apps available to download section should blacklist certain items

Bug #883800 reported by Marc Deslauriers on 2011-10-30
This bug affects 21 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
In Progress
Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen
Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen
unity (Ubuntu)
unity-lens-applications (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

The "apps available to download" section of the dash displays random applications from the software centre. Certain apps should be blacklisted to prevent them from being displayed. For example, in the attached screenshot, the application "Pornview" is being displayed, which may be inappropriate in certain professional environments.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed

I can appreciate that PornView in particular is offensive to some people - but this is a slippery slope. Imagine BibleTime popping up while a rabbi is presenting something? There are countless possibilities for showing material from the Ubuntu repositories that will be offensive or embarrassing in particular contexts, and I am not sure we can cover all cases.

From where I see it the Ubuntu community has decided that PornView is OK to ship and hence we display it. If you happen to disagree on that I suggest you take it up with the decision makers.

Alternatively we should just never search the software center from the dash.

Marking as incomplete until we have feedback from the design team

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
jatoo (wainwright-alex) wrote :

As Mikkel said, I agree that this could be a slippery slope, but I don't think it necessarily has to be. I think it would be possible to have some kind of classification system without slipping down the bottom of the slope to broad censorship. I think it just means that policy needs to be carefully and transparently thought out.

Maybe as a starting point, self classification could be tested. I suspect the authors of PornView would be willing to say that the app is an adult application. Then we could at the very least not have adult applications show up in the dash; i.e. you would have to open the USC to find them. And perhaps there could be a opt-in content control option which can be enable in the USC, which would be useful for setting up a machine for your kids, for example.

Religious applications pose a more difficult problem, but wouldn't it be accepted by everyone that pornographic apps aren't something you want popping up while you are giving a presentation at work? I mean, you wouldn't do a Google image search at work with the safe search option off would you?

I don't think you need to threaten the availability of any software by classifying it.

I think that proper classification is a great idea jatoo. i'll look into it

Dmitry Shachnev (mitya57) wrote :

There is (fixed long time ago) bug 739469 for this, but it seems that the fix affects only search results, not the random apps appearing in the lens.

FYI i started a thread on the xdg list subject 'RFC: An app category for "adult" material?'. Lobbying for inclusion of an "Adult" category in the xdg menu spec.

Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete
Changed in unity-lens-applications:
status: New → Incomplete
jatoo (wainwright-alex) wrote :

Thanks Dmitry. That bug also links to a bug about safe search #745534.

Update: We now have our "Adult" XDG category (

 - Upstream patch to PornView to add Adult category
 - Patch lp:unity-lens-applications to filter out Adult category when searching available apps and listing random apps

This just took an interesting twist when I tried to find the pornview sources

Changed in ayatana-design:
status: New → Invalid
Changed in unity:
status: Incomplete → In Progress
Changed in unity-lens-applications:
status: Incomplete → In Progress

Added task for PornView to add Adult category

Changed in unity:
assignee: nobody → Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen (kamstrup)
Changed in unity-lens-applications:
assignee: nobody → Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen (kamstrup)
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → In Progress
Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-11-22
Changed in unity-lens-applications (Ubuntu):
status: New → In Progress
Jay S (topdownjimmy) wrote :

I like Alex's approach in his second paragraph in comment #5. In short:

1) Developers offer to mark their applications as containing "adult content" at their own discretion.
2) Software Center has a toggle option to hide/show applications containing "adult content."

This approach addresses several concerns:

a) The Dash and Software Center can show fewer "adult" applications if desired.
b) Nobody has to moderate (what would inevitably be very, very contentious) blacklists/whitelists in order to keep (a) true.
c) Nobody's "freedoms" are infringed upon; users still have the freedom to show and install these applications; developers still have the freedom to have their applications appear in Software Center, with the entirely voluntary option to accommodate those (many) who would rather not see these types of applications by default.

Should these apps be shown or hidden by default? Should the toggle be such that "unchecked" means hide them or "checked" means hide them? My opinion is that the checkbox label should read "Show applications containing adult content," and should be unchecked by default. If developers are taking the extra step to mark their applications as "adult," there seems no harm in hiding them by default. Then again, maybe hiding them by default would discourage developers from using the option.

Maybe the option in Software Center could even be discoverable by looking for specific search keywords, like "porn": "It appears that your are searching for applications with adult content, which are currently hidden. Would you like to show these applications?" This would be trickier -- off the top of my head, someone might be looking for a parental control / porn-blocking app by using search terms such as these.

b carrot (brokencarrot) wrote :

My major concern with this feature is that direct categories and references to adult content will hamper the implementation of Ubuntu in UK educational establishments. Whether or not there is a button to click to allow searches deemed to be "of an adult nature"
This is nothing to do with my own personal view of censorship, more of a real concern about widespread acceptance of Ubuntu in environments where there is a duty of care and protection of users.

Another example which may not have come to light yet is the xscreensaver-data-extra package, also available in the repositories which contains the following warning:
WARNING: This package includes the 'webcollage' screen saver, which displays images that are the result of random web searches. The Internet being what it is, absolutely anything might show up in the collage of search results including -- quite possibly -- pornography, or even nudity. Please act accordingly.

this is particularly of concern as it would appear that the package is capable of circumventing any content controls put in place by parents/teachers etc and again could be seen as an unacceptable feature of Ubuntu.

The sad truth is that when it comes to government approval for Ubuntu to be implemented as an alternative to the presently dominant Microsoft, things like this are going to be taken into account and noted down on the "reasons not to " list.

We all know that pornography is available widely on the internet, we all know that some young people are going to access it , but what we need to be aware of is that at the moment Ubuntu is allowing the wishes of a few developers and decision makers to potentially impede the development and establishment of Ubuntu as a capable and suitable alternative to the presently dominant OS.

I trust that the developers will take this on board and review the inclusion of such packages, in the name of the further acceptance of Ubuntu into mainstream education.

tenfishsticks (tenfishsticks) wrote :

My company develops open-source software for medical imaging and offers training on said software. When we have these training meetings, it's my job to create USB boot drives with some Linux flavor. This app came up on the first test of Ubuntu and our company CANNOT afford to present our preferred OS environment in a way that could offend our customers.

I also volunteer at a coding camp for kids and we're in the process of moving to some USB set-up for all the kids. This really makes me hesitant to use Ubuntu if an application, however benign in usage, promotes pornography by appearance or suggestion, and can "randomly" be suggested. I don't want our kids getting into trouble or angry parents calling me over this.

This bug needs to be moved to a level of importance close to critical because it will turn a LOT of users off of Ubuntu, which is a great OS in all other respects. Until this gets resolved, I'm going to have to use some other distro, which equates to 50+ users affected.

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Other bug subscribers