The Lamb and the Spyware!


You will most likely have been informed about another statement from Richard Matthew Stallman, an activist and president of the Open Software Foundation, about Ubuntu, how this is spyware and more specifically, referring to amazon lens (unity-lens-shopping).
So, let's not make it, see the relevant publication, translated into Greek by fkol k4 of the Greek Ubuntu community (if you already know the content, overtake it and move on to the second part of the article, as it is understood as osarena, we will not stop publishing a well-known news, but we will see a little further and more ... before ):

One of the most important benefits of free software is that the community protects users from malicious software. Now Ubuntu GNU / Linux has become an example to avoid. What should we do?

Proprietary software has been associated with malicious user manipulation: tracking code, digital handcuffs (DRM or Digital Restriction Management) to restrict users and back doors that can do bad things under remote control. Programs that do some of these things are malicious software and as such should be treated. Widely used examples include Windows, various iThings, and the Amazon "Kindle" virtual book burning product, all three of which are Macintosh and Playstation III, which impose DRM; most portable phones that spy on user and back doors; Adobe Flash Player, spying on the user and imposing DRM; and many Android and iThings apps that are guilty of one or more of these unpleasant practices.

Free software gives users the ability to protect themselves from malware behaviors. Even better, the community usually protects everyone and most users do not have to do anything. Here's how.

From time to time, users who know programming find that a free program contains malicious code. In general, the next thing they do is to release a corrected version of the program; with the four freedoms that free software defines, they are free to do so. This is called the "fork" of the program. Soon the community adopts the corrected fork and the malicious version is rejected. The prospect of disgusting rejection is not very tempting, so most of the time even those whose conscience and social pressure do not prevent them from doing so, avoid doing malicious functions in free software.

Not always. Ubuntu, a widely used and highly influential distribution of GNU / Linux, has installed tracking code. When a user searches for an alphanumeric string in their local files using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends this string to one of Canonical's servers. (Canonical is the company that is developing Ubuntu.)

This is just like the first tracking practice I learned about Windows. My forgiven friend Fravia told me that when he searched for a string in his Windows system files, he sent a packet to a server that was detected by his firewall. Given this first example, I paid attention and learned about the tendency of "reputable" proprietary software to be malicious software. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Ubuntu sends the same information.

Ubuntu uses the search information to show the user ads to buy things from Amazon. Amazon is making many mistakes (see displaying Amazon, Canonical is contributing to them. However, ads are not the core of the problem. The main issue is espionage. Canonical says he does not tell Amazon who was looking for anything. However, it is equally bad for Canonical to collect your personal information as much as Amazon would collect.

People will definitely make a modified version of Ubuntu without this tracking. In fact, several GNU / Linux distributions are modified versions of Ubuntu. When they upgrade their base to the latest Ubuntu release, I expect that they will remove it. Surely Canonical will also be waiting for it.

Most free software developers would have abandoned such a plan, given the prospect of a mass move towards a corrected version of someone else. However, Canonical has not abandoned Ubuntu's spyware. Perhaps Canonical estimates that the name "Ubuntu" is so powerful and influential that it can evade the usual consequences and escape monitoring.

Canonical says this feature looks for the Internet in other ways. Depending on the details, this may or may not make the problem bigger, but not less.

Ubuntu allows users to disable tracking. It is clear that Canonical believes that many Ubuntu users will leave this setting in the default state (active). Many can not, because they will not think of doing anything about it. In this way, the existence of this deactivation option does not correct the operation of the tracking.

Even if it was disabled by default, this function would still be dangerous: "massively, once and for all" for a dangerous practice, where the risk varies according to the details, invites inattention.
In order to protect the privacy of users, systems should facilitate wise use: when a local search program has an internet search function, it should be up to each user to select Internet search explicitly each time.
This is easy: all you need is to have separate buttons for online and local searches, as previous versions of Ubuntu did. An online search function should also clearly inform the user and specifically who will get their personal information, though when using the feature.

If a good part of our community leaders see this issue on a personal level only, if they disable self-monitoring only and continue to promote Ubuntu, Canonical could get away with it. This would be a great loss for the free software community.

We who present free software as a defense against malware do not say it's a perfect defense. There is no known perfect defense. They do not say that the community will always prevent malware without any failure. So, quite accurately, Ubuntu's spyware example does not mean we have to swallow our words.

But more is at stake here than if some of us have to swallow a few words. What is at stake is whether our community can effectively use the argument based on proprietary spyware. If we can only say "free software will not spy on you, unless it's Ubuntu," it's a lot less powerful than saying, "Free software will not spy on you."

We have to give Canonical any necessary rejection that will stop it from happening. Canonical's justification and inability is inadequate; even if it uses all the money it will get from Amazon to develop free software, it will hardly overcome what free software will lose if it stops offering an effective way to avoid mistreatment of users.

If you ever suggest or redistribute GNU / Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distributions you propose or redistribute. If the practice of installing and setting up non-free software did not persuade you to stop, let that convince you. At the installation festival that you are organizing, at free software day events at FLISOL events, do not install or recommend Ubuntu. Instead, tell the world that Ubuntu is avoided for espionage.

And as you say this, you can also say that Ubuntu contains non-free programs and suggests other non-free programs. (watch this This would negate the other form of negative influence that Ubuntu has on the free software community: the legalization of non-free software.

Copyright 2012 by Richard Stallman
Under license Creative Commons Attribution Noderivatives 3.0

Some time ago:

Let us also remind you that RMS had also been involved in the matter of Valve and Ubuntu some time ago, referring to the hot topic of DRMs.
As a matter of fact, with some real facts, we must say that Amazon is indeed authoritarian; it does not recognize in most cases how the money to buy a product from it belongs to the user but recognizes it as rented and with the right to take it back or destroy it electronically (yes, on the user's computer) and hence does leave "electronic bugs", who now openly monitor the user's movements by recording them on his server company and as we said we can at any time intervene by destroying the online product that has been purchased.
On the other hand, the issue is known about Amazon's prices in its products, which go far beyond what we call reasonable in the majority of cases.

Let us also remind you that Amazon is an American (US) company, where lawmakers are generally in favor of companies, even if these decisions are at the expense of many consumers.
And the word "consumer" is not entirely random. Let's not overlook the fact that these companies, including Canonical, are primarily targeted at the American market, which is huge in European markets (eg England), where consumer fads and trends are now in the dna of most people in these societies. And of course opening up to Asian markets, where the newcomers are growing daily.

Let's just say that simpler to us too? Canonical does not care (at this time) for small markets such as Greek and other Balkans or other low income and living countries and continents.
It seems like its strategy has its dynamic penetration into the US market and of course in English, where its headquarters and from then on its further expansion.
And no one doubts that Canonical's moves with Ubuntu, not just say, but they shout plainly:

Bring money now ....

And logical this, right? Company is in the finale does not sell you the end of the product for which it spent labor hours and money but tries through it to make profits with third products.
For example, if someone through the dash of Unity goes to Amazon and Canonical is buying it will get its rates.
Steam's own other products (Ubuntu Music Store, UbuntuOne, etc.).

The story with Amazon begins with older ones:

A small but important attitude here, to remember something that happened a year ago. You may remember the Canonical dispute with the Banshee Media Player on the revenue from the built-in Music store, mainly from Amazon (if you do not know it or you have not understood it yet, Amazon is a source of millions of revenue ).
Let's just remember what the programmer of Banshee had told us, Bertrand Lorentz, on this issue, in an interview at sharpened (the interview was given before the Ubuntu 12.04 release, when Unity had already come in the 11.10 version):

QUESTION: Banshee will not be pre-set in the upcoming version of Ubuntu. Why do you think this is happening? What more can Rhythmbox offer? Also, is it so important for an application to be by default in Ubuntu 12.04?

ANSWER: I believe there are many factors that led to this decision, most of which are related to the fact that Ubuntu 12.04 is going to have 5 year support. Transfer to GTK3, lack of available space on the installation CD and some other technical reasons also played a role. While I fully respect this decision, I condemn the fact that there was no discussion between Ubuntu and the Banshee community, but the issue went straight to the Ubuntu Developer Summit. We were happy that Banshee was the pre-selected Ubuntu player so far, and naturally we were upset by this development. I do believe, however, that we have made many users happy before we even become the default of Ubuntu, and we will continue to make them happy afterwards. I hope this has given a number of Ubuntu users a chance to discover the Banshee!

QUESTION: Is this a connection with the dispute that you had at some time with Canonical to share Amazon revenue? What went wrong then true?

ANSWER: First of all, I do not think Amazon's revenue-sharing issue has anything to do with the de-selecting of Banshee from Ubuntu 12.04. The first problem came from a mistake of Canonical. They came to us initially by offering two choices. Or we would have the Amazon store disabled by default, and all revenue from it would go to the GNOME Foundation, or we would have it turned on by default, but Canonical would get 75% of the revenue it would have. We chose the first one, and we also had the support of the board of the GNOME Foundation.
It turned out that this first approach was wrong on their part and apologized for that. So now the deal is as follows: 25% from Amazon store and from UbuntuOne store go to GNOME Foundation, the rest of Canonical gets it. Donating 25% of their own store revenue is a generous gesture, but I think the 75% of Amazon's revenue is a lot.
Anyway, I do not know what we could have done to prevent this. Ultimately it is free software!

What is Spyware?

-As now looking at the exact definition of spyware and accepting that the interpretation given by wikipedia is correct, we have:
By Spyware, we refer to a kind of malware that is hidden in a computerless way on a computer without the user knowing it and running in the background by doing things behind the back of the user. Spyware is hidden so the victim can not easily find it, gathers information about the user (websites he visits, passwords, and even credit card numbers).
It also changes settings and performs other malicious and disturbing activities.
However, we do not have a complete understanding if we do not see the individual categories of spyware (always according to wikipedia):

  1. Marketing, in which he collects information and sends it to his master, usually in order to better target advertising on specific machines.
  2. Tracking where companies are deliberately putting spyware on employee machines to monitor what they do and which websites they visit.
  3. The third category approaches classical malware, where the infected machine becomes part of a zombie army.

Obviously, in our case, regarding the Amazon lens, the first two cases apply. The third one is a feature and very widespread in Windows (especially XP).
If we make blinkers and see it more effectively, even if "legally" does not exist 100% the term spyware, in practice it is absolutely true because:

  • When a user searches for files through the dash, he updates the Canonical servers.
  • Searching for something online or specifically from amazon through the dash, personal information is also sent to Canonical, which is of course collected and collected.
  • The Amazon lens is active by default and does not inform the user. Of course, it is possible to disable the (see on this), but it's more than certain that a new user and having heard so good about Linux, has no idea about it.


NOTE: We have suggested that you disable this lens from the very first moment. However, you can do even better if you really do not need it, Delete it, just by giving the following command to your terminal:

apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping

And to say now, and rightly wrong, we Linux-members, we are accusing and blaming Windows and Apple for similar tactics. Why should we give mitigating Ubuntu?
Yes, Ubuntu was what made Linux more popular and popular. What will come in contact with him, most new users.
But let's not forget that in fact it was Canonical. That's because it was on a road that others had created, having already created a background and a ready infrastructure to stand Ubuntu (and others: Slackware, Debian, Suse, Mandrakes, etc.).
I will also agree that the clean GNU distributions proposed by the FSF (with a small exception the NewSense), they are awkward (as frustrating sometimes) and they want a particular type of hardware alone.

FSF, Revenue, and GNU:

It will also be something that has not been said so far, with all references to the issue.
The FSF has huge revenue each year, from donations, contributions, GNU product sales, events, and more. In no case do I say that there is no transparency in it. Barely.
But the point is that with these revenues the part of them, any company even insignificant until then, would be great. It would have been for years a complete and complete GNU Linux system that would show its teeth against closed software.
But that has not happened and, as they all point out, it is not. Why, I do not know it ...

We have something else that's important, and so it's a reality. You see people should not be judged by their hair, their minds, their perfume, their dressing and others that are superficial but by their works and why not? And from their selflessness.
Because I did not foresee anything that this article would have so much, I will quote something about it, once again, which the Pantelis Koukousousoulas, in a previous article (read the whole, worth):

Think about what we did with the software:
30 so many years ago, RMS lived in a world he did not like. So what did he do? First he wrote an operating system largely on his own from scratch. Second, he made a "viral" license that allowed the new way of thinking to spread "from bottom to top".
I see in a few articles the "X software / distribution is very good, it has a company / companies behind it", but the truth (that at least those who use Linux over 15 have lived it) is that the companies came after, they were not the ones who took the risk of change.
It took many sacrifices to many anonymous hackers to get to where we are and to say "coke" to any proprietary software provider trying to blackmail us because we know that if we miss something we can either do it ourselves or even circumvent it ....


For the sake of history, RMS, for this statement, has received some "unofficial" responses from Cannnical employees, but as many as I have seen, they are simply smart, rather nasty, sarcastic, and therefore irrelevant.

These "in a hurry", trying to give a somewhat more global dimension to the subject.

The view, an unemployed Linux:

I will close with a mail I received yesterday (9 / 12 / 12) from a friend of the page, Nikos M.Linux-a, a supporter of Open / Free Software, about this issue:

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Today like every year I made a donation to the debian project and ffmpeg, although this year I closed the shop and I'm unemployed.
But that will not prevent me from supporting the independence of projects that ultimately help me and my own independence and freedom.
I know well that things are driven (through debt to enslavement) but I'm not afraid.
(off topic: right now I do the subtitle in it (dhxhFcH4u3A) very interesting and scary):

I know what to do in every case.
At this time, it is important to know why the wolf is disguised as a sheep. Even in linux. And I'm not as light as Stalman.
Of course, I can not go publicly and talk flatly about a project because in it there are certainly people who have not realized that some people exploit their work and their good intentions.
Now ... I do not know what capabilities we have at the software level to respond to the threatened development of DNS control at the UN but it is mostly a political issue.
Anyway, I believe that a contribution to the possibility of donations to various projects would be good for information.

Note: There is no reason to report my name to anything I send you. There is no reason.

Here we close the article, I believe everything was said. Known or not. What do you think of them? Is it right or not? Is it fair to blame others for themselves and Ubuntu to overlook them?
Certainly, Canonical will act on its own behalf and clearly be deactivated by default, the Amazon lens will not contribute. Even with a pop-up loophole being alerted to the user, whether he wants to activate it or not, clearly and will have some losses.
On the other hand maybe and not ....
The fact is that now with portable devices and their small screen size, environments like the Unity that are absolutely friendly to them, they will be able to handle them directly but with recordings of all the user's movements.
Already already done with Android, iOS, WindowsPhone.

What do you say;

This with the Amazon lens, concerns ONLY Ubuntu with Unity's desktop environment and not with anyone else.

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