Is it acceptable to use proprietary software (platforms) to promote software freedom?

Mat Witts admin at
Sat Jul 15 17:08:35 UTC 2017

I have yet to hear a convincing reason why messages should not occur on
platforms like Facebook or Twitter on the single aim of efforts in
getting people to use decentralized services and run with Free Software
in the same way sometimes any agent tasked with the role of protecting
the public will tell you that sometimes pointing a gun at someones head
is the only way of getting a hostile person to drop their weapon.

Zuckerberg won't let you talk to them on his platform, so you can't
negotiate, so you need to tool up. This is the situation with users of
Facebook for example.

Once people put their weapons down, then we can talk about why they
should not be persuaded to taken them up again.

While they are using Facebook, a dogmatic approach will NOT be
contradictory, it is consistent with political activism in the same way
anti-capitalist campaigns still need money to run, Free Software needs
Facebook - IF we want to effect Facebook users (and I'm sure we do?)

It therefore does NOT potentially harm us in the long run.

This dilemma is because of the idealistic goal of trying to 'ban all
weapons' which for me is philosophically and practically unachievable.

What we ought to be arguing for is NOT a moratorium on proprietory
software but the equivalent of de-escalation or reduction which would be
both desirable and achievable.

Free software is an important principle, but we should not let our
principles obstruct the need for important institutions and citizens to
switch to Free Software, and the way to go about that is very different,
it requires a practical STRATEGY AS WELL AS principled rhetoric.

Mat Witts

More information about the Discussion mailing list