I know that this [closed] question is similar, so I'd like to be more specific:

Using Ubuntu Phone, what data will be stored "in the cloud"? Namely

  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Call history
  • Email?

Will I need to get an Ubuntu One account to be able to use Ubuntu Phone (as I need a Google account for Android)?

Can Ubuntu Phone be configured such that it's sync behaviour is like for the old Windows Mobile series, i.e. sync between laptop/phone only via USB, avoiding the cloud completely and working even without an internet connection?

It seems like even an open source OS like Android are quite hard to set up such that your personal data doesn't "rush off" to Google accidentally, so I am wondering where Ubuntu mobile OS stands with regards to control over your data. I noticed that the Ubuntu Tablet site states the following:

Ubuntu One already has millions of users on Ubuntu, Android, Windows and Mac. Deeply integrated on Ubuntu devices, it provides free storage, paid-for music streaming services and a foundation for cloud-based services from operators and device makers.

...which doesn't clearly define what can or has to be shared and how easy it is to turn it off. I couldn't find anything about Ubuntu Phone on that matter.

I also just found this question on Reddit about the Ubuntu Edge phone, and the following answer:

We're entering a really interesting phase where in a sense our very own tools spy on us.

We will certainly have an easier time providing transparency on the origin of the code in the platform than, say, your average android device, where it's all a big hacky mush. The core OS which will be updated regularly on the Ubuntu phones is all traceable directly back to standard Ubuntu source and binary packages.

There will be a core piece on each phone which handles the hardware, consisting of kernel and drivers and firmware and interfaces to things like the radio. That's where unhealthy things could creep in from manufacturers and carriers. We can offer... constructive guidance there.

Unfortunately again no details about the control over your data, unless it will be totally app-specific what data will be shared... but I guess there will be a stock set of contacts, phone, email and appointments apps, right?


I was under the impression it didn't store any of that automatically in the cloud, because those cloud services are all optional based on the use of either an Ubuntu One account, Gmail, MSexchange, etc.

All those things must be manually set up using applications such as thunderbird, or evolution mail, and if you don't set them up using cloud software, then they won't end up in the cloud. Simple right?

Your call history won't be shared by Ubuntu, but it will be by your cell phone carrier. There's no way out of that one I think....

Android may be linux based, but it is built by Google, the information giant. Don't compare it's privacy policies to the rest of the linux distributions. Canonical is not interested in collecting "big data".

Ubuntu One is a software application installed by default on Ubuntu OS. It is an optional software that offers very good integration with Ubuntu. Google "Ubuntu One privacy policy" for more information about their privacy policies.

Canonical preaches about convergence of the OS. You are running the same OS on your phone, as you do on PC; with the only difference being the processor that the OS is aimed towards, and a few extra software packages focused on the GUI and user experience.

At this time, the only information Ubuntu applications that are installed by default, which share information, is Unity. It sends search terms from the Dash to amazon (and a few others like Facebook I believe) so you can pull search results for amazon store products and facebook images with matching filenames. This option is enabled by default and can be disabled easily, after you do a quick google search for "privacy settings in Unity desktop".

"can you set up syncing via usb only and avoid cloud / internet?" Canonical announced that the device will sync up via mass storage mode with any computer. It doesn't "sync" like MTP devices do, and instead offers only the classic drag n' drop file management support. I am sure there will be other applications down the road to enable MTP and other sync methods with Ubuntu OS.

All of the former statements are in regards to Ubuntu OS for phones. If you're planning on purchasing an Ubuntu Edge device, keep in mind that the Ubuntu Edge dual boots android, with FULL integration with your Ubuntu information. Pictures, contacts, emails, calendar, etc... are all shared with both OS. You will have to wrestle with android again to get your privacy settings the way you like, or it'll share all your Ubuntu info anyways.

  • +1 Thanks for the info. I am aware of the dual-boot feature of the Edge... it is actually the reason for my question. If the Edge becomes a reality (which I am hoping), I'd disable Android boot (if possible) or simply never start it. Maybe it'll be just enough to never tell the Android installation about my Google account? – FriendFX Aug 5 '13 at 9:15
  • If you never boot into Android, it will never collect your information to begin with. No boot means no settings, means it doesn't know anything about you. Linux is a very powerful OS, I assume it'll be incredibly easy to delete the android partition when the phone comes out. Your welcome :) – Alex Aug 5 '13 at 9:24

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