systems (0)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41438465)

ad-supported lite OS like Ubuntu and Chrome OS.

Really? Ubuntu is a "lite OS"?

Those who want full suited OS will get the premium one and those who don't care about their privacy or workflow will get lite OS like Ubuntu.

I want you to explain to me, in detail, how Ubuntu will be crippled such that it can't do what it can do today, and how it will be able to violate my privacy/break my workflow.

Re:The future of operating systems (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#41438603)

how Ubuntu will be crippled such that it can't do what it can do today

Amusing, the implication that it's not crippled today.

Seriously, networkmanager and resolvconf on the fucking server editions?

Re:The future of operating systems (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41439007)

Amusing, the implication that it's not crippled today.

You suggested it was crippled, it's up to you to point how it is.

Seriously, networkmanager and resolvconf on the fucking server editions?

Explain how they're bad? Seriously. Just spouting off about some package and assuming everyone agrees with you that it's bad is silly. Not that network manager "cripples" a platform, or is somehow not removable.

Go on, explain your rage.

Re:The future of operating systems (1)

steveg (55825) | about 2 years ago | (#41439169)

Server edition, he said.

Networking starts up only after someone logs in? Really?

It's fixable -- just uninstall network manager (and resolvconf) and configure the standard Debian config files and you're good to go, but network manager is just silly on a server. It's silly on any machine that isn't a laptop, but it's really silly on a server.

Re:The future of operating systems (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41439351)

Server edition, he said.

Yeah I saw that. Of course, truth is I don't recall Network Manager being used on Ubuntu Server for precisely the reason you point out. Last I checked you had to go out of your way to add it to server.

Re:The future of operating systems (4, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#41439509)

Funny, I'm using a stock desktop install (which I assume uses network manager) with the only extra packages at this point being kde-full, SSH, aptitude, nmap, and htop.

I can ssh in before logging in with any user, am i to assume this is before the networking starts, or that you are wrong about the implication?

Re:The future of operating systems (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#41440143)

You suggested it was crippled, it's up to you to point how it is.

Actually, I wasn't the one who originally did. I only did so in response.

Explain how they're bad

Servers, almost by definition, don't move around much, and those that do will need a slightly more robust configuration by an intelligent operator, rather than having the static (or semi-static) configurations clobbered by a "helpful" utility. NM isn't much the issue anymore, but they replaced it with resolvconf, which makes a glorious pain in the ass out of itself by deciding it's smarter than you when it comes to your /etc/resolv.conf config file -- Even on workstations, but it's delightfully obnoxious on servers.

Re:The future of operating systems (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41440627)

Go on, explain your rage.

You do make yourself sound more than a little clueless with your obvious hostility to the opinions of people who actually know what they're talking about.

In short, NetworkManager is crude hack that may work reasonably well for some common laptop and workstation configurations, but otherwise tends to actively interfere with network configurations of any complexity. You would know this if you had ever used it with a network configuration of any complexity.

Nonsense (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#41438489)

I doubt that Fedora, ScientificLinux, Debian, or any number of other GNU/Linux distros or BSDs (or other free OSes that have yet to become popular or newsworthy) will all become ad supported. Believe it or not, some people are willing to volunteer time to help with an open source project. I have done it in the past, and I am not so unique.

The real future of OSes will be free versus non-free. The free OSes will be written by people who do not view their users as an exploitable resource, and those users will be allowed to installed and use whatever software they wish. The non-free OSes will be jailed gardens with mandatory application signing and arbitrary rules and censorship (sound familiar). People will use the jailed OSes because it will be the only way to legally watch movies or listen to music, or in a real nightmare scenario, to use certain websites.

And What of Other Retailers? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41437963)

From the Q&A part of his blog:

This is just a moneymaking scheme.

We picked Amazon as a first place to start because most of our users are also regular users of Amazon, and it pays us to make your Amazon journey get off to a faster start. Typing Super “queen marking cage” Just Worked for me this morning. I am now looking forward to my game of Ultimate Where’s Waldo hunting down the queens in my bee colonies, Ubuntu will benefit from the fact that I chose to search Amazon that way, Amazon benefits from being more accessible to a very discerning, time-conscious and hotkey-friendly audience.

Cool, thanks for at least being honesty about that part. Although I don't understand why this wasn't the front-and-center thesis of your blog post. You're getting paid to bring us to Amazon faster. Okay. You can opt out of it but it's enabled by default. Okay. I get that. It's okay, nobody's going to fault you if you're trying to figure out new revenue models. But you should really be up front with your user base about it or you're going to get some seriously knee jerk reactions that might doom your product before it's out the door (regardless of how true it is). You're running damage control now and that probably could have been avoided if your floated this out in front of "leaked" screenshots.

I'm also really curious about this next part of your answer to this question:

But there are many more kinds of things you can search through with Unity scopes. Most of them won’t pay Ubuntu a cent, but we’ll still integrate them into the coolest just-ask-and-you’ll-receive experience. I want us to do this because I think we can make the desktop better.

So what happens when it's time to integrate and "bring the user faster" to Barnes & Noble? What happens when you've "integrated" with both Amazon, B&N, Abe's Books, eBay, Go Hastings, etc and I type in "Ender's Game"? What happens when the outfit that sold you your "queen marking cage" doesn't sell them on Amazon and there's middle men re-listing everything at a higher price on Amazon on the chance that someone with a default scope searches for it through Ubuntu? I have reservations that this move is making an already omnipotent Amazon unduly more powerful ...

Give them a chance, too (4, Insightful)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 2 years ago | (#41439795)

I might find this useful if I could choose which retailers to include or exclude. No NewEgg? Add it. Don't like Amazon? Delete it.

Someone (not google, apple nor microsoft) should act as a clearing house for payment for these custom searches as these very "well-qualified sales leads" are much more valuable to a retailer than random Ubuntu-sent queries through a private Amazon acting as a commercial clearinghouse.

IMHO and YMMV

Re:Give them a chance, too (3, Insightful)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#41440259)

If they follow the example of Mint and Firefox, inclusion and exclusion would be fair game. Even if they don't, it's open source. And unlike carrier-defiled Android, they can't remove your administrative rights from the machine so you'd have to root it (well, they can, but that would be a whole new level of stupid). Shuttleworth already said he doesn't want the Unity dock placed on the bottom of the screen, but mods are trivial and aplenty.

Re:And What of Other Retailers? (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41440645)

You're getting paid to bring us to Amazon faster. Okay.

Faster? Heh. You've obviously never tried Unity lenses.

Do we really need another find-it-all? (4, Insightful)

OldKingCole (2672649) | about 2 years ago | (#41438035)

Why can't you just integrate Google search into the lens?

Re:Do we really need another find-it-all? (1)

eric_herm (1231134) | about 2 years ago | (#41438181)

Google do not give 15% of referral. In fact, Google already give money to Canonical for support while i am pretty sure they do not need to ( like they could simply hire half of Canonical engineers if they wanted ).

Re:Do we really need another find-it-all? (4, Insightful)

OldKingCole (2672649) | about 2 years ago | (#41438307)

My point exactly. This is not about enabling us to find the best answer to what we ask but rather push referral ads down our throats.

The Bill Clinton School of Wordplay (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#41438115)

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
What's happened to plain speech Mr. Shuttleworth?

NSFW Search Results (2)

tcort (538018) | about 2 years ago | (#41438121)

There is no way to block adult oriented results from coming up....
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity-lens-shopping/+bug/1054282 [launchpad.net]

Re:NSFW Search Results (3, Insightful)

eric_herm (1231134) | about 2 years ago | (#41438279)

And once adult oriented results while be filtered, someone will ask to remove blasphematory results ( like India/Pakistan ), then someone will remove gay related content ( if this isn't already removed as "adult oriented result", as often with such filter ), then someone will remove violent game ( like in australia ),then users will also ask to not see song they already purchased songs from the result, and then RIAA will ask to not show pirate song and mp3.

And then Canonical will be screwed to have deployed a censorship system, because it will be abused like the others. in the end, Canonical will not enven get enough money just to pay the system, let alone engineers to make new products.

Re:NSFW Search Results (4, Informative)

mano.m (1587187) | about 2 years ago | (#41439537)

India has never asked for a law against blasphemy in the UN, unlike Pakistan. Please don’t lump India in with the failed state it is forced to live next to.

Who the hell modded this down? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#41438715)

Why was this modded down? For some people, this is actually a concern. You cannot say, "Well you can just not view pornography if it offends you" when by default your OS is displaying it.

No, a filter is not the answer. The answer is to not shove advertising into someone's desktop unless they opt in.

Re:NSFW Search Results (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41440265)

I looked at his images on that bug and cannot figure out which one is so horrible. Is it the boobs?

It seemed like stuff you could see on TV in much of the world.

Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (5, Interesting)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about 2 years ago | (#41438165)

...so many other things that need fixing, and they're whacking off about internet search.

If I want to search the internet, I pull up google and search. That crap has no business on my desktop

Re:Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (1, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41438287)

so many other things that need fixing, and they're whacking off about internet search.

To be frank, a lot of what needs fixing takes money to fix. Particularly integration and compatibility issues which seem to be, by far, the biggest source of problems. This requires labs full of hardware and people to develop and automate the testing.

If you're struggling to find sources of income (which wouldn't surprise me, given the attitude expressed here on Slashdot previously) then it's hard to step up and develop the QA infrastructure that's needed to resolve the issues. Most Slashdotters would simply write them off and move on to the next useless distro.

Re:Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439497)

Well, ads are out of the question. Going even NEAR that income source is out of the question. Debian is a pretty damn fine operating system...

Re:Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41439523)

Debian is a pretty damn fine operating system

But in terms of out of the box usability it's still several steps behind Ubuntu. It's on par with Fedora, which I also avoid as much as possible.

Re:Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41439767)

the way ubuntu is going being 5 steps behind and going down different path is probably better.

Re:Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438943)

HOWTO: Get rid of Unity and switch back to Gnome [superuser.com] in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Re:Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439081)

> and they're whacking off about internet search.

They are not. They are whacking off about making money. If Ubuntu is not sustainable otherwise, what would you like Shuttleworth to do? To simply close up shop, and send all the newbie Windows converts to Slackware an tell them how to start compiling kernels? After the Gnome2 debacle, Ubuntu dying away would be the last and final nail in the desktop Linux coffin. Ubuntu and Canonical are a major draft horse of the Linux ecosystem (think Steam wouldnt consider Linux otherwise), you really do not want them to die off. There is and never was _anybody_ out there to replace them.

Re:Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439847)

Shuttleworth wasted a boat-load of money on idiotic ideas such as Unity.

Re:Ubuntu desktop is dead to me... (2)

v. Konigsmann (808666) | about 2 years ago | (#41440693)

Quite right. I never understood the appeal of Ubuntu, excepting when it acted as a strong emergency cd for hosed systems --- at which it was excellent; it's sudden lunge into Unity, like Microsoft's equal panic into Metro, seems both pure fail and stormy petrel of future accepted, planned-for, managed decline.

Oddly there are a few Linux 'personalities' who appear to actively favour Windows methodology, not to mention Microsoft's undoubted power, and wish either to join with them ( and be subsumed if the history of MS is anything to go by ) or become indistinguished from them. Personally, I have not the least objection to collaboration between operating systems ( as MS feared, such sharing would erode MS's leverages ), but if I wanted to use Windows I would, and not a Windows clone.

Since both KDE and traditional Gnome are perfectly usable, not to mention other managers, I doubt if the decline of Ubuntu thanks to Unity and other excitable ideas such as this will amount to more than a footnote in Linux history.

Why is this a problem? (4, Informative)

HangingChad (677530) | about 2 years ago | (#41438225)

As long as it's not pushing forced ads, I have no problem with Ubuntu setting up a shopping network and app sales.

They have to make money somehow and this seems like one of the less offensive services they could implement.

Re:Why is this a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438569)

Ads are offensive: They encourage over-consumption. They increase the price of everything. They create privacy issues.

If Canonical needs money, the right thing to do is charge a small price for each copy of Ubuntu, without trying to stop piracy. Those who can afford it will pay.

Re:Why is this a problem? (2)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#41439839)

Excuse me while I play devil's advocate.

1a.) In what way does advertisement encourage over-consumption beyond what would be caused by non-paid information from, for instance, a review website? And what proof do you have that people are more inclined to purchase anything (not more inclined to purchase one product over another, but inclined to buy something at all) because they've seen an advertisement? Keep in mind that these ads will be targeted based on search information the user enters. If I'm searching for "best espresso machines" I'm probably in the market, so I'm already going to buy something.

1b.) The term "over-consumption" is heavily loaded. How much consumption is "too much", and who decides what that figure is? In a market economy, consumption is what drives growth; if you have a problem with consumption, it's probably (and this isn't meant as a dig or insult) because you have a problem with markets. Talking about something called "over-consumption" is a tell that you're probably coming from a Marxist/socialist background, and so you're gonna have a problem with anything to do with markets, private commerce, or consumption.

2.) Ads don't increase prices, nor does consumption. Ads don't influence price, they influence demand. Vendors or producers determine price. The impetus is for price to be set in such a way that it's worth it to produce product X, and people are willing to buy all the product X that gets produced at price X. So, as demand increases, the price increases only if production doesn't also increase. Given that it makes sense to produce more in order to sell more, most rational producers will try to produce more if possible.

3.) Ads don't create privacy issues unless the information that you submit is linked to personally-identifiable information. Granted, at that point, you're trusting the search provider to do the right thing, which doesn't always happen. But, again, the issue here isn't that ads threaten privacy, it's that the technology used to deliver tailored results can potentially be a threat to privacy. Any time that search results are tailored, or, more broadly, user experiences are tailored based on personal information, users have to decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks. That's a decision that users have to make regardless of advertisements.

4.) Charging a price for Ubuntu is, IMO, a more serious violation of FOSS than ads are regarding privacy.

I'm not saying that I love advertisements. I turn them off or block them. But, I'm just saying that ads aren't the bogeyman that you're portraying.

Re:Why is this a problem? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#41440347)

2.) Ads don't increase prices, nor does consumption.

Unless the ad is free, they do.

4.) Charging a price for Ubuntu is, IMO, a more serious violation of FOSS than ads are regarding privacy.

No, it's not, as long as they publish the source so anyone can redistribute a "Freebuntu". Like Red Hat and CentOS.

Re:Why is this a problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41440603)

Ads can very well decrease prices over the long term. There's a direct cost which in some small way is built in to the supply curve, and a successful ad increases demand which is also an upward pressure on price -- but that demand encourages manufacture in volume which ultimately floods the market and increases supply efficiencies ultimately reducing prices on that product and any product where the manufacturing process is somewhat transferable.

(to the inevitable slashdot responder who takes that to mean "all ads always reduce the prices of everything: think about it for 30 seconds before responding).

This is definitely a problem (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#41438615)

  1. Advertising is a terrible way for an OS to make money. Support contracts are the right way, but Ubuntu is not even trying to compete with Red Hat for that sort of thing.
  2. The ads are being shown at times when people are not actually trying to shop. That is also known as "spam."
  3. This opens the door to Amazon controlling Ubuntu. Not at all good, not at all.

Re:This is definitely a problem (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41438823)

You'll notice that Canonical is working in an area that Redhat outright gave up on. For the very reasons you cite. "Support contracts" don't work with end-users.

This opens the door to Amazon controlling Ubuntu.

And accomplishing exactly what?

Re:This is definitely a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439593)

"Hi Mark, it's Amazon again. You know, that music playing application you have there in your OS, it would be nice it it got integrated into our new music service. Yes, only ours."
"Hi again, you wouldn't mind replacing the user's home page just this month?"
"It's me again, we running a campaign, could you install this new shopping application which turns the user's desktop into a big red shopping button?"
"Did you like the last months pile of cash? Want another one? Fix it so that we get to see where users surf. Get to it!"
"Hey, now that we have a long term contract, we've got our new app-store. We want you to replace the following .deb:s."

Re:This is definitely a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41440293)

Yes, Firefox definitely went downhill when Google made Mozilla prevent anyone from doing such things as changing their default search engine or browsing/using sites not made by Google.

Private information leakage. (5, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | about 2 years ago | (#41439205)

Every time you search for a local file on your computer, the details of that search will be transmitted to a third party cloud service. That is a huge potential privacy issue regardless of who that service is. Worse, they they don't even make their users aware of this fact, which is completely unacceptable. That Canonical still doesn't understand this after being having it brought to their attention means they clearly cannot be trusted to assemble a secure Linux distribution.

Re:Private information leakage. (2)

AndGodSed (968378) | about 2 years ago | (#41440593)

From the TFA:

Why are you telling Amazon what I am searching for?

We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already. You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update. You trust Debian, and you trust a large swathe of the open source community. And most importantly, you trust us to address it when, being human, we err.

Every Web 2.0 company eventually 'digs in' (2)

ickleberry (864871) | about 2 years ago | (#41438249)

These companies can only afford to give away free stuff for so long before the investors demand that they start making serious money from the fanbase (i.e the product, eyeballs in this case) and that means more invasive advertising. Google will do it too eventually.

Canonical does a bit of development work but its not huge. Linux would survive without them. Most of what they been doing the past while is unnecessary interface changes and cloud integration in an attempt to be in with the cool kids and also all these cloud things provide data for mining and if people get too dependent on it they can even charge fees to use it.

Re:Every Web 2.0 company eventually 'digs in' (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41438325)

Linux would survive without them.

It would, but it would be a pale shadow of its current self. Sure it'd survive on servers and in the mobile space, but the desktop would be even tinier. What would Valve do, shift their target to Fedora? Which is even less end-user targeted than Ubuntu?

Re:Every Web 2.0 company eventually 'digs in' (3, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41439135)

A very miniscule proportion of what attracts Valve to Ubuntu has anything to do with what Canonical has done. Like any other distribution, Ubuntu is the combination of a number of upstream projects. Canonical really gets much more than it gives in this respect.

What Canonical does is mainly configuration management and that it tends to do poorly. They already have a bad reputation for pushing out versions before they're ready or making other bad decisions.

The fact that they've decided to put on the afterburners after having jumped the shark is really no surprise to anyone.

Re:Every Web 2.0 company eventually 'digs in' (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41439403)

A very miniscule proportion of what attracts Valve to Ubuntu has anything to do with what Canonical has done.

Canonical has achieved a user base with Ubuntu that no other distro really has, as far as I can tell. That is what attracts Valve.

The fact that they've decided to put on the afterburners after having jumped the shark is really no surprise to anyone.

And by "jumped the shark" I take that to mean "they aren't being the difficult old hard to use pain in the ass Linux that I know and love," right?

Re:Every Web 2.0 company eventually 'digs in' (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#41440437)

... and that means more invasive advertising. Google will do it too eventually.

What could possibly be more invasive than tracking a user's every interaction [google.com] with a Web site?

I welcome this and everything else it may bring. (5, Insightful)

deusmetallum (1607059) | about 2 years ago | (#41438267)

I have been thinking long and hard about this and I can only come to this conclusion. It is a nice feature. It needs tweaks, so results for photoshop don't pop up, or if they do it should explain it's not compatible with Linux. But what it needs more than anything, which is something Canonical keep missing out of all of their super new features is a simple tickbox for on or off. I understand that this is still beta, and it's certainly not LTS so it is more or less a testing platform, so I'm not jumping up and down right now. Canonical have proven to me that they can iron things out between normal releases and LTS, and I'm happy to accept that this may well be the case here. I'm basing this on evidence that I have seen over the last 4 years, not just what Mark says. This really is a great step forward for UX, as it is saying "hey, let's do more 'cloud' stuff from the desktop." Think about what else will be possible with a bit of thought. We could have it bring up all of your photos, from all sources (picassa, facebook, twitter) and present them in one place. I could type something like "London" into my dash and it shows me all the photos I've taken in London, a list of all my friends who are currently *in* London, and maybe sell me a London guide book. I cannot begin to express how awesome features like this can be. Amazon is only a single step to a full set of amazing features, and we must remember that these aren't *ads.* I am searching for a product, I can chose to buy it, and I won't get prompted to buy anything similar next time I fire up the dash. One thing that I also think is important to remember, is that we are a set of pretty clued up power users and as such we will see problems and we will jump to justify why something is a bad idea. However, if I were to install this on my Dad's laptop tomorrow, I can guarantee he would actually be quite thrilled with this feature. This is Linux for Human Beings and I think product searching is a very human thing to have.

Remote search in home lens hurts privacy. (4, Insightful)

Volanin (935080) | about 2 years ago | (#41438313)

Some people are also questioning if the home lens (the default lens to make any local search) is the right place to integrate these remote searches to third party services. In theory, amazon could gather information about every file you search, every program you launch through the lens, and such. There is even a bug report [launchpad.net] , marked as confirmed, questioning this very thing.

Re:Remote search in home lens hurts privacy. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | about 2 years ago | (#41440687)

In theory, amazon could gather information about every file you search, every program you launch through the lens, and such

AGAIN. From TFA:

Why are you telling Amazon what I am searching for?

We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already. You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update. You trust Debian, and you trust a large swathe of the open source community. And most importantly, you trust us to address it when, being human, we err.

And:

There is even a bug report [launchpad.net] , marked as confirmed, questioning this very thing.

That is marked as confirmed because it affects multiple users, and relates to a more broad list of concerns than what you infer. The way you word it points to a bug about Amazon seeing your keystrokes, while the bug report is more of a list of concerns such as opt-in vs opt-out, making the amazon lens separate from home etc.

Better for who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438449)

Not for me. That's for sure.

It dont matter..... (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41438455)

I have stopped supporting, recommending, or installing Ubuntu. Mark's "vision" is that of a useless future. Glad he is having fun with his pet project, but everyone that depends on Linux support from me has been told to move to Fedora to maintain a real computer interface instead of a dumbed down tablet interface.

This is why I switched to OpenSuse (4, Insightful)

yog (19073) | about 2 years ago | (#41438477)

Ubuntu was at one time an appealing alternative to Windows. I had it running on a desktop and laptop at home, and at least one VM at work ran Ubuntu. It just worked. But the minute they came up with this Unity dashboard thing, it broke the familiar UI and as far as I'm concerned, tweaking Ubuntu to make it usable again to myself and my users became more effort than it was worth.

Meanwhile, Suse has plowed ahead with a record of pretty consistent, solid distributions. Fedora's been pretty good as well, but once I got Suse I just got used to the Suse way of doing things and didn't look back.

Yeah, I miss how Ubuntu can locate printers very reliably on the network, while I have to manually plug in the IP addresses in YaST, but that's not a show stopper. What is a showstopper is when I can't find basic stuff like the calculator because it's been moved from a simple accessories pulldown menu and hidden in some goofy app picker.

This ad thing is merely more fuel on the fire. I don't get what those people are thinking. I guess they have to keep pushing the envelope, looking for ways to monetize their product and keep growing, but I would have thought they'd do better by just making it the easiest and most affordable alternative there is to Windows. Anyway -- R.I.P. Ubuntu!

Re:This is why I switched to OpenSuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438751)

The important thing is you switched to KDE.
Could have gotten the same improvements with Kubuntu, without abandoning all the Debian goodness.

Re:This is why I switched to OpenSuse (2)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 2 years ago | (#41440037)

Have you ever used Kubuntu? It gives KDE a bad name.

This begins from the moment you first start up the desktop, when you get a series of notification about programs having crashed... :|

Seriously, please try out any other KDE distro before Kubuntu.

Re:This is why I switched to OpenSuse (2)

Bambi Dee (611786) | about 2 years ago | (#41440423)

I get Apport popups all the time in *buntu development releases, but then that's regardless of the desktop environment. I'm really quite happy with Kubuntu... the simplicity and mostly-just-working-ness of Ubuntu combined with little of the bother, some of the momentum, and a (by now again) very capable, configurable desktop environment. Of course, "works for me" is as anecdotal as "doesn't work for me".

Re:This is why I switched to OpenSuse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439249)

>I don't get what those people are thinking.
I'll tell you what they're thinking: "Oh, jeeze, how are we going to pay the bills at the Canonical offices next month?" Thanks to whiners like you, maybe they won't.

Information wants to be free but who's going to pay people to put it together?

>Anyway -- R.I.P. Ubuntu!
R.I.P. Linux on the desktop, you mean.

Re:This is why I switched to OpenSuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439255)

Ubuntu was at one time an appealing alternative to Windows. I had it running on a desktop and laptop at home, and at least one VM at work ran Ubuntu. It just worked. But the minute they came up with this Unity dashboard thing, it broke the familiar UI and as far as I'm concerned, tweaking Ubuntu to make it usable again to myself and my users became more effort than it was worth.

Meanwhile, Suse has plowed ahead with a record of pretty consistent, solid distributions. Fedora's been pretty good as well, but once I got Suse I just got used to the Suse way of doing things and didn't look back.

Yeah, I miss how Ubuntu can locate printers very reliably on the network, while I have to manually plug in the IP addresses in YaST, but that's not a show stopper. What is a showstopper is when I can't find basic stuff like the calculator because it's been moved from a simple accessories pulldown menu and hidden in some goofy app picker.

This ad thing is merely more fuel on the fire. I don't get what those people are thinking. I guess they have to keep pushing the envelope, looking for ways to monetize their product and keep growing, but I would have thought they'd do better by just making it the easiest and most affordable alternative there is to Windows. Anyway -- R.I.P. Ubuntu!

SUSE Enterprise is good too... I've always preferred fedora,suse and gentoo I've never used ubuntu

It makes no sense! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439379)

As a fellow that's the family's tech support I agree. I installed Ubuntu on my mother's laptop because of the "noob friendliness" and it just working. Ubuntu had a Gnome interface and deb-package management which I am both familiar with and I never had problems with it.

I need to keep things consistent. And since this whole Unity thing was introduced as not just something that's a feature, but as the default window manager and me having to install Ubuntu again, I needed to install gnome-shell myself, and that lacked features! (I did it because I thought "It can't be so bad!", but it was just lacking features)

The Unity interface is built upon the icon-based navigation that's prominent in tablets/phones. (This is one of few things blame Apple for -- unwarranted? maybe) Unity is an offspring of Apple's "Look at all the shiny!". Even Windows 8's metro interface is going in this new "radical" changes direction. For anyone that uses computers more than an hour per day or for someone that's your family's tech support: it makes no sense! All these different UIs are going to be experimental, beta and incompatible. (Incompatible more so than the popular desktop environments in Linux)

Unity is the ugly offspring of Canonical and Apple. The icon-based interface, beta software as a window manger and now the including of just ads in Ubuntu is the last time I'll be using Ubuntu. And it is just that: advertising. I wonder, how do other businesses feel about this? Why not include Google search results instead of Amazon shopping? People use Google way more often than Amazon shopping.

Run a damn fundraiser, use donations, sell actual products! Don't earn money by bashing your users like this, Canonical.
Only if you turn your ship around *now* will I keep using Ubuntu. I speak for myself, but I feel I share the view of not the Ubuntu community, but a lot of the Slashdot users.

And people are still asking why... (2)

lsolano (398432) | about 2 years ago | (#41438565)

... it will never be the Year of Linux in the Desktop.

I'd LOVE to use linux in the Desktop always (I love the Open Source philosophy) however, this kind of things make it hard.

Now what? Ubuntu users moving AGAIN to another distro? Mint? I do not know.

KDE/GNOME/Unity/X11/Mate/Cinnamon/LXDE/etc/etc/etc and still LibreOffice looks like Office 97.

I've decided a while ago to stay with debian, even if it does not look that "eye candy". Anyway, I'm old enough to not care at all if my desktop can not spin like a cube.

If someone cares about Linux in the Desktop, please stop this. Ubuntu is too popular between linux newbies, do not disappoint them. Please.

Re:And people are still asking why... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 2 years ago | (#41438971)

still LibreOffice looks like Office 97.

What is wrong with that?

Re:And people are still asking why... (2)

lsolano (398432) | about 2 years ago | (#41439051)

still LibreOffice looks like Office 97.

What is wrong with that?

It looks outdated for new linux users. I like it because is simple, but for people coming from a windows world, it looks just "old". I think it does not help to adopt linux users.

Re:And people are still asking why... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 years ago | (#41439177)

nonsense, productive windows users with half a brain know the ribbon is work-impeding garbage and a useful menuing system is superior

Re:And people are still asking why... (1)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about 2 years ago | (#41439489)

Whether or not the ribbon has had an adverse impact on you personally, it is still what users coming from a Windows environment are used to - and they will no doubt find that an interface based on Office 97-2003 does indeed look old fashioned.

I certainly know from personal experience that when I have to use a machine which has an older version of Office on, I really struggle with finding my commonly-used features and it takes me longer to do pretty much anything.

Re:And people are still asking why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439175)

> this kind of things make it hard.

A tiny feature you can uninstall with one click/command makes it "hard" for you to use it?

> Ubuntu is too popular between linux newbies, do not disappoint them. Please.

I dont see why newbs should be put off by a few additional search results if everything else is easy and polished. The only people bitching seem old Debian/Slackware farts like you.

Paid Placement (2, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 years ago | (#41438587)

'are not paid placement'

Ummm, Are you getting paid? Would you still get the money if you removed the Amazon component from the OS? OK, let's see if you can follow this: When you get paid for a commercial placement, that is paid placement. The fact that the individual items displayed are not paid placements does not change the fact that the entire component is a paid placement.

This is just his nature. He is a sleazeball. That's why so many of us were so hesitant to use Ubuntu way back when it started rising. Do we really want to get an OS from this glorified PHB? What slimy crap is he going to pull next? On the upside, he also has some really stupid ideas about the direction of the UI, so it doesn't hurt to just walk away. Just walk away.

Re:Paid Placement (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438675)

Bingo.

If this were really "straightforward search results" then:

1) By default, it would respect privacy - i.e. not send search terms to a remote server;

2) By default, it would not engage the user in a commercial transaction increasing costs for the user - i.e. not add an affiliate code to click-throughs resulting in money going straight into Shuttleworth's bank account.

I make a point never to click on adverts, not just because I hate advertising, but because I don't want to increase product costs by distributing my money to ad brokers, affiliates, &c.

Re:Paid Placement (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41439495)

He is a sleazeball.

Delicious ad-hominem.

That's why so many of us were so hesitant to use Ubuntu way back when it started rising.

I suspect the hesitance was due to the fact that Ubuntu was bringing in new users by not being a pain in the ass to use, and long-time Linux users were incensed that someone would make it usable.

Not news: Slashdot is full of hate for a company and person who have worked to make Linux usable.

Re:Paid Placement (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 years ago | (#41439935)

If what you are implying was true, I wouldn't have a Linux Mint machine right next to me (though, admittedly, this one is stripped-down Debian testing with XFCE). I have my hard-core machines, my user-friendly machines, and I even have two MacBook Pros. I even ran Ubuntu on one of my primary laptops for more than a year -- get this -- because it was user-friendly.

Go peddle your prejudice elsewhere.

No, No, thrice No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438591)

This is not the way to go Canonical. You are losing users by the bucketload because of Unity. For many this will be the last straw.
IMHO, this is sure signs that Ubuntu is spiraling downward out of control. RIP Ubuntu, it have been nice knowing you.

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438611)

Does nobody else remember this mantra? After 10 years, this is what I feel Ubuntu has done to the Linux desktop dream.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439307)

> After 10 years, this is what I feel Ubuntu has done to the Linux desktop dream.

And what was the Linux Desktops dream? Decade after decade languishing below 1% market share, being ignored by hardware/software/content creators and having no users except the few people who develop it? Is this the fucking dream? Thanks, but no thanks.

Perhaps it just needs to be framed right.. (3, Interesting)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#41438731)

... as in an application/add on/option type of functionality. And to increase interest, not that google general search results always find what you want, provide the users with easy to use filtering.... so if they boycott a company, they don't have to see their ads when searching.

Just another reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41438747)

Just another reason to pick a different distro... Fedora...Arch....Debian....how about Mint?
Really if someone doesn't like this there ARE alternatives to Ubuntu

Ask for what ever you want (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 2 years ago | (#41438885)

I thought that's what i was doing with my browser using Google or another search engine they are the experts at it. Comical, why not just be honest and say its adware and it will help pay for the continued ability to download and use Ubuntu for free.

Trust us, we have root (4, Insightful)

anarcat (306985) | about 2 years ago | (#41438949)

Apart from what's already been mentioned here, one bit particularly troubles me:

We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.

I don't equate having root with having people's data, personally. I happen to adhere to a Ethics Code (SAGE's [lopsa.org] ) that *keeps* me from peeking over people's personal data, *especially* for my own interests. Adding a snitch that report back not only the machine's existence (you get that through APT automated updates) but also personal search requests to Canonical headquarters by default does seem like a major privacy breach.

That the dictator of Ubuntu and Canonical brushes his responsibilities aside like this is downright scary if you ask me, especially given the argument is "we have root, we 0wn you already, sorry bud".

Re:Trust us, we have root (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | about 2 years ago | (#41440749)

The point was that if you don't trust them you should not use Ubuntu because they make it and thus have root access. I think that's a legitimate point to make.

Time to drop ubuntu ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#41439109)

Well, it looks like I might need to find a new distro.

Sorry guys, but if you're planning on adding ads directly to my operating system, you won't be getting any money from me as I'll be moving to another distro.

If I want to search Amazon, I'll bloody well go to Amazon.com.

In the end, they might hurt themselves more than they help themselves.

Mark, (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 years ago | (#41439221)

straightforward search results pushing product are called "ads"; amazon sponsoring them makes them "paid for advertising".

with this & your crippled Unity UI, your distro is circling the drain; shape it up, young man.

Hey Mark, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439297)

go "Shuttle" yourself!

Congratulations Mr. Shuttleworth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439421)

First Unity. Then ‘secure’boot bandwagon. Now ads.
You managed to completely ruin the distro.
The only thing you’ll achieve with all of this is forks, like Mint, superseeding Ubuntu till oblivion.

Podcasts (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#41439545)

About every podcast I listen to now has a pleading about supporting them by going to their website and clicking on the Amazon banner ad so they get their beaks wet. Now the OS wants to do it too? Pass. I never to remember to do the link thing when shopping on Amazon anyway.

I already switched to LMDE when the Unity debacle started. Ubuntu is rapidly becoming the MySpace of distributions.

Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439549)

How can anyone trust Shuttleworth after inflicting Unity on the Ubuntu community?

#fail

Like proprietary software firms ... (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 2 years ago | (#41439749)

... before it, Canonical seems to have difficulty wrapping their collective heads, as well as that of their resident big head, around the concept of "opt in".

"Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439799)

FTFA: "You do trust us with your data already."

No, not anymore.

Slashdot like to bash Apple, but at least they have a business model based on hardware sales. Though even they can't be trusted with your data anymore as they like Microsoft will need to recoup losses as they're forced to offer more and more web-services to compete with Google. Android and Chrome OS are not only threats to them but to other Linux distributions and the whole idea of user control over their own software. How long before Google replace their own in-house Goobuntu installations with Chrome OS (which if you haven't seen it lately is pretty slick) and begin offering their own custom versions and support services to enterprise clients?

Free software makers and advocates need to get serious about offering an alternative to the new everything-in-the-cloud ad-funded model. If they're going to do that they will need to eliminate the difference between "the server" and "the desktop" and incorporate virtual appliances like Turnkey Linux offers in their distributions to turn every machine into a plug-and-play: "there's is no step three" web-server.

If Canonical were serious about donations and really need money they should simply: 1. tell users: hey, we need money. We want to hit xxxx fundraising target by yyyy. 2. Offer for sell Ubuntu DVDs and thumbdrives of the lastest version a few weeks early (before posting the download). Say: with this purchase you help keep Ubuntu free and independent. Thank you for helping fund the development of free software. Yada, yada, yada. 3. Watch the money roll in every six months.

Plus, if you click the link, Chrome OS's application launcher offers Google searches. Why would I want Amazon-only searches when I could have Google searches? I refuse to contribute to parasitic affiliate revenue streams. Even if I clicked an Amazon link I would remove the cookie as it's a business model I don't believe in. If you want donations, ask for donations. See: http://catandgirl.com/dderby/ and http://catandgirl.com/?page_id=2431 for a innovative and transparent way to get money.

Otherwise, rather than trying to become the new Windows, Canonical needs to build and design their own hardware and try to become the new Apple. (I refuse to buy System 76 because they don't design their own hardware and add insult to injury by pretending that they do.)

Also, why has no one forked Chrome OS yet? It arguably has the best user interface now. Although, I actually like Unity design and a launcher on the left with widescreen monitors. (When I use OS X I always move the dock to the left. So it felt natural to me.)

Instead of making the Dash the new Siri they should fix the Hud. Allow switching between the items in the Dash by pressing tab. Bringing resolution independence and retina support to Unity and Linux. Adding autosave like OS X. Improving multitouch which works but sucks in Ubuntu. Improving the Software Center and becoming developer friendly, both by making clear their plan for paid apps and revenue sharing, and having a better way for developer's to send patches and updates and be included in the official repositories. So that not only can they be included but so they want to be included. For example: Trelby is an excellent screenwriting app not in the repositories.

plan of fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439853)

> linux noob neckbeards
> shopping
> having money
> ????
pick two.

2013, the year of the Ubuntu Desktop. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41439953)

The title is based on the popular idiom (certain year), the year of the Linux Desktop. I did this because the direction Shuttleworth is taking is the only way that a Linux based distribution is going to make it as a mainstream desktop Operating system. Regardless of what Shuttleworth says, this will be way of generating income for Canonical and if Amazon had any sense, they would invest in Ubuntu and push it to get people who visit their site to try and install Ubuntu. If this was successful then it would be exposure that Ubuntu could never dream of.

Regardless of the what you think about this, Ubuntu is a distribution amongst hundreds of others based on Linux. If you don't like Ubuntu & Unity then switch it is as simple as that. If Ubuntu did make it to the masses to a point that it made hardware manufacturers sit up and notice to start providing drivers and more importantly Shuttleworth respects his roots and fights for more openness, then while this not benefit Linux as a whole?

Hey Mark shuttleworth (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 2 years ago | (#41440787)

you just made your distro in to Spamware
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