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

Max Mehl max.mehl at
Tue Jul 25 20:22:19 UTC 2017

# mray [2017-07-25 22:02 +0200]:
> On 25.07.2017 21:44, mray wrote:
>> Reaching people isn't the end goal. Just like market share isn't.
>> We are about freedom. What if I asked FSFE to tweet its take on using
>> twitter? Wouldn' the honest tweet be:
>>    "You should not use twitter
>>     as it is a walled garden and
>>     proprietary software."

No doubt, Twitter is a proprietary product, and people shouldn't be
forced to use it (if they choose to do so it's their free decision but
they should know about the consequences). I hope I never implied that
the FSFE might have a different opinion.

> Turns out I don't have to wait for this as the FSFE website says:
> "Some services may be Free Software unfriendly and harm your privacy."

For reference: this text links to the wiki page

> I guess the unfriendly harming refers to twitter and facebook, less to
> GNUsocial and Diaspora. My impression was there was **no doubt** about
> harm being done. Aren't we framing it a bit opportunistic here?

Good point. While I'm certain that Facebook and Twitter are harmful to
its users' privacy, I'm not sure about Reddit or HackerNews. That's why
at the top of the wiki page there is:

  *Attention*: This page is far from perfect and it needs your help to
  improve it. Furthermore, the lists of alternatives are incomplete

So please help us gathering more information about these services. But
even if we had more information we could never be sure that using
Diaspora or GNU Social doesn't harm a user's privacy because much of it
depends on a pod's administrator. And in my opinion, the "may harm"
wording provokes some kind of critical thinking: a social network user
should never feel too confident, even if an organisation like FSFE told
her that service A or B is safe. Would you understand the current
wording the same way? If not, what would you propose instead?


Max Mehl - Free Software Foundation Europe - Program Manager
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