EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.27.10

Why Ubuntu GNU/Linux Should Not Make Microsoft Even Stronger

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search, Ubuntu at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Former Microsoft employee announces that Canonical will send Ubuntu users to Microsoft’s datacentres and herein we explain why it’s a big mistake that will alienate users

MANY readers have heard the news by now. It’s even in the front page of Slashdot. The short story is that Ubuntu will channel users towards Microsoft’s datacentre, via Yahoo! (bar EU approval for the search deal). “15 days of lost time,” calls it a reader of ours citing this comment. “Not that more than a single digit percent will change any default settings,” he adds, but the numbers cited there are US-only search numbers (thus incorrect) and Fedora claims 20 million installations.

My first reaction to this news goes almost a day back when Alan Pope (Popey from Ubuntu) announced the news:

Those of you testing out the development version of Ubuntu Lucid should notice a change in Firefox very soon. The default search provider for new installations of Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) and upgrades will be Yahoo! and not Google. Canonical have struck a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! which generates income for the company. This revenue should help pay the wages of Ubuntu Developers employed by Canonical, and support the infrastructure required to develop and build the distribution.

It is worth noting that announcing this on behalf of Canonical was Rick Spencer, who came to Canonical from Microsoft. We warned about him before because the suggestion to remove GIMP from Ubuntu (under the excuse that a Mono program would replace it) came from him too. It was a grave mistake [1, 2, 3, 4] — a decision that most Ubuntu users are opposed to, based on a big poll at Ubuntu Forums.

I told Popey: ‘But Yahoo! is going to redirect to the convicted monopoly that called Ubuntu “cancer”‘

Popey then told me: ‘Deep irony if their dollars pay Ubuntu developers.’

“What Ubuntu has done is cut off funding to Mozilla to go into there own pockets, so damaging the upstream.”
      –Oiaohm
If Microsoft is funding Ubuntu developers, then they are becoming what Microsoft called “pawns in the battle” (in the battle against Google in this case).

“Yahoo is Bingo in disguise,” said our Hungarian reader MinceR. Our reader Kecskebak (also from Hungary) was more blunt. He wrote: “Well, seeing as Yahoo! has done a deal with Bing it’s Bing by proxy. Shuttlecock – say Bing!”

Mozilla makes money when it is Google in the search bar, so the old way (Firefox defaults) supported both Mozilla and Google, not Ubuntu and Microsoft.

Our reader Oiaohm wrote: “Ubuntu is getting more criminal. What Ubuntu has done is cut off funding to Mozilla to go into there own pockets, so damaging the upstream. Really it shows how much respect Ubuntu has for the open source world. None. Really it would not matter who they changed the search company to. I hope Mozilla hits Ubuntu for trademark infringement. Altering the search provider cutting of money normally pisses Mozilla off.”

Yahoo! search is becoming just a surrogate identity to Microsoft, just like Mono is a surrogate to Microsoft, developed by its ally Novell (same with Moonlight).

It is Ubuntu's crisis of democracy as Novell’s Banshee is still being promoted for Ubuntu by some people, despite the obvious problem with Microsoft's community promise (Banshee uses excluded components [1, 2, 3, 4]).

Another thing that Ubuntu is doing right now (which is quite benign in comparison) is development of Ubuntu One for Windows. That’s fine, it’s a very separate project constructed for other reasons, but a lot of people missed the news.

“Could Ubuntu maybe retract or withdraw this deal?”All the above was discussed in great length in our IRC channel since yesterday (starting here). We are still talking about it today. We think it is not worth making a huge scene out of it because it was discussed in IRC for hours (with Jono Bacon included) and clarified to the extent possible. It was never clearly insinuated that malicious intent led to such a deal, but Ubuntu is supporting Microsoft without saying so. Linspire signed such a search deal with Microsoft as part of the 2007 patent deal, sending their customers to essentially enrich Microsoft and share data with the company that’s almost alone in viciously attacking those very same users (or at least their operating system of choice). Could Ubuntu maybe retract or withdraw this deal? We sure hope so.

What do users think of the possibility that many (if not most) GNU/Linux users are to be redirected for Microsoft to spy on their search habits (and gather statistics/intelligence on the competition), not to mention that it would give them GNU/Linux-hostile search results (Bong [sic] is doctored for built-in bias, including thin and mostly negative results on the subject of GNU/Linux).

Verizon’s recent search deal with Microsoft shows that not giving users what they want simply makes them angry. This would not be smart for Ubuntu to do, either. Many people come to Ubuntu in order to escape Microsoft and even Firefox for Windows uses Google by default. This is a bizarre reversal of role.

“Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the Slog.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

19 Comments

  1. clayclamp said,

    January 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Gravatar

    It was never clearly insinuated that malicious intent led to such a deal

    Your entire article clearly insinuates precisely that.

    your_friend Reply:

    Microsoft’s free software intentions are always malicious.

  2. clayclamp said,

    January 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Gravatar

    Instead of deleting accounts now you’re selectively blocking comments made with them. Nice.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 27, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Gravatar

    There was just lag because of spam. No comments are ever deleted.

  4. Jose_X said,

    January 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Gravatar

    With the money going to Canonical developers, Microsoft isn’t just getting (a) increased brand exposure; (b) pricing power increase on adverizers; (c) management of more user’s search results (notably that of open source users); (d1) backup tracking on Windows users as well as (d2) tracking on Linux users left out of their Windows loop, (e) momentum towards their goal of eclipsing Google at some point and gaining much more powerful monopolies, (f) stock price support down the line, etc, but they will probably get as a side bonus (g) accelerated development of mono and other API, protocols, and standards that help Microsoft. Canonical is putting much of that money back into furthering other very important Microsoft goals.

    Novell took the noisy direct path. For how long has Canonical had plans on taking the quiet subtle path? Was this support of Microsoft why Dell chose to deal with them? When will Canonical eat Novell’s dinner?

    People need to understand that Canonical has “developers to feed and investors to satisfy” and should not be hesitant to question to what degree this or any other company has decided to fight monopolies or instead to try to suckle up to them.

    The enemy of high profit seekers is customer choice and customer leverage.

    Jose_X Reply:

    We know aggressive monopolists give some candy along their way to seizing power. Why would a presumed decent Linux capitalist company decide to help Microsoft become stronger instead of working to knock them out, knowing the large void will be filled with them likely playing a prominent role?

    I don’t work for Canonical, so I plan and play defensively. Canonical and Novell can do what they want. I promote the opposite of these things they are supporting. In my eyes, these two are bad brands to support. It’s up to users to vote for brands that serve their interests. Do we want to promote competition from vendors or want to accept more of the narrow strong control structure?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The point about Mono escaped me at first. We’ll need to investigate this further.

    your_friend Reply:

    Yes, this is a good point. Microsoft money always has strings attached to seemingly unrelated things. If what you say about the poll is true than this is not democracy gone bad, it’s community ignored.

  5. satipera said,

    January 27, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Gravatar

    As a windows refugee I can remember thinking if only there was one linux distro how much better and simpler life would be. I soon realised that what I thought made so much sense did not. I still use Ubuntu but now it is comforting to know that should canonical push anything too far one day then they can be dropped like a hot brick with plenty of alternatives available. This in itself is reason to love gnu/linux.

  6. Jose_X said,

    January 27, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Businesses take risks.

    Businesses can make mistakes; however, each such mistake that does occur does have a price. Down the line, if risks don’t work out, the door is opened for enthusiasm to gather strongly around a *different* desktop product and company.

    Mark knows what he is doing by trying to distance his name from Canonical. He’d likely want to have his money still play a role tomorrow if the Canonical experiment doesn’t work out.

    Jose_X Reply:

    If SCOTUS manages to cut software patents down significantly, Mark might reason that he’d better have his deck set ahead of time to get a jump on the competition and likely unavoidable fall of Microsoft at some point in the not too distant future.

    I don’t know how significant would be such a loss of patent leverage to Microsoft since they have mostly relied on trade secret to manage interop with their monopolies.

    Canonical can be assumed to keep in mind worries about Google, Red Hat, some other smaller players, the well entrenched Java ecosystem, patents in the EU, and a number of other things.

    It’s just business risks for them. For me, it’s separation from Ubuntu/Canonical until the Microsoft picture isn’t significantly more in our favor. I can afford to wait because the big prize for users isn’t a few more bucks but a really open platform and control.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What do you suggest that users adopt?

    Jose_X Reply:

    Do you mean of the 1000 other distros out there?

    A lot of people might prefer to adopt something that already has a large community.

    I don’t mind playing with different things. I can’t speak for other people.

    Thinking about a more typical user…

    I will say that **Mandriva** has also had a focus on the desktop for a long time. They seem more KDE centric and this might translate to less mono centric.

    There are a number of interesting **Debian** deriv distros that aim to be easy to use. Actually there are many distros that aim to be easy to use no matter what they use as their base.

    There is **Fedora** which many people might like as well. I would not want to skip trying this one.

    I don’t trust the SuSE path and don’t want to promote that family of distros, certainly not today. I counter Novell’s business risk with my own risk management.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    When Novell signed the deal with Microsoft in 2006, SUSE was IMHO the best distro available for desktops (I had it installed at home and at work). Others felt similarly, not just in the SUSE crowd I was a part of (newsgroups, mailing lists, et cetera).

    Microsoft has eliminated Linspire/Xandros and I worry that we should try to help Ubuntu rather than bin it. Ubuntu’s deal — unlike Novell’s and Linspire’s and Xandros’ — does not in any direct way harm other distributors of GNU/Linux.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Gravatar

    @satipera

    Canonical employs many bright developers. I don’t think we should harm the company’s reputation; instead, let’s make suggestions.

    Maybe the Yahoo! deal is revocable.

    Does Mozilla have veto power here?

    your_friend Reply:

    Users have veto power because search engine choice is not difficult in any gnu/linux browser. The deal is not so much a technical problem as it is an endorsement of evil at the expense of users and a bad sign. I’m entirely surprised.

  8. Jose_X said,

    January 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Gravatar

    If a company is already today working to help Microsoft’s position, I don’t reward them, today, and will even be hesitant tomorrow.

    Which community you are a part of helps that distro evolve. I am not going to help an evolution I think is problematic. I see no point in being a part of that community in any meaningful way.

    Do I want other communities to weaken relative to a community/brand/company/etc whose direction is not in sync with my goals and views? Of course not.

    Canonical has been on this path for a while. If their risks work out tomorrow, if Microsoft is weak tomorrow, I will be more open with them. Tomorrow (perhaps) is not today.

    Jose_X Reply:

    Roy, parent was intended to be a reply to satipera a little higher in the thread. I am not sure what happened.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s a bug that occurs when a message/comments gets wrongly flagged as “spam”. We’ve had filter issues recently, due to technical reasons.

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  2. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  3. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  4. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  5. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  6. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  7. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  8. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  9. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  10. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  11. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  12. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  13. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  14. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  15. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  16. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  17. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  18. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  19. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  20. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  21. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  22. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  23. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  24. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  25. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  26. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  27. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him



  28. The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

    Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians -- many of whom from Battistelli's home country -- become better informed of the EPO's management fiasco, abuses, and scandals



  29. Operating Systems Usage Based on Technical Site Statistics

    ome numbers to show what goes on in sites that do not share information about their visitors (unlike Windows-centric sites which target non-technical audiences)



  30. Links 27/6/2015: Wine 1.7.46, SparkyLinux 4.0

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts