Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

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Mohr
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by Mohr »

Ok ... I have Linux Mint 14 now ... here this obligatory "enhancement" isn't ... visible.
Maybe you have 14 too and that's why you didn't find it?

So ... problem is solved. Nevertheless I would like to hear an explanation for treating/informing users that stupid ...
igor83

Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by igor83 »

Mohr wrote:Ok ... I have Linux Mint 14 now ... here this obligatory "enhancement" isn't ... visible.
Maybe you have 14 too and that's why you didn't find it?

So ... problem is solved. Nevertheless I would like to hear an explanation for treating/informing users that stupid ...
:lol:
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by cwwgateway »

Mohr wrote:Ok ... I have Linux Mint 14 now ... here this obligatory "enhancement" isn't ... visible.
Maybe you have 14 too and that's why you didn't find it?

So ... problem is solved. Nevertheless I would like to hear an explanation for treating/informing users that stupid ...
Right I have 3 pure Debian installs (two of which I use a lot), One LMDE Cinnamon install (which I also use a lot), One Mint 13 install (which I hardly ever use), and one CrunchBang 11 install (which I use a fair amount). However, on all of the Debian and LMDE installs I use iceweasel (Debian's firefox) from normal Debian repos.

Edit: I checked Mint 14 Cinnamon and Mint 13 Xfce and, at least for me, 13 did not have the addon, whereas 14 did. However, I believe you can remove it using the following command:

Code: Select all

apt remove mint-search-addon
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Mohr
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by Mohr »

Ok - I have another german source where it is shown that the removal is much more complicated.
And here in Linux Mint 14 Mate - I don't have it no more. Nothing to remove ... :oops:

But nevertheless I had it in Linux Mint 13 Mate - and I still wonder why they obviously cheated on their own users by calling it "enhancer" ... :evil:

ps. There is no problem to proof it. There's been discussions about it. But noone ever asked this question: Why the hell did they call in enhancer whereas it deprived users of the information that continiously data is send to Google? By the by Linux Mint 13 also send every 15 minutes a ping to Google - in the software-updater.
In Germany the IP adress is - for good reasons - considered private data. And why it did so I will never understand ... :twisted:
igor83

Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by igor83 »

Mohr wrote:Ok - I have another german source where it is shown that the removal is much more complicated.
And here in Linux Mint 14 Mate - I don't have it no more. Nothing to remove ... :oops:

But nevertheless I had it in Linux Mint 13 Mate - and I still wonder why they obviously cheated on their own users by calling it "enhancer" ... :evil:

ps. There is no problem to proof it. There's been discussions about it. But noone ever asked this question: Why the hell did they call in enhancer whereas it deprived users of the information that continiously data is send to Google? By the by Linux Mint 13 also send every 15 minutes a ping to Google - in the software-updater.
In Germany the IP adress is - for good reasons - considered private data. And why it did so I will never understand ... :twisted:
:lol:
dee.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by dee. »

Mohr wrote:Ok - I have another german source where it is shown that the removal is much more complicated.
And here in Linux Mint 14 Mate - I don't have it no more. Nothing to remove ... :oops:

But nevertheless I had it in Linux Mint 13 Mate - and I still wonder why they obviously cheated on their own users by calling it "enhancer" ... :evil:

ps. There is no problem to proof it. There's been discussions about it. But noone ever asked this question: Why the hell did they call in enhancer whereas it deprived users of the information that continiously data is send to Google? By the by Linux Mint 13 also send every 15 minutes a ping to Google - in the software-updater.
In Germany the IP adress is - for good reasons - considered private data. And why it did so I will never understand ... :twisted:
I... don't get it. Are you trying to manufacture some kind of controversy?

What is the problem here? If you don't want data to be sent to google, don't use google. Google really loves data...
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by xenopeek »

Mohr wrote:I don't get it: You get a "search enhancer" that "enhances search results" from Google, but all it does is adding a code to your search to show Google that you are using Linux Mint .... what is the enhancement?
Mohr wrote:Sorry, but it is about trusting someone with your private data.
And they insert something that says it enhances your search and all it does is selling your private data to google and earning money with it?
These are valid privacy concerns, and have been addressed before. See TehGhodTrole's topic, especially sanda's reply, who audited the mint-search-addon source code, and my reply, answering privacy concerns about what data Linux Mint and search engines are collecting.

To summarize; your web browser already includes which operating system you are using, and more, with each request it makes to a website (for example, to display a webpage, to do a search for something, or to download something). What information is being shared by your browser, you can test with EFF's Panopticlick.

Linux Mint does not collect any information on your searches. What is done, is add a parameter to the URL of the search engine to indicate to the search engine provider that any advertisement revenue from this search session is to be shared with the Linux Mint project. But the search engine provider could already deduce which operating system you were using, from the information your web browser included in the request.

The mint-search-addon is open source can be audited for such concerns (like sanda did). You can download the source code from here, download the .tar.gz file.
Mohr wrote:Ok - I have another german source where it is shown that the removal is much more complicated.
This is true for Chromium. For Firefox you can easily disable the Mint Search Enhancer extension for the Add-ons menu, or remove it completely by uninstalling the mint-search-addon package. Whether you do or not, on Firefox you are not directed to the Linux Mint Google CSE when doing a Google search, as you were on Linux Mint 11 and before (which the developers changed from user feedback on Linux Mint 12). For Chromium this is different, and you are still directed to the Linux Mint Google CSE when doing a Google search. To remove the Linux Mint Google CSE from Chromium you need to run one command, as I've shared here.
Mohr wrote:By the by Linux Mint 13 also send every 15 minutes a ping to Google - in the software-updater.
In Germany the IP adress is - for good reasons - considered private data. And why it did so I will never understand ... :twisted:
This is easily and fully in your control :wink: The Update Manager by default checks every 15 minutes whether there are updates available. A ping to google.com is done by the Update Manager to test if your Internet connection is up, before it attempts to download updates. If you want, you can change both of these. To do so, got to Update Manager and open the Edit > Preferences menu. On the Auto-Refresh tab you can configure the refresh interval. On the Update Method tab you can configure the domain name or IP address to be used for the Internet connection check.

BTW, all software developed by Linux Mint is open source and can be audited for such concerns. The source code for Update Manager you will find conveniently on GitHub: https://github.com/linuxmint/mintupdate.

I hope this at least answers part of your concerns. Thank you for using Linux Mint! To those concerned about how their privacy, or about filter bubbling, Linux Mint wholeheartedly recommends using DuckDuckGo.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by exploder »

No one is selling any data, you are simply identified as a Linux Mint user. Your privacy is not at risk. As others have mentioned, you can use DuckDuckGo wich is included by default. It makes no differance to most of us what Clem calls this add-on and when you consider that Linux Mint is free of charge we are more than happy that this generates a little bit of revenu.

Anyone can change their home page to Google or any search engine they like. I keep the defaults because it helps support Mint and many of us feel the same way. Clem is very good about disclosing the details of the revenu Linux Mint generates. I can not think of any other distribution that discloses it's revenu like Mint does. Clem is a full time developer and has a family to support, he has always been very open and honest with the community. I find this topic somewhat insulting because of all of the hard work Clem does for all of us.

This is an old topic, there is nothing wrong with what is being done with the search engines and is it really that much to ask to help support Mint in such a small way?
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by MALsPa »

I've never liked the "Mint-ified" search; just thought it should have always been much easier for the user to decide whether to use it or not. Seems like users that don't like it always have to dig around (at these forums or elsewhere) to figure out how to get rid of it. I don't know, the whole thing just rubs me the wrong way.

But in the end, it's something that can be changed by the user. And nobody's being forced to use Linux Mint. To me, it comes down to the same thing as with any Linux distro: Don't like it, don't use it.
igor83

Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by igor83 »

It seemed obvious to me that Mr. Conspiracy Theory hadn't done much research, had just noticed some pings here, pings there. The reason the updater pings google is likely to verify internet connectivity. As for the Minty search ("Enhanced Google search"), yes I would prefer a better explanation of it in the add-on tab in Firefox, even if its sole purpose it to generate money for Linux Mint. I would not necessarily disable it if it had no utility. If you want to see real privacy concerns just take a look at Ubuntu's record of late. From my understanding, LM has disabled the Amazon spyware.

One of the first things I do with Linux Mint when I install it is dial down the update frequency. In my opinion every 15 min is too much. I think once every two weeks is more like it. Maybe even longer, once a month, or once every three months. But that's just my preference. I don't know whether it is such a great idea to be updating all the time, unless something is broken. Once in a while might be okay, but otherwise, I would prefer developers have plenty of time for second thoughts and recalling or revising those updates.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by dee. »

igor83 wrote:From my understanding, LM has disabled the Amazon spyware.
The Amazon spyware thing is a part of Unity, and Mint or any other distro besides Ubuntu doesn't use Unity.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by xenopeek »

igor83 wrote:I don't know whether it is such a great idea to be updating all the time, unless something is broken.
Updating is done to get security fixes in a timely matter.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by clem »

Hi everyone,

Sorry for being brief and not reading the whole thread. I thought I'd just drop by and explain why it's called "enhancer".

- The start page uses a custom Google search engine called CSE
- CSE generates money for Linux Mint
- Although CSE is made by Google, it does not provide the same features as Google itself, namely you can't click on "images", "videos" etc...
- To add these missing features to CSE, we implemented an add-on to Firefox which adds a bar at the top of the search results to let you click on "images", "videos" etc.. in other words we enhanced the CSE results with some of the missing functionality found on traditional Google searches.

Now, nobody is being called "stupid" and we're pretty clear with our strategy and how we're funding this project. It is a requirement for commercial search engines which monetize Mint traffic to share part of their income with us. We made it clear to them, DDG, Opera and Yahoo got on board, Google is still considering it. When you're seeing these ads, you're as much a Google user as you are a Mint user, so a sharing agreement is a requirement here. We also made it clear to you that that's how things work and I took great care in making sure users could easily add search engines to Linux Mint and that they could read and understand why these search engines weren't installed by default.

It's a bold stance, I'll give you that. But that's our position regarding the search market. You're getting Google services for free (and trust me they cost a lot of money to develop and maintain) because you generate money for them via advertising. You're getting Linux Mint for free (which definitely doesn't cost nearly as much, but we still have people to pay full-time and things to pay for) because some of you donate and sponsor us, and people using CSE, DDG, or Yahoo generate money for us. It's an opt-out of course.. by default you get Yahoo or DDG and CSE on the start page, and if this comes as a discomfort you're able to easily switch to something else.

PS: The "enhancer" only enhances your CSE results (i.e from the start page). When you add the "Google" search engine to Firefox, it doesn't use CSE and it's got nothing to do with this (and it doesn't use any code and it generates no money for us).
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by clem »

I forgot to reply about the privacy issues.

- We don't record or sell anything.
- DDG doesn't record or sell anything, that's one of the big reasons people use DDG.
- Google and Yahoo and most other search engines record your profile, search patterns etc for the primary purpose of showing you results and ads that you will like.
- Google and Yahoo and most other search engines probably do other things with your data... which I don't really know about :)
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igor83

Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by igor83 »

That was a nice post by Clem, informative and candid.

Other add-ons like Stylish by Jason Barnabe offer a lengthier description about their function and purpose. "Enhances Google search results" may seem terse and tempt some users into speculation. Adding a more detailed explanation might put a cork on the bottle of conspiracy theories.

To the poster above Clem, thanks for the reminder that the Amazon spyware in Ubuntu is in Unity and never inherited by LM. I'm glad to know that. I don't plan to try Unity.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by cwwgateway »

I agree - that was a great post by Clem. I'm glad I understand the "enhancer" part now, and it does make sense. I'm also happy to be sure that no personal data is kept (other than the usual google/yahoo/etc stuff). This kind of reminds me of the Debian popularity contest package; in the Debian installer it asks you whether or not you want to enable the popularity contest (it basically keeps track of what software you have). It installs the package regardless of your answer, but it is disabled (or maybe not even installed?) once the system is installed. Anyways, I'm glad this issue is (hopefully) sorted.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by igor83 »

cwwgateway wrote:I agree - that was a great post by Clem. I'm glad I understand the "enhancer" part now, and it does make sense. I'm also happy to be sure that no personal data is kept (other than the usual google/yahoo/etc stuff). This kind of reminds me of the Debian popularity contest package; in the Debian installer it asks you whether or not you want to enable the popularity contest (it basically keeps track of what software you have). It installs the package regardless of your answer, but it is disabled (or maybe not even installed?) once the system is installed. Anyways, I'm glad this issue is (hopefully) sorted.
Well, we'll see. :lol:

I must say though, I've poked around in other distros' forums, and the LM forum just has a better vibe somehow. Maybe it's due to the green theme (green promotes calmness), or the product quality, or just the personality of the devs.

I wasn't too concerned about this particular issue in Linux Mint because, coming from Windows, there are all kinds of phone-home stuff going on in that OS, whether it's the antivirus, firewall, Windows itself or what-have-you. I never did figure out what all of the network connections from Windows were about. And then Ubuntu... well, just google "Amazon Ubuntu," and you will see what I mean. Duck Duck Go never bothered me, as it seems innocuous, a small, humble and unobtrusive search engine. An obnoxious search engine would have to be Ask, because Ask gets installed without asking when one installs certain Windows software, such as the horrible ImgBurn. It will even replace the sacred home page. I don't consider the Duck Duck thing a big deal because one can quite easily replace it, and a good solid home page should encapsulate all of the popular search engines, anyway.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by Hammer459 »

DDG is pretty much the only Search engine that explicitly states that the do NOT abuse the rights and privacy of their users. Whereas Google on the other hand explicitly states that they WILL track your surf habits as best they can.
Chrome anf FireFox browsers also have integrated search and URL field. (as of FF19 at least) The purpose of that is that EVERYTHING you enter will ALWAYS be sent to the configured search engine. If that is a URL the search will be aborted but the info has already been sent too the search company. If that search company is DDG the info is supposedly discarded. If it is Google it will be used to profile you and at the very least target ads and possibly be sold.
The fact that DDG also kicks back some money to Mint makes it the least of the evil.
Removing the automagic search from the browser is very difficult and can in worst of cases break the browser.
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Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by dee. »

Hammer459 wrote:DDG is pretty much the only Search engine that explicitly states that the do NOT abuse the rights and privacy of their users. Whereas Google on the other hand explicitly states that they WILL track your surf habits as best they can.
Chrome anf FireFox browsers also have integrated search and URL field. (as of FF19 at least) The purpose of that is that EVERYTHING you enter will ALWAYS be sent to the configured search engine. If that is a URL the search will be aborted but the info has already been sent too the search company. If that search company is DDG the info is supposedly discarded. If it is Google it will be used to profile you and at the very least target ads and possibly be sold.
The fact that DDG also kicks back some money to Mint makes it the least of the evil.
Removing the automagic search from the browser is very difficult and can in worst of cases break the browser.
What if I want to search for an url in a search engine? Is there a way to disable this behaviour in FF19 to get the old search and navigation fields back?
igor83

Re: Duck Duck Go, Chrome and revenue for Linux Mint

Post by igor83 »

dee. wrote:
Hammer459 wrote:DDG is pretty much the only Search engine that explicitly states that the do NOT abuse the rights and privacy of their users. Whereas Google on the other hand explicitly states that they WILL track your surf habits as best they can.
Chrome anf FireFox browsers also have integrated search and URL field. (as of FF19 at least) The purpose of that is that EVERYTHING you enter will ALWAYS be sent to the configured search engine. If that is a URL the search will be aborted but the info has already been sent too the search company. If that search company is DDG the info is supposedly discarded. If it is Google it will be used to profile you and at the very least target ads and possibly be sold.
The fact that DDG also kicks back some money to Mint makes it the least of the evil.
Removing the automagic search from the browser is very difficult and can in worst of cases break the browser.
What if I want to search for an url in a search engine? Is there a way to disable this behaviour in FF19 to get the old search and navigation fields back?
Are you talking about a beta version of Firefox? I am using 18.02, and there is no such automagic search. The browser does not begin searching before I press Enter--a behavior I would find very annoying.
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