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Ubuntu Will Now Have Amazon Ads Pre-Installed


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"Scheduled to be released next month, Ubuntu 12.10 now includes both Amazon ads in the user's dash and by default an amazon store in the user's launcher. The reason for these 'features'? Affiliate revenue. Despite previous controversies with Banshee and Yahoo, Canonical is 'confident it will be an interesting and useful feature for our 12.10 users.' But are the 'users' becoming products?"....

 

http://yro.slashdot....s-pre-installed

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Not something I would like to see with any GNU/Linux I install. Not as though it will ever happen for Arch B)

 

However the more companies like Amazon that Coniacal can con vince to get on board the quicker penguins will become the norm. B)

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Hi Folks,

 

I read an article on this very topic at OMG Ubuntu quoting Mark Whats-his-name...

 

http://www.omgubuntu...-adware-feature

 

The section of the article that got me was....

 

Finally, on the question of privacy, he writes:

“We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.”

 

Mmmm trust..... Well maybe that's why I use Mageia - sorry Mark :whistling:

 

Regards

Jim

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1. John Lenton, who is the Senior Engineering Manager in the Online Services of canonical, has this to say: http://planet.debian.org/deriv/

 

2. Oliver Ries explained on the Ubuntu Development mailing list yesterday: http://www.omgubuntu...in-ubuntu-12-10

“…if a user clicks the item and purchases it, it will generate affiliate revenue that we can invest back into the project (in a similar way to how we generate revenue from the Firefox search

bar).

We have found affiliate revenue to be a good method of helping us to continue to invest in maturing and growing Ubuntu.”

 

3.

sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping

makes it all go away - same url ref as # 2, above.

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  • 2 weeks later...

lol (sorta...) at the "bug"

:icon8: at mark shuttleworth's comments on "trust"

 

and no, i do not trust him. do you?

 

ps

thanks, jimtheplanner for those.

Edited by Temmu
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Ubuntu is one of the distros I use here. I stick with LTS versions, so I won't even see this "feature" on my machines until a few years down the road.

 

If they haven't gotten rid of it by then, sudo apt-get purge unity-lens-shopping will certainly be one of the first commands I run.

 

Looks like it'll be possible to turn it off, anyway: http://www.omgubuntu...xes-nsfw-issues

 

Also, it isn't like anyone's being forced to use Ubuntu.

 

Seems to me that throughout Ubuntu's existence, Canonical has, over and over again, like clockwork, come up with some new idea that stirs things up and gets the Linux world into an uproar. I've come to expect it.

 

Yet, with each LTS release, I find that I can still take what they put out there (at no cost to me, by the way), tweak it to suit my tastes and needs, and use it as I see fit. If/when that stops being the case, I won't be installing Ubuntu anymore. It's really as simple as that. From what I've read so far, this shopping lens issue hasn't changed anything for me.

Edited by saturnian
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Guest LilBambi

Sadly, you shouldn't have to turn it off. And how many new Linux Explorers around the world will think that Ubuntu is a good choice for simplicity's sake never realizing that they are becoming the product with Ubuntu like they are for Google and Apple, and now Microsoft too.

 

I knew it was a bad idea to start that revenue generating search with Mozilla's Firefox. It opened a whole big can of worms.

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Sadly, you shouldn't have to turn it off.

 

Very true -- no disagreement here at all. It should be totally opt-in.

 

 

And how many new Linux Explorers around the world will think that Ubuntu is a good choice for simplicity's sake never realizing that they are becoming the product with Ubuntu like they are for Google and Apple, and now Microsoft too.

 

That's a good point, too. But perhaps very few people would be using Ubuntu without knowing about this issue, as much as it's being discussed.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

RMS has a few words to say about this; I totally agree with him on this.

 

If you ever recommend or redistribute GNU/Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend or redistribute. If its practice of installing and recommending nonfree software didn't convince you to stop, let this convince you.

 

http://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/ubuntu-spyware-what-to-do

 

Friends don't let friends Ubuntu. :D

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securitybreach

I hate to say it but I agree with you Sunrat. I started suggesting LinuxMint over Ubuntu a couple of years ago before Canonical's "changes".

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V.T. Eric Layton

I've been installing Mint for my converts for quite some time now. I even occasionally install Zorin or Bodhi for them. It's been a while since I installed an Ubuntu anywhere, though. I don't have anything against Unity or any such qualms. However, this advertisement thing is something totally different. I said a long time ago in a blog article at my old LockerGnome blog that Shuttleworth was prepping Ubuntu to be a profit-making tool eventually. I received a dump truck load of nasty and mean comments about that prophecy, too. Well, lookee here...

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I said a long time ago in a blog article at my old LockerGnome blog that Shuttleworth was prepping Ubuntu to be a profit-making tool eventually.

 

Well, just to come at things from another angle...

 

I'm not exactly sure that there's anything wrong with Ubuntu being a "profit-making tool." Doesn't Clem try to make money from Linux Mint? Or is he trying to donate his time without making a profit?

 

I see this on the main page of the Linux Mint forums page:

 

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.

 

I guess there isn't anything in the installed Linux Mint that's like Unity's shopping lens, but there sure are ads at the Mint forums and at the main website, and donations are certainly, um, encouraged.

 

I never cared for the Minty Google search thing... And, seems to me that it was a good bit more difficult to get around that than it is to turn off Unity's shopping lens.

 

If someone new to Linux asked me about distros, I'd mention Mint. I'd also mention Ubuntu. But I try to not to make recommendations to people. I'd rather give them what info I can and let them make their own decisions.

Edited by saturnian
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V.T. Eric Layton

I see your points, sat. However, to me anyway, there is a big difference between saying, "Hey we could use a few bucks to keep the lights on in here" and a commercial product such as MS Windows. One is asking for funding to continue the project. The other is selling their product primarily to make a profit. There's nothing wrong with a commercial product making a profit. If Ubuntu wants to go commercial, that's fine too. Do it honestly, though. Package and market it like a commercial product. Don't use sneaky data-mining Google methods to make a buck off people; although, this seems to be the method of choice for many enterprises these days.

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securitybreach

I see your points, sat. However, to me anyway, there is a big difference between saying, "Hey we could use a few bucks to keep the lights on in here" and a commercial product such as MS Windows. One is asking for funding to continue the project. The other is selling their product primarily to make a profit. There's nothing wrong with a commercial product making a profit. If Ubuntu wants to go commercial, that's fine too. Do it honestly, though. Package and market it like a commercial product. Don't use sneaky data-mining Google methods to make a buck off people; although, this seems to be the method of choice for many enterprises these days.

 

My thoughts exactly, I could not of said it better :thumbsup:

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It is not clear to me that the "revenue Mint users generate when they see and click on ads within search engines" (see "Search engines," http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1851), which admittedly "is quite significant," is primarily for funding the project rather than for making a profit. Perhaps someone else can shed some light on this.

 

On the other hand, how profitable has Ubuntu been? How profitable is it now?

 

It was Ubuntu installation CDs that were being sent out to people, worldwide, postage paid, for years -- not Linux Mint CDs.

 

I haven't run Mint in a couple of years; I think that they no longer have the customized Google search, but I'm not sure. However, I was just as appalled by that as others seem to be about Unity's shopping lens. The customized Google search was the first thing that I'd get rid of when I installed Mint -- just as one of the first things I'll do when I install the next Ubuntu version will be to uninstall the shopping lens (I have 12.04 installed here -- no shopping lens).

 

Not trying to be too critical of Linux Mint, but it appears to me that the things that Ubuntu and Mint are doing to raise revenue are not all that different. In each case, those things seem to be "forced on" the distro's users. But there seems to be this idea that what one does is "evil" while what the other does is "good." I'm just not so sure about that.

 

I get the impression that Ubuntu isn't making much money, but that an effort is now being made to keep it from continuing to lose money.

 

I'm sure that Shuttleworth isn't hurting for money; I get the feeling that Clem isn't, either.

 

A recent comment from Mint forum member "bimsebasse":

 

...apart from the brand new shopping lens, which can be disabled easily, Ubuntu is more FOSS than Mint...

 

I thought that was an interesting comment considering the title of this thread.

 

bimsebasse went on to say:

 

Really can't figure why such a fuss is made about this...some even like the amazon results in the search and certainly with all the huge amount of investment Shuttleworth makes in ubuntu, he shouldn't be criticized for wanting to get a bit of $ back....

 

Let's not forget the Mintified google search pages in Firefox/Chrome/ium which generate income for Mint and which you can't disable through a GUI.

 

Canonical makes some questionable decisions but adding Amazon shopping support to the dash, and an option to disable it easily, is not one of them - it's not evil either

 

It's a bit shocking to experience how somewhat hysterical, unbalanced and unfounded opinions can ignite half the online Linux community, huge swarms just going with it without stopping to think. Hopefully Mint doesn't find itself at the wrong end of a Wave of Overreaction any time soon!

 

Personally, I feel that both Ubuntu and Linux Mint are great projects, and great for the Linux world. I'm a fan of both, and I'll probably install Mint here again at some point. However, I tend to prefer Debian.

 

 

Straying from the topic at hand, I'd like to list the main reasons why, after years of running LTS versions of each, side by side, I stopped installing Mint (by the way, I currently use several distros, including Debian and Ubuntu):

 

- Having to go to the trouble of getting rid of the "Mintified" Google search pages really annoyed me.

- I like to use Synaptic in Debian-based distros, but Linux Mint ships a "crippled" version of Synaptic -- there is no "Mark All Upgrades" button, and a work-around was required to get it back.

- I felt that Mint offered me no significant advantages over what Ubuntu offered. Again, this was after some years of running both distros, and it's only my opinion, but that's how I saw the situation.

- I found that most of the time, if I ran into a problem with Linux Mint, it was easier to find the solution in Ubuntu's documentation than to find it in Mint's forums or documentation.

- The two distros ultimately felt like the same distro in different clothing, with almost all the same packages available from the same repos.

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Guest LilBambi

Well, I think there is a difference between placing ads on a website to help pay for real costs like bandwidth, etc. and having ads within your own/my own installed OS.

 

I will NEVER install a Linux OS that allows ads within the installed OS on my computer. That is a commercial/profit thing. Not just trying to pay for bandwidth and other tangible costs.

 

BTW: I block ads on all sites. But that's just me. Tell me how I block them in an installed OS? HOSTS File? I don't want a non-reversible (or manual editing entries in a HOSTS file) way to block ads. Some website are buttheads enough to prevent loading or delaying loading measurably if you block ads entirely. But I do want to temporarily have granular control to allow or disallow ads and ad servers.

 

But that is me.

Edited by LilBambi
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Tell me how I block them in an installed OS?

 

In the case of Ubuntu's Unity, isn't it a simple matter of using some other desktop, or else of running a command like sudo apt-get purge unity-lens-shopping, or just turning the feature off as was mentioned earlier in the thread? I wonder if we are making this out to be a bigger deal than it really is.

Edited by saturnian
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I will NEVER install a Linux OS that allows ads within the installed OS on your computer.

 

Is it not true, though, that Mint's search engine ads that help generate revenue come with the installed system?

 

Well it should of been opt-in versus running it by default on new installations.

 

I agree 100%.

 

Anyway, just sort of throwing some thoughts out there, because I'm seeing this issue in a somewhat different light (and so are other people).

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And I suppose one thing that I guess we can all agree is still a good thing is that Ubuntu is still free to download and use.

 

I would prefer that the lens be opt-in instead of opt-out. But for me, turning it off will be as trivial as other tweaks I do with Ubuntu -- changing from the default wallpaper, etc. -- if what I've read is correct.

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Well, I think there is a difference between placing ads on a website to help pay for real costs like bandwidth, etc. and having ads within your own/my own installed OS.

 

I will NEVER install a Linux OS that allows ads within the installed OS on your computer. That is a commercial thing. Not just trying to pay for bandwidth and other tangible costs.

 

BTW: I block ads on all sites. But that's just me. Tell me how I block them in an installed OS? HOSTS File? I don't want a non-reversible way to block ads. Some website are buttheads enough to prevent loading or delaying loading measurably if you block ads entirely. But I do want to granularly disallow ads and ad servers.

 

But that is me.

Warning, turn on your cliche filter!! I think some people are making mountains out of molehills and looking a gift horse in the mouth. You think it is OK to defray operating cost via ads but not production cost? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It would be OK with me if there wasn't even a way to turn off the ads in Unity. Nobody is forcing me to use it. They are offering me something for free and if they can defray some of the cost of doing so via ads, so be it. Even this forum is supported by ads and, though I seldom bother reading them, I don't turn them off. If Scot can make a few bucks by recording my visits to the forum as "hits" to the ad companies, so much the better.
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Guest LilBambi

No, I think it is OK to do it on websites where I/users can block them with granularity versus having it built into the OS/GUI that can only be blocked (maybe) through a HOSTS file where I/we have no control except to manually edit a HOSTS file.

 

No way to turn it off? Sure there is. Don't install Ubuntu.

Edited by LilBambi
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Guest LilBambi

Well it should of been opt-in versus running it by default on new installations.

 

Exactly. Me too! Opt-in is the only way stuff like this should be handled ... and it should be explained not only why but what ad servers, ad companies are involved. Some are not acceptable. We should have much greater control than that on OUR OWN OSES!

 

I agree 100%.

 

Anyway, just sort of throwing some thoughts out there, because I'm seeing this issue in a somewhat different light (and so are other people).

 

No worries Saturnian. Totally understand. :D

Edited by LilBambi
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V.T. Eric Layton

Free doesn't always mean free. FOSS doesn't necessarily preclude making a profit. Free and Open Source is not necessarily "free-as-in-beer", as the saying goes.

 

Anywho... it costs $$$ in this world to do anything. Even Slackware needs to beg occasionally. That's just reality. I wish Ubuntu, Mint, and all the Linuxes out there best of luck. I'd hate to see any of them go by the wayside; that diminishes our choices.

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Guest LilBambi

I agree. Free doesn't always mean free. I have no problem with open source projects making money by charging an outright price. I would at least have a choice of buying or not. Like any other commercial product. I have no problem with begging for donations either. Again you have a choice.

Edited by LilBambi
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