A new update to the Raspberry Pi OS, formerly known as Raspbian, has put open source fans at the forefront. Why? The new operating system is pinging of Microsoft servers each time the user updates the apps or the operating system itself.
Brouhaha is a bit of a storm in a teapot, because the new operating system simply pings repositories that contain Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code editor, a simplified IDE that has risen to become a formidable tool in the programmer’s arsenal – and presumably a solid educational tool.
That said, open source enthusiasts see companies like Microsoft as anathema (or at least an obstacle) to their work. The same zealots successfully fought for the Raspberry Pi Foundation to open the source code of its graphics driver for its GPU, Broadcoms VideoCore piece.
What Microsoft can do with this ping is limited, however Reddit Users are concerned that they may be being pushed by targeted ads through Bing that will focus on Raspberry Pi users.
“People did not have the chance to know about the new repo until it was already added to the sources, along with a Microsoft GPG key. Not very transparent to say the least. And in my opinion not how things should be done in the open source world, Wrote Reddit user Fortysix_n_2.
The Raspberry Pi team sees this move as an attempt to make it easier for new users to code on the platform.
“Thank you, everyone, for your feedback, this will not change because it makes the first experience for people who want to use tools like VSCode easier,” wrote Gordon Hollingworth, Raspberry Pi’s Director of Software Engineering.
The repositories in question are the databases the operating system uses to maintain software versions and available updates. Most archives are open source and are located in places like Github while the Visual Studio Code repo is on Microsoft’s servers. Users who want their devices not to be revoked by company code do not immediately have a choice to turn off this repo when installing Raspberry Pi OS.
“The more I think about this, the more the element of trust becomes apparent, says Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton to Gizmodo. “It feels like this is about a minority of people who have an unrealistic view of how many people they trust when they install some software. This is not just about proprietary software –Remember how we all trusted that OpenSSL must be good, because it’s free, and widely used, and impossible can be full of terrible security flaws? It’s ridiculous to suggest that we somehow betray people by choosing to trust Microsoft. “
But some people interpret the move as a betrayal and jump the ship as a result.
I’m sorry Raspbian, but I have to say goodbye to you. No hard feelings. I wish you all the best and hell in the hell, “wrote a Reddit user named Dr0zD.