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back to article Fans revolt over Amazon 'adware' in Ubuntu desktop search results

Ubuntu loyalists are furious that shopping suggestions from Amazon will be plonked into desktop search results, shown when users attempt to find stuff on their computers and the local network. Canonical, the company behind the GNU/Linux distro, has done a deal with the web bazaar to suggest products worth buying to punters. …

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Anonymous Coward

Big deal....

..remove it, that's the beauty of Linux isn't it?

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Boffin

Re: Big deal....

Or just use a different desktop environment. Unity is nice, but not practical for those who wants to get their jobs done or need the 3D blingy effects removed so the GPUs can focus on churning out that extra FPS to allow for the winning frag.

That said, looking forward to the day CDE appears in the repo. Until then, XFCE is nice enough.

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Re: Big deal....

Depends on your viewpoint..

While the technically-savvy may be able to remove it easily, the not-so-technically savvy (those who Linux actually needs to attract) may not.

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Flame

Re: Big deal....

No, it's not a big deal in the sense that you can (presumably) configure this search feature to not search beyond the local machine or simply use a different search tool (find has worked well for a couple of decades...) but this is at best Canonical being disingenuous and underhand.

Home Lens does not suggest "send my search in plain text over the net to a 3rd party". And as for the results not being ads but "integrating online scope results into the home lens of the dash"?? WTF?!? My hopeless managers would struggle to come up with bullsh*t double-speak like that!

Oh and for the record I'm a long-time Linux (and Ubuntu) user.

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CDE. Really?

Unless you are tied in some way to CDE by the environment you work in, I can see no reason to put it on to a Linux machine.

I never liked it, although it has some interesting capabilities for cross-system RPCs built into the window manager itself. Unfortunately, it felt like a bloated version of Motif, designed by committee, and foundered because it was licensed software rather than freely available. I notice that CDE is now published under LGPL, but apparently, still requires Motif or a work-a-like in order to be used.

To tell you the truth, I must look into downloading the virtual desktop version of TWM called vtwm, which was about as lightweight as you could get! That was my preferred window manager on UNIX for many years.

When I first used Linux, I stared using FVWM, but it was not the same. I notice that there appears to be a project to keep it alive now, so that's my project for tonight! If I can get it working, that could well be what I will use to make Ubuntu 12.04 usable.

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Angel

'Couple of decades'

I think you will find (pun intended) that it's over 40 years!

It appears in the UNIX Edition 1 man pages, a scan of which are still available on Dennis' home page at Alcatel Lucent http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/1stEdman.html. These man pages are dated 11/3/71 (probably American), so November 1971. I first used it on UNIX Version/Edition 6 in 1978.

It's so old that, like dd, it does not completely adhere to the UNIX command arguments convention of having flags before arguments.

I do hope that Alcatel Lucent decide to keep Dennis' home page up as a homage to one of the Great People of IT.

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FAIL

Re: Big deal....

Beg to differ. Of course one could remove it, similarly one can hold the phone differently. But why do you have to? Ubuntu is different from Windows and MacOS because most of the code is contributed and most contributors do so for free. They expect the project to uphold a certain spirit of altruism. This latest action violates that spirit and the contributors are rightfully pissed.

If Canonical wanted to make some extra cash, they could have made it a feature - allowing people to select which websites (including many online retailers) they want to appear in online section of their search. Picking just Amazon is blatant advertising. What's worse is that rather than encrypting the queries, they send them in plain tax. This is a massive fail.

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Re: 'Couple of decades'

Thanks Peter, as I typed "a couple of decades" I had the feeling that someone more knowledgeable than I would point out that it was a lot longer! :-)

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Re: Big deal....

>>That said, looking forward to the day CDE appears in the repo. Until then, XFCE is nice enough

Can't you tell APT to use different repos from a shell prompt? Im not familiar with any of the others besides yum, but it only takes a couple of commands to do it with yum. Then again, APT and its weirdness was why I switched distros a very long time ago to Fedora.

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Re: CDE?!?

Hell, even us solarisers aren't that masochistic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CDE?!?

> Hell, even us solarisers aren't that masochistic.

You sure? our sysadmin(!) is still running OpenWindows...

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Anonymous Coward

@Stuart Castle - Re: Big deal....

Those not so technically savvy people should stay with Windows. Quoting an US presidential candidate, there will always be a 47% (or more) of people that are hopeless freeloaders. They are looking at Linux to find free Windows games, free Photoshop, free Microsoft Office, free Windows. Sorry, guys, we don't have any so stay with Windows, buy those or pirate them.

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Re: CDE?!?

If you view the X window environment as a way of managing lots of xterms, then olvwm has a lot going for it. I don't know how well maintained it is now though....

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Re: CDE. Really?

I use WindowMaker. (http://windowmaker.org/, Debian package wmaker). It's old-school enough to be efficient --- it's a window manager, dammit, not a file browser/global event bus/integrated indexed search agent/graphical compositor/desktop experience expediter --- while also being modern enough to look decent and have a GUI configuration tool that actually works. It's surprisingly customisable, and all *easily* --- either by just clipping icons together on the desktop or using the config tool.

To me, it falls right in the sweet spot between the just-work-dammit behemoths like the Gnome window managers and the hard-core uberconfigurable world of ratpoison and fvwm.

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Re: Big deal....

You'd have to be pretty masochistic to use CDE, there's a reason XFCE didn't remain as a simple clone.

I use XFCE myself, it's probably the best desktop environment that still resembles what I would recognise as a WIMP. I really don't get on with Gnome 3 and Unity because of their insistence that I search for everything, even though I already know where stuff is. I know I don't have to search and there are other ways of accessing stuff but it seems like they've been deliberately obfuscated so that you're forced into using the desktop the way the developers want you to use it.

If you want something even more lightweight LXDE isn't too bad. Though you do have to put up with limited options for customisation.

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Trollface

@Fibbles

"because of their insistence that I search for everything, even though I already know where stuff is."

I look at it as a command line: the Windows' key gets me an instant "terminal", I start typing the command--perhaps using the fancy graphical auto complete--and then hit enter to run. Ditto Windows 7. I'm having to unlearn this horrible mouse habit I've picked up, but it feels like going back to my command-line roots and I'm liking it.

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Mushroom

Re: Big deal....

Probably it will detect you are on Linux and offer you an upgrade to Windows 8 lol....

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Re: @Fibbles

I know you're trolling but this whole superiority complex that CLI users have really is tiresome. I work as a graphic artist which means using a stylus and tablet for input most of the time. Reaching over to the keyboard so that I can search for something every time I want to open a file or program is detrimental to my work flow.

The way you use a computer is not the only way and it's certainly not the best way for certain tasks. Learn to deal with it.

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Linux

Re: Big deal....

No problem for me, If they put this junk on Ubuntu, i will just reach for my little bag of "Mint"s and enjoy.

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Anonymous Coward

@Fibbles - Re: @Fibbles

Then you clearly don't need Linux so why are you posting here ? Just to show us your Windows superiority complex ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Fibbles - @Fibbles

Who mentioned Windows? Oh yeah - you did. Fibbles didn't.

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Re: Big deal....

Can't you tell APT to use different repos from a shell prompt?

That is not so easy with Ubuntu: Some Ubuntu packages are named identical to Debian packages but the contents are quite different, so installing Debian packages has the potential to brick an Ubuntu system.

PS: People used to apt & pbuilder think that rpm is double-plus-weird ;-)

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Alert

Re: Big deal....

Yup, or just use the Ubuntu Desktop Remix when we get to 14.04

http://www.ubuntu.com/business/desktop/remix

Assuming the shopping lens has not been dropped by then. Anyone who wants to get work done should be on 12.04 anyway.

Interesting how this 'feature' got added to 12.10 after the feature freeze...

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Re: @Fibbles - @Fibbles

What? I didn't even mention Windows....

You're right that I don't need Linux, but I do prefer it. I have a Windows 7 installation running inside a VM so that I can isolate it from the internet. This means I can run it without AV and other cruft on one monitor whilst on the other I have Firefox, irc, etc. Ideally I'd rather be rid of it completely. Unfortunately while I've been able to replace the limited subset of features I used in Photoshop with Gimp and myPaint (I used it for digital painting), I've not been able to find a FOSS vector program that is as feature rich as Illustrator (I make use of most of it's features). Hopefully this will change in the future, or Adobe will port the program.

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Pint

Re: Big deal....

My thoughts exactly!

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Flame

Re: @Fibbles - @Fibbles

Folks use Linux for amused accomplishment, not for need, and simultaneously bytch-slapping *nix into the beauty-is-truth motif. So stop drooling ugly on people with **real** work to accomplish. Return to your howling pack of straggle.hair Slackmolian/Debiolian/LFSrillion GNUites tapping away babbling scriptoids on clickity-clack 30-lb IBM keyboards.

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Hmm

It seems April 1 came late this year.

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Never been happier to be a Kubuntu user. :-) Better sling those guys another donation to keep going.

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Joke

Don't worry

First they practice on the main distribution, then they'll check how to embed this in all supported variants...

Somewhat meant jokingly but even so; do you really think they'll stop here is there's money to be made?

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Re: Don't worry

Kubuntu is no longer an official spin. :-) Lost funding, but also lost some of Ubuntu's more demented decisions.

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FAIL

Another reason

Why I stuck at 10.04. Does all I want

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Fark Ubuntu!

Time to revert to good old Debian! Same thing, just no pwning...

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Re: Fark Ubuntu!

Time to revert to good old Debian!

Except ... Power management is the dogs shite to get working with straight Debian stable. I gave up and installed Linux Mint on my old Lenovo X61s - Mint "Maya" AMD64 worked straight out of the box, even the strange WLAN adapter and volume buttons worked immediately.

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Boffin

Re: Fark Ubuntu!

Of course power management is dog shite in Debian stable. The packages are generally years old. That's the main reason I take risks and run Sid on my other Linux box (I have three, each with a different distro...) in the first place.

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Mushroom

Ubuntu...

... you are dead to me.

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Re: Ubuntu...

This. I'd only just got a feel for it (as in, toes dipped ever so slightly in the cold piranha infested murky waters that is Linux).

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Re: Ubuntu...

Keep dipping those toes, just try a different desktop environment. You can even install some of the alternatives via the Software Centre and then select which one you want to use at the login screen.

Try searching for Kubuntu or Xubuntu. Or just KDE or XFCE if you just want the desktop without their specific application sets (media players, torrent program, irc program, office applications, simple games, etc).

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Boffin

Re: Ubuntu...

@TechnicalBen

More gellied eels than piranhas. You can just remove the 'shopping lens' and continue to use 12.10, or just use 12.04 for a good while.

Looking further afeild, Debian works great, and CentOS/Scientific Linux/PUIAS will give you an insight into the Red Hat way of the world.

I'll get thumbs down for this, but using a separate /home and root partitions on the hard drive helps when you want to swap distributions to see which suits.

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Re: Ubuntu...

Well, I use separate home and root partitions too. Although I've gone one step farther in the past and actually had home and root partitions on different drives at one point in history!

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Re: Ubuntu...

>'ll get thumbs down for this, but using a separate /home and root partitions on the hard drive helps when you want to swap distributions to see which suits.

Don't put yourself down. Sensible people do use separate parts for things: /home /var /opt etc.

Versatiltiy is the nature of Linux. WTF would you want to keep your data on the same part as software, settings, logs etc.?

Thumbs up from me!

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Anonymous Coward

I guess this will be another thing Windows can't do for Linux users to crow about...

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Diddums

>I guess this will be another thing Windows can't do for Linux users to crow about...

Oh dear! You mean you can't (or don't know how to) configure a disk/file system properly?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/linux_32.png

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Anonymous Coward

Running out of money Shuttleworth?

Ubuntu only exists because of the money he has been willing to throw away year on year to keep his pet project going. Now it looks like he has learned that giving everything away for free only leads to bankruptcy and decided that Ubuntu is going to have to earn its keep somehow and generate some money which in turn leads to the unsurprising cries of ' how dare you try to monetise me' from those who don't realise yet that their 'free' software does not magically appear from nothing.

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Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

Oh,

you mean like Fedora, or Debian or any one of the rest of the linux distros that don't pull this crap?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

But it does appear from nothing!!

All the improvements have come from all the users out there recompiling their own kernels and hacking the source to get what they need! You don't need paid developers for that!

Where the hell did all the money go? :P

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Linux

Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

Close but not quite.

All of the improvements have come from upstream projects that have nothing to do with Canonical and aren't paid for by Shuttleworth. Ubuntu isn't even the frosting on the cake. It's the letters on the frosting on the cake. Linux is a collaborative community effort and Canonical takes much more than it gives.

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Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

"All the improvements have come from all the users out there recompiling their own kernels and hacking the source to get what they need! You don't need paid developers for that!"

That isn't right at all. Open source software is worked on by a lot of paid developers. In 2011 the Linux kernel alone received 75% of it's contributions from paid developers. The reason a lot of people don't realise this is because these developers don't work for some visible Linux Software Corporation but for Red Hat, Novell, Intel, IBM, Oracle, Nokia, Fujitsu, Texas Instruments, Broadcom and Google. Hell even Microsoft pays developers to contribute to the Linux kernel.

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Anonymous Coward

@Fibbles - Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

That's exactly what he's saying, Canonical didn't have to pay those developers a dime, they got their contribution for free. As for Microsoft paying devs to work on Linux kernel, it is a little bit over the top. Surely you meant Microsoft is paying lawyers to work on Linux kernel or if you prefer, developers to plant patent mines deep inside Linux kernel. That's more like it!

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