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20 December 2012

Obituary - Huw Lloyd Langton

I learnt yesterday that one of my favourite guitar players passed away. Huw Lloyd Langton got notorious through his work with Hawkwind, a collaboration that spanned a good number of decades. Master of spacey reverbs and long improvisations, he could create dense atmospheres but still produce songs for more straightforward listeners. I never had the opportunity to see Huw playing live, and now I'm sure I never will. Folk that worked with him paint a personality of kindness and openness, someone pleasant to do music with. Good bye Huw, you'll be missed.

09 December 2012

Petition for a Better Ubuntu

In this post I introduce an online petition addressed at Canonical requesting the removal from Ubuntu of all default data collection features. The following paragraphs detail a bit further the reasoning that lead me to create this petition. To immediately read and sign the Petition for a Better Ubuntu, please jump to Avaaz.

Not much has happened since I reported on the potential incompatibilities of Ubuntu 12.10 with the European data protection legislation. At the time I got the impression Canonical was not even in tune to personal data protection and the company remained almost silent on the issue, avoiding to address it directly. I find this somewhat strange, for Mark Shuttleworth, the company CEO founder, claimed to have the root password of all Ubuntu users some good weeks before that. When Ubuntu 12.10 was officially released it portrayed an important small change to the Shopping Lens, the addition of a privacy policy note. It addresses some of the concerns I raised, but at the same time confirms that personal user data is being collected and stored by Canonical. This is the crux of the matter and Ubuntu 12.10 effectively does it without user consent.

Update: The text of this petition has been kindly translated into French by Vince.