Journeying Itinerants Hijack Open Office For Profit



This one looks equally as nefarious…

More toolbars! More toolbars!

Driving Installations to Gain Referral Income From Prey

You’ll notice from the Reddit post that inspired this that cyrus9020 was referred to through a Google Adwords campaign.  I was not able to duplicate this with a search on Google, but a search on Bing revealed the same ad, from the same domain…

Listed above the real thing, it must be effective.

Bing seems to be the perfect place for these predators to place paid links on.  If a user is searching from Bing, it’s a safe bet that they are using Internet Explorer.  If they are using Internet Explorer, it’s a safe bet that they are complete luddite’s in regards to technology making them perfect victims to this pirate greed.

It’s Not Just Open Office…

As a Linux user of over a decade, this wacky world is foreign and bizarre to me.  Out of curiosity, I ran a search in Bing for Gimp.  Sure enough, this is what I saw at the top of the search results:

It never ends…

Gimp 2012…  Nice.  This time I uncovered a huge operation based around repackaging open source installers for Windows to point to referral wares.

Registrant Name:Robert Gannon
Registrant Organization:SearchApps
Registrant Address:233 South Wacker Drive
Registrant Address2:
Registrant Address3:
Registrant City:Chicago
Registrant State/Province:Illinois
Registrant Country/Economy:US
Registrant Postal Code:60606
Registrant Phone:+1.8886416670
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant, an open source revenue mill. seems to run ads on Google and Bing for all sorts of open source software. Need a copy of Inkscape? has got you covered.  They also claim to be a great place to work!

SearchApps is an innovative founded by Robert Gannon, a veteran of the Chicago software community. Robert launched SearchApps with a team of executives with experience from Amazon, Groupon, and LivingSocial to bring the ease of use social search to the emerging app space.

With the goal of simplifying social search and social discovery, SearchApps will revolutionize social, local, and mobile and have a major impact on all modes of software with trusted reviews and an intelligent rating engine for new software.

SearchApps is actively recruiting the top development talent in Chicago. We are located in the beautiful downtown area of Chicago and offer generous perks like catered lunches and all the snacks you can eat. We also encourage telecommuting. Join us at SearchApps and have an impact today! Send us your resume today.

What does the FOSS world have to defend against this?

About Dean Howell

Aside from being a huge Sega fan, Dean is an LPIC certified Linux professional with over a decade experience. In addition to spending his free time burning through the classics from Sega and evangelizing open source, he's also the editor-in-cheif of The Powerbase.
  • Deckard_Cain

    You should rename the article. Some people might construe the title as being racist torwards gypsies.

    But this is quite worrisome indeed.

    • lordpenguin

      I’m using the term “Gypsy” as used in English law. “persons of nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin, but
      does not include members of an organised group of travelling showmen, or
      persons engaged in travelling circuses, travelling together as such.”

      • Deckard_Cain

        Gypsies is also used to refer to the romani people. So you should REALLY change the title of your article.

        • Spas Jelev

          This is exactly gypsy job! Ask people in eastern europe, especially in Romania and Bulgaria

      • arochester

        a) I worked in an English lawyers office for several years: and b) I later managed a Romany Gypsy. What doe this article have to do with Gypsies? Are we supposed to equate Gypsy with Cheat?

  • Edmund Potts

    Stop referring to “gypsies”. All you’re doing is perpetuating prejudice. if you need me to explain it more I will, but to be honest common sense should tell you why it might be offensive.

    • Edmund Potts

      ok, “gypsies” in British english usage is overwhelmingly used to refer to the often-ethnically-distinct (and always culturally distinct) community more properly known as Roma or Romani. They were mistakenly termed “gypsies” in previous centuries because of the common misconception that they originated in eGYPt.

      The usage of gypsy you employ here is a misguided and potentially offensive one stemming from prejudice and misunderstanding directed at Romani because of their distinctive nomadic way of life, which became unfairly associated with uncleanliness, barbarism, and criminality. By analogy this term then was extended to other nomadic communities (such as Irish Travellers), but mostly still with intended negative connotations – the association with crime and otherness is always at least implicit.

      Therefore it could easily be offensive for you to equate “gypsy” with scams, con artists or deception, while it still is used (albeit imprecisely or mistakenly) to describe a distinct (not to mention vulnerable and demonised) ethnic/cultural group.

  • lordpenguin

    So, with all of this backlash stemming from traffic from an American site, where we use Gypsy the way I have in the article, is still offensive?

    If there were an American feature film about Gypsies that lie, steal, cheat and kill, would that be offensive too? …Or is this just the LXer crowd…

    • Edmund Potts

      Yes, unfortunately, it is still offensive: because you and your compatriots’ use of the term stems from bigotry, as I have explained. Therefore it’s impossible to divorce the word gypsy from the prejudice and offence it implies elsewhere, regardless of whether you personally are in America or anywhere else. In the same way that I wouldn’t use any of the anti-american slang terms at my disposal (even with an altered meaning), because of the offence I know they could easily cause to americans reading my blog. It doesn’t matter where you personally are sitting, you have to recognise that you have a global readership and take a little account of that. Notice that no-one has called you a racist or prejudiced (because I don’t think anyone would believe that), but instead we have tried to explain why something you have said might be offensive. In actual fact, I’m partly hoping you’ll just change it for your own sake because it really isn’t worth the stupid “pretended outrage” storm on twitter that could blow up over something like this.

      • lordpenguin

        Or “pretend outrage” from LXer?

        • Edmund Potts

          I’m not outraged, because you clearly didn’t mean offence. I’m just asking you to change something which unfortunately *is* offensive and prolongs negative stereotyping of Roma. Seriously, I knew one guy from the community where I used to live, and he equates “gypsy” with ni**er in terms of offence caused. Also, get off your high horse. I haven’t posted this on any social networking sites or called attention to it in any way. I do use Lxer from time to time, but that wasn’t how I came across this article – I read your site because you seem well-informed and you write clearly.

          • Guest

            Thank you, I appreciate it.

          • Dean Howell

            My apologies.

    • arochester

      What is the use of claiming it’s used in an American sense, so it’s OK? You have published it to the world. Some people in the USA used to use derogatory terms for black people. Was that OK because it was done in an American sense?.

      The Nazi killed Jewish people in the Holocaust. They also killed homosexuals. They also killed Gypsies.
      Could you imagine the furore if you had titled your article “Jews…”

      • Dean Howell

        It’s because I am from America. It is the only place that I have ever lived. I cannot be expected to know what is racist and what is not racist in every country the world over. That is ridiculous.

        I may have been better off calling them “Trunk-slammers”. Regardless, the title of this article was changed using perfectly literal words that merely align themselves with the American usage of Gypsy, wothout using the word Gypsy. All mentions of the word Gypsy have been replaced in the article as well. All of this was done over an hour before your comment as well.

        • Aaron Wolf

          Thanks Dean. And please don’t lump this with America. I’m American and I would have posted the exact same comment if nobody else already did. I believe 100% in you being unintentional and not meaning any disrespect, but it is still very good that you changed the article. Thanks.

  • Edmund Potts

    Thank you.

  • Neil Oosthuizen

    I find the issue of this happening in Ubuntu moot as the Software Center grows in features and popularity. No need to dredge through the internet unmasking these nasties.

  • gypsy

    Please rename this article to something less offensive. E.g. “Jews Hijack Open Office For Profit”

  • Pingback: Using Ubuntu To Create An Illegitimate Referral Based Profit Center()

  • Willard Scott

    Oh no, the URL still has the ‘g’ word in it. I’m ok but my browser is offended!! wah wah wah…

  • chuntera

    Windows anti-virus & anti-spyware apps will often detect these type of plugins. Are there equivalent applications for linux desktop users ?

    • hangle

      the term ‘will often’ indicates that sometimes the anti-virus fails to do its job. linux users install software from a repository system– not requiring anti-virus software. installing from the web is a different story. the article is a valuable lesson for any operating system user.