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Linux Mint #126

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clefebvre opened this Issue Jun 21, 2013 · 3 comments

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@clefebvre
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clefebvre commented Jun 21, 2013

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on prism-break. The gaming community was recently heard on the matter of DRMs and it's a great feeling to see voices make a difference. I'm sure the same can be done in matters of privacy.

I'd be happy to do a pull request to include Linux Mint in the OS section, but I wanted to make sure you were ok with it first.

Let us know if you need more information about us in terms of privacy or even in terms of Libre/Free Software.

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nylira Jun 24, 2013

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Feel free to add Linux Mint! I would suggest recommending the no-codec version.

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nylira commented Jun 24, 2013

Feel free to add Linux Mint! I would suggest recommending the no-codec version.

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clefebvre Jun 24, 2013

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Done. Let us know if you want more info. There's only a few proprietary components included in the main edition and only one I can think of actually right now (the Flash plugin). The main issue isn't with proprietary software (other than Flash pretty much everything is open-source), but with software patents (some of the gstreamer plugins use patented techs, for instance decryption of the MP3 format).

On the matter of privacy, we were asked by a user (who recommended prism-break to us)... it's hard to give a detailed answer because there are so many ways your online footprint is used by commercial entities... but roughly, Linux Mint doesn't do much in terms of privacy or in terms of personal info... i.e. we don't collect, gather, or share any nominal information with anyone.

If you download Linux Mint, you don't have to fill any form or give any information about yourself. Once in the OS, nothing rings home with personal details. In other words, we don't know who you are and how many users we have. Now, we use Analytics on our website and our default FF start page so we have quantitative stats about our user base. And like every other servers (we use Apache and lightppd) there are temporary HTTP stats kept, so if it came down to that we do have a list of IP addresses accessing our website or our repositories (we only look into that when we get attacked though).

Of course, inside of Mint, if you decide to use Yahoo, Amazon or Google, they do keep a record of your activity. By default we provide Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Amazon and Wikipedia to users. DuckDuckGo and Amazon don't gather data. Yahoo and Amazon do. Note that if you don't use Yahoo or Amazon though, no data goes to them at all (I'd like to insist on that because it's different than in Ubuntu where searching your menu queries Amazon, in Mint the only thing that queries Amazon are Amazon searches and the only thing that queries Yahoo are Yahoo searches).

The only personal info we keep a record off aren't our users but our paypal donors. In this case we keep the info given to us by Paypal and for one reason and one reason only: the Irish taxation authority (in case we get controlled, to be able to show where the money comes from).

That's all I can think of right now... our email is hosted by Google, we trust them with it, but in the scope of PRISM that's something people have a right to know. So if you don't trust Google, don't send us information related to you by email at linuxmint.com. We also use Adsense here and there on our websites.

I think we've the same philosophy than with Free Software. We believe in Free Software and Privacy, everything we do is open-source and we respect people's privacy, but we don't actively boycott proprietary software (we use Flash for instance) or technologies which bubble people (like Google techs - youtube, google apps, adsense, analytics..etc).

We're not recommended by the FSF because of that and it's a pity because we contribute a lot to Free Software. We understand their rationale though and respect the fact that they want a stricter attitude than the one we have. It's probably the same here in the fight for Privacy. Some of the techs listed actively protect users. We don't, we just don't do anything to make matters worse :)

Anyway, I hope it works out and it leads to online techs gathering less data about all of us. Good luck to all the people involved in making a difference here. If you think we don't do enough in regards to privacy or even free-software please let us know at root@linuxmint.com (hosted by Google :)) or via IRC on irc.spotchat.org (#linuxmint-dev) and feel free to remove Linux Mint from the list if it doesn't help your cause.

Good luck everyone.

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clefebvre commented Jun 24, 2013

Done. Let us know if you want more info. There's only a few proprietary components included in the main edition and only one I can think of actually right now (the Flash plugin). The main issue isn't with proprietary software (other than Flash pretty much everything is open-source), but with software patents (some of the gstreamer plugins use patented techs, for instance decryption of the MP3 format).

On the matter of privacy, we were asked by a user (who recommended prism-break to us)... it's hard to give a detailed answer because there are so many ways your online footprint is used by commercial entities... but roughly, Linux Mint doesn't do much in terms of privacy or in terms of personal info... i.e. we don't collect, gather, or share any nominal information with anyone.

If you download Linux Mint, you don't have to fill any form or give any information about yourself. Once in the OS, nothing rings home with personal details. In other words, we don't know who you are and how many users we have. Now, we use Analytics on our website and our default FF start page so we have quantitative stats about our user base. And like every other servers (we use Apache and lightppd) there are temporary HTTP stats kept, so if it came down to that we do have a list of IP addresses accessing our website or our repositories (we only look into that when we get attacked though).

Of course, inside of Mint, if you decide to use Yahoo, Amazon or Google, they do keep a record of your activity. By default we provide Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Amazon and Wikipedia to users. DuckDuckGo and Amazon don't gather data. Yahoo and Amazon do. Note that if you don't use Yahoo or Amazon though, no data goes to them at all (I'd like to insist on that because it's different than in Ubuntu where searching your menu queries Amazon, in Mint the only thing that queries Amazon are Amazon searches and the only thing that queries Yahoo are Yahoo searches).

The only personal info we keep a record off aren't our users but our paypal donors. In this case we keep the info given to us by Paypal and for one reason and one reason only: the Irish taxation authority (in case we get controlled, to be able to show where the money comes from).

That's all I can think of right now... our email is hosted by Google, we trust them with it, but in the scope of PRISM that's something people have a right to know. So if you don't trust Google, don't send us information related to you by email at linuxmint.com. We also use Adsense here and there on our websites.

I think we've the same philosophy than with Free Software. We believe in Free Software and Privacy, everything we do is open-source and we respect people's privacy, but we don't actively boycott proprietary software (we use Flash for instance) or technologies which bubble people (like Google techs - youtube, google apps, adsense, analytics..etc).

We're not recommended by the FSF because of that and it's a pity because we contribute a lot to Free Software. We understand their rationale though and respect the fact that they want a stricter attitude than the one we have. It's probably the same here in the fight for Privacy. Some of the techs listed actively protect users. We don't, we just don't do anything to make matters worse :)

Anyway, I hope it works out and it leads to online techs gathering less data about all of us. Good luck to all the people involved in making a difference here. If you think we don't do enough in regards to privacy or even free-software please let us know at root@linuxmint.com (hosted by Google :)) or via IRC on irc.spotchat.org (#linuxmint-dev) and feel free to remove Linux Mint from the list if it doesn't help your cause.

Good luck everyone.

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clefebvre Jun 24, 2013

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Btw, I heard things about popcon and zeitgeist. The reason they're not installed by default in Linux Mint is related to performance. They don't gather nominative info.

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clefebvre commented Jun 24, 2013

Btw, I heard things about popcon and zeitgeist. The reason they're not installed by default in Linux Mint is related to performance. They don't gather nominative info.

@nylira nylira closed this Jun 24, 2013

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