Ubuntu Spyware and the Magnificent 7

by Ostatic Staff - May. 12, 2015

One of the more interesting stories today was Zack Smith's question, "Is There Spyware in Ubuntu?" Elsewhere DNF 1.0 was released triggering a blog post and a how-to. Several Linux lists caught my eye as well; which distributions would be best for Windows XP holdouts, 10 best distros for privacy, and the "magnificent seven."

Softpedia.com discovered a blog post by a software developer named Zack Smith in which he asserts that Canonical's choice of CEO in 2009 was for the explicit purpose of inserting spyware into Ubuntu and, nowadays, ultimately all your "converged" IoT things. Smith offers up a bit of smoke, but no real fire. He shows that Jane Silber came from the "US Military Industrial Complex, specifically at the C4 Systems division of General Dynamics. It turns out that C4 Systems focuses on using computers for spying." Later he says that the Ubuntu-based Chinese Kylin and Canonical connection is more than coincidental as well. He says China is a police state and would only authorize an operating system that gave them the technology to spy on their citizens. In the middle of his post Smith suggest folks down the source code, scan for spyware, and compile said sources on a source-based system. Because sources made available can be incomplete or different than actual code used for binaries the smoking gun doesn't seem to exist. While Smith offers no proof of spying, he does provide the dubious connections to consider when choosing a distribution.

To that end, TechRadar featured a slideshow of the 10 best distributions for "privacy fiends and security buffs." Although it's a nice title, many of its choices are derivatives of Ubuntu. Gentoo and Arch derivatives are represented as well in addition to Tails and Debian-based Kali.

Blogger Ulysses today posted what he calls his list of "distros to try" dubbed the "magnificent seven." He said there are way too many distributions to test yourself, so he wants to "narrow it down" a bit. Besides the ones I bet you can guess, he includes FreeBSD and Slackware as well. Perhaps folks may prefer something like PC-BSD to FreeBSD to start. Jessie Smith today reviewed the latest current of PC-BSD 11 as well as OpenIndiana and LXLE. And if you still need more, Matt Hartley today posted four suggestions for those still clinging to Windows XP. PCLinuxOS is featured there for "getting Windows users" along with Puppy Linux which he said can run on ancient hardware.


* Yum is dead, long live DNF, Automatic package updates with dnf

* MintBox Mini Unboxed

* Compute Stick's Linux offering not quite up to speed