04.03.14

Ubuntu is Becoming More Privacy-respecting With Ubuntu One Shutdown

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Canonical is abandoning a Fog Computing service which was a bad idea all along and has become even worse in the age of NSA espionage

CANONICAL is on a roll. The company is improving its stance on privacy not just by cutting some Amazon links (Amazon works very closely with the CIA now) but also by fighting against ACPI (which NSA likes to exploit for back doors) and now dropping Fog Computing. Ubuntu servers can still be set up to power Fog Computing services, but users of Ubuntu will not be pushed to upload their personal files to remote servers, and that’s a fantastic development!

A few days ago FOSS Force appropriately wrote [1] that “Richard Stallman has been trying to warn us for years that when it come to “free” online services such as cloud hosted email accounts, we’re not customers. From the moment we signup we become inventory.”

More people should have listened to Stallman. He just got some much-deserved credit in [2] and Snowden’s leaks (for which Stallman is thankful) proved him correct rather than “paranoid”. Perhaps more people will stop using ‘customer’-hostile hosted E-mail services such as GMail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, which on the face of it does not even support Windows users anymore [3] (not so well anyway). It’s all just a datagrab and people should reject it. The business model is based on privacy infringement.

So, the latest news says that Ubuntu One will soon be history [4-16]. Users should immediately get their files out of there and we strongly urge nobody to use DropBox or other such ‘alternatives’ (don’t spread personal files to yet more servers). DropBox wasn’t just on the PRISM timeline; it also changed its terms and conditions recently, supposedly to rid itself from liability for snooping. We shared dozens of links about it earlier this year and last year. A lot of the corporate press did not pay attention or even cover these serious matters, which had mostly gone under the radar while people clicked “I agree” without reviewing the changes. We don’t need an “alternative” to Ubuntu One just as we don’t need an “alternative” to Facebook. These are fundamentally bad ideas. Media hype (propaganda by repetition) somehow convinced people — even some rational people — that Fog Computing (surveillance-friendly) is a good idea and those who reject it are “Luddites”. Now we know better and we have leaked documents to prove it.

Canonical is a British company, which means that it shares space with GCHQ (the NSA’s other big brother, which helps the NSA spy on US citizens and even Europeans). It’s nothing to do with terrorism! Data on Ubuntu One should never have been assumed “private” or “secure”. Based on one of Snowden’s most recent leaks, the NSA systematically goes through files of sysadmins (news links were posted here last month), looking to harvest their passwords which they sometimes store outside work (in plain text) in order to crack networks in many countries. It’s about espionage. Many Ubuntu users are technical people who are also sysadmins, so hopefully they never got lured into Ubuntu One.

Store locally, encrypt, use only Free software, and avoid all blobs (including drivers) where possible. That’s the only way to stay secure these days. If you are a sysadmin, then you are already an “enemy” because in the NSA’s mind you help ‘guard’ the “Bad Guys” (people like Merkel) on your network.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. ATMs Might Go Linux, MS DOS Source Released & More…

    Remember, Richard Stallman has been trying to warn us for years that when it come to “free” online services such as cloud hosted email accounts, we’re not customers. From the moment we signup we become inventory.

  2. Widows XP DOA on Apr 8th: FREE THIS ORPHAN !!!!

    Richard Stallman is the guru of computing freedom –and a great source. He started the “hack” movement as an outsider inside MIT during the Vietnam protesting era, and founded both the GNU software movement and the Free S/W Foundation.

  3. The Hotmail Runaround

    People who complain that “there’s no tech support for Linux” should discover that there’s even less support for Microsoft products.

  4. Shutting down Ubuntu One file services
  5. Canonical kills Ubuntu One cloud file storage service
  6. Canonical to close Ubuntu One file services, says competing in ‘free storage wars’ was unsustainable
  7. Canonical shutters Ubuntu One cloud services
  8. Canonical: we can’t afford to keep Ubuntu One
  9. Canonical Shuts Down Cloud Storage Service Ubuntu One
  10. Canonical admits failure — shuttering Ubuntu One cloud services
  11. Canonical closes down Ubuntu One cloud file services
  12. Canonical to close Ubuntu One cloud-storage service
  13. Canonical Shutters Ubuntu One
  14. Canonical shutting down Ubuntu One file services
  15. Canonical to Shut Down Ubuntu One, Start Saving Your Data Now
  16. Ubuntu to shut down Dropbox competitor Ubuntu One as storage wars heat up

    Aside from being a distraction, Canonical says the service is being shut down because “free storage wars aren’t a sustainable place for us to be, particularly with other services now regularly offering 25GB – 50GB free storage.” Interestingly, this departure also marks Canonical’s departure from music streaming services; One offered a music streaming feature for songs stored on the service.

Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop (or Laptop)

Posted in GNU/Linux at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More adoptions of Chromebooks and new state-wide migrations to GNU/Linux show a trend which many have predicted for 2014

ACCORDING to new numbers from ABI Research [1,2], Chromebooks (running GNU/Linux) are really taking off as companies like Samsung [3] (Korea), Asus [4] (Taiwan) and Acer [5] (Taiwan) really ride the wave and abandon a history of Windows exclusivity on laptops. Robert Pogson calls Chromebooks the “New Thin Client” [6] because they rely on remotely-hosted services (and to a lesser degree remotely-hosted storage as well). Muktware says that Chromebooks prove “you don’t need Windows any more” [7] and now that Windows XP is being abandoned by Microsoft it is probably time to move on and leap towards freedom. Another state in India has reportedly just decided to dump Windows for GNU/Linux [8,9,10].

Citing sales of Chromebook, one editor at IDG chose the silly headline “Will 2019 be the year of the Linux desktop?”

That’s nonsense. GNU/Linux on the desktops (or laptops) has already hit key milestones and it may soon become a dominant force, even within a year or less. Chromebooks themselves run GNU/Linux, but it’s not just them that count. China is reportedly moving to GNU/Linux as well.

A lot of people have been recommending Mint as a substitute for Windows XP as of late [11-13] and they may be right, based on familiarity arguments [14].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. ABI Research states Chromebook shipments reach 2.1 million for 2013

    In AB Research’s latest study of ultrabooks and netbooks, which is where the company places Chromebooks, it found that “An estimated 2.1 million Chromebooks shipped in 2013 with nearly 89 percent of total shipments reaching North America. As Chromebook shipments expand globally, ABI Research forecasts an increase of annual growth rate to 28 percent and reach 11 million shipments in 2019.”

  2. Huge Chromebook sales growth. Will 2019 be the year of the Linux desktop?
  3. Samsung’s Higher End Models Signal More Focus on Chromebooks

    There has been significant news from Samsung on the Chromebook front recently, and some observers are wondering if the company is going to concentrate on Chromebooks in an exclusive way. The company introduced the Chromebook 2 earlier this month. It has a faux leather back and comes in two sizes — an 11.6-inch and a 13.3-inch model. The 13.3-inch model has a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. Samsung’s existing Chromebooks have been very popular and the Chromebook 2 is also going to make its debut in the U.K. shortly.

  4. Review: Asus crafts a tiny $179 Chromebox out of cheap, low-power parts

    We like mini desktops around these parts, but one thing that makes them less than ideal for every use case is that their price tag usually isn’t very mini. By the time you buy something like Intel’s NUC and stuff it full of all the parts it needs, you’ll end up spending somewhere in between $400 and $700, depending on the kit, parts, and operating system you decide to use.

  5. This Acer Chromebook had me at hello

    I have to admit that I didn’t expect much from a $300 touch-screen Chromebook, but from the second I pulled the Acer C720P out of the box I was comfortable with it.

  6. Chromebooks: The New Thin CLient?

    I have long been an advocate of GNU/Linux thin clients for efficient IT.“Her complaints have come down to zero ever since she switched to Chromebooks. So something is working right for her. So what does she do? Most of her computing is online. She checks her Facebook, all the time. She video chats with friends, she works on her office documents and spreadsheets. She watches Netflix and plays some games. She listens to music and does almost everything else that most of us do these days.

    If these are also the things that you do, then you are a Chromebook user.” The difficulty of setting up the terminal server(s) has held that technology up a bit and there is a bit of difficulty getting multimedia to work. Then along came the Chromebook. The Chromebook does it all for the ordinary user and just setting up an account with Google does the rest.

  7. What are Chromebooks? And why you don’t need Windows any more

    The central part of Chromebook is the operating system that powers it. Hardware wise, it’s the same hardware that runs Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s Mac. It’s the OS which separates it from the rest. Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel, the same kernel which is being used by Android, Amazon Kindle, B&N’s Nook. Linux powers stock exchanges, NASA’s missions and a lot of other things that you may not have imagined. More or less Linux is like the plastic of the modern world – it’s everywhere. Before we go into details, let’s quickly explain what is a kernel as people get scared the moment they hear the world Linux.

  8. India moving to GNU/Linux as XP support runs out
  9. Indian state drops Windows, switches to Linux

    Their reasoning is said to be that the hardware updates required to run Windows 8 would be too expensive to take place on a large scale. Of course, Microsoft had been expecting this recently, and have been working on an upgrade that would reduce the system requirements. Still, this doesn’t make up for all of the trouble caused by the change of the interface.

  10. Tamil Nadu State of India Pushes GNU/Linux To Replace XP
  11. How to Move On After Windows XP Without Giving Up Your PC

    If you’re fed up with Windows entirely, or you don’t feel like spending money on a new Windows license, now might be a great time to consider switching to Linux. There are a number of distributions that are new-user friendly, and if you’re worried that living in the Linux world means you’re doomed to memorizing terminal commands and dealing with unhelpful communities when troubleshooting, don’t be. Finding Linux help is easy these days, and many of the communities around some of the more newbie-friendly distributions are rather welcoming. Best of all, Linux is free, and you can’t beat that.

  12. Is Linux Mint the best distro to replace Windows XP?

    Windows XP users are in a tough situation as that operating system draws close to its end of life. But there are many alternatives to Windows XP, and ZDNet thinks that Linux Mint might a very good one indeed.

  13. Why Linux Mint is a worthwhile Windows XP replacement

    First, Mint’s Cinnamon interface can be set to look and act a lot like XP. Yes, you’ll have a learning curve, but it’s nothing like the one you’ll face if you move to Windows 8 or Mac OS.

  14. Windows XP and Linux Mint: Brothers at the interface (Gallery)

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