I posted this as a comment on my previous blog post, Why I’m Leaving Ubuntu for Debian. I decided it’s worth it’s own post though.
Ubuntu is definitely maturing into, and has been for some time, an excellent alternative OS to Windows. Perhaps that bothers some Linux users who like their OS to be exclusive and harder to use so they can feel cooler, but I’m not one of them. I think Ubuntu’s popularity is great.
Which is why it saddens me to see Canonical make decisions that are specifically anti-privacy.
Windows 8 has a unified search, similar to Dash. If you want to find a specific show in Netflix in Windows 8, you actually go to the operating system-wide search and search for your show there, and just select Netflix as what you’re trying to search.
But there’s the key difference: you have to select Netflix, or you aren’t sending your search terms to Netflix. If Netflix ever came to Linux, and there was a Netflix Dash lense, you would be sending every single search term to Netflix, not just when you intended to search Netflix for a show.
Windows 8, as horrible and confusing to use as is it, protects privacy better than Unity does (in this regard). And Canonical knows this, because we (users of Ubuntu) have told them very loudly, but they’ve chosen to ignore it. That’s what bothers me about Ubuntu, that it sacrifices privacy for perceived gain in market share. They can do it without sacrificing privacy, but they aren’t.
And yes, obviously you can turn off Dash’s online search results and uninstall unity-lens-shopping. Obviously you can use Ubuntu with GNOME or KDE or whatever else instead of Unity. That’s not the point.
You can also use Debian with GNOME or KDE or whatever else. In fact, once you have it installed, it’s really similar to Ubuntu, because it uses the same software, because Ubuntu is based on it. For a seasoned Ubuntu user, once Debian is installed it isn’t harder to use or anything. So why stick with a distro that makes crappy choices and refuses to learn from their mistakes?