Google Linux? Wtf?

Goobuntu a-go-go

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Letters To kick off this week's trawl through the Vulture Central mailbag, we have this little bit of sabre-rattling from a member of Her Majesty's House of Commons. Read first, then we'll explain:

Dear Sir,

You carried an inaccurate story in May about both myself and a number of other colleagues. It was wrong then and remains so today. The existence of the letters "MP" in a URL does not contravene election law and certainly has not been tested in court.

The disclaimer used by me was based upon the principle that does apply, that at the moment of disolution MP's cease to be MP's. But in my view my potential voters must be entitled to make their judgement based upon not only what I say during an election but what I have said in the past. Therefore it makes sense to maintain the historic record during an election. The disclaimer relates to those parts of the site where for example I had refer to myself in a press release as "MP".

At the begining of the election and .com were replaced with

Rather than list MP's in a list of shame you should have listed us as the only ones who had spotted an interesting weakness in existing law and who acted fairly by removing something that could be percieved as an advantage to an incumbent.

You've had your fun, perhaps it is now time for you to either correct the point or take down these inaccurate references. I will be monitoring your actions carefully!

Yours sincerely Andrew Miller MP

Well, we don't think we're being monitored very carefully, to be honest, because it turns out the story in question (this one) dates back to May 2001. Accordingly, we have decided not to go and hide in the cupboard clutching our biometric ID cards for protection against irate politico attack.

Google has been taking some flak of late, principally over its involvement with the Chinese government. Indeed, it recently pulled a "We don't censor" statement:

It's doubly ironic, because they've still got a "principles" section.

Don't worry though, I'm sure if enough people follow the instructions in "How can I report poor quality search results?" (, they'll relent. As to the don't be evil thing, I've heard they've got a crack team of super-intelligent monkeys on the case.

Other updates to Google's help center in the near future will include "Guidelines for creating a Google-friendly site":- Don't include any content that may be construed as offending oppressive regimes; and a change to the "How is "Google" pronounced?" page:- "Google" is pronounced "yoo-an". The double "o" makes the same sound it makes in "oo, lots of money"



Possibly the most frightening thing I have ever seen on this web of ours:

Search Tiananmen from Google Images:

Search Tiananmen from Google China:

Colin Jackson

I don't really understand what all the fuss is about Google censoring its search results in China - after all, it's beem doing this for years now in France and Germany.

My website against Holocaust denial <> doesn't show up in search results. Using, there are 49 hits (the number of individual pages on the site), whereas using there are /none/. Strangely, doesn't censor my site.

Yes, I did say that my site is /against/ Holocaust denial - however, the Adelaide-based Holocaust denial group, the Adelaide Institute, has a website that is not censored by (even though the Adelaide Institute's activities are illegal in France, whereas mine most certainly are not).

See here for further information:

Anthony Long

What people seem to continually miss is that as much as you may not like the Chinese government, they're still the Chinese government, and it is entitled to do what it likes. Seen as at the end of the day it can always just lock down its firewalls and boot people out of it's country. If you brake a law no matter how injust etc you've still broken a law. It's all well and good for people to sit on there perch and bleet about how awful it is, but hey isn't Russia a great example of what happens when you go from Remarkably closed, to democracy, and Africa, and laws about Religious Insightment, Patriot act, mail storage, and other fun stuff.

The only people who go on and on about it are crazed treehugging hippies and people who want to make themselves feel better.

and that's my rant done. *waves, skitters off to spread evil*


More Google now: desktop Google Linux, aka "Goobuntu":

What is your source for this? You said "Google has confirmed..." but declined to name any names. Does this mean you just did a Google search and called your results fact?

Oh I'd love to have a job where I could just make things up and pretend that they're true. Maybe I should start a blog.


Google has a long way to make Goobuntu ready for the desktop? That's BS. Linux is easy to use in its own sense and only ex-Windows users really have a problem with it. If people really want to get away from Malware then they are going to have to put up with the different way that Linux works. We don't want Linux to be a replacement for Windows we want it as an alternative. Before you start saying Linux has a long way to go please bring your kids up on it and see if you change your mind.

Although the article below is one way wrong (Linux is for sure ready for the desktop) the rest of it is completely true.

I have seen first hand how people new to computers, in general, have been raised on Linux and use it just like they would use Windows. I have also seen how native Linux users react to Windows. Linux is easy to use people just have to be prepared to make the sacrifice.

-- - Zeb Carnell

If Google does release their own Linux based operating system, can we expect them to finally get round to developing Google Earth et al for Linux?

Joseph Haig

So we can hope that somebody is finally somebody is making printing the way it should be under Linux?

*sigh* Now _that_ would be a relief.

Regards, -- Matthias, fed up with cups, lpd, lprng and ipp

'Goobuntu'? That's a rubbish name! I think they should call it 'Googlix'.

With that said, I think that having Google building their own distro is excellent news - even if it *is* only for their internal use. It means that any bugs they discover and fix will be released back to the community, which is never a bad thing.

"The origin of the word 'Goobuntu' is not clear, though it does not appear in online Zulu dictionaries."

Isn't Goobuntu clearly a combination (or portmanteau if you will) of Google and Ubuntu?


Hi Just a quick note on your Goobuntu story. My zulu is a little rusty so I am up for correction. But in zulu, prefixes are attached to words to denote singular and plural. Different prefixes are used depending on the class and type of word (all nouns are given prefixes, adjectives not) For example One mother is UMama, and many mothers is abaMama (i think) a inanimate object is prefixed with U for singular and Uku for plural. Eg UGoogle would be one google, and UkuGoogle would be many.... Now in zulu the K in uKu is pronounces as a G (as in google) In conversation the first U is usualy dropped... leading to Ku (Gu) being used.

So... and here is the point. If Ubuntu is taken to be a noun (as in a distro of linux) then the plural would be Ukubuntu With the K = to a G sound, and the first U dropped off, you get Kubuntu or Goobuntu I doubt strongly that this is the process Google went through, but hey it actually makes sense...



Obviously, your confusion over the meaning of the word "Goobuntu" stems from using out-of-date Xhosa and Zulu dictionaries.

The word means, quite simply, "That which is a copy of a copy of a copy of something, but which is now being presented as my own invention, so that I may achieve more prestige".

Of course, the word "copy" is used because "repackaging" isn't a common word in the indiginous languages, but the sense is still clear.

Stuart Van Onselen

And penultimately, something which really matters: just how does "The Final Countdown" go? (See intro on this Kama Sutra worm story for the background):

fyi, the opening strains of The Final Countdown are:

dah-duh-dahh-dumm dah-duh-dah-da-dumm

Rubbish, as we correctly transcribed, The Final Countdown begins: Da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da-daaaa...

Oh alright then, let's have a couple of proper Kama Sutra emails:

This is going to be a slightly unpopular sentiment, but don't we need more worms like Kama Sutra? This worm attacks poorly secured windows boxes, and renders them inoperable. It also forces the user to consider taking more serious security measures once their machine is rebuilt.

Surely a positive side effect of this is that badly secured, compromised machines which are daily relaying millions of spam mails, and providing a platform for DDOS attacks will be shut down permanently?

One or two more worms like this one, and we might see spam disappearing overnight ;-)

Matt Bradley

Devil's Advocate here. Isn't this actually a good virus? In effect it attempts to destroy the computer system of stupid people. Very darwinian. If hack0rz (sp?) or even Anti-virus companies ;) took this approach, they could very simply wipe out a whole gamut of compromised spam server/DoS ready pc's. Anti-virus companies may object, but lets be realistic here, these people weren't exactly interested in their products in the first place. Consider it a business opportunity...

Adam Reynolds

To wrap this up, here's a blast from the past: our 2001 Reg Tariff is still attracting attention from discerning movers and shakers in the IT world:

I noticed that you have not updated your integrity price list in a couple of years.

I am going to be in London 2 March through 9 March 2006, and need to take someone to lunch who will dupe my new wife into thinking I am important in the IT industry.

So who and how much beer?

Name supplied

Well, as the old saying goes, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. ®

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