Experience, Information Technology, Politics

The GDPR and Linux Distros

dusting off hands imageIf you use a general purpose Linux distro which pulls from somewhere else (and they all pull from somewhere else) then you’ve experienced it when you tried to file a bug. Tickets file against Linux distros fall into two primary categories.

  1. Let it rot until it can be closed due to no longer supported version
  2. Flag it closed and tell the user to report it “upstream.”

Today’s rant is about the second category because it is how so many “maintainers” juice up their tickets closed count and because, you can’t do that anymore. Yes, I encountered it today when filing this bug report. If you visit the bug report you will see I was told to report it to Ubuntu because that is where they get the package. I politely informed them they had to report it. They proceeded to keep closing the bug.

Well, here is a cold water bath in reality. The GDPR has been law for a while. Every one of those “upstream” locations requires a user provide personal information to create an account before they can report a bug. I choose to use KDE Neon. The bug was discovered while using KDE Neon. I choose to give my information to the KDE Neon bug reporting system because I like the distro and wanted to report a bug which appears to be biting quite a few people in the writing world.

You cannot tell me to provide my personal information “upstream” which is what you are doing when you tell me to “report it upstream.” Every distro pulling something from somewhere now has to have their own method of forwarding bugs “upstream.” You cannot tell your users they have to provide their personal information to someone else. That’s my take on the GDPR.

Of course, you want to flag it “upstream” and dust off your hands, jacking up that closer rate. This was the norm before GDPR. It cannot be the norm now. Admittedly I live in America, but a large chunk of Linux users live in the EU which is where the GDPR became law in 2016. They will get around to knocking on your distro’s door. The kudos for doing nothing days are over.