Image Source : Martin Bekkelund
Richard Stallman… Without him, there’s no Linux! He is the founder of the Free Software Foundation and the mastermind who developed the GNU (later known as GNU/Linux) OS. He is working really hard for software freedom. He fights hard to protect the free software world. But Ubuntu’s latest changes have threatened to shake the whole open source world…
With the latest Ubuntu 12.10, Canonical have introduced a new features called the shopping lens. This shopping lens will record and send all your searches (you make within Unity) to their own servers and use them to display Amazon ads which are relevant to what you searched. You can disable this feature but by default its switched on.
According to Richard, any software which spy on the users are known as malware…
Proprietary software is associated with malicious treatment of the user: surveillance code, digital handcuffs (DRM or Digital Restrictions Management) to restrict users, and back doors that can do nasty things under remote control. Programs that do any of these things are malware and should be treated as such.
– Source : fsf.org
According to him, this is something which Windows does. They also record out searches and send them to a remote server. Which breach our privacy. So, you might be wondering why Ubuntu want to do this?
This might be a great way for them to earn some money to fund their projects. Developing free software won’t give you a large profit. But according to Richard, there’s no point funding free software by shaking the whole free software world.
According to what we know, Canonical is not a company which listens much to the critiques. For example, take the Unity. A lot of people criticized it. But Ubuntu kept Unity as the default desktop. Finally, we started to realize that it was a good idea. But that doesn’t mean all their controversial ideas are good. I’m also against this shopping lens. Apart from the privacy concern, it also bring up some usability issues. Getting a lot of ads while searching make it look cluttered and difficult to pick the right result.
Canonical have plans to allow us to make online searches using Unity. These features will require more spying. Google does a lot of spying on their users. That’s their goal… They need to know everything about you… But that goal doesn’t fit an open source software.
Richard Stallman have just started a big argument. If Im correct, the creator of the Linux kernel Linus Torvalds haven’t expressed his ideas about this issue. But if he express his ideas against Ubuntu, then Canonical can immediately find a way to suicide! In the Linux world, the worst thing that can happen to you is getting criticized by Linus. He does it very well. Most of the companies that he attacked, agreed with his ideas and fixed their issues. So, if he can get into this issues, then we might be able to see an end! What do you think?