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Stallman On Unity Dash: Canonical Will Have To Give Users' Data To Governments

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the sounds-like-something-he'd-say dept.

Privacy 187

Giorgio Maone writes "Ubuntu developer and fellow Mozillian Benjamin Kerensa chatted with various people about the new Amazon Product Results in the Ubuntu 12.10 Unity Dash. Among them, Richard Stallman told him that this feature is bad because: 1. 'If Canonical gets this data, it will be forced to hand it over to various governments.'; 2. Amazon is bad. Concerned people can disable remote data retrieval for any lens and scopes or, more surgically, use sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping."

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sad but true (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642601)

if a company collects any data on you it's inevitable the government will try and take it.

Re:sad but true (4, Insightful)

aaron552 (1621603) | about 2 years ago | (#41642625)

If anyone collects data on you it's inevitable the government will try and take it

Fixed

Re:sad but true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41644479)

If anyone collects data on you it's inevitable the government has already acquired it

Completely fixed

Re:sad but true (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41642919)

They dont have to take it. It's available for dirt cheap at LexisNexis. I can buy enough data on you to freak you out. All I need is a name and an address and I can get your social Security number and pretty much everything else.

This is what most nutjobs don't understand. Stop worrying about the government, because corporations are already harvesting you and selling it to the government at a deep discount.

Re:sad but true (4, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#41642957)

That's why it's more important to give them false information 25% of the time than it is to worry about who or what is tracking you.

Poison the well.

Re:sad but true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643015)

I'm not sure if that really has much impact. It seems a large usage for such information is market stuff, where as long as they are within an order of magnitude, they can get what they need. Especially if marketing stuff has some low marginal cost, that it wouldn't matter if half the ads, etc., miss.

Re:sad but true (2)

bkerensa (634824) | about 2 years ago | (#41643339)

I actually made a python script that use a random word list to send them funky data btw I am the guy who wrote the blog post linked here.

Re:sad but true (2)

http (589131) | about 2 years ago | (#41644483)

Do you really think they haven't figured out that a certain percentage of the db entries will be inaccurate? Inter-database correlations are powerful - e.g. there is a strong chance that this person nicknamed "Adolf Hitler" with a known birthday and an invalid address (and a 95% certain GeoIP) who wrote an online review of "Predator" is the same person as someone with the same birthday and ordered "Predator 2" a week later, and, oh look, the shipping address is close to the GeoIP area. That the errors are deliberately introduced on your part doesn't change the correction mechanism.

"Strong chance" given that a birthdate and a zip code have something like 95% odds of identifying a unique person. My understanding of stats is primitive at best, but I imagine you'd need more than 50% bogus entries to make a CPU twitch, and more than 95% bogus entries to make a measurable difference in load average.

These numbers are pulled from a hat, so I welcome more accurate numbers.

Re:sad but true (3, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#41643019)

"Stop worrying about the government, because corporations are already harvesting you and selling it to the government at a deep discount."

But, but I TRUST the Koch Brothers when they say Government Is Bad.

The Invisible Hand Of The Market will protect me.

Re:sad but true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643287)

Sorry, this is different. This lets Amazon collect data on what you search for on your computer locally (as all local searches also get sent to Amazon). Depending on how you use search that could be giving Amazon a timestamped history of the names of programs/documents you are using on your computer and when. LexisNexis does not have that data.

Re:sad but true (3, Interesting)

BeanThere (28381) | about 2 years ago | (#41643713)

Stop worrying about the government, because corporations are already harvesting

Bad governments have killed hundreds of millions in the last 100 years alone ... I think I'd prefer to base what I worry most about on actual evidence, thanks.

Don't use Ubuntu (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642641)

Even if you can uninstall this feature, by merely using Ubuntu you're implicitly supporting them, and their intentions obviously aren't very nice if they're doing it. Use a different distro, there are also many other issues with Ubuntu to keep using it anyway.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (5, Insightful)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#41642673)

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well, are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, "Baptist!" I said, "Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.

Welcome to the world of Linux distributions. Who can figure out the mystery of the sub 2 percent combined desktop market share?

Obligatory xkcd (3, Funny)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | about 2 years ago | (#41642713)

http://xkcd.com/1095/ [xkcd.com]

Mod parent +1 funny.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643035)

Attribution: Emo Philips

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBKIyCbppfs

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41644911)

ObMonty Python: <lifeOfBrian>

REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah...

JUDITH: Splitters.
</lifeOfBrian>

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (5, Insightful)

Qwavel (733416) | about 2 years ago | (#41642751)

"their intentions obviously aren't very nice if they're doing it"

Based on what we know of them so far, I'd say that they are just trying to figure out a way to make some money, not be evil.

Personally, I hope they are successful in making money, and if there users feel that this latest initiative is the wrong approach then I hope they will respond in a constructive manner and not abandon Ubuntu.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642861)

Sanest thing I've heard all week. Thank you.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41643529)

No. It's the dumbest thing heard all year because they haven't really tried anything yet. They're frustrated because "They've tried nothing and it doesn't seem to work". Little wonder.

They might try some more conventional approaches before being total scumbags.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643635)

That seems so overly harsh. "Total scumbags"? While it could be misused (people keep predicting that, but haven' shown it in actual use), this level of information already exists (see Google, LexisNexus, etc). Nothing you do that involves another person is private. It probably isn't even unknown. If you have sex with another person and someone overhears it, the act isn't even private. And lets face it, if it can't be overheard, you aren't doing it right.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (2)

s4m7 (519684) | about 2 years ago | (#41644761)

They might try some more conventional approaches before being total scumbags.

You mean, for example, selling support services, offering affordable cloud services, and creating an online store for linux-compatible software vendors?

Yeah... they should really try that stuff...

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (3, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41642931)

I think the "ask for it" approach they're trying is a much less evil approach, and would probably pay off more in the long run, both in dollars and good will.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#41643285)

Ubuntu doesn't need users, it needs money. It could exist in a vacuum if the bills are paid.

This being Slashdot, why give a fuck about "training wheels" distros?

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643475)

Canonical has a propensity for coming up with some features that can be useful to its users, but seems to implement them in a ham-fisted way (foisting them as a defaults), which has the unfortunate effect of creating controversy and negative publicity about the feature. A shopping lens isn't a bad idea, but it never should have been merged with default file and app search. I hope Canonical decides to split the shopping stuff out into its own lens, so that it doesn't have to be an either/or choice in order to use it.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41645013)

People have tried responding in a constructive manner to previous edicts on how things are going to be, the best we get is a half-hearted effort at appeasement. For me this is the straw that broke the camels back, it may not be a big deal in itself, as a geek I can easily remove the offending feature, but I just don't like the direction they are going in.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (4, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#41643129)

With the addition of this feature Ubuntu was crossed off my list. Until now it was Ubuntu for desktops and CentOS for servers. Now it it Mint for desktops and still CentOS for servers. Wow that was hard. Mint is prettier anyway.

Again some MBA was let loose with his spreadsheet. He crunched some numbers and everybody when woooooo. There are all kinds of bad things that look good when put on a spreadsheet. A really nice bold bottom line doesn't make them less bad; it just makes making a bad decision seem better.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41644417)

The regular Mint distro is still Ubuntu. Hopefully you meant the Mint/Debian edition.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (5, Informative)

s4m7 (519684) | about 2 years ago | (#41644785)

Mint makes money through their default search engine redirect, or in other words, by selling your keyword searches. Which is exactly what Ubuntu is doing. They've just been doing it for longer.

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643231)

If you use Ubuntu are they stupid enough to assume you support every aspect of it? If you choose not to use it, do you expect them to figure out what aspect of it turned you away? How much would they care in either case? It is not like some commercial product where they are clamoring to bring in the maximum number of dollars no matter what. They could easily say/think, "Oh, you don't like this particular feature. That is respectable, maybe you should use another distro, and we'll keep this for the people who don't dislike it."

Re:Don't use Ubuntu (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41644407)

They are trying to make money supplying linux to private users.

Pretty much always the case with online services (3, Insightful)

Fastolfe (1470) | about 2 years ago | (#41642677)

This shouldn't be surprising. If someone is in a position to collect data, and they do so, governments can get that data. Pretty much everyone collects data when you interact with their services. To paraphrase Eric Schmidt, If you don't want anyone to know what you're doing online, don't do things online.

Re:Pretty much always the case with online service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642711)

More importantly, online services wouldn't be able to function without that data. From the collecting of money to the address to ship to. Not to mention making sure the whole thing works, continues to work, and improves through online stats.

Re:Pretty much always the case with online service (5, Insightful)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 2 years ago | (#41642715)

If you don't want anyone to know what you're doing online, don't do things online.

Some how I think you've missed the point.

Re:Pretty much always the case with online service (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 2 years ago | (#41645035)

No, not really... If you use ANY mainstream ISP they are already logging your requests for marketing purposes... Just not specifically about "you". That was the deal with DNS being hijacked... It's not like they don't still do it. The guy that owns your "wire" has 100% of the info you send.

Re:Pretty much always the case with online service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643291)

If I want you to know what I'm doing Ill tell you otherwise mind your own fucking business.If your going to make the internet a 'Human' then privacy is important.

Americans - a nation that will whore themselves out for the smallest chance of a dollar.

Stallman (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642681)

Stallman gave this speech, as all his speeches, from a secret underground cave bunker on the moon, the only place he's convinced no one can get him. His fears of advancement in space travel however have now caused him to announce his future plans to move his home to a commonly used metaphor, in the hopes that living inside an actual metaphor will present even more security.

Re:Stallman (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#41642827)

Stallman gave this speech, as all his speeches, from a secret underground cave bunker on the moon, the only place he's convinced no one can get him. His fears of advancement in space travel however have now caused him to announce his future plans to move his home to a commonly used metaphor, in the hopes that living inside an actual metaphor will present even more security.

Actually, we have some really big radio telescopes pointing in that direction.

Re:Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642973)

My hat protects me.

R.M.S.

sudo apt-get install shred (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642683)

Then install debian.

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (5, Informative)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#41642839)

Then install debian.

Stallman's organization maintains a list of approved distributions [gnu.org] .
Debian is not there, so he won't recommend it.

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643247)

I believe the FSF uses Debian as well. Debian is 'libre' by default even the kernel nowadays. Stallman won't recommend it because it has non-free repos. But they're disabled by default. Debian is perfectly fine if you don't enable those repositories.

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (0)

bonehead (6382) | about 2 years ago | (#41643525)

Stallman's organization maintains a list of approved [gnu.org]

The scary part is that there are people who actually *care* if something is RMS approved.

The open source movement would be much better served if that whack-job would keep his lunacy to himself.

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41643655)

That man is partially responsible for the progress that has been made in the spread of open software. I think his opinion has more value than a lot of others, especially these days when things in the area of personal computing are growing more closed very quickly.

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (1)

bonehead (6382) | about 2 years ago | (#41643877)

especially these days when things in the area of personal computing are growing more closed very quickly.

Hmm... You must be young. The trend is actually quite drastically in the other direction.

As for Stallman's contributions, yes, he's done some good things. Doesn't change the fact that every time he opens his mouth he just comes across as being either a lunatic, or really, really stoned.

I'm sorry, but getting paid for your work, in a world where money is necessary to survive, is NOT morally wrong.

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41643989)

Server computing, development frameworks, etc, are getting more open. Personal computing is getting more closed. iOS, and now the Windows 8 store for me are a very big push against all the progress that has been made. I'm quite old ... I remember the IBM days and I remember AOL ... both very restricted. I have a feeling most people don't remember those and are taking the freedom they have (or had) for granted.

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41644935)

One word: emacs. Oh damn, sorry. Escape, Meta, emacs... No, sorry, hang on. Escape, Meta, Atl, Ctrl, .... oh shit, sorry, what was the word again?

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643533)

Free software nutsos.

I hereby don't approve Stallman or FSF.

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643771)

Who gives a fucking shit what RMS says? He's not relevant, who cares?

Re:sudo apt-get install shred (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41644569)

Here's what the FSF has to say about Debian:

Debian's Social Contract states the goal of making Debian entirely free software, and Debian conscientiously keeps nonfree software out of the official Debian system. However, Debian also provides a repository of nonfree software. According to the project, this software is “not part of the Debian system,” but the repository is hosted on many of the project's main servers, and people can readily learn about these nonfree packages by browsing Debian's online package database.

So with Debian, the people can learn that there is non-free software! Oh the horrors!

Stallman's a statist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642757)

Wants corrupt idiots to control everyone's life.

False Dichotomy Peddlers (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41643541)

...yes because the only alternative to Crassus Maximus is Julius Ceasar.

Mission Creep (3, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 2 years ago | (#41642835)

Amazon was a member of ALEC. ALEC is the right-wing lobbying group that promotes voter-suppression laws and "shoot first" laws, as well as attacks against wages and working conditions in the US. Amazon quit ALEC after public pressure in May 2012, but I am sure it still seeks the same nasty policies that ALEC advocated and is waiting for a new tool to achieve them.

Even if we accept Stallman's rather innacurate description of ALEC's activities, neither campaign finance, gun rights, or minimum wage laws have anything to do with the free software movement. Stallman's belief to the contrary, Linux is not his personal political hobby horse.

Re:Mission Creep (5, Insightful)

leromarinvit (1462031) | about 2 years ago | (#41642953)

So Stallman isn't entitled to have an opinion on these subjects? Or is he just not allowed to voice it, whether asked or not? This is his personal website you're talking about.

Tell me, what qualifies you to say that campaign finance, gun rights, and minimum wage laws are none of Stallman's business?

Re:Mission Creep (1)

bonehead (6382) | about 2 years ago | (#41643537)

Or is he just not allowed to voice it

Oh, he's allowed. It's just that his causes would be better served by not having his nutjob name attached to them.

Re:Mission Creep (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41643663)

If you want to politicize Linux and Open Source Software, go right ahead. But there are many downsides to it that shouldn't be involved with software or open source. If we get a right wing government anywhere in the world, should they automatically ignore the concerns of OSS because it is seen as a front group for left wing nutters?

As for qualifications, I would suggest the same thing qualifies him to speak out against stallman entangling political views with OSS as does qualify you to speak out against him for doing it. Stallman is not on some pedestal that make him irreproachable or uniquely off limits to criticism for his comments or stances.

Re:Mission Creep (2)

leromarinvit (1462031) | about 2 years ago | (#41644321)

If you want to politicize Linux and Open Source Software, go right ahead.

Stallman doesn't care as much about Open Source as he does about Free Software. The differences can sometimes seem small, but I think the latter is inherently political, as is "hacker culture" in general.

If we get a right wing government anywhere in the world, should they automatically ignore the concerns of OSS because it is seen as a front group for left wing nutters?

As a "left wing nutter", I wouldn't have too much hope of a right wing government doing much of anything that benefits common (working class) people. I think trying to get them to pass "OSS-friendly" laws would be a futile endeavour.

As for qualifications, I would suggest the same thing qualifies him to speak out against stallman entangling political views with OSS as does qualify you to speak out against him for doing it. Stallman is not on some pedestal that make him irreproachable or uniquely off limits to criticism for his comments or stances.

Of course. But he seemed to suggest that since political topics have (in his opinion) nothing to do with Free Software, Stallman shouldn't talk about them. This just rubbed me the wrong way, similar to how whenever Chomsky says something political, there are those who claim that since his most well-known works are in linguistics, he should shut up because he's not "qualified" to talk about politics.

Re:Mission Creep (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41644765)

Stallman doesn't care as much about Open Source as he does about Free Software. The differences can sometimes seem small, but I think the latter is inherently political, as is "hacker culture" in general.

The comments in question have little to do with free software though. Do you think it is appropriate to conflate free software with Gun rights or abortion?

As a "left wing nutter", I wouldn't have too much hope of a right wing government doing much of anything that benefits common (working class) people. I think trying to get them to pass "OSS-friendly" laws would be a futile endeavour.

Then you would be a left wing moron. This isn't just about passing laws to aid or help OSS. It's about limiting damage other laws might cause with it. It is about the government using it not only for the benefits of owning your own data but for the promotion and development of it. So tell me, if Europe decided that software patents were a good thing and some right wing governments wanted to make it law, would the opinion of software enthusiasts and advocates have more impact in this decision or would the opinion of left wing organizations crying about software freedom? If governments were deciding to change their software, would FOSS be considered when it is seen as a political opposition group? As uncomfortable as it may be for you, the seemingly neutral advocates and enthusiasts would carry more weight in these decisions then groups of political opposition who are also interested in software.

Right now, anyone can be involved with OSS-FOSS regardless of their political leanings. If it becomes a political entity outside of what effects and impacts it, then only expect those jaded with the same outside beliefs to be active. It is not a good thing at all for FOSS or Linux.

Of course. But he seemed to suggest that since political topics have (in his opinion) nothing to do with Free Software, Stallman shouldn't talk about them. This just rubbed me the wrong way, similar to how whenever Chomsky says something political, there are those who claim that since his most well-known works are in linguistics, he should shut up because he's not "qualified" to talk about politics.

It is in my opinion that he is free to say what he thinks. The world is not some place where someone can speak their mind and someone else cannot because you or anyone else agrees with one or the other opinion. If scolding Stallman is appropriate to him because of what he believes in, then it is just as appropriate as you or me scolding him or whoever in the future. However, I think the op has a little more legitimacy because Stallman is seen as a leader in the community that he participates in and should have more of an opportunity to make his case for or against that leader.

I took the op's statement to mean more that Stallman should not be conflating FOSS with outside political ideas like Gun control and so on. That has no place in in FOSS in my opinion. But if the "leaders" want to entangle FOSS with politics like that, they better be ready to accept the consequences of being relegated to just another political mouth piece when something important comes up.

Re:Mission Creep (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41642955)

He's concerned about individual rights and freedoms. He sees an association between a Linux vendor and a company as a negative in part because of their ties to a PAC that tends to aggresively favor corporations over people.

On an aside, can you highlight how his description is inaccurate?

Re:Mission Creep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642993)

RMS's description of ALEC is spot on.

You sound reasonable enough to do a little research. I suggest you do.

Re:Mission Creep (2)

bkerensa (634824) | about 2 years ago | (#41643365)

Stallman has done a lot for Linux and Free Software as such I would respect his opinion on golf if he so gave it.

Re:Mission Creep (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41643783)

I think that is the problem with these anointed leaders of Linux and Free Software espousing political commentary not related to Linux and Free Software. It makes it appear as if they are trying to include the people who support them and their ideals as support for the political externalizations.

Of course there are people like you who without knowing how qualified he is with something outside Linux and Free Software who hang on his words. But there are people who support the opposite of what Stallman is saying, people who are friendly to all or part of ALEC's agenda, who see his comments as offensive. There are people who have an entire different host of political ideals who support free software and should not be put in a position (at least in appearance if not directly by association) because of the stature of the leaders and their contradictory positions in politics.

  Linux and Free Software should only be politicized to the point policy law impacts it. Any more then that and not only will we find it ineffectual to appose policy because one side will see Linux and Free Software as a front group for another side of politics, but it can be damaging when groups purposely ignore Linux and Free Software in policy and law or worse yet, ignore negative impacts it will have because- after all, they are just a front group some politician's ideology.

Re:Mission Creep (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 2 years ago | (#41643677)

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-allentown-amazon-complaints-20110917,0,7937001,full.story [mcall.com]

read that and then contrast with this from ubuntu.com

Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others'.

You might think with these radically differences this might be a bad fit.

Maybe it was a few years back, but Ubuntu doesn't seem to even being developed by the same people who made it great. At least there are good alternatives to Ubuntu. Although if Mint doesn't stop with the configuring firefox to expressly not have google as a default search option or make it easy to add they will be losing users too.

Re:Mission Creep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643981)

It's because he's a paranoid conspiracy theory left wing douche bag.

Ethics should apply in your life (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#41644013)

Stallman lives by a particular ethical code. Despite the widespread belief that people should separate their ethical beliefs from their work, Stallman does not actually do so, and thus if he believes that Amazon is doing unethical things (which is not really a stretch), he is not going to support the idea of taking his software (which is part of the basis of Ubuntu) and using it to support Amazon financially. I do not see why he should be criticized for that, any more than people should be criticized for refusing to seek employment with companies whose behavior they object to.

Re:Ethics should apply in your life (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 2 years ago | (#41644457)

I think Chick-Fil-A is an unethical company too. Does that mean that open source web browsers should be refuse to resolve URLs pointing to their domain? He is basically arguing that the functionality of Linux should be limited based on what people wish to do with it (in this case buy things from Amazon). That is, in fact, a betrayal of the principles of free software, which apparently now take a back seat to Stallman's other political interests.

If that's how he feels, than fine, but then it needs to be recognized he's no longer advocating FOR free software.

Or just wipe unity from your machine (2)

bytesex (112972) | about 2 years ago | (#41642841)

And use kubuntu instead!

Re:Or just wipe unity from your machine (1, Interesting)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#41642899)

I tried Kubuntu once. It was a lot harder to get installed than slackware, and even after getting it all working I didnt like it as much. Slack has a great clean KDE.

Re:Or just wipe unity from your machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643169)

I couldn't disagree with you more. If you think Kubuntu is hard to install you should probably shouldn't use Linux.

Re:Or just wipe unity from your machine (1)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#41643245)

What was hard about it? It's easier to install than many programs.

Re:Or just wipe unity from your machine (1, Troll)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#41644219)

Well it was hard as I recall primarily because the installer required X, and the standard cd at the time didnt properly detect my card. Like I need a really pretty installer just to make partitions and copy files? Who thought that up?

Speaking of partitions, it defaults to brain-dead. It looks like someone who didnt know what they were doing mindlessly copied windows.

Alienating your user base (5, Insightful)

ntropia (939502) | about 2 years ago | (#41642857)

Putting aside any judgements for a moment, one could try to see the desire of Shuttleworth to push Linux in the mainstream, and this could be good... somehow.
But then, from Shuttleworth's words [markshuttleworth.com] :

"It makes perfect sense to integrate Amazon search results in the Dash, because the Home Lens of the Dash should let you find *anything* anywhere"

Seriously? it should "let me find"? You put tons of advertises in user's computers *and* tons of user's data on Amazon servers and you didn't provide it as opt-in feature? And I can't even disable it [until a rushed update came out]?
Good job! You're alienating the most important thing you gained so far, your users. You know, not only it is important to bring Ubuntu in the mainstream: you need to be sure you don't get there alone, you know?

It seems another case of "shut up, we know better than users what users really want".
Do you? [launchpad.net]

Re:Alienating your user base (3, Interesting)

bkerensa (634824) | about 2 years ago | (#41643385)

Shuttleworth also in that same blog post in the comments said Canonical had a privacy policy covering the lens.... I was the person who made it clear they did not and they just now added a disclaimer which really does not tell us what will happen to the data like a full privacy policy would.

who even uses ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642877)

I mean, they experienced a boom when they were the only ones with an easy to use Linux system (Hardy?)

Since Linux is still not mainstream I am supprised that they still got nerds using their shit software. Linux Mint is way more legitimate in every way...

UBUNTU IS NOT RELEVANT

Re:who even uses ubuntu (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41642925)

well then what do you recommend today for someone looking for an easy-to-use, well-supported and active distro that will do a good job of detecting your hardware and not force you to hunt down or write your own device drivers?

Re:who even uses ubuntu (3, Informative)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#41642967)

Linux Mint is way more legitimate in every way... UBUNTU IS NOT RELEVANT

It may have changed — my last install of Mint was Helena — but is Mint not based on Ubuntu [distrowatch.com] ?

For Mint, I'd have thought Ubuntu was very relevant indeed.

Re:who even uses ubuntu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643467)

There is a Debian version of mint now as well. My boss has been testing it for deployment on all the end user machines at work. He's tired of Windows problems.

Personally, I think Debian is the best Linux distro these days. It's stable and it actually works on most computers I've tried to use it on with the exception of my laptop. Even then, SID worked.

People who run mint or arch are looking for shiny. It's the latest trend just as Ubuntu was. Most distros are based off of Debian.. that's the hint that Debian is the thing to use.

In 5 years, mint will be just as mocked as Ubuntu or Gentoo or any other has been distro. That's just how the linux world is. Somehow Debian has stood the test of time.

Re:who even uses ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643807)

It's a bit unfair to too mention Ubuntu and Gentoo in the same sentence considering the topic. Leave Gentoo alone, what have they ever done wrong?

Or is it that you found the install too hard...

Re:who even uses ubuntu (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41644587)

I had a look at Mint, but it doesn't appear to have Unity. So, back to Ubuntu, then.

Re:who even uses ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41644641)

Part of forking means that Linux Mint no longer needs Ubuntu, which is a Debian derivative, though. If it were still dependent, you'd be correct, but their goals diverged a long time ago. Many packages for Mint are unusable in Ubuntu, just as many Ubuntu packages don't work in Debian. It's a very common thing in the linux community; for instance, I use Fuduntu, which is Fedora 14 based, so if Fedora stopped development today, it wouldn't affect Fuduntu at all. If you grow plants or have children, you should be able to see the parallels to those, as well.

Re:who even uses ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643103)

...or write your own device drivers?

What are you talking about? Why, one time I installed MythTV and had blast learning how to use Linux. It was my first 'real' project and getting the IR transmitter built into the Hauppauge encoding card only required complete recompiling of the driver. Heck, I had a great time spending 4 full weekends trying to get my computer to change the channel on my satellite receiver, although in the end I purchased a special USB IR transmitter, but hey, I didn't have to pay for the software, and it was real fun! I think it's great that consumers should have to determine which bluetooth chip and ethernet controller is installed on their motherboards because this way they gain intimate knowledge of their hardware while learning the real nuts and bolts of using Linux! And what is more nuts and bolts than writing a startup script to automatically mount a USB drive? The fact that other operating systems do this by default on-the-fly is just silly! Their users have no idea how to actually use an OS. I'm still baffled as to why Linux hasn't really taken off and Ubuntu has been more popular than other distros, or even better, just use the raw kernel and build your own!

Re:who even uses ubuntu (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41643607)

Need to know about your motherboard?

lspci

This is the same information that the kernel uses to determine what device drivers to load for you. Mandrake took advantage of this for the very first 3D card (voodoo) supported by Linux and did it all automagically.

The same goes for USB.

While LIRC is a convoluted a beast. It's also had automated configuration support since 2007.

Re:who even uses ubuntu (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | about 2 years ago | (#41643115)

Mageia, even though it's got some pretty awful bugs to iron out, is moving in the right direction.

Re:who even uses ubuntu (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41643575)

Mandrake already did this a long time ago with tools developed by Redhat.

The main fundemental problem with the whole "but Canonical must find some way to make money" is the fact that they really don't do much besides packaging. As far as distributors go, they are the biggest moochers contributing the least amount to upstream projects that ALL distributions benefit from.

"detecting your hardware" is s function of how PCI and USB are designed. It's done by the kernel. Canonical really doesn't have a lot to do with it.

It's long past time to deflate the Ubuntu hype.

Re:who even uses ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642989)

Linux Mint? It's just a re-package of Ubuntu with a different crappy desktop environment, right?
At least Unity works pretty well once you get to know your way around. Cinnamon seems pretty crappy.

So tell me... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642883)

Is there going to be a Slashdot story on the day that Stallman takes a bath?
 
He's a dirty fucking hippy.

Re:So tell me... (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#41643049)

"He's a dirty fucking hippy." who is usually proven correct, and who doesn't prefer comfortable slavery to freedom.

I don't care if he smells like a burning landfill, he's done more for freedom than either of us ever will.

Re:So tell me... (1)

bkerensa (634824) | about 2 years ago | (#41643405)

How rude

Re:So tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643091)

To be fair, it would be huge news.

these people and their business models (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41642897)

Things like ubuntu are so god damn irrelevant. The dude says we are trying to make shopping easier...WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN IMPLY?

Do these people sit down at meetings and talk about how to improve shopping for their tiny user base who doesnt even shop much? Y U NO MAKE SENSE WORLD!

I tried Ubuntu once (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643057)

I'm going to try getting raped by an aids-ridden tramp next time.

Re:I tried Ubuntu once (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 2 years ago | (#41644001)

There's already a distro for that.

Can someone explain TFS, please? (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#41643225)

I consider myself a fairly well-informed geek, and a regular reader of Slashdot.

And, as the links all appear Slashdotted, I have no fucking clue what the summary talks about. I recognize a lot of the words, the overall tone interested me enough to "look inside", but... What does "Unity Dash" mean, why does it mean giving info to governments, and what does Amazon have to do with turning off lenses and scopes? And what lenses and scopes?

And yes, I know about Ubuntu's recent whoring itself to Amazon for ad placement on the desktop, but that seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the summary.

Anyone have a better explanation?

Re:Can someone explain TFS, please? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41644635)

Its basically saying that Amazon can keep the data they get and it might find its way to Government at some point. **But** most operating systems these days are centralised around package repositories. You install and update from one place so canonical already knew that what you installed, as do debian, mint, etc. Microsoft knows that as well. The information about what you search for is more valuable but you can disable that but then you lose the integrated search with amazon, which might actually be useful to some people.

Thanks (1)

Zamphatta (1760346) | about 2 years ago | (#41643277)

Thanks /., I've now added `sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping` to my to do list.

Re:Thanks (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41643623)

Why stop there.

Just do "sudo apt-get remove unity.*"

Regular expressions are a beatiful thing.

Looking for a new distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643477)

Becuase of Canonical adding this, I'm looking for a new distro. I know, I know... I can remove it with apt-get. Not the point. I think I'm just going to head back to a plain-jane non-commercial Linux distro like Salix. Gonna go back to basics.

An operating system environment should have no commerical ties to the outside save what the users introduce to their own userland. Nothing by default. Sad that people think they have to find creepy ways to turn a profit.

I had any kind of stuff like this. I deny all website the right to profit from me. I use noscript, a web proxy, adblockers, I disable CSS visited links as well as http/s referer so there are no click thru profits. I already pay to use the internet via my overprices ISP. I will not be the product. I have a right to sanitized internet and I do what it takes to get it.

I don't need to help anyone make a profit. If they cannot make it without ads, they need to find a new line of work. Ads are intrusive, they track you, they can be malware vectors, and I never even looked at them back in the day. Ads are a lazy way to make a living, especially via the net. No thanks, Canonical. I will not help anyone make money. Non-profit all the way. I knew Slackware and Debian would come in handy one day. That day is here.

Cannonical needs money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41643867)

Poor fuckers can't even afford any shills on slashdot.

The feature needs to be opt-in - period. (0)

RanceJustice (2028040) | about 2 years ago | (#41644005)

It is unfortunate that Ubuntu, which has become one of the most public and accessible desktop Linux distributions during its rise to prominence is making such a colossal blunder. In a world where one's privacy is being increasingly assaulted from all sides, Linux has shown itself as the alternative to walled gardens and locked down fences; software with an ethos that puts control squarely in the hands of the user. Ubuntu has brought interest and investment to desktop Linux - even the long-awaited Steam beta is testing on Ubuntu. Combined with other excellent free and open source software, like Mozilla's Firefox and Thunderbird, Libre Office, as well as user- desired proprietary programs (ie games, like those sold through Desura and HumbleBundle) that increasingly are offering Linux versions, a larger group of "regular" users than ever before have become interested in Linux and open platforms. Some are tired of lock-in and upgrade treadmills, some just like the fact that these "free as in beer" alternatives (with "free as in speech" being a bonus, at times) allow them to accomplish their tasks without spending a fortune, others come seeking an environment that is unpolluted by the insidious privacy and security violations that have grown unchecked, but are searching for a better environment.

  Linux and FOSS have become worthwhile destinations and for many these days, Ubuntu is the entryway into a Linux-based operating system. This whole issue with Amazon basically leaves a giant defecation on the doorstep of Linux. Advocates who have rightly been claiming for years the benefits of Linux, the freedom, privacy, user control etc... are going to have a problem on their hands when it seems the most visible desktop Linux company is engaged in the same underhanded moneymaking bullshit as everyone else. Its completely unacceptable and hurts not just Ubuntu, but Linux as a whole. Many newcomers are not going to stick around "learn, and choose another distro" if they have a poor experience. Even for Linux veterans who use other distros, it harms the community as a whole to the face presented to the world with rotting teeth, so to speak.

Thus, we need to do something to try to convince Canonical to make some changes. At minimum the entire feature needs to be opt-in. Users should be able to decide if they want to segregate their desktop/local network searches from their Internet searches. Most users, when they search for baby pictures or music they know they have on their hard drive, do not want to see Internet-based suggestions for the two; they certainly don't want to be poked to BUY related music or see ads for fertility specialists. From both a usability and security perspective, it is important that users (especially "joe users" that may not be technically competent) to know the difference between local and Internet content. If someone wishes to integrate the search, that should be a conscious choice. Next, its just plain unacceptable for Ubuntu to include Canonical's Amazon affiliate code on those searches, without user knowledge. This is basically spyware built into the operating system. Rightly so, people frown when others try to disguise their referral links and the financial benefit they'll be given, even when those links are present on forums and email. To have a major operating system do the same thing is lunacy. The hypocrisy of this happening on Linux (or any open platform or software) is even more repugnant.

Users should have to opt in for any "lenses" that search the Internet, be given a description of how/where they will be searching, and who will benefit from the search. If Canonical wants to offer this functionality, it should be required that when a user turns on any search "lens" that has an affiliate bonus that benefits them, there should be a mandatory explanation page that allows the user to understand what is going on and gives them the chance to opt out and strip the affiliate data from their searches if they desire. If they're honest and say "Hey, we do this to defer the cost of bringing all of Ubuntu to you for free, unlike those other OSes, and we promise not to sell your data etc..." I suspect most people will be fine with allowing the search to include the affiliate bonus. However, they should be informed up front and given a chance to disable the lens, disable the affiliate but keep the lens, or include an affiliate ID of their own choosing if they prefer instead

User preference, experience, and control should be at the forefront of a Linux and especially FOSS experience. We can't afford to have the most visible desktop Linux distribution acting contrary to this in the hopes of making a few bucks under the table, at the cost of the entire community losing one of its most important pillars and draw to users.

Re:The feature needs to be opt-in - period. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41644651)

Nothing stops you from compiling an ubuntu derived distribution with this feature taken out by default and distributing it.

I'd take Richard Stallman more seriously (0)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41644633)

... if he actually worked for a living. He reminds me a bit of the twats I used to know at university who wanted to "smash the system" and live in their malodorous buses, but at the same time relied on "the system" to pay them their grant cheque or dole money.

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