What is This

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What is This

Postby OldManHook on Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:19 am

Have anyone seen this? What do you Think?http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=ODQ5MA So they are tracking us now .
The fans at phoronix thanks its OK :(
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Re: What is This

Postby randomizer on Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:49 am

For those not wanting to participate in this anonymous data gathering process, they could always sudo apt-get remove canonical-census.


That's not the way anonymous information-gathering works, sorry. You need to get permission from users to collect their information. It's not meant to be an opt-out service, it's meant to be opt in. Fedora does the same thing but offers you the choice upon installation. That's how it should be.

To be fair, the people running OEM installations are quite possibly coming from Windows, which means data mining is something they'd be used to (without knowing it usually).
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Re: What is This

Postby OldManHook on Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:44 pm

Should we believe this OEM trscking only? Ubuntu's OEM sales don't seem to be that great, as with most Distros most installs are by users. Anyway this is usually how things like this start, Let's hope the Mint Dev.'s will disable it. This is more like Windows or OS 10 not Linux or free or open source software.
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Re: What is This

Postby vincent on Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:26 pm

I'll be happy as long as the canonical-census package remains open source, and its source code remains readily available. As long as I know for sure, and I can verify, what that package is doing, I wouldn't mind participating in an Ubuntu census...I'm sure Ubuntu can make use of the information they gather without infringing on individual user privacy.
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Re: What is This

Postby randomizer on Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:49 pm

OldManHook wrote:Should we believe this OEM trscking only?

If you don't download a package called canonical-census, then it's not on your system. If it moves from OEM to everyone then you can just block that package. Like vincent, I also think that it's not a major issue while the package remains open source. If you can see what it's doing then oyu can choose to keep it or get rid of it. If it goes closed source (and I can't think of a legitimate reason for why it would) then it wouldn't touch my system.
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Re: What is This

Postby linuxviolin on Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:54 am

All this, again once, show well the "philosophy" of Mark Shuttleworth.... :roll:

Open source or not the problem is the package itself. Plus, people will not know this package is installed by default on their system as they'll have bought a computer with the OS pre-installed. And possibly/probably, this is the first step... Ubuntu, the new Windows? :twisted:
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Re: What is This

Postby Tachikoma on Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:24 pm

This kind of "hidden" monitoring is one of the many reasons that I got involved in using Linux in the first place. I agree with linuxviolin, most folks won't even know that this package is loaded on their system... I certainly wouldn't think to look for something like this. Guess I'm just naive ~ I'll certainly look for this kind of thing in the future.

Sure hope that the Mint team will work to keep this junk out of Mint! It's a great distro that doesn't need this kind of thing to ruin it. The OEM "customers" should find some other way to mine this data; either "opt in" on load or initial system boot, or a follow-up customer survey ~ somethig like that.
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Re: What is This

Postby PauLLiK on Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:52 pm

I hope Mint will not include this package!
I'm looking forward to receive a message from one of the devs or someone hwo can confirm that Mint will be junkless(census-less)!!!
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Re: What is This

Postby DrHu on Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:59 pm

If this package is part of a Ubuntu update for their core system, then Mint is likely to include it.
--and few will know it is being installed, whether it is OSS packaged or not. We already use Nvidia or ATI binaries, despite the offer of the OSS Nouveau drivers, because they have better performance or more useful features, 3D acceleration

It is also true that most people will not scan their system for packages that are installed or services that are running, since that is not the reason they tend to use a computer, they simply want to get something done, either connecting to the Internet, running a useful or interesting applications or simply using the computer for work, using an office product.

How many people using Mint or any Linux or any other OS check their system, and tweak or at least investigate its operations to know/decide what should/should not be installed or running
--I think we all know the answer: the number is close to zero

What that package indicates it is doing
Code: Select all
 apt search canonical
p   canonical-census                - send I am alive ping to Canonical

So, not too bad if they only want a count of the number of Ubuntu based systems running
--although, like the ET phone home programs of other vendors, I just don't want to be counted, even if it seems like a minor request, and might even be considered benign.

This is not really so much different from the Mint installation, whereby the hardware of your system ( a profile, if you like) is delivered to Mint, if you accept the opt-in request.
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Re: What is This

Postby randomizer on Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:51 am

DrHu wrote:if you accept the opt-in request.

This is the key. If this package is opt-in, there's no problem. Don't complain about a package that you agreed to install. If it is simply included "secretly" with the installation then it becomes a problem.
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Re: What is This

Postby linuxviolin on Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:11 am

randomizer wrote:
DrHu wrote:if you accept the opt-in request.

This is the key. If this package is opt-in, there's no problem. Don't complain about a package that you agreed to install. If it is simply included "secretly" with the installation then it becomes a problem.

Well, this seems to be the case. From the article:

When the canonical-census package is installed, the program is to be added to the daily Cron jobs to be executed so that each day it will report to Canonical over HTTP the number of times this system previously sent to Canonical (this counter is stored locally and with it running on a daily basis it's thereby indicating how many days the Ubuntu installation has been active), the Ubuntu distributor channel, the product name as acquired by the system's DMI information, and which Ubuntu release is being used. That's all that canonical-census does, at least for now. Previously there haven't been such Ubuntu tracking measures attempted by Canonical.

The good news for those concerned about privacy is that it appears for now Canonical is just interested in tracking the users of OEM installations -- those PCs that ship with Ubuntu by default such as from ZaReason, System76, and Dell. This information will obviously be valuable to both companies to see whether customers are keeping around their Ubuntu installations or just wiping them and just how often Ubuntu is being used on these systems (judging by the number of times that system reported to Canonical's server previously). For those not wanting to participate in this anonymous data gathering process, they could always sudo apt-get remove canonical-census.

So, the package is/will be included by default in the installation. :x
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