Convenience over freedom or is that just laziness?


This is the result of a discussion we had about which operating system is the best to run. When we run (free) operating systems like Ubuntu are we actually getting freedom? Because OS’s like Ubuntu come with inbuilt spyware which Canonical use to “improve the quality” of their product. While it is true that we can disable it, or build our own Ubuntu without the unnecessary applications should we continue to use it?

Although Canonical has promised the removal of web results and spyware that they put in their OS, it still has a few Non-Free aspects to it, which is again our own choice to use or not, keep or not keep.
While there are truely free OS’s like Debain or Fedora, beginners find it hard to use. Not entirely true as it is generally a hangover from their previous windows experience.

What are your thoughts on the same?

Merits of different flavours of GNU/Linux (Was:Poll: What is your primary operating system?)

I have chosen Debian GNU/Linux as my OS of choice for the following reasons:

  1. The politics of Debian in the way the community is organised
  2. You can run a pure free as in freedom version with the ‘main’ repository. No spyware. No crap.

The stable version is built to run spaceships. The testing version is for those who want to try the latest. Unstable is for those who are courageous.


have been using linuxmint for almost 5 years now
debian or arch requires internet and bandwidth which during my time was expensive

so just have been stuck to it

ps. is mint also under spyware


I’m not really an Ubuntu desktop fan, but I’d like to correct some statements here.

As far as non-free software is concerned, Ubuntu has two problems -

  1. It uses the standard version of Linux which has proprietary blobs
  2. It has non-free software in separate non-free repos (disabled by default)

Debian also has issue 2.

Fedora also has issue 1. In fact, Fedora makes non-free drivers available in the main repo (you won’t even realise you installed them), so you could say it has a more severe version of issue 2 too.

About the spying, when you search for something in the Unity dash, it also searches for those terms on Amazon and other websites. Now personally I would disable it immediately, but when you think about it, it’s really not that bad. No personally identifiable information is sent to the search service (or at least that’s what they say). It’s like using a third-party search engine.

I feel “spying” is too strong a term for this. I’d call this maybe a privacy leak - and that’s if you don’t realise that the dash includes web search. I feel it becomes obvious after your first search. Not that I support it though. I always ask new Ubuntu users to go to


No. Only the Unity version of Ubuntu leaks your search term. There’s no risk if you disable web search in the dash or use a non-Unity flavour of Ubuntu or use an Ubuntu derivative.


I am sorry, but I dont accept your claim about fedora installing non-free drivers without our knowledge.
Fedora’s main repo has and only has free software. All non-free software either exist in repo’s like, rpmfusion-free and rpmfusion-non-free, fedy etc.

I have been a fedora user for too long, about 3 years now, and I have not see any non-free software come in without my permissions.

Can you share the sources of where you got your information from ?

@Chaitanya To answer your question, I would just call it laziness. I dont really see, if you claim something works on ubuntu, why shouldn’t it work on Debian. Incude the same repo’s and it should still work.
It is just another reason we give, to show our laziness to move towards free OS.


This is a good read :


Check the Fedora section of that page you linked. It speaks of the non-free firmware included in the main Fedora repo.

More info:


That won’t work unfortunately. Ubuntu really is quite different from Debian as far as the package repos are concerned. The kernel, various libs and toolchains differ a lot between the two. I don’t know if Debian testing is any closer to Ubuntu than Debian stable, but I don’t believe it is.


I don’t know if Debian testing is any closer to Ubuntu than Debian stable, but I don’t believe it is.

Ubuntu pulls from Debian Unstable.