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

Evaggelos Balaskas ebal at
Wed Jun 21 15:04:57 UTC 2017

If not being mistaken, that was the very topic of Rysiek in the last
fsfe summit
"Free Software and the Network Effect: fight it or ride it?"

For me one important thing is this:
If you want to invite people to opensource then you need somehow to
reach them!

On 06/21/2017 05:47 PM, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> On 21/06/17 12:22, Erik Albers wrote:
>> 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?
> I feel there are a whole range of questions and topics that arise.
> You mention efforts to get people to use decentralized services.  One
> trap that arises in these discussions is that people believe it is a
> choice between Facebook vs some other technology.  The reality is that
> before facebook, many movements succeeded in the real world through
> grass roots campaigns and word of mouth and that still works just as
> well today, maybe even better.  A booth in a local market, church fair
> or library, one-on-one discussions with leaders in the local community,
> asking questions at a town hall meeting are all real-world examples.
> When comparing to facebook, etc, these are some of the other things that
> come to mind:
> - how much time is spent getting messages into the platform, maintaining
> buddy lists, updating privacy settings every time they change?
> - do we have the ability to control where replies go, e.g. getting
> people to respond on an email list, or does the platform insist that we
> use their mailboxes and built-in communications channels?  Do they make
> it impossible to disable their internal messaging tools, meaning we end
> up losing more time every day checking for replies in every platform?
> - how many people actually see what is posted on facebook, if it is not
> buried under all the other content on the platform, including paid
> advertising, cat photos and baby photos from the friends who actually
> use the platform?  If somebody only looks once per week, is the
> probability they see a post from FSFE even close to 1 in 100?
> - are the people who take an hour out of every day to browse facebook
> really the people we want to influence?  Is it better to look for
> channels that reach more busy and influential people?
> - is the "viral" campaign just a myth or an improbable outcome like
> winning the lottery?  Do the majority of campaigns on social media put
> in more effort than the reward they get back?
> - will users who want to use facebook copy our content to the platform
> anyway, making it unnecessary for FSFE to directly post things there?
> - if FSFE has an official presence on those platforms, are we endorsing
> them?  What impact does that have on our credibility?
> - systems like facebook are made by the establishment, for the
> establishment.  Zuckerberg is a regular at Bilderberg these days.  This
> brings me to the age old question: can you change the system by using
> the rules the system gives you?  People like the Bolsheviks and Gandhi
> didn't exactly think so.
> Regards,
> Daniel
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