Upcoming versions of the Ubuntu operating system will begin to collect some data from the computers that use it. Canonical's development team (the company behind Ubuntu) says it wants to focus on user needs…
Reminds you of something;
If you use Linux it probably won't remind you of anything, because the Canonical drive is unheard of for open source software friends. But if the operating system you use is Microsoft Windows, you will surely have lived and continue to live such announcements about behaviors that are only for your own good.
Does it bother you? Does it provoke you from doubts to indignation? Let's look at what Canonical's announcement means.
What data will Canonical collect?
With one message to the Ubuntu developer mailing list, Ubuntu Will Cooke's Task Manager said the information gathered would include the following:
The taste of Ubuntu
Network connectivity or not
Disk size (s)
Screen resolution (s)
Company and GPU model
Location (based on location choices made by the user during installation)
No IP information will be collected
Installation time (download time)
If automatic connection is turned on or not
Layout of the disc
Selected software by third parties or not
Download updates during installation or not
Enabled LivePatch or not
Ubuntu will also install Popularity Context (popcon), a tool that will track the packages you install on your computer. In this way, the development team will be able to see what software users are most interested in. Apport, is a separate tool that automatically sends reports about application crawls.
This will be the default behavior of the upcoming Ubuntu. You will have the option to opt out during the installation process and through the system settings after installation.
Collection of computer statistics is a common practice
At least among commercial operating systems, this behavior is not uncommon. Microsoft and Apple collect this data and more. Information gathering is also the behavior that distinguishes Google Chrome from Chromium open source software.
This argument was also announced by Will Cooke, speaking on behalf of Canonical. And it says true: This information can be used to improve the end-user experience.
At the same time, however, too many users feel uncomfortable. Take a look at the poll conducted by it The Register
This practice is not common in Linux
Linux distributions from which Ubuntu comes from do not collect information from users. This is one of the reasons why it is difficult to estimate how many people use Linux or a specific version of it. Users can download every Linux as often as they want, and install it as many times as they want.
It is worth mentioning that while Ubuntu is preparing to collect statistics quickly, most Linux distributions will not do so. Those who are bothered by the Ubuntu decision can always choose to use a different version of Linux, if simply disabling the data collection does not make you feel safe.
On the other hand, Ubuntu says it will make the data it collects publicly available. Can this statement change the way you see the situation?
What does all this mean?
There are several reasons why some consider the change to be very disturbing.
Companies collect data to learn more than they knew about something or someone. If this information is gathered, this means that something known only to you will be known to someone else (although Canonical stated that the data it collects would be anonymous).
As innocent as it may seem, it opposes Linux's philosophy. Let's not forget that some people chose Linux because they were tired of watching Microsoft.
Once the data is collected, we should expect to be managed responsibly.
If they are not transported and stored safely or if they are not immediately deleted, a lot can happen. Data and information on the internet means money and it creates thoughts…
Lack of trust
Let's say Canonical does a great job to protect this information or nobody cares enough to try to hack the company's systems. The data is secure.
There are still concerns about what Canonical will do with the data it has collected.
I don't want to sound paranoid. The Ubuntu development team will probably use the information to do exactly what it says it will do. But they could do much more. It is up to them to trust that they will not.
Let's remind Canonical recorded searches from Unity to offer relevant search results from Amazon. So there is already a large number of users who do not trust the company.
Why is it the option to participate or not to participate?
If someone wants to go through something difficult or unusual they need the opt-in, opt-out options, as they really like people to control. It likes everyone to know and to consciously say in a program when to stop and when to start collecting data. However, with this technique, there is a risk that users may feel uncomfortable and distrustful.
This is not just about software. Whether we are talking about education policies, government or workplace, everyone generally wants to have choices like the SYRIZA referendum.
Does Canonical need this information?
Ubuntu is released from 2004. Other distributions of Linux exist for several years. Linux desktops have gone a long way since. End user experience is much better and much more stable without ever having to collect data. So why now?
Software developers are often tempted to collect more data than they simply need because they are very easy to do. Regular books do not tell publishers how long the readers stay on each page or how long it takes to finish reading a book. But the ebook reader does it. Many of us would say the first idea outrageous and we would have accused it of violating privacy, but the second idea is somewhat more acceptable. Why;
Ubuntu is popular
Ubuntu is the most widely used version of Linux. Many distributions have thousands of users, but Ubuntu has millions. Many of them are likely to let the new feature turn on.
What do you say about this change?
As I mentioned earlier, Canonical does not do anything that is not common with the entire technology industry. Compared with the data collection made by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and other companies, Canonical's upcoming behavior may well be considered as a fault.
However it has nothing to do with the Linux I know and use ... What do you mean?