Mike Doughty, Ubuntu 12.10 and Amazon

On Sunday I got back in the country after a two week holiday in the South Pacific. It was an awesome trip: no Internet and, for most of the time, no shoes.

I got my brain regrooved.

Now I’m trying to dig out from under the backlog, and I noticed that Mike Doughty has a new album called “The Flip is Another Honey“.

I’m a huge Mike Doughty fan, and since I’m always eager to listen to his work (even an album of covers) I went to Amazon and bought the digital version.

Now, I use Ubuntu as my desktop O/S, and while I still run the “Long Term Support” 12.04 release at home and on my laptop, I recently upgraded to 12.10 at work to see if the MTP support was any better (it isn’t).

One of the more controversial changes in 12.10 was the addition of an Amazon shopping “lens” to the Unity desktop that would return Amazon search listings as well as local (to the machine) results. It’s pretty easy to disable, but I must admit it is a little annoying.

When I access amazon.com via Firefox, an Amazon icon shows up in the launcher as if I’d launched an Amazon application. I really don’t need another icon in my launcher, especially one that duplicates functionality I already have in my web browser. In fact, that’s kinda what web browsers were for: getting rid of lots of little “apps” and just having a single interface to remote content.


I know Canonical is doing this for the Benjamins, and considering the amount of money I’ve paid to them (i.e. zero) I really can’t complain, but it rubs me the wrong way, much like the default Samsung software on my Galaxy S3 that considers the Yellow Pages search application a “system” app that can’t be removed. I’m a little more upset about that, because I did pay money for my phone, which is why I run Cyanogenmod, and I hate additional kruft of all sorts on my machines.

But the main thing that bothers me is that even with this new “integration” I still can’t download the music I buy on Amazon in one step. For “The Flip” I had to download each of the 15 songs individually since Amazon requires the “Amazon Downloader” to manage its .amz files. I looked to see if there was support for the Amazon Downloader in 12.10 but couldn’t find anything.

I would think that considering how much Linux-based software Amazon uses internally and the fact that Ubuntu went forward with this integration despite the potential to piss of their users, the least they could have done is create an Ubuntu Amazon Downloader client.

I look to Canonical to drive a lot of Linux desktop support (see Valve’s decision to provide their initial Steam Linux client on Ubuntu) and I can only hope that we’ll see better execution in the future.