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

Erik Albers eal at
Wed Jun 21 10:22:30 UTC 2017

Hi all,

Maybe you noted in the Newsletter May [1] a pro and contra between our
Executive Director and our Fellowship representative:

	On the FSFE's Planet, we had an interesting dialogue popping up
	between our executive director Jonas Öberg who argues that sometimes
	you can use proprietary software to further free and open source
	software [2] although you should be aware about the risk of
	backfiring. And Daniel Pocock, our new Fellowship representative,
	answered with "the risk of proprietary software" [3] and that "no deal
	might be better than a bad deal", meaning that if you cannot achieve
	something with Free Software you should consider just doing without

In our European core team we are having a lively discussion now about the pros
and cons of using proprietary software platforms like Facebook, Meetup,
Twitter and alike to send out our message of software freedom.

You may have noticed that the FSFE for example runs a Twitter-account. We do
this under some rules but in particular under the rule that these "services
are an addition to the FSFE's communication channels and not a replacement.
The teams have to make sure to always provide the information accessible by
using Free Software without pushing people to create accounts on proprietary

Means that every information on a proprietary platform is only a
mulitiplication of information that is given somewhere else, accessible and
created with Free Software.

Now I would be interested what you think? Do you think that - although the use
of proprietary platforms is ethically not supportable - the chances of
convincing new people to use and further Free Software are worth the punishment?
Or do you think that our message should not occur on platforms like Facebook
or Twitter at all, because it contradicts our efforts in getting people to use
decentralized services, run with Free Software and therefore potentially harm
us in the long run?

Thank you for sharing your opinions on this,


No one shall ever be forced to use non-free software
Erik Albers | Communication & Community Coordinator | FSFE
OpenPGP Key-ID: 0x8639DC81 on

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