In recent blog posts, it is made quite clear that Ubuntu intends to collect user data. This option will be opt out at installation, but It will be kept fine print because Ubuntu really wants that information. Windows 10, Mac OS and even apple’s own iOS making news with shady privacy and performance hitting stuff lately, this was bound to happen eventually. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, the popular Linux distribution for new users, have proposed to collect hardware and software information from fresh installs of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. With this data, they have agreed to only use it to make Ubuntu better, but when given how much information they will be collecting and considering what other companies have done with our data in the past, is it really a great choice to trust Canonical with our information?
Derivatives can potentially say no to this. There are options for developers of other distributions underneath Ubuntu’s umbrella. Linux Mint, Bodhi, etc. These distributions have their own say on what goes in or comes out every day, assuming that this ubiquity installer could be forked like any other software is no stretch. Also, if the developer team didn’t want to change the installer completely, they could opt to use a slightly older installer in the mean time, there are even other installer options available. Manjaro, Arch, Antergos, all have installers that are in no way connected to Ubuntu. A Linux youtuber recently raised the question, “What are you going to do?” with regards to the individual develoers behind such derivatives of the popular operating system. It is a good question indeed. A few distributions that are currently unaffected by this change are Manjaro, Antergos, Arch Linux itself, Apricity and Debian(The distribution that Ubuntu is based on). There are many forks and derivatives of Debian that were not mentioned, but the idea is the same for those as well.
While Ubuntu’s intentions might be good, it’s no small thing that they mentioned this right as all of this other data collecting and obsolecense is going on. Right on the heels of Windows 10 and MacOs, so too is Ubuntu progressively taking a step in the same direction. While it is understandable that this information might make things better in Ubuntu, there are plentiful users out there now who would gladly turn over a brief text file of system information to Canonical if the user has the control of the situation. At the end of the day, it’s up to you as the individual on whether you would keep trusting Canonical or not, but for the most part, Manjaro is a great and stable option for those who just want the spying and telemetry to end. Debian is also an option for new users. Debian is stable and doesn’t have Popcon and Apport like Ubuntu does. Not to mention, Debian is quite shy about allowing just any software into its repositories. While there is a testing branch, it is probably still a safer bet at this time than Ubuntu 18.04 if the proposal indeed passes. More on this as it becomes known.