[Nottingham] Ubuntu + Amazon

Jason Irwin jasonirwin73 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 18:43:03 UTC 2012

On 11/12/12 17:42, Martin wrote:
>  Unity ain't all that bad...
Meh, there's a couple of wee things that we just deal-breakers for me. 
The hanging of the UI was one, the dock was another (dunno why, I just 
don't get on with docks).  There were some nice things - I quite liked 
the HUD, for example.

> OUCH! What is that Amazon connection doing there, prominently placed?...
Well, there's been a few bugs raised about it and quite a lot of recent 
chat about it.

Some reading:

> I'm very happy for business to be made from FLOSS. It just has to be
> clear and open and free from the all too often seen 'sharp practice'.
I thought it was mentioned during part of the install process; I may be 
wrong because I already knew about it as was planning on nuking it from 

I can kinda see the idea behind it; integrating the web/cloud more 
seamlessly with the desktop and can really see how integrating with your 
SeaFile/OwnCloud/Whatever web-based system could be good.  I can also 
see how such a "shopping lens" might be useful if you wanted to quickly 
scan a bunch of retailers at once.  Awesome idea.  And if this had been 
implemented as a separate feature or a "Wanna search on-line?" button of 
something; I'd have no issues with it at all because it would be working 
at the suers specific request.

But already opted-in and sending your file searches to back to mother? 
(Which MS do too, I believe.)  Really?  Canoncial make much of how they 
anonymise the data and Amazon don't know who you are.  Well there's a 
few problems with that:
1) Just how well is the data anonymised?  Remember the AOL "anonymoised" 
data leak?  Yeah, so much for anonymity.
2) Amazon may not know who I am but Canoncial sure as heck do; can I 
trust Canonical?
3) I am not sure if the requests are over HTTP or HTTPS; if it's HTTP 
now my ISP can find out what I'm looking for locally, and anyone else if 
I'm in on shared WiFi (e.g. cafe)

I totally get that Canonical needs money.  There's little-to-no hardware 
shipping with Ubuntu pre-installed, so OEM deal ain't going to do it and 
if we don't pay (or don't pay enough) it has to come from somewhere else 
or we lose Canoncial.  Who, for all the flak they have taken, have 
probably done more to popularise GNU/Linux to the general public than 
anyone else.  Or anyone else I happen to be aware of at any rate, Ubuntu 
was the first GNU/Linux distro I heard of that was considered usable by 
an Joe Average (i.e. me).

All that said, it does concern me the direction Canonical seems to be 
taking.  I think it will sad if they become an some kind of 
walled-garden, and considering some of Bacon's comments above, it seems 
that might be the case.  Apple works well *only* if you remain within 
the Apple-defined use cases; step even slightly off the beaten path and 
you enter a world of hurt*.  This does not seem to happen with GNU/Linux.

*I'm looking at you, QuickTime.  And Safari.

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