Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Ubuntu Spyware: What to Do?

Filed under
OSS
Ubuntu

One of the major advantages of free software is that the community protects users from malicious software. Now Ubuntu GNU/Linux has become a counterexample. What should we do?

Once in a while, users who know programming find that a free program has malicious code. Generally the next thing they do is release a corrected version of the program; with the four freedoms that define free software (see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html), they are free to do this. This is called a "fork" of the program. Soon the community switches to the corrected fork, and the malicious version is rejected. The prospect of ignominious rejection is not very tempting; thus, most of the time, even those who are not stopped by their consciences and social pressure refrain from putting malfeatures in free software.

But not always. Ubuntu, a widely used and influential GNU/Linux distribution, has installed surveillance code. When the user searches her own local files for a string using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends that string to one of Canonical's servers. (Canonical is the company that develops Ubuntu.)

This is just like the first surveillance practice I learned about in Windows.

rest here




More in Tux Machines

Bad Saved Games, Fedora Scheduling, and Scribbling

In tonight's Linux news, GamingOnLinux.com poster says "game saves are messing up our drives" - stop it! Phoronix.com is reporting on discussions of changing Fedora release schedule. Jack Germain says Scribbleton creates a personal local wiki to store anything from notes to books and Opera 25 draws near. Read more

Musique for Linux Review – A Minimalistic Player for You and Your Music

Musique is a minimalistic music player for the Linux platform that features a simple and clean interface. It's not like there is a lack of open source music players, so we've decided to see if this one is any good. Read more

CentOS 5.11 Officially Released, Probably the Last One in the Series

As you all know already, CentOS is an Enterprise-class Linux Distribution derived from sources provided by Red Hat. This is the eleventh update for the distribution and probably the last one. It features all the packages from all variants, including Server and Client, and the upstream repositories have been merged into a single one. Red Hat announced less than a month ago the release of their last update for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, 5.11. It stands to reason that CentOS 5.11 will also be the last update in the series. Read more

England's Healthwatch switches to open source CRM

England's Healthwatch organisations are now using CiviCRM, an open source solution for customer relationship management. "Open source affords access to a wide community of developers, which means that the software continues to develop and security updates and bug fixes are regularly rolled out", explains Tim Schofield, the organisation's interim systems manager. Read more