FSF Richard Stallman reports Spying Ubuntu; Canonical getting offensive

this post was written in a lot of hurry and much more anger by a non-native English speaker and even I find it bad reading again…

one of the readers have been kind enough to proof-read and rewrite it here as comment (thanks): http://techiebond.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/fsf-rsm-reports-spying-ubuntu-offensive/#comment-14

~~

~~

First a backgrounder regarding what happened recently to annoy me (and hopefully many others) to the point that I’m posting on my wtf-happens-in-tech-blog after so much time has passed.

~

One of the most (in recent years) popular Debian-based GNU/Linux distros, Ubuntu, has been found to be using a feature which analyses user behaviour to serve advertisements more accurately targeted towards users perceived needs.

RMS (Richard Matthew Stallman) compared it to a proprietary malware product performing user surveillance for profit; As in Selling out users, who trusted the software because of promotion by various FOSS advocates and users… for money. Speaking for myself and some users known to me personally, Ubuntu was initially tried and used under the pretence that it fell under the guidelines of Free Software.

Richard’s report on User Spying Ubuntu: http://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/ubuntu-spyware-what-to-do
~

Ubuntu spying Users Activity
Ubuntu spying Users Activity

~

There have been replies to the piece by a few people, one of which being a ‘personal’ reply from Jono Bacon(Ubuntu Community Manager) which was brought to my attention via a HackerNews Top List.

Bacon claims that RMS is being childish for taking a stand against Ubuntu Dash sending user data to Canonical Servers and accuses him of spreading FUD (Fear Uncertainty, and Doubt) regarding the issue. Shockingly, while dismissing blithely all the factual points in RMS piece, Bacon then askes for facts?!

F***king **it, dumb software-issues-illiterate fan-clubs.

RMS for most of his life (longer than I’ve lived) has been promoting Free Software on the ethics of respecting users freedoms, privacy and self determination for users to choose how to use software. He is a super dedicated Free Software advocate loved and respected by the entire (ok, most of it) Free Software community for his devotion; Yet over the years has endured being insulted and dismissed as eccentric by people who see him only as an obstacle on their road to marketing software.

As for FUD, the truth is that if a piece of code on my system (that was installed by a service I trusted to respect my user freedoms) starts sending my usage data online to some server for any purpose without explicitly informing me…baby, that’s spyware!

Now, different organizations have been pulling loads of user data to their servers for to facilitate ‘better service’ for quite some time now.. nowadays it’s even jargonized as “TheBigData”. That doesn’t make it Ethical in any way though. Unless you are some FB teenager waiting for Likes on your post of new amazing shoes you bought with the help of a magical advertisement served to you that considered what your friends bought, which shops are near your home, and what kind of places you visit to determine your financial worth; It’s not particularly wanted either.

~

There was a piece posted a few months back by Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Canonical) regarding why it’s essential this chaos-creating product Ubuntu Dash be pushed in even before maturing enough to include a turn-on/off option. He said the encryption would be placed on queries in the release version and the turn-on/off setting would be controllable by the 13.04 release at the latest.

But Mr.Space Cadet gives no proper justification for Ads (and denies any ads are being promoted in favour of Amazon or their ties to Canonical), he just says that he chose Amazon because most Ubuntu users use Amazon. Oh! Seriously…was it that easy now ?! On those Amazon ties: There is a very fine question asked in the same vein within the comments section of the very same piece regarding why the useful DuckDuckGo search service is not also used to enhance user experience experience. No reply to that; Maybe Mr. Shuttleworth just doesn’t read his own blog?

~
Although I haven’t used Ubuntu in the past few years, I have continued to use other GNU/Linux flavours. I would certainly not suggest Ubuntu, as I once did to new tux lovers, to anyone now.

So as RMS said….. boling his own words

to all Free Software supporters….. Ubuntu is shunned for spying.

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Dang, I’ve just gotten too used to the whole Ubuntu way of doing things. Not that it’s too different…but I really want to see Linux standardize around one distribution for ease of development and software distribution.

    Simple solution to this problem, however: Simply don’t use Unity. It sucks anyway.

    I’ve been using MATE for some months and love it. XFCE or LXDE are always good too. Any of these remove the Unity Lens and thus this problem.

    Reply

  2. Posted by WhatsTheNameOfTheGameDoesItMeanAnyThingToYou on December 12, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Hi,
    I’m not the best writer, but I am a native English speaker and thought you could use some proofreading help to make this more palatable to English speakers. It’s up to you what you do with it, but I just figured I’d offer some revisions and hope I’ve captured the meaning of your writing honourably :)

    =======================================================

    First a backgrounder regarding what happened recently to annoy me (and hopefully many others) to the point that I’m posting on my wtf-happens-in-tech-blog after so much time has passed.

    ~

    One of the most (in recent years) popular Debian-based GNU/Linux distros, Ubuntu, has been found to be using a feature which analyses user behaviour to serve advertisements more accurately targeted towards users perceived needs.

    RMS (Richard Matthew Stallman) compared it to a proprietary malware product performing user surveillance for profit; As in Selling out users, who trusted the software because of promotion by various FOSS advocates and users… for money. Speaking for myself and some users known to me personally, Ubuntu was initially tried and used under the pretence that it fell under the guidelines of Free Software.

    Richard’s piece on Ubuntu and spying on users: http://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/ubuntu-spyware-what-to-do

    ~

    There have been replies to the piece by a few people, one of which being a ‘personal’ reply from Jono Bacon(Ubuntu Community Manager) which was brought to my attention via a HackerNews Top List.

    Bacon claims that RMS is being childish for taking a stand against Ubuntu Dash sending user data to Canonical Servers and accuses him of spreading FUD (Fear Uncertainty, and Doubt) regarding the issue. Shockingly, while dismissing blithely all the factual points in RMS piece, Bacon then askes for facts?!

    F***king **it, dumb software-issues-illiterate fan-clubs.

    RMS for most of his life (longer than I’ve lived) has been promoting Free Software on the ethics of respecting users freedoms, privacy and self determination for users to choose how to use software. He is a super dedicated Free Software advocate loved and respected by the entire (ok, most of it) Free Software community for his devotion; Yet over the years has endured being insulted and dismissed as eccentric by people who see him only as an obstacle on their road to marketing software.

    As for FUD, the truth is that if a piece of code on my system (that was installed by a service I trusted to respect my user freedoms) starts sending my usage data online to some server for any purpose without explicitly informing me…baby, that’s spyware!

    Now, different organizations have been pulling loads of user data to their servers for to facilitate ‘better service’ for quite some time now.. nowadays it’s even jargonized as “TheBigData”. That doesn’t make it Ethical in any way though. Unless you are some FB teenager waiting for Likes on your post of new amazing shoes you bought with the help of a magical advertisement served to you that considered what your friends bought, which shops are near your home, and what kind of places you visit to determine your financial worth; It’s not particularly wanted either.

    ~

    There was a piece posted a few months back by Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Canonical) regarding why it’s essential this chaos-creating product Ubuntu Dash be pushed in even before maturing enough to include a turn-on/off option. He said the encryption would be placed on queries in the release version and the turn-on/off setting would be controllable by the 13.04 release at the latest.

    But Mr.Space Cadet gives no proper justification for Ads (and denies any ads are being promoted in favour of Amazon or their ties to Canonical), he just says that he chose Amazon because most Ubuntu users use Amazon. Oh! Seriously…was it that easy now ?! On those Amazon ties: There is a very fine question asked in the same vein within the comments section of the very same piece regarding why the useful DuckDuckGo search service is not also used to enhance user experience experience. No reply to that; Maybe Mr. Shuttleworth just doesn’t read his own blog?

    ~
    Although I haven’t used Ubuntu in the past few years, I have continued to use other GNU/Linux flavours. I would certainly not suggest Ubuntu, as I once did to new tux lovers, to anyone now.

    So as RMS said….. bolding his own words

    to all Free Software supporters….. Ubuntu is shunned for spying.

    Reply

  3. Hire a copy writer.

    Reply

  4. Posted by riotingpacifist on December 12, 2012 at 5:35 am

    ” Ubuntu has been found to be using a user behavior analyzing feature to serve more user need accurate advertisements. ”

    Sorry but that is total bullshit, what ubuntu did was reutrn results from amazon when a dash search was performed.

    You may disagree with Canonical but lying about what is going on is stupid.

    ” a piece of code on my system that got installed with some service I trusted if starts sending my usage data online to some server for any purpose without informing me….. baby that’s a spyware.”

    You best check all your boxes for popcon then, which you are ofc informered about just as Dash informs you on first run

    Nice way to step into this conversation with no idea what your talking about, just to spread lies.

    Reply

    • Whatever facts (not opinions) are present in the blog are from valid sources. If some fan just doesn’t wanna believe in facts… well people know who is stupid then.

      If you are confused about what qualifies as Spyware, for starters look into https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyware

      I don’t have any spyware (as in Ubuntu Dash) present on my machine, thanks for the consideration though.

      Yes it’s all fictional, as the banner of this blog says.

      Reply

  5. […] Canonical/Ubuntu 12 Series -Considerable change to the Linux Desktop with Precise and Quantal this year, some controversial and some improved the functionality of the Unity Desktop, will next year be the year of Ubuntu on Everything? http://www.ubuntu.comhttp://techiebond.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/fsf-rsm-reports-spying-ubuntu-offensive/http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/ […]

    Reply

  6. […] Canonical/Ubuntu 12 Series -Considerable change to the Linux Desktop with Precise and Quantal this year, some controversial and some improved the functionality of the Unity Desktop, will next year be the year of Ubuntu on Everything? http://www.ubuntu.comhttp://techiebond.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/fsf-rsm-reports-spying-ubuntu-offensive/http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/ […]

    Reply

  7. […] Canonical/Ubuntu 12 Series -Considerable change to the Linux Desktop with Precise and Quantal this year, some controversial and some improved the functionality of the Unity Desktop, will next year be the year of Ubuntu on Everything? http://www.ubuntu.comhttp://techiebond.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/fsf-rsm-reports-spying-ubuntu-offensive/http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/ […]

    Reply

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