Amazon search results in the Dash

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

It makes perfect sense to integrate Amazon search results in the Dash, because the Home Lens of the Dash should let you find *anything* anywhere. Over time, we’ll make the Dash smarter and smarter, so you can just ask for whatever you want, and it will Just Work.

The Home Lens of the Dash is a “give me X” experience. You hit the Super key, and say what you want, and we do our best to figure out what you mean, and give you that. Of course, you can narrow the scope of that search if you want. For example, you can hit Super-A and just search applications. But if you throw your query out to the Dash, we need to be a smart as possible about where we go looking for answers for you.

In 12.10 we’ll take the first step of looking both online and locally for possible results. The Home lens will show you local things like apps and music, as it always has, as well as results from Amazon. Note – these are not ads, they are results to your search. We don’t promote any product or service speculatively, these are not banners or spyware. These are results from underlying scopes, surfaced to the Home lens, because you didn’t narrow the scope to a specific, well scope.

What we have in 12.10 isn’t the full experience, so those who leap to judgement are at maximum risk of having to eat their words later. Chill out. If the first cut doesn’t work for you, remove it, or just search the specific scope you want (there are hotkeys for all the local scopes).

Here’s a quick Q&A on the main FUD-points.

Why are you putting ads in Ubuntu?

We’re not putting ads in Ubuntu. We’re integrating online scope results into the home lens of the dash. This is to enable you to hit “Super” and then ask for anything you like, and over time, with all of the fantastic search scopes that people are creating, we should be able to give you the right answer.

These are not ads because they are not paid placement, they are straightforward Amazon search results for your search. So the Dash becomes a super-search of any number of different kinds of data. Right now, it’s not dynamically choosing what to search, it’s just searching local scopes and Amazon, but it will get smarter over time.

I don’t wan’t to search Amazon for the Terminal

Use Super-A. You can tell Unity exactly what you want to search. And in future you’ll be able to do that from the home lens, too, more easily than the current Lens Bar at the bottom of the Dash.

I want to control what is searched on the Home Lens

So do I! Designs and patches welcome in the usual places. I’m pretty sure by 14.04 LTS we’ll have the kinks unkinked. Till then, come along for the ride, or stick with 12.04 LTS. We can’t wait till it’s perfect before landing everything, because the only way to learn what’s not perfect is to have other people – real people – use it.

I can’t believe you just changed Ubuntu. I liked it the way it was.

Looks like those six months are nearly up again ;)

This is just a moneymaking scheme.

We picked Amazon as a first place to start because most of our users are also regular users of Amazon, and it pays us to make your Amazon journey  get off to a faster start. Typing Super “queen marking cage”  Just Worked for me this morning. I am now looking forward to my game of Ultimate Where’s Waldo hunting down the queens in my bee colonies, Ubuntu will benefit from the fact that I chose to search Amazon that way, Amazon benefits from being more accessible to a very discerning, time-conscious and hotkey-friendly audience.

But there are many more kinds of things you can search through with Unity scopes. Most of them won’t pay Ubuntu a cent, but we’ll still integrate them into the coolest just-ask-and-you’ll-receive experience. I want us to do this because I think we can make the desktop better.

Why are you telling Amazon what I am searching for?

We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already. You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update. You trust Debian, and you trust a large swathe of the open source community. And most importantly, you trust us to address it when, being human, we err.

The query should be encrypted!

It will be in the release version.

I want to control this in the settings!

Yes, we agree, and designs and work are under way to make that possible. That should land in 12.10 too, or as an update, or in 13.04.

In summary – please don’t feed the trolls. We’re interested in feedback in what sorts of things would be useful to search straight from the home lens, and how to improve the search results, as well as provide better control of the process to you.

Here is the key question, as I see it:

Can Canonical and the Ubuntu community handle the responsibility associated with this sort of service?

Well, if we want to run a modern platform, that updates automatically and provides users with the full benefit of living in a connected world, then we have to be able to do that. If we can’t we won’t be relevant. So we should talk about the appropriate kinds of privacy policy, appropriate encryption, appropriate settings and preferences, to make this all world class.

260 Responses to “Amazon search results in the Dash”

  1. Anzan Says:

    Mark, why would such results appear when searching what one expects to be one’s local machine? Is the distinction between “places” such as file system, home, mounted drives, LAN, the internet and specific sites blurred for a reason?

  2. mark Says:

    @Anzan – the Home lens of the Dash is “search everything”. If you want to search locally only, use the hotkey to specify the specific scope you want, like Super-A for apps, or Super-F for files.

  3. Sebastian Says:

    Ermm. You have root? Details please.

  4. rikhard Says:

    if i understand it correctly, it’s like a super-search feature on the DASH, so why not partner with duckduckgo and use their search capabilities and goodies for that.

    for instance if i want to search something on amazon i just do !a ‘search’

  5. JunCTionS Says:

    Sorry if this is clear to everyone else, but you don’t seem to mention any typical websearch engine. I imagine there are even more Ubuntu users that use Google than those that use Amazon. Will it also search Google?.

    I know this could be addressed with a “patch” but it sounds to me that it would be more useful than an Amazon search engine.

  6. sebastien Says:

    I think that a control panel to manage Scopes and lens would be useful.

  7. Mikael "MMN-o" Nordfeldth Says:

    This was a great description and I thank you for making this much more clear than they were from article abstracts or even the articles themselves.

    I believe however that for the user interaction, the default behaviour should _not_ be giving away any data by network – even to a trusted party (is the current wifi I’m surfing on trustworthy? etc.).

    So: The functionality like so is great, but if one could easily opt-in rather than have to opt-out of doing internet searchers I think it would be more appreciated with a big part of the “privacy aware” audience.

  8. Eric TF Bat Says:

    It doesn’t make sense to me to conflate local search and global search. If I press the Super key and type “benedict cumberbatch”, to pick a random example, I expect to get only the files, applications and music that has reference to the High Cheekboned One himself. If I want to google him, I’ll do so in my browser of choice.

    I suspect the real reason you’re getting hammered for this decision is *it’s just not a very good decision*.

  9. Thomas Kluyver Says:

    When you say “Erm, we have root”, I trust you don’t mean you have root access to any computer running Ubuntu? You might want to rephrase that.

    I do – so far – trust Ubuntu. I trust it not to do things like this. I don’t need shopping results every time I look for an application or a file. I expect the home lens to show my stuff (‘at home’), not stuff Amazon can sell me.

    That the data goes to an Ubuntu server and not an Amazon one doesn’t make much difference. When I use my computer normally, I don’t want to feel that it’s reporting what I do to anyone, unless I’ve opted in to that.

    Turning your own arguments around, rather than needing a more complex shortcut like Super-A to search locally, why not use, say, Super-B (for Buy) when you want shopping results? We start applications far more often than we buy things from Amazon.

  10. Vincent Says:

    Two questions based on what I’ve read elsewhere that you might want to debunk or confirm:

    1) Are the search results tweaked to what you’ve searched for before? I mean, I can imagine it being useful to turn up an application that I’ve opened more often to show up higher than something with a slightly better match but less relevant. However, someone suggested that your local search history was appended to the Amazon query parameters to make them more relevant. This would of course have privacy implications like Amazon knowing that you’ve often searched for porn on your local PC.

    2) Are Amazon results also appened to Video and Music results? I think I saw this on OMG!Ubuntu. Of course, unless it’s actually videos or music available from Amazon, I would not be interested in these results.

    Then another remark w.r.t. Anzan’s comment and your reply: if I want to search for files, isn’t it (in the future) also an option to find non-local (e.g. Google Drive or unsynchronized Ubuntu One) files? Because then the solution of narrowing that down wouldn’t work.

  11. Anzan Says:

    Mark, hm. So the “Home lens” isn’t for /home then. Not to be obstreperous, but why call it “Home”? Home of what then, if not local files?

  12. Ian Hex Says:

    Anzan: “Home” as in “Start Here”, in the same way that “Home” for Google is, rather than any of their specific products/sites.

  13. Etienne Snyman Says:

    Thanks for the explanation. It really puts my mind at ease. Please just continue to listen to the users and help us enjoy Ubuntu as much as we already enjoy it!

  14. Patrick Says:

    would have liked more detail on the privacy concerns though. When he says that they are handling the searches what does he mean exactly? Is there an Ubuntu server which acts like a proxy for all searches?

  15. Israel Says:

    I think this will be a great idea, though, you should add options in the future to tweak it. If I could go into my Dash configuration in the Settings, and Go to my Lenses, find the shopping one and change the site to another one (eg, ebay,, etc…) and then change the default online search engine for your [future] online searching integration from google to something else (eg. yahoo, duckduckgo, etc…) I could tailor it to my use. Allowing for a wide range of customizations within the Lenses makes the most sense in such an opinionated and diverse group of users. A lot of GNU/Linux users are incredibly passionate about ‘their preference’. Allowing more of an open approach (in future additions of course) would seem to placate people and add increased functionality. Besides, you know how some of us are devs some of us are geeks, some of us just want to have a virus free working computer to do normal computer stuff. Ubuntu is great because of the choice. I can run Unity, Gnome Shell, Gnome Classic, Xfce, Lxde, Enlightenment, or any number of configurations and combinations. So having Unity’s Dash configurable in that way seems the natural thing for the Linux for Humans to do. Well, whatever you decide thanks for all you hard work and God give you more light!!! :)

  16. Henri Sivonen Says:

    “Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.”

    That argument makes technical sense, but I don’t think it’s a given that sending data to Canonical involves the same kind of trust as trusting Canonical to install software updates. I’d expect it to be easier for a rogue employee to view incoming log data than to upload a Trojan software update without getting caught. Also, I’d expect the bar for a subpoena for data received by Canonical to be lower than for a court order to send a Trojan to retrieve data from the users’ systems.

    Sending the data to Canonical is better than sending it directly to Amazon, but I think it will surprise users that when they search for a file on their system, the search term gets sent to outside their computer.

  17. haydoni Says:

    “Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root.”

    I only wish I’d known about this before spending £400 odd quid on Amazon last week, I would have affiliated it to Ubuntu.

  18. Dave Gilbert Says:

    Hi Mark,
    In the section ‘Why are you telling Amazon what I am searching for?’ can you expand on, or provide a link to the mechanism with which you
    anonymise the searches (I assume there is a blueprint for it?); of course as you say ‘you’ve got root’ – but at least I can see the source of all the packages I install.

    Unfortunately even if the anonymisation is done well, the actual search query is sent in plain text (from a quick peak with wireshark) which is rather unfortunate.


  19. Flimm Says:

    I wonder how much FUD would have been avoided if this excellent article had been published before the changes had been committed. Developers at Canonical should coordinate with whoever is in charge of PR to make sure controversial changes are announced properly and in advance. (For the record, I’m ambivalent towards the changes myself.)

    Thanks for clearing up some questions and teaching me about Super-A!

  20. mark Says:

    @Sebastian – Every package update installs as root.

  21. Freddi Says:

    @Vincent: Good point! More relevance is desirable (a movie/song about bees or a beekeeper object), but not for the cost of privacy.
    We don’t have the complete amazon index, so we must “give” them some data (at least search words). What if we apply Zeitgeist’s intelligence after the raw search results have been returned, so that we don’t need to leverage personal preferences and search history to external data sources?

  22. mark Says:

    @rikhard – yes, a syntax for scope-specific searches from the home lens is something we’d take a patch for.

  23. mark Says:

    @JunCTionS – we’re not tryint to out-Google Google. If you want to search the web, it’s best to hit Google in your browser-of-choice. The Dash is for “things”, like Apps, or stuff from Amazon.

  24. mark Says:

    Agreed, some sort of settings interface would be appropriate. The place to flesh out that is on unity-design, with mockups.

  25. mark Says:

    The default behaviour is scope-specific. Use a local scope, for local-only searches.

  26. mark Says:

    @Eric, when I search the Dash for Benedit Cumberbatch, I have no local results so I only see a couple of movies that he’s been in. If I had local matches, they would have been above those, so I would have got to those first / faster. Which makes sense to me: your existing stuff (local) first, then other stuff that you might be looking for. Let time be the judge of the quality of the decision.

  27. Martin Says:

    1) The communication between the lens and your servers is sent plain text, aka no SSL. This opens up every search to man in the middle attacks and similar privacy and security hacks.

    2) It doesn’t matter if the “home” searches go to Amazon or only Canonical servers, they shouldn’t go anywhere, they should stay local. It’s non of Canonicals or Amazons business what Ubuntu users do on their desktops.

    3)My desktop doesn’t have to be smart, my browser already is.

    4) Did you research EU data protection laws yet? I am fairly certain you’ll be having some problems soon in countries like Germany.

    5) You do not have root on my machines. I cannot believe you just said that you do have root and implied you can do whatever you want on your users machines. What a mistake. You lost all my trust, you lost a longtime Ubuntu user, and thereby future potential users who I will send somewhere else too.

    This is a step in the wrong direction. Ubuntu users are technical, privacy and security aware, they won’t stand for this. They’ll just move on to another distribution, it’s easy for them. You guys didn’t think this through one bit, did you?

  28. mark Says:

    @Dave, the query does not go straight from you to Amazon, IIRC, it goes to Ubuntu servers first, then to Amazon.

  29. keithpeter Says:

    Is there documentation available on

    a) what information is sent to Amazon when executing a search from the dash by pressing Super and typing a phrase

    b) the level of identification of the device/user that the information sent to Amazon contains

    c) the extent to which Amazon can build a ‘profile’ of the searches from a given device/user, and, possibly, associate that identified profile with an Amazon account

    I’ve got no problem with my Amazon purchases generating a small take for Canonical. Content is king and referral fees are fine.

    My concern is that this sort of ‘leakage’ of information from a context that most people would see as private (dash search) into the outside world has a tendency to generate negative publicity in the future, especially if it appears on a consumer device sold by a partner to non-technically inclined people.

    If we could say ‘its only the search phrase that is sent, and Amazon forget the machine after the results are displayed’ that would be good.

  30. mark Says:

    @Henri – there are way fewer people who would have access to log data than would be able to upload something to Debian or Ubuntu.

  31. Mark Fernandes Says:

    > Shuttleworth: We’re not putting ads in Ubuntu. We’re integrating online scope results into the home lens of the dash.


    Looks like whole Unity thing again, I got caught up with the whole icon nonsense before but being an LTS 12.04 power user I’ve come to like Unity. So I’ll pass on the next release and just stick to being an LTS user. Who knows maybe I might come to like this feature… (or maybe not but no point getting upset over it right now).

    So far, for me, the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS desktop seems sensible, efficient, and less idiosyncratic. Just the way I like it :)


  32. mark Says:

    @Martin – we have a duty of care to our users, regardless of whether there is network traffic involved. If you use Ubuntu, you are trusting the Ubuntu and Debian (and large swathes of the open source community at large) not to make mistakes, or to address them quickly if they do.

  33. Jonathan Says:

    I’ve made this comment several times in several places and would prefer this would be opt-in instead of opt-out. From my understandng and a copule of screenshots I’ve seen if I search for a document that contains Avenger in the title, I will also get recommendations from Amazon for the movie.
    If you would have made this an opt-in instead of opt-out by uninstaling the package that contains this, as mentioned in OMGUbuntu I’m sure the half the controversy would have disappeared.

    If I’m bandwidth limited how much bandwidth does “searching my desktop” now take?

    Also how does Canonical have root over my system?

  34. CAZ Says:

    Amazon is pretty useless in Australia. and i prefer the browser for online shopping as I can compare things rather than being presented limited information in a bias catalog. While I think its okay for the dash to be “smarter”.. I think the default home should be very local centric, its my home. I’m not going to ever likely use dash to search the internet for anything. maybe if you want shopping you should be the one to have to use a hotkey. Ill be looking forward to see how well its initial implementation goes in 12.10 and I suggest a dash control centre be added to allow users to opt-out completely, this would be desirable in corporate environments aswell.


  35. StuieT Says:

    If home is a central place for all results, does this mean that we will see results from all lenses and scopes, for instance iPlayer videos that are currently watchable or music that is available to be purchased in the Ubuntu One store. I cannot do this on 10.04.

    Also are there any plans to make a separate shopping lens within unity which will enable searching for specific goods within stores (e.g. books, DVDs clothes etc.)

  36. Surio Says:

    Dear Mark,
    Haters gonna hate. ;-P ;-)

    I don’t see this matter as something to split hair endlessly over (Well, if others do, it’s their prerogative, of course, and I am not finding fault per se).

    From my POV, I think you’re doing what every good captain does. Keeping the ship afloat and running in the best possible way. Keep the scaled up “Linux Desktop” dream running. Good luck mate.

  37. Jeremy Bicha Says:

    @Patrick Yes and for now the proxy is

    @Flimm, the push to land this feature in Ubuntu 12.10 came partly from Mark, so sure, he could have posted this explanation a few days ago. Then the Ubuntu community could have found out about this from Planet Ubuntu rather than Slashdot. At least he didn’t wait until Monday to post.

  38. Phil Says:

    Will my search request be stored on Canonical’s server or will it be deleted after the results have been presented to me?

  39. mark Says:


    Yes, you will see results from a variety of sources in the Home. You already do. In future, that will be more dynamic, but for now it’s just using a limited set of sources. We couldn’t search EVERY scope, so we have to pick the right ones for any given query, which is a little challenging, but it’s an interesting challenge.

  40. tim Says:

    Hmm, ubuntu is one of the cool kids now, with a privacy scare. I strongly agree with concerns about SSL, if @Martin is correct. I look forward to being able to configure this off. I’ve long had the option to quickly change my Firefox search engine to Amazon for specific searches, and I’ve never used it.
    I think the idea of searching beyond the local desktop is good … my phone does that (although Apple won patents over that behavior in the US). It searches a universal search engine as well local content. It’s great.
    But searching amazon is a buy search, which is a million miles away from any default search I have ever made (and I buy a lot from Amazon). I’ll see how this works in practice, but I’m not predicting a happy ending.

  41. Caz Says:

    lets hope it wont be plaintext transfer. Shame if an unsuspecting citizen of a oppressive government intercepts his query for “lgbt” decpite only wanting to search for local files.

  42. Mark Shuttleworth Explains Why Amazon Search Results Will Appear In Unity Dash On 12.10 | RefuGeeks Says:

    […] I read a post on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog about the justifications as to why Amazon search results will appear in the Dash of Ubuntu 12.10 […]

  43. nope Says:

    Like others suggested, if the user wants to search Amazon, this should be triggered by a parameter like “!a my_amazon_search”. Don’t mix my local results with results from the internet. This is bad.

  44. Nic Says:

    Hi Mark,

    The only people this search tool is even relevant to are Americans. Most of the results won’t even bring up anything I am even allowed to buy here in Australia as Amazon just doesn’t wanna sell everything here for whatever reason.

    furthermore, why can’t i just search, when I want to buy something, why would I use a lens?

  45. Chris Smith Says:

    Mark: Some questions:

    1. Did you ask if anyone actually wanted this first?

    2. Are you providing an option to opt out during installation or upgrade?

    3. Do you have a privacy policy and protocol documentation online so we can analyse it?

    4. Is the data transmitted secured in any way?

    5. What if someone is searching for a local document with a sensitive title. Do you stop sending that title over the wire?

    If ANY of these are no, then Ubuntu becomes a liability.

  46. CT Farnaker Says:

    I have an incredibly novel idea for making off of Ubuntu that I will share to you for nothing. It’s so revolutionary, you won’t have to spy on users, sell their information, sell their eyeballs, or otherwise set up your interests and incentives to be aligned with anyone *but* your users. It’s amazing.

    Here’s the revolutionary idea: Sell the operating system to your users.

    That’s right. Charge your users money. Instead of charging other people money to sell them your users, you can sell your users a product. Your users will be happier because you’ll be making the product for *them*, not for advertisers. You’ll be happier because you won’t be selling out your souls in a desperate attempt to make money by selling out your users.

  47. mark Says:

    @Farnaker – we are not selling users to advertisers. We are providing a search interface for, initially, Amazon, and ultimately lots of other things too. We’re not selling your data or interests or social graph. Personally I don’t use Facebook because that sort of thing is distasteful, but I’m pretty confident we can make Ubuntu fantastic without doing what they do.

  48. mark Says:


    1. Yes, we asked a few users. The response was complicated – “maybe, if the experience is great, yes”. And so we have to work on the experience and iterate and address concerns. There is enough of a justification to start.

    2. Yes, you can trivially delete the relevant parts. We’re not complicating the install for this, because it doesn’t warrant it.

    3. We have a privacy policy that covers everything we do with data we acquire in the process of running the platform, yes. I’m not aware of protocol documentation, consider what we have now as a 1.0 and by all means help shape it to be better.

    4. No, I believe the initial implementation uses cleartext for the query.

    5. Local searches should be scoped accordingly.

  49. Jordan Says:

    I’m glad that this is being included in 12.10. This allows me to contribute to Canonical without directly affecting my budget. I’m pretty sure without Canonical’s work on Ubuntu I wouldn’t be using any flavor of Linux on the desktop. I am excited by the vision that Canonical has for Ubuntu (particularly Ubuntu for Android) and am extremely glad to contribute in any means I can. If you’re not happy with the Amazon search results I’m sure it will just take a simple “sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-amazon”. Thank you Mark for putting your time and capital into Canonical, I look forward to what you will bring us in the future.

  50. mark Says:

    @Jeremy, I was on holiday this week. Just got back, saw questions and blogged to address them.

    Here is the key question, as I see it:

    Can Canonical and the Ubuntu community handle the responsibility associated with this sort of service?

    Well, if we want to run a modern platform, that updates automatically and provides users with the full benefit of living in a connected world, then we have to be able to do that. If we can’t we won’t be relevant. So rather than saying “FAIL!”, we should talk about the appropriate kinds of privacy policy, appropriate encryption, appropriate settings and preferences, to make this all world class.

  51. Doug m Says:

    I don’t wan’t to search Amazon for the Terminal

    “Use Super-A.”
    The apps lens by default will produce Amazon results for any search

  52. mark Says:

    @Doug, no, the Apps lens does not search Amazon for Ubuntu apps. If only ;)

  53. mark Says:

    @Jordan, thank you!

  54. CT Farnaker Says:


    Of course you’re selling users to advertisers. You’re creating a situation where your incentive is *NOT* aligned with user interest, but is instead aligned with your financial interest in advertising to your users. From experience, it creates a very slippery, very steep slope, where you find it easier and easier to make decisions like sending all of the user’s local searches to your servers, while you assuage your guilt with silly platitudes like “if you just want local search, use some “.

    Why don’t you place your advertising search on that non-default path? Rhetorical question — the answer is, at least in large part, because you know you’d make less money that way.

    What makes me so sad about this is that I had hope that Ubuntu would be the user-focused, user-friendly alternative I could turn to now that Apple is locking down their platform. Instead, you’re taking the cheap path of trying to monetize by doing something other than serving your user’s interests in the most direct way possible.

  55. CT Farnaker Says:

    I just wanted to follow up and say: If there was one thing Apple understood about UX, it was embodied in what Steve said in his last WWDC talk. If I may paraphrase: “We always try to think of what we would like to use, and then do that. We wouldn’t want to use a mail system with advertisements”.

    Apple has been incredibly, incredibly profitable, all by putting users *FIRST* and targeting a market of users willing to pay for that level of service.

    Instead, you’re trying to target the lower half of the market that’s too cheap to buy an OS and willing to put up with your abuse of their goodwill with ads. Apple demonstrated that the model can work, but not only can it work, it can produce profits on a scale that dwarfs what we see from companies that sell off their user’s experience to the highest bidder in misguided attempts to shore up their bottom line.

    I wish you’d learn from Apple. We need another Apple.

  56. Alexis Says:

    Making a big fuzz for absolutely nothing…again.
    Not being original…again.
    Is amazon paying canonical for this? Maybe they should be donating to KDE..for ages.

  57. KevQ Says:

    I am indifferent to this idea – I don’t actually know if I’ll use it until I upgrade to Quantal and the option is there for me.

    Some people have mentioned that they are worried about their search quiries being sent in plain text, why? It’s not like you’re searching for passwords or a .txt file (or similar) with a list of confidential data…or are you? If you are then more fool you for not protecting this data.

    If Ubuntu are using an affiliate link for Amazon, so what? Thye do a tremendous job and provide and brilliant product for absolutely nothing. If they make a few quid of this kind of thing that doesn’t have any impact on us, the users whatsoever then surely that can only be a good thing?

    What I can’t work out though is why Amazon? You say in your post Mark that the dash should let us find “anything anywhere”. If that’s the case then why not use something like Google search results instead of a shopping site? If it were to be the former then I truly would be able to find “anything anywhere” from my dash (within reason of course).

    So I suppose my question is this (mundane ramblings aside)…Why Amazon instead of something far more appropriate like Google when the end aim is to “find anything anywhere”?

    …you can all wake up now, I’ve stopped. :)

  58. agrestringere Says:

    Mark this is a really interesting feature and it got me thinking. Is this an experiment to begin applying a more Google Android like business model? I was just thinking that it’s about time that commercial Gnu/Linux evolves beyond the simple “support” model to the current state of the art business model that is proven to work extremely well as Google has shown. Will Valve have it’s own “lense” like this also for Steam?

    Let’s hope this is a real step towards fixing Bug #1 and hopefully Amazon/Google/Valve can help you get there…give me hope…

  59. Jan Wildeboer Says:

    Constructive criticism that is also already in launchpad.

    The first patch/update should definitely be to switch from http to https. Search queries should never be sent in plain text – especially when they might contain words/phrases that are OK to use in a local context but mnaybe not in a network context.

    Secondly it should be made opt-in IMHO. Quite some people will not immediately understand why a search in the “home” context results in a search request over the wire. Or even better – have this lense in a separate “shopping cart” tab. But still use opt-in as default.


  60. mark Says:

    @Farnaker – we are strongly incentivised to ensure that, over time, the results there are closer to “just right”. If we don’t we’ll lose users to people who get that right. Your assumption about my motivation and decision making are just that – assumptions, and they tell us a lot more about you than about me :p

  61. Epistaxis Says:

    It may or may not be pedantic to argue whether it’s technically an “advertisement” when your operating system suggests things for you to buy, but the real question is: why would I *want* to look for books on Amazon in the same place where I look for programs and files on my own computer? I don’t want to “find anything anywhere”, because *I already know what kind of thing I’m trying to find and where to look for it*, in this case on my hard drive.

  62. brad Says:

    mark – if ubuntu needs revenue, i would gladly pay $49 a year for a “supporter” subscription giving me some special features. i think this is something to consider vs. partnering with revshare affiliates. remember that your audience wants you to be a huge success. lean on us if you have to

  63. Anzan Says:

    Mark, I must admit I’m really quite concerned about this. Not only integrating Amazon listings to “Home” but blurring users understanding of what /home is.

    While most users might not need to know what is in /etc in order to do email, play videos, or tweet, one of the best things about Linux is that it allows users to modify and to fix their systems rather than to feel it is beyond their understanding and thus control. Integrating web apps with local apps has a logic to it. Being able to search locally and in the repositories for software has a logic to it, though mixing the results as is currently the case is weird (to me), even though labelled. Being able to use search engines or Wikipedia from “lenses”? Um, okay. I would just use a browser but, sure, there’s a logic to it.

    But what is the logic behind hiding the nature of the Linux file system and failing to distinguish between the computer, the internet, and particular sources of information, especially commercial ones? Does this benefit the user?

  64. Tom Brossman Says:

    Mark, I do appreciate you taking the time to reply to some of the questions posted here, but I see no definitive replies to privacy-related questions asked above by @Dave Gilbert (12:58), @Martin (1:07), and @keithpeter (1:09). Also as pointed out in multiple comments, saying ‘I have root’ comes off as more than a little Orwellian. Maybe just a bad choice of words?

    Can you or someone else at Canonical please flesh out the details of exactly how this works, how you intend to comply with Data Protection laws, and why exactly we should trust you with this new functionality? Somewhere, a very detailed explanation of how this works needs to be documented, and it must be independently verified.

    Until what exactly you are doing and how exactly it works can be fully explained, the default on my machines will be to switch this off. That’s a shame because I’d like to be able to support you. Affiliate links and revenue are no problem, if disclosed.

    Please take the time soon to provide much more details on this functionality, or this may backfire.

  65. Ethan Says:

    What about how Gnome3 manages super searches? Three bars, top one is apps, middle is files and folders, bottom is web, click on Google, Wikipedia or Amazon and THEN launch an in-browser web search based on your query if that’s what you wanted. You could still put down the appropriate referrer, and no data would be sent out unless explicitly intended by the user.
    I’d also like to echo sebastien’s suggestion for “a [graphical] control panel to manage Scopes and lens.” Uninstalling packages or adding custom addons to change functionality does not come naturally to Ubuntu’s entire user base.

  66. CT Farnaker Says:

    Mark, my assumptions aren’t assumptions, they’re the simple reality human nature and incentives. By placing user experience a step removed from your own incentives, you’re ensuring that you’ll consider them secondary to your primary incentives. In other words, you’re rationalizing, and you’ll continue to do so, because what will make you money is a step removed from what your users want.

    As for losing users to people who get it right, that assumes that your competitors are going to do this better than you are. Do you want to measure yourself *only* relative to your competitors — which leads to an inexorable slide to the bottom for everyone — or do you want to measure yourself relative to what you know to be great?

    How many times have we seen someone sell out while claiming that this time, it’s different, only to behave in exactly the same way as everyone else that has ever sold out in the history of selling out? How many founders have sold their companies while claiming that the acquirer doesn’t want to change a thing? How many profitable private firms have taken VC to support growth, all the while claiming that they’ll still be the same company? They never are, and neither will you be if you disassociate your primary incentives from what your users actually want.

    Let’s not speak in hypotheticals; this feature isn’t very useful, and it’s not really what users want. It’s a way that you can see to increase revenue, without it being so intrusive that you can’t rationalize it.

  67. Dylan McCall Says:

    Okay, that clarification does help me feel a little happier about this: it’s pretty well the Search feature on Android, which is something I do like and use all the time. All it’s missing is that little settings panel to choose which search plugins to use. With that said: why not have a Google Search lens for global stuff? Google is pretty good at searching and prioritizing results on the web :)

    Are you concerned about the technical requirements for having a hundred different search plugins on a given machine, or is there something happening to solve that? (Or is it better than I’m assuming?).

    Also, I’m disappointed that you are allowing the “just remove it” solution. Uninstalling a technical looking software package is not an acceptable solution if we’re still serious about Ubuntu being for people who just want to use their computers. (Really, unity-lens-shopping is listed in Software Centre as one of 14 “technical items” in the Themes & Tweaks/Dash Search Plugins category, it has no icon and it has a 15 word description with a typo). Not only is removing a search plugin that way considerably more complicated than it should be, it also is not a solution for a multi-user deployment, and it is completely not obvious to someone who is just starting with Ubuntu. (We should expect a few hundred million of these soon). I agree, ‘it can be turned off’ would be great, and if I was able to say that I would completely accept this feature given some minor changes. I’m sure I am not the only one.

  68. Eduardo Says:

    I understand your intention with putting Amazon in the home search.

    I just really need for you to explain the phrase ” Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root.” because the way it might even feel the need to create a new blog post


  69. Robert Pogson Says:

    Quite frankly, if you need money from private users that badly, why don’t you just say so? Perhaps your users would be glad to monetarily support you in some way.

  70. Aaron Couch Says:

    As a casual Ubuntu user the fact that this is a being added as a “feature” is very problematic. The privacy and security issues aside, I can’t imagine anyone who wants this level of integration. Web browsers and apps exist for a reason.

    The fact that this feature is a default is a deal-breaker. I can’t evangelize Ubuntu to my friends and family if this going to be part of the default functionality. I can easily remove it but they can’t.

    I appreciate the desire to increase revenue but this kind of functionality betrays the essence of what I want an OS to do. I want an OS to make it as easy and secure as possible to manage applications. I want an OS to be as transparent as possible about what the apps are doing with my system and what data they are accessing and sharing. I want to trust my OS to protect me and my friends from intrusive behavior, whether that be annoying popups and adware or serious breaches of my personal data.

    You say, “Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.”

    You are right, and I’ve trusted Ubuntu for a number of years. This kind of functionality erodes that trust completely.

  71. Ubuntu 12.10 – arriva Lens Shopping, il menu di Ubuntu diventa uno store Amazon e arrivano le prime polemiche Says:

    […] In questa pagina troverete il post di Mark Shuttleworth inerenerente il nuovo Lens Shopping. […]

  72. mark Says:


    “Just remove it” isn’t my ideal either – there’s a thread (thanks to Sam Hewitt) on unity-design now about how this could be managed as a preference, which is how I would prefer it to be.

  73. mark Says:

    @Aaron – there is a poll showing more users in favour than against, and about 20% undecided. So there are certainly people who want this level of integration. Have you tried it?

  74. mark Says:

    @Robert – good idea, let’s ask them ;)

  75. mark Says:

    @Tom, we’re well aware of data protection requirements, because we run Ubuntu One which also has to comply with the same requirements. I don’t have the specifics of who has access to what, other than to say that it’s a subject that gets a lot of management, IS ops and engineering attention. We have many places where engineers don’t / cannot see end user data, for example, even to debug reported issues.

  76. mark Says:

    @Brad – thanks! We’ll invite people to contribute when they download 12.10. Linux users are generous, perhaps they will show they care in that way directly. This is not an either-or proposition, there should be lots of ways that people can support Ubuntu. But the real driver of this work is that it is how we make the desktop more useful – make it faster to get what you want, whether that’s an app or a DVD or a streaming CD. That’s why I think this will turn out to be good.

  77. mark Says:

    @epistaxis – I understand your point. Similar views were expressed in user testing the feature, so you are not alone. But try it in practice. What I find is that I get my local stuff first, in which case the additional online results are purely supplementary. Today I learned that there are a whole bunch of books available for the Gimp, for example, which I did not know previously. And when I *want* to search Amazon, I find there are few or no local results that get in the way of that.

    So, sure, it’s a 0.9, and it’s landing hot and heavy, but it’s a good start on what I think will be a very useful capability.

  78. mark Says:

    @Jan – agreed on the ability to control it by the user, thanks for the feedback.

  79. The Open Sourcerer Says:

    Of course, if you don’t use the “dash” for anything anyway it clearly doesn’t matter…

    Been using 12.04 since release and can count on one hand the number of time I have launched the dash. For me it’s unintuitive and just an extra layer of “stuff” which gets in the way.

  80. Benjamin Kerensa Says:

    There needs to be a Lens Settings icon under “System Settings” where this can easily be opt-out for those who do know know how to remove a package. Also the security and privacy concerns should be addressed before this is released.

    There is already a bug open that suggests a MITM attack is possible and that data is currently sent in plaintext. Additionally there is no privacy policy discussing how Canonical handles the search data it receives.

  81. Lots of Hype Over Shopping Lens in Ubuntu 12.10 - Benjamin Kerensa dot Com Says:

    […] 9/23/12 11:36 AM: Mark Shuttleworth has blogged about the new feature. if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = […]

  82. Benjamin Kerensa Says:

    On another note has any consideration been put into maybe a shopping category in the dash where many different shopping results can be consolidated? I personally understand these are suggestions versus advertisements and I enjoy the innovative steps the unity team and webapps folks are making to make our desktops even more connected to the web.

    I just think there could be a more elegant and precise way to provide the results while also offering more control through a lens settings under system settings.

  83. Liam Says:

    I still cannot see this as being any different from the crapware and advertising that gets bundled on Windows machines. My reason for thinking this, regardless of Canonical’s intentions, is it’s adding a bunch of crap to the default desktop that many users don’t need or want.

    It may be easy to remove, but so is the crap bundled with Windows, that doesn’t mean it isn’t annoying that users have to waste their precious time having to remove it. And if the defence of this is that the feature isn’t finished: why are controversial features like this being rolled out in such an unfinished state? You know how upset users get about this sort of issue, so if there’s something that needs to be handled carefully, and done right, it’s introducing Capitalist social relations onto Ubuntu.

    The only other thing I’ll add is that Canonical could easily maintain a lense in the repository for searching Amazon, then the ‘search everything’ paradigm could be opt-in. I’m sure many users would find such a thing beneficial, but by keeping it opt-in you won’t annoy those who don’t.

  84. Jorge Says:

    I support this move. It’s unobtrusive, it can be helpful to the user, it is easy to remove (even though I don’t see a reason to remove it), and it can make Ubuntu more economically viable.

    Certain free software extremists loathe all revenue, and they want all free software development to be done by hippies (or be government-funded).

    Mark Shuttleworth is realistically working for the common good, and I thank him for that.

  85. Jef Spaleta Says:


    One small question. Can you describe the expected way for users to discover what “scopes” are available so they can scope their search queries to specific scope(s). You point to Super-A as an example of scoping the scope. How discoverable is that?

    I know its not an easy question with an easy design answer. And the question has relevance beyond just the Unity desktop, so your answer is probably also broadly relevant as well. But I think the question comes to the heart of the problem of integrating multiple types of scopes (each with varying degrees of entanglements with external services).

    So to ask the question as narrowly as I can. How are Unity desktop users expected to discover the UI which allows them to take control and either narrow the scope, or broaden the scope of a particular query? While I’m no help in providing a design concept that would be sufficient, my gut tells me having to learn about Super-A and friends (the Hotkey Justice League of Justice, HJLJ, Super-Alt-H) by reading your blog entry is probably not really meeting the discoverability bar for most users who are frustrated by the lack of scope scoping by default. Just a gut feeling, so take it for what it is.


  86. Art Says:


    Why not have this feature enabled ONLY if the user adds amazon to their online accounts? This way you are providing the service to those who want it and not upsetting those who don’t !

    I personally shop on amazon, eBay, etc… If this else somehow helps me find what I need then that’s wonderfully…but at the same time I don’t want unity asking me to spend money every time Im trying to find an app or file on my machine!

    I think that’s the core of how most users think about this addition.


  87. Benjamin Bach Says:

    Mark, be careful with your credibility in this issue: If something looks like an ad and behaves like an ad, to most people it also *is* an ad! You’re trying to explain otherwise, and it does not sound convincing. To start with, it’s hard to really understand why shopping of all the features that could be integrated into the lens has been chosen, and how you find that it should be included in the “find anything” paradigm – why not also search Wikipedia, Ubuntu forums, Launchpad, Twitter etc? Furthermore, shopping for products require many data to be represented and finally data to be transmitted to complete the purchase, so the lens would never be a shopping application – just a shopping window.. or: an ad.

    As another user pointed out, if revenue is lacking, then do the right thing: Be transparent about Canonical’s business and start asking users for their support. That way you get extra revenue and extend loyalty from the community base.

  88. nowardev Says:

    well i think that the only nice thing unity has is the dash.

    nice idea and until you can remove amazon lens nobody should criticize it is a nice feature for me.

    unfortunately I use kde I hoped that the unity was written in QT, i have dreamed to integrate ubuntutv with kde and adding only 3 plasmoid to kde you would be able to get unity interface in kde …in 2 months because i believe they have some point in the unity design.. anyway … the dream was broken when they chose another toolkit .. if it was done in QML qtquick I could write something … my 2 cents .. peace and love

  89. Thomas Arbs Says:

    2006, or 6.06, is since when I have been installing Ubuntu on various machines, as I just verified by looking into its own little CD box that have filled up over the years. I also very well remember your personal explanations of that time as to why you were doing this, why you were funding your own distro when you didn’t have to. You were actually giving away CDs at that time, remember? Including shipping from overseas. Your motives were not making money, they were the antithesis of making money.

    Now you are wiggling yourself through explaining why, if you wanted to “search everything”, you prefer a shopping portal over a search engine. “The dash is for things”, you should only hear yourself. There are no more things on my harddisk than there are on the WWW, only 1s and 0s.

    What has happened in-between?

  90. Neal McBurnett Says:

    The phrase “Erm, we have root.” simply reflects the reality that the producer of nearly any operating system or system software that you run has (just about by definition) full control over your machine. The kernel, the init system, and all the system utilities come from Ubuntu. Many of them run as root. Anything root can do on any system could be done via changes to the system software.

    This is of course true for Microsoft, Apple, and many upstream open source projects also. You should recognize that you implicitly trust anyone from whom you get software. That’s just a fact of life.

    Of course Ubuntu does more than most anyone to earn that trust, and give you options to do your own analysis, building and/or customization to satisfy your own environment and threat model.

  91. Michael Says:


    The actual code that runs the lenses and scopes isn’t tied to a UI toolkit, they simply connect to and communicate over DBus. It would be straightforward enough to build a Qt “Dash” for KDE that calls the same lens and scope code. After all, Unity 2D did just that, and it was written in Qt.

  92. Michael Says:


    Hold down the super key, and you get

    Many of Unity’s keyboard shortcuts are discover-able this way.

  93. yungchin Says:

    I think adding Amazon results to the Dash is a neat idea, and enabling it by default is certainly the right design decision – it’s the kind of functionality that will please most Ubuntu users, and given that most users of any software stick with the defaults, this is the only way to get the majority of people to enjoy your innovations. I think you knew it would draw lots of criticism, and it shows leadership that you went ahead and made that difficult call anyway.

    As for me – I’m a security nut, and I’ll remove the corresponding packages from my system. Nevertheless, I applaud you for doing the right thing, and for pulling the desktop-environment and design innovation carts for OSS. One thing though:

    > Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.
    > You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update.

    As others have touched upon, this argument doesn’t fly, and I should add why: it’s based on the premise that trust is a binary concept, when it most probably is not. As Clay Shirky once wrote (in a different context): “There are people who cheat on their spouse but not at cards, and vice versa, and both and neither. Reputation is not necessarily portable from one situation to another, and it’s not easily expressed.”

    Likewise, I trust the OSS community with editing and packaging the binaries that touch every corner of my digital life, but not necessarily with a log of my search history. They are two different flavours of trust, because breaches of those trusts correspond to very different moral transgressions.

  94. Slinky Says:

    Mark, you guys have got this completely backwards. Local searches should not be “scoped accordingly”.
    It is remote searches which should be “scoped accordingly”.

    In other words: don’t make ANY of my Dash searches hit the net at Amazon or Ubuntu servers unless I EXPLICITLY tell Dash to do so.

    Do make the Dash lenses for Amazon, for Google, for, for, whatever entity is paying you to sell user search data, but just make the lenses 1. opt-in, and 2. possible to uninstall.

    PS. Konqueror in KDE has (had?) an elegant system of letting one type “google:ubuntu os” or “amazon:orwell 1984″ to the address bar, kicking off the search. Perhaps the Dash lenses could work in a similar way.

  95. dell4242 Says:

    What this really comes down to is trust and how this was handled. I don’t think it’s a good argument to say we have root anyway now so trust us on this. This sort of implied trust is not something that should be called on to win an argument, because it makes people question that trust in the first place.

    Root access would require a software update to create a back door, or use an existing backdoor. Updates are opt in. So in this case there is a difference between saying we have root and we can have root (if you install a malicious update). If they do have root today that’s a serious issue. This was probably just poorly worded. However at this point it needs to be clarified at length. Ubuntu needs to say that they don’t have root access today, and has systems in place to ensure this will never happen, and we were dumb to imply it. This particular statement is getting bad press, which is a lot more damaging than this adware proposal.

    User privacy at the operating system level is a big deal, and I feel this is a step down a slippery slope. Maybe next week they will start indexing your files and make suggestions on what you buy. The week after that they might start giving you pop ups. Ubuntu should be clear about the direction they are going longer term with this (what information they will keep, what information they will release, and to who).

    Personally I will be uninstalling if it’s possible. If I want to go to amazon I’ll do it on a browser (where it will work better and I can compare with google products and all the other internet shopping sources).

  96. "Making money is not a bug" Says:

    […] kehebohan ini, Mark Shuttleworth menanggapinya pada blog pribadinya: Why are you putting ads in […]

  97. ghaspias Says:

    I don’t think the dash should arbitrarily perform any kind of online search, on sites whose tos I may have not accepted. I don’t think the OS should ever transmit any unencrypted user-generated information by default.
    What I think the dash should do is provide a way for me to specify to have a query forwarded to whatever I have previously defined – much in the same way as I can choose my search engine in firefox, or even define new keywords for a query and use that as a predefined search.
    The OS should empower the user to do what he wants, no use raw power to simply present ever more options. I want an OS that understands what I tell it to do, not one that outguesses me all the time. If the dash understands when I say I want to buy something at amazon, that’s ok; what is proposed remembers me of those parents that treat grown up kids as babies, always trying to offer them things, instead of letting them speak.
    Anyway, what is the user supposed to do with the presented results, if they do happen to be of some interest to him? Either there is some dedicated application for shopping amazon, or he will go to the browser. If that’s the case, why not just present the option to do that query in the proper application?
    I have used exclusively Ubuntu and promoted it since 2005. But recently there seems to be a lack of vision regarding usability, and what the role of a modern OS user interface should be. I think I’ll be looking for alternatives soon.

  98. Psy Says:

    I was thinking about this on the shower (the best place).
    – From the user standpoint makes sense: the Dash is an advanced interface that beginners usually don’t use. I have the unity-scope-cities installed and is pretty handy, so, why not? But you’ll want to make sure there is a clear distinction between local and remote/store content, not just a title and an icon.
    – Many people will see this as an intrusion. An “off” switch is mandatory.
    – Concerns about security are pretty valid. You must be crystal clear about that and prove you’re competent. Note that I’m not talking about implementation but communication.
    – From your explanation, I can see this becoming a sort of Siri for Ubuntu. I’m starting to think about it as “the cloud”, in a way that is not really the Internet (Google for most of the people), but an information and discovery space. In this way, is really not a lens but a scope for all the lenses on the Dash, that informs me not only where I can find this data outside my computer, but also any global properties about it (for example, ratings on Amazon or IMDB). Bah, perhaps I’m overthinking it.
    – From a store standpoint: have you made any surveys to find if the user prefers to buy things in context, on a centralized “store”, or both? Because the more I think about it, the more I feel you’ll need an integrated store in the future, in opposition to the current mode on were the music store is only inside Rythmbox/music lens, for example.

    Just a few thoughts.

  99. Amazon results in Ubuntu = No Big Deal? Says:

    […] did some more research and I came across Mark Shuttleworth’s blog detailing the update, and some of the user responses regarding the issue on their […]

  100. Lemm Nelson Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I’m excited for the direction your team is taking Ubuntu, I think each release is getting considerably better :-).

    As mentioned earlier, I also think it would be great to give the option for users to purchase their copies of Ubuntu, for those users who would like to contribute in that way.

    Cheers, Lemm.

  101. Better Performance and Battery Life Tips for Linux | Jupiter Broadcasting Says:

    […] Amazon search results in the Dash […]

  102. xorinzor Says:

    For someone like myself this feature (if thats what you might want to call it) you just lost a desktop-ubuntu user (that is, if it isn’t able to turn it off COMPLETELY).

    I understand Canonical is somewhat of an commercial application, but selling ads (even though you guys don’t call them so) in an operating system is NOT the way to do it.

  103. John Yost Says:

    I am curious as to who will be filtering the results. Will it be wide open search for anything or will a list of items/ideas of allowable searches be controlled by someone. I am disturbed by Google’s recent decisions to block certain searches in certain countries. Perhaps a list would be a wise addition.

  104. Dac Chartrand Says:

    Sorry Mr Shuttleworth, but do you even use your own products?

    “For example, you can hit Super-A and just search applications.”

    This is not true, this searches Applications as well as “Apps available for Download” ie. queries a 3rd party server. Furthermore, it doesn’t search Recent Files or Downloads like the Home Lense does (and more) in the current 12.04 LTS incarnation.

    The issue is that the Home Lense, now, keeps searches local while combining a variety of local sources (Apps, Files, Downloads, Videos, Music but most importantly __no 3rd party servers___)

    Your changes makes it so that *no* lense is local only.

    Yes, I know I can uninstall, but did you know I could also uninstall Ubuntu?

    Thank you for your consideration.

  105. Canonicals plan voor Amazon-reclame in Ubuntu 12.10 wekt woede op – update Says:

    […] 17:50: Op zijn weblog beschrijft Ubuntu-voorman Mark Shuttleworth de keuzes die Canonical maakt met het implementeren van […]

  106. vexorian Says:

    If this is not a money making scheme, then there is surely no reason to rush the feature, is there? This feature was given an exception and got added post feature-freeze.

    If it is not a money-making scheme. Even Mark admits it is currently implemented half-assedly and it will be either unpopular or worthless until “the kinks are unkinked”. Then why not postpone the feature to 13.04? In 13.04 there could be more time to organize the home lens so that it is more configurable.

    Just saying’… we postponed newest Nautilus features for much less.

  107. Philip Says:

    I applaud the bold decision, but I’m wondering if it shouldn’t be limited to digital products. From a usability perspective, I’m not looking for material stuff in my OS. Ubuntu software center, Steam for linux (when it’s done), mp3s etc however do fall within this scope, and would probably be welcome.

    To get rid of the “advertisement” feel, I’d hide it behind a “related products and software found elsewhere” button that expands to the actual search. That would solve the – what some would call – privacy intrusion, and allow for more search results.

    Sadly, I prefer the look and feel of gnome3, so beyond a short test flight, I probably won’t be able to enjoy this new feature.

    Also, Mark, if you’re reading this: a long time pet peeve of mine with desktop linux has been that very simple things don’t work that have been working on windows for a long time. Specifically selecting multiple files and right clicking to batch rename them. My mom used to use this for photos, but since I switched her to Ubuntu, she severely misses that.

    Just my 2c.

  108. Aleve Sicofante Says:

    Every honest ad-supported software (aka adware) I know offers the user the chance of opting out during installation. Are you going to do that as well or are you forcing your users to remove the adware post-installation?

  109. Pete Morgan Says:

    Quite frankly I HATE amazon. Their a huge company with massive buying power and undercut everyone with that.

  110. xguest Says:

    I object to the idea of affiliate revenue as a parasitic and probably not sustainable business model. We should not feel compelled to “help” Ubuntu in this way.

    If Ubuntu wants donations they need to either conduct a public Kickstarer-like fundraising campaign with objectives and goals or become a nonprofit like Mozilla or Wikipedia. Preferably more like the latter–not dependent on Google. (With Chrome, Mozilla future should be seen of as in doubt as Google does not need Mozilla, but Mozilla seems to need Google.)

    I would be happy to buy an Ubuntu DVD or bootable thumbdrive every six months to support Ubuntu as I want a backup anyway and it saves me the hassle of having to mess with downloading and burning it my self. I would have bought the 12.04 CD if you’d have made the 64-bit desktop version available. Canonical should make pre-order purchases available a couple weeks before posting the download so people willing to buy can receive the latest version a few earlier than those getting it for free. I think this by itself would raise a lot of money and goodwill and make people feel as if they are your customers rather than your product.

    Also, if you haven’t checked Chrome OS (21) incorporates Google searches in their app launcher. I think Ubuntu’s advantage over Google should be privacy. (I also think Ubuntu should merge the server and desktop and virtual appliances like Turnkey Linux. The future is in the web, the best way to challenge companies like Google and their cloud services is to make every desktop a plug and play “no step three” web server.

  111. Juan Correa Says:

    When Chrome created a smart field for URLs, one that also functioned as a search field, I thought it was brilliant, don’t want to live without it, actually.

    When Unity came along and I didn’t have to remember every text editor installed across multiple machines, I thought it was brilliant, don’t want to live without it.

    Now we have an interesting, forward looking feature with some important unanswered questions. But in all this pitchfork and torch wielding, I don’t see anyone contemplating a different possible future, one where we love this feature, can’t live without it.

    Yes, privacy concerns are valid and how they data is handled and who has access must be spelled out. But no one is seeing some of the interesting possibilities here? The idea of a fully integrated command line where clutter is dispatched forever and all I need for any kind of search is one empty field?

    I look for my Vicente Fernández albums and his Wikipedia page pops up along with some videos, a new tribute álbum I can buy, a retrospective of his music going on at a local venue and some similar music by underground mariachi-punk bands that other Linux users recommended? And sitting at the top of it all are my local oggs?

    If this is the first step toward a future like that, I’m willing to suggest updates and patches to help make this the Linux version of “search everything” (in other words, stable, useful and private).

  112. Magalaan Says:

    I think it is a great idea. I do a lot of searching on Amazon anyway because they have very useful descriptions and user reviews. I am perfectly fine it more sources are added that are useful, like Wikipedia, IMDb,,

    I don’t mind if they are commercial if they offer good use. I understands people worries about security, and I have confidence this can be done in good way. Linux is about free choice though, so it would be nice if we could (un)check and (un)install sources like we do with plugins in Firefox.

    Personally, I think it is a good thing if we can increase commercial synergy for Ubuntu, to make it an even more viable platform. I think Linux needs such a platform, because all of Linux will profit from this. We see that now with valve. These are great developments.

    I hope you will also upgrade the Ubuntu software center, creating
    more subcategories (with recommendations), it is lagging a bit.

  113. Paruhang Chamling Says:

    “We have root”?

    That is the most ridiculous argument ever. That is like saying “You have to trust me because I have a shotgun and if I had anything against you, I’d shoot your fucking brains out”.

    One can totally trust a guy to not kill them out while at the same time not trusting him at all with their money or their private information.

    Besides, WE are the ones that have root and we can block urls used for sending data to your servers at system level even if you don’t provide an option. Not only that, we can create a launchpad PPA and offer a program to do just that and create posts in Ubuntu forums and blogs advertising the PPA. If you block that, we will create a boycott-Ubuntu campaign with that fact and we’ll do that because we will make money out of amazon ads in the boycott Ubuntu campaign website.

    We can do all kinds of shit because we (your users) are all jobless idiots looking for something to do… anything.

  114. primefalcon Says:

    drat, I keep wanting to stick with the LTS releases, and you keep throwing in must have features LOL…. I’ve never stuck with an LTS yet lol… looks like I’ll be upgrading..

    Keep up the Great work to Mr Shuttleworth and the rest of the Canonical Team!

    BTW why not make the Wikipedia lens default… that thing rocks!

  115. Aibara Iduas Says:

    Dear Mark,

    The idea that the dash home can be used to search online sources is neat. I’m really confused about the choice of Amazon, however.

    In the dash home, applications are displayed first; they are the most important. The next line is all your files; the second most important. The third is… Now, I like Amazon and all, but I don’t buy from them everyday. Not even every week, or month. What do I do everyday? Search for applications. Search for files. Search for downloads. Search for information.

    I was going to suggest that a general web search would be infinitely more useful as the ‘third row’ in the home dash. But while you say in your post that “..the Home Lens of the Dash should let you find *anything* anywhere”, you then stated in a comment that “If you want to search the web, it’s best to hit Google in your browser-of-choice. The Dash is for “things”, like Apps, or stuff from Amazon.” So I guess that’s out? I’m not sure why, say, an ebook on subject X is considered a “thing” but a Wikipedia article is not.

    Ultimately, all privacy and advertisement talk aside, I see this as a huge usability problem. If the dash is about finding things, why expose the user to all the clutter? It’s distracting and makes the dash into a less effective tool.

    E.g.: I keep a journal on my computer. It is a file named journal.odt. If I type in journal, I just want to see that journal (and maybe some relevant programs, like Gnome Activity Journal). I don’t want to see icons and information for: “Hand – Deadroom Journal [2008] $7.77″; “Taylor Dupree – Journal [2011] $2.79″; “Bridge 61 – Journal [2006] $8.99″; “Jully – Journal Intime [2008] $9.99″; “Arabica – Journal [2010] $9.99″; “Dday One – Journal [2011] $2.79.

  116. Hartmut Noack Says:

    You say, if we trust you to ship uncompromised binary packages, we should trust you to handle search-queries as well. So, if we gave you the needed data/passwords, you may handle our banking also — that would make an even more “smooth user experience”…

    We trust your binaries because if you would ship a single manipulated one, your reputation would be gone for good and given how easy such fraud could be discovered, you would be ridiculed also.

    Do not get me wrong: I use android-devices and thus give data like search-queries to Google. And my trust in Ubuntu is still much more premium than my confidence regarding Googles “dont be evil”.

    But to evoke some Star Trek reference: “this is the Enterprise, we have another standard here.” So please act as Linux-undergroundish as your buisiness-figures at all allow you to: make the advertising an opt-in or find any other way to enable the user to stay away from it. Saying “any other way” I am not precise enough either: dont come up with “how to de-install amazon-searching from Unity” followed by “how to remove amazon-searching without breaking pulse audio” and I promise I will ingnore any hint that starts with “press ALT+”. Make it a simple, obvious button, that anybody can understand and klick upon or not.

    thank you for your time…

  117. Nicholas Says:

    Mark, I know you’re here to vigorously defend your position, but please take a minute just to step back and critically evaluate why many may think this is poor decision making.

    The two biggest issues I have is that:
    1) I don’t want Dash searching remotely. How often am I going to buy a microwave through Dash?

    and MOST importantly:
    2) Amazon is completely useless outside of a few select countries. I live in Australia. Amazon refuse to sell anything like video games to Australia, rendering the service useless for me.

  118. Henri Sivonen Says:

    @Martin “The communication between the lens and your servers is sent plain text, aka no SSL.”

    Is there a reference for that? The claim is shocking if true, but, unfortunately, it’s not unbelievable in the light of .

  119. mark Says:


    I believe the “apps available for download” results come from the local package database, just like USC, Synaptic, or Aptitude ;)

  120. yungchin Says:

    @Henri Sivonen:
    > Is there a reference for that?

  121. Luís de Sousa Says:

    Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.

    That’s an unfortunate way of framing this issue. First of all because it is not true: Canonical doesn’t have my root password and doesn’t have access to my data. Secondly because it leads less savvy users to think that data on their usage is already being harvested by Canonical.

    I understand the reasons behind this feature, usability and funding, but it touches sensible characteristics of FOSS: privacy and independence. In essence I do not want my searches feed to a remote server, be it Canonical’s or Amazon’s. I quit using Google’s search engine for these reasons.

    In the least this feature shouldn’t be active default. It could for instance be activated by pressing Super+S (for Shopping). That way I wouldn’t mind doing my shopping searches through the lens and help out Canonical.

  122. Jonas Platte Says:

    I really don’t think this new lens is a bad thing, but please give it an own lens icon (own section in the dash) and remove it from the home lens or at least give the user the ability to permanently remove it from the home lens.

  123. Silas Says:


    I think this initiative is great – for those who don’t agree, cant they just uninstall the amazon-feature ?

    I agree with Jordan I think its a great way to let me contribute to Canonical without affecting my budget.

    Maybe you could implement as some others, a way for users to pay what they wanted for a download of Ubuntu ? if you wanted you could pay nothing, or 20 euro or whichever.. I would maybe just buy the media from the ubuntu store, but being impatient I usually just download it :-)

    Thanks for a great OS :)

  124. All your base are belong to Canonical - corenominal Says:

    […] I could not help myself. Seriously though, Mark Shuttleworth’s argument is technically correct, but I think he could have made it in a more diplomatic fashion, especially […]

  125. Robert Varga Says:

    It’s ok, it’s ok….i just recently formatted one of the PCs here, the only one was running on Ubuntu (others had always one other distro, no name needed here now), replaced ‘Buntu with my No.1. favorite distro (again, i don’t advertise here distro, so no name now).

    I encourage everyone to do so….

  126. omni Says:

    Dear Mark,

    we are not the iSheep.

    We can and will easily switch to another distro if using Ubuntu becomes unbearable in our eyes (we already did this with many distros in the past). And please keep in mind that the local Ubuntu Gurus in every location can quickly help other non-tech users to switch away too.

    I simply do not want amazon in my local machine searches. Take it out. Make it optional to turn it on. Everything is fine. If Canonical needs money just say so, but do not sneak something like that on the Desktop. Please. I use my browser for amazon, thats fine.

    As for your root privileges: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

  127. Matthias Says:

    I always thought the home lens was there to help me be productive. I absolutely like the idea of an integration of Amazon. I can see myself using it a lot. Maybe once or even twice a week. But I hit the super key maybe 100 times a day and more. So at least 498 out of 500 times, I get results irrelevant to my work. Results that will probably even be distracting (“Oh nice, I didn’t know this even existed, lets check it out.”).

    So for me as a proponent of this lens, the obvious choice is removing it from dashs home and putting it into its own lens. But that leads to an obvious problem that probably lead you to integrate this into the home. Lenses are hardly discoverable.

  128. CajunTechie Says:

    I have to say, I don’t like this. It has the possibility to work really well and I hope Canonical puts more work into it. But, right now, it’s horrible. The ads are irrelevant to what you’re searching for, lack context, and on and on. If you’re going to do this, do it right. Work with Amazon to at least offer contextual ads. Right now, this will be the first thing I uninstall after the upgrade.

  129. flosky Says:

    Hi Marc,

    All in all I think this is a great addition to the search. I mean there are already many great lenses and some of them search the web (Google, Youtube, Music, Recipes, etc). What would be great is an easy way to activate/deactivate what you want to search and everybody would be happy.
    But I do feel like there is more to it than just ‘another lense’ in the dash board (and from what the comments say, I’m probably not alone). It does feel like there is money involved. This wouldn’t be a problem (for me) but should be communicated. I mean Mozilla gets a majority of their money just because Google is the default Firefox search engine and comes preinstalled. Canonical puts a lot of money into Ubuntu and needs to get this money back. And if Amazon is helping then I say go for it. Just tell everyone whats going on and how to remove it (sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping) if they don’t like it and it will be fine.

  130. user of other distro Says:

    Yeah… if only this was Windows world of lock-in and users couldn’t just say “f*** you, I’m switching to other distro!”

  131. Thomas de Graaff Says:

    If in the future I do get confronted with commercial offers while I am not explicitly searching for commercial information, I will hold Canonical responsible for showing me adds, like it or not, and it will be the end of my participation in the Ubuntu project as a volunteer.

  132. Ovo Says:

    This comment is pertinent, I’d appreciate if you replied to it Mark:

    Liam says: (permalink)
    September 23rd, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I still cannot see this as being any different from the crapware and advertising that gets bundled on Windows machines. My reason for thinking this, regardless of Canonical’s intentions, is it’s adding a bunch of crap to the default desktop that many users don’t need or want.

    It may be easy to remove, but so is the crap bundled with Windows, that doesn’t mean it isn’t annoying that users have to waste their precious time having to remove it. And if the defence of this is that the feature isn’t finished: why are controversial features like this being rolled out in such an unfinished state? You know how upset users get about this sort of issue, so if there’s something that needs to be handled carefully, and done right, it’s introducing Capitalist social relations onto Ubuntu.

    The only other thing I’ll add is that Canonical could easily maintain a lense in the repository for searching Amazon, then the ‘search everything’ paradigm could be opt-in. I’m sure many users would find such a thing beneficial, but by keeping it opt-in you won’t annoy those who don’t.

  133. Kirk M Says:

    @Mark – All the other arguments aside, in practical testing of this new feature I have noticed that the Amazon search results inserts itself in between local search results instead of after. For example, if I’m searching for a certain image or set of images in my Home directory, part of the local search results will come up in the first “section” of the Dash, Amazon results will show up in a second “section” and then the rest of the local search results will show up in a third “section” below the Amazon results.

    This may increase visibility of these Amazon search results but in my professional and personal opinion, this is pushing the user’s ability to except this new feature a bit too far. Local search results should come first and shopping results last. Breaking up local search results with shopping results may be beneficial to canonical financially but it’s presenting the wrong user experience. Make sure local search results come first over anything else and this new feature might be more acceptable.

  134. Dac Chartrand Says:

    > I believe the “apps available for download” results come from the local package database, just like USC, Synaptic, or Aptitude

    Really? So when I search for Magazine and I’m given as a result “ADMIN Magazine Issue 7″ for US $15.99 that isn’t managed by apt-get this info is somewhere on my local machine?

    I guess it’s plausible. I stand corrected. My mistake. Thanks for the info.

  135. Richard Says:

    I don’t think this is well thought out.

    By all means, make Amazon one of the search options in Firefox. Or embed a search engine into Unity that queries all sorts of places (including Google, Wikipedia, IMDB, my OWN facebook account and that of friends) – as long as it is clear BEFORE starting to type that the search is for non-local things.

    BUT this current policy isn’t really good for trust. Your users have a choice… and they will move to Mint, or Mageia, or Debian etc.

  136. Samuel Says:

    I just donated via your donations button:

    Since I don’t want Amazon to collect my local search requests, I’d hate having it in the default search.
    But I often buy stuff from Amazon, so I’d appreciate a separate Amazon app instead.

  137. Vladimir Paulino Says:


    I do think that, some people do not understant about Amazon and other options on Unity, because most of the people are not aware of the Framework of the idea, wich is, as I read (and I can be wrong, but it is my oppinion) that Ubuntu wants to become a “First class citizen of the web”…Only in that context, in my oppinon, everything about Unity, becomes clear.

    In order to give to the user an amazing experience on the web, a lot of changes an innovations must be done. Windows is more like an Office OS, Mac OSX is a more diverse expirience, but at the moment its seems that no OS has a clear idea about the REAL state of the art of the ITs and the demands that this state of the ITs generate on the traditional concept of user expirience. The actual concept of a Desktop, in front of the information revolution, internet and the Web 2.xx is outdated..And its positive that Cannical are aware of that. That is my oppinion.

    Note: Inglish is not my natural language

  138. Tobias Fritz Says:

    Can you please state clearly whether Canonical already receives and/or will receive money from Amazon? If so, what for? Thank you.

  139. Mark Shuttleworth über Amazon-Integration: Ubuntu ist keine Adware | Says:

    […] Reddit und anderen Social-Media-Sites. Markt Shuttleworth reagierte darauf mit einem eigenen Blogeintrag, in dem er die erweiterte Suche rechtfertigte. “Es ist absolut sinnvoll, Suchergebnisse von […]

  140. Links 24/9/2012: New Distros, GNOM 3.7 is Coming | Techrights Says:

    […] Amazon search results in the Dash […]

  141. Matthias Says:

    @Marc Shuttleworth: adding to the above, here are some more points to consider.
    1. Every dash usage generates data traffic. This is especially important for people on 3G with data caps.
    2. The data is sent unencrypted (I assume this is a bug).
    3. Sensitive searches (i.e. for documents) are sent to the canonical servers (at least). For concerned users who want to keep the feature, this means every time the want to use dash, they have to switch to the file lens before searching for their documents.
    4. You state the searches won’t be sent to Amazon, but there _is_ communication between my machine and the Amazon servers on dash usage (says Wireshark). I assume this is a bug.

    I could go on, but you see my point that many people who’d like to use this feature, can’t in its current state (i.e. while it is in the home dash and not seperate).

  142. Michael Tunnell Says:

    I am a big proponent of companies making as much money as humanly possible…with that said this is a misstep.

    Amazon integration with Music, Movies, TV Shows and such is great and in fact you could make a Lens that is 100% for Amazon searching…that is great and it would probably bring in quite a bit of revenue.

    The problem I have with the current implementation is that it is overtaking my local results, the amazon results are TERRIBLE in accuracy and relevance, and it is cluttering up my already cluttered Dash (home lens).

    The dash right now already annoys me with how it limits my application results. I do a search and I get one row of applications and one row of “files & folders” I love the fact that they are both being search but I hate that I have to show more results in Applications when there is another whole row at the bottom of the dash that is completely empty…yet now is filled with irrelevant Amazon stuff.

    Make it relevant, make it look good, make it unobtrusive and no one will give a crap!

  143. Ubuntu 12.10 to have Amazon lens – angry users rebutted by Shuttleworth | Says:

    […] just so that Canonical can make a few extra advertisement dollars. Mark Shuttleworth has written a blog about the matter, trying to quell the […]

  144. Matthew Graybosch Says:

    As long as we can apt-get remove this lens, what’s the big deal?

  145. Greggory Says:

    “Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.”

    There is a very big difference between trusting you to deliver a set of tools we can use to keep our data secure, and trusting you with the contents of the data itself.

    Do you really think this is the same thing? Do you really think that we trust you with the content of the data on every one of our machines? Do you feel you have a right to mine this data as you see fit, simply because you’ve delivered the tools we use to lock it up and keep it safe?

    I have used Ubuntu exclusively for many years, on many, many machines, but I am very troubled by this attitude.

  146. Daniel Says:

    Obviously, this is a very controversial subject. Maybe it has been mentioned before (sorry for a double posting in this case), but isn’t there a conflict with Amazon’s terms of service? At least for Amazon Germany (I have to admit I didn’t check the other countries), the usage of Amazon’s services is not allowed for people under 18 (only accompanied by parents). I’m not a lawyer, so maybe I’m wrong, but doesn’t including Amazon search results by default turn Ubuntu into a kind of “adult-only” OS (from a legal point of view)?

  147. Sara Says:

    ROFL. What’s next, changing the kernel to some BSD mix so we can’t remove the Ads?

    Although I and some will know exactly how to remove this wonderful ” Feature “.
    Average users won’t, and they probably won’t like it. And they will probably end up using your search bar to buy windows something to get rid of ads, which will be rather… Uh..Ironic.

    No i am not ” uninstalling and switching to debian “. But i will probably will just end up booting to windows, forget about ubuntu and linux in general entirely and format the drive that once held ubuntu to store something random on it.

    I think Shuttleworth should consider the pros and cons of this, the cons far outweight any pros of this, unless Amazon is to make some massive advertisement of ubuntu, send out free discs of it with orders and preinstall it on their sold pc’s – which won’t be happening.

  148. Chris Says:

    When I first read about the integration of amazon search results in the Dash I was a bit shocked. I didn’t expect the Dash to search online. But the more I think about it the more I like the idea of having all search results (online and lokal) in one place – as long as it is transparent to the user that there will be an online search when he uses the home lens for searching.
    My suggestion would be a check box or a button within the home lens which signalizes the user that online search is activated. That would also make it easy to activate or deactivate the online search as needed.

    Thanks for all your effort to make Ubuntu better :-)

  149. Albert Says:

    Mark, you wrote: “If you use Ubuntu, you are trusting the Ubuntu and Debian (and large swathes of the open source community at large) not to make mistakes, or to address them quickly if they do.” But this is absolutely untrue. I trust them to make the best effort that can be done in the open-source ecosystem. I trust that if I find bugs and and if I document them developers will listen to me and together we’ll come to a solution. Together Mark, not waiting for the next patch as if I was using Microsoft or Oracle. The beauty of open-source and the GPL is that we are not consumers of software, we are part of a community. With your comments, you are throwing away twenty years of the Linux model.

    As for the “we have root”, I am shocked. I have root, Mark, not you. I have control over my system, being in charge is the whole point of installing Linux instead of proprietary software. I have spent enough time and effort on Linux systems since 1995 not to read such a thing from a prominent member of the Linux community. I am very sincerely and deeply upset by what your comments show, even more than by this Amazon business. I have used Ubuntu for quite some time now because of convenience, but this will be finished by the time I download another iso. Even if it takes me weeks to set up a Linux From Scratch system it will be more than worth it.

  150. Willem Ferguson Says:

    I do not mind the Amazon search results popping up in the Head-up display. However, PLEASE give me freedom to EASILY specify the scope of a search. Most of the time when I search I want to search locally, and extraneous information is superfluous. There is no reason at why the series of icons at the bottom of the lens (Video, Music, Files&Folders, Apps etc) cannot be expanded in some efficient way to allow setting the scope of a search. I do not want to depend on a keyboard shortcut only. I appreciate the innovation of Canonical in making Gnome more efficient. Though I cannot agree with all the new changes, I can understand the reasoning behind most of these and can see it is for the benefit of the larger open source community at large.

  151. Jef Spaleta Says:


    Thanks for the shortcut discoverability image. That pretty much answers the question.


  152. DeBill Says:

    Dear Mark. Put the VOD into dash! :)

  153. Celso Says:

    Hi Mr Mark!
    Well, i welcome this idea BUT with an option to disable it (or make an option to install it like we do with Ubuntu one if we want to use it) because since i don’t use Amazon services, why should i have it on my pc wasting space? but its a good idea for those who use Amazon. By the way, the devs should allow the dash to open the applications tab first by dragging the icon to the first place instead of always have to type super+A keys to open it. Now its is just missing a new “face” for Libreoffice and waiting for Wayland to arrive! (oh and a top bar glossy theme to match the dash).

    PS: i was thinking that you would not post on your blog anymore!
    Best regards,


  154. Aldi Says:

    @Mark: I am fine with the idea and the long-term vision. However, only if I can go to preferences and unselect/deactivate these internet-services in the Home search. I think this will do for most of the users and careful users can deactivate it.


  155. Mike Says:

    Looks like whatever polling you did didn’t take into account almost all of the commentors on this blog. I’ve been using Ubuntu on my desktop since Dapper Drake (6.06) and haven’t looked back. I do use Unity, although I find the lens search feature to be THE most useless feature I have ever used. This expanded use of “search” will be my final straw, if it gets included in the next release as advertised, I will be switching distros (Likely to Mint with Gnome). I am extremely privacy-conscious, and this is too far. I don’t want any company to have access to my search data of any kind without my express choice and permission. That is what you don’t seem to understand – even MS doesn’t presume this far, and there would (rightly) be an uproar if they did. Attempting to open an application should not warrant sending any data whatsoever to your servers. NOT OK.
    It’s been a fun ride. Bye Mark.

  156. Trusting infrastructure | tante's blog Says:

    […] Shuttleworth, Canonicals f(o)under took it upon himself to clear the matter up in a very interesting way: The danger of Amazon associating all these searches to you account was […]

  157. waspinator Says:

    Sounds like an ok idea in principle, but there need to be easily settable options available to the user in the control panel. If the user doesn’t feel in control of their devices, it doesn’t matter how open the source code behind them is.

    Here are some ideas on options to include in control center:

    1. allow users to select where and what dash searches for
    – only local
    – local + free online content
    – all possible content

    A plug in system for other search providers, the way firefox does it, would be great to give users more options on which online services are important to them.

  158. Martijn Versteegh Says:

    Hi Mark,
    First lots of praise for the creation of Ubuntu. I and a large part of my family all use it since the first incarnation and I think your motivation for creating the distribution is honorable. But… this sending of searches to amazon (or ubuntu for that matter) has me *very* worried. When the default way of launching apps (and let’s be honest, people will only use scoping if it is needed to find the right thing) will send all your queries over the wire to some external server this has some serious privacy implications. You seem to dodge answering these concerns in the above answers over and over again. The stuff I type into the home lens on a day tells a lot about how I use my computer. It also contains te filenames of all my local documents. I think this data is higly private. And no, ‘If you want only local searches, you should scope them accordingly’ is *not* an answer, computer illiterate users are not going to understand that. It should be the other way ’round actually.

    I myself will probably continue using Ubuntu (and uninstalling the offending parts), but if this will be in ubuntu the way it is currently described I cannot recommend it anymore to other because of glaring privacy leaks.

    p.s. If it actually only was about the user experience it would make *way* more sense to search google or duckduckgo instead of amazon, so when you say this is not about the money I simply don’t believe it. I don’t understand why you insist this is not about the money. We all understand Canonical needs a source of income and I understand you are looking for ways. I don’t blame you for trying, but this way needs some rethinking.

  159. Adam Williamson Says:

    Mark: I don’t really care about the it’s-advertising/it’s-not-advertising hoo-ha, but you appear to be rather dancing on a head of a pin over what exactly your design for the search tool is:

    “@JunCTionS – we’re not tryint to out-Google Google. If you want to search the web, it’s best to hit Google in your browser-of-choice. The Dash is for “things”, like Apps, or stuff from Amazon.”

    well, fine, but reconcile with the first paragraph of the blog post:

    “It makes perfect sense to integrate Amazon search results in the Dash, because the Home Lens of the Dash should let you find *anything* anywhere. Over time, we’ll make the Dash smarter and smarter, so you can just ask for whatever you want, and it will Just Work.”

    Those…don’t seem to quite mesh. I mean, finding anything anywhere is what Google claims to be for. If you’re writing something that’s meant to find anything anywhere, it seems pretty hard to claim that’s not trying to out-Google Google. I’m also not convinced about the attempt to draw a distinction between ‘searching for things’ and ‘searching the Web’. I mean, usually, when I search the web, I’m looking for a thing.

    I think you might want to either draw up a more solid design for exactly what your search thingy is and is not intended to do, or if you’ve already done that, communicate it better, because it doesn’t seem really clearly defined from this discussion…

  160. Stephan Sokolow Says:

    Any chance I could get an explanation for why bug 1054776 was flat-out deleted and now 404s?

    …because, to me, it seems like some immature person who’s “got root” on my system threw an adult tantrum when a request to keep network-using lenses separate from the home lens got roughly 260 “affects me too”s and a heat of 1158 (which puts it in the top 75 hottest bugs for Ubuntu as a whole after only roughly 48 hours).

    As is, it just feels like Ubuntu has now out-Googled Google in being closed and obtuse. (Google did the same thing when they removed http:// from the Chrome address bar, but they just locked out further comments on the bug they themselves had opened to “solicit feedback”)

    For now, my family and I will stay on Lubuntu, but I’ll definitely be looking for more emotionally-mature, trustworthy alternatives (ideally, not ones like Mint and Lubuntu that are based on Ubuntu) to install on the old PCs I refurbish and give away.

  161. Alex Says:

    This is the most ridiculous feature ever invented. Amazon doesn’t ship to most of the world (or if it does the shipping is so inflated that it is no longer competitive with local retailers). Why would you ostracise your user base by including such a grotesque commercial feature that could easily be installed separately by those that want it. To include this in the default distribution is madness and marks the end of my association with Canonical.

  162. Martijn Versteegh Says:

    I wonder why my post was removed? It was ‘flagged as spam’ by Akismet, though I don’t have a clue why. Then it said,your post awaits moderation. And then it was gone. So that means some moderator decided my carefully written post was spam? Oh well, kafka I guess.

  163. Stephan Sokolow Says:

    It turns out some random user just marked the bug private (Why does Launchpad return the standard 404 message rather than a sensibly-templated 403 for private bugs?) but there are still several questions I have yet to see answered:

    One, why did the shopping lens get an “executive decision” rush pass on the feature freeze process with apparently no thought put into things like the use of HTTPS, the potential for adult content to be displayed in results, and the privacy and security implications of sending every query on the home dash out over the ‘net?

    Two, has any research has been done on how the shopping lens, as an opt-out component of the home lens, might violate privacy laws in countries like Canada and Germany? (From what I’ve read on the bug for the planned “Firefox Health Check” feature, German law is apparently pretty strict about this sort of thing.)

    Three, what’s so wrong about separating local and remote searching? I think having a unified, easy-to-access lens for shopping is a great idea… on the condition that searches like “my porn” and “Finan…”, “torr” and “Inksc…”, “TuxR…”, and “disability supp…” can’t leak into it. Cognitively, “all local” and “all remote” are separate, desirable, but distinct categories.

    Four, do you really believe that, when we trust Canoncal to provide us with root access to update our packages, we are also implicitly granting permission to spy on our home dash queries with only a “trust us. it’s anonymous.” to protect us? Trust is earned Mr. Shuttleworth and you’re frittering it away very quickly.

  164. alessandro simon Says:

    Marks, Amazon is not as global as well, in Brazil the numerous offers better than Amazon. I think it’s a decision that will give rise to doubts and ignorance.

    greetings to all.

  165. Now in Ubuntu Linux 12.10: integrated Amazon search results | Geeklin Says:

    […] been the extent of the outcry, in fact, that Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth weighed in with a blog post of his own on Sunday as […]

  166. orlando silveira Says:


  167. Tapani Tarvainen Says:

    Is there a way to search Amazon so it appears to come from this, i.e., so that Ubuntu gets a cut, without using Unity (being a KDE (Kubuntu) user myself)?
    Looking at it appears it’d be easy to make a simple non-Unity-dependent website around it…

  168. mark Says:


    There is an Amazon search plugin for Firefox which will do what you want.

  169. valentine Says:

    I don’t have an issue with it all. It doesn’t make much sense for my particular uses. As long as disabling/enabling scopes and lenses remains relatively simple, then I’m on board.

  170. mark Says:


    Bug #1054776 was marked private by a member of the community (not Canonical). Thank you for pointing it out, but you did not need to jump to the conclusions that (a) the action was taken by Canonical, (b) that it was an attempt to hide or obscure a relevant bug report, (c) that it is a result of emotionally immature and untrustworthy actions.

  171. mark Says:

    @Albert, consider for a while that you are having a direct conversation with me. How is that different to Oracle or Microsoft? Do you think it’s sensible to compare my clear statement that you are trusting LOTS of people whenever you install a piece of software, especially an OS, puts us into the same category? Are you not also trusting Ubuntu to lead?

  172. Unity Dash z propozycjami ofert Amazonu | Says:

    […] dzień po nowościach wypowiedział się na swoim blogu Mark Shuttleworth. Mówi nam, że funkcja wyszukiwania w sklepach istniała już od dawna, a teraz udało się […]

  173. Xavier Guillot Says:

    Hi all,

    IMHO it’s a good feature for people, like me, interested (for the others, it’s easy uninstallable) in books / DVD, and I love Amazon webstore (I’m a regular client) or Music via the Store to promote and financially help Canonical – I already pay since 2 years for Ubuntu One storage and streaming.

    Regarding Ubuntu One Music, I also post here as Mark answers to users, in reaction to this blog entry :

    It’s a very well news that Ubuntu One Music Store gets an update and new possibilities (with Web, Unity).

    But I live in France and U1MS is very poor :

    – We have no access to the 2 main majors, Universal and Sony Music, so most of the artists (especially French ones) can not be purchased through Ubuntu ! I know negociations are very difficult, including Canonical, the majors, 7 Digital, some rights management structures like Sacem etc… and that the amount they ask you to extand the store to other countries is very high, but it’s a pity that such geographical restrictions still exist in 2012.

    – Even with Warner and EMI Music, which are normally fully available in all EU countries, there are strange problems : some albums of their artists are available, others are not in France, but appear in the UK store, it’s very frustrating. I’ve opened a ticket at support [Ubuntu One #22023] and a bug in Launchpad

    – In the new site (2 weeks ago, I did not try today), there are some differences between albums displayed for an artist in the Rhythmbox integrated store and Ubuntu One website (ex. for Tryo group, Ladilafe last album is missing in the new UK online store)

    Please see this PDF document with all the details :

    I hope you will be able to improve that, and I’ll be happy to buy music here to support Ubuntu.

    Thanks in advance. Best regards. Xavier

  174. garry Says:

    @Adam Williamson

    The statements mesh perfectly. “The dash should let you find any*thing* anywhere”.

    I’m sticking on LTS until the next LTS, a course of action I commend to anyone who is concerned about where this might go (I’m not concerned FWIW, as I think I’ll use this quite often). I’m also going to have a look at unity-design and see if there’s anything I can do to help with encrypted searches, preferences and so on, all things that Mark seems perfectly comfortable including. Since I, and all the commenters who suggest this is a bad move, can do these things I really don’t see any reason for all the panic.

  175. Bronny Javo Says:

    To quote a good columnist in my country that today wrote “the beginning of the moral decay of Canonical”
    What a sad world we live in

  176. Albert Says:

    @Mark, do I trust Ubuntu, Debian and others not to make mistakes, or to address them quickly if they do? No. I trust they will make their best effort to solve problems and produce great software, I trust the open-source community at large, through peer-review, bug reporting and such to help address mistakes. Of course I trust, but by stating “we are root, you do trust us with your data already” you consider Ubuntu users to be consumers, hence the Amazon part, and this is where I cannot agree. I do not trust anyone with my data, that is why I have backups, I trust that if an update breaks things badly, I will be able to boot a rescue CD and see what is wrong and find a solution, instead of staying powerless in front of the Blue Screen of Death. This is why I am root, not you. You are of course fully entitled to your vision, perhaps this is how you get widespread acceptance, I wish you every success, but I beg to differ.

    My apologies for the excessive tone of my earlier statement.

  177. Ian Says:

    I really like Ubuntu and would happily pay $20-30 for each 6-monthly release. This would be preferable to ad-supported.

  178. Ubuntu 12.10 Amazon Search Triggers Wave of Protest for Privacy Concerns | HOTforSecurity Says:

    […] that local searchers would get reported to Amazon, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth published a blog post to clear up the issue. According to Shuttleworth, the Amazon search results will not even be […]

  179. #Unity #Dash for #Amazon in #Ubuntu #Quantal « [English] Says:

    […] to the explanation given by Mark Shuttleworth on integrating Amazon in # Ubuntu in order to find everything possible within the Quantal Dash already has its first samples and the […]

  180. Tommy Says:

    Dear Mark,

    I have trusted my “root” to you since the Hoary days. Please do not misuse my trust.

    For me, there is a distinctive line between working and searching privately and locally on my computer and having data sent to the Internet. I recognize the usefulness of a “global” search feature. However I will like to opt-in for that – preferably on a search-by-search basis.

    Today our personal data and information about our behaviour is constantly wanted by commercial parties, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect it. Although you may have detailed technical arguments for how this particular feature does not violate our privacy – please do not blur the lines and withhold me from my explicit choice!

    Kind regards

  181. bdas Says:

    In India the second popular choice for OS is Linux and, I guess, Ubuntu is the leading distro. Many of the major universities and institutes prefer Ubuntu. Yet, practically nobody in India use Amazon. It will be totally useless and wasteful (net connection is costly) for us to have Amazon results appearing in dash.

    I can tell that the mood in our institute is not very positive about this move (Mr. Shuttleworth, you may lose only at most 100 users). I believe that other organizations here might have similar feelings.

    Unity was a different issue, it was about user experience. Now, you are asking us to be a part of process which is wasteful for us, Ubuntu doesn’t gain anything since we don’t buy from Amazon and Amazon gets free data. That is outrageous!

  182. enedene Says:

    Good job, I find Amazon search useful.

  183. Sam Thursfield Says:

    I think the fundamental question here is whether users want their personal computer to be a thin “window to the web”, or an independent actor which is capable of talking to other computers.

    There are advantages and disadvantages each way, but the more my computer communicates implicitly and automatically with third parties the more personal freedom it takes away and hands to those third parties and the intermediaries. I’m much happier if my computer doesn’t network except when I explicitly ask it to, for various reasons:

    – bandwidth isn’t always free, or unlimited
    – networks aren’t always secure, or trusted
    – 3rd party services aren’t always secure, trustworthy, useful or reliable

    This is at odds with the mindset of a tablet / smartphone, where most of the functionality is remote and a much greater amount of trust in third parties is required from users. This is one of the many differences in audience and mindset that makes me think that targetting both ecosystems with the same offering would be doomed to failure in at least one of the markets.

  184. mark Says:

    @Tommy – you do opt in. If you use local scopes, you get local search. If you scope the search for “everything” you will search everything.

  185. Michelle Knight Says:

    Dear Mr Shuttleworth,

    Firstly, I do not underestimate you; people don’t get where you are by not knowing the score.

    However, I feel that you’re sales pitch to people in the IT community, is not going to work; for the following reason…

    The approach of feeding Amazon results to the Home Lens is so easily interpreted as a, “sell out,” because people know that Amazon aren’t the cheapest on things by a long way. I can get better service from some organisations, and better value for money, by searching elsewhere; also done by my feet on my local high street. Personal service and cheaper than Amazon in some cases. Remember the 1 gallon of Tuscan milk for $45? You’ve tied the home lens in to something which … to speak only for myself … is not exactly a first class service.

    It doesn’t matter who is doing the searching; at present the home lens searches everything local; by telling people to do super searches, you’re automatically getting people to restrict what they want to look for locally and causing more key/mouse presses so that, in reality, a way will be needed for people to keep the home lens as it currently is, or you’re just going to hack people off.

    I’m one of those that loved Netbook Remix on my netbook, but when it transformed in to Unity and appeared on the desktop, I was gone. I’m over laying Ubuntu with Lubuntu desktop these days.

    You’ve got a community of intelligent and resourceful people here; I believe it would have been better to go to the community and say, “Hey folks, we need to get this thing supporting itself financially. Any ideas?” Or even a call that says … “Hey folks, we do a lot to support you, so how about you do a little to support us and purchase your Amazon stuff though this link….”

    While I’m on my soap box, I’ll tell you what my non-IT friends could do with … some form of instruction resource that helps them get in to Ubuntu and what it has to offer. I’ve taken the time to help a number of my friends transfer from Windows, and they’re glad of it. Linux is a much more stable environment for their every day computing … but they can’t easily walk in to a shop and buy a Linux computer … why? Because as far as the shops are concerned, the demand isn’t there. Educating people about Ubuntu so that they’ll want it … so that they’ll go in to their shops and demand Ubuntu … and that’ll open up more power to Canonical’s elbow because others will come to you and pay to be part of the platform … then you can dictate how it interfaces with Ubuntu in a manner which people won’t get upset about.

    That is one thing which I have scratched my head about for a few years now. I’ve asked, “Why hasn’t Shuttleworth built the brand? Why hasn’t he been on talk shows demonstrating the Ubuntu One store or showing off the upcoming Ubuntu driven TV to the everyday non-IT Joes in the street?” … so I suppose that now is the time that I finally get up the guts to ask you … why?

  186. Keksys Says:

    I don’t want another Lens which I cant use. I cant buy anything from Amazon or Internet all together, I cant pay to them (I have money but have no service of on-line payment in my country) and they cant ship anything to me.
    I don’t trust Canonical. With Unity and Zeitgeist you forced me to trust you. I don’t want you to manage my searches. I don’t want computer to be familiarized with me. Computer is a tool, not friend. I don’t want Zeitgeist and Unity not just because I don’t trust you, but also because Ubuntu is becoming obese like Vista. What is new spec’s for machine to run 12.10?
    I don’t want Unity, I don’t want Zeitgeist, I don’t want onboard keyboard, I don’t want BackUp, I don’t want Gwibbler, I don’t want visual aids i don’t want visual effects, I don’t want all those pesky daemons in background. I don’t want any of this stuff!

  187. mark Says:


    Amazon has made no payment to or contract with Canonical in connection with this service. We’re using the same infrastructure that anybody can use.

  188. mark Says:


    It is a bug if any of the Amazon (or U1 Music) suggestions come before your app and file results. I haven’t seen that in any testing.

  189. xguest Says:


    You’re devaluing the word “trust”.

    Trusting someone to not install a rootkit is not the same as trusting them with your data.

    You can trust open source code like you can trust a scientist’s findings: in principle both can be checked. (Yes, we all rely on other people, this is a truism.) We can’t check how you handle our data, though.

    How can we trust a company who hasn’t figured out its business model yet?

    Compare, Canonical and Apple: Apple gets most of its money from hardware and software sales to ordinary consumers. They provide “cloud” services as a value add (to sell more hardware) and as part of a long-term strategy to block Google.

    Canonical doesn’t sell hardware or (try to sell) software to ordinary consumers and so provides “cloud” services as a way to try to monetize their user base.

    Based on this, which company should we trust with our data more?

    (The kind of familial trust you would perhaps like to invoke by using the word arguably no company could or should have. That kind of trust is not a fact of life–“we all have to do it”–but something special.)

  190. Allister Says:

    Dear Mark,

    While we understand your desire/need to make money, you’ve completely overstepped your rights, the spirit of the code you’ve been permitted to redistribute, and normal decency.

    This is little more than adware built-in to the default settings of a (99%) community contributed piece of code. You have no right to make this the default setting. Maybe you could ask if people don’t mind some extra (Conanical) code to help you finances your operation, but to make it the default is plane wrong.

    This will tarnish the name of Ubuntu (it already has started to), Debian (on who’s work you capitalise), and Linux in general. Most of all, it shows how out of touch you are with your users (technical people who don’t lend their trust without reason). We trust the (Linux) community and we’ve trusted you to distribute their code; your cynical attempt to make money from other’s hard work will hurt you more than the rest of us (who will simply install one of the 10s of other distributions).


  191. Sam Thursfield Says:

    xguest: your argument that Apple can be trusted is very cute. Microsoft make most of their money from Windows and Office, and Google make most of their money from advertising – do you trust Microsoft with your data as well, but not Google?

    Large corporations that are beholden to shareholders above all else are amoral by virtue of the fact that their leaders are evaluated purely in economical terms, and within economics there is no concept of morality.

  192. xguest Says:


    That’s a good point. Canonical is a private company, while Apple is not. I wasn’t trying to say “Apple can be trusted.”

    You’re right, I don’t trust Microsoft with my data, but they’re also a monopoly on the desktop. Most people don’t buy Windows, it just comes with their computer. But the fact that data is not their primary business model does give you a reason to trust them. (Though, the opposite is true too. If it’s not they’re primary business they be more likely to be careless or abusive. A company that depends on data may therefore have more reason to protect it.)

    Anyway, good points.

  193. garry Says:

    What ‘data’ are people so worried about transmitting to Canonical’s servers? Lets assume the worst case scenario that someone will examine this stuff. When I start my machine the first thing I do is open KeePass. To do this I use the global search and type ‘k’. Unity already knows what I want by this point. It’s the same story for virtually everything I hold locally and want to access through the dash, I can’t remember the last time I had to type more than three letters. Those letters will be effectively meaningless to anyone else reading them (should they be so bored).

    If I use that search to look for a product online my search will naturally be longer and much more explicit. I agree it would be nice to have a settings interface to control what gets transmitted and what doesn’t, and as I’ve said already I intend to look at unity-design to see if I can help implement one in any way, but one can continue using the LTS until such a feature is available without any trouble. The inter-LTS releases are for trying out precisely these innovations. But, until then, that longer search is predominantly going to be used by people who actively want to search for something they don’t have. To me that is an opt-in and, better, one a casual user doesn’t have to sniff around settings widgets to find. It’s just the natural behaviour they will expect.

    I think this is a really nice way to simultaneously help users and generate affiliate revenue.

  194. Michelle Knight Says:

    @garry – I’m actually concerned about ANY data being transmitted as a result of using a dekstop feature which is used on a regular basis. Many of us have data caps, some of us are on mobile connections and this is starting to tell on some of us.

    Perhaps it is a sign of the times but I’m hitting my data cap more and more often these days and I blame web sites for being heavier and carrying more graphics, flash animations and all this at higher quality; assuming that everyone is on a fast broadband connection and has the ability to suck these things up. The unlimited bundles are fine if you intend doing your desktop searches and film watching at silly o’clock in the morning, but that isn’t going to be the case for many people. And I’m not on an unlimited bundle, btw.

    When I go to the Internet … it is my choice to go to the internet. When I want to check for updates, it is my choice to check for updates.

    It is annoying and insulting when manufacturers/suppliers make assumptions about their customers, and I feel that this is a part of the backlash. People like to feel part of these processes. In practice, for a good chunk of the people who run Linux, I have a feeling that once someone finds out the port numbers and IP addresses, then it won’t be long before everyone is configuring local firewalls to stop the traffic.

    The cry I hear from people is, “listen to us.” What I’m hearing from Canonical is, “Stuff what you think. We’re doing this and you can like it or lump it.” and then Canonical wonders why people’s noses are out of joint.

    The annoying part of this is that, if done a different way and a configuration option was given over the home lens, rather than forcing people to use the super key, then this backlash might not have happened in the first place.

  195. Dac Chartrand Says:

    Dear Mark,

    Keeping in theme with the lense Metaphor, I propose:

    * Macro Lense *
    Put whatever you want in here, including Amazon searches and whatever else you feel is appropriate to represent “everything.”

    * Micro Lense *
    Same as the current home in 12.04; Show as many internal data sources as possible but no 3rd party servers.

    * Ability to change the Home Lense to any Lense *
    The default out of the box is the Macro (Amazon) Lense, but the user can change this to any lense. Heck, maybe they even change it to the Video Lense on an old netbook they setup for their mom’s (future) makeshift Netflix device where ubuntu gets a royality.

    Empower your real users, not your theoretical users. Thank you for your consideration.

  196. Luke Says:

    @Dac Chartrand

    A sensible default would be one where search terms that could be potentially identifiable aren’t sent to a third party (Canonical). What happens if type in my DOB, SSN, Drivers License #, etc even if it’s done only by accident? Is Canonical going to search Amazon on my behalf using my private information that they shouldn’t have gotten in the first place? No thanks! Including this in the home lense is a bad, bad, bad idea.

  197. allyourmothers Says:

    Mark, I would gladly pay a subscriber fee of $25 for NO extra features, just because I like Ubuntu and kind of still (even after unity) believe in your vision. :)

    We don’t however, need this type of “Search” on our local machines. I will only ever use my browser to shop on Amazon, so you will NEVER make a dime of of me with this. (That is, If you are using it the way I think you are, and there’s nothing “key loggy” about Ubuntu with this installed you are making money off)

    Overall, Doing things like this shakes “our” faith in the Ubuntu Product. And without faith in Ubuntu, Its the same as Windows to us.

  198. gregladen Says:

    If you are accepting referral fees than this part of the Ubuntu desktop is a money making project that employs a user’s use of a standard tool. If you are not accepting referral fees from Amazon than it is not.

    This does not affect me directly because I don’t like Unity and the way it operates, so I’m forking off my own experience to a more classic Gnome 2.0 style desktop. But, I do think that it is a little ingenuous to say that this is simply expanding search options. As far as I know, google searches the Amazon offerings as it is. To test this I just googled “John steinbeck book” and the fourth item was an hit.

  199. BoWeaver Says:


    You still sending search data to a company that I DO NOT! do business with nor do I want them to have any data generated by me for their use. I know I can use “apt-get remove” to get rid of it but what like for years I have had to clean crap off of brand new Windows machine now I have to do it with Linux? Before I do that I will use another distro. You have a great “store” Ubuntu1 which WHEN I am in the mood to buy something I can click on an icon and buy what I want. I can even “search” from there for something to buy. I wonderful idea. I don’t want to look at things to buy all day while I am working I have work to do not shopping nor do I want the world to know I have a file on my machine named “mysecretfile.txt” when I go looking for it.

    I really liked the Lense until this.

    Maybe it time to change to FreeBSD they don’t have MBAs and Marketing Drones to screw things up.

  200. Shuttleworth Comes Out Swinging in Defense of Ubuntu 12.10 Amazon Integration : Information Technology Leader Says:

    […] 12.10 we’ll take the first step of looking both online and locally for possible results,” Shuttleworth wrote. “The Home lens will show you local things like apps and music, as it always has, as well as […]

  201. Ubuntu Snafu: Privacy Is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping Says:

    […] issuer Thawte — not that he personally wrote this Amazon plugin, of course, but he did defend it on his personal blog, mostly focusing on the question of whether it’s adware. As an […]

  202. Improved Ubuntu Privacy Policy - Benjamin Kerensa dot Com Says:

    […] had an opportunity to exchange a e-mail with Mark Shuttleworth late last night who put me in touch with Canonical’s Legal Team who is now looking into what […]

  203. garry Says:

    @Michelle Knight I think we’re actually in broad agreement. I agree you should control what transmits or doesn’t in a setting (as I believe does Mark, from what he’s written) and, as I said, I’ll do what little I can to help produce one. Where I disagree is the idea that this is being forced on anyone or that there’s any need for a ‘backlash’. The LTS is for stability and we can all stay on it. The other releases are for trying out things like this. Everybody can be happy.

  204. Jonathan W. Says:

    I think the main underlying cause of dislike is that not everyone uses Amazon and having a Amazon webapp may be intrusive to those people. Thus, I would suggest that there be an option for users to select add/remove various online markets such as Newegg or even Ebay besides Amazon so the user can get optimal use out of the lens.

  205. Christian Says:

    Hello Mr.Shuttleworth :) I have doubts about this new feature. I’m pleased that encryption is coming and maybe there will be a switch to turn it off. I hope in future u will communicate first before adding features like that and i hope the 2 things (encryption/switch) will be in final release.

    Got 2 ideas: What about letting ubiquity ask me on installation if i want to use just local search or global search? And for the future.. maybe theres a way to connect the dash-search with the gnome online contacts.. could be interesting maybe :)

    Greetings :)

  206. Peetie Says:

    I will not use an operating system which automatically sends data to any server without my having configured it to do so.

    The reality is that I like Amazon, but unless I click a button (or at least check box) which reads “Check,, Wikipedia, etc.. for additional search results this behavior is kind of outrageous.

  207. Michael Says:

    @garry I am sorry, but users of non LTS release should not be treated as guinea pigs. If people want to experiment, there is the whole 6 months between 2 releases for that.

  208. Sean Says:

    Hey Mark —

    My two cents: I think Amazon listings by themselves would not be helpful to me in this context. I agree with others who mention that Google and Wikipedia results would be more useful to someone like me. Typically when I am searching on my hard drive, I am not looking for something tangible like a computer monitor or a television set or even a song. I’m looking for information. So while some aspects of an Amazon search — ie: your Gimp example earlier where books show up — might be helpful, I’d get more bang from my buck with a wider search. For the record, I understand that you want to make money and I don’t fault you for it. But widening the search to be more practical does not exclude that possibility.

    Though I must say that I’m not crazy about the privacy implications here. Do I want the porn I search for to pop up “Girls Gone Wild” DVDs? That would make me awfully uncomfortable. I don’t need Amazon (or you, or anyone) collecting information about how often I take care of business, if you know what I mean.

    Lastly, thanks for being a Linux advocate.

  209. OliverP Says:

    I think this is great news that will improve usability (especially long term), it feels very inline with the cognitive model of Unity and the Dash.

    It feels great that Canonical is not afraid to mix the traditional desktop with the web but instead embrace it, that to me is improving usability not just talking about it.

    As usual haters gonna hate, but nobody force anyone to use Ubuntu there are plenty of other Linux distributions to chose from, Cannoical is for profit company that must make somehow.

  210. Martin Wildam Says:

    Dear Mark,
    1. I find it a good idea to incorporate internet searches to the Dash. However, I don’t want this in the default pressing just super or just clicking the ubuntu logo. I would prefer super + i for internet search or super + z for amazon search – but the default should stay with the local search. There are still plenty people with bad internet connection and other plenty people who want to transmit data over the net only explicitely by using the browser.

    2. Unfortunately my current daily experience is far away from the point where such things are of interest for me. During the last month I struggled with graphic freezes (requiring hard reset), crippled sound and other problems that do affect my daily work resulting in frustration. If the quality of the base is lacking – and I experience reduced stability on my Ubuntu 12.04 since about this summer. Currently I found a quite stable combination using kernel 3.4 but still sometimes need to do a compiz –replace. Please do not forget about the basics!

  211. xguest Says:

    @garry The average user may not be aware Canonical will receiving those “more explicit” searches or their IP address. If this were opt-in there would be no problem. Although, I don’t -in general- believe in the internet affiliate business model.

    I don’t think Ubuntu should be putting their code into Firefox or Banshee or Linux Mint should be putting what I consider malware into searches. I don’t think anything should be done by default.

    (Crash reports, everything, should be opt-in.)

  212. Dan Hollocher Says:

    I like the last suggestion from Dac above. Let folks choose which is the default Dash.

    I think some people are going to LOVE this feature, since they don’t know how to use a computer, and having a Dash that does everything will be attractive to them.

    Other folks, like myself, will hate the spam. It’s not about the money – it’s just about a lot of information being presented and not being relevant. Most of my dash searches will be non-amazon related, so it will be hella annoying having amazon results showing up _every_ time.

    Putting this another way, some folks will use Dash because they don’t know what to do, and they will look to Dash for help. Others will use Dash because they DO know what they want to do, and they will look to Dash for expediency.

  213. digitalkaese Says:

    @jef Just for the record, I learned about Super-A and Super-F from this very blog post. That is despite the fact that I knew how to reveal the hotkey list and read it several times since April.

    I generally like using hotkeys but I think there really is a discoverability issue. My guess is it is related to the lack of consistency in the default settings (Grid and Window operations use different modifiers, Ctrl-Super vs. Ctrl-Alt, although they perform the same kind of tasks, for example). It’s a mix of old, half broken compiz defaults, some new blinky unity features like Super-A and the bad habit of breaking old de-facto standards (Alt-F10) while keeping them as well (Alt-F2, Alt-F4).

  214. Aleve Sicofante Says:

    “Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root”

    I’m reading this all over the internet now. It has been turned now into a very scary message to the uninitiated. Yes, those new users, those 200 million that are supposed to come to Ubuntu in the coming years are reading that statement from Ubuntu’s leader mouth, no less, on almost every online tech site (not just those specialized in Linux). I know there’s no such thing as bad publicity but then again…

    Mark: if you ever fail in this business, try anything BUT marketing. Whatever this adware thing ends up being, you’ve screwed it up greatly already.

  215. Chris Says:

    “We picked Amazon as a first place to start because most of our users are also regular users of Amazon,”

    I believe I would rather drag my bare belly over broken glass than use Amazon for anything. I’m in Australia and it’s well nigh useless. *I* won’t speak for people living in other countries wrt this, but it seems strange that an OS and a brand that tries to touch all people regardless of country or culture should be developing such a egocentric approach to the diversity in our users.

  216. Gnuku Says:

    1. you said that “These are not ads because they are not paid placement, they are straightforward Amazon search results for your search”. Don’t take us for more stupid than what we are. This is exactly the definition of Advertising (wikipedia) – “Advertising is a form of communication for marketing and used to encourage or persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to continue or take some new action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common.”

    2.”We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf.” Really??? Can you say something about that:

    Considering these two points, this should be “on-switch” and not “off-switch” option.

  217. Nic Says:

    I just read this and I will give my 2 cents too. Ubuntu is free and users can choose to download it or not. I have been installing Ubuntu on all the machines in my school. I have privacy issues, bandwidth issues and I feel pretty much taken aback by this attitude. I am not even touching the “We have root”.
    I admired Ubuntu and their philosophy taken from . Now you have shifted philosophy most probably due to the increase in costs, Canonical wants a profit, or just simply because things just change. That is your right but dont try to tell us that your crap do not stink. You might have convinced yourself and a few other users but in the end you are changing the vision that us, the users that have been using Ubuntu for so long, bought into. First Unity and now this. I guess the cliches are always true, good things never last. Very unfortunate.

  218. Brandon Bennett Says:

    So Mark, can you step me through why Ubuntu has decided to include this feature. There is a lot of concern over privacy but I can’t help thinking about the straight up usability of this?

    Since when do I want to search for a program or file and also get hits from a specific shopping network? I mean the most obvious jump here would actually be a search engine like google or duckduckgo to be integrated but a SINGLE shopping vendor?

    It seems to me that your intention are quite transparent and this is an attempt to make a quick buck off of all the loyal Ubuntu users you have racked up over the year. If not I cannot see anything but very random corner cases on why this is actually USEFUL to the user.

    The idea of scoping is good (Super-A, Super-F, etc) but the idea of a combined product and local file search is just boggling me.

    I for one have started shopping for a new default distribution. Maybe I can find on on Amazon…

  219. simon Says:


    This Move is really Low… Mark, you’re a smart guy… surely you can find a better way to make revenue for Ubuntu than integrate annoying Amazon shopping suggestions based upon users search terms “which you deny are ads” within the Unity Dash… No matter how you word this new implementation to Justify it being a positive move “for your own benefit” It seems as if your users have made it loud and clear that they do not want this.

    Be Careful what you Decide….

  220. Batman Says:

    Millions of dollars have been spent by the European Union from common peoples’ taxes and more than 20 world class scientists from around the world have been working 24/7, from about 7 years on the improvement of a 40mb sized software called Tribler, which, I think, is the only software that installs and runs fluently on ubuntu better than on any other OS.

    You like Python. Integrate Tribler in whatever magic search bar you are developing. That way, when people will buy, say, a dell XPS Duo 12 Convertible UltraBook, it will be preinstalled with ubuntu, with other two 32 GB partitions and a fourth partition containing the remaining hardisk space.
    People will boot ubuntu and will recieve an option for enabling Tribler, since, running Tribler in background could be very costly for Indians like me. Then, when people will start tribler for the first time, they will see a link in the home page to download Windows 8, pre-installed with full versions of Adobe Collection and latest MS Office and other softwares, including freewares and another link for the latest android. So, they will install both the OS on the 32 GB partitions. That way, Microsoft will get more and more experience and will die. Due to high usage, Tribler’s decentralised searching experience will become better than google’s and people will search every info on Tribler, so, google will die too.

    Tribler is currently not so sleek, but, only you can make this work and change the world. At least do me a favour and read as much as you can about this p2p- next Project, Tribler, Qlectives. This will bring an end to censorship, corrupt film and music ‘industries’, google, facebook, google maps and other censored maps; every thing will become freeware.

    P.S – Sorry for bad english and integrate this ugly sidebar in the HUD.

  221. garry Says:

    @xguest Without evidence either way we don’t know what the average user is aware of, but I’m confident that when they’re searching for something that isn’t on their computer, they know the search is looking outside. As I said earlier, dash searches for things you use often are useless to anyone else (hey, garry is searching for ‘k’!). I’m also not sure the average user cares much about this, other than being annoyed if the feature wasn’t there when it will be on virtually every other device they can buy.

  222. Eric Says:

    He is a businessman , and he want to earn enough money.

  223. Pascal Says:

    There is no such thing as a “benevolent dictator”, only a “dictator”, Mark.
    Thanks for your efforts to spread libre software but now it’s time for me to move to a community-driven distro where there is real freedom from ground up and, thus, more trust.

  224. Lesley Says:

    The Ubuntu philosophy is about healthy boundaries

  225. Ubuntu? Sta diventando adware. E non si sa ancora come si avvierà – The New Blog Times (Blog) | Soluzione e Sistemi di Catino Valentino Says:

    […] Shuttleworh, fondatore di Canonical, ha provato a giustificare l’iniziativa sul suo blog, ma i commenti negativi non accennano a placarsi (esempio): l’utenza […]

  226. One for the Money | BAMF Says:

    […] his blog post, Mark Shuttleworth defending this decision because Unity should let you “find *anything* […]

  227. toupeira Says:

    Please have a look at this article

  228. mattviator Says:

    Mark why did you remove my comment from yesterday? All i said was that you are taking “just type” from webos and putting that into dash. I also said that instead of having common sense defaults like “just type” has and allowing users to add what they want from sites they visit you are monetizing it by actively seeking out corporations and asking them if they want their product baked into the os by default for money!

  229. » The Ubuntu Shopping Lens Debacle My Green Life Says:

    […] and other retailers as a matter of course? Mark Shuttleworth was quick to point out they’re not “putting ads” into Ubuntu and Jono Bacon posted that no user-identifying data is sent, but that just ignores the fact that […]

  230. Mats Carlberg Says:

    Hi there,

    You see things very differently from me. For you, this new behaviour is desirable and wanted. For me, it is getting the advertisements rammed down my throat. If I want to search for things, I will do that, especially if it is about buying things. Having Ubuntu assuming I want to shop, and suggest things to shop, is just plain wrong.

    I will disable this feature. In the future, when it is not possible to disable (as we all realize it will come to), I will go elsewhere than Ubuntu for my desktop needs.


  231. jrr Says:

    I’ve never used lenses because they haven’t been worth the cognitive (or finger) effort – I tap the windows key, start typing what I want, and then arrow to it.

    I firmly believe that the default behavior for such searches should be offline-only.

    I’m actually interested in internet-backed dash searches, but they need to be hiding behind non-default lenses like “shopping” or “internet media”. I’m particularly interested in the latter – start typing and get mixed results from spotify, amazon, youtube, vimeo, hulu, google play…

  232. S05E16 – In The Amazon Jungle | Ubuntu Podcast Says:

    […] and discuss the suggestions we received on how to make Ubuntu better, and we discuss the shopping lens bru-ha-ha. And a special mention for Albert Islava who sent us a mockup of his […]

  233. Ubuntu, Amazon, y la publicidad que nunca pedimos los linuxeros | Incognitosis Says:

    […] enervado a a muchos. Se ha debatido sobre las intenciones reales de Canonical, y Mark Shuttleworth ha tratado de razonar esa característica indicando que en Ubuntu quieren ofrecer una “búsqueda […]

  234. Grzesiek Says:

    I don’t know anyone who would want Amazon results in Dash. Many people in Poland doesn’t even know what Amazon is. So if I show them Ubuntu they will see Amazon results as spam, not a feature. For them (and for me too, as I don’t use Amazon) it’s bundled crapware and we have to uninstall it. No, wait. They don’t know how to uninstall it. They don’t even know you CAN uninstall it. They just want their trusted, predictable Windows back.

    ‘Search for anything’ souds cool, but when I put ‘movie’ in Dash, I want to launch movie player. I don’t want anything else. When I put ‘Inception’ in Dash I want to show the movie on my HDD, but in this case I can also tolerate Amazon/VOD/other results about buying this movie. But when I really want to search Amazon/ebay (which is not popular in Poland too)/similar website, I use Firefox. And if I wanted to do it trough dash I would type ‘amazon inception’ or ‘buy inception’.

  235. xguest Says:

    @garry What other “devices” have this? Chromebooks have a Google search key that will launch “apps” and do regular searches. Should Ubuntu do automatic background updates too?

    And they may be aware it’s searching outside, but I doubt they all know it’s going to Canonical.

    I’m thinking there should be a Dash App Store website, launcher app and/or lens, like the Chrome Web Store, so people can easily plug-in the scopes and lenses they want. How hard is it to add an RSS extension to Chrome? How hard would it to be to add the Ubuntu(Home)Shopping Scope to the Dash?

    Basically, is Ubuntu going to become a cloud OS or not?

  236. garry Says:

    “What other “devices” have this?”
    Some smart TVs will search shows you have recorded and ones you can stream (I believe they do at any rate – I don’t own one). Siri searches your messages and online looking for what you want. To be slightly pedantic for a moment I didn’t say all devices do this now, I said they will and I believe that. Personally I welcome it, though I still agree with you one should be able to turn it off. The original post suggests Mark also agrees with that. “[Controlling this through settings] should land in 12.10 too, or as an update, or in 13.04.”

    “Should Ubuntu do automatic background updates too?”
    The more analogous behavior is doing automatic background update *searches*, which Ubuntu seems to do already, as do all distributions I’ve tried for any length of time (admittedly few).

    “And they may be aware it’s searching outside, but I doubt they all know it’s going to Canonical.”
    I’m not sure why this would make a difference. It’s got to go somewhere.

    “How hard would it to be to add the Ubuntu(Home)Shopping Scope to the Dash?”
    You are as free to work on this idea through unity-design on Launchpad as any of us are. Bear in mind, though, that the dash home searches all scopes. That’s the point of it. “The Home Lens of the Dash is a “give me X” experience. You hit the Super key, and say what you want, and we do our best to figure out what you mean, and give you that. Of course, you can narrow the scope of that search if you want. For example, you can hit Super-A and just search applications. But if you throw your query out to the Dash, we need to be a (sic) smart as possible about where we go looking for answers for you.”

    I still don’t think there’s anything here to get worked up about. But if others do, who am I to tell them what should worry them? :-)

  237. xguest Says:

    @garry You’re right that the Home Lens searches all scopes *now*. It doesn’t in 12.04. The video lens in 12.04 pulls results from YouTube but the Home Lens doesn’t. Saying, “of course your ‘Home’ Lens searches the internet, duh,” seems a little dishonest.

    Admittedly, I don’t know what information is transmitted through update *searches*. I’d assume it’s fairly minimal, but I’ll have to look into that. (I’d also assume your Kernel version won’t be sent to Amazon.)

    You’re right that your data “has to go somewhere”, but I think people should be aware where it is going. I think there should remain a distinction between OS, Browser, and Search. (Possibly add Storage and Shopping to that list too.)

    I don’t have 12.10, but there’s a Linux Action Show video where Super-A still shows Amazon suggestions. Maybe it’s a bug.

    You guys are saying you tested it, but Super-S for shopping still makes as much sense to me.

    (By the way is Tab going to tab through scopes in 12.10?)

    My point about “Dash App Store” was that like Chrome the Dash should start out as minimal as possible. (No bookmarks, no RSS extension.) The Dash is designed for add-ons: Let people add-on. I see no real difference between scopes and lenses in the Dash and extensions and applications in Chrome.

  238. garry Says:

    @xguest just a small final point from me. Your last post suggested you thought I might be involved in development or with Canonical. I’m not. I’m just a normal (happy) ubuntu user.

  239. marian Says:

    If there is an amazon-integration, there must be a comfortable way to buy music. Since some days, it is not possible any more to download an album, which was purchased through banshee on Ubuntu via amazon. Amazon also does not provide to download more than one file from the web-interface, if you are a Linux-User. Here is a link which describes this problem in detail:

    This must be changed, if the amazon (music-)suggestions will make sense in 12.10. (Add a player plugin to standard music player of Ubuntu or something else…)
    I know Ubuntu One (Music) provides all these features, but in many countries there are not all music titles ready to buy. And if you want to integrate amazon, this would be the most task (to buy music through this store), which will be figured out with this new feature.

  240. Tom Says:

    Adding Amazon is great idea Mark. I hope you will use income to make ubuntu even better.

  241. Марк Шаттлворт об интеграции с Amazon Says:

    […] расставить все точки над «i» Марк опубликовал в своём блоге статью с разъяснением ключевых […]

  242. Kanishk Says:

    Mark, we want your opinion about Tribler, Qlectives and the P2P-Next project.

    Please reply.

  243. Paul S Says:

    It’s not a question for me, of whether or not this is personally identifying, or whether Amazon know about me, or anything else.

    If I search for something locally I do *NOT* want an internet query taking place on the back of that. Local is local and should stay local. End of story.

  244. Kommentar: Traue keinem vorinstallierten System oder der Bug #0 | Linux und Ich Says:

    […] “Aus-Knopf” für solche Funktionen. Mark hatte in seinem Beitrag rund um die Unity-Shopping-Lense geschrieben: Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already. You trust […]

  245. Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2: Preview | Technology News Says:

    […] has already provoked a strong response. Mark Shuttleworth has responded to the criticisms in a blog posted on 23 […]

  246. mark Says:


    You ask a really good question – “when do I want to search for a program or file and also get amazon results”. And the answer is, very rarely. Very occasionally, you get serendipity – you look for one thing, and you see something unexpected that is actually really useful. We’re pretty good at scanning and ignoring lots of stuff, and noticing the things that we’re interested in.

    But serendipity on its own would not be enough to warrant the inclusion of online results in the dash home.

    What we found in testing is that it’s rare that one goal conflicts with another.

    If you are looking for a file called “product strategy” you will search for product strategy, the file will be there (in the first or second row of results, probably first, since there is not an app which matches). You see the file you want, you click on it, you’re done. No time wasted scanning any other data. You might think it’s clutter but, in fact, it’s invisible if the document you are looking for is right there where it should be.

    On the other hand, if you want to find something online, your search terms will almost certainly not match a local document. Go ahead, and USE it. And I think you will find that there is very rarely any *tension* between the fact that both sets of data are presented. So, this way, it’s more useful. What you want is likely to be there. And as we make the search smarter, that becomes even more the case.

  247. Ubuntu’s Amazon search feature gets kill switch » Says:

    […] referral fees. Canonical founder and Ubuntu project leader Mark Shuttleworth said that, in his opinion, the feature does not constitute advertising and that users can easily circumvent it by only […]

  248. b0b_ze Says:

    What happend to my comment?

    Seems to me there’s some censorship going on

  249. b0b_ze Says:

    All I stated was why pass data in such a way without providing an “opt-out” especially to another evil empire such as amazon

    Uninstalling Ubuntu and telling all about this

    I’ve been a product evangelist and now I can no longer do so in good conscience

  250. Clearflower Says:

    Hmm… Some article told me that the images that are shown by this lens come directly from a link from the amazon website – which could mean amazon would be able to track results from your main dash. Is this true?

    Also, if you search from the dash for an app, there could also be rather “disturbing” search results that might not be suitable for children. After all, there are thousands of apps with thousands of characters you could use to search with…

    Otherwise, I think this is quite innovative, and could be quite useful.

    Anyway, this is article:

    Cynical, but there is a point there.

  251. Die Woche: Ubuntu und der Kommerz | Says:

    […] aber trotzdem, und den Grund dafür liefert Ubuntu-Sponsor Mark Shuttleworth ausgerechnet in seiner Verteidigung der Amazon-Suchergebnisse im Dash. Da spricht er nämlich davon, dass die Amazon-Links nur der erste Schritt sind, die […]

  252. Effenberg0x0 Says:

    One example: Where’s my doc from the “National American Insurance Company” (NAICO). Saecrh the dash for NAICO.

  253. mark Says:


    There is an “opt-out”.

  254. Michelle Knight Says:

    Dear Mr Shuttleworth,

    I don’t like complaining about something without having offered an alternative.

    Might I put forward the following to you.

    We already have Ubuntu One through which I am now buying my music; I use it because it is part of the spirit of Ubuntu and I hope that my purchases there go a little way towards supporting Canonical.

    Why not make an “Ubuntu Shop,” which effectively does the same thing as you wanted to add in to the lens.

    By having something like this, which I know would support Ubuntu, I’d be more inclined to use it as a first stop for my on-line shopping; and given what I know about my own behaviour I would only be likely to shop outside this if I found the prices to be unreasonable.

    As it is then in Canonicals control, other merchants can join the store, just like other merchants operate through Amazon now.

    I think that initially, suppliers like clothing stores that offer Ubuntu branded goods, people who sell computer hardware, etc. might be attracted by the Ubuntu user base as potential customers, especially if locality can be utilised; eg. merchants only appear who are willing to deliver to various countries, because there is nothing more annoying than trying to order something from to be told that they don’t ship to the UK, while others do.

    I feel that there is potential here for an actual improvement on on-line shopping, and done through Ubuntu.

  255. cosmix Says:

    One of the biggest gripes I’ve had with Unity, before dropping it completely, was that I found the ‘lens-based’ approach to be a regression to existing, successful and vastly superior versions of ‘desktop’ search, viz. Spotlight and variants on OS X, where the user by default searches for ‘everything’ ala Home Lens (only in that case it includes the contents and metadata of files, indexed almost immediately after the files are added to the filesystem) and the query is handled lightning fast with a well-sorted, grouped set of results.

    In Unity, and in practically every other variant of desktop linux, this feature has never matured to a state where it could be considered useful on a daily basis, be it due to the flaws of the indexing subsystems and the associated drain on resources (viz. early attempts, like Beagle), the flaws in the UI design, the lack of proper integration with the file management tools etc. I always found ‘lenses’ are a poor conceptual choice as they introduce an additional user action, making search less direct and intuitive. Microsoft made the same mistake in Windows 8.

    Obviously there is an extensibility aspect to lenses and I’m sure they (could) play a useful role as an indexing/backend API, allowing developers to write ‘reader plugins’ for the framework, but exposing them as first-level user-interface elements seems contrary to the simplicity and elegance that Unity claims to represent.

    I don’t think having the *choice* of Amazon results is bad per se, but it does demonstrate how Canonical is still not focusing on creating a useful, fast and innovative desktop platform, but maintaining balances between hype, profitability and the open-source paradigm. And while the success of the product and company are admirable, I wish you could focus more on creating an advanced, open ecosystem with extremely solid open-source foundations that’s truly world-leading, instead of marginally useful stints like Amazon results in Unity.

    Having a ‘smart’ universal Spotlight-like search instead of dozens of ‘lens’ buttons should be a top level priority. Providing the option for users to choose what the Home lens searches or making sure that internet/network searches are secure are not ‘user wishes’ occupying in a long and dusty wishlist, they are fundamental parts of the search function that should be included in the first release.

  256. Ubuntu 12.10 « Quantal Quetzal »: ya esta disponible la segunda BETA | Gustavo Pimentel's GNU/Linux Blog Says:

    […] que no fué del gusto de todo el mundo, y que se agravara con unas explicaciones algo tortuosas de Mark Shuttleworth en su blog negando todo y sobretodo jugando con los términos, generando una idea que huele a Azufre. Con lo […]

  257. Canonical performs u-turn over Amazon search results in Ubuntu | Technology News Says:

    […] chief Mark Shuttleworth defended the move last Sunday, saying the firm was “not putting ads in Ubuntu” as the returned results were not paid for, and […]

  258. Christian Says:

    ahhh little mistake… meant the online accounts instead of the online contacts..

    one more try.. what about connecting the dash-search to the gnome online accounts in future? could be interesting ;)

  259. J.I. Smith Says:

    Oh, no! That sounds awful. I may have to move from Ubuntu if it keeps moving in the prevailing direction. Amazon is a big enough behemoth on the web already (and, incidentally, pays no UK tax) without being further supported by supposedly freedom-loving OSes like Ubuntu. Monopoly (or even, to a lesser extent, oligopoly) is not freedom!

  260. Kanishk Says:

    Integrate tribler in unity.