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GNU is Not Unix Privacy Ubuntu Linux

RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu 597

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:41PM (#42216387)

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

  • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Informative)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:50PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:02PM (#42216715)

    Doesn't mean he's wrong.

    Privacy is a modern convenience, and people will eventually stop giving a shit about it when it moves too far toward inconvenience.

    I don't give a shit that Ubuntu relays my searches through Amazon, especially when I can get rid of it with a single command.

  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:04PM (#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.

  • Redhat (Score:4, Informative)

    by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:06PM (#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 serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:17PM (#42216907) Journal

    Yeah, but does he force anyone?


    Because he respects the freedoms of others.

  • by shia84 ( 1985626 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:47PM (#42217333)
    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 settings on her computer (assuming you currently have a grandmother and she owns a computer)?
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:02PM (#42217533)

    If that is really ALL he said on the subject, well... to me it comes across as a random comment to a news story.

    Yeah, I'm sure if we took enough random snippets of any given person's conversations they'd contain statements like this one.

    Wait... no they wouldn't - because most people find pedophilia abhorrent.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Informative)

    by julian67 ( 1022593 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @05:45PM (#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).

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.