Forcing students to use nonfree network services and software as a topic of a future campaign

Demetris Karayiannis public at
Thu Nov 21 18:14:34 UTC 2019

Hi all,

I'm sure many of you are aware that students at all levels of education 
are forced to use nonfree software, and more recently, nonfree network 
services in order to receive their education and fulfil the course 
requirements (see for prior writings on 

I'm having a bad day today because I'm currently a studying at a 
programme that is an exception to the above, with a lot of focus on 
using free software. But for some reason, a tutorial today was behind a 
Google sign-in wall and the lecturer didn't want to export the tutorial 
(which is just a jupyter notebook file) and upload it on the existing 
learning management system for students to download and study.

This led me to imagine some possible ways in which the FSFE and/or other 
organisations in the free software movement could try to work on this 

1. A survey of students and instructors about their experiences and/or 
policies in mandatory nonfree software and nonfree network services in 
university classrooms (which can establish the magnitude of the problem, 
and help identify ways to change this)

2. A campaign for instructors to pledge not to mandate the use of 
nonfree software and network services and/or eliminate them from the 
curriculum of their courses

Apologies for the hastily written email, but if anyone in the list is 
interested in this topic, I'd love to here more.


Demetris Karayiannis
Linguistics, University of Eastern Finland
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