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10.31.13

Disregard For Users’ Privacy Still Haunts Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 5:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mark Shuttleworth
Photo from markshuttleworth.com

Summary: A “Big Brother Award” is being awarded to Mark Shuttleworth, who continues to ignore criticism from a lot of Ubuntu users and public interest groups

A few days ago Muktware said that Canonical’s and Ubuntu’s Mark Shuttleworth had won Austria’s Big Brother Award [1] for liaising with strong CIA partner Amazon (CIA’s surveillance/data-mining platform is being implemented by Amazon). For those who have not been paying attention, the EFF and FSF both denounced Canonical’s deal with Amazon — a deal which help transmit search terms from local search to Amazon and back (that’s when Amazon knows the identity of the searcher). This behaviour is still enabled by default, even in Ubuntu 13.10 [2], so we know that Canonical actively ignores the problem. Canonical employees are trying to challenge the messenger, or the author of the above article (and failing as evidence points against them). To me, personally, this is just a sign of Canonical’s arrogance. They could really use some more competition on the desktop and they deserve to have stronger competition at this stage. Mark Shuttleworth collectively called critics of this malicious features “trolls” and more recently he labeled (as a joke) those who criticise his other decisions as the “Open Source Tea Party”. That’s just insulting, it is not so funny and above all it is divisive (comparing people you do not agree with to zealous GOP backers). Putting aside new derivatives of Ubuntu [3-5], which mostly eliminate the spyware-like behaviour (including the latest Kubuntu that looks decent), there are options such as these freedom-respecting distributions.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Ubuntu’s Mark Shuttleworth wins Austria’s Big Brother Award

    Austria’s Big Brother Awards has picked Ubuntu’s founder Mark Shuttleworth for the coveted Big Brother Award for their online extension to local searches.

    Ubuntu has been criticized by Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation and many other concerned organizations for adding a new feature in Ubuntu’s Dash which sends all search queries to Canonical servers located in the UK and the US.

  2. Ubuntu 13.10 review: The Linux OS of the future remains a year away
  3. Edubuntu 13.10

    Ubuntu comes in many flavors, and it’s designed for very different kinds of users. Edubuntu 13.10 is an Ubuntu spin for educators. It comes preloaded with quite a selection of education-related applications including some for science and engineering.

  4. Lubuntu 13.10
  5. Ubuntu GNOME 13.10
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