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back to article Ubuntu 13.04 beta touts search privacy - before it hooks in eBay, IMDb etc

Linux distro Ubuntu 13.04, which hit its first beta today, is already showing promise: there are small but very useful usability tweaks planned for Ubuntu's Unity user interface. Assuming you've managed to get past last year’s privacy fiasco, either by being comfortable with Canonical sending your search queries to Amazon and …

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Holmes

The only acceptable setting for these types of things is OFF until I decide to turn them on.

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search crap

The only acceptable setting for these types of things is to not even put them into the OS!

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Linux

Re: search crap

Or make them easy,to remove:

sudo apt-get remove search-bullshit

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Why not turn it off by default, Mark? If it's such a stellar feature people will turn it on of their own accord.

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Joke

Like a browser's "do not track" option, if it's off by default you clearly didn't mean it.

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Because Canonical have never made a profit, ever

Canonical are burning money and need to do something about it. I don't urgently blame them for this-anyone who cares can turn it off.

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Re: Because Canonical have never made a profit, ever

Or anyone who cares can use one of the many other Linux distros out there. For me that tends to be Linux Mint but I have also started playing with Debian a bit more too and I'm always open to giving something else a try.

Rob

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Re: Because Canonical have never made a profit, ever

Well now they might be making money but they are losing mind share. Personally I could even put up with the adware as long as it could be disabled (current situation) if I didn't have to deal with abortion of an UI that is Unity. With both forget it. That is why many are switching to Mint. It has the spirit of early Ubuntu (which rocked) much more than the off the tracks Ubuntu of today.

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The reason why it's not off is a thing called "the power of the default". The assumption is that the majority of people would never fiddle with the setting and you can reinforce this by putting the setting in a hard to find place, or showing ominous warnings when they touch it, or degrading the experience in ways which impact on them more than they need to.

They're not alone to do this. Apple buried the setting to turn off ad tracking in the system about box rather than the privacy settings where everything else exists. Facebook are dab hands at doing similar and I'm sure Google and others do it too. I'm certain they employ people not to make their app more easy to use but to make it harder to change in ways that hurt the bottom line.

Still, you have to wonder if Ubuntu is insane. The majority of its users are tech savvy and privacy conscious, not the same as the mass market. Yes they could flip a switch if it appeared but more likely they'll provoke a backlash from users who'll simply walk to another dist which takes their privacy more seriously, e.g. Mint. A few protest moves won't hurt but if it turns into an exodus it will.

Personally I've already moved to Fedora. I loved Ubuntu and thought it was going the right way for a long time. I think some of the stuff they're doing with smart phones & tablets is intriguing. But I'm fed up of Unity which is a polished turd and this ill thought out business with privacy was the kick I needed.

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Linux

I think the whole Configuration under Linux has always been a problem, if for only having to learn, and re-learn everything from scratch. But lets be honest here nobody like Canonical has made installing a workable Linux any easier. for the most part. I find there are still some huge snags out their like building the Hard Disk with custom Partitions, (Then getting them to work!).

So although this may be yet One more thing to learn under Ubuntu -> every other Ubuntu flavored Debian Linux out there (I'm looking at you Mint). I think this will only be half as complicated as the OP suggests.

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"nobody like Canonical has made installing a workable Linux any easier"

Actually, Caldera did before they were SCO - they even had ~Tetris in the installer :)

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WTF?

Pardon?

I installed (dual boot) Mint 14 on a laptop which already had Windows 8 installed recently and it was all very straightforward. Boot the livedvd, check that it all works fine on your hardware (it did), run the installer and use that to set up the partitions. All installed in under 15 minutes. All very straight forward - not sure which bit you struggled with.

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Re: Pardon?

That's nice for you Richard22 but as you say yourself it recognised all your hardware. The problem comes when harware is not recognise or is recognised incorrectly. And at 15m I'm guessing you accepted all the default options so if it were a current version of Ubuntu all your searches would be going to Cannonical and Amazon.

I have a monitor that multiple Linux distros refuse to recognise. As a result I can't get it into it's native mode of 1280 x 1024 and have to settle for a very ugly non-native 1024 x 768. I have spent several hours searching the web for a solution, and tried several supposed fixes, but there does not appear to be one. So I've wasted hours and ended up without Linux on that system.

Windows has recognised my monitor just fine from Win2k to Win7. (haven't tried Win8 with it)

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Unhappy

Re: Pardon?

I'm using Mint not Ubuntu (as mentioned), so no I don't have all my searches going via Canonical. It's a shame you haven't got your hardware setup to work with Linux, but these things go both ways. I've had more problems with hardware drivers on the Windows side than the Linux side so far on my laptop (drivers not playing nicely with Win8 - I thought it would be a good idea to take the plunge and move to a new OS for a new laptop, given that support for XP would be dropped going forwards... probably a poor decision...).

Whatever system you have, if your hardware and software don't work together it can be very painful - with Linux you have to hope that your hardware is popular enough that somebody has written drivers for it. With Windows you have to hope that whichever company produced the hardware also produced decent drivers in the first place, or can be bothered to support them, since the source code is closed.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

Now I think that the ubuntu installer is excellent, if you're installing from scratch, but somehow every time I've upgraded to a new OS, I've been presented with different reasons to find out just how good the installer is...

Basically in place upgrade always seems to do something which knackers my systems. I've got two ubuntu boxes running mythtv frontend and backend. It's all bog standard hardware and configuration, I just don't get how it fails every single time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pardon?

I feel your pain with monitor recognition - How is this still such an issue? How is it that I can lose basic stuff like recognition of 1366x768 from one version of Ubuntu to another? I'm currently having to run the aforementioned version of mythtv frontend in 1024x768 because the "upgrade" prevented it from detecting the monitor's native resolution. I did have it working with some seriously hacky scripts run at logon, but even this has stopped working.

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Re: Pardon?

As a result I can't get it into its native mode of 1280 x 1024

Sounds like it's probably a problem with the monitor's EDID information being screwed up or the monitor itself reporting invalid data, although there's always a chance that some xorg update broke something. The latter problem is a lot less common these days, and actually I think that the developers deserve a lot of respect for the work they've put into auto-detection of graphics cards and monitors. These days 99% (or a high percentage, anyway) of users won't need to edit (or even create) the xorg.conf file. Such an advance from the early days when you basically had to manually put in modelines on pretty much any system you were working on, probably followed by using xvidtune to deal with overscan and image centring ...

Anyway, for your problem, you might want to look at the xrandr command to see what X thinks the available modes are and bypass any of the layers of gunk that unity/compiz puts on top of things. It might not be the solution, but you never know... it might help. There should also be a command to dump the monitor's edid information, though I'm not sure if it's available in Ubuntu without compiling it from source yourself.

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Linux

Re: I have a monitor that multiple Linux distros refuse to recognise.

I am in that boat too.

I have an Acer X223W 1680x1050 wide screen monitor, and a new installation always treats it as 1600x1200, which sucks!!! The default setup in the GRUB bootloader just does not do wide screen well. In order to get a decent resolution on boot, I have to set the resolution at 800x600, otherwise the text size is pitifully small.

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Re: Hmm...

I so share this view!

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FAIL

Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

Would be a Linux version of the Taskmanager.exe to kill off all these seized up and frozen applications, and File Transfers I'm getting off my NAS. (oddly enough although the NAS is itself Linux as well), I experience non of this on Window7 where it just works...

Hay no wait a sec... UHHHHH

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Devil

Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

"Would be a Linux version of the Taskmanager.exe to kill off all these seized up and frozen applications, and File Transfers I'm getting off my NAS"

Check your desktop environment. KDE and XFCE both have it (and I assume GNOME does as well but can't speak from experience). There are other DE independent task managers.

But then if you've got that many seized up and frozen applications then you have bigger problems than not being able to find the process manager.

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Coat

Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

Shirley you could just run Taskmanager.exe under WINE?

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Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

gnome-system-monitor does that quite well, though I'm not sure what the Unity equivalent would be. Maybe gnome-system-monitor.

Or a combination of the ps and kill commands, if you're a command-line junkie.

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Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

I just checked: It's gnome-system-monitor under Unity. Mostly I do ps auxg | grep commandname and then kill, though; that works under any desktop system, including the 80x24 variety. :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

Hmm... Not sure why the amount of downvotes, maybe this is the famous linux community rallying round to help new users - As a few others have mentioned it's "gnome-system-monitor", you'll probably find that it's not installed by default though, which is the rub. I assume you can install it with an "apt-get install gnome-system-monitor" on Red Hat derived it's "yum install gnome-system-monitor".

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Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

Or a combination of the ps and kill commands, if you're a command

The pidof command is quite useful too, if you know what you want to kill (or check whether it's running). Internally, it's the same command as killall, which, unlike the Solaris version, gives you command help when run without any arguments instead of killing every single process that it can...

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Linux

Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

Press the Super key (probably has a Windows logo on it, for some odd reason :-), and begin typing "system monitor". After 3 characters, the System Monitor application is first in the Applications section of the dash on my system. Click it, select its Processes tab, and there you go.

To kill a process, right-click it and select "Kill Process". Or you can "Stop Process" and then later "Continue Process", or "Change Priority" higher or lower. You can also examine the crap out of it, including examining its memory map, open files, historical process data, security settings, etc.

If you have a window that's hung, try Super > xkill (not sure if I installed this from the Software Center first or not). Run it, and your cursor becomes an "X". Just click any window, and Ubuntu will terminate the process that creaetd that window with extreme prejudice. Couldn't be easier!

Hope these suggestions help. I've found Ubuntu and its Linux cousins to run circles around anything Windows provides out of the box for managing processes.

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Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

You speak like one previously burned :)

Unfortunately, yes. On multiple occasions, I'm sad to say. You'd have thought I'd learn me lesson after the first time. Alas, no.

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WTF?

Re: Of the things I'd like to see in the next...

You mean people don't all use command lines?

Wow. Did the world move on whilst I was learning VMS?

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Re: rallying round to help new users

We can only do that if he asks a question in the first place, rather than just deciding it doesn't work because it's not the same as Windows. In fact if he'd even bothered to type "task manager Ubuntu" into Google he'd have found that the first hit is "is there a task manager in ubuntu or do i have to install it ?" and the first line of the first reply is "Go in your menus to System> Administration> System Monitor". Does this say more about him or experienced Linux users?

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Stop

Shouldn't be needed

These privacy options shouldn't even be needed, because such features shouldn't be present in an operating system.

BTW: Been running Mint+Cinnamon now for a few weeks and it's working great so far. Much better than the last time I tried a Linux as a desktop OS when Bluetooth wouldn't work, the laptop wouldn't come out of suspend mode and the screen would jump 50px to the right every so often (though that was 3 years ago). Cinnamon just feels right, very impressive. It's got some of the good bits of the new Gnome without many of the bonkers bits... i.e. actually lets you use that huge expanse of desktop for something.

The great thing these days though is most distros offer a live version so you really can check it out first. Who knows I might even bother to check out Ubuntu, but probably won't.

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Go

Re: Shouldn't be needed

Could not stomack Unity, tried kubuntu, lubuntu and xubuntu (in decreasing order of liking), the went the whole hog of switching to Mint+Mate - fast, low resources usage, good default package mix, and works just like I expect it to.

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Re: Shouldn't be needed

Eh. I've willingly installed a Gnome panel widget that's the equivalent of Mac's Finder. Type in a word. It searches your documents. Then other files, then Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia online dictionaries and a bunch of other search services (or no search services) in whatever order you desire. I think it also has a calculator option, though it's been a while.

Though having it all on by default is a bit of a pain.

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Anonymous Coward

oh joy, more bloat

I'm still not seeing anything that would entice me to switch from Xubuntu. Functionally I find Unity to be an absolute pain. There's a reason why organised menus for applications have stuck around for so long, they work really, really well. With Unity you have to hit super and wait a couple of minutes for the thing to load every single fucking icon for every single application you have installed all in a jumbled mess on one page that monopolises your entire screen. Whoever thought this was a genuinely good way to present installed applications to the user on anything other than a tablet device is a fucking moron.

Then of course there's still the fact that Unity is so incredibly static and locked down that virtually nothing is configurable beyond a very basic level (oh joy I can change the width of the sidebar but not location? Fuck you)

Rant, rant, rant, grumble, grumble, grumble.

TL;DR:

Fuck Unity. XFCE is better.

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Re: oh joy, more bloat

Hmm...might I suggest running an OS of the 2010s on hardware from at least the 2000s? My 5 year old laptop does these "couple of minutes" in an instant and I have more than a few applications installed...

Also, I appreciate that you don't like Unity. That's fine, this is Linux, you have a choice -- and XFCE is a good choice. But would you mind not confusing your opinions with objective truth? Some of us do like Unity; I think it's easily the best desktop I've used in years -- I don't give a hoot about desktop configurability and I love how it lets me keyboard everything while the stupid deskrodent gathers dust. So, you use XFCE, you're happy; I use Unity, I'm happy; now if only we could quit calling each other names and swearing in the process...

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Re: oh joy, more bloat

There's a reason why organised menus for applications have stuck around for so long, they work really, really well.

Yes, they do. No argument there.

On the other hand, I've been using Unity on my netbook recently, and it's not really such a hardship. After all, I spend most of my time either running the GUI of an application or typing in a terminal window -- not interacting with the desktop.

Mind you, the netbook has a stupid squitty little 1366x768 screen and I think I'd find Unity's global menu infuriating on anything larger.

With Unity you have to hit super and wait a couple of minutes for the thing to load every single fucking icon for every single application you have installed all in a jumbled mess on one page that monopolises your entire screen.

No, you don't have to wait. You can preempt that process by carrying on typing. I don't particularly like the way the dash works, but it's not as bad as you suggest.

XFCE is better

Perhaps ... but I've been using XFCE again recently (it's the default desktop in Mythbuntu) and realizing just how much I dislike it. It doesn't seem to be any more lightweight than Gnome, but is much lighter on features. If I wanted an ascetic desktop I'd go for LXDE, if I want to get stuff done I'll eschew lightweight for functional.

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Anonymous Coward

A lot of work...

...for an OS with which in the USA (and many other territories) it is illegal to watch a DVD or a Blu-Ray.

Yes - transferring libdvdcss etc over the wire is a criminal offence in the USA.

Gotta love freedom!

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Re: A lot of work...

Agreed, but not everyone lives in the USA. Ergo, they don't give a flying fuck about silly US laws.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A lot of work...

It's not just the USA, it's any signatory to one of various WIPO/trade agreements. For example, it's also illegal in Finland, Canada and Australia. The legal argument is roughly the same; DVDs have security (CSS) and by-passing that is illegal (same for Blu-Ray).

If you want to be legal, you have to buy Fluendo or similar in order to have the correct licenses.

Otherwise you could be done.

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Windows

Re: A lot of work...

libdvdcss2 illegal in Finland??? Yowser, didn't know that. Of course, I could always buy the T-shirt with the Perl script written on the back, and type that in before Girlie does her usual 'bleach my Hard Rock Cafè" shirts into oblivion.

Alternatively, walk up the road a bit (OK, 500 Km) and ask that young kid in Norway who sorted it to stick it on my USB thingy.

Jeezzzz!!!!

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Re: A lot of work...

Anonymous Coward grunted: "For example, it's also illegal in Finland, Canada and Australia."

Slight clarification... In Canada, 'bypassing digital locks' is illegal, but owning (or downloading) the tools to do so is not. No Canadian has ever been 'done' for watching a DVD in Linux, and under the newly-revised copyright law, there's essentially no chance that anyone ever will.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A lot of work...

So you agree, it's illegal. That, to your knowledge, no one has been done (yet) is neither here nor there. Linux users without Fluendo our similar are criminals. End of discussion.

If you don't like that, speak to your elected representative. Like they'd even care.

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Happy

Privacy : The way i see it

These guys build a OS a give it out for free, if you don’t like it jump ship? There are plenty other distro's out there.

Some made by people with tinfoil hats on if thats what you crave?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Privacy : The way i see it

If it's free, YOU are the product (e.g. Google, Facebook etc).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Privacy : The way i see it

"If it's free, YOU are the product (e.g. Google, Facebook etc)."

Sometimes that's not always the case.

A Debian User

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Trollface

Re: Privacy : The way i see it

>Sometimes that's not always the case.

>A Debian User

Yeah then you find out the hard way even on the testing branch libs are so out date as to often make installing non repository progs very tricky. Nothing like needing a hacked up script to even be able to install the Steam client and getting mesa errors after you do.

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Unhappy

Question

So they are not getting rid of unity? Does it have a button that says get lost to unity, or here is Gnome or KDE. Oh well, here is to the next iteration.

@bill the sys Admin.

I love the way as soon as somebody mentions privacy they are a in the "tin hat wearing brigade". Some of us are not in the facebook, google, MSN live world where we think everyone has the right to our data. Some of us just like using a PC as a PC. Default should be 'off', allow a user to turn it 'on' if they want to open up their lives, network drive and home network. (who knows what else it gets and it will hit network traffic and download speeds / limits if everything is searched online first.)

I jumped ship a long time ago because of unity. But I like to see where it is going. (sadly downwards)

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Re: Question

Im not in the Facebook, MSN world either my friend. Given I do have a android phone and use a fair few of googles services though. They give the OS for free, these people need to make money somewhere. Right now they make money off amazon. I don’t use Ubuntu either but what irritates me is that people think they have some form of say over this. Ubuntu has moved on and changed. Shuttleworth has even decided that parts of the source are going to be closed until release.

If you want to have a say over the features and OS go to a distribution that will listen to you. Because Ubuntu wont.

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Re: Question

I'm not sure what qualifies as a button in your book, but the download for the Kubuntu version (with KDE rather than Unity) is right there on the website. Adding the stock GNOME manager on a Unity install is one extra package and if you really want, you can set up your system so that you can select a different desktop every time you log in.

BTW, I agree with your 'tinfoil' position: that switch should default to off. But, as long as the default position of the switch is the only issue, I'll live with it. (At some indefinite time in the future; for the time being I'm still on 12.04 LTS and when people ask my opinion, that's the version I recommend.)

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