Stop The Hysteria

Sun, 18 Aug 2013

Back in December 2012, Richard Stallman wrote Ubuntu Spyware: What to Do?

In it he criticized Canonical collecting search queries from Ubuntu users. He rightly called that spyware.

I've noticed though that some seem to have taken this and morphed it into something bigger in which they think the whole distro is spyware. That's quite a jump from the original. They even cite this as a reason to not use Ubuntu and recommend other people not use it either. Don't get me wrong: Ubuntu includes proprietary software, which makes it evil. Everyone should only use free software, which means not using Ubuntu, so I'm certainly not going to complain about people leaving Ubuntu.

This is something different because it didn't stop there. It seems to have grown from that single thing about search queries to people saying the entire distro is spyware to people even going so far as saying all Ubuntu-based derivatives (such as Trisquel) include spyware too.

It's like some form of mass hysteria.

Let's go back to the beginning: It all started with Canonical collecting search queries from Ubuntu users, nothing more. Claims that the entire Ubuntu distro is spyware are not supported by any evidence I'm aware of and making the further claim that all Ubuntu-based derivatives also include spyware merely by association is just nonsense. Derivatives can easily remove that package. If you have actual evidence to support any such claim then speak up and provide it. Otherwise it just amounts to FUD. Let's stop the hysteria here and now.