Strategy and serendipity

Bernhard E. Reiter bernhard at
Fri Jun 28 13:24:32 UTC 2019

Am Freitag 14 Juni 2019 17:39:18 schrieb Paul Boddie:
> In the end, even dedicated Free Software advocates are likely to just give
> up, buy something, and use the device subject to whatever terms and
> conditions are imposed on them just by powering it on. 

It makes sense to have a device that can just be turned on.
And it makes sense for it to use as much Free Software as possible.
More companies will provide this, if more people would buy it.
So each decision which is taken in the direction of software freedom
get us one step further. And each additional choice is helpful, too.

> If all of this isn't some kind of defeat for Free Software, then I don't
> know what is. 

To me this means new challenger, with more IT solutions permeating life
and younger people that still have to make their experiences on grander 
things. (In Germany and some parts of Europe, many childrens and teenagers 
have just discovered that they can actually make a political difference by 
going to a demonstrations in the Friday4Future topic.)

Android success was only possible with Free Software. Personally I consider 
this progress, though of course we want more.

> "For Android, the FSFE helps users to regain more control
> with its Free Your Android initiative."

> Well, good luck with that, FSFE! Free Your Android is largely a matter of
> closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Regaining more control,
> as opposed to actually having control, is as good as it gets.

Personally I've met non-IT-people considering other software on their phone
and seen articles in special topic magazines and general publications
that were picking this up. FSFE has helped to create another choice.
Maybe that is just a small step that some people are taking, but even a 
demonstration that it is possible was valuable.

> Even better would be the possibility of getting a phone with completely
> Free Software on it, but those old/refurbished Samsung models seem to be
> the only option. 

The discussion already mentioned real live options like the Shiftphone and 
upcoming ones like the Cosmo and the libre purism. Yes, this coming with an 
extra price tag, but this is understandable as long as they are produced in 
smaller numbers. I am grateful for each additional choice people get to have 
more Free Software on their phone. F-droid for apps is getting better and 
offering more. I've hard of people that do LineageMicro-G and F-Droid only
(Here is a popular blog article series (in German) to explain how to take back 
control on your phone, I've learned quite a lot from this which made it much 
easier for me to run Free Software on mobile devices: )

> Maybe the role of the FSFE is to go beyond advocacy

In my view FSFE is doing a lot: We bring people together, we educate,
we influence public policies, we help commercial and non-commercial parties
to make offers with Free Software. We stay critically alert on public 
procurements to ensure that Free Software is getting the priority it 
should... Directly becoming a software or hardware-vendor would be less 
effective as far as I have experienced. (And we used to even be a small 
vendor for hardware crypto tokens, so we do have a little, little bit of 
experience. ;) )

Remember our router activities, now people can get the passwords for the 
internet connection to buy their own routers, so Free Software friendly 
router vendors stay in business there.

Seriously there are many more tasks ahead, and we can only do what the 
contributions of volunteers and supporters allow. This means looking for 
opportunities as well where a little action can make a large difference.
Look at our Public Money Public Code campain, when its positive reception 
leads to ore purchases with Free Software as a strong plus for vendors
we will get more vendors with Free Software friendly products.
I hope we can do more of this.


FSFE -- Founding Member     Support our work for Free Software: | contribute
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