Related Articles


  1. 13

    rob l

    as an Ubuntu newbie I am really struggling with what to believe but im slowly getting my head around it, I just have to remember that there is always conflicting idea’s

    I must use my own head to get it right.

  2. 12


    “blacklist configuration for Zeitgeist (control center integration)

    Zeitgeist is a service which logs the user’s activities and events (files
    opened, websites visited, conversations held with other people, etc.) and
    makes the relevant information available to other applications.

    It serves as a comprehensive activity log and also makes it possible to
    determine relationships between items based on usage patterns.

    This package contains the gnome control center integration.
    It lets you control what gets logged by Zeitgeist. It supports setting up
    blacklists according to several criteria (such as application or file types),
    temporarily stopping all logging as well as deleting recent events.”

    i don’t know how to read source code yet well enough to determine what exactly the various aspects of data collection in my linux distrobution does. i want to but, we don’t all have the luxury of time. however, since i’ve joined linux i’ve seen zeitgeist in my resources and i’ve seen the hidden files in my home folder and it feels a hell of a lot like windows. i came to linux to feel free’er and less of a marketed information goldmine. yes, i will uninstall zeitgeist. yes, i will do workarounds for the other activity monitors but, i believe this kind of Shit, should be explained in the welcome info that all the windows converts read before moving over so they can determine how to deal with these types of things BEFORE they find out about it weeks or months or possibly years later. it’s just the, considerate thing to do. and, i read this post and applaude it. yes, he/she made remarks like ‘so what?’ and ‘again, what purpose does it serve?’ and i can see how those things can be taken multiple ways but, from my take on the whole post it’s been excellent about telling people what the ubuntu community DOESN’T tell you. even if these data collection things are playing by nice rules, people should effing know about it before hand without having to browse hidden files and learning every package on their installation before they know which ones might even remotely be sending information. asides from that, it’s just bad when the first thing someone should have to do to circumvent the aforementioned when joining linux is google what packages are collecting information like the quoted reference in the beginning of this reply. plain and fucking simple. end of story.

  3. 11


    First Canonical/Ubuntu is attacked for not supporting Gnome enough and now that it includes new Gnome features it is attacked for doing so as well.

    I don’t like Canonical/Ubuntu much but I certainly wouldn’t post something as asinine as this pos. Posting the same thing but without the ‘Ubuntu Desktop’ headline would be more tolerable, though as others have pointed out you apparently haven’t done your homework with regards to zeitgeist.

  4. 10


    This privacy mess is typical for any free product. If it does not cost you anything than obviously you, the user, are the product. Facebook and Twitter ring a bell? How do you think they make money? By profiling you so they can sell that information and/or shove better “personalized” ads down your throat. Now think about the recent news articles about Ubuntu TV. What keeps TV afloat? Ads. What do they need for effective ads? They need to know everything about you, the user/viewer/consumer. If you don’t like that then don’t use their products.

    Our privacy is rapidly becoming a more scarce good than fist-size diamonds. The choice is yours if you want to safeguard (some of) your privacy or not. I do value my privacy so the moment I saw the Privacy settings in 12.04 I saw the writing on the wall and switched from Ubuntu to Fedora & CentOS. With Fedora at least I know that *I* am not the product because Fedora is a conduit to Red Hat Enterprise Linux which brings in a billion dollars of revenue. And Fedora or CentOS do not collect any information about what I do on my boxes. Feels a lot safer to me.

    Realize that your privacy does not come with a refund. Once it’s “sold”, you can never go back. Why not err on the side of caution and avoid that which will take from you what you can never get back.

    Whatever you do, be safe out there!

    1. 10.1


      That’s one person that gets it.

    2. 10.2


      Well, don’t mess up things. Free software means free as in Libre. Nothing to do with Facebook, Google or Twitter. And to reply to the initial post, just look at the source code and don’t loose your (and our) time speculating on thinks you obviously don’t know very well.

  5. 9


    Alas, the world is now gearing towards a bigger brother that is watching you.
    Even real free operating systems has to follow the rules which are dictated by law.

    Nobody is allowed to escape and every attempt will be seen as a factual future crime.
    And all this is an inevitable part of our present-day life in just about any modern country.

    In the end, humanity will learn how to deal with this accelerated evolution of technology
    the hard way to eventually come to a higher level of understanding.

    We just happen to be in the early stage of it and are likely to experience a lot of malevolent acting by early adapting governments, operated by the first resentful souls
    of the previous generation that encountered the first mishaps of the new high velocity tech-evolution.

  6. 8


    This article is bizarre. Firstly it documents several sensible privacy-enhancing options and asks “what is the point?”, as though privacy were unimportant. Then it asks whether the option to send “anonymous information” to Canonical is actually lying and sending information that could be personally identifiable, as though Ubuntu were not an open source operating system (the source code is right there: see for yourself whether the option is lying or not). Most bizarre is the contrast between these two positions: on the one hand the article cares so little for privacy that it sneers “so what?” repeatedly as it lists Ubunutu’s privacy features; then a moment later it’s so paranoid about privacy that it thinks an open source operating system might be sneakily misinforming users about what it’s really doing, despite the ease with which the users can check this for themselves. Bizarre.

    1. 8.1

      Grigor Gatchev

      For all purposes, the mentioned “privacy settings” are good for nothing. Even if logging stays enabled, it is on your PC – it is you who can review it. Not much sense in holding your private info away from yourself.

      On the other hand, sending a slew of personally identifiable information to somebody’s server somewhere is by default a gross violation of the privacy. Putting it in the same category as the activity logging on your own PC is like putting in the same category the right to speak your mind and the right to shoot someone.

  7. 7


    I just un-install Zeitgeist immediately after installing (any distro). Then, since I’m not recording anything, I don’t have to worry about what gets access to it. Find is your friend.

  8. 6

    Alan Bell

    Why would you need to be worried about having this stuff consolidated into one place and explicitly there for the purpose of controling your privacy rather than invading yoru privacy? Would it not be much more rational to be worried about using operating systems that don’t have privacy controls built in?

  9. 5


    The article asks good questions, but in my view also presents the matter in a too suspicious manner, considering the lack of some essential facts. I have to wonder, why didn’t you ask Canonical or some Ubuntu developers for their view on the matter before writing the article. That could have answered important questions, and left less room for speculation – and would have served your readership better.

    Otherwise I think the article is well written. Thanks!

  10. 4

    Sean Tilley

    Uhm, really? Do you even have any conception of how libzeitgeist even works?

    Anyway, there’s a sale down at the shop on tin foil, I could pick some up for you if you’d like. I know how you love making hats out of them.

  11. 3


    Wow! I don’t think I’ve read a more disingenuous article in a long time.

    First of all, the code is all open source. Just download the source package, and you can see exactly what the code does. Unsurprisingly, it does exactly what it says it does! As it says in the dialog, before a crash report is sent you have the opportunity to review the information that will be sent and/or cancel the report.

  12. 2


    I’m very skeptical that Canonical is collecting information about chat logs and web browser use. They’ve just consolidated things into one menu for easier use, instead of forcing the user in Empathy/Pidgin to turn off local chat logging, then going into the file manager and clearing recently used files, et cetera.

    Plus the hardware profile and error reports are thing you must opt in to, and are applauded by the EFF: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/03/ubuntu-1204-will-bring-os-level-privacy-options

    Of course it’s good that people are looking into this, but I’m not concerned about Ubuntu’s stealing all my data.

  13. 1


    Ubuntu 11.10: install activity-log-manager and you get the functionality described above.
    Additionally I move browsercache to /dev/shm/ in about:config of firefox and make /tmp and /var/log a tmpfs in fstab.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *