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Puppy Linux, icanhazip, and tin foil hats

·336 words·2 mins·

I figured that the Puppy Linux and fiasco was over, but I was wrong:

After a quick visit to the forums, I found the debate stirred up again. Various users were wondering if their internet connections were somehow compromised or if a remote American network was somehow spying on their internet traffic. Others wondered if some secretive software was added to the Puppy Linux distribution that was calling out to the site.

Fortunately, quite a few users on the forum showed up to explain that Puppy Linux has a built-in feature to figure out a user’s external IP address to help them get started with their system after it boots. Another user was kind enough to dig up the Lifehacker post about icanhazip from 2011.

Many users on the forum were still dissatisfied. Many of them turned their questions to maintainers of the distribution (which is where those questions should go), but many others felt that icanhazip was the source of the problem. Some of them felt so strongly that they called my hosting provider via telephone to curse at them. Here’s a snippet of an email I received from my colocation provider:

I had an interesting call from someone today said that was showing up on his computer. Sounded kind of [omitted] and called me a *\* ******…

Let’s get three things straight:

  1. I’m a huge supporter of everything Linux, including Puppy Linux. I don’t hold a grudge against the project for what a minority of their users do.
  2. I don’t collect data when users visit other than standard Apache logs. No cookies are used.
  3. I run these applications on my own time, with my own money, and my own resources.

Before I forget, thanks to all of the folks who came forward in the forums to explain what was actually happening and defend the work I’ve done. I’m tremendously flattered to receive that kind of support.