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Ubuntu to withdraw sponsored search

Ubuntu logoUbuntu signed an agreement with Amazon for sponsored searches within the distribution. When it was signed in 2012, Richard Stallman labelled it “spyware and polemics became inevitable. Ubuntu now seems to be backtracking.

It’s official. This functionality will be dropped from the next version of Ubuntu – 16.04 LTS – which will be released in April, Toolinux reports.

It was in 2012 that this new feature appeared and it wasn’t to the taste of everyone in the community; far from it. Richard Stallman called it nothing less than “spyware”. This function will be disabled by default in the forthcoming release.

As Will Cooke, one of the Ubuntu managers at Canonical explained in a blog post: “On Unity 8 the Scopes concept has evolved into something which gives the user finer control over what is searched and provides more targeted results. This functionality cannot be added into Unity 7 and so we’ve taken the decision to gracefully retire some aspects of the Unity 7 online search features.”

This is a decision that’s come late in the day and brings to mind how difficult it is for the likes of Ubuntu to find viable financial models for its free distribution.