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

mray mail at
Tue Jul 25 20:36:17 UTC 2017

On 25.07.2017 22:22, Max Mehl wrote:
> # 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
>  probably.
> 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?
> Best,
> Max

Services that could potentially be harmful aren't the issue. It is about
not explicitly stating that we know some of them *are definitively*
harmful. Yet all we say is: "Be vigilant, somewhere danger is lurking!"

Doing the right thing and call out the "bad players"would reveal the
issue at hand: We literally show alternatives but refuse to give up
using the harmful ones. What message does that send?


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