back to article Ubuntu wants to slurp PCs' vital statistics – even location – with new desktop installs

Desktop computers powered by future versions of Ubuntu GNU/Linux may collect information on the PCs – unless users opt out. "We want to be able to focus our engineering efforts on the things that matter most to our users, and in order to do that we need to get some more data about sort of setups our users have and which …

  1. Mayday Silver badge
    Flame

    User needs

    "We want to be able to focus our engineering efforts on the things that matter most to our users"

    How about a small amount of privacy and not needing to slurp everything I do or see?

    Also consider the average Linux user is more savvy than an average Windows user when it comes to this sort of thing and can just change distro. Windows users like your mum and dad dont know anything else and/or generally wont/dont care.

    1. Beau
      Flame

      Re: User needs

      "Windows users like your mum and dad don't know anything else and/or generally wont/don't care."

      Hay! I'm a Linux user, I do admit it's not Ubuntu. And I'm well the wrong side of 70, a Dad, and a Granddad, and this year will become a Great Granddad as well! So there you youngsters!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: User needs

        Well, I'm a grandad, and me DearOldMum has been a Linux user for around 10 years now. Dad's been a Linux user since 1999 ... although he (like myself) has kept a Win2K machine around for AutoCAD2K ... air-gapped, of course.

        1. el_oscuro

          Re: User needs

          My Dad is almost 80 and a great grandad. Besides Linux, he also has a Mac and Windows 7 (safely disconnected from the network of course). His old system76 was about to give up the ghost, so I ordered him a new bare bones and gave him a link to the Ubuntu ISO. Not wanting to fuss with BIOS settings and such, he went to Fry's to get a teenager to install it for him for $50. Afterwards, I had him install the full development toolkit:

          sudo apt-get install build-essential dos2unix unix2dos

          With that he is in full business

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: User needs

        > I'm well the wrong side of 70

        It's always bothered when I was doing requirements when people would use that idiotic cliche "so easy that your mum could use it". Considering that in my mother's generation computers were much more difficult to use than today (you basically had to know how to build them to know how to use them), I knew right away I was sitting in front of an imbecile when those words were uttered.

    2. SolidSquid

      Re: User needs

      I could see this as plausable if they hadn't previously integrated the system search with Amazon, providing affiliate links which would make them money, as a default feature. Now I'm wondering if this really is just being helpful or if it's another way we'll find out they planned to profit

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: User needs

      "Windows users like your mum and dad dont know anything else and/or generally wont/dont care."

      My parents are long gone. I'm the senior around here, a Linux user and Unix user since well before Windows was even a thing. SWMBO (who, in fact is really the senior round here) is right now sitting working on her Debian laptop. Two of my older cousins have also been converted to Zorin. It's my children and grandchildren who're on Windows.

      TL;DR Stop making ageist assumptions. And put the apostrophes in "don't" and "won't".

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: User needs

        'TL;DR Stop making ageist assumptions. And put the apostrophes in "don't" and "won't".'

        And get off our lawn!

        1. wayward4now
          Linux

          Re: User needs

          "And put the apostrophes in "don't" and "won't".'

          And get off our lawn!"

          How about if you can't use apostrophes, get off my lawn! That has eclat!

    4. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: User needs

      You know, I'd be quite happy to tell a vendor of free software a little bit about the hardware I'm running, as long as it was *really* upfront about exactly what information it was, and how it would be anonymised.

      I trust Ubuntu about as far as I could throw an uninterruptible power supply.

    5. DougS Silver badge

      Uh...

      More like Linux users have a choice because there are multiple distros. You can't decide you want to get Windows from Apple or Samsung if you don't like Microsoft's policies.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: User needs

      "How about a small amount of privacy and not needing to slurp everything I do or see?"

      It _sounds_ like they're NOT doing that. But keep a skeptical/watchful eye on it, yeah.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm

      If one reads the article ignoring the sensationalist spin that Simon tries to put into it, and not having checked Ubuntu's actual statements, it appears to be the same sort of thing as Debian and a few other distros do: you can send the developers a list of what software is installed on your computer and some basic architectural characteristics of it.

      I don't use Ubuntu, I do not much like Canonical as a company, and I am aware of their previous form trying to become what Microsoft was during whatshisface's term, the bloke after Gates. But I think Simon just went for his usual easy clickbait approach instead of writing a proper informative piece.

      1. Psy-Q

        Re: Hmm

        Canonical wants to collect a lot more data than what popcon gathers. Also, popcon on Debian is opt-in, this Canonical approach is opt-out.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Either stop slurp, or I move on

      @Ubuntu: either stop slurp, or I move on to Debian or CentOS

      With the recent news that ​Microsoft and Canonical partner up, it looks very bad for Ubuntu and Linux in general.

      We all know their "Embrace, extend, and extinguish", also known as "Embrace, extend, and exterminate", phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found was used internally by Microsoft to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguish

      "Richard Stallman vs. Canonical's CEO: 'Will Microsoft Love Linux to Death?"

      https://linux.slashdot.org/story/17/09/24/2132218/richard-stallman-vs-canonicals-ceo-will-microsoft-love-linux-to-death

      To quote one comment from that Slashdot story:

      "Pretty much M$ embracing Linux at this stage is a shear act of panic and desperation. They are loathsome scum, they thought of Windows anal probe 10 (because when doctors use, M$ follows you right into the proctologists surgery and now monitors that camera hooked to a Windows 10 PC right up your butt). Strictly speaking according to law, Windows 10 should be legally banned from doctors offices https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physician%E2%80%93patient_privilege , yet it doesn't happen, why doesn't it happen, well, guess who M$ has guaranteed a back door to, yep, corrupt government agencies, hence no prosecution for a clear cut criminal act. You also have https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attorney%E2%80%93client_privilege , windows anal probe 10 again floating law by not ensuring the privacy of client lawyer discussion (both sides by law are require to be secure, guess who wants that back door), take M$ to court, when you and your lawyer have windows 10 installed, yep, uh huh, good luck with that.

      It is not only evil, it is factually illegal and it is not being prosecuted, why the fuck not?!?"

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: User needs

      "Also consider the average Linux user is more savvy than an average Windows user when it comes to this sort of thing and can just change distro"

      But maybe this sort of information is exactly what's needed to help make Linux not the utterly crappy end user experience it is at the moment?

  2. HildyJ
    Angel

    Sounds like Windows

    It'll be interesting to see how the Linux fan bois who are always bashing Microsoft's data collection respond to this. The spokesman's justification could have come straight from Redmond.

    1. ST Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Sounds like Windows

      > bla-bla-bla [ ... ] how the Linux fan bois [ ... ] bla-bla-bla.

      Linux doesn't spy on its users. Ubuntu does.

      Learn the difference between a FOSS kernel and a commercial distro.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds like Windows

        "Learn the difference between a FOSS kernel and a commercial distro.".....

        Maybe one in a thousand of the UK population does. I really doubt that its more that that and possibly a lot lot less.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like Windows

          "Learn the difference between a FOSS kernel and a commercial distro.".....

          Maybe one in a thousand of the UK population does.

          ITYF the proportion is higher amongst Linux users (other than Android users of course). Windows users? You're probably right.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sounds like Windows

            "ITYF the proportion is higher amongst Linux users"

            Agreed, but with current estimates showing that only 1.43% of desktops are Linux based compared with 82.68% for Windows it doesn't make a significant difference to the overall proportion.

      2. oiseau Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Sounds like Windows

        "Linux doesn't spy on its users. Ubuntu does."

        Exactly ...

        I've sort of felt this coming on for a while, a gut feeling if you will.

        After trying Ubuntu and Mint and then watching the systemd environment develop, I have temporarily settled for PCLinuxOS/Devuan combo with a VM in each install for the odd MS stuff I may need a few times a year.

        But I will finally settle with anything Devuan based when it all gains some more momentum.

        Cheers,

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like Windows

          "But I will finally settle with anything Devuan based when it all gains some more momentum."

          Apparently the beta release of Devuan ASCII is quite a popular download, and it was only released a couple of days ago.

          Disclaimer - I run one of the Devuan mirrors.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Sounds like Windows

            "Disclaimer - I run one of the Devuan mirrors."

            Have an upvote for that and for providing the info. It should really have been one for each.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Sounds like Windows

            "the beta release of Devuan ASCII ... was only released a couple of days ago."

            Now downloads, thanks. Will try the live version on SWMBO's laptop which currently has to run Stretch.

          3. VaguelyCompetent

            Re: Sounds like Windows

            Devuan ASCII works well for me. KDE isn't quite as polished as the latest Ubuntu Gnome offering but I'll happily accept that to be rid of systemd and Ubuntu snooping.

        2. Dinsdale247

          Re: Sounds like Windows

          Sounds like you need to start looking at FreeBSD.

          GhostBSD is a nice GNOME based GUI variant on 11-RELEASE and TrueOS has it's own Lumina UI that can be swapped out for most common desktops.

    2. Avatar of They
      Devil

      Re: Sounds like Windows

      Simples, don't use ubuntu. You have a choice.

      You are correct, Ubuntu have just shot themselves in the foot by sounding like MS. Dix.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like Windows

        Ubuntu have just shot themselves in the foot by sounding like MS

        And that's just their latest foot-shotgun incident. I was using Ubuntu (from about the time that Mandrake/Mandriva started to fail as a distro) but stopped once they started to decide that the way that they would operate would move closer to the usual closed-source model. Implementing systemd didn't help..

        So now, my default is FreeBSD or Devuan.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds like Windows

        "You are correct, Ubuntu have just shot themselves in the foot by sounding like MS. Dix."

        So far as I'm concerned, Ubuntu shot themselves in the foot four times already.

        One: Putting in a default window manager not suited to real desktop use.

        Two: Mir

        Three: Ubuntu Edge (The price was ridiculous for what would effectively have been an experimental product. Pity, because it had a lot of potential.)

        Four: Systemd

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds like Windows

      At least we have a choice to switch to another 'non slurping' distro. Those of you unfortunate enough to still be handcuffed to Windows and bending over to take whatever Redmond sends your way.

      I ditched Ubuntu around the time of 12:10 because of their policy towards feeing back changes into the kernel source. Since then I use Debian or CentOS for everything these days.

    4. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like Windows

      >> "It'll be interesting to see how the Linux fan bois who are always bashing Microsoft's data collection respond to this"

      Easy!

      1) Canonical provided a simple and clear list of what they want to collect, right from the off. MS didn't.

      2) Canonical provide an "Off" option that completely disables the data collection, and presents it to you during installation. OK it might be better if it was opt-in rather than opt-out, but the point is that it's easy to switch it off.

      Hence, you can see what they collect, and easily switch it off. If MS were clear and provided a functioning "Off" switch, there'd be a lot less animosity aimed towards them.

      PS: Also, not a Linux fanboi. I have Ubuntu on one system, but all my main machines run Windows 7.

  3. J J Carter Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Oh, the irony

    When something is free, you are the product.

    1. Andy Mac

      Re: Oh, the irony

      Of course, that’s no longer strictly true. It seems every paid product and service happily slurps your data too, these days.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its really worrying when someone like that doesnt grasp GDPR, and theres no soft opt-in

    1. big_D Silver badge

      That was my thought as well. This wouldn't play well with GDPR.

      We use Debian at work and that would also like to collect information, but the option is disabled by default - and it stays that way.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Yep, And it's a bit odd, usually it's USian companies that have this arrogant attitude to laws in other countries, but Canonical is meant to be UK. They should now about EU privacy rules and GDPR.

      1. Naselus

        "Canonical is meant to be UK. They should now about EU privacy rules and GDPR."

        I've yet to encounter a single UK company where anyone outside the IT department (who it was inevitably dumped upon) knows a damn thing about GDPR.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The office is in the UK, but developers are spread around the world. If anything, few people from developers up to CxOs have any idea about what GDPR really means, and even fewer if you look at developers outside of EU.

        Manglement makes everyone look at a PowerPoint so they're free of wrongdoing though.

      3. Wensleydale Cheese

        "Canonical is meant to be UK"

        Yet they default everything at installation time to US settings.

        Yes I realise the US is where the majority of English speaking customers is, but they could make life a bit easier for their home customer base here.

    3. khinch

      "Its really worrying when someone like that doesnt grasp GDPR, and theres no soft opt-in"

      GDPR applies to "personal data". According to the GDPR FAQs personal data is "Any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’, that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address." (https://www.eugdpr.org/gdpr-faqs.html)

      I don't see anything in the list of what Canonical intends to collect that fits that description. The closest example in the FAQ description that could cause Canonical issues is IP addresses, which may be why they seemed to be very clear that IP addresses would not be collected.

      I'm not sticking up for Canonical here, just making the point that I don't think GDPR will affect them based on the list in the article.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        You've not heard of browser fingerprinting by looking at a whole set of variables not too dissimilar to what Canonical want?

        If it's not opt-in then they could get into trouble.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Question about the GDPR

          Does it apply to products that are offered free, like Ubuntu? If so, how would the EU administer penalties for non-compliance against them if they can't fine them for a portion of their revenue/profit when they have neither (they get donations from crowdfunding I believe, as well as money from the personal fortune of Mark Shuttleworth)

          As far as I can tell, they are effectively immune from the provisions of the GDPR if it even applies to them at all.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Question about the GDPR

            Canonical is a big services company.

            The fines are something like 20M€ or 4% of income, whichever is the larger. At the least, they could ban it in the EU - although if you really wanted it, you could VPN it in from outside.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Question about the GDPR

              >Canonical is a big services company.

              But I don't *want* to be serviced! :(

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Question about the GDPR

            > Does it apply to products that are offered free,

            Yes.

            > like Ubuntu?

            Or Facebook, or Google search.

      2. Wensleydale Cheese

        Blatant attempt to drive traffic to a commercial site?

        "According to the GDPR FAQs ..."

        No thanks. That site is an advertisement for Trunomi products. Trunimo's site itself contains references to "Trunomi Ltd", appears to have British employees and mentions London a few times

        But it carefully avoids giving any idea of the company's actual location. No physical address, or any of the usual items such as Company Registration Number that one would expect of a legitimate UK or EU business or ogranisation.

        It's a Yank company hoping to cash in on fears about GDPR, and uses SEO to get there.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Blatant attempt to drive traffic to a commercial site?

          I think I found the one you mean. Try running whois on them. It doesn't look anything like what I'd expect from an official EU site.

          Googling GDPR FAQ brings up pages of ads, all from service vendors. Oddly enough it doesn't seem to bring up anything from the EU itself. Attempting to search the actual EU official site, http://ec.europa.eu for GDPR FAQ doesn't actually lead to anything like an FAQ although, bizarrely, even though I'm querying an https page entering the query brings up a warning that the information I've entered is to be sent over an insecure link.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Blatant attempt to drive traffic to a commercial site?

            The national bodies are supposed to explain what this means for each nation, i.e. the ICO.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blatant attempt to drive traffic to a commercial site?

          > It's a Yank company hoping to cash in on fears about GDPR, and uses SEO to get there.

          Indeed. People should just go to EUR-LEX as usual for the source of this or any other European law.

          If interested on more general / consolidated references, this is another authoritative source: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection_en.

          Interestingly, if you type in "GDPR" or "general data protection regulation" in Gurgle, all you get is crap CEO sites. Mind, that's what you get most of the time when you type in anything in Gurgle these days.

      3. elgarak1

        Except that it has been shown repeatedly: the longer the list of collected non-identifiable data, it can be used, in combination, to identify, or at least to single out one specific individual. And slowly even (European) courts understand this.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Its really worrying when someone like that doesnt grasp GDPR, and theres no soft opt-in"

      That was my initial thought. However, having read what's collected there's no PII in that so they seem to be OK on that score. However, as Canonical is a UK company you'd expect them to reflect European attitudes to pre-ticked boxes.

  5. DCFusor Silver badge

    You never know...

    Maybe the results will help improve some other Debian based distro without collecting from those users, just the Ubuntu ones?

    Just the same some cynicism is always called for. Once you put the mechanism for snooping in place and people are used to it - it's like taxes, they never go away or even go down, do they.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: You never know...

      What makes you think that Ubuntu would share? Other than with the inevitable advertisers, of course. Slippery slope, corporate bean counters & all that.

    2. SisterClamp

      Re: You never know...

      Sounds reasonable until you realise that info and fixes like this just don't get sent upstream. And if nobody saw this coming from the Unity-Amazon Search bar days, then you only have yourselves to blame.

    3. Mark 65

      Re: You never know...

      But how are they going to collect "Network connectivity or not"? I think their results may be biased.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mission Creep

    'plan posted to the ubuntu-devel mailing list is broadly positive.'

    ...Although at the Reg we did notice lots of Bots posting not unlike feedback posted to the FCC's regarding Net Neurality. For me this is just mission creep back towards 'Amazon Search' slurp. Overall, I'm glad I use Mint!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Canonical Ubuntu Spyware:

      It got worse too before they stopped doing it - UNTIL NOW:

      http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2016/01/ubuntu-online-search-feature-disabled-16-04

  7. jake Silver badge

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again ...

    Ubuntu has the same problems as Redmond and Cupertino, and for exactly the same reasons. I'll stick with Slackware on the desktops and BSD on the servers, thank you very much.

  8. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Location, Location, Location.

    Apart from that, the rest seems fairly innocuous and centred around improving hardware compatibility. And the location is based on location the user picks on install, it's not collecting it via any kind of constant tracking as far as I know.

    It's more a registration/feedback on what it's been installed on and where in the world etc.

    It does it once, and then it's over.

    Far as I can see, it's nowhere the same league as any OS that keeps monitoring, changes and resets setting on update etc.

    1. thames

      Re: Location, Location, Location.

      The location asked at install time is just country and time zone. It uses that to display the local time and to know which local time zone rules to apply, plus the installer uses it to guess what to suggest for language, keyboard, currency, etc. you probably want.

      Fedora first started collecting this type of information at least 10 years ago, and RHEL, CentOS, OpenSuse, and Gentoo copied it from them. I think it got retired a a few years ago though because of lack of maintainers for the code and the server.

      Debian created a system which tracked which packages you installed and which ones you used how often and a lot of Debian derivatives use it also.

      Any non-server distro that wants to know your current IP address already has it anyway, since your PC constantly pings their server for security updates. That is true these days for any PC operating system.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: Location, Location, Location.

        @thames

        The debian one asks at install time whether you want to enable system tracking. This is with a window that stops everything until you say yes or no. It also tells you exactly how to change the setting, if you want to do so at a later date.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Location, Location, Location.

        "Any non-server distro that wants to know your current IP address already has it anyway, since your PC constantly pings their server for security updates."

        Not mine.

      3. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

        Re: Location, Location, Location.

        "Debian created a system which tracked which packages you installed and which ones you used how often and a lot of Debian derivatives use it also."

        I'm guessing you're referring to the 'popularity-contest' package, which (on Debian at least) you have to install in order to use it. Bad move by Ubuntu in making it install by default.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Location, Location, Location.

      "[...] the rest seems fairly innocuous [...]"

      It mentions returning crash reports. That sounds like tranches of potentially user data.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Location, Location, Location.

        It mentions returning crash reports. That sounds like tranches of potentially user data.

        You can see those before they get sent usually (or you could - I've not used Ubuntu since the abandonment of convergence).

        You could also have a look at typical crash dumps on launchpad if you want to check out for potentially user data rather than assuming with a sounds like.

  9. Boohoo4u

    I’ve switched back and forth between Mint & Ubuntu.

    Thanks Ubuntu for making Mint my only distro...

    1. thames

      Would that be the same Mint that pings Ubuntus servers with your current IP address daily to ask for security updates?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        "Would that be the same Mint that pings Ubuntus servers with your current IP address daily to ask for security update"

        you can turn that off, you know.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Would that be the same Mint that pings Ubuntus servers with your current IP address daily to ask for security updates?"

        I am guessing that Linux Mint Debian Edition does not do this.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As long as the opt out is clear during install then there really isn't an issue. Unlike other operating systems you have the choice before it starts sending information back.

    Personally I use Debian for my Linux needs, I've tried Ubuntu and it wasn't for me.

  11. sequester

    size of /usr/local

    That's a vital statistic to get a rough idea how much of the final system had to be built from source to avoid issues with ancient unmaintained packages.

  12. El blissett

    Me at work: Bloody European Union legislation making me change all my perfectly secure processes...

    Me reading this: Choo choo mother forkers, all aboard the GDPR express to a brighter, opt-in only future

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What PII?

      I'm genuinely curious, GDPR is all about PII, how does it apply here? If they'd gone for your IP or CPU ID, i could see the argument that they might you're that back to other data that has been collected elsewhere....but they didn't.

      So how do you see GDPR applying?

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: What PII?

        If they'd gone for your IP

        How are they planning to send the information to their servers without sending your IP at the same time?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: What PII?

          "How are they planning to send the information to their servers without sending your IP at the same time?"

          IP address sent from other than a home location isn't likely to be PII. IP address sent from a home location isn't likely to be PII either as ISPs don't normally issue static addresses without charging extra. Not that that excuses a pre-ticked opt-in.

          1. Baldrickk Silver badge

            Re: What PII? Static IP

            Everyone on Virgin has a static IP.

            Lots of other ISPs offer a static IP, some don't charge more.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: What PII?

        @AC: For a start, it has to be opt-in because it's not "strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service requested by the subscriber or user".

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: What PII?

          @Dan 55. I think you missed the import of the title. There's no PII in the list of what's collected.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: What PII?

            Canonical are in a sense fingerprinting the install (remember when this was controversial when WGA was introduced on XP?) and would find themselves in hot water if there's a data breach which de-anonymises the collected data.

            So they really do need to make it opt-in.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What PII?

        "[...] So how do you see GDPR applying?"

        They mention return crash reports - that could include user data.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What PII?

          Crash reports probably contain lots of machine fingerprinting info.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Me at work: Bloody European Union legislation making me change all my perfectly secure processes."

      If you had to change processes to cope with GDPR then you must have been collecting PII. If so then those whose PII you were collecting might have different views about your assessment of perfection and security.

      However, if you think GDPR impinges on this you need to look again at what it collects (not that I'm excusing pre-ticked opt-in) and at what you understand by PII.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "(not that I'm excusing pre-ticked opt-in)"

        I hope not, because "pre-ticked opt-in" is more correctly called "opt-out".

  13. Eugene Crosser

    How it should have been handled

    This is one time operation, after fresh install, right?

    Instead of a stored "opt in/out" preference, it should be implemented as a window displayed at the end of install, saying "Are you OK if this information is sent to Canonical? That would help to improve Ubuntu", and showing all the data to be sent. That would look honest, and won't trigger false privacy invasion alarms.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: How it should have been handled

      I am OK with it, I always opt-in to this type of data collection .... why ? Because I know what they are gathering, precisely, shit, I can even amend the list of things they collect, simple hack -> compile -> done. Ubuntu not the only distro doing this, I think it is opt-in with the others, so, yeah, they should make it opt-in, I think.

      The Amazon search bar story was different, there they were ^dwsending selling data to Amazon ...

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: How it should have been handled

        It can be read that way.

        It doesn't really make it explicit. It should.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: How it should have been handled

        I should add that I do not like Canonical, I am of the Devuan-type ... Debian with no trace of système d hacks and I think Canonical have betrayed the spirit of the FSF, as have Suse, Cygwin and others, by cooperating with Microsoft ... you know, the GNU guyz are there to replace proprietary code, not run alongside it, they wrote the whole userland stuff and I think their spirit should be honored ... says he who uses Cygwin, I know ... nobody's perfect ... but I could not stand Windows without that glass of ice water ... then again, I am glad to see Ubuntu/Windows still segfaults when you sneeze ...

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: How it should have been handled

          "betrayed the spirit of the FSF"

          Seriously, what "spirit of the FSF" are you referring to? If it's a bunch of hippy anti-capitalist dope-smoking FM types deciding that corporations are evil, software ownership is evil, earning money with open source is evil, etc. and "that" is their "spirit" then I'd have to completely disagree with you.

          The FSF is about enforcing GPL as far as I can tell, as well as promoting open source in general, and if someone produces a Linux OS where you can download the source for everything you installed, it's fine as far as they're concerned. Not sure what "spirit" would be betrayed here. [I asked Cthulhu but he just mumbled something about going on a date with the spaghetti monster]

          I actually asked the FSF for legal advice a while back, regarding an open source bootloader, with respect to bootloader flashing and device-bricking by end-users, a warranty, and things like that. They were helpful.

        2. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

          Re: How it should have been handled

          "I am of the Devuan-type ... Debian with no trace of système d hacks"

          Does Devuan ascii no longer include libsystemd0? The current stable release includes it, so it's difficult to claim it has 'no trace' of systemd. Personally I'm not too bothered about the presence of libsystemd0 on my Debian/sysvinit-core systems, but users of Devuan stable have little cause for smugness.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: How it should have been handled

      This is one time operation, after fresh install, right?

      That is how I read it, not as a stream of constant 'Telemetry' fed back to any mothership.

      Canonical may have a poor rep, due to the whole Amazon search results debacle, but this appears to be mostly system specs of the machine it's been installed on, with release version and desktop flavour plus what country / locale, nothing more.

    3. My-Handle

      Re: How it should have been handled

      The recent actions of Microsoft, Google et al have made me (and undoubtedly a great many other people) understandably suspicious of anyone who utters the term "data collection". However, I agree with the approach outlined above (@Eugene Crosser). If the data collection is one-off, opt-in and I can see exactly what data is being sent, then I have no problem. Bonus points if I can tailor exactly what data is sent. The fact that Ubuntu's source code is apparently available to examine means that any extra data sent in an underhanded fashion will be quickly picked up.

      The main problem I had with other companies is that the data collection was often either opt-out, repeatedly and continuously opt-out when they sneakily change your settings back, or even just mandatory. There was no transparency at all on what was collected, and an awful lot of apparent deceit.

      I will be keeping an eye on Ubuntu, but as long as things stay pretty transparent I don't think this is an automatic black mark against them.

      1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

        "but as long as things stay pretty transparent I don't think this is an automatic black mark"...

        ... This is no place for talking sense. Away with you.

  14. smudge Silver badge

    Your survey questions

    Five negative options and only one positive. Maybe just a teensy-weensy bit of bias there?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Your survey questions

      Five negative options and only one positive. Maybe just a teensy-weensy bit of bias there?

      Bloody good point...

      1 I'm cool with sending hardware info - what harm can that do?

      2 Angry because I use Linux precisely to avoid this kind of thing

      3 OK in concept, but making it opt-out is arrogant and turns me off the idea

      4 Come back and ask me again when Canonical explains *exactly* how it will protect my privacy

      5 I don't like this one bit because any data collection effort increases the chance of privacy invasion

      That's it for me and Ubuntu, I'm off to another distro

      1 I picked the first, but none of them fitted, had I not been forced to put my block in a strange shaped hole.

      2 Who uses Linux precisely because of data collection? Is it not good enough for anything except the paranoid or privacy conscious?

      3 Can't tell 'til the UI is demonstrated, but assuming it's a one-off, and there's no running around changing the settings layout or switching options back to some corporate preference.

      4 Aside from some data centre shenanigans using other data to identify me with a set of hardware specs, I really don't see what some hardware specs can do to endanger my privacy. UbuntuOne is gone now.

      5 Getting excited over this little bit of information disclosure in the face of the mega corps constantly groping us for every scrap of harvestable data like we're human lightbulbs from the Matrix is winding yourself up like a cheap watch and pointing peoples ire at a small winnow among mega sharks nibbling at your privates all day every day (and they bite).

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Your survey questions

      "Five negative options and only one positive. Maybe just a teensy-weensy bit of bias there?"

      This is el Reg. Look at the slogan on the mast head.

      No bias. All hands get equally bitten.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Your survey questions

      > Five negative options and only one positive. Maybe just a teensy-weensy bit of bias there?

      Ethical media should either avoid these so-called "surveys" or at least have a disclaimer that they have no scientific basis or significance whatsoever, have not been designed or reviewed by skilled and qualified statisticians, and are strictly for entertainment purposes.

      If you're going to have "surveys", might as well have horoscopes while you are it.

      1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

        Re: Your survey questions

        "Ethical media should either avoid these so-called "surveys" or at least have a disclaimer that they have no scientific basis or significance whatsoever, have not been designed or reviewed by skilled and qualified statisticians, and are strictly for entertainment purposes."

        Have you visited El Reg before?

  15. Usermane

    And?

    Don't seems a big quantity of data and cold help to know the needs of the users.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: And?

      What you can use data about me for is not my concern. You asking me questions IS.

      Frankly I don't care if you can both cure cancer and bring about world peace with it: the answer is NO. I might even have considered it if you asked nicely but as long as it's "I know you wouldn't like this so I'll just go ahead and do it anyway unless you stop me" the only appropriate reply is middle-finger-shaped.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This reminds me of the "Unity" desktop

    sudo apt-get --purge remove *zeitgeist

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: This reminds me of the "Unity" desktop

      This reminds me of the "Unity" desktop

      sudo apt-get --purge remove *zeitgeist

      Gnome Tracker - if you are on Gnome.

      As far as I'm aware, these store local only, and are used to locate files for people who don't keep track of where they store files in the filesystem.

      If you are unhappy with the Gnome version, remove tracker-miners package, tracker is a dependancy of Nautilus, and cannot be removed after Gnome version 3.24.

  17. Milton Silver badge

    Actually read the article?

    I find Reg comments generally better than other news sites, but I'm surprised today, to see so many by people who seem to be frothing while having read only the headline: the article describes what data would be collected, explains it is anonymised and even points out that Location is based on whatever the user selected at install time.

    Yes, it should be opt-in not -out, but apart from that: why all the fuss?

    1. Fading Silver badge

      Re: Actually read the article?

      Exactly my feelings on this, I would also prefer the ability to edit the info before collection. I am always happy to supply details to any survey as long as they know I may not be honest with my responses.....

    2. Chemical Bob

      Re: Actually read the article?

      "Yes, it should be opt-in not -out, but apart from that: why all the fuss?"

      1. Because not asking nicely is arrogant.

      2. If we start allowing this kind of thing, it'll only get worse. Best to shoot it in the face now.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDNmyyrEZho

      I'm going to finish painting my Lord of the Rings figurines now...

  18. onefang Silver badge

    "His post added that users could insect their own data and that the plan is to add a further opt-out possibility in GNOME's privacy settings dialog."

    There's a bug in that statement.

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Meh

      I'm guessing the thumb down was from someone that didn't spot the joke. I should be more generous with icons in the future.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        @onefang

        There's always one or two.

        Guaranteed, put in the solution to world peace or world hunger in a post and it'd garner at least two downvotes.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        "I'm guessing the thumb down was from someone that didn't spot the joke"

        what, you're concerned about downvotes? I get those ALL the time. It's just my fan club. And the howler monkeys.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          "what, you're concerned about downvotes? I get those ALL the time. It's just my fan club. And the howler monkeys."

          So far I think most of my downvotes have come from prudes and Windows fanbois. I can live with that.

          Where's the Paris Penguin icon?

  19. EastFinchleyite

    Trust

    This will not affect me as I dislike the Ubuntu desktop and have chosen Mint. The principle does need examining as if successful, it may spread.

    What Ubuntu are asking for now seems reasonable but the real issue here is trust. Canonical are a commercial organisation with their own financial motives. Should they be trusted any more than, say, Microsoft, Apple, or Google?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Network connectivity or not

    Call me stupid but if it's a not then they aren't getting any information anyway.

    1. thames

      Re: Network connectivity or not

      I think it's about whether there was network connectivity at install time or whether the network connection came later. At the moment when you do an install they ask you if you want to download updates during the install or do it later.

      I suspect they want to simplify the install procedure still further (it's already the simplest to install of any modern OS of any that I've tried) and are looking for what defaults to set and what to push off into an optional "advanced" menu.

      At present they have an optional hardware configuration collection program which you can go through after installation to send information about your PC to them. I've used it a number of times, but I think it has too many questions and it inherently biases their data towards the sort of user who cares about what is in their PC. I think getting less and more basic information but getting it from a wider selection of users will give better results.

      They've said they will publish this information in aggregated form on their web site. I'm in particular looking forward to seeing what proportion of people are using what sorts of CPUs and GPUs. I've been writing software recently which uses SIMD instructions, but it's very difficult to get a good idea of what SIMD level to target since the publicly available data sets are for games users, who are atypical so far as my software is concerned.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this just at install time?

    Probably happy to send a hardware spec once, but I don't really want to be monitored. I also prefer the Valve approach of asking you to participate too. I am happy to concede that the info may be useful to them (and I assume a future me)

    Again depending on what I am using the device for, I don't really want that sort of service on it, regardless of my potential willingness to participate at install time.

    Another reasonable idea mismanaged into a crisis.

  23. wolfetone Silver badge

    Hahahahahaaaa

    You can fuck RIGHT off with that bullshit.

  24. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Linux

    Bugs?

    users could insect their own data

    I think I've found the problem.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Bugs?

      'users could insect their own data'

      "I think I've found the problem."

      Probably the same one that down voted my original down voted you to. Have an up vote to compensate.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu will fail GDPR

    Under the upcoming GDPR legislation default Opt-in are illegal within the European Union.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Ubuntu will fail GDPR

      "default Opt-in are illegal"

      Only as regards collecting PII. There isn't any in that list.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ubuntu will fail GDPR

        GDPR covers any information which can be used to uniquely identify an individual. This includes MAC addresses, IP addresses however it also covers combinations of data which can be used to uniquely identify an individual. So while individual pieces of information pieces may not, the collection of all the data from the same source does provide away to identify an individual. As the data collection is going to continuous, then the additional data collection would further improve the ability to identify individuals.

  26. Elmer Phud

    Ah ha ha ha h a!

    And they flocked to Ubuntu 'cos 'Windoze is EEvyl'.

    bless

  27. msknight Silver badge

    Being serious about this...

    I really want to know why Ubuntu are doing this. I mean, they should have known from the Amazon debacle that forcing data slurps are going to generate serious backlash that result in a percentage of the user base jumping ship.

    I mean, I had only just returned to Mate from Mint after Unity was shafted and the slurpalicious settings were off by default.

    Here they are, repeating the whole damn episode... the hard way.

    From where I'm sitting, I really have no clue as to what this data is going to bring them. I mean, "Network connectivity or not"... what?! And what the heck do they have to do with packages anyway? I mean, apart from what is installed by default on the distro. Yes, smaller technical stuff, but different people are going to be using different packages anyway. The choice betwen Open Office and Libre Office is a debate similar to is zero a number.

    And the key thing here, is that Ubuntu have failed to communicate things properly or to be totally transparent... and in doing so, have just triggered off a spike in the share price of tin foil. Again.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Being serious about this...

      "they should have known from the Amazon debacle"

      I think they do. They're being transparent with respect to what info they collect, when they do it, and what they use it for, and that it's 'anonymized'. Assuming they're being honest, I wouldn't mind _that_.

  28. IamStillIan

    Creative thinking

    Data Canonical seeks "would include" the following:

    - Network connectivity or not

    So in the case of not, how does it report back? Print it out and ask you to post it?

  29. handleoclast Silver badge

    Fuck U

    buntu

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its been amusing. You can spot the Americans because they refer to personal data as PII.All PII is personal data but not all personal data is PII.

    Its not their fault the GDPR falls between several cracks from their viewpoint of law.

    In this particular case it fails because of the "default opt-in checked" on what is no less a fingerprint that has a sufficient set of data to identify individual users. I checked with the UK ICO on this point...

    Thanks for playing.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "You can spot the Americans because they refer to personal data as PII"

      From that well-known American site ico.gov.uk and its definition of personal data within the meaning of the forthcoming DPA:

      "Personal data means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified"

      PID would be a handy abbreviation. Unfortunately, that TLA has long established usage elsewhere so let's substitute Information for Data. PII it is, whichever side of the pond you're on.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "what is no less a fingerprint that has a sufficient set of data to identify individual users."

      Really? Let's look at the list:

      "Ubuntu Flavour & Version" That's a fairly limited choice. Almost all the installations at any one time will be split between very few options there.

      "Network connectivity or not" A binary choice containing even less information.

      "CPU family, RAM, Disk(s) size, Screen(s) resolution, GPU vendor and model & OEM Manufacturer" With enough cash you can buy kit with the same spec by the pallet. No serial numbers of any of them. How do you distinguish them one from another by this information or from the next pallet load of the same spec?

      "Location (based on the location selection made by the user at install). No IP information would be gathered" That's time zone and maybe language. We've made a start on identifying the individual - it's somebody in the UK!!!!

      "Installation duration (time taken)" That, indeed, can very. But if I go off and take a break whilst it's busy copying the files how, from the time I allowed, do you tell it's me?

      "Auto login enabled or not" Another binary choice.

      "Disk layout selected" This can be a bit of an individual thing. But in some cases, particularly if I were just trying "let's have a quick look" I'd let it default so that layout carries exactly the same info as the disk size because it's what the distro would always pick for the disk size. If I were building for a particular purpose I might customise that. And having built for a specific purpose when I come to built the next I might vary that according to what I learned from the last. What's more, if I were building for a particular purpose I'd set up LVM with plenty uncommitted disk and more to each logical disk as needed so what would be uploaded at install time might well not be what would be seen a few months later.

      "Third party software selected or not" Another binary choice.

      "Download updates during install or not" Yet another.

      "LivePatch enabled or not" and one more.

      So that's 5 bits of binary choices, some mass production data and some fairly general variable choices above that. You mention fingerprints. In forensic science we used to think in terms of discriminating power and frankly I don't see much discriminating power in that lot.

      Getting GDPR understood is going to be difficult enough. Let's not make matters worse with disinformation.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      "All PII is personal data but not all personal data is PII."

      As an American, I disagree with this. All personal data is PII. Further, all data that can be used to identify me, my location, or my machines is PII.

      "PII" is a bullshit term that is intended to convince people that it's OK to part if sensitive information simply because it isn't classified as "PII".

  31. Parrotsticks

    What's the fuss?

    So by 'location' what it actually means is 'time zone' and 'language' which is about as detailed as it gets at install time. The rest is just standard stuff a developer would like to know, nothing personally identifying.

    Save this level of paranoia for stuff like Google Maps.

  32. Sir Alien

    For all those shouting bloody murder...

    I am not a great supporter of Ubuntu but if this is a way to increase the uptake of Linux why not. I don't see to much of an issue with this mainly because:

    A) Ubuntu/Canonical are upfront about what they collect

    B) You can turn it off completely.

    C) Apparently no identifying information is sent (needs to be proven though)

    D) You can inspect what is being sent.

    Where as with Windows 10

    A) Not 100% sure I fully trust Microsoft on being fully upfront about the data

    B) You "CANNOT" turn it off. You can only reduce the amount sent (or so they want you to believe)

    C) Not sure on identifying information but if Microsoft records product IDs or Keys, well then it's not anonymous

    D) You "CANNOT" inspect what Microsoft are sending from your PC to themselves.

    So regardless of product, it's not about collecting this data but more about how honest you are and what, when and how you collect. If I used Ubuntu on a regular basis I would be happy for them to know I have an AMD GPU and a Gigabit Ethernet but certainly wouldn't be to happy if they recorded serial numbers or MAC addresses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For all those shouting bloody murder...

      its the thin end of the wedge , the thin end of the wedge.

      Its like falling down a deep mineshaft. Initially you can see the sunlight and things dont seem so bad. Then you hit the ground with a thud breaking both your legs and then you look up no longer able to look at the sunlight, unable to get help, all alone, doomed to die there, wondering why you went anywhere near it....

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: For all those shouting bloody murder...

      "but if Microsoft records product IDs or Keys, well then it's not anonymous"

      If you use a cloudy 'Microsoft Login' it's _NEVER_ anonymous.

  33. Tromos

    Ongoing telemetry

    To those saying it is just a one-off at install time. Did you fail to spot "the data-recorder would also install Popcon, to spot trends in package usage..."?

    I would have no problem with a one-off install time hardware/configuration report if it was placed in a text file that I could examine/edit at leisure and then decide if it could be sent.

    Happy Mint user here. Should I get unhappy, Ubuntu is now even further down the list of distros I'd consider switching to.

  34. fluffybunnyuk

    I use a distribution of linux(sorry i'm not gonna advertise any business)for certain cases and on installation completing it creates a file with data about the install. I check the data , confirm i'm happy with it, and agree to send it. I'm happy with the distro that does that as a one-off allowing me full control over the process.

    If i said it was German it'd give the game away which one that is....

  35. Philip Stott
    Facepalm

    D’Oh!

    They want to collect information such as; network connectivity or not ...

  36. adam payne Silver badge

    This should be opt-in and not opt-out.

  37. Lord_Beavis
    Linux

    FFS

    Looks like it's back to Slackware.

  38. NateGee
    WTF?

    Network connectivity or not

    Shirley if there's no network connectivity then what happens exactly?

    Does the distro suddenly transform itself into a close equivalent of Vista if you don't deselect the opt-in due to some sort of existential crisis?!?

  39. onefang Silver badge

    Or proxy it.

    I have public mirror of Devuan on my overseas server, and my ISP has a public mirror of Debian, which is quota free for me. Since most of Devuan is unadulterated Debian, some of the mirrors just redirect to Debian mirrors for those parts. I proxy most of my web stuff through that overseas server. It has a special rule to redirect requests for Debian packages that come from my home IP, to my ISPs Debian mirror. I'm fairly sure my ISP knows what my home IP is. They can probably guess what my servers IP is, but I don't care.

  40. Bob Camp

    You can switch to a different Linux distro.

    You can also use a version of Windows 10 that is not Home or Pro to disable all that telemetry.

    Of course, the moment you use Google to search for anything all that privacy goes out the window.

  41. E 2

    I'm just a spring chicken!

    But at 52 years old I've been using UNIX & Linux since 1992.

    And I don't care if Mark Shuttlesworth knows my PC is in Calgary, Canada.

    I did not much like his "send everyone's desktop searches to Amazon" thing, however.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Airgap is not agape

    Thanks for that theReg I was just about to download and install a Ubuntu Linux, I'll look for another flavour.

    Free or not an Operating system or software is just a tireless slave for the person that installs it not a servant of the devil. And if it should be that it is then I'll sell my soul for a grander fee, thanks all the same.

    I'd like to keep an airgap between me, my devices and the bullshit.

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New computer, by the numbers.

    1. Find the hardware you like.

    2. Buy the computer.

    3. Image the hard drive.

    4. Archive the image.

    5. Reformat the drive while installing Linux (Mint Debian Edition or to taste) .

    6. Carry on computing...

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: New computer, by the numbers.

      Precisely the steps I took when buying a new laptop a couple of months ago. Laptop came with Windows 10... imaged that in case of warranty issues, then wiped it and put Mint on it. Pretty standard; doesn't everyone do that?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Ubuntu fan-boy here, although I have been running the latest LTS for the last few months (before that I was on Fedora for many years, and RHEL/CentOS for even longer ago), but this is nowhere near the scandal that integrating Amazon results into system search was. Not even close. I _would_ like Canonical to provide some more details on how they're going to safeguard the IP addresses that could show up in the access logs of the servers collecting this information (I can think of a few), but that's the only PIA that would seem to be at risk here. Statistical information like this isn't really any big deal. Sure, the half dozen of you out there running Ubuntu on a Multiprise (I hate you without even knowing who you are) might stick out like a sore thumb, but otherwise we're talking about a needle in a sea of... needles.

    I can see how bug reporting could be of concern, since a stack trace or other diagnostic output might carry more detailed data that might expose identity related info (er, like IP addresses in a network trace). But the big problem I have with this is the relatively cavalier attitude Ubuntu's publisher exhibits when talking about it. Not exactly arrogance, but more the kind of tone-deafness that could be the result of living in a bit of a fan-boy bubble for too long. Still, really not worth all the virtual ink that's been spilled by this article and comments thereto.

  46. InNY

    I wonder if

    we, as computer users and purchasers of software, hardware or service, should start charging these data collection businesses $/£/€ 1 for every gigabyte they want off us?

    After all, if we didn't buy / download / use their software, hardware or service, they wouldn't exist. They exist to service our needs; we don't exist to service their needs.

    Perhaps it's time to remind them all of these facts?

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: I wonder if

      "we, as computer users and purchasers of software, hardware or service, should start charging these data collection businesses $/£/€ 1 for every gigabyte they want off us?"

      FTFY

  47. JohnFen Silver badge

    Makes me happy

    This makes me happy that I've never been able to get Ubuntu to work well on my machines. The last thing I need is yet another system that I have to keep checking opt-outs on.

  48. The Central Scrutinizer

    *Sigh*.....I hope no other distro suppliers take up this idea. I've happily run Mint for 4 years ( and yes I know what it's based on). Clem would be much more sensible, I'm hoping.

  49. onefang Silver badge

    I'm not a big fan of laptops, I don't own any. I build my desktops out of carefully selected parts, but I always neglect to buy any parts with the Microsoft logo on them. Even the two computers I bought whole instead of building from parts didn't come with Windows.

  50. Anonymous Bullard
    Meh

    "Ubuntu sucks because my hardware isn't well supported, and to make matters worse they now want to know what hardware I have!!"

  51. Triumphantape

    Ubuntu... the Microsoft of the Linux world.

  52. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Meh, This has been an option after install for years. The sandal-wearing neckbeards can panic; for the rest of us life will go on, knowing that adding 1 to the tally of Ubuntu installs using 4GB RAM won't summon up black helicopters.

  53. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  54. JulieM Silver badge

    Oh, Ubuntu .....

    This sort of thing infuriates me because of the sheer mis-handling of it all.

    It's probably a Good Thing if Canonical know what kind of hardware people are running, because it helps with tailoring the distribution to suit typical real-world scenarios. But this is a sneaky way of going about it, and makes Canonical look as though they are up to no good.

    They could have been the first distribution to merge -dev files back into the main package to make it easier to build packages from Source Code. But instead, what we get is misplaced crap like this .....

    1. Delbert Grady

      Re: Oh, Ubuntu .....

      i'd possibly agree - if they'd fix the damn bugs & post them upstream..

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which spy shall I surrender to?

    I think I'll just let Ubuntu spy. I'm tired...

  56. lath

    EU GDPR, and ePrivacy legislation

    Someone had already wrote about (the EU) GDPR.

    I want to add, if I I remembered it correctly an opt-in by default was not OK by the EU.

    Some information about the proposed: ePrivacy legislation, and GDPR.

    ePrivacy : Proposal for a Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications

    https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/proposal-regulation-privacy-and-electronic-communications

    EU about:

    "Rules for business and organisations"

    https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/reform/rules-business-and-organisations_en

    "Rules for business and organisations" -> "Dealing with (EU) citizens"

    https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/reform/rules-business-and-organisations/dealing-citizens_en

    Non-EU Website: digiday.com

    "The winners and losers of the EU’s new ePrivacy law"

    https://digiday.com/media/winners-losers-eus-new-eprivacy-law/

  57. Delbert Grady

    Yet more Canonical Fail

    Canonical can sick my d&*(

    You are failing over & over.

    Canonical, You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu's sore foot

    Highly doubt this will land them anymore preinstall contracts. Canonical is going to removing shrapnel from their very sore foot again soon.

  59. onebignerd

    Called it!

    I knew this would happen eventually with a Linux distro! I'll bet by years end it will be rampant through out Linux. Wouldn't be surprised if the tracking code is removed from the open source license, so it can't be changed or removed. Everybody is addicted to data collecting and tracking of users, like a plague.

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