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GNU is Not Unix Privacy Ubuntu Linux

RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu 597

Posted by Soulskill
from the matters-of-trust dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a post at the Free Software Foundation website, Richard Stallman has spoken out against Ubuntu because of Canonical's decision to integrate Amazon search results in the distribution's Dash search. He says, 'Ubuntu, a widely used and influential GNU/Linux distribution, has installed surveillance code. When the user searches her own local files for a string using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends that string to one of Canonical's servers. (Canonical is the company that develops Ubuntu.) This is just like the first surveillance practice I learned about in Windows. ... What's at stake is whether our community can effectively use the argument based on proprietary spyware. If we can only say, "free software won't spy on you, unless it's Ubuntu," that's much less powerful than saying, "free software won't spy on you." It behooves us to give Canonical whatever rebuff is needed to make it stop this. ... If you ever recommend or redistribute GNU/Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend or redistribute.'"
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RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu

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  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:41AM (#42216377)

    I’m not a fan of ubuntu nor RMS, and I definitely don’t like the sounds of this feature, but since when was "free software" equated with "respects your privacy".

    Culturally most of it does, and by consequence of having access to the code any privacy concerns can easily be detected / removed by end users if desired, but I still don't see the connection between free software and assumed privacy. If anything this seems like a dangerous assumption.

    Also the usual stuff here applies about pragmatism and user choice. RMS states that this feature is "malicious" as a matter of fact, and throws around spooky words like "surveillance" and "spyware" like he's doing a Fox news special report. I'm all for having opinions, but the way RMS spouts them as absolute irrefutable fact has always annoyed me (even when I agree with them). Obviously most users probably don't share this view. It's probably a useful feature to most, it can easily be disabled by the sounds of it, will bring in some money, and I suspect most users don't give a shit about being "spied on" in this manner. Remember this is the facebook/twitter/whatever else generation. A lot of people _like_ sharing all the minutia of their day with the entire world. I don't get it, but it's their choice.

    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:49AM (#42216485)

      but since when was "free software" equated with "respects your privacy".

      Always. I completely fail to understand how you could possibly not know this. Free software groups are normally at the forefront of privacy efforts in the digital age.

      • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by YodasEvilTwin (2014446) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:52AM (#42216549) Homepage
        A tendency for free software groups to support privacy protection efforts does not mean "free software" = "software that respects your privacy". There is an immense craptonne of free software that uses your data in ways similar to this.
      • by Anrego (830717) *

        And if we just go a little bit further..

        Culturally most of it does

      • if you look at who actually funds 'free software', a lot of it is the same big companies that are getting megabucks off of the surveillance state.

        a company like Apple has to take responsibility for how its creations are used, and deal with privacy issues... but with free software the makes just claim 'not my problem' and continue their work without asking too many questions about where the money comes from.

        what are the odds that drones contain free software? extremely high.

    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Informative)

      by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:50AM (#42216499) Journal

      when was "free software" equated with "respects your privacy".

      Have you actually ever read anything about te FSF and its goals. The FSF explicitely states that Free Softwre is a social movement for the greater good. I'm pretty sure that spying on users and disrespecting their privacy is not for the greater good, even if they never explicitely state it.

      Also the usual stuff here applies about pragmatism and user choice.

      Free Software and the FSF is about pragmatism. Only, unlike many, they are not shortsighted and consider that painting yourself into a corner right now for a small temporary gain is not actually a good idea.

      Basically, an idealist is a pragmatist with an eye on the future.

      and I suspect most users don't give a shit about being "spied on" in this manner.

      Most people don't give a shit about a lot of things. Most people don't seem to give a shit that governments are running roughshod over freedom in the name of terrorism. Most people also don't seem to give a shit about the fact that Congress is bought and sold.

      Just because people don't give a shit doesn't mean it's not important.

      A lot of people _like_ sharing all the minutia of their day with the entire world.

      No, what they like doing is sharing it with their social circle. The fact that is is shared with the world is generally inconsequential, but sometimes comes back to bite people.

      • I'm pretty sure that spying on users and disrespecting their privacy is not for the greater good,

        Of course it is, doesn't the government always tell you that it is for the greater good when they do it? Part of the problem here is that not everyone defines "the greater good" the same way.

      • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:53PM (#42218245)

        A lot of people _like_ sharing all the minutia of their day with the entire world.

        No, what they like doing is sharing it with their social circle. The fact that is is shared with the world is generally inconsequential, but sometimes comes back to bite people.

        I've been studying this phenomena for a while and neither one of you is entirely right. In my observations, some people are inherently "private" - they do not want to be known or tracked, they want their actions and statements to be judged without reference to their identity. Other people are inherently "public" - they want you to know who they are, and if that means they are tracked and marketed they simply don't care, as long as the tracking and marketing doesn't harm them. In the eyes of the "private" person the tracking is in and of itself harmful, because it skeeves them and makes them uncomfortable. They feel the same way about corporations databasing them as others might feel about peeping toms - it's nasty, unsavory behavior that good people simply wouldn't ever do, so it's perfectly fair to assume the people doing it are evil. In the eyes of a "public" person, though, naturally everyone wants to know about the identity and particulars of everyone else - their reputation is important, and their standing is influenced by what people know about them, and obviously it's flattering to gain reputation in others' eyes; there's nothing skeevy about supermarkets tracking purchases, it's just good customer service.

        Whichever type you are, it seems to be a fixed attitude once a person reaches an age where their personality is stable - certainly by the time they pass puberty.

        And there's nothing you can do to persuade a person who is "private" that tracking them is OK - you will have better luck convincing them that chocolate tastes bad, or that their favorite color is puce. It's a non-negotiable character trait, like favoring certain colors or flavors is.

        There's also rarely anything you can do to persuade a person who is "public" that many other people simply want privacy and anonymity for its own sake. That's so completely foreign to them that they will think you are lying, or that the private person has some dark secret, or that they are crazy. A lot of "public" type people are so intellectually crippled by their own attitude that they are fundamentally incapable of understanding the pure physical revulsion some "private" people experience when they find out they are being tracked. I imagine a lot of exhibitionists are incapable of understanding the physical response other people have to peeping toms, too.

        Wisdom seems to lie in accepting that the extremes of both types always will exist, and accommodating them as legitimate expressions of character. Most people are somewhere closer to the middle - they might want to have a good reputation in town, but not want their comings and goings tracked by their neighbors. If you can accommodate both extremes, you'll be able to deal with the more commonplace middle grounds. But unfortunately that means both sides have to give up trying to force the other side to be "wrong", and people aren't good at that.

        Software devs should keep all the above in mind, but they usually are extremists of one type or the other.

      • Have you actually ever read anything about te FSF and its goals. The FSF explicitely states that Free Softwre is a social movement for the greater good.

        Does the FSF have a monopoly on free software? Just because the FSF is against invasion of privacy by software doesn't mean that a piece of software cannot be free software and also invade your privacy.

    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:53AM (#42216567)

      I’m not a fan of ubuntu nor RMS, and I definitely don’t like the sounds of this feature, but since when was "free software" equated with "respects your privacy".

      It was equated when RMS said it was equated. RMS is a fanatic, plain and simple. He may be a fanatic for a good cause overall, but he is still a fanatic. That means he sees the world in a pretty simple way. Either you agree with him and follow his set rules, in which cases he recommends and endorses you, or you disagree with his position (in any way no matter how slight), in which case he rejects you completely. There is really no intermediate ground for a person like him.

      It's not a criticism, exactly, he has done some good things, you just have to keep it in mind whenever he says anything about anything: he is speaking as a fanatic. There is no room for deviation from his rules.

      • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:42PM (#42218093)

        RMS is a fanatic, plain and simple. He may be a fanatic for a good cause overall, but he is still a fanatic.

        I'm something of a student of human nature and I'm really good at observing people and understanding their motivations and often making accurate predictions on what I see. I believe that about 10% or so of human beings are just like RMS. I don't like to use the term "fanatic" because while technically correct, I think it's too limiting. You see, people like RMS don't just see software in those terms or one thing in life in a fanatical way, they see everything in life in narrow terms. I call them "people who see everything in black and white". These people do not agonize over any day to day decisions like which model of car should I buy. Everything to them is crystal clear - good - bad, right - wrong, great - terrible, etc. Everything to them is quite clear and there's no areas of gray or ambiguity.

        One of the things about these people is that they tend to be very religious. Now that does not mean that all religious people are like that, despite what many Slashdotters would love to believe, but it does mean that these people do tend to gravitate towards religion. For example, I believe that most of Al Queda's membership is made up of these people. This is why they are willing to commit suicide - the evil in non-believers is so apparent that it's repulsive to them. People who see the world in black and white will sometimes change their minds on something and they will go from opposing it to promoting it or from loving it to hating it. But they don't go back and forth. If they change their minds, that change is probably permanent. And they tend to be completely obsessed with following the "rules", which at times may be religious teachings, and punishing those who do not obey those same rules. They're the kind of people who want severe punishments for minor infractions, like wanting to put someone in jail for a year for running a stop sign. I served on a jury 7 years ago with a guy like this and it was not pleasant as it took some incredible work by our foreman to get him to agree to a guilty verdict on 2 of 3 counts we had to decide on when 11 of us felt strongly that he was innocent on one count and this one guy threatened to hang the jury unless we voted guilty on all 3 counts.

        The most frustrating thing about people like this is that they do not get at all that they are the weird ones. They mistakenly believe that everybody sees the world in the same clear cut way that they do. So this is why you are almost always wasting your time in trying to reason with them and get them to see another point of view. To them any other point of view is irrational and they believe that anyone who holds another point of view is insane because they think that no rational person could ever believe something different from them. So this is why when people rail against RMS and point out inconsistencies or fallacies with his arguments that he digs in. He's truly incapable of seeing any other point of view because he views such as irrational and illogical. At least, that's my guess.

      • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Informative)

        by julian67 (1022593) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:45PM (#42220225)

        This isn't exactly right. When RMS is speaking publicly on behalf of the FSF then of course he is not going to endorse people or products that act in opposition to the stated principles and aims of the FSF. That's no different from any public spokesman: the devil may have the best tunes but you are unlikely to ever hear the pope say "Yes, the devil is a ghastly fellow but there's no harm in dancing with him occasionally, he has such great moves", though of course for Anglicans the situation appears much more nuanced: some dance all night and go back to old nick's "for coffee", some just have a quick shuffle and a grope and worry about being seen, others remain seated but wide eyed and salivating. Old Mark Scuttlebut's users have sore feet ache and coffee breath.

        I've heard RMS in interviews say that privately he might recommend Debian to people who want to use a Free Software OS and who appreciate the difference between Free Software and non-free, because he expects they will not enable the non-free sections of the repositories. But of course when speaking publicly as a voice of the FSF he is never going to recommend a distro that offers and perhaps promotes software the FSF exists to make redundant.

        Some people will see RMS as a fanatic simply because he does his best to keep to a handful of very simple principles, even if that means inconvenience or ridicule. The interesting thing is that if you wait long enough his fanatical, extremist positions can start to look farsighted and sensible (see GNU/Linux vs Linux naming convention vis-Ã-vis Android, or privacy/data ownership re. software as a service and so on).

    • by mykepredko (40154)

      Insightful post and brings up a lot of interesting points.

      While not part of the "Facebook generation" (ie I don't share every thing that I think of, experience, desire, am angry at, etc.), I do allow Eclipse to upload my usage, help itunes with maintaining it's database and allow Amazon.com to send me recommendations of what it thinks I might like (all of which I guess RMS would be apoplectic over).

      It's a question of what is right for the individual user and I guess this is another case where RMS represents

      • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by plover (150551) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:30PM (#42217087) Homepage Journal

        The difference is that you made all those sharing decisions for yourself. Canonical should not make that choice for you by default. They can certainly make it an easy-to-drool-on option, but it should not be the system default.

      • There is a difference. This is a case where Ubuntu is unilaterally making the decision to share your private searches about things that already reside on your computer with amazon. It is a huge difference between all the examples you mentioned and the RMS issue. It's rare that I'm in complete agreement with RMS, but I'm pretty confident he got this one right, and I hope Ubuntu gets the message.
    • pragmatism and user choice

      Don't you hate that those words. I feel dirty every time I see them, they reek of compromise. They are simply lies, Do you really think people are stupid?

      Apple are selling advertising space in Ubuntu to Amazon as a revenue stream. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as users enter into this with there eyes open, and the consequences of that.

      ....but seriously I'm tired of the double speak.

      • Re:Sickening (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anrego (830717) * on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:16PM (#42216893)

        they reek of compromise

        Which makes sense...

        We are never going to have an RMS style "all software is completely free" world. Hell I wouldn't want one. I wouldn't want an Apple style "everything is locked down" world either.

        What we have now, the compromise solution, works great. There is lots of free software out there. There are still areas which lack serious free alternatives, but you can run a desktop or server on mostly open source. There is also decent sized and co-existing industry of closed source and propriatary software. Many of us (myself included) make a living in it.

        Would I love all the software on my desktop to be completely free, sure. Am I happy with most of my software being free, with say propriatary video card drivers... yup!

    • by Bob9113 (14996)

      since when was "free software" equated with "respects your privacy".

      Since never. RMS has never had much to do with "free software", and that's not what he's talking about here. A huge chunk of "free software" actually generates its revenue by violating your privacy.

      On the other hand, the underlying principles of Free Software have always been about defending the long-run information interests of the user first. Information security and privacy are tightly intertwined, and both are critical to the long-term

    • by plover (150551)

      A lot of people _like_ sharing all the minutia of their day with the entire world. I don't get it, but it's their choice.

      And that's RMS's exact point: it's their choice. Not Canonical's, not society's, not law enforcement's, and it should not be chosen for us by them as the default setting. If they think it's valuable, they can turn it on for themselves. And that can be made very easy for them, certainly no harder than entering a Facebook password.

      Now, I've never used the search feature in Unity, so maybe I've never sent anything to Amazon or Canonical. But I really don't know that for sure any longer, and now my whole damn n

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      Obviously most users probably don't share this view.

      Well, most users don't understand the issue, or much care how it relates to the spirit of FOSS. RMS can be extreme in his viewpoints but he is addressing the issue from the perspective - of the spirit of Open Source.

      Furthermore, Canonical has historically been a real PITA the get along with in terms of "playing nicely" with the rest of the FOSS world. This is just another mark against what they stand for and how their product relates to the Open Source community.

      but I still don't see the connection between free software and assumed privacy.

      RMS viewpoint is a good representation of wh

  • Don't be so radical (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:41AM (#42216387)

    Just do 'sudo dpkg --purge unity-lens-shopping' and be happy.

    • by Nadaka (224565) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:00PM (#42216683)

      It should not be installed/active by default without prior alert to the user.

      At worst, it should be a choice made during setup, one that is well described and obvious even if the checkbox defaults to being checked.

    • by Jerslan (1088525)
      QFT Was about to say something similar... Why not just disable it? Surely it's not *that* hard. At worst it should be editing the source, removing that particular piece, and recompiling... Which in the magical fantasy land that RMS lives in, everyone and their Grandmother knows how to do.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by shia84 (1985626)
        Precisely because not everybody and their grandmother knows how to do it, this is an issue. If everybody and their grandmother made the informed decision to send all their computer contents to Amazon with every search, this would be perfectly fine with RMS. But they are not informed (which is why we need the outcry) and usually don't know how to turn it off even if they could google it (which is why it needs to be off by default) ... I mean, do you see _your_ grandmother googling how to edit privacy setting
    • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:11PM (#42216831)
      ROFLMAO!

      Telling RMS to stop being radical is like telling a fish to stop living in water...
  • The eternal causenik who still doesn't understand that the price of admission for using FOSS shouldn't be having to buy into his pet social movement.

    You can't call it "freedom" if you only expect everyone else to just use it to agree with you and do what you want them to do.

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:53AM (#42216573) Journal

      The eternal causenik who still doesn't understand that the price of admission for using FOSS shouldn't be having to buy into his pet social movement.

      I love how people just make up random shit about RMS and it gets modded up every single time.

      He has never claimed that you have to buy in.

      Ever.

      He says you should because it's better for you and the world, but he never says you have to.

      You can't call it "freedom" if you only expect everyone else to just use it to agree with you and do what you want them to do.

      Don't be silly. You can call it freedom if you expect people to agree. You can't call it freedo if you _force_ people to agree. But he's never done that.

      TL;DR stop mking up stuff about RMS.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:04PM (#42216755)

        RMS has stated on many occasions, including in his writing, that he believes proprietary software is immoral. He's been almost explicit about the immorality of licenses he disagrees with, such as the BSD license. So yes, RMS wants everyone to buy into his philosophy, to the point of labelling everyone who doesn't as a bad person doing bad things.

        • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:17PM (#42216907) Journal

          Yeah, but does he force anyone?

          No.

          Because he respects the freedoms of others.

          • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:43PM (#42217265)

            No, because he can't. But he does do everything he can.

            Some quotes:

            "The Adobe flash plug-in is non-free software, and people should not install it, or suggest installing it, or even tell people it exists."

            "Writing non-free software is not an ethically legitimate activity, so if people who do this run into trouble, that's good! All businesses based on non-free software ought to fail, and the sooner the better."

            Stallman believes non-free (as in non-Stallman approved) software is immoral and harms civilization. If he were made dictator of the world I have no doubt he'd outlaw it. I'm pretty sure if you asked him he'd say so too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bonch (38532) *

      It's one thing to have some Larry Wall style eccentricities, but Stallman hurts any movement he attaches his name to because of his extremist views. He believes, for example, that programmers should not expect to be paid for their work and that it's more important that non-free software disappear [lunduke.com] than it is for someone's children to be fed (he also believes nobody should have children). He's also made vile statements about what he calls "voluntary pedophilia" [stallman.org], claiming that it should be legalized [stallman.org].

      The annoyi

      • by Microlith (54737)

        Ah, ad-hominem attacks. Ad-hominem attacks everywhere.

        Bonch comes out of the woodwork to defend Apple and attack Linux/Google every so often. He relishes in engaging in character assassination.

        No, we don't. He's hurting the movement.

        And we should replace him with what, people who will be more moderate and acquiesce more to the extremists already in power? Extremists like Apple, who have a fetish for end-user control and lock down?

      • by Hobart (32767)

        GNU was an interesting philosophy when it was started, but it's not as if it was the only open source ideology or that other open source movements wouldn't have taken hold.

        I really don't think it would have.

        I think without both GPL, and GNU (especially Readline and GCC), programmers would still be trading pirate copies of compilers from Borland, Microsoft, and Watcom the way people pirate Photoshop today.

        MySQL is only GPL because Monty wanted to use Readline initially.

        Objective C compilers were only GPL bec

  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:45AM (#42216447)

    Bruce Perens wrote this recently on slashdot.

    http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/11/05/0122238/bruce-perens-answers-your-questions [slashdot.org]

    Don't help Red Hat. Don't help Ubuntu. Only help community projects and non-profits. Unfortunately, Red Hat and Ubuntu aren't really taking the community where we need to be. We thought they would, but they didn't get us sufficient users, and didn't get us the users we need for the most part, and the negative effects they have (like isolating us from our own users, and being public representatives in their own interest instead of the community's) aren't worth the rest. We need to work on other ways of getting to users that aren't Ubuntu and Red Hat.

            And then there are the companies who feel that they are helping the community by paying for Red Hat or by joining the Linux Foundation. If you want to help Linux or Open Source, help a free software project directly. Red Hat exists for Red Hat's stockholders, and while the Linux Foundation is sometimes helpful, it represents large companies rather than the developer community, and only a fraction of its budget pays actual programmers.

    I fully agree with Bruce. Sometimes I feel the commercial opensource companies are worse than the commercial closed source companies in some ways. At the regular commercial companies are upfront about the fact they are in it just to make money.

    Try figuring licensing terms of different components of MySQL. For eg. try to figure out what components of MySQL Cluster you can also use free of charge without paying for support & what has to be purchased. Ask a question on some public forum where there are lots of MySQL employees active. They will never give the answer on the forum. They will always ask you to contact them offline.

    And what about Redhat who have built their product on back of lots of people who worked for free. And now Redhat tries to make sure Centos has a lot of trouble integrating patches made by Redhat.

    • I thought it was free as in speech, not free as in beer? It sounds like people want their special little thing to not get too popular and to not let people make money off of it. I don't see much wrong with what Red Hat/Fedora and Ubuntu do. What's wrong with charging money to support an enterprise level product? Is that what Stallman and Berens want?
      • by Frankie70 (803801)

        I have no problems with RH making money. But why are trying to make it difficult for Oracle & Novell to provide support for RHEL?
        Why are they hiding knowledge of the insides from CentOS?

      • Redhat (Score:4, Informative)

        by Frankie70 (803801) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:06PM (#42216775)

        http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/72012.html [linuxinsider.com]

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0, which was released last November, packs a hidden punch: The latest version of the operating system pre-bundles patches with the kernel.

        The disguised fixes have shaken up some controversy, but Red Hat contends that the move is aimed at making it more difficult for rivals like CentOS, Oracle and Novell to gobble up Red Hat's customers.

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Bruce, apparently, doesn't see the value that Canonical provides in making a distribution that is probably the least painful distro to use. I like the technology behind Debian, but I can't stand using the distro directly. Even with Fedora I get errors and things broken out of the gate.

      Rejecting organized efforts to make progress on certain objectives (desktop, etc.) because they're run by for-profit companies only serves to shoot yourself in the foot and keep Linux (particularly desktop Linux) marginalized

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      The basic problem with business folks and open source is that they're trying to maximize profit, which means that anything that they give away is done for four basic reasons:
      1. Loss leader to get people to buy something else: commercial support contracts, customizations, installation assistance, etc.
      2. Convince the community that they're good for open source so they'll work for free.
      3. The GPL or other "viral" open source licenses force them to.
      4. Selling the user's eyeballs a la Firefox and Google.

      For exam

  • by Brad_McBad (1423863) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:51AM (#42216517)
    I ditched Ubuntu about 18 months ago. I really, *really* hate the "Search for your stuff even if you know where it is" paradigm, and trying to use it just makes me infuriated. Moved back to Debian for servers and Debian back Mint for desktops a long time ago. Only problem with Mint is that by default you're stuck with whatever search / content provider affiliates they've decided you want.
  • by MrLizard (95131) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:57AM (#42216647)

    The definition of "free and open source software" doesn't/shouldn't include any limits on what that software DOES. Wouldn't saying, "You can use this code, but not if you write programs that do something I don't like with it!" violate the fundamental principles of open software? How about, "Here's my code for a really great FTP implementation, but you can't use it, or any program including it, to download copyrighted movies." Wouldn't fly, would it?

    I understand that the open source coding community also includes a lot of shared cultural values, but the more it becomes just another means of distributing code, the less those shared cultural values are, erm, shared. RMS certainly has the right to speak out against things he find abhorrent, and to encourage people to not support them, as everyone does. As is so often the case, "The right to do something" is not the same as "The right thing to do." I think by trying to link his personal views on what's good, right, proper, etc, to the concept of open source itself, which is utterly apolitical, damages open source and would make people worry that, by using it, they are implicitly accepting or supporting ethical/political ideas they disagree with. (I have seen tons of open source code, esp. Apache, used by people and companies whose goals and values are at extreme odds with the generic "open source" culture.)

  • by bobstreo (1320787)

    For a rant about Unity....

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:02PM (#42216703) Homepage

    I'm sick of the people who defend him on the basis of his contributions by way of GNU as though that somehow mitigates the harm he does from his soap box. Instead of doing something like taking the bull by the horns and making a slick Android distro that embodies his values AND is friendly to non-geeks, he froths at the mouth at any company or group that makes moves which earn them some money and make things easier for non-technical users.

    Contribute to Haiku, fork Android, become benevolent dictator of OpenWebOS. Actually do something that matters today.

    • by Microlith (54737) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:14PM (#42217677)

      as though that somehow mitigates the harm he does from his soap box.

      Harm? Or simply ire from the people who disagree with him and react viscerally and violently instead of rationally?

      Instead of doing something like taking the bull by the horns and making a slick Android distro that embodies his values AND is friendly to non-geeks

      Even RMS would tell you that's not possible so long as Android can be closed.

      he froths at the mouth at any company or group that makes moves which earn them some money and make things easier for non-technical users.

      Bullshit. The easiest way to get him riled up is to do something that exploits the end user, or in some way limits them for the sole purpose of expanding the bottom line. And frankly, as much as I like Canonical that's exactly what the lenses do.

      • by seebs (15766)

        Yes, harm. Spreading FUD, spreading confusion, and making open source look more hostile to real use cases. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't, but he's consistently a jerk and a spectacularly bad advocate.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:08PM (#42216805)

    Ubuntu is licensed under FSF approved licenses. If RMS hasn't been wrong all these years then no matter what Canonical does the end user can just edit the source, remove the spyware, compile and go happily on his way.

    Unless of course RMS's rosy view of an GNU-approved world has some cracks in it.

  • Stuck on 10.04 (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've been on 10.04 since it was released, and it seems like with every version there's more and more nonsense keeping me from upgrading. At this rate it seems, I'll be on 10.04 forever. However, the latest release of ROS doesn't officially support 10.04, so it seems like I might be forced to move on if I don't want to experience any unfortunate surprises... although now might be a better time than ever to find a new distro I'm comfortable enough with. Ubuntu is just going in the wrong direction.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Learn to love Debian. It loves you back.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:14PM (#42216853)
    a gnome shell default search from the dash links to google, and wikipedia by default, and no other options are given for the user to change them.
  • Stallman Forgets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:23PM (#42217003) Homepage Journal

    I think that Stallman is forgetting that the open source / free software community has an awful lot to thank companies like canonical for investing time and development resources into making Linux so much more accessible to people. Not wanting to start a debate about unity or other recent changes in the direction of Ubuntu. I have nothing but respect for Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth for driving Linux on the desktop forward and contributing to the rich Linux ecosystem we have today.

    I would also like to mention that - if i recall correctly it is made clear to the user during the installation process about the Amazon feature and that it can easily be turned off. Its not like they are doing it by stealth or anything unlike the other example cited in the OP.

    As a long time Linux user (as my primary OS) I worked my way through various distributions. learning much about the core OS from things like Gentoo. A few years ago I settled on Ubuntu as a distro that Looks nice , is usable and just works (TM) I dont feel the need to tweak these days!. I feel spoiled by what Linux is today - everything just works out of the box (which is more than i can say for this new Mac Mini on my desk).

    I guess my point is that if every one in the community was as anal as Stallman I doubt we would be in such a great place as we are now - as far as Linux goes.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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