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

Max Mehl max.mehl at
Tue Jul 25 09:41:48 UTC 2017

# mray [2017-07-25 09:14 +0200]:
> On 21.06.2017 12:45, mray wrote:
>> I think treating them as second class could be OK:
>> 1. post on a free software platform
>> 2. don't reply on twitter or facebook, just link to the original

Well, that's more or less exactly what the FSFE is doing at the moment,
except that we're also monitoring from time to time what's happening on
Twitter. There's no single network-independent content which is not
readable on our website, RSS, mailing lists, GNU Social, or Diaspora.

> We can't give in to the network effect and ask people to reject it.
> Reaching people at the cost of being inauthentic defeats the purpuse to
> begin with.
> I mean what is an organization like FSFE if it can't even serve as an
> example?

I would love to live in a world where we could abolish all proprietary
tools. But unfortunately the carefully dosed usage of some proprietary
networks is important for us to fulfil our mission [1]. Especially
Twitter is more or less the only channel for us to connect with many
journalists and politicians at short notice.

Again, we're not talking about posting cat videos on Facebook but about
doing our job: fighting for Free Software at all levels. I personally
hate to use a proprietary tool but if a small sacrifice helps me to
make a much larger gain for Free Software I'm willing to do it.

One word about other networks than Twitter: Currently, we're not really
active on them because they fail to have a large positive effect on our
public awareness activities. This is a consideration we take for every
tool, Free Software or not.

And I think that's the point where the FSFE can act as a well-working
example: we're not afraid to 1) talk with people who have no idea of
Free Software or who are even hostile to it 2) on shaky grounds like
non-Free-Software events or proprietary networks. But we are rational
enough to make careful considerations for each potential problematic



Max Mehl - Free Software Foundation Europe - Program Manager
Contact and further information:
Private weblog: ( | Private homepage: (
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