Tuesday, October 09, 2012

why ubuntu has soured on me, and my move to xubuntu

a couple of weeks back, there was a huge community backlash to the news that the newest version of ubuntu (quantal 12.10) would send ALL queries made in the dash, via the shopping lens, to canonical as a way to help build revenue. that's right, EVERYTHING you type into the dash (when you search for programs or files or anything) will be sent to canonical for the purpose of advertising directly on your desktop. i protested as loud as anyone. canonical's response (besides defending their position) has been to include a program that can disable all internet activity from the dash. unfortunately, i find this solution unsatisfactory for the following reasons:
  • it is opt-out vs. opt in
this angers me. it works to build revenue by relying on people's ignorance of what canonical is doing with their queries. not everyone pays as much attention to the development of ubuntu as i do, and most will be ignorant of what canonical is up to. this is shitty. and unethical.
  • it is not separated into its own lens, but is integrated into the dash home
if i am looking to buy something (or even looking for music, videos, or programs) then I can understand offering search results from third-parties in separate lenses, but NOT when i am merely searching my own computer for programs, files, or whatever.
  • it is a security breach and a violation of privacy.
sorry, i can't see it any other way no matter how canonical apologists try to reassure everyone that our queries are anonymous and that our privacy is being respected. i do not trust you canonical, and if you truly respected your users, then we wouldn't have to (and your money-making scheme here has only shown how untrustworthy you are).

...so, all of this is to say that i'm done with ubuntu, and i will actively discourage its use (which is sad, since i have been a huge supporter of ubuntu for many years). there are many options for linux desktop users, and i'm glad that this fiasco has given me an opportunity to explore other options. one option i'm particularly happy about is xubuntu, an xfce based, community run distro built on top of the ubuntu software infrastructure. in my next post, i'll explain the reasons for this.

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