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

Max Mehl max.mehl at
Wed Jun 21 19:28:17 UTC 2017

# jah [2017-06-21 17:46 +0200]:
> If it is true that humans tend to seek out ideas that confirm their own,
> then it seems likely FSFE's twitter followers belong to the set of
> people who do not need convincing to use and further Free Software.

As one of the maintainers of the FSFE's Twitter account, I cannot
confirm your theory. Our Twitter sphere (direct followers and their
followers) may be tech-oriented but by far not only convinced Free
Software enthusiasts. Just some groups in our Twitter audience I think
we wouldn't reach via GNU Social/Diaspora alone:

- tech journalists
- politicians concerned about digital politics
- supporters and members of other civil organisations covering digital
  topics but not FS
- some people who we won by campaigns about slightly different topics we
  conducted, e.g. "Document Freedom Day" or "They don't want you to"
- random tech people who love some of our promo material (like the
  nocloud stickers) but don't affiliated with Free Software before

Following the various discussions about this for many years, I always
come to the same personal conclusions: 

- Forcing our "followers" to use a proprietary network in order to get
  our messages is bad. We have to offer Free Software alternatives, if
- Everything we post via proprietary channels must be available on at
  least one Free Software channel (except a message is only targeted to
  users of a certain network, e.g. a call for Facebook users to switch
  to Diaspora)
- Whether or not to use a certain proprietary service has to be decided
  on an estimation whether a) we can reach more people who we couldn't
  reach via Free Software alternatives, and b) whether the time/money
  spent is worth the results.
- We have to inform our users about the negative effects of the various
  proprietary networks, especially those we use – something we already
  do on by linking to [1] at various occasions.
- We shouldn't restrict our volunteers in the tools they want to use to
  fight for Free Software. If a local group is convinced that it should
  promote their meetings via Facebook, let them do that as long as they
  don't promote Facebook as the best or only tool.

With the FSFE's Twitter and Facebook presence, I'm positive that all
requirements are met.



Max Mehl - Free Software Foundation Europe - Program Manager
Contact and further information:
Private weblog: ( | Private homepage: (
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