26 September 2012

Worth repeating; Trust and Open Source

I first encountered Mark Shuttlesworth in person at an Ottawa Linux Symposium a few years ago, and passed along a reply from Dag, responding to some controversial comment Shuttlesworth had made at the time.  I choose not to use Ubuntu or Debian as my primary X desktop, but that said, there are 6 machines running one of those two distributions powered on in my office at the moment, so I am not a stranger there, either
He was being 'up front' about the fact that Amazon search results are being trialled for an upcoming Ubuntu version
He points out, and it bears repeating, the following:
[Question: ] Why are you telling Amazon what I am searching for?
[Answer: ] 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 boldface are important, but I carry the context as well here.  When you use any computer operating system, you in the role of: user are  implicitly placing trust in the decisions and the commitment of those who put it together to 'do the right thing', or to make it right when things go awry
Do you trust your vendors?  Your actions may be pointing out a dissonance, if you said: no