Ubuntu’s last-minute decision to add shopping results to the Home Lens of the Unity Dash proved controversial earlier this week – but is a compromise on the cards?

It certainly seems so. The only question is whether the compromise will land in time for Ubuntu’s release next month.


News of a change in tact came in a Google+ update from Unity developer Didier Roche. It was this update that first revealed a way to ‘disable’ online suggestions was coming, writing:

“First plumbing part (in libunity) done for optionally disabling all network communication for the unity lenses. Tomorrow will be the lenses work, and when I’ll get the design, the UI part…”

The bug report pertaining to this issue has since been marked as of “high” importance, and in “triage” (i.e. something I getting done about it).

The bug report relating to this issue marks all ‘network’ using Lenses and Scopes – Music, Video and Home – as ‘affected’.

So it seems that this solution is going to be a thorough one.

Code Exists

Since then further clarification on where the feature will be available from, and how it’ll work.

The bug report reads:

We will add an option either in the appearance or privacy gnome-control-center panel (this is yet to be discussed with design).

This Commercial/Online suggestions on/off switch enables to remove all suggestions in the dash and default lenses.

A setting within the Privacy section of System Settings would make the most sense to me.

Offline or Online

The work on an interim solution is running concurrent with discussion on the Ayatana Mailing list.

Over there, Mark Shuttleworth has been actively engaged with users in shaping up a “settings pane” from which various elements of the Dash/Lenses/Scopes would be configured – including the option to disable internet results for lenses.

Sam Hewitt kicked things off with a set of mock-ups that got a positive reaction. These have since been refined based on feedback and suggestion – could this be what we end up seeing in Ubuntu 13.04?

A Mock-Up of Possible Future Settings

Image Credit: Sam Hewitt

quantal shopping lens