I am happily learning Ubuntu more closely now. I came across the process ubuntu-geoip-provider in system monitor.

Is is used for tracking or for gathering nearest server info, or for syncing time with Internet, or perhaps for all these things? I searched for it but not enough information came through. If it is tracking, what kind of info it is gathering, and why it is doing that?

It is based here: /usr/lib/ubuntu-geoip

I just wanted more detailed information for that.

Also, can this be disabled? Is disabling recommended, or would doing so cause dependency-related (or other) problems?

  • I could not find alot more than what i included. if you got more questions add them inton your question and I will try to answer them. Basically it is a package that centralizes anything related to find out where someone is to provide info about where you are (in the harmless sense: the nearest macdonalds ;) )
    – Rinzwind
    May 26, 2012 at 19:40
  • Now i see Its GeoClue actually.
    – atenz
    May 26, 2012 at 19:43
  • 1
    yeah what you mentioned looks like a meta package (I used that to find the package inside that and it said something about geoclue. That got me 2 big hits: wikipedia and the project page ;) ) Come to think of it: this might also be responsible for the date and location for the installer(it nowadays knows to pick Amsterdam for my setup ;) )
    – Rinzwind
    May 26, 2012 at 19:45
  • 2
    Is used for tracking? NO.
    – fitojb
    Feb 10, 2013 at 11:53
  • 1
    @Fitoschido it's fun the fact that you're the only one who actually answered the main question. Mar 28, 2013 at 21:11

6 Answers 6



source: wikipedia.org

GeoClue is a software framework which can be used to enable geospatial awareness in applications. GeoClue uses the D-Bus inter-process communication mechanism to provide location information1, but there is also a Qt Mobility API in the works2. Through this it aims to simplify development of location aware applications and promote code reuse within the free software and open source communities by defining a logical boundary between the applications and underlying location providers. GeoClue is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License and is currently available for Linux.

GeoClue ships in several Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora. It is also the positioning service of the MeeGo mobile Linux distribution and the GNOME stack.

GeoClue provides access to multiple position providers: - GPS: Position information from a Global Positioning System receiver (via gpsd and gypsy) - GSM: Position information from cellular network connection - Plazes: Position information from the Plazes Wi-Fi location service - Hostip: Position information based on IP address - Manual: User-provided position information

In addition to position information, GeoClue can also be used for geocoding, or converting between human-readable addresses and coordinates.

GeoClue: The Geoinformation Service

Geoclue is a modular geoinformation service built on top of the D-Bus messaging system. The goal of the Geoclue project is to make creating location-aware applications as simple as possible.

Geoclue is Free Software, licensed under GNU LGPL. It is developed for Linux, but should be portable to any platform that uses D-Bus.

Geoclue defines a set of geoinformation APIs, but it also includes some providers that implement those APIs. Here is a list of services provided through Geoclue with the currently included implementations:

  • Position: gpsd, gypsy, hostip, plazes, gsmloc
  • Address: hostip, plazes, manual, localnet
  • Velocity: gpsd, gypsy
  • Geocode: nominatim, geonames, yahoo
  • ReverseGeocode: nominatim, geonames
  • Geoclue source code contains:

    • D-Bus definitions for the above APIs
    • C bindings for Geoclue clients
    • C bindings for data providers
    • a set of provider implementations
    • (experimental) master provider implementation.

Application ideas (so not actual implementations)

  • F-Spot / GThumb: tag photos with location data
  • Stars / MaemoStars: show night sky simulation in correct place
  • Map applications (MaemoMapper) show correct location on application open
  • Jabber / Telepathy: support XEP-0080, add location info to Presence
  • Blog software: add geotags to posts
  • Yahoo Fire Eagle could use Geoclue as data provider
  • Use position/address for desktop settings (timezone, printers, SMTP servers, whatever). Marco Polo looks like a good implementation on OS X
  • disable-screensaver-lock-when-at-home
  • Find closest free wifi access point
  • Tracking application (save location history). Could be used later for tagging photos etc.
  • browser, calendar: autofill address form fields (not sure if current location is wanted that often, though?)
  • Browser could expose location to websites: Webkit may support Locationaware in the future.
  • Google Gears

Possible data sources

  • Geocoding for phone numbers - use countries telephone number dial plans to convert phone numbers to general locations (obviously less accuracy with mobiles and world-wide roaming/etc)
  • Google Maps Geocoding API -- License says "only for showing places on Google Maps"
  • Wigle.net-- WIFI location database (10 million networks). License requires users to login.
  • geocoder.us -- geocoder for the USA (TIGER data)
  • gsmloc-provider could easily get the GSM information using AT commands on the OpenMoko platform
  • A free network location database project has begun at http://geomena.org

Turning it off

If you delete the package it will also delete indicator-datetime. If loosing the date/time applet is not a concern you can go for it.

Otherwise this seems to work too:

  • Change the clock setting to manual;
  • Kill /usr/lib/geoclue/geoclue-master
  • Kill /usr/lib/ubuntu-geoip/ubuntu-geoip-provider

The connection seems to close after killing it.

  • On Home Static Personal computers , it is avoidable. Thanks for this Great Info.
    – atenz
    May 26, 2012 at 19:46
  • 1
    Took some time to figure out what to kill but I think I got it. @tijybba you need it for your time and date applet ;)
    – Rinzwind
    May 26, 2012 at 20:30
  • Killing those processes doesn't seem to work, as they re-spawn immediately after being killed. Anyone knows how to prevent them from re-spawning, or, even better, from starting? Sep 10, 2012 at 16:32
  • 1
    sudo apt-get remove geoclue
    – metadings
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:03
  • To turn it off on Ubuntu 16.04 and up; sudo systemctl mask geoclue.service
    – Artyom
    Feb 17, 2017 at 20:09

Is it used for tracking?

No; GeoClue itself does not contact external services for the reason of providing your location, but rather only provides an API for ubuntu applications to use to find out where you are.

If you are in doubt that GeoClue is providing location data to a third party for the purpose of surveillance, you can examine the source code yourself:

git clone git://anongit.freedesktop.org/git/geoclue

IMHO, a free (as in freedom) surveillance tool is an impossible realisation.


Seems relevant:

Disabling privacy-invasive Zeitgeist, Geoclue, Whoopsie (and NTPD)


  • Sorry, too much FUD.
    – fitojb
    Feb 10, 2013 at 11:53
  • A less FUD and more info thread: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2144464
    – HRJ
    Jul 8, 2013 at 7:15
  • 2
    Although your answer is 100% correct, it might also become 100% useless if that link is moved, changed, merged into another one or the main site just disappears... :-( Therefore, please edit your answer, and copy the relevant steps from the link into your answer, thereby guaranteeing your answer for 100% of the lifetime of this site! ;-) You can always leave the link in at the bottom of your answer as a source for your material...
    – Fabby
    Oct 8, 2015 at 0:08

This not tested, but its logic is simple.

(Still the question is - why we need to dig (more and more) for tricks... Like, how to remove "mail" icon/indicator-messages...)

Add this to the file /etc/rc.local before last line (i.e., before exit 0):

# create dump file
echo '#!/bin/sh' > /tmp/my-will
#echo 'sleep 6000' >> /tmp/my-will; # optional/depends
#chmod +x /tmp/my-will; # optional/depends

# replace "bad" files
mount -o bind /tmp/my-will /usr/lib/geoclue/geoclue-master
mount -o bind /tmp/my-will /usr/lib/ubuntu-geoip/ubuntu-geoip-provider

# kill "bad" processes
pkill geoclue-master
pkill ubuntu-geoip-provider
  • 3
    Why not just remove geoclue? ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2000108
    – aidan
    Apr 2, 2013 at 2:32
  • removing geoclue breaks indicator-datetime
    – noobninja
    Jan 2, 2016 at 23:24
  • Another option might be to add a simple chmod 0 filename or chattr -i filename for the files you don't want to run. The later will prevent all access - including updates (unless the update removes the file first). Oct 11, 2023 at 9:26

Another simple way to remove those 2 dbus services is to do that:

sudo mv /usr/share/dbus-1/services/org.freedesktop.Geoclue.Master.service  /usr/share/dbus-1/services/org.freedesktop.Geoclue.Master.service_disabled
sudo mv /usr/share/dbus-1/services/org.freedesktop.Geoclue.Providers.UbuntuGeoIP.service  /usr/share/dbus-1/services/org.freedesktop.Geoclue.Providers.UbuntuGeoIP.service_disabled

Then you either kill both services or reboot. The services won't be launched again at subsequent reboots.

You have to repeat the same commands if geoclue packages are updated because it will recreate the original service files.

If you need these two dbus services back, do the two mv commands above the other way to restore the original .service files.

  • Won't it affect any dependencies if any......:)
    – atenz
    Feb 19, 2014 at 15:04
  • this worked with 15.10
    – noobninja
    Jan 2, 2016 at 23:37

You can install dconf-tools and navigate to com > ubuntu > geoip and then set the geoip url to something like http://example.com

or you can set it to a local file containing a permanent xml file so that it remains static.

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