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

Mirko Boehm - FSFE mirko at
Fri Jun 23 07:47:34 UTC 2017


> On 22. Jun 2017, at 22:05, Daniel Pocock <daniel at> wrote:
>> It appears to me as if we conduct this discussion based on what we wish
>> the world would be, instead of based on what the present world is like.
>> In the perfect world, everybody would be using free software, and
>> everybody would know that it is about freedom, not free beer.
> Does a man who is overweight lose weight by continuing to eat donuts?
> Or does he lose weight by going to the gym and acting like the man he
> wants to become?
>> There would however not be a need for FSFE in this scenario. Our mission
>> is to advocate software freedom. On one hand this means protecting the
>> freedoms we already have, which targets mainly those already using free
>> software. These we may well reach on GNUsocial. Or via an RSS feed. On
>> the other hand, it means educating people and lobbying to politicians
>> that do not use free software, and do not yet understand the need for
>> software freedom. These we won’t reach on free platforms, by definition.
> But why do you think we would reach them on Facebook or other
> proprietary platforms?  Where is the data to back that up?  How much
> time is put in to it, how much time do people look at those platforms
> and how many other messages are they bombarded with during that time?

I am glad you asked. Overall global GNUsocial users rank in the 1000s-100.000s, as far I know. Maybe somebody has better statistics on that. Here is a good overview of proprietary social media reach: <> Of the 3.7 billion internet users, 2.8 are active social media users (see Q5. What is the overall Social Media usage globally?)

However, I don’t think this means much. And I don’t want to get into an argument about lying statistics or whether or not everybody should be using free software. My main point was and is: FSFEs mission (part 2 in the original email) is to advocate, and we won’t achieve that by preaching to the acolytes.


Mirko Boehm | mirko at | KDE e.V.
FSFE Fellowship Representative, FSFE Team Germany
Qt Certified Specialist and Trainer
Request a meeting:

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list