The mindset of the time is reflected in an announcement  of the /Ubuntu Foundation/:
"It's important for us to distinguish the philanthropic and
non-commercial work that is at the heart of the Ubuntu project, from
the commercial support and certification programs that are the focus
of Canonical Ltd." said Mark Shuttleworth"""
These new pushes to monetize the home user is what is really annoying.
The alternative (well polished, reasonably easy/user friendly) is apple and windows. No more free.
I think much criticism is shallow.
It was an apt-get remove --purge .. to remove the things I didn't like. The things I like I can download from everywhere, much much more difficult with Mac/Windows (how would I e.g. get XCode other than through iTunes?)
They should offer a ad-free system, which you pay $10 for, or a free version, supported by ads.
I feel like we're in a weird transitional period where the "free internet" in which all major apps and services we used were VC funded and growing, completely free with no ads and nothing you have to pay for, and are suddenly starting to realize that they have to make money. So they start selling data, serving tons of ads, etc and then people get angry that their data is stolen, they are being showed ads, posts from people they don't follow are getting injected into their streams, etc.
There's nothing to be angry about here, it's just this now gigantic company putting in work on something you love and use all the time trying to get the funds to continue working on it.
I understand that a lot of people just won't pay for things no matter what, and you know what, that's fine - they can use the versions that are packed full of ads and sell your data. But what I would really love to see is when you use a service for them to give you an option between the two. You can either use this for free and we'll sell your data and show you ads, or you can pay us and we won't do any of the above. At least that way it's clear, and if you choose to use it for free then you are conscious that they are making money off you somehow.
I think the closest model I've seen to this honestly is in the app store - a lot of apps release 2 versions, a free and a paid version. The free version is somewhat limited and has ads all over the place, and the paid one has none of the aforementioned flaws.
We are just so accustomed to not paying for anything, and I feel like when reality comes crushing down that oh wait, now that the VC funds have dried up and the company needs to actually be profitable, the money has to come from somewhere.
tl;dr pay for the things you use, because they are worth it. and if not, stop using them.
Also, is it just me or do most HN users now do not know what spyware means? Openly conducting a search that is clearly sending that data over the internet is not a covert way of collecting data, quite the opposite it's very much in your face.
Personally I'm partial to openSUSE, but I certainly don't fault Canonical for the way they choose to do business.
It's an interesting theory, but with something like a Linux distribution I don't see it working too well. Of course you will have a small percentage of fans who will be happy to pay, but everyone else will just use the free version. Of those who want the paid features, they will just find command strings like this to toggle the ENABLE_PAID flag (remember Linux users are usually quite savvy). Unless the paid features are closed source...
There's no way to make software un-stealable really, the best you can do is offer an easy, inexpensive, and convenient way to pay for it and make stealing it difficult and make you feel guilty for it. I feel like spotify/rdio took over music piracy in this fashion.
I'm in India - and I cannot afford a Mac (and maybe dont want to). Build this system on top of SteamOS or Android or something (for hardware compatibility) and you will get my money.
I think Canonical should be more honest that they need money. People would gladly pay for stable OS that is supported long enough. I think the combination of Stable OS, lots of Apps that is close to the current upstream relase, and good hardware support is the winning formula here..
My dream is that I want Ubuntu to be essentially the equivalent of OSX, but I can install it on as many hardware configuration as possible, not just Mac
Do you see the amounts of complaints they are getting from who paid $0? Imagine the outrage they will face when people who paid $10 start asking for their money back because they don't like feature X of the new release.
Software Freedom is a highly regarded aspect of software (users want it, developers want to provide it), but we can't find a way to monetize its development without destroying the product. This has always been the problem, and it's worth recognizing it as such.
But it is a mistake for Canonical to hook Amazon, which can be very intrusive, into practically every interaction with an Ubuntu desktop. It's jarring and objectionable to find a vendor who would aggressively data mine you wired in to an OS you used to be able to count on to be security-oriented and non-intrusive.
It isn't even right for Ubuntu Touch devices. When I use a Google-logo Android device, I make a knowing bargain, trading information for convenience and capabilities. The only thing Ubuntu does better than Android is to leave me alone.
Ubuntu has lost quite a bit of share to Mint. I have not been cranky enough about Unity to switch, but if I do find search data leaking despite the "privacy" settings that would about do it.