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Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me 529

spacenet writes "As a response to RMS speaking out against Ubuntu about its privacy-violating integrated Amazon search results, which he considers to be spyware, Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has addressed RMS's statements. In his reply, Jono claims that Stallman's views on privacy do not align with Canonical's, that some of his statements are worded in order to 'generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Ubuntu' and that 'it just seems a bit childish to me.' The comments on the post itself are well worth a read."
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Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me

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  • Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @05:58PM (#42236689) Homepage Journal

    I think we can agree that RMS can be childish. I was in the room when he broke into the room yelling at OSCON's Openoffice announcement. That's the way he is.

    Even though I don't and never will agree with him 100% (that's worship) I am happy he's there, especially when there are thousands of people on the other side in IT yelling through coporate bullhorns constantly. His big mouth is a counterweight. If the braindead microsoft zombies that control IT in corporate america have heard of anyone's views it is probably his. I am not sure if Ubuntu is trying to become yet another Open Source company that is canibalized and eaten from inside by today's vile corporate belief system, but at least RMS let us know it COULD happen...

    • Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rob Simpson ( 533360 ) * on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:20PM (#42236879)
      Is RMS wrong? It doesn't sound like it. I don't care if he's childish.
      • RMS is right (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:32PM (#42237395) Homepage Journal
        Ubuntu is ultimately there for Canonical's profit. We thought we could work with folks like that, but obviously we were too optimistic. The goals of the Free Software community are important, and will only be achieved if people like you devote your free time to making the non-profits work as the direct path to users.
        • by jmv ( 93421 )

          I think overall for-profit companies have made a huge contribution to the Free Software community. While Canonical has probably contributed less than many others, I still still their total contribution as positive. Of course I still disagree when their new Ubuntu spyware and even before that I had already decided to stop using it for unrelated reasons (Unity and other interface-related decisions). In any community, there will be individuals and companies that do the wrong thing and I don't see anything spec

        • Re:RMS is right (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:48AM (#42240207) Journal

          Do you get paid Mr Perens? if so I'd say you're being a bit of a hypocrite, as the company that pays you isn't just handing you money because you smell nice ya know, its because they intend to profit from your labor. Without looking up what you've been up to lately I'll take a wild guess and say you or your employer is following one of the 3 "pre-approved" methods listed below, yes? which if correct proves what I've been saying for years, that Linux has no place on a desktop since desktops don't fit into one of the 3 "blessed" business models.

          Mark Shuttleworth invested millions into canonical and like anybody else who invests a large sum he would at least like to break even, and considering the fact that Linux was virtually unknown outside the server room before Canonical came along and started polishing it up and trying to fix the "Its too complicated" image problem i'd say at the very least he deserves to make a few bucks.

          But all of this ranting and hatred directed at Canonical has proven ONE thing, it has proven that what the corps said were correct and GPL should be avoided like an STD unless you are a non profit or intending to survive with one of the "pre-approved" FOSS methods of which there are only 3, software contracts, selling hardware, and tin cup begging. After all Jobs used BSD and built an empire, Shuttleworth used Linux and is getting spat upon for trying to keep the lights on. if I were a new business starting out i know what lesson I'd take away from that, that I wouldn't allow a single line of code written for me or used by me be GPL, period.

      • If you look at it in the right, he's practically admitting that it's such a big problem that even a child can see it.
      • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Funny)

        by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:48PM (#42238667) Journal

        If the biggest fool in the world goes out at noon and says the sun is shinning, it doesn't make it dark.

      • Exactly, indeed. Calling someone names is not an argument. (Nor is it all that unchildish.)

        It's also flat-out false to say RMS is spreading fear, uncertainty, or doubt. Nowhere does he dangle dark but unnamed consequences for using Ubuntu. And there's no uncertainty or doubt whatsoever in his rejection of spyware and therefore of Ubuntu.
    • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:30PM (#42236977)

      His big mouth is a counterweight.

      No, his big mouth is a liability for the open-source community. He is not a passionate but outspoken advocate of a movement; he is a single-minded, uncompromising advocate for his own opinions at the expense of everyone else's. Either you agree with him, or you are wrong.

      Have you ever encountered one of the Free Software Foundation's articles about a particular software topic, like copyright or patents or the advantages of free software? Ever notice that, typically, at least 80% of the citations in the article are to other articles by Richard Stallman? Like this one? [] The only opinion Richard Stallman really recognizes as objective or authoritative is his own earlier opinion.

      • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:04PM (#42237589) Homepage

        No, his big mouth is a liability for the open-source community.

        He's not part of the open-source community. In fact, "open source" was created specifically for their members to distance themselves from GNU/FSF and rms.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Wrong, his opinion is his opinion, something everyone is entitled to. Somehow there is a mass media driven distortion that one people have sufficient public attention they can be targeted people and their opinions can be forced to change to conform with selected desires of vocal groups. Those vocal groups can be real or just marketing driven illusions.

        Certainly Richard Matthew Stallman does challenge most copyright and patent controlled forms of software and would prefer a completely free market. That is

    • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:38PM (#42237057)

      Without corporate involvement, Linux wouldn't be anywhere near what it is today.

      OpenOffice and its derivatives (basically the de-facto office suites of linux) itself was born out of corporate interests.

      The GPL had the effect (unintended? I don't know as the philosophy of many developers involved in GPL projects seems to vary) of being that the software provides a service, and we don't (necessarily) profit from distributing the software itself, but rather profit from selling the services that it provides, or profit from selling services that provide for its users. Redistributing changes for others to use therefore does not harm your bottom line.

      Linux itself was written by Linus Torvalds, not RMS. And as far as I'm aware, other than GCC the majority of corporate distribution of linux to end users doesn't use GNUtils very much (e.g. android, tivo, soho routers, and many others.) Even if they did, they could always just take the BSD implementations which in nearly all cases are every bit as good.

      If RMS takes issue with that, he can go promote Hurd (aka Turd) to the world, which has little if any corporate involvement, and likewise is back in the stone age by comparison.

      • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:05PM (#42237597)

        The problem isn't corporate involvement. The problem is when corporate involvement leads down the path we're seeing Canonical take with Ubuntu, where they start shoving ads in your face.

        It fundamentally disrespects the user as it becomes apparent that you've given up on making them the customer and decided to sell them like livestock. It's why Facebook is so reviled on Slashdot, and why I can't stand most handset manufacturers (they build for the carriers and not the people who actually use the devices.)

      • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:11PM (#42237645)
        the GPL is what made GNU/Linux a community, instead of a forgotten footnote.

        the GPL and GPL like licenses are what make the Open Source business model viable, as any potential competition has to share their improvements on your code with you. If it where BSD, you'd have something like OS X, where one company would make a locked down version, and no one else would be able to make their own version, and contributing your code in a community would not be viable, because you'd only help your competition, who'd be under no obligation to help you back.

        The GPL actually protects profits of companies.

        As for GNU. Its everywhere. Despite being ignored by most consumer goods, its present everywhere on the business side.

        RHEL and SLES running GNU, as does zLinux, and the other high end commericial distros.

        IBM uses GNU with its AIX workstations

        HP ports GNU to HP/UX

        Apple OS X runs BASH as its default shell, as its available for a number of platforms.
        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          "If it where BSD, you'd have something like OS X, where one company would make a locked down version, and no one else would be able to make their own version, and contributing your code in a community would not be viable, because you'd only help your competition, who'd be under no obligation to help you back."

          Little problem - the bits in OS X that haven't been contributed back are the bits Apple (or NeXt) wrote themselves, like Aqua (which is probably what you're thinking of). The improvements to open sour

      • Linux owes EVERYTHING to the heart, idealism and intellect of free men choosing to cooperate. Yes, corporations make valuable contributions, but that is because they cannot deny the value of what the free software movement has created. If the corporations had had their way, there never would have been a linux in anything like its present form and spirit, and CERTAINLY nothing remotely like the triumph of Gnu.

        Not sure what you are trying to do minimizing Gnu. If all linux owed to Gnu was gcc, then Gnu would

    • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:45PM (#42237095)

      but at least RMS let us know it COULD happen...

      He could have a little class though doing it. Like bursting in and yelling "TROLL! In the dungeon! ... Thought you'd want to know," and then collapsing on the floor. Busting in on someone else's announcement and unleashing a string of profanities and ranting isn't classy -- it's how drunk people act. Is that really who we want as the poster child for the open source movement? A guy who looks like he hasn't shaved or showered in ages and acts piss drunk in public?

    • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:19PM (#42237299) Homepage

      Standard PR flak technique #137: When confronted by undeniable evidence of wrongdoing, attack the person or organization providing the evidence with accusations that can't be disproven. Words commonly used for this are "extremist", "conspiracy theorist", "silly", or "misguided".

  • Interesting.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @05:58PM (#42236695) Homepage Journal

    Now I'm being managed.... What another good linux distro? Anyone?

    • Good grief... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) *

      Now I'm being managed.... What another good linux distro? Anyone?

      It is so trivial to disable (and remove) this "feature" that bitching about it is almost meaningless and indeed borderlines on childishness.

      In reality, it is not much different that an ad-supported application (such as Opera had at one time), except with those, you didn't have the freedom to permanently remove the ad without paying up - which is not the case here.

      And of course, no one is forcing anyone to download and install Ubuntu, unless of course you are interested in a fairly easy to install distro tha

      • Re:Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:28PM (#42236963)

        It is so trivial to disable (and remove) this "feature" that bitching about it is almost meaningless and indeed borderlines on childishness.

        Yes, for those of us aware of the issue and are a little more technically savvy . . . but . . .

        [Ubuntu is] a fairly easy to install distro that works out of the box with most modern equipment - which is a great thing for the less technically savvy.

        (Last emphasis in quote is mine.) A less technically savvy person could google "remove amazon search dash" and probably figure out how to disable it, but he'd first need to know about it.

      • Re:Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:34PM (#42237025)

        In reality, it is not much different that an ad-supported application (such as Opera had at one time), except with those, you didn't have the freedom to permanently remove the ad without paying up - which is not the case here.

        No, this is spyware, because it is sending information about user activity to the net in settings where users might not expect it. The closest you get in Opera and the likes is search suggestions, which can send your half-typed URLs to Google, but at least then you pretty much expect the data to end up on the net.

        no one is forcing anyone to download and install Ubuntu

        Exactly. We are free to tell them to go fuck themselves, and we should. It's not like their users are getting anything in return for this. It's pretty clear that Ubuntu is just going to keep adding abuse upon their users whether it be for monetization or politics. I'd certainly never direct the "less technically savvy" to a distro that keeps fucking up the sound and the user interface.

        Switch to a distro that respects you.

      • Re:Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hazah ( 807503 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:37PM (#42237051)
        You should not have to disable anything. On the contrary, this "feature" should be deliberatly enabled by the user. No one is arguing over the triviality of how to disable it. You said it yourself, this is a distribution that works out of the box. It stands to reason that the majority of its users do not understand the issue nor its implications. Therefore it's plausible that they will not be able to recognize the real need to disable this "feature". This put's Ubuntu against the spirit of the entire community within which they've setup shop. No one here is really arguing that Ubuntu should not be free to operate as they see fit to make a profit, however, they are now stepping on the toes of the giants on which they are shouldered. A completely dickhead attitude that isn't going to lend them any credit for the spirit of freedom.
      • Re:Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:00PM (#42237171) Journal

        In short, this is a non-issue and RMS is (as expected) over-reacting to something that doesn't fit into his perfect Socialist software society.

        You know, RMS has been vindicated so many times, I am frankly surprised there still are people trying to put him down, especially with the kind of labeling ("perfect Socialist software society") that makes you look like a douche.

      • It is not a big issue itself, it's a big signal though: those who sell user data without a fricking "I agree" dialog are not very trustworthy. I had already lost Canonical when they decided a 50 meg tomboy app was to stay in an installation cd and gimp had to go.

        This is not spreading FUD, this is being in FUD and telling others.

        The ease of solving the problem posed by Canonical choices is a BIG advertisement to FOSS philosophy. Ultimately the user is free. Free to hop to another distro without losing docume

      • Yeah, well, having to go out of your way to disable stuff is great motivation to move to another distro that actually respects its users.

    • Re:Interesting.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:24PM (#42236917)
      Try Mint. You will never go back to Ubuntu.
    • Re:Interesting.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by chronokitsune3233 ( 2170390 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:55PM (#42237139)

      Debian isn't too bad, and it's what Ubuntu is based upon, though it's not as "bleeding-edge" while still being stable. Others might suggest Fedora, Arch or Slackware if you want that, and I've heard good things about Sabayon as well, especially in the eye candy department, though it has been a few years.

      In all honesty, I keep going back to Debian. My needs aren't too difficult to satisfy, and I can compile something myself if I really need to. I'd recommend using virtual machines to test them first. Why overwrite a perfectly good installation just to find you don't like something?

    • Re:Interesting.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:04PM (#42237195) Journal

      What another good linux distro?

      When Ubuntu decided to poop on their users with Unity, there was an exodus of biblical proportions to Linux Mint. That's why Mint is now the #1 distro.

      And thanks to Ubuntu's newest decisions, the Mint userbase is destined to grow even further.

      • When Ubuntu decided to poop on their users with Unity, there was an exodus of biblical proportions to Linux Mint. That's why Mint is now the #1 distro.

        IMHO, if they don't like Unity, it should have been an "exodus" to Kubuntu...
        If you haven't tried it, please do. It's beautiful.


        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          Or Xubuntu.

      • What another good linux distro?

        When Ubuntu decided to poop on their users with Unity, there was an exodus of biblical proportions to Linux Mint. That's why Mint is now the #1 distro.

        And thanks to Ubuntu's newest decisions, the Mint userbase is destined to grow even further.

        At least according to distrowatch's bogus page hit counter. However, if you look at the number of forum users, forum posts, thrid party support, or any number of other metrics, it is hard to substantiate that Mint is #1. I don't say this to disparage Mint, they do a great job, but #1? hardly.

  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:04PM (#42236737) Homepage
    Richard is an academic. He doesn't live in the real world and it doesn't help that he is probably a little looney. That said, he can be right on a lot of points and even if he's wrong if he opens up a discussion then you can still say he's done his bit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      He doesn't live in the real world and it doesn't help that he is probably a little looney.

      That's a bigger problem than most people want to admit. Very often, an open source project doesn't fail because it's technically inferior to other products, but because of ideological differences between developers. Take the *BSD community: It's dying right now because it split off into four major variants due to political in-fighting. The reason why Linux and Apache have succeeded isn't just technical superiority, but because those groups kept political infighting to a managable level. That's the biggest p

      • by orasio ( 188021 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:45PM (#42237091) Homepage

        Well, that's your point of view.
        What I see is that the GPL is one of the most used software licenses in the world, and it represents exacly his idea.
        RMS has had great, awesome partial successes. His philosophy is shared by a lot of people, in practice, and his work has been key to us having real, viable, modern, free software platforms today. Without his work particularly and him been so "political", I don't think we could have gone this far.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Richard is an academic.

      RMS is a religion.

      Defines ethics for people to follow? Check.

      Loves to shove his views down other people's throats? Check.

      Ostracizes anyone who don't follow his strict views? Check.

      Has a confusing mix of greater-good that helps people tolerate his batshit-crazy? Check.

      Has an old tome with several revisions and unfortunate interpretations, which many people praise without actually understanding it? Check.

      • Last did anything extraordinary a few thousand years ago, but his followers still keep talking about it as if it was the pinnacle of human development? Erm... check.

        I think this is the thing that bugs me more than anything else about RMS and the people who talk about how far Free Software has got us and how dangerous proprietary software is. Those of us who develop proprietary software are bringing many benefits to many people, despite all the potential pitfalls, and amazingly many of our users actually lik

  • Busted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:07PM (#42236757)

    Busted by RMS for adding spyware to Linux, which is not in doubt. Cue the defiant spin. Bad strategy. Ubuntu guys should talk less about their Apple envy and more about doing the right thing.

    • Re:Busted (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:15PM (#42236827)

      I think that is exactly their problem. As I posted in the other related story here, they seem to be hoping that they can make an OS with an 'oooooh, shiny' factors that makes people drop their principles. Asking their users for money is a much better approach than defaulting to sending search results to Amazon, and I think they'd get more money long term. By all means, have one of the 'lenses' installable so that people can do Amazon searches if they want, but having it as a default is not going to make very many people happy.

    • The truth is Ubuntu will not continue to exist unless they can make money. This isn't the first strategy they've tried.

      As much as I despise the "feature," I'd rather have to disable some settings when I install than to not have Ubuntu (and its derivatives.)

    • Too right.,. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bdwoolman ( 561635 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:16PM (#42237683) Homepage

      Ubuntu is a bastard child. It should be lost on no one that the money Mr Shuttleworth has put into it is an investment, not a donation. Yet libre software licensing is not structured primarily to make money, it is structured to promote knowledge, and science. Attempting to monetize Debian (excuse me 'Ubuntu') is like trying to milk a Gorilla. Possible, but not pretty. Or easy. And nearly impossible to do and keep your hands clean.

      'Lighten up', you say. But that is the whole point. Most of us do have compromising minds. Yes, I confess, I loaded the Nvidia binary blob. It is easy and natural for me to lighten up. Believe me I can live with myself.

      But... If RMS had a compromising mind there would not be a vibrant open source universe, or at least not the one we have. (Although there would no doubt still be some sort of fuzzy academic open computing something.) The day he could not get those specs to write his modified printer driver is the day he saw -- in a flash -- the science of computing being swallowed by business. And boy was he right. He could have cashed in like so many others. Or shrugged it off like I would. But he put his obsessive uncompromising Asbergerish hairy soiled foot down and fought to create an intellectual space for computing that was free from the kind of proprietary sandboxing that hobbles progress in every field (But which makes sh*tloads of money -- Not a bad thing either). Very few people would fight as hard as RMS has to NOT make money. Amazingly many others saw the utility and necessity of what he was doing and joined him. So now, when a lab needs a specialized computing application they don't have to buy it. (They can of course.) They can build it.

      RMS is not being childish in regard to Ubuntu's recent play. He is just being RMS. Monetizing open source software by crippling it is like charging for slide rides on a public playground. It's wrong. (Even if you fix and wax the slide.) Buy an empty lot. Build your own slide. Sell all the rides you want.

  • by trollboy ( 46578 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:08PM (#42236763) Homepage

    When you say "just look at facebook" for a comparison of your privacy policies... you kinda prove RMS's point.

  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:10PM (#42236793) Journal

    Doesn't Amazon pay Canonical if people make purchases? (I might be wrong about this -- if I am, please correct me.)

    *If* Amazon does pay Canonical, and Bacon doesn't mention that in his post, I kind of feel like Bacon loses the argument. I mean, if they're getting paid, and he's making posts that say, "We're doing this only because we want you to have the best search experience," it seems a little disingenuous.

  • Goodbye, Ubuntu. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:18PM (#42236855)

    "If you can't get the message get the man" - Mel Gibson from an interview

    I like how, in the previous RMS post to Slashdot, people were attacking him, even pointing out some disgusting behavior in the first few posts. It makes me wonder how many shill accounts exist just for this purpose, for Linux and FOSS articles a lot of the time sock puppets are the first to post and are usually OT and/or trolls.

    The message is what matters, and in this matter I support what RMS has said.

    Most people of high intelligence are also a bit eccentric somewhere in their lives. It's when they're very smart but poor we call them crazy.

    âoeThe worst thing you can call someone is crazy, itâ(TM)s dismissive.â
    - Dave Chappelle from inside the actors studio

    Calling RMS crazy is a little bit like calling Hawking disgusting because he isn't sexually attractive to most and lacks something because of the way he delivers his speeches.

    More and more people are driven today to admire the rich, pretty looking, but stupid vs. the eccentric ones with the wisdom and intelligence. It's like high school all over again.

    IMO, Ubuntu is headed in the wrong direction. While they had or have money from Shuttleworth and/or others, they should buy up some companies selling proprietary software and liberate it by making it FOSS, in areas where Linux is weak, one example of something lacking is a good video editor, and I've tried them all, they all feel like shit and some crash often. There are many other proprietary programs of different function(s) which they could benefit from by buying and liberating. But instead they've gone the way of Unity and now this so-called spyware issue.

    Thankfully Distrowatch points us to many other choices, Mint being one of them, for those of us who have had enough of these changes in Ubuntu while feeling the developers, or those who micro manage them are out of touch.

    So goodbye, Ubuntu. I'll miss you. Maybe we'll see another rich individual put their money behind a distro and launch some real advertising in the media to awaken the sleeping Windows users.


    U.N. report reveals secret law enforcement techniques

            "Point 201: Mentions a new covert communications technique using software defined high frequency radio receivers routed through the computer creating no logs, using no central server and extremely difficult for law enforcement to intercept." [] []

  • by c0l0 ( 826165 ) * on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:26PM (#42236939) Homepage

    It's not that I would expect anything else from someone who is a "community manager" (FOSS' modern-day equivalent to the appendix, in my opinion), but this "personal blog entry" is, of course, a steaming turd. I don't see RMS spreading FUD about Ubuntu, not at all. In fact, he makes it quite clear what they get, in his opinion at least, wrong, and why he sees it that way - and he leaves nothing about that "in doubt" or, in one way or anther, vague. Discrediting this kind of honest and up-front criticism as FUD, whilst he himself is weasling around the true motives (turn desktop users into dollar bills for Canonical's pockets) for the Amazon integration with all that hey-everybody-let's-disregard-that-and-feel-good sidetracking that's going on in that posting really makes me nauseous. "Better user experience", "creating desirable products", yaddah yaddah - yeah, fine and dandy, but trying to sell us this (in my opionion pretty crazy) add-on, that submits all the text I enter - be it to start a new program or open a document I stored - to a web service the users absolutely don't control, as an improvement for the good of the general public is not only ridiculous, but also demeaning to the intelligence of everyone who they expect to fall for the kind of "argument" Jono Bacon is trying to make on his blog. It's the FOSS-equivalent to the toolbar, or Bonzy Buddy "form filling" browser-add on from days of yore, that Windows users get shoved down their collective throats if they miss unchecking a box in popular "freeware" installation wizards these days, and everyone with half a brain can see right through that.

  • by SplashMyBandit ( 1543257 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:33PM (#42237017)

    First they totally ignore user wishes by foisting Unity on previously happy Ubuntu users, with a "for your own good" attitude. Thank goodness there is Linux Mint is all I can say about the desktop nonsense.

    Now Ubuntu are integrating privacy-destroying searches. Then they have the temerity to criticize the guy who inspired the ecosystem they depend on (and profit from), when he points out that what is good for Canonical is not good for the privacy of their users.

    What a tragedy. Ubuntu's focus on ease of use was such a great leap forward for Linux usability. Now they've lost the plot and forgot about their constituency, instead trying to drive more and more revenue with things the user's don't actually want.

    It used to be, "In order for Microsoft to 'win', the customer must lose". You could extend that to "In order for Canonical to win, the customer must lose". You could then generalize that (as RMS does) to "In order for $COMPANY to win, the customer must lose". There are still some companies around that actually care about their employees and users (not just paying lip service to it), but that number is clearly decreasing. RMS is right to call them out for ignoring user desire for privacy (privacy should be the default, with effort to opt-in).

    Jono has what seems a reasonable post. He never addresses RMS' assertion not that searches go to Amazon, but that your files and folders that are also searched also have metadata submitted to Canonical (and then presumably, portions go to Amazon). Jono never dismisses this citing stuff about "personal preference" instead. It would be nice if Canonical came out with a statement saying that they don't transfer information from your searched files and folders to Amazon, because they haven't yet (at least not in my reading of Jono's post). Until Canonical prove otherwise it appear that RMS is completely right in this issue.

  • Wasn't it a child (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:44PM (#42237085)

    That pointed out that the emperor had no clothes?

  • In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 ( 1563847 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:38PM (#42237415)
    The manager doesn't have a good reply or defense so lets just call RMS names.
  • by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:55PM (#42237539)
    No, RMS has a valid complaint.

    The concept of being more useful to the consumer is fine. After all, we ALL buy things online. Most of us use the computer for ecommerce of some sort. a feature that makes it easier would be useful.

    However, its not the what, but the how which make this pretty dangerous to your freedoms:

    1. The user doesn't have a choice of the backend. They don't have the right to select the online purchase service of choice. This is going to make the Ubuntu experiance as one giant advertisement to get you to buy partner related shit-you-don't-need.

    2. Targeted ads, at the operating system level. While targeted ads are good, as they reduced the obnoxious system destroying ads of 10 years ago, they do so by spying on the users habit, and compiling dossiers on users. These profiles are then bought and sold on the open market. They are the biggest gross violation of privacy that perhaps exists today.

    At least a few specialize in identifying complainers, and critics(silencing them?), to companies.

    Having this at the OS level, would make Ubuntu 13.04 potentially worse than MS Windows on the default install for privacy. This is certainly an entire OPERATING SYSTEM on par with the shovelware(removable) that comes with windows.

    Instead of selling you an operating system, or selling you service and support on an opperating system. Ubuntu is now selling YOU to the advertising/PR Companies, and through them, anyone else who has the money to pay.

    On the bright side, there are more GNU/Linux distro choices, and it should be easy to remove the spyware via apt.
  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:19PM (#42237699)

    "Now, some of you may share Richardâ(TM)s concerns over some aspects of this feature, and as I mentioned earlier, I am not here to convince you otherwise. Richard has every right to share his views on privacy, and who am I to tell him or you that he is/you are wrong?"

    RMS quotes:
    "In your Software Freedom Day events, in your FLISOL events, donâ(TM)t install or recommend Ubuntu. Instead, tell people that Ubuntu is shunned for spying."

    Back to Bacon:
    "These statements simply generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Ubuntu; a project that has a long history of bringing Free Software to millions of users around the world with an open community and governance."

    1. RMS believes the feature constitutes spyware as I don't think anyone doubts.

    2. You seem to believe he has every right to his views "who am I to tell him or you that he is/you are wrong?"

    Then I fail to see how in the same breath you can assert his statement regarding being shunned for spying is childish and communicating FUD rather than the legitimate beliefs of RMS with which you agree he is entitled and with which you disagree.

    To make matters worse you have resorted to an unproductive personal attack by asserting his remarks are "childish".

  • ... but in this particular case he is very right.

    It IS spyware exactly how we've seen it in windows for ages. It's default-on which makes it no better than all the spyware that comes packaged with software. If it was default-off and asked at first boot/during install/whatever if it could be enabled I would have no issue.

    The way it presently is setup is just dirty like all spyware.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      He's right it is spyware. And that's fine. But what he needs to be is very very careful in making sure to be as fair as possible in his factual descriptions including all the minor differences so there aren't factual disputes that he is misrepresenting the situation.

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:06PM (#42238399) Homepage

    I've been a big fan of the FSF since around 90/91 when Peter Norton's speech introduced me to them. RMS has done tremendous things for free software. But overly aggressive and unbalanced criticism doesn't help the causes he is advocating. If the person being critiqued believes that charges are (1) simply wrong on the facts and then (2) exaggerated in the effects they just ignore the criticism. One or the other can be effective, both just comes off as unhinged.

    I hate to say this, but this is becoming pattern for RMS.

  • by DarkProphet ( 114727 ) <> on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:17AM (#42239133)

    I rarely bother to log in, much less comment anymore, but I felt compelled to do so on this subject.

    For context: I read the initial writeup and source article on RMS' take on Canonical's actions a few days ago here on Slashdot, as well as Mr. Bacon's response today. I've also been a happy, but increasingly disappointed Ubuntu user for a number of years now. I write this on my 10 year old laptop that hasn't had a working hard drive in 5 years (maybe 6?). This machine runs on a Kubuntu Fiesty Live CD, and my desktop dual boots Win7 and Ubuntu 12.04.

    As a long-time Free Software enthusiast, I can tell you that RMS pisses me off nearly as often as I begrudgingly agree with him. I am hardly alone in that opinion of him.

    Anyway, I've been less than thrilled with the Unbuntu-proper releases for the last couple of years now. Its just a simple case of the design team taking the distro in a direction that decreasingly suits my tastes, particularly on the desktop. I am not a fan of Unity. I begrudgingly used it on my desktop machine for about 2 years, and even after I got used to it, I still didn't like it. The default environment just, I dunno -- it pisses me off. And its gotten increasingly annoying to me in the last couple of releases. That alone is fine. I'm sure there are many users that like things better now. Aside from the desktop environment itself, Ubuntu distros have never failed me in terms of working well with my hardware, which is more than I can say for a couple of distros (which have probably caught up in the prevailing years for all I know.). My weird Wifi and graphics hardware just works. Thats freakin' sweet! My desktop machine currently runs Kubuntu 12.04 because I just got tired of the Unity crap. However I'm likewise not thrilled with KDE at the moment. Plasma and the file manager are only marginally less annoying to me. It pisses me off for similar, but different reasons. That's another story. I realize that I have other options within the Ubuntu ecosystem in regards to Desktop Environment, and I'm also quite aware I have options in switching distributions altogether. That isn't really my gripe.

    For all that, and back on topic: RMS is totally right on this one. Yeah, he called out Ubuntu in a pretty blunt way, but it is what it is and RMS is famous for that same tone. That's sort-of Stallman's self-appointed job. It is on him to hold the highest ideal for Free Software and bark loudly when it seems something runs afoul. None of us are surprised. Mr. Bacon's retort (if you can call it that), is simply unsatisfactory because it doesn't really address the issue. If Mr. Bacon had simply accepted that the default behavior of the dash is unfavorable to the user and promised to have it reconsidered, if not changed, that would have been _something_. My personal view is that the Amazon thing should be opt-in, and even that isn't ideal, but I'd be willing to accept that and not get hung up on it.

    RMS is many things, but childish and/or short-sighted are not the first words that come to my mind, even though I'm certainly not his biggest fan. I have a slightly looser requirements from my Linux distributions than those recommended by the FSF. For example, I don't really mind loading a binary blob driver from Nvidia so that I can actually use my graphics hardware. Ideologically, RMS is right, but I have shit to do NOW. We can fight the hardware/driver problem later.

    At the end of the day, I will strongly consider moving from Ubuntu altogether because this is just the last straw for me. Not really for ideological reasons, but it just isn't usable for me anymore. I've never tried Mint, but enough commenters have spoken favorably of it for me to give it a go. I greatly appreciate what Canonical has done to try to bring Linux to the masses, as it were, but I feel that over time they have deviated from the spirit of what they originally set out to do. I can no longer support Canonical if they choose to continue along this path, and deeply feel that making 'sneaky' decisions like this one

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"