Ubuntu is good for privacy?

If you allow Ubuntu to download or even just check for software updates - which pretty much you do want to do! - then you are leaking a certain amount of information anyway.

That would apply to many distros.

I would argue that a “leak” is unexpected behavior and doesn’t apply to these.


I don’t see how Cononical can get away with any secret spying. Canonical seems to be no different than Google, except that Cononical doesn’t steal as much information from you as Google does. But they are both theives to some degree. Cononical’s integrity seems to be irrevocably lost if they got caught doing any spying at all, especially for the purposes of selling the information. If it came out that one of the major banks was caught stealing money by deducting small amounts of money from the accounts of its account holders, the attitude wouldn’t be “Oops, my bad. We will steal less and try not to get caught in the future”. It would be game over for them and there would be some kind of a punative cost that is big enough to provide a credible deterance against their doing it ever again. Would you rather do business with a very effective and successful business partner who cheats you every once in a while when he thinks you,re not watching, or an honest partner who is not as successful as the partner who cheats you. Information is money. And theft is theft. Even if you get your Ubuntu OS for free, that doesn’t mean that the secret spying on you isn’t theft.

I would rather pay a subscription fee to a company like Cononical (but not to Cononical now), then to knowingly allow them to violate my trust. When a company like Cononical steals information from you without being up-front about what you are actually paying for their OS, they are actually worse than Google who makes it clear that their price for your use of their service, is their access to your information. Cononical has broken a sacred trust. I plan to replace my Ubuntu OS with some other OS the next time I install an OS. Hopefully enough other people will do the same. We’ve got one more reason now to go with PureOS.

And in response to the person who says that they weren’t affected by Cononical’s spying, just because the thief didn’t steal from you this time, doesn’t mean that they won’t steal from you in the future. This has everything to do with the integrity of who you’re doing business with and not about how to stop them from stealing from you or theoretically, how someone who was stolen from could have prevented being stolen from, in retrospect.


Yes, fair enough, it’s easy enough to disable. I don’t think it’s too bad either, but I just didn’t like things akin to fetching advertising in a motd.

This can be somewhat avoided by setting a local apt mirror, shared by multiple machines. Also you control when you do updates, you could wait until you are on a trusted network. That said, yes that is indeed not specific to Ubuntu.


um ? CentOS ? :sweat_smile:

Power management is broken on last CentOS. CPU works under 3.1 GHz all the time and makes scary sounds (squeak).

Debian with backported Mesa 20 is best option, but Mesa 20 doesn’t compile under Debian. I tried many versions of Mesa starting from 19 and just can’t get it work.

Do you have any evidence to back up your claims? Not for what I specifically quotes here but foe your claims against Canonical. If they are true it is important for others to know.

Because comments like this:

make me think you need to loosen your tin foil hat, because it seems to be cutting off circulation.

I mean really, how can you be secretly spied on, if the only parts of Ubuntu that you have to use are all open source?

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“Overt” spying then. By the “least intrusive means”, is usually how it is worded.

If you read Richard Stallman’s article linked to near the top of this thread, you’ll see that Cononical has code running in Ubuntu that collects your personal information from network searches to make it possible for Amazon to advertise to you. The fact that the information is used in aggregate and is not given to Amazon is irrelevant. If a bank were to steal ten cents from each of millions of customers, that small theft from many would still be called theft. Cononical’s malicious code is wholly unacceptable because of what it does, not because of how much it steals. I trust what Richard Stallman wrote. No tin hat is required.


@StevenR - As you say - searches on a local computer was sent to canonical, and amazon - This problem has been fixed so that it isn’t done by default, so the problem is mitigated. BUT, it says a whole lot that Canonical would enable this by default, even if they changed it after.

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Exactly, Cononical changed the default ‘theft mode’ to be opt-in instead, because they got caught and because getting caught makes them look bad. Where is Cononical’s apology announcement that promises that they will never do it again? In the absence of such an apology announcement that tells us that they do not believe in doing business this way, you know they’re going to do it again. As far as I am concerned, Ubuntu (even as good as it is) is a poisoned operating system. The ethics of its creators are flawed. The kernel itself might just as well have technical flaws. The result is the same to me because the reliability is proven to be low in features that I care about.

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Sounds like the Pope saying his statements are infallible but abrogated by some other Pope generations later. (Implied Canonical pun intended but that would really take a church council, like one at Nicea in 325.)

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Hmmm, that does suck. I agree with you that it seems they got caught and this prompted a course correction. But wouldn’t this be the protection of Open Source in action? And therefore, wouldn’t my question still stand? How could they steal if the code letting them do so is transparent to the user?

I think they have every right to try to generate revenue for their efforts, but think that there are ways to do that which don’t require unethical actions. The way Elementary OS does not provide a download link until a donation has been made for example, is one way to do more than just suggest it would be a good idea to donate for the software.

Maybe I’ll give Pop OS another shot.

Regarding Mr. Stallman, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Yes, Cononical does have a right to make a profit, just as much as Purism does. But notice the differences in the business models of those two companies. Actually, Google is more honest than Cononical is. If you agree to see a prostitute and pay their price, you can"t blame them. Cononical was not as honest. With Google, I don’t like them because they extort me. If I don’t agree to give up my privacy, I can’t use many of my phone’s features. I wish I could trust them enough and if they would let me pay their price in cash instead. This extortion model is terrible. But at least the relationship is honest. They’re not sneaking anything in while my defenses are down as Cononical did in this case because I have agreed to allow them to do it. In business, just because you take advantage of someone less sophisticated than you are, doesn’t make it right. Personally, I don’t review the source code for every program that I use. But until now, I just trusted Cononical. I really wouldn’t mind paying a monthly subscription fee if necessary, to gain full privacy. But Cononical won’t offer those terms either. I pay way too much by allowing the ads and snooping. I’ll look in to Elementary OS.

I think you might be missing the bigger picture with Canonical. They are an important part of the Debian stack. They have in many cases, nearly single handedly, advanced the Linux desktop. How many distros rely on what Canonical does? This is a large network of checks and balances.

And given what open source is supposed to do for privacy and security, I’d say this snafu with Canonical is a chink in those supposed virtues.

How did the legion of distros dependent on Ubuntu not notice Amazon backdoor action?

Sorry I still don’t see a reason not to trust Canonical. To not trust this is to not trust open source ideology.

proof that only a Pope can kick another Pope’s ass :joy: … if anybody else does that then it’s a sin. conclusion > if you want to refute what the Pope says you better BECOME the Pope yourself :rofl:

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I don’t think Canonical’s nearly as important as you make them out to be. Ubuntu is a dying distro struggling to stay relevant. The only people who still like it are people who haven’t used it in over 10 years but remember when it used to be good.

Canonical has advanced the Linux desktop exactly once. Ever since then, it’s been one failure after another. Upstart, Unity, Mir. Add Snap to the list once they finally give up on that.

Even if Canonical has learnt their lesson with the Amazon snafu, why would you take that risk when you’ve got so many other distros to choose from? Distros that don’t have this permanent black mark on their record.

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The most important thing that Ubuntu did in my opinion is that it shifted the Linux world from distros based on Red Hat to distros based on Debian.

When I first installed Linux in 1999, everyone was using distros based on rpm (Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, etc.) and the tools developed by Red Hat. Ubuntu helped make the Debian family the dominant variety of Linux.

I give Canonical a great deal of credit for popularizing Linux on the desktop after the internet crash and Red Hat and SUSE had given up on desktop Linux as not being profitable. Because of Ubuntu, most of the people who learned to use Linux after 2004 learned with Debian tools. I think this important, because it means that the direction of Linux is not controlled by a corporate entity such as IBM/Red Hat or SUSE, but by a community of 3000 volunteers at Debian. Of course, companies like Intel, IBM/Red Hat, Linaro, SUSE, AMD and TI do most of the development work on the kernel, and IBM/Red Hat has a huge amount of control over GTK/GNOME, but we are no longer in a world where a company like Red Hat can harm desktop Linux as it did in 2002 when Red Hat switched to RHEL with high licensing fees and gave up on marketing desktop Linux.

Sadly, Canonical has shifted away from desktop Linux since 2017, so it becoming less relevant. At this point, Linux laptop sellers like System76 and Purism are the biggest promoters of desktop Linux, and they don’t have the resources of IBM/Red Hat, SUSE and Canonical to pay for development.

I think that Canonical had the right idea with mobile Linux, but the essential problem was that it gave up on producing its own hardware because it only raised $12 million in crowdfunding for its Edge, and it thought that $32 million was necessary to produce a Linux phone. Canonical’s hardware partners (BQ and Meizu) never properly marketed Ubuntu Touch phones. To make mobile Linux work, you have to have a hardware company that markets it to the global tech enthusiast community, as PINE64 and Purism are now doing, and focuses on the things that Android and iOS can’t provide (software freedom, user rights, ability to tinker and open hardware, privacy and good convergence), so users are willing to suffer through the privations of being early adopters.


i believe we already have a thread opened here on the Purism forum about systemd so no need to expand about that in this thread …

… and let’s not forget that Raspbian is also in the Debian family, and there are a lot of Raspberry Pi computers in the world.