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

12.09.12

The Story Behind Criticising Ubuntu’s Privacy Settings

Posted in FSF, Ubuntu at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

1035776_money_issues

Summary: Techrights agrees with the take of the EFF on the latest Ubuntu (and now the FSF’s stance too)

LAST night when I returned home Richard Stallmanh (RMS) had finally published an article he wrote about a month ago. “RMS’ article on Ubuntu has been published,” told me one person in the IRC channels. The substance was covered in much of the press/news sites while I was away down south for a couple of days, e.g. British press with this deceiving headline which the editor probably used to get hits rather than report correctly and accurately (a colleague let me know about this article). This was covered in a lot of US media and elsewhere in the world. The truth is, I approached Stallman after the EFF had published its piece and suggested addressing the subject, saying “spyware” rather than “malware” as early drafts called Ubuntu. Yes, he originally called it “malware”, not “spyware”, arguably a subset of “malware” which is a correction I suggested because I thought it would be gentler on Canonical. I am not against Canonical or Ubuntu, but this one development in their software (which I use) required some diplomacy to fix. One must be polite to bring about change. Did Canonical acknowledge the issue and fix it? Of course not, at least not yet. It was the same with Mono. They don’t want to admit being wrong. My guess is, such settings will be silently altered in future releases. Canonical will never attribute this to angry users, the EFF, FSF, or anyone else. They think they gain respect through control. Richard Stallman once said: “Idiots can be defeated but they never admit it.”

“My guess is, such settings will be silently altered in future releases.”Mr. OpenRespect Jono Bacon posted the most widely-cited reply to Stallman’s piece. Bacon tackles the argument but uses a personal angle, which is a spurious surplus. Canonical’s official response was more polite than that.

Muktware‘s Swapnil Bhartiya stressed that what RMS is doing is not much different from what the EFF was doing; I heard Jono’s unconvincing explanation as to why when the EFF said the same it got no criticism and personal addressals like Stallman got. Anyway, others in Muktware believe that both sides have a level of validity. The important thing is, people can see that there are two sides here and decide for themselves which one suits their ideology better.

Ryan in our IRC channel said that “Jono Bacon responded with a personal attack on Richard Stallman,” but the article he linked to did not quite support it. It wasn’t an “attack”, it was relatively polite, but still, why speak of the messengers at all and distract from the message? Here is a better summary:

Canonical’s Jono Bacon has already responded with his own blog post and accuses Stallman of spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) and that at times Stallman is shortsighted.

Sam Varghese covered this properly as well:

The founder of the Free Software Foundation, Richard M. Stallman, has slammed Ubuntu over its provision of Amazon search results for a regular search, prompting Canonical’s community manager, Jono Bacon, to hit back, accusing him of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).

The responses from Microsoft boosters at Ars Technica (even former Microsoft boosters of Ars Technica) did the usual thing, which is incitation against Stallman’s stance and views. Jon Gold, another FOSS hater and colleague of the aforementioned Microsoft booster, covered this too. They attack Ubuntu and Stallman at the same time. In some sense it is helpful to Microsoft, but this was intended by neither side. One writer called Stallman “the grand old man of open source software” — this sounds wrong for so many reasons!

Anyway, the important thing is, Ubuntu has a privacy problem. Canonical should acknowledge this and fix it, not stick to its guns for some profit from Amazon (which they make at the expense of Ubuntu users’ rights). Make Ubuntu the product, don’t make Ubuntu users the product.

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

3 Comments

  1. mcinsand said,

    December 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Gravatar

    Bacon’s use of ‘shortsighted’ bothers me. The distributions that keep it clean are thinking long term, whether it be patent traps, spyware, or other malware… and I do include the patent traps and spyware in my definition of malware, since they are the real shortsighted decisions. Even though Windows and OSX are the ultimate malware, sacrificing just because we’re not as bad as them is not the way to keep FOSS advancing as it is.

    I’m glad to hear you fessing up to using a ‘buntu, too. I am afraid that I use Ubuntu with KDE and E17 as my top desktops. It’s nice to be in good company, but I do need to make a push again to go to something a bit more pure.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The other option is, let the company you support or supported know your opinion (I did with Novell before boycotting them, as the deal with Microsoft was “irrevocable”, they then said), at the very least to keep it more in line with users’ demands. Ubuntu got rid of Mono after a lot of backlash; it also discarded Yahoo! after it had decided to use it (similarly to Amazon); there are other examples where PR issues and backlash kept Ubuntu in check. Skype is no longer promoted in Ubuntu.com, Unity can be easily replaced with GNOME…

  2. mcinsand said,

    December 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Gravatar

    GNOME?… nah. Too resource hungry. Although I’m still using KDE about half the time, the more I use Enlightenment, the less I use KDE.

    You could say that I let Novell know what I thought of their decision. I left a note on their webpage: ‘you filthy scum!’

What Else is New


  1. Boycotting Micro Focus International

    Microsoft's "Partner of the Year" is taking over the patron of SUSE and all of Novell's remains, except the patents (Microsoft has already grabbed those)



  2. Vesna Stilin's Remarks on Željko Topić: Part XI

    Vesna Stilin speaks about her confrontation with EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, who has criminal lawsuits against him in Croatia



  3. Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

    Links for the day



  4. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  5. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  6. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  7. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  9. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  10. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  11. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  12. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  13. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  15. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  16. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  17. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  18. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  19. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  20. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  21. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  22. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  23. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  24. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  25. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  26. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  27. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  28. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple



  29. Microsoft-Armed Patent Troll MOSAID (Now Conversant) Wants to Sweep up More Patents for Litigation

    Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now



  30. When Courts in the US Attack the Right to Reuse APIs

    Challenging the clueless ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the United States (very pro-software patents and anti-computer science), notable programmers write to the highest court


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