lunes, 24 de septiembre de 2012

(Corrected) Unbelievable: launchpad removes bug report #1054776 suggesting to fix AdWare feature.

Update: Seems this thread was a too quick reaction to the bug thread disappearing. The thread is back and further verification indicates that a user without affiliation to Canonical or any project hid the bug thread until someone with higher rank restored it.

Bug #1054776, the one suggesting simply not to do remote searches on the home lens has been removed. It reached a high heat value (and thus there was a lot of interest) and plenty of support. But is now gone.



This is probably not the most open move. But it gives us a clear message. The shopping lens and its invasion of the home lens will stay in 12.10.

Thankfully, we can trust in google cache to at least preserve some of the discussion. Some highlights of what was removed:

The bug is a proposal for a specific technical change (to have shopping-lens not included in the home lens in 12.10). I suppose it's an opinion whether that change is an improvement over the current plan, but there are certainly many facts that support the proposal:

1) It's a contentious feature, evidenced by this bug.
2) It's proposed for a default-on state in a widely used component (home lens).
3) It has privacy implications when compared to the previous state of home lens in 12.04. Home lens in 12.04 doesn't send queries to remote servers, shopping-lens does.
4) Those privacy implications aren't addressed by the privacy policy: Bug #1054741
5) And the privacy implications aren't disclosed upon use of home lens: Bug #1054782
6) Also the feature itself results in a lousy user experience due to poor results (Bug #1053678) and inappropriate adult results that aren't tied to any age assertation (Bug #1054282)
7) Despite all of the above, the feature was introduced ***post-freeze*** with little community review: Bug 1053470
8) It appears that it was fast-tracked through freeze exception in spite of all the above issues because of executive support at Canonical:, which creates the appearance that community input isn't valued and that the privacy objections aren't respected.

There are just too many concerns in relation to this bug. I still think the sanest approach would be to at least postpone it to 13.04.

In addition to the privacy concerns stated above, I'd just like to add that this causes a *huge* hit to usability. There is already a lot of information presented in the dash home, and adding a stream of information that is probably totally irrelevant to a given search goes against the whole point of having the dash - namely to find stuff more easily.

Example: I keep a journal on my computer. It is a file named journal.odt. If I type in journal, I just want to see that journal (and maybe some relevant programs, like Gnome Activity Journal). I don't want to see icons for: "Hand - Deadroom Journal [2008] $7.77"; "Taylor Dupree - Journal [2011] $2.79"; "Bridge 61 - Journal [2006] $8.99"; "Jully - Journal Intime [2008] $9.99"; "Arabica - Journal [2010] $9.99"; "Dday One - Journal [2011] $2.79... and that's just one line.

That this turns every desktop search in to an advertisement threatens to make Ubuntu seem like adware itself, as vexorian mentions above, but even if one finds these options useful, the amount of clutter added to the dash home is a problem.

Making this a separate lens would solve both these issues to an extent, since if the user went specifically to the shopping lens there would at least be the assumption that the user wants to actually buy something. Integrating it with the home lens makes no sense since the vast, vast majority of times a user types something into the dash they don't want to buy something new, but rather want find something that is already on their computer.

This, coupled with the privacy concerns mentioned above (which are really, really serious), ultimately means that even a separate lens should be an *opt-in* feature - especially considering the vast majority of users will have no clue how to disable it.

Update: False alarm. It was hid by a contributor and then brought back by another contributor.

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