negative campaigning?

Carsten Agger agger at
Wed Jul 26 11:05:28 UTC 2017

On 07/26/2017 12:14 PM, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> This was raised by Jonas in the thread about proprietary software, but
> it is a completely different topic, so I'm starting this thread about
> it: "we also don't do negative campaigning overall. We tell people they
> should use Free Software; we don't tell them what software they should
> not be using."
> The reality is, many sites and software vendors deceive users with a
> promise of security.  E.g. when a user accesses Gmail, they see the
> padlock icon in their browser, so doesn't that mean Gmail is secure?  If
> Gmail is secure and free software is secure, the user may ask why make
> the effort to change to free software?
Also, there's this: The point of the free software movement is that
proprietary software strips the user of control.

The history (and, I might add, mythology) of our movement points to
Richard Stallman's experience at MIT in the 70s and 80s as pivotal,
culminating with the practical problems caused by a proprietary and
NDA'ed driver for a brand new Xerox printer.

The crux of this philosophy is that free software is *neutral* and may
be good or bad and do good or bad things, but that proprietary software
is fundamentally broken in that it disrespects its user's freedoms.
We're of course not dictating people what to do or what not to do, but
one of the movement's goals must be to educate people that//no
proprietary software is inside neutral-may-be-good-may-be-bad territory.

That is, software being free is not associated with it being good - it's
the *minimum requirement* for any software to be even acceptable.  It
does not follow that it's acceptable just because it's free - e.g., a
free browser could still monitor its users (but users would be able and
entitled to change that).

I don't see how to communicate this point without saying or implying 
negative things about proprietary software.

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