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

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


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big deal....

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

    1. RAMChYLD

      Re: Big deal....

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

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

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        CDE. Really?

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

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

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

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

        1. David Given
          Thumb Up

          Re: CDE. Really?

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

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

      2. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: Big deal....

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

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

        1. fajensen

          Re: Big deal....

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

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

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

      3. Oninoshiko

        Re: CDE?!?

        Hell, even us solarisers aren't that masochistic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: CDE?!?

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

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

          1. xenny

            Re: CDE?!?

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

      4. Fibbles

        Re: Big deal....

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

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

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

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge


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

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

          1. Fibbles

            Re: @Fibbles

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

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

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Fibbles - Re: @Fibbles

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

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Fibbles - @Fibbles

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

              2. This post has been deleted by its author

              3. Fibbles

                Re: @Fibbles - @Fibbles

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

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

              4. ray hartman

                Re: @Fibbles - @Fibbles

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

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: Big deal....

      Depends on your viewpoint..

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

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

      2. RICHTO

        Re: Big deal....

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

      3. henrydddd

        Re: Big deal....

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

        1. BioPeek

          Re: Big deal....

          My thoughts exactly!

    3. Ian McNee

      Re: Big deal....

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

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

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

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        'Couple of decades'

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

        It appears in the UNIX Edition 1 man pages, a scan of which are still available on Dennis' home page at Alcatel Lucent These man pages are dated 11/3/71 (probably American), so November 1971. I first used it on UNIX Version/Edition 6 in 1978.

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

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

        1. Ian McNee
          Thumb Up

          Re: 'Couple of decades'

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

    4. solidsoup

      Re: Big deal....

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

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

    5. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Big deal....

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

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

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

  2. Chad H.


    It seems April 1 came late this year.

  3. Greg J Preece

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

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry

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

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

      1. Greg J Preece

        Re: Don't worry

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

  4. JimmyPage

    Another reason

    Why I stuck at 10.04. Does all I want

  5. William Boyle

    Fark Ubuntu!

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

    1. fajensen

      Re: Fark Ubuntu!

      Time to revert to good old Debian!

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

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. RAMChYLD

        Re: Fark Ubuntu!

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

  6. ScaredyCat


    ... you are dead to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ubuntu...

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

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Ubuntu...

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

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

      2. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: Ubuntu...


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

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

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

        1. RAMChYLD
          Thumb Up

          Re: Ubuntu...

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

        2. BioPeek
          Thumb Up

          Re: Ubuntu...

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

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

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

          Thumbs up from me!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. BioPeek


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

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

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Running out of money Shuttleworth?

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

    1. ScaredyCat

      Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?


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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

      But it does appear from nothing!!

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

      Where the hell did all the money go? :P

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

        Close but not quite.

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

      2. Fibbles

        Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

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

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Fibbles - Re: Running out of money Shuttleworth?

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

          1. keithpeter Silver badge

            Re: @Fibbles - Running out of money Shuttleworth?

            @AC 2017

            Nope, he means what he said. Microsoft are providing patches for the Linux kernel. To support virtualisation. That runs Microsoft instances. Strange world is it not?



    If Shuttleworth wants money, he can try asking for it directly. He can actually SELL desktop Linux as a product rather than doing everything he can to avoid that. He could even send some boxes to places like Microcenter and Frys.

    1. HMB

      Re: Nonsense

      Surely that's got to be like charging for air (non compressed).

      Hey, you know that stuff you can get for free? Want to buy it off us?

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Nonsense

        You can have the code for free. The name, support structure and all those copyrighted graphics on the other hand...

      2. LaeMing

        Re: Charging for Air

        More like charging for bottled water.

        A very lucrative market, apparently (I mostly drink boiled then refrigerated tap water, but then, I mostly use Debian too).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nonsense

      If he had not spunked such a wasted effort on the Unity GUI maybe he could have produced a version of Linux that is worth buying, you know, like it was up to around the 8.10-ish era before the focus seemed to move from "making it work" to "oh shiny - lets copy Apple, including their dumbed-down attitude".

    3. Tank boy

      Re: Nonsense

      "He can actually SELL desktop Linux as a product rather than doing everything he can to avoid that."

      Yes they could, but with caveat(s):

      The Linux wizards need to create something that will appeal to the masses, not just the tech crowd. Yes that means "dumbing down" Ubuntu, but if someone is a Linux Grandmaster, they can figure out a work-around and haughtily look down their collective noses at us poor unwashed masses that just want shit to work.

      Another would be one OS to rule them all. There's something to be said for choice, but there's also something known as too much of a good thing.

      Make it business-friendly at a reasonable price. Business is where the money lies. Microsoft cracked that code a while ago (regardless of how they did it).

      I'm running Xubuntu (which I like) simply because my desktop is old. Another selling point. Keeping old machines alive with a usable OS.

  10. Bored_Stupid


    "Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already. You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update."

    Erm, no, I don't actually. You've screwed up on my machine with just about every update since about Hardy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually...

      Yep... I upgraded my Mythbuntu from 10.04 last week, the upgrade to 11.10 (IIRC) broke the desktop for both the backend and frontend, requiring sshing in and manually editing files. The upgrade from 11.10 to 12.04 (again, can't remember the exact version) broke the ability for the backend to boot, it now has to boot a previous kernel version or nothing and the frontend needed to be completely re-installed, only to find that my bluetooth, wireless network and 1366x768 output ceased to work. If I had realised this would happen, I would have just installed from scratch, rather than use the upgrade in place as I'll be doing next time...

      1. eulampios

        10.04 should go straight to 12.04

        Interesting, how did you go from LTS to non LTS? In my case I got an offer for 12.04 ( I won't and will embrace LMDE instead). However, dist-upgrade of LTS to non-LTS is not intended and might break.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 10.04 should go straight to 12.04

          I don't know, I'm a RedHat/CentOS/Fedora person really but mythdora is godawful, so I converted to mythbuntu. Basically I just clicked the "upgrade" button and that's what I got.

        2. Anonymous Coward


          Actually going from a Long Term Support (LTS) release to a regular one isn't that much of a big deal. Because what do you think people suggest you do if an LTS to LTS upgrade goes wrong (which unfortunately still seems to be the case quite often) ?

          Then you're advised to upgrade to all versions in between individually; version for version.

          Its merely a dist-upgrade setting.

          1. LaeMing

            Re: @eulampios

            Never had a Ubuntu upgrade work for me. And my hardware is pretty stock/desktop. If I use the U, I always upgrade via install-from-scratch these days.

          2. eulampios

            @ShelLuser an AC

            Yes, it's kind of right. "Release upgrades" is the setting, and I believe it to be default. Just imagining to go through all outdated versions 10.10,** up to 12.04 is a painful exercise time-wise . However, I won't stay with Ubuntu on a PC because of Unity, which is quite nice but not my thing. (If they only come up with tablet/phone version, I'd quite love it.) LMDE is my current choice for other machines.

            With all of my upgrades (LTS and non-LTS) associated with Ubuntu did not have major issues. Having said, this, I admit of helping a friend with a weird display bug on 3* kernels on her emachines laptop after the upgrade to 12.04. Again, wasn't hard, but ....

            1. Paul Shirley

              Re: I trust Shuttleworth only as far as my backup can rescue me

              Learned long ago to take a backup before letting any Ubuntu related updater run. That's a /home copy and a drive image for maximum recoverability.

              It's been quite a shock the last 2 Kubuntu in place upgrades went smoothly... OK as smoothly as any upgrade involving Nvidia's shitty drivers can be (need Wine to run 3D well).

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    Unity dash is already too pushy

    There's nothing wrong with raising money but peppering ads through the OS is self defeating and disrespectful.

    Unity already has annoying behaviour and this just compounds it. When I click the Ubuntu logo intending to launch an app, half of the screen is filled with "suggestions" of apps to install from the Ubuntu store. Er, I want to launch an app, not install one. Why is this Ubuntu wasting a large chunk of my screen to suggest stuff I never asked for? Now they want to stick Amazon ads in there too.

    Here is a simple suggestion for Ubuntu. Put an explicit Ubuntu store tab into the Unity launcher. Keep the rest of the UI clean and put any shit you like in that tab. Ads, product suggestions, anything. Go wild. As long as it stays there and requires an explicit click to see I think everyone would be cool with that. The Ubuntu cloud device would be another place people would probably tolerate ads.

  12. Mike Bell
    Thumb Down


    "shopping suggestions" !!!

    You might as well put some rats in a tube next to my face and call it educational.

    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: Doubleplusungood

      Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a tube.

      1. TheRealRoland
        Thumb Up

        Re: Doubleplusungood

        And, indeed...

        "then someone will say what is lost can never be saved"

    2. Bob. Hitchen
      Thumb Up

      Re: Doubleplusungood

      Yes they annoy the hell out of me. I look something up and buy it then get weeks of adverts for same thing. They only succeed in pissing me off and ensure they don't get any future business.

  13. BigAndos

    Can't see how this will make money

    I only tend to search for specific things on my computer, mainly applications and files I've edited recently. Therefore, I can't see how many searches in the home lens are going to result in a sale on Amazon - e.g. "where's that (free) application I've just installed? Ooo I can buy a book about CVs on Amazon". This seems like it is going to annoy a lot of people for a very small commercial gain.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm going to write a book.

    And I'm going to sell it through Amazon.

    I'll call it "How do I uninstall this shit?"

    I'm hoping the search engine's going to be good!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bye bye Ubuntu...

  16. Steve Knox

    …if a user clicks the item and purchases it, it will generate affiliate revenue that we can invest...

    ...These are not ads because they are not paid placement...

    Wow, his bullshit rationalization meter is pegging!

    1. BioPeek

      >>…if a user clicks the item and purchases it, it will generate affiliate revenue that we can invest...

      >>...These are not ads because they are not paid placement...

      >Wow, his bullshit rationalization meter is pegging!

      Wow! has anyone mentioned this "innovation" to Richard Stallman?

      Have be a pint whilst I wait for the popcorn icon.

  17. Amorous Cowherder

    I appreciate all that free work has to be paid for but this is a step too far. I always fancied a play with Fedora or even Oracle's locked down RedHat clone, might be time for some testing!

  18. Joe Gurman

    Just like old times

    Shuttleworth's "These are not ads" comment is worthy of the best Soviet propaganda of yesteryear, or the "1984" Ministry of Truth. Fortunately, as many have said, it's Linux and you can just hack it out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just like old times

      The point is that you shouldn't have to "just hack it out" and not everyone has the ability to do that.

  19. Blitheringeejit

    By their choice of friends shall ye know them

    I'm happy that Canonical is not a charity and that I get free stuff from them, so I expect to pay somewhere along the line with a bit of adware.

    But since learning about Amazon's avoidance of UK corporation tax (, I've boycotted them assiduously, and tried to convince others to do the same. So for me, Ubuntu's decision would be a dealbreaker - if I hadn't already dumped Unity ages ago 'cos it kept crashing my bloody computer.

    Interesting also that Shuttleworth thinks we already trust him because we enable updates from his esteemed repository. That's like assuming that everyone with a Windows box who has Automatic Updates enabled trusts Microsoft. Word up, Mr S - trusting you slightly more than we trust all the hackers, botnet masters and malware authors doesn't mean that we trust you.

    You are, after all, a billionaire - and therefore the enemy.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Dunno where you get the idea that Shuttleworth is a billionaire.

      You are, after all, a billionaire - and therefore the enemy.

      True, the sum he got for Thawte was billions, but that was in South African Rand, not sterling or dollars.

      Shuttleworth's 2012 worth estimated at $500 million

  20. tkioz

    Amusing... I couldn't think of a less-likely group of users to take this kind of crap laying down... I mean it's like handing out Neo-Nazi pamphlets in a Synagogue....

    Oh well should be fun to watch. Freetards vs. Amazon, whoever loses, at least it will be entertaining.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But even the freetards have to get their hardware from somewhere.

  21. IHateWearingATie

    If MS did this with Windows...

    .... there would be outrage.

    I'm not a regular Linux user, but I wouldn't expect this kind of crap from the platform. Giving me Amazon search results when I'm searching for files on my local system - really? Really????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If MS did this with Windows...

      MS don't quite do that, but almost every pre-installed windows copy (which is the vast majority of Windows users' experience) gets all of the crap AV-trial ware, Office trial (close...) and other annoying system-turds pre-installed on their machine.

      1. seansaysthis

        Re: If MS did this with Windows...

        I never thought Id have to say this but it seems that MS is being honest with users than Canonical. I get that Canonical has to make money . The software store was definitely a step in the right direction where Canonical could make a cut of sales from the distro that they create and maintain. I even bought some software and as software transactions go it was the most painless experience , better than google play or MS download.

        Ubuntu One was another step in the right direction where you paid for a service if you wanted more space, having all of your DRM free media files synced on any device is quite cool.

        However I have to draw the line when my desktop becomes a SEO vehicle for a company such as Amazon which has given nothing back to the free software community. If MS did this everyone would be screaming blue murder, just because a company is in the open source business doesn't not give it carte blanch to abuse the position.

    2. RICHTO

      Re: If MS did this with Windows...

      Well you do get Bing search results and those are quite annoying....A few clicks to change to your search engine of choice, or turn off auto search though....

  22. Uncle Slacky

    Unforeseen consequences...

    Someone wasn't thinking of the children:

    "No obvious way to restrict shopping suggestions from displaying adult products"

  23. Another Justin
    Thumb Up

    Sounds like a reasonably good idea to me

    As someone who is wholely against advertising and the general day-to-dat pummeling of "marketing messages" that I currently recieve, this strikes me as a fairly neat feature that I'd probably actually use. Of all the points in my day where I get adverts shown to me, when I'm searching for stuff is probably one of the few cases where that information might be beneficial to me as the user, which in turn makes me more likely to click on it (a mutually beneficial agreement). The fact that its generating cash for Ubuntu doesnt't really bother me.

    This is of course with the assumption that my data is properly protected (i.e. not used to track / market things at you), and that the results shown are not completely in-my-face. If I was to critique this feature then I'd have to ask why only Amazon, why not other retailers? That said I guess you have to start somewhere - if this feature is successful then I'd hope to see results from other shops being shown here.

    I can see why people are getting wound up about this, but at the same time if Ubuntu weren't getting any money from Amazon nobody would really care.

  24. Fred Goldstein

    Press super-A for this, super-F for that

    And I didn't even know that the Ubuntu keyboard had a "Super" key. Is that anywhere near the famous "Any" key?

  25. Alan Denman

    Sucker punch

    most of the fluff is about getting you to leave the web for crappy apps and a walled garden,

    Are they taking us for suckers?

  26. John G Imrie

    What file do I have to search for to get

    The 120 Days of Sodom in my search results ;-)

  27. Tony 32

    man find

    Got to say since I started using linux back in 2005 never used the GUI search tools. Just pop up a terminal, find and grep do the job nicely

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: man find

      find ~ | grep ftw... hell, I only got the hang of the -name switch fairly recently.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it know where I am? Or have my Amazon login?

    Will it offer me stuff that is only available on Amazon US even though I live in the UK? Will it offer me Kindle books even though I no longer own a Kindle?

  29. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Opportunity and motive?

    "Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already."

    I don't personally build my systems from source, but I take considerable comfort from knowing that quite a few people do. It would be Quite Hard for Mr Shuttleworth to abuse his "root privileges" and put something dodgy in the OS without being noticed. In contrast, we have no source code for how he processes the search data and deals with Amazon, so it would be Quite Easy to abuse that. (That's the opportunity.)

    Then there's the fact that "a hard drive" generally contains vast amounts of worthless noise and whereas "my search expressions" are actually designed (by me) to be as rich an indicator as possible of what I want. It's the difference between searching my bookshelf and reading my personal letters. (That's the motive.)

  30. PassiveSmoking


    It's Linux. The GNU/ prefix is short for "Stallman is a whiny bitch who failed miserably to make HURD work".

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, I trust Canonical not to screw up my installation - don't have much choice do I?

    But if I search for a file called, say, "my list of fetish equipment", I'd rather they and their affiliates didn't know about it.

    Am I being unreasonable here?

  32. ratfox

    "These are not ads because they are not paid placement."

    So these are links which direct you to a store where you can buy things, and if you click on them, somebody will receive money for it. But, they are not ads!

  33. Slow Joe Crow

    Xubuntu FTW

    Just another reason to continue using XFCE instead of Gnome or Unity. I prefer the cleaner simpler UI, since all I need on my machine is a browser, a shell, and text editor. I also end up doing most of my software management with Synaptic or Apt-get anyway so I have even less use for the eye candy.

  34. MissingSecurity

    Way to Punch holes..

    Into a system. Not only do they "have root", the also have a way for you to get on the system. Any bets on how long before attackers abuse this?

  35. Keep Refrigerated

    Software Center

    Can't see why they don't just bang it as an option in the software center. Piss off less users, yet still have it prominently displayed in a place users might expect something like that to be.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    choice is good

    I have to say, I never thought I'd see the day when something like this came to a major Linux distribution.

    Very sad day indeed.

    However, Linux is all about choice and lots of it.

    If you like your Linux debian flavoured and assuming you'll want to ditch Ubuntu now the trust has gone out the window, there's loads of choice.

    Two options come to mind, Debian for the more advanced users and Mint for those who chose Ubuntu for it's set of default programmes. Arguably, they are all easy to install.

    It's sad to see Ubuntu heading in the direction it is - if Canonical really need revenue, for goodness sake, rather than going the advertising direction, charge a nominal fee for the distribution!

    People are not averse to shelling out a few bucks for a product which is good.


  37. Neil Woolford

    Read the original material from Canonical, peoples.

    It is referenced in the original article.

    Most of the comments above are clearly made in ignorance of what is actually proposed, and how aspects of the Unity desktop (specifically lenses) work...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Read the original material from Canonical, peoples.

      Yeah, sure! Hey, stay away from fresh air will you ?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    They should have added a commercial release

    I think there are plenty of people who don't understand the reason why people get upset. Sure; you can easily uninstall the lens parts and be done with it. Of course; Ubuntu was targeted at making Linux as easy as possible, so even end users could enjoy it, another problem.. But even that is not the main thing pissing people off I think.

    Have we already forgotten what Ubuntu stands for? Its not just a name; its a philosophy. Which in short seems to mean "humanity" or "friendlyness towards others" (from the top of my head).

    Put short: its named for following a friendly philosophy which in my opinion boil down to "Treat others as you want them treat you". Needless to say but enforcing spyware on your users sort of goes entirely against this ancient wisdom. Is it really that hard that this is going to piss people off?

    Worse yet: because you're touching the very basis of the distribution you're bound to tick people off, even if they may consider this to be a rather moot issue. Its not so much the spyware as a whole; its going against what Ubuntu stands for. And that can and will scare off a lot of Ubuntu die hards and followers; people who fully believe in this.

    Canonical should have known better, because I think the damage done might be much greater than one might realize. I mean; if they know this little about the distribution, what guarantees have followers that they won't do even worse?

    In my opinion Canonical should have added a commercial release. I dunno; maybe a server edition which can be supported for 5 years or so. Or extra commercial support for the product. Which is putting the finger on another sore spot: is it possible that Canonical wanted a way to generate more revenue but without too much extra effort? How friendly is that; normally people work for their money...

    I am not an Ubuntu user anymore, I used to be a big fan of the LTS releases. But the ideas behind Ubuntu have always appealed to me. As such, even as an outsider I think this has fail written all over it.

  39. JeffyPooh

    "You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update."

    "You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update."

    You ate my PC's MBR with that borked 10.0 update. The one and only time I was so excited that I didn't follow my own rule to wait a few days. I updated to 10.0 the minute it came out. My MBR has never been seen since. I can still boot with Grub, but it's a bit of a fiasco.

    Time to fix my MBR and uninstall all the Ubuntu. Not joking. Bye bye.

  40. Antoinette Lacroix

    I wonder

    if this is part of a long term strategy. Make Umbongo as easy to use as possible - then take advantage of it's clueless losers ?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, a new ad delivery platform!

    Just what Linux wanted to be when it grew up.

  42. Radelix

    Tried Ubuntu around 8.10

    And wasn't too fond of it then. I'm still preferential to Slackware and Debian. Slackware cause I am never done learning and Debian for when I broke slackware but still need to get stuff done. I do like Debian and Gnome 2 has grown on me especially since the abortion that is KDE 4 was released.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Har har

  44. h3

    Funny Linux CLI users having a superiority complex over Windows users but the fact is Powershell is more consistant and complete than the total mess that is the Linux / GNU userland these days.

    Doing Windows admin properly is all (nearly all) CLI as of 2012 (Other than connecting to the console of a hyperv guest that has to be done remote).

    (I am fairly easy about what I use but it has to have sloppy mouse focus (Just focus follows mouse at a push as long as it doesn't have auto raise).

    I don't trust Ubuntu with anything (Breaking X on the Dapper LTS release made me realise what jokers they were).

    I would like to go back to the days where you could use the internet reasonably without a graphical browser (Mailing lists and Usenet for tech stuff). Appart from the ad's everywhere (Even with adblock plus). So much of the stuff that people do is just a stupid in terms of not breaking your system.

    (Luckily Solaris and *BSD have decent reasonably current manpages).

    I would like an E-ink physical terminal doubt anyone will make one though. (I would even use a machine with nothing but Metro if I could have a terminal that was mono and easy on the eyes).

    I work with *NIX (And know it better than Windows) but I think they are getting worse whereas Windows is getting better (Metro aside).

    1. seansaysthis

      @h3, I think the difference here is that you are looking at this objectively. I use both *Nix and Windows each have their advantages and disadvantages. Theres still a few things you cant do in powershell but they are getting fewer with each release. Having said that my 12 year old bash and perl scripts still work. Its really about having the right tools for the job. I find it ironic that we are still having the my OS is better than your OS when most users don't care because they are busy getting things done . It the equivalent of metric vs imperial tools sets in the mechanical world. saving said that planting adds in a local search is reprehensible, the fact is that search is becoming less useful as a result.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This adds info to the discussion

  46. Shannon Jacobs

    Broken business models

    Some business models work. For example, Microsoft may have awful software, full of bug, bloat, and buyers' remorse (especially since the buyer never had a choice), but their business models work quite well, thank you. In some ways I think that Apple's anti-freedom business models are even worse, but again they work. In Apple's case they work exceedingly well.

    OSS has tried a number of economic models, and ALL of them have failed. OSS software is barely surviving in most cases, and even in the best cases, it is far below it's potential. Actually, though I'm still using Ubuntu on a couple of real machines and a few more VMs, I mostly regard it as an example of another failure to reach its potential, especially when Microsoft gave it a green light with that Vista fiasco. At least for my international and rather prosaic needs, Ubuntu's utility has actually declined from a peak about four years back.

    Ubuntu is using the large donor model, where the two weaknesses are the donor's pockets and the donor's decisions. I think that his pockets aren't empty yet, but his decisions have been increasingly for annoying flash that the programmers like while breaking such trivial essentials as the Japanese input system. (I can't remember all of the other problems with the more recent releases, but I do remember massive backwards leaps on the Japanese part of it...)

    Another popular OSS funding model is basically donated time by programmers without real jobs, with independent wealth, or perhaps just with nothing else to do. SourceForge is a monument to the orphaned projects that result.

    This article is about the advertiser-sponsored business model. If it worked for TV, it's supposed to work for the Internet, eh? Excuse me, but TV is DYING because that model has created an intellectual wasteland. There are a few exceptional programs, but they are rapidly becoming fewer and fewer. Me? I stopped dealing with Amazon because of their in-your-face advertising.

    I actually think there may be a solution. Something like Kickstarter or IndyGoGo, but with support for project proposals and evaluation of the results. Project management is actually important for anything above a noddie. My own version of the idea is called "reverse auction charity shares", and was mostly created before I ever heard of Kickstarter, but as far as I know, it is not in use anywhere...

  47. Hungry Sean

    different aspect

    what about those of us who use ubuntu for our jobs? I don't think my employer would like all of my desktop searches to be sent to a third party (e.g. there could be filenames that indicate IP being developed). It's not clear if the teams that decide which versions are blessed are going to be aware of this or not.

    For example, this is going to affect pretty much anyone working with Android (yes, 12.10 isn't LTS, but plenty of engineers will choose to use it anyway).

  48. lord_farquaad
    Thumb Down

    This is bad.

    The 'those are not ads but product placement' is a joke.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waste of time

    The freetards using this will never pay for anything so why advertise this to them?

  50. zaax

    Never seen the point of Unity Dash. Its very difficult to multi task, and only a few items stored on the dash board - not for the working envioment.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just....Change... Distro....

    Whats the point in using ubuntu if you don't like how they do their packaging?

    Just swap to another distro that roughly is what you want. Thats the point, you HAVE the choice.

    I put ubuntu on my mrs's laptop, and I have to say its not for me. And it won't be for her at next new hardware time...

  52. Fading


    If amazon don't see any revenue coming from this they will drop it - ergo stick with the LTS and wait for this to pass (is anyone going to click through? ) .

  53. Alan Denman

    We dont need no education, we dont need no free OS control.

    Pays its way, or dies a death.

    You decide.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ubuntu? Oh yes,I remember that! Isn't that the one that used to be the best distro by far, then went into terminal decline when they tried to force-feed an utterly naff GUI on their users?

  55. R Soles

    "You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update."

    Mark Shuttleworth said: "You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update."

    Actually I don't, which is why I gave up on Ubuntu.

    With every update they managed to delete up my wifi configuration or deprecate the drivers or otherwise screw things up so that I had to start from scratch every 6 months with my wireless network.

  56. Darkness

    Droped the ball.

    This is the final nail in Ubuntu's coffin for me. I've been using Ubuntu since Karmic. I think since Unity came in things have got worse. This is a great shame. It seems with this 'solution' that no online lens searches will be possible. How does this fit with Linux being about choice? Why not have this lens as a PPA (or Synaptic package) so that if users want the ads and so forth they 'opt in' and pull it down. Some internet searches are useful but I'll aver the vast majority of Ubuntu's core users do not want 'sell-out' ads appearing on their desktop. Whilst I'm sure it's true that users could download the source and remove this feature if they wished, this is not something that the vast majority of hobbyists or newbie's will be able to do easily. It seems to me that Cananical and Ubuntu are fast becoming Linux's equivalent of Microsoft and Windows: starting to restrict choice and foist what it thinks is best upon the community. It's sad but I have now switched distros. I'm now running Linux Mint Debian 64-bit. If you look at Distro Watch Mint has had the higher page hit ranking for quite some time. Linux Mint allows me to keep my productivity up while Ubuntu seems to hinder me now more than when I first started using Karmic and was getting to know this OS. A newbie coming to Ubuntu now has to figure out how to use the Unity metaphor and HUD further complicates things in my opinion. Lenses are not pretty or functional for me - they simply get in the way. I sincerely hope Ubuntu changes the way it does things and if they fail to do so then I hope the community votes with their feet and abandon it and get another distro on their machines. Ubuntu has dropped the ball and lost its way. It is interesting that in the latest edition of Ubuntu User their was some feedback on Unity - there wasn't much positive about it. Come on Ubuntu, please start listening to the community.

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