Ubuntu Community Manager apologises to Stallman
Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has apologised to Richard Stallman for calling Stallman's position on Ubuntu "childish". Last week, Richard Stallman wrote an article describing Ubuntu 12.10's Amazon Shopping Lens as spyware. In "Ubuntu Spyware: What to do", Stallman said that the sending of search terms being entered into the desktop by users on to Canonical's servers, where they are then searched for on Amazon, is simple surveillance and without the users' consent. Even though the Amazon searching can be turned off, "the existence of that switch does not make the surveillance feature ok" because its default state is on, he says. Stallman called on the free software community to "remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend" and said that "it behooves us to give Canonical whatever rebuff is needed to make it stop this".
Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager, took to his personal blog to defend Ubuntu and Canonical. In that personal posting he accuses Stallman of spreading FUD about Ubuntu and said that the distribution is designed to be usable by all. But at the end of the posting Bacon closes with how he believes Stallman's position is that, if some free software does not meet his requirements, then the community should shun it, and says "this just seems a bit childish to me".
Bacon's new posting specifically apologises for that "childish" reference, saying "I apologize whole-heartedly to referring to your position in your post as ‘childish‘ and I continue to have great respect for the work you do to encourage and grow software freedom around the world". Bacon sticks to his position that Ubuntu's Dash is not acting as spyware and says that his issue was that calling Ubuntu spyware "somewhat over-sensationalizes the issue". Bacon said that his position as community manager does not mean he has influence to change any policies, but that he does have control over what he says on his blog and closes saying: "Apologies again to Richard, and I am going to chalk this one down as another one of life’s lessons."
Canonical has yet to make an official statement on the issue. It has previously stated that it plans to add more internet searching capabilities to future Ubuntu releases, with the ability to search and purchase books and music.