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

11.23.13

The Linux Mint Security Controversy Taken Out of Proportions, Distracting From Real Controversies

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 2:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clement Lefebvre
Photo from linuxmint.com

Summary: A so-called accusation (made in a personal blog) causes a media storm which neither Clement Lefebvre nor Canonical seem to be happy about

ONE of the best GNU/Linux distros (distributions of GNU, Linux, and desktop environments, complete with general-purpose applications), based on relative measures of popularity at least, is Linux Mint. It is so popular that in DistroWatch it beats Ubuntu sometimes. Canonical, which is in the centre of several controversies (over trademarks, privacy, and request for ‘licensing’ of binary packages) must realise that alternatives like Linux Mint can outgrow Ubuntu. There is a screenshots tour of Linux Mint 16 [1] and the release is imminent (now in RC [2-5]).

“Neither side was particularly upset over the original remarks, so to frame it otherwise would be somewhat dishonest.”Some people want us to believe that Canonical uses FUD to discourage exploration of Mint as an alternative to Ubuntu (which Mint is a derivative of). Those people, however, base their analysis on the words of just one developer [6] whose words are rebutted by the Mint founder [7] (he is also unhappy about the source of the drama, namely Muktware [8,9], which led to more such coverage [10,11,12]). In trying to judge this, the whole scenario was a demonstration of media gone somewhat rogue, hostile where opportunism lies.

We have been watching this controversy closely for a number of days and it seems like sensationalist authors did a disservice and created an unnecessary rift. Neither side was particularly upset over the original remarks, so to frame it otherwise would be somewhat dishonest. It is very different from what happened recently when it comes to trademarks. Canonical and Shuttleworth (personally) were at fault and the EFF points this out in some follow-ups [13,14,15]. It is important to keep a sober balance and only criticise Canonical (Ubuntu steward) where the company (as a matter of company-wise policy) does something unethical. Presumption of guilt only leads to noise and distraction from the real issues.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Mint 16 Petra Cinnamon Desktop screenshot preview

    Linux Mint 16, code-named Petra, will be the next stable edition of Linux Mint, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu Desktop. It could be released sometime this month or early next month (December).

    This distribution’s release track record suggests that Linux Mint 16 will be released less than two weeks from today. And when that happens, it will be the first stable edition of Linux Mint with Cinnamon 2.0 desktop pre-installed.

  2. Linux Mint 16 release candidate available for download

    Today in Open Source: Download the release candidate of Linux Mint 16. Plus: Will preloads help Linux? And the top five Linux games

  3. Linux Mint 16 RC released
  4. Linux Mint 16 RC Is Out With Cinnamon, MATE Desktops

    The release candidate version is now out for Linux Mint 16 ‘Petra’ with MATE and Cinnamon 2.0 desktop flavors.

    It’s getting close to another six-month update for the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint and the big feature this time around is the Cinnamon 2.0 desktop.

  5. Linux Mint 16 RC Brings Cinnamon 2.0 and MATE 1.6

    Clement Lefebvre had the pleasure of announcing a few hours ago, November 15, 2013, that the Release Candidate version of both the Cinnamon and MATE editions of the upcoming Linux Mint 16 operating systems are now available for download, and testing, from mirrors worldwide.

  6. Ubuntu dev, media slammed over ‘security’ comment

    Among these outlets were the OMGUbuntu and Muktware sites, both of which only deal with Linux and FOSS stories. In that context, it was even more surprising that they carried such reports.

    Muktware editor Swapnil Bhartiya was asked whether reporter Monika Bhati, the person who filed the story quoting Grawert and contributing to the hysteria, was a Linux user and also whether she had taken a look at the Mint update utility before writing.

    His response: “She is a resident journalist and uses Windows/Linux. We got Robin Jacobs to dive into the git pages and comments in LM to see how updates are labelled.”

    Jacobs also wrote a story which, in effect, contradicted Bhati’s story – and both stories appeared within 4½ hours of each other on November 18.

    The editor of OMGUbuntu, which contributed to the same idea being spread, was asked similar questions to those put to Muktware.

  7. Answering controversy: Stability vs Security is something you configure
  8. Linux Mint falsely accused of being “insecure”
  9. Canonical developer criticizes Linux Mint’s security, called ‘a vulnerable system’

    Ubuntu developer Oliver Grawert does not prefer to do online banking with Linux Mint. The reason being its unsecure handling of packaging upgrades that could leave the system vulnerable to attacks.

  10. Canonical Developer Criticizes Linux Mint’s Security
  11. Does Linux Mint need better security?

    There have been disturbing reports in the media about Linux Mint having security problems. Is this something to worry about or has it been wildly overblown by the press?

  12. Lead Ubuntu Developer Claims Linux Mint is an Unsecure Distro – Is It?
  13. EFF responds: Mark Shuttleworth is still wrong”

    Though Lee was not required, by the law, to remove the logo he removed it.

  14. Trademark Law Does Not Require Companies To Tirelessly Censor the Internet

    Over the past few days, EFF and one of our staff technologists, the talented Micah Lee, have had an illuminating back and forth with Canonical Ltd over the use of the Ubuntu mark. While we don’t believe that Canonical has acted with malice or intent to censor, its silly invocation of trademark law is disturbing. After all, not everyone has easy recourse to lawyers and the ability to push back.

    That matters, because Canonical’s actions reflect a much bigger problem: a pervasive and unfounded belief that if you don’t police every unauthorized use of a trademark you are in danger of losing it. We hope that some clarity on this point might help companies step back from wasteful and censorious trademark enforcement.

    First, some background. This particular story begins in 2012, when Canonical made the disappointing and widely criticized decision to integrate Amazon results into searches conducted through Ubuntu’s desktop dash (this meant that a user searching for one of her own files would receive results from Amazon). At the time, we argued that this default setting raised significant privacy concerns. A few weeks ago, Micah published a web site—at https://fixubuntu.com—that provided users with code to disable this privacy-invasive “feature.”

  15. Electronic Frontier Foundation Goes After Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization devoted to the protection of freedom in the open source world, has criticized Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth.

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 26/4/2017: SMPlayer 17.4.2, Libreboot Wants to Rejoin GNU

    Links for the day



  2. PatentShield is Not the Solution and It Won't Protect Google/Android From Patent Trolls Like Microsoft's

    A new initiative called "PatentShield" is launched, but it's yet another one of those many initiatives (Peer-to-Patent and the likes of it, LOT Network, OIN, PAX etc.) that serve to distract from the real and much simpler solutions



  3. Patent Quality Crisis and Unprecedented Trouble at the European Patent Office (EPO) Negatively Affect Legitimate Companies in the US As Well

    The granting en masse of questionable patents by the EPO (patent maximalism) is becoming a liability and growing risk to companies which operate not only in Europe but also elsewhere



  4. Blog 'Takeovers' by Bristows and Then Censorship: Now This Firm Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Then Deletes Comments That Point Out the Errors

    Not only are Bristows employees grabbing the mic in various high-profile IP blogs for the purpose of UPC promotion (by distortion of facts); they also actively suppress critics of the UPC



  5. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  6. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  7. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  8. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  9. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  10. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  11. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  12. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  13. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  14. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  15. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  16. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  17. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  18. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)



  19. Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

    Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments



  20. Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

    Links for the day



  21. At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

    The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive



  22. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  23. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International



  24. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC



  25. EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

    Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)



  26. Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Bristows-Run IP Kat Continues to Spread Lies to Promote the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Advance the EPO Management's Agenda

    An eclectic response to some of the misleading if not villainous responses to the UPC's death knell in the UK, as well as other noteworthy observations about think tanks and misinformation whose purpose is to warp the patent system so that it serves law firms, for the most part at the expense of science and technology



  28. Links 20/4/2017: Tor Browser 6.5.2, PacketFence 7.0, New Firefox and Chrome

    Links for the day



  29. Patents on Business Methods and Software Are Collapsing, But the Patent Microcosm is Working Hard to Change That

    The never-ending battle over patent law, where those who are in the business of patents push for endless patenting, is still ongoing and resistance/opposition is needed from those who actually produce things (other than litigation) or else they will be perpetually taxed by parasites



  30. IAM, the Patent Trolls' Voice, is Trying to Deny There is a Growing Trolling Problem in Europe

    IAM Media (the EPO's and trolls' mouthpiece) continues a rather disturbing pattern of propaganda dressed up as "news", promoting the agenda of parasites who drain the economy by extortion of legitimate (producing) companies


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