OpenBallot: Ubuntu + Yahoo = evil?


As you probably already know, Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04 will use Yahoo as its default search engine because Canonical has struck a revenue-sharing deal with Yahoo. This potentially leaves us with a small dilemma: if you're an Ubuntu user then you probably want to help support the distro at least a little, but on the flip side Microsoft Bing is the search engine behind Yahoo, which means using the default means supporting Microsoft.

So, we're looking for your input: will you give Yahoo+Bing a try and help Ubuntu a little, or will changing to Google be the first thing you do on any 10.04 machine? Perhaps more importantly, is Canonical's move a step away from its free software roots while also arguably providing users with inferior search results by default, or just sound business sense?

Post your comments below, make your answers clear, and please provide a name other than Anonymous Penguin otherwise we're likely to ignore you. (NB: we'll be releasing the first podcast of season 2 on Thursday.)

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Your comments

Use the best tool for the job

I use Google as my default for all browsers I use everywhere. Whether that's in Firefox, IE or Chrome on Windows, Mac and Linux.

When I first heard about the deal I switched my browser search provider to Yahoo! to see if there was much difference. Didn't like it, switched back after an hour or so.

I will be one of those people who upon upgrading to Lucid or installing new systems will spend a few seconds clicking the little drop-down then "Google" and then forget all about it.

I'll do that once per machine and then move on to more important things like, y'know, using my computer.

!= evil

I have no problem with MS giving Canonical some revenue. Ultimately, if the search results annoy me sufficiently, I'll overcome the energy barrier to change back to Google, but I'll give Yahoo a fair spin.

I use iGoogle (that's not

I use iGoogle (that's not copyrighted by Apple, I hope) as my homepage so the first thing I do anyways when I reinstall is change the homepage.

Seems beautiful to me... for one key reason

Canonical, who we can all agree does great work for the open source community, is looking for ways to get paid. Who else would would be more appropos to foot its bill than a Microsoft powered company?

I'm fine with it based on one key factor: I don't think the defaults in Ubuntu matter that much. If you're installing Ubuntu, then you probably know how (or can look up how) to tweak the system to your liking. As a result, people who want to use Yahoo (or want to now so Canonical can get a kickback) will, while others like myself, won't. Selling defaults in a world where most people actively picked something other than the two primary OS'es doesn't seem like much of a gold mine to me.

And sure, Ubuntu is probably the only distro that could hope to make anything resembling a buck off this (imagine if Gentoo or Arch tried to work this out), but I still think selling defaults to the Linux crowd isn't likely to change the end results very much, both for the community and for Canonical's bottom line.

not that evil

The deal is not all that evil, it is more annoying from my point of view, all that it means to me is that I will have to change the default search engine when I first install ubuntu. Having said that I mostly use Mint now so it may be entirely irrelevant.

nothings perfet

it'll be just another default setting to change.

Moot point - What will the default Chrome search be set as?

In Ubuntu 10.04 I probably won't change the default search provider in Firefox... but that's only because the first thing I'll do is install Chrome and make sure the search is set to Google.

I don't think many people would use Yahoo search JUST to show their support for Canonical. They'll change it to what they are used to. However, people like my mum who don't know or care which search provider they are using may as well indirectly support Canonical.

I say

I say it's evil because I want a good, pointless excuse to stop switching between Ubuntu and Fedora every few months.

I use Ixquick as my search engine, so I'm pretty bias-less.

Cant Blame Them but Google still rules

I think its not a bad thing that canonical have decided upon this deal as it is a simple little thing that is making them as a company profitable.

I think changing my default search to Google is a sacrifice I'm willing to pay for all that Canonical has given us in each release.

Can't even start on this

If people don't see this as "selling out", I won't even bother to elaborate...

What's next? Bing as the default search engine?

Ooops! Too quick with the 'Enter' key

Quoting myself:
"What's next? Bing as the default search engine?"

I mean, without the Yahoo! disguise?

And then, is Canonical going to bed with Novell, too?

I use yahoo for emails, so

I use yahoo for emails, so ok in that aspect. To search however I use the firefox search bar thingy, which is set to use google by default but with a load of other search engines as well. Never actually used the default homepage search page, formats the results all weirdly... I don't care what the homepage is so long as it loads quickly. If I can get to my emails even quicker then all is good!

Don't like Canonical's direction

I don't like the direction that Canonical is taking, hopping into bed with any Tom, Dick or Harry that can spare a bob. It is like local government taking supermarket money for road schemes, schools taking sponsorship from snack food, hospitals taking big pharma sponsorship or any other intrusion of big business into public life - big business benefits again, and the minuscule income never does make a difference.

But even so, I have always set my home page to a browser of my own choice because most sessions start with a query, so I never use that search box.

What would your rather? Paid Ubuntu or Yahoo

There Only trying to earn Money. They do release an Enterprise edition or charge for their Linux Distribution that many other Linux companies do. What would you Rather, pay for Ubuntu or use Yahoo Search in Ubuntu. I know it is based on Microsoft's Bing but I wouldn't want Ubuntu to be paid for, or annoying ad's for Ubuntu support and discourage new Linux users from using Linux. I prefer Google but I don't want to pay for ubuntu.

Google isn't free either

To me, it makes absolutely no difference whether Ubuntu supports Microsoft or Google. Both are "evil companies only freedom haters love".

If Canonical would move from a free to a proprietary search engine, it would be worth discussing it but this change is completely irrelevant to me. I'll keep using my favourity search engine whether it is default or not.

one more reason to switch

This move did not surprise me, after ubuntu one and ubuntu-tunes(utunes, whatever it is called) all of these things will create a revenue stream. I believe this is what Shuttleworth does, he builds businesses to make money then sells when the money is right. It served him well last time, so why would that change? Where ubuntu is going is very different to why I liked ubuntu when I first used it. So the answer for me was to switch to Arch, no hard feelings to ubuntu it was just time to try something new. Ultimatly I use Linux first and then choose a distro that fits my needs. Ubuntu's choice does not restrict my choice to use Arch. When they try to make a choice that would restrict every linux distro,that would be a true mark of evil.

Privacy suggests

using Scroogle instead of either; it's been my homepage for, oh, /that/ long.


I may search for a few things in it so that i can feel like i've done my part to support Ubuntu then swith to the old trustie Altavista :P which will make no difference becuase when I install Chrome, google will be the default serch engine meaning that I can use the lesser of the two eivils, for the time being...

Maths Fail

also Ubuntu - Evil = Yahoo??

Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Ubuntu And Everything Else

Bashing Google and making it look like Microsoft has become the new fashion, but I fail to see where the similarities are, if any.

Google has never charged users for anything and has no lock-in scheme. It supports the open-source movement. Its primary product - search results - is the best of its kind. It is a really innovative and creative company. Yes, it does collect data from its users, but who doesn't, these days?

Microsoft has engaged in highly unethical business practices before, trying to squeeze the last penny out of its users. Its privacy policies were never clearly stated. It prevents other companies from being creative and innovative by intimidating them with the prospect of patent-related suits. Lock-in? Microsoft speciality. Etc., etc., etc.

Now, how can one associate oneself with Microsoft and claim not to become also corrupt? If you lay on a bed of shit you end up smelling bad - even if you put a sheet (Yahoo!) between yourself and the shit. Ubuntu/Canonical will be reeking of Microsoft shit in no time, and all that remains to be seen is the extension of the damage.

Google is a *very intelligent* company, whereas Microsoft is just a predator and a thief. They rose to their prominent places in different ways and with a different set of values. Google works with the market, Microsoft against the market. I would *love* to work for/at Google, but would only work for Microsoft as a last resource for obtaining food (which is certainly not the case for Canonical).

So, in conclusion: Canonical, what a bad move! You are playing right into the hands of Ballmer & Company, and alienating a lot of the more informed users of Ubuntu. Shame on you! Moving away from Ubuntu - and staying clear of it - is my next project in the area.

Time will tell.

We'll only truly learn the evil extent of this new relationship when Windows 8 is released with vomit-inducing brown as the default theme. If so, Canonical will be laughing loudest.

No Big Deal

I will probably give Yahoo a try for a day or two and then (unless I am pleasantly surprised) switch to google. No big deal. Hopefully this helps Canonical become a more sustainable company.

Time to switch to fedora.

Time to switch to fedora.

Very Bad

I dont like this deal.
It will hardly take few seconds for me to switch to Google as default search engine !

Not Bing, not Google, not *buntu

I didn't use Yahoo when they had their own search engine, and I didn't like Bing at all, so in 23 seconds after I install Firefox Yahoo will no longer be the default search engine. Actually, I only use Google about 1/4 of the time., Clusty, Cuil, and Scroogle, work just fine for me and I don't need to worry about them like I do about Google or Microsoft. And, I don't use *buntu either; but some of their forks are nice: Mint or Ultimate, especially.

Viva Texas!

same same but different

whether it is google or microsoft, the user is still tracked and every single action is logged, retained, analyzed, profiled, and so on.

google has already access to way too much personal data and microsoft will certainly be happy to survey ubuntu user web usage.

the whole "default search engine" business makes me sick, it's a reminder that the web has become a surveillance tool for big corporations and in turn governments.

I always take the extra step to remove the included default browser id that comes with almost every web browser.

Good and bad!

I don't really care where Canonical gets its money from, as long as the money helps the Linux community. Or rather, I should say that I don't care enough that I need to run to Fedora. I'll change back to Google immediately, but if such a small act can bring money to a Linux bloodline, then it's well worth it.

Ideals are an investment in the future, but practicality pays in cash. If it bothers you that much, try Mint. They'll probably keep Google and maybe aliasing the problem might make your ideals feel better.

Seal of approval?

Perhaps we're missing the point. To me this sounds like a tangible acknowledgement from Microsoft that Linux on the desktop is a serious proposition. Otherwise they'd have no interest in paying to get their search engine into a niche platform which had no future. MS must think Ubuntu is going places.

And it's only a search engine - inoffensive and easy to change. It's not as if Ubuntu are starting to ship naked people on their desktop wallpaper (oh hang on, they did that too once, didn't they)?

Maybe I'm missing the point?

So if I don't like Yahoo! as the default search engine then I can just change it?

Canonical needs revenue to continue working on the distro that everyone loves to hate, if that means changing the default search provider (which can be changed back anyway) then so be it. If they locked it down and forced you to use it then that would be an issue but, much like the default set of installed applications, it can be changed post-install by anyone with a keyboard, a mouse, a basic grasp of their spoken language and 1 and a bit brain cells.

I think we're all trying to hard to see the dark, evil and scary side to every decision Canonical and the Ubuntu team make.


I like the deal because of its irony: Microsoft is paying Canonical to develop Open Source Software! (And switching back to Google won't be too difficult for the average user either).

Every time I hear Bing I think of friends ...

I'm not that concerned that Canonical is going to change the default search engine. We can always change it back again anyway. You can't really blame Canonical for trying out deals like this. It makes good business sense. Some people like to over react to every single thing. We should have more confidence in the Open source software. I've never really used Cuil Bing Yahoo or Scroogle before so I may experiment with these search engines in the next few weeks to see what they are like. Google is a good engine but I'd like a change of scenery ...

easy enough to change ...

... from Canonical's defaults. And I use LXQuick anyway.

I agree with dazfuller's point that perhaps we are looking too hard for signs of malign intent from Ubuntu. I don't use Ubuntu myself - I have never liked it. However, Canonical not only makes a vast contribution to the free software ecosystem (I'm leaving aside debates as to whether it gives back 'enough' to Debian or kernel development ...) but also provides desktop Linux with the oxygen of publicity. No-one else can help much with this last point, so far as I can see!

Love your enemies. Eat and enjoy their food

Love your enemies. Eat and enjoy their food. Full stop!
Canonical, keep giving us Ubuntu that we like and keep up with the ubuntu promise

My enemy, my ally

I think this is well played by Microsoft and should follow up with Microsoft getting Canonical to run Ubuntu One off of Microsoft Azure. That would be a catalyst and safe ground for Microsoft to further develop any business model in the open source space without competing with itself.

For Canonical too grow as a business it needs to develop this level of partnership at this stage of it's evolution. Since the search engine change as well as the cloud partnership I postulate are more services than product, I think Canonical is safe for the moment and has not stepped away from its free software roots but contine to watch this space.

I'll give the Yahoo+Bing a try. I'll admit it will be like trying to ween off my daily Diet Coke fix

I don't mind, but ...

... Firefox is a multi platform application and will now be different from other platforms. Maybe not the smartest decision to change the most familiar program for converts. Consistency is the key - for that reason I agree with kicking out the gimp.


Okay so whats wrong with my ubuntu now? I think the guys at canonical should do what they can to make money, those resources will probably be used to make an even better distro, I mean look at it Ubuntu is by far the most competitive os to have come out on the open source world and yet people bitch about bing(yahoo), who uses the crappy search engine anyways. Sites are not listed and all the other issues that come with it. I stopped using Microsoft products and only use Open source programs I survive and if something bothers me I A.) Leave it alone B.) Change it C.)Ignore it. Microsoft and the propriety software world are feeling the open source commie geeks hot on their heels and they are doing what businesses do and thats compete. yahoo or bing will still result in bad search results and someone will notice and switch to chrome or google for browsing and results, just because its open source doesn't mean people have to starve. haha wackrosoft! go validate your b.s

Not that i think microsoft is evil but..

I will change the startpage, not because i think microsoft is evil, but to support google. A lot of interesting technology and cool descisions comes out of google.

It's no big deal

I am not opposed to the deal, and think that calling it 'evil' is just stupid. That said, I won't be using yahoo (nor google) as search engine.There are other ways to contribute, and I am intending to keep doing that.

PS: Why the hell do you need cookies?!

mircosoft, google, what the ****

I don't care if yahoo, bing, google, etc. is the default search plugin, I will change anyway. not because I'm not satisfied with the results but I don't want to be spied on. that's why I'll use ...

$$$ > user experience

What concerns me the most about this deal is not yahoo's tie with MS's bing. The fact that this move has sorely based on money. The main motivation for this deal is money rather than what is good for the user experience. I mean if the reason had been because canonical made this deal because yahoo provided better user experience compared to google It would have been cool. But the fact that a default on Ubuntu was changed because canonical would make money from it is a very dangerous precedent. They even added a spin by saying it was meant to provide more money for the hiring of my people to work on Ubuntu. I find that statement very patronizing. The only person who benefits from this deal is Canonical. Canonical is a company whose goal is to make profit. The fact that there are going as far as to pursue this goal at the expense of user experience is very distressing to say the least.

Default Search

Ubuntu changing the default search engine is a good thing, not only will Canonical get money for the searches made on Yahoo!, but it will help improve the distro even more when new iterations are released. We should all help to back Canonical & Ubuntu by using Yahoo! search.

not the first such deal?

One crucial question: Is there a meaningful difference between this deal and the existing one between the Mozilla Foundation and Google? We've been putting up with that for a long time. If this deal is comparable then it's business as usual.... bing sucks though!

As long as it works

Just as long as anything works well people will tend to use it.

As long as you can easily change it, should you not like the default option, there's no problem.

If you get tied in without the freedom to change from a default option, now that's the time to worry.

So far I'm not worried.

Yahoo not so great any more

I remember back in the days before Google just how important Yahoo was. It was the first major search engine (that I remember) and then as Google came along it took away from Yahoo's search, so Yahoo diversified into other things. The only good thing they still have is ownership of Flickr, although it might be better if Flickr was not owned by Yahoo.

So to read that their search facility is now provided by Microsoft is really sad. It seems that on the whole, Yahoo can do nothing right. So they decide to do a deal with Canonical to their search as the default.

It shows me just how important Ubuntu has become, and how irrelevant Yahoo now is.

I doubt if I will use Yahoo as my default search, I have tried it and I have tried Microsoft Bing (did they name if after Bingo?) and like neither. I prefer Google, and when I use any browser, I try to set the search engine default to Google. I use Flock, and its default was Yahoo, but now I have it as Google.

I do not think Yahoo is evil, but Canonical's deal with them is pointless, although it shows how strong Linux is becoming.

Thanks guys

Thanks to the people who mentioned Ixquick - now my default search engine.

Not evil, but not good either

I can understand Canonical wanting to boost their bottom line, and I know people are increasingly wary of Google's intentions, but partnering with Yahoo, when they are all but sold to MS is just madness. Maybe it's just a case of taking the cash while they can, but why put youself in a position of effectively promoting a company who is well documented as wanting to destroy your own product?

Who Really Cares?

Let's face it, it probably costs Canonical a small fortune to keep developing Ubuntu, so they need to pursue whatever opportunity they can to remain afloat, whether that is through this deal with Yahoo or Ubuntu One. I think we should go with this as it would keep running the distro which brought Linux into the 21st Century.

Hopefully not a path to the darkside, but an end-user annoyance

A revenue-sharing deal with Yahoo isn't evil . . . even though I have no idea how it will actually generate much of any.

It would be an annoyance for me, one more default setting I would have to change. But with all the Ubuntu remixes out there, I'm sure it wouldn't be an issue to find one without this, or I could make one myself (assuming of course I have to install linux for a family member over 60 or under 12).

But hopefully we are not on a "slippery slope" with this. Will Ubuntu bring Clippy out of retirement for 11.04, and have him knocking on my screen as I work? "It looks like you are trying to develop a SkyNet, want some help? Check out these Terminator videos on sale at . . . ". Are we going to get a paid and free ad-revenue version of Ubuntu in the future?

Thankfully, I still use and prefer Debian. Long live the Iceweasel!

Would any of you known?

Would any of you known that Bing was the search engine behind yahoo if it weren't mentioned in this article? Some of you may have read the news when it came out, but it isn't like there is a big "powered by Bing" sticker on the Yahoo homepage.

Phrased a different way, half of you would probably be applauding the decision as a way to keep Ubuntu "free". Most people care a lot more about free of charge than freedom. Personally, I'd like to closed source software come to Ubuntu, because that is the only way Linux users are going to get the killer apps that will truly spawn the year of the Linux desktop.

Until that day, when users can play WoW without a "not" emulation layer; can update their ipods with itunes; can install turbo tax, and do all the other things a normal Windows or Mac users can do, natively, without using exploited, often illegal (patent infringing) knock off programs that don't function correctly, Linux is going to remain in geekdom and server rooms forever.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a free software advocate, when the shoe fits. Unix like systems are vastly superior OS wise to anything Microshaft has produced and there are many free programs I wouldn't live without, but we need to face facts. Until we have an OS where free and commercial software are welcome, it will forever be a niche product and I would love to see it usurp Windows.

I'm reminded unpleasantly of AOL...

I always switch the box to ASAP, and use Google's engines (images, video, etc.) for my searches through it. I've tried Yahoo, Bing, etc. and wasn't impressed.

I'm a bit concerned that clueless newbies will run a search, then blame Linux when they don't like the results. I've seen it happen, both in cases like this and regarding other things.

Ubuntu has been my first distro, but the recent changes have given me enough of a bad vibe that I'm looking at alternatives... Canonical is starting to get a bit too blatant in its pursuit of money, like planning to sell proprietary commercial WINE-compatible programs through the OS, this search-engine change, etc. At the same time, they've been taking control away from the users by disabling control-alt-backspace, force-integrating social networking in Lucid without asking, and other things I can't recall off the top of my head. All of it together reminds me of how AOL acted when it was first becoming popular, and that's not a pleasant feeling.

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