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


What the Yahoo! Deal Means for Ubuntu GNU/Linux (and Mono)

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, Search, Ubuntu at 8:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

sudo apt-get remove mono-common

Summary: Further analysis of Canonical’s deal with Yahoo! and some thoughts or suggestions

THE Yahoo!-Ubuntu deal was being discussed for hours in our IRC channel. It’s a tricky one. It means that Canonical’s priorities become more complex, as they indirectly become dependent on Microsoft for revenue (Microsoft is paying Yahoo! like it pays Novell). There are other issues through. As The Source puts it:

If that wasn’t offensive enough for you, don’t worry – there’s more: it appears that upgrades will have the default changed to Yahoo!, even if the user has set it to something else. How helpful.

The comments in Linux Today are mostly negative and while some articles focus on Mozilla, others focus on the official message alone (that it’s just Yahoo!). From Ars Technica:

Rick Spencer, the leader of Canonical’s desktop team, announced the search engine change today on a public Ubuntu mailing list. The specific terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. According to Spencer, the new default will appear in the development version of the distribution “as soon as reasonably possible” and will be in place in time for Ubuntu 10.04, which is scheduled for release in April. They have not indicated whether the change will be applied retroactively to existing installations of the current stable version, but they have confirmed that it will be changed for existing users who upgrade from the current stable version to 10.04.

From The Inquirer:

Rick Spencer, leader of Canonical’s desktop team, announced the Yahooo deal yesterday. The deal is scheduled to take effect in April and means that the FireFox web browser will default to using Yahoo’s search engine under Ubuntu.

None of the above mentions that Spencer came from Microsoft (but to be fair, we don’t know whose idea this whole deal was) and there is also a refrain from saying that Yahoo! will be just a front end to Microsoft’s Bong [sic]. Yahoo! is just some bling on the Bing.

Chips B. Malroy says (in IRC) that “Microsoft is counting on enough users to not know that Yahoo has or is becoming Bing. It’s extension of the renaming ploy, just more dishonest

Jose X wrote last night:

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.

There are more such comments from Jose and it does raise some doubt. Any idea what this will mean for Mono? Is Canonical less likely to dump Mono now? Jeremy Allison opines that Mono needs to go [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], not the GIMP [1, 2, 3, 4]. Most of the polled users of Ubuntu are against the GIMP decision, the Free Software Foundation is still against Mono, and so are users and developers [1, 2, 3].

I am using Kubuntu at the moment; it comes without Mono (Microsoft) and Kubuntu 10.04 will reportedly come without the browser’s search bar pointing at Microsoft’s datacentres. In general, Ubuntu derivatives are of good use here and therein lies the value of choice.

“In general, Ubuntu derivatives are of good use here and therein lies the value of choice.”To reject something by uninstalling it from the default setup is still sending the distributor a message of endorsement. To use an analogy, if you order a hamburger with pickles and take out the pickles later at the table, the seller is still left with the impression that customers love pickles. Those pickles will never be removed by the seller as long as hamburgers are purchased without asking the seller to leave them out. The moral of our own story is that Ubuntu will continue spreading the perception that GNU/Linux users like Mono (which they don’t, according to polls) and are fine with downloading an operating system that uses Microsoft’s engine for search.

Someone from Red Hat went as far as asking me if I thought Canonical had sold out like Novell, but the immediate answer was “no”. The Ubuntu deal does not hurt rivals of Ubuntu (or GNU/Linux at large) in any way; Novell — by contrast — actively used its deal to destroy others in promise of a "safe haven" (SUSE).

Speaking of Red Hat, having created a new Web site called “Open Source”, Red Hat’s Richard Fontana does give a token of respect to “Free Software”, under the article “The Free Software Way” which Groklaw reposted and commented on:

I thought I’d introduce you to the website’s rich content by posting an article from the Law section. It’s by Richard Fontana, who is Red Hat’s Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel, and I know him and trust him from being on the committee that he chaired in the revision of GPLv3. I can republish his article, because it’s under a Creative Commons license, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which means you are free to republish it and share it with others under those terms as well. I think you’ll want to, because he explains very clearly the legal rights that are implied by free, not just open source, software, and its extension to other areas, and why open source, while necessary, is not enough.

This was also covered here at The Source:

There have been lots of “fauxpen source” efforts to pretend they are Open Source by simply exposing source code. I’m sure the Gentle Reader will be shocked that Microsoft leads the way in “innovating” here: Shared Source, the MS-LPL and MS-LRL licenses, “covenants” not to sue sub-sets of users and so forth.

To me, then, open source is not a development methodology, let alone a distillation of broadly-applicable principles seen as underlying such a methodology. Rather, open source is a specific legal model of property rights transfer. To put it differently, open source is about freedom to use, modify, and share creative material that could otherwise be severely legally restricted by the author. (Source code availability is relevant because otherwise the freedom of modification would be practically impossible to exercise.)

This encapsulates so well the failure of the term “Open Source”: if open source is about freedom, then say it. Call it “Free Software”. At least call it “Free and Open Source” or “FLOSS” or “FOSS” or something that acknowledges that Freedom is what it is really all about.

Those who think that Microsoft is not the key problem are simply not paying attention. GNU/Linux must not help Microsoft in any way.

“Shouldn’t we leave the [Microsoft] elephant alone and stop poking it with sticks? Well, the problem is they aren’t going to leave us alone.”

Jeremy Allison, LCA 2010

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


  1. your_friend said,

    January 29, 2010 at 10:45 am


    It’s a sell out, a minor and self defeating one but a sell out none the less. Giving Microsoft control of new Linux user search results further’s Microsoft’s astroturfing goals, which undermine all of GNU/Linux, software freedom and community reporting as well as Google and competing GNU/Linux distributions. Microsoft has spent billions of dollars buying a TV network, newspapers and other “independent” analysts. In their own words, gaining “independent” praise and damnation of competitors is a key goal of the Slog. Community reporting and honest search engine results short circuit that investment to expose the general public to the truth about Microsoft business practices and products. This is the reason that Microsoft has always hated both Google and the Internet in general and spends all sorts of money trying to corrupt and control them both. Microsoft rewrites articles in Wikipedia and their search engine results are manually tweaked for Slog purposes. No one should ever trust Bing. If Ubuntu is about community, they should not endorse Bing. Changing user preferences is an abomination in any case. Doing it to promote Bing for money is a real sell out. Will Ubuntu really subvert user’s dot files or recompile Firefox to BingTool? It is so easy for Debian users to maintain their right click and toolbar search preferences that it is hard to imagine a GNU/Linux system based on Debian that mimics Internet Explorer in search engine subversion. Then again, I had a hard time believing they would dump GIMP for mono.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It turns out that PiTiVi will be installed, so it’s not all bad.

    Regarding search, I don’t like their decision, but ranting about it too much would not further the cause, I think.

    your_friend Reply:

    If people don’t complain, no one will know any better. There is not much to rant about, a Bing themed Ubuntu is farcical and should be condemned. Anyone can add Bing to their Firefox search if they like but the divisions widening losses show that no one really likes it. How ironic that Microsoft has bought market share with Ubuntu.

    This too will pass. I’m looking forward to your usual sharp reporting about Micrsoft’s latest quarter. I’ve read about deferred earnings used to pump up the apparent result to “market expectations”. I’ve also read that the Office Division took another decline in earnings. To me, it looks like Windows 7 has had it’s fanboy and channel stuffing run even quicker and less rewardingly than Vista did and the company is toast. They fired a large percentage of the company, their proffits should have shot up without additional revenue.

What Else is New

  1. Leaked: Budget and Finance Committee Outcomes That Jeopardise What's Left of the EPO's Future

    A look at the latest reckless step from the Budget and Finance Committee of the Administrative Council (chaired by Battistelli's pet chinchilla), which marginalises yet more oversight or a branch which facilitates patent quality control (thereby concealing the effect of Battistelli's ruinous sausage factory mentality)

  2. Links 27/10/2016: Major Changes in Unity 8, Nextcloud Targets Phones

    Links for the day

  3. 'Balkan Express' Teaser: EPO's Željko Topić, Kuterovac, Campinos, Gurry, Battistelli and the DKPTO (Kongstad)

    Various photos of Topić and Kuterovac. Some more photos with other IP "luminaries" such as Campinos of the EUIPO and Gurry of the WIPO.

  4. The United States Pressures India to Broaden Patent Scope and Other Monopolies

    The envoy of the US is trying to tell India how to run the country (stricter laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, and patents), as a condition for foreign investment by multinational corporations

  5. Budget and Finance Committee of the Administrative Council (EPO) Confirms Exile of the Boards of Appeal

    Crushing of highly-skilled staff, propaganda in the form of new press releases, and recruitment attempts that won't succeed because the world now knows what goes on inside the European Patent Office

  6. Links 26/10/2016: “softWaves” in Debian 9, Rust in GNOME

    Links for the day

  7. Leaked: EPO's Vice-President Willie Minnoye Saying the Unsayable, Then Threatening Anyone Who Keeps Record (Evidence) of It

    E-mail that would leave Vice-President Willie Minnoye bashful, as it helps show not only bad policy but also attempts at suppression of discussion about it

  8. Puff Pieces of the EPO-IPO (EPO+EUIPO) Have Begun to Appear Amid New Evidence of Brain Drain, Lowered Standards

    The grim vision of the EPO which is losing all its talent (over time), becomes more like a production line (quality does not matter), and produces propaganda for "media positioning" (or "placements") -- all under the guise of 'studies'

  9. Leaked: Minutes From the Administrative Council of the EPO Regarding the 'Reform' (Exile) of the Boards of Appeal

    Details of the relatively secret proceedings back in June (belatedly released only a short while ago), carefully abbreviated to demonstrate which delegations helped Battistelli crush the Boards of Appeal and which ones insisted on maintaining the status quo, as per the EPC

  10. No Promising Future For the EPO Under Battistelli (If Any Future At All)

    Pessimism becomes realism at the European Patent Office as units are being torn apart, patent quality discarded, "unified" patent courts dreamed of (more patent lawsuits, higher damages), and EUIPO (EU-associated, unlike Eponia) gets closer to the EPO

  11. Leaked Minutes From the EPO Reveal That Battistelli is Detached From Reality and Blames Everything on “Union Officials”

    Minutes of the Administrative Council's meeting reveal some truly bizarre rants from Battistelli, who simply refuses to accept that the European Patent Office is burning (without a future direction, only burnout and brain drain) under his poor and abusive leadership

  12. Tata/TCS is Still Pushing for Software Patents in India

    The obnoxious company that is promoting Microsoft and software patents in a country that needs neither makes the headlines again (Financial Express)

  13. Links 25/10/2016: Rackspace's Praise of FOSS, Chain Chooses the GPL(v3)

    Links for the day

  14. Links 24/10/2016: Linux 4.9 RC2

    Links for the day

  15. Battistelli Plans to Expand the Social [sic] 'Study' (Then 'Conference') Propaganda Until Next Month, Under the 'Workshop' Umbrella

    Milking his shameless propaganda (paid-for 'studies'), Battistelli wants to rewrite the record by all means possible, then pretend that EPO staff participates in it

  16. EPO and EUIPO Join Hands to Release Propaganda (for European Media to Parrot) Some Time Tomorrow

    EPO and EUIPO in collaboration for the promotion of the notion that they are both necessary (and reinforced speculations about growing overlap between them)

  17. UPC Preparatory Committee Puts the Brakes on UPC Amid Brexit and Growing Uncertainty

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) preparatory committee recognises that the UPC isn't going anywhere (any time soon) and false job advertisements -- or advertisements for jobs that will never exist -- are withdrawn

  18. Updates Regarding EPO and BoAC: Unrest and Injustice Carry on

    Some of the latest information which is publicly and privately available to us, in particular regarding the case of a suspended judge which represents unprecedented erosion of the appeal boards' independence (and hence lack of justice in the Organisation)

  19. EPO and the “Iberian Connection”: Patricia García-Escudero Márquez - Battistelli's Pet Chinchilla on the Boards of Appeal Committee?

    Why the Boards of Appeal Committee has begun showing prominent signs that it is anything but independent and capable of standing up to Battistelli (or his circle at the Office, which includes the “Iberian Connection")

  20. Links 23/10/2016: Alcatel's New Android Smartphones, Another Honorary Doctorate for Stallman

    Links for the day

  21. Open Letter Exposing the Farce Which Was Battistelli's 'Social Conference' Coinciding With Further (New) Attacks on EPO Staff Representatives

    A detailed letter reveals legitimate concerns expressed by staff representatives at the EPO ahead of the so-called Social Conference, in which we have highlighted severe factual flaws

  22. Translation of Latest Rant From French MP Philip Cordery About Benoît Battistelli's Abuses at the EPO

    Philip Cordery crosses horns with Benoît Battistelli, who has become a source of embarrassment for France with his autocratic tendencies and misguided policies that rapidly ruin the European Patent Office (EPO)

  23. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Leaked Document Shows PwC's Dishonesty and Misrepresentation of EPO Staff

    An in-depth analysis (but not comprehensive, just preliminary) of the so-called 'study' from PwC, which basically did what it was paid for (pay to say)

  24. Links 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

    Links for the day

  25. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

    The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

  26. EPO Teaser - The "Iberian Connection" - Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

    A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

  27. Disruption to Site's Service

    A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently

  28. Links 21/10/2016: MPV 0.21, Mad Max for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  29. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's High Five

    Another cartoon about the sad state of the EPO

  30. Battistelli Ruins Not Only the EPO But Also the Whole of Europe By Ushering in Software Patents That Patent Trolls Love So Much

    Battistelli's bad leadership at the EPO threatens to bring to Europe all the ills and menaces of the patent system in the United States


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


Recent Posts