Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Tempest in a Teapot

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,News and Current Events,The Dark Side,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:26 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Wow, people sure are paranoid about nothing.

Look, I’m all in favor of high-level paranoia.  In fact, there have been times that a major portion of my job has been all about being paranoid enough.  And, God knows, in this age of identity theft and on-line fraud, being a little extra paranoid is probably a pretty good idea.  (For those of you with ex-spouses, or soon-to-be ex-spouses, that goes double.  Trust me!)  But, this big noise over on Slashdot about the latest version of WordPress sending “private, user data” back to servers at WordPress.org is just going a bit too far.

First of all, the only thing it sends to the server is the url of the blog, the version of WordPress and its plugins and the basic server settings of the web server running the blog.  I mean, c’mon, that’s mostly public information in the first place!  I can collect two thirds of that data from most servers in less time than it took me to write this post!
Secondly, Matt Mullenweg, the main developer of WordPress, and a Houston native, posted about this on the developer’s mailing list, including how to install plugins to disable the code.  (If you’re paranoid, the plugins are called Disable WordPress Core Update and Disable WordPress Plugin Updates.)
Thirdly, let’s not get ahead of ourselves on blaming a free, OpenSource project like this for not being great about disclosing absolutely everything they’re doing behind the scenes.  I mean, it’s not like they’re doing silent updates without notifying paying customers or anything.

In any case, I thought I should mention the issue, and the solutions, since I’ve been so vocal in support of WordPress in the past.
So, there you have it.

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