I am concerned about the site security of Ask Ubuntu. I am not sure everything possible is done to protect my private user data. Canonical is presenting itself to support free and open software. Part of that idea is to prevent that closed source software is doing things that users would not expect and would not approve of. That is also true of websites. Also this website which I think is a very good and useful thing. But doesn't some of it violate the ideals above?

To make this a specific question: What are the rationals for the following choices of Canonical for this site:

  • the page is displayed by FlagFox to be in USA. Canonical is a UK based company. I would expect that also its community servers are outside the direct law enforcement reach of US Agencies. User privacy would be better protected with a server in Europe.
  • why does the page need the following scripts from the following sites
    • google-analystics.
    • quantserve.com.
    • zkcdn.net.
    • adzerk.net.
    • sstatic.net.
    • ajax.googleapis.com. For all it is is unclear, why are scripts from that site required? And what do they do? Where are those servers? Can they be removed without functional loss for the site? Do they protect my data?

Even with those scripts enabled the site is not fully functional when used from Tor. Is that by design?

PS: It is not my intention to say the site is bad, content-wise its really great. Also please note that I do not intend to criticize. Before doing so I would like to learned about why things are as they are.

  • I don't work for SE but off the top of my head ... sstatic is SE's static files and is 'internal'. Adzerk is what they use for ads. Stack Exchange is a US company which runs the network of sites AU is part of - Canonical sort of 'is cool' with AU being the 'official' QA site for ubuntu . Also, AU and other SE sites run on windows, though some servers that run centos for things like load balancing, redis ans search. – Journeyman Geek Apr 7 '17 at 12:34

I think you're laboring under a misapprehension. This site (Ask Ubuntu) is not affiliated with Canonical and is instead a project of a completely different company: Stack Overflow.

While there is some sort of agreement between the two companies and Ask Ubuntu is listed as an official help site in Canonical products, the two are separate entities and Stack Overflow isn't particularly passionate about open source or libre software. They're not against it, and they even have some open source projects, it's just not something that's very important to them. As far as I know, the people who originally set it up all come from the Windows world.

So yes, Ask Ubuntu isn't on the Canonical servers, it isn't affiliated with Canonical (apart from serving as a useful place to get help for Ubuntu) and you shouldn't expect it to conform to the same principles as Canonical. In fact, this site is part of a whole network of Q&A sites (the Stack Exchange network) and Ask Ubuntu is just one site among many.

All that said, Stack Overflow, the company, is actually pretty good about security and they do take their user's privacy very seriously. They just have their own rules which are not necessarily the same as Canonical's.

So, if you feel that this site doesn't behave in the way you would expect from an official or semi-official Ubuntu help site, that's something you should take up with Canonical, not us.

The rest of your questions about what each of those URLs is used for, I can't answer. You might want to search through http://meta.stackexchange.com, the main meta site for the Stack Exchange network or ask there.

  • Ok, that changes a lot. I was not aware that its that unrelated. I expected that stack exchange also offers business models to franchise out their software to run of customer servers. Obviously the initial argumentation does not apply, then. Proves that one always should check on assumptions before making up ones mind :-). Thanks for enlightening me – CatMan Apr 7 '17 at 12:49
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    For the sake of fairness, I'd add that Stack Exchange is active in open source software development. Some of their popular OSS products are Dapper, SE.Redis, Jil and Bosun; there are many more. – user336085 Apr 7 '17 at 15:01
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    Concerning the analytics, see the answer by CEO Joel Spolsky. /cc: @CatMan – user336085 Apr 7 '17 at 15:03
  • @Gerry indeed, that's why I clarified that they're not against it. They're just not passionate about it. – terdon Apr 7 '17 at 15:07
  • @Gerry that is a very informative link . Thanks. – CatMan Apr 7 '17 at 16:24

why does the page need the following scripts from the following sites

  • to analyze performance issues
  • to generate money to keep the servers running

Regarding some of the URLs: google them ... 2 of them:

  • "Quantcast Measure reveals the uniqueness of your audience, helping you differentiate your brand, site, or app.". So an analytical tool

  • sstatic "This is a fast, cookieless domain intended for static content delivered to the Stack Exchange family of websites". So an analytical tool created by the owner of askubuntu.

  • 1
    sstatic is a CDN, not an analytical tool. – Seth Apr 7 '17 at 19:03

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