Mar 26, 2013

Is Richard Stallman right when he calls Ubuntu "spyware"?

Apparently Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project, is urging some free software groups not to promote Ubuntu because it sells user data to Amazon. Is he right? Has Ubuntu essentially become a spyware OS?

He's right to point out what Ubuntu is doing, but he's a bit of a drama queen to call the entire Ubuntu OS "spyware." Users can opt out, so it's not being forced on them. Most Linux users are pretty savvy, and know how to deal with such things.

Well, yes, he does have a point, at least somewhat. I'm not down with my information being given to a third party willy-nilly, but to some degree that happens nearly every minute we are online. I understand the need for Canonical to monetize Ubuntu, but I'm not sure this Amazon deal was the way to go. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that this data sharing is only integrated into the desktop search function (as far as I know), and users can opt out. If Canonical had gone the other way, and made it opt-in, I wouldn't see it as much of a problem, but realistically how many people are going to take steps to opt-in. If I had to speculate, I would put that number down in the zero range.    

Answer this