The launch of Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) has got to be the most controversial one yet, especially because of some privacy blunders made by Canonical. Users have to know that the new Ubuntu has privacy features which are largely unknown to the public.
In the Settings panel, there is a Privacy entry that hasn’t been sufficiently publicized by Canonical, but which has quite a few important options, as it can be seen from the screenshots we’ve posted.
The Privacy settings are divided into several tabs: Search Results, Recent Items, Files, Applications, and Diagnostics. We’ll detail them one by one.
“Search Result” is the newest of the entries in the Ubuntu series. It was placed here because some of the Lenses in the Dash are connected to the internet. Users can disable the Internet access for the lenses, but they will also disable all internet searches, including Gwibber for example.
“Recent Items” is more like a general system history. According to Canonical, every time a file or an application is used, some information can be stored. This activity can be used to retrieve files during or as history in applications. Users have a very simple method to delete this stored information and to stop further recording of it.
“Files” is all about stopping the recording of activity for types of applications: instant messaging, audio, presentation, website, video, e-mail, text, image, and spreadsheet. Users can also define specific folders where the activity is not recorded. A Record Activity button is present.
“Applications” is a tab where users can select to not log the activity for the applications used in the system. A Record Activity button is present.
“Diagnostics” is the last tab and the most harmless one. Users can choose to send information, anonymously, back to Canonical, in order to improve the operating system. A Record Activity button is present.
The last privacy feature in Ubuntu 12.10 is placed in the right, down corner of Unity Dash. It’s a legal notice that informs the user on all activities performed by Ubuntu and what the rights and obligations of the users and Canonical are .
Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) will launch on October 18, 2012. In the meantime, you can download Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2, the last development version available before the official launch.