Cybersquatting/Fake Lubuntu Websites Harming Lubuntu - Observations

The sites pretending to be official Lubuntu sites are plenty: lubuntu.net, lubuntu.org (redirects to .net), lubuntu.fr and so on.
And those are incredibly damaging to Lubuntu. I’ve no idea if they’re “fan sites” ( in which case they should relinguish the URL) or if it’s just scammers.

But it’s there and has to be dealt with. In my estimate, 50% of people having installation problems with Lubuntu stem from downloading .ISOs from those sites.

A Google search of “lubuntu” brings up lubuntu.net as top choice. Not good.

I see Canonical as being a bit of the problem here.
Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Mate etc. only appear in miniscule print in the lower right corner on the Ubuntu.com “Download” page. Nowhere else.
Not exactly friendly to the other dialects.
Presenting them on the front page with direct links would be much nicer and alleviate the problem.

A sponsored web search optimization sending lubuntu.net far down the list would also be helpful.

Copyright/trademark infringements seem out of the question, unfortunately.

Lubuntu was originally created by Mario Behling (a huge open source advocate; see FOSSASIA for an example) and Julien Lavergne. Mario really hasn’t been involved since its infancy, but .net and .org are his. Julien left in the early days of the LXQt era and may be responsible for .fr (he is French) but I doubt that’s something he even pays attention to if it is his. FWIW, few people find it. Mario’s sites are the problem.

.me was created because we could never get Mario to update the website and we had no access to it. We’ve revised links to Lubuntu nearly everywhere we can find (including Ubuntu, Canonical, Wikipedia, DuckDuckGo, DistroWatch, etc. etc. etc.). Canonical owns the .me registration. So it’s pretty darn official. Mario even changed his footer to include “This site and its content are are not related to commercial activities of Canonical.”

As for Google, we could probably spend tons of effort doing SEO but based on my experience at $WORK that’s an expensive and never-ending amount of effort.

So, speaking on behalf of the Lubuntu Council, I can tell you that we are doing everything we can possibly do to improve this situation. We recognize how confusing it is for users and it continues to rear its ugly head, so we continue to pick at it. And we will continue to do so.

If you want to do something to help the situation, it’s possible that providing some constructive feedback to Mario might be helpful. He does have a contact page that links to some resources, although I don’t know how useful they will be. The GitHub repo for the website hasn’t been changed, apparently, since 2017, and there are lots of issues including several wrong download link issues (which has always been our big problem).

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Thank You for the background information.
It seems there are historical relationship issues between present and previous Lubuntu project members here.

I certainly do not want to step into that.

Open is still the Canonical treatment of other distributions, those being hidden in the lower left corner of ubuntu.com in a microscopic font.

Showing potential new users the possibilities is apparentlly not wanted.

I have to say it’s a big improvement over the past. That said, if you would like to elaborate on your vision of how to best manage all of the flavours on the Ubuntu website, you can file an issue with the website project and directly get to the folks instrumental in maintaining it.

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The “website project” is the wrong adress.
The focus, public image and content of the Canonical website is the responsibility of Canonical management and marketing.

You’re right. That’s exactly where I sent you. The team responsible there is the Canonical Web and Design Team. Regardless of whether or not it’s the right or wrong place, it’s certainly a way more appropriate venue than here.

When I go to lubuntu.me, I expect to see content about Lubuntu.
When I go to xubuntu.org, I expect to see content about Xubuntu.
When I go to kubuntu.org, I expect to see content about Kubuntu.
When I go to ubuntu.com, I expect to see content about flavours?

@apt-ghetto, I don’t know you, but you seem to have a problem with me.
How about if we just ignore each other in the future?

Thanks.

Ok, now we’re veering offtopic, but some things likely need to be said here before the train goes completely off the rails.

@anon673819 FWIW, I think you’re seeing something that’s not there. Though I absolutely do not agree with @apt-ghetto on this topic (I have always said that “Lubuntu is Ubuntu” which is to say that Lubuntu is a particular selection of packages available in the Ubuntu archive and that it is released on the same infrastructure as Ubuntu and thus ubuntu.com should be a place to find information about Lubuntu, along with lubuntu.me), I think they very plainly and logically describe their own opinion. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s a lot of communication that is lost when we do not have physical non-verbal cues to rely on and we’re left to fill in the blanks where things are not perfectly clear. That said, I don’t think that your conclusion is a foolish one to make, but I do think it is incorrect.

I say this because I have worked with them in the past and, to some degree, know their character. I can tell you that they are very knowledgeable, especially as it relates to the initial boot sequence, and they try very much to help. One of the things I find particularly remarkable in the other topic you took offense to is that they didn’t make statements, but they asked questions. It seemed to me that they were legitimately trying to understanding your reasoning. People that want to prove you wrong don’t ask questions. They tell you that you’re wrong.

One other thing to consider: *ubuntu is an international project. Though the IT world seems to have largely accepted English as the dominant language, it’s not always something that everyone communicates as well in. Jeez, even among native English speakers, some are better than others. But when English is your second (or worse!) language, simple and subtle things might be missed. I noticed the last reply they gave you on that aforementioned topic included some crazy use of commas, but for someone that’s very unlikely to have been a native English speaker (just judging by their time zone alone), it’s understandable.

Finally, I’ll say that not everyone has the best bedside manner. There’s a certain unnamed upstream developer that is pretty important to the Lubuntu project that has a tendency to close bug reports that are invalid or just won’t fit with the project goals with such terseness as to appear to be spiteful. It took me a long while to get that this was just their character and not at all a measure of how much they wanted to help. Since then, we’ve gotten along smashingly well and have even been able to have technical arguments without anyone’s feelings being hurt. But that took me cutting them a little slack and trying to put myself in their shoes.

That said, it may be valuable to consider the Ubuntu Code of Conduct, which is meant to apply to any activity, inside or outside the confines of the official Ubuntu infrastructure. This is a good tool for helping to draw conclusions and guide actions when it comes to working with people on the project. This seems particularly apropos to this situation:

We work together to resolve conflict, assume good intentions and do our best to act in an empathic fashion. We don’t allow frustration to turn into a personal attack. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.

where I think we should pay particularly close attention to the first sentence. Let’s all assume that everyone has the best of intentions and make that our starting point for further discussion. Furthermore, we should, to paraphrase Depeche Mode, try walking in other people’s shoes. Consider the situation from their perspective. Maybe you don’t have enough information to do that— so ask! Try to understand one another rather than assuming your conclusions are the correct ones. With those two things in place, working together to resolve conflict should be easy, and it will benefit everyone else.

As a member of both the Lubuntu and Ubuntu Community Councils, I’m here to help you or anyone else with regards to conflict. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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@wxl
Thank You for an intelligent and well thought out intervention here.

Somehow there seems to be a clash between “simple” users with one view of the {x}Ubuntu world (that’s where I am), and Linux developers with an apparently different one (but doing fantastic work on open software).

Language problems are never an issue, they can be solved easily. Attitude is different.

I’m happy to contribute here, but from the user side. If this forum is for developers only, fine. Just let me know.

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There has always been an issue with regards to the status of Ubuntu flavours. It’s a little confusing, really. Ubuntu derives from Debian, but you don’t see Debian’s website advertising Ubuntu. Similarly, Linux Mint derives from Ubuntu, but you don’t see Ubuntu advertising Linux Mint. In both of these examples, there are some very stark differences separating the new two ecosystems, such as Mint’s vehemently anti-Snap position (whereas they are nearly assumed in Ubuntu; Lubuntu is rare in that it does not ship with any Snaps, including the core Snap, but it still has snapd).

However, as I said, the thing that makes official Ubuntu flavours unique is that they are nothing more than a collection of specific packages from the Ubuntu archive. They share all of the core infrastructure with Ubuntu, too. That said, they’re as much Ubuntu as Ubuntu itself. Unofficial variants of Ubuntu, like the Ubuntu Unity Remix, may actually be based on Ubuntu archives but they do not share the infrastructure. This is a notable difference as it necessarily means that they are wholly unsupported by the Ubuntu Community at large, just as other derivatives like Linux Mint would be.

That said, I stick to my assertion that the Canonical Web and Design Team are the best folks to bring up your concern with. I agree with your idea and would support you in that. In addition to GitHub, they also have a category on the Ubuntu Discourse. Speaking of the Ubuntu Discourse, another place to bring this up might be on the flavors category there.

With regards to your contributions, they are appreciated. Every developer is also a user and every advanced user was once a beginner. We do not discriminate in this regards at all. Even were you to know absolutely nothing, it would still be totally appropriate to get involved in development discussions.

Sometimes it’s a fine line where user support ends and development begins. Occasionally, in the process of exploring a user support issue, a development issue is revealed. The way I read some of those questions that were posed to you were with a developer’s mind: is there something we don’t understand correctly or is there information here that could be used to improve what we do?

One other thing about development: you’ll notice that we have a support category and a development category. But there’s a lot of other things that need to be done to make Lubuntu: marketing, artwork, web development, documentation, etc. etc. We kind of consider all of those things under the general topic of development. Long story short, no one needs to write code to contribute to Ubuntu.

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First of all, I don’t start to ignore people. It is very impractical for me to keep a list of persons to ignore and keep the list consistent on several different systems. And ignoring other people is contrary to the idea of a forum, a place to interact and discuss with other persons. And good discussions do often have contrary positions.

For me, it is absolutely normal, that other people have different opinions. And I am not here to convince other, that my opinion is the only correct one.

I also not reply, because person X has written a post. But I reply because of what is written is unclear to me or could be done better.

In this specific case, I don’t agree that the flavours are under-represented on the official site. But I did not see any proposal, where it is explained in detail, what could be done better. There is a little chance, that I change my opinion, if the proposal is very good.

Especially the phrase “Showing potential new users the possibilities is apparentlly not wanted.” seemed to be worth a response. I do not see the premises from which the conclusion has been drawn. Due to the lack of premises, I find the sentence polemical, as the webmasters are accused of deliberately doing this badly.

@apt-ghetto thats Kindergarten, honestly.

@anon673819 I’m to 100 % with you, it took some time to find the official site. Two more minutes and I would have stayed with Ubuntu. I bet many people feel the same.

Historical reasons or not, it is definitely a problem for potential new users.

So going back to what was said before, regardless of whether or not we agree that flavours are underrepresented or not on the Ubuntu website, two things should be considered:

  1. In order for there to be change, someone needs to propose a change. I hear you don’t like what you see. What, specifically would you like to see instead?
  2. This is the wrong place to discuss changes to the Ubuntu website. So after you have the above figured out, take it to that link I provided before.

Meanwhile, as I said, dealing with .net/.org/.fr is something that is being worked on.

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