On one hand, we see Ubuntu reaching new heights with its ground breaking deals with China while on the other hand we see accusations being leveled against Ubuntu Linux, labelling it as spyware. Well, pride definitely goes before a fall and in this case, the person responsible for bringing about this supposed fall is Mr. Richard Stallman, President and Founder of the Free Software Foundation.
Mr. Stallman based his allegations on the fact that the Ubuntu Linux 12.10 ‘spies’ upon users by sending and storing the users’ search request on the servers at Canonical. This version of the Ubuntu Linux came preinstalled with an Amazon search feature which was integrated with the search feature present in the Dash. Personal user information stored in the servers of Canonical is said to have been utilized in order to enable the integration of relevant features of Amazon search results and adverts.
While having no qualms over the adverts, Mr. Stallman voiced concerns regarding the data collection methods utilized through the Ubuntu Linux despite Canonical claiming that the identities of users remain discreet and were not shared. Nonetheless, in many ways, it is considered a breach of user discretion since users were not aware of this feature at all when downloading this version of Ubuntu.
When this fact was made public knowledge, an outcry was raised at Ubuntu’s data collection techniques by the users. Unfortunately, Canonical chose to ignore this outcry and continued generating revenue with Amazon’s search result based ad placements. Mr. Stallman further accused Canonical of using Ubuntu’s growing popularity and fame as a shield while getting away with these surveillance breaches and the consequences which are usually incurred by such ‘spyware-ish’ actions.
Canonical has continued to defend itself against these accusations by claiming that all revenue generated through this process is targeted towards the development of more open source software which will greatly and directly benefit the Linux community. The Ubuntu Linux also enables users to turn off the software feature responsible for generating ads and storing data.
Unfortunately, it turns out that most users are quite unaware that such a feature exists in the program and have instead opted to go towards other products of Linux which do not incorporate the features offered in the Ubuntu Linux 12.10 version. Nonetheless, Richard Stallman continues to feel that Canonical should be meted out a much more severe punishment rather than just losing a few consumers.
With that mission in mind, Richard Stallman has asked the South American Free Software Association to abstain from promoting the Ubuntu Linux 12.10 in their events. Upon receiving refusal from the event organizers, Mr. Stallman courageously fired off e-mails to the whole organization’s mailing list, ensuring that his voice and opinion got heard by all. Despite the fact that some people might feel Mr. Stallman is a little over zealous in his endeavors to bring Canonical to justice, the issue is one which is regarded by Mr. Richard Stallman in a very serious light.
[Image via tripwiremagazine]