What makes you advocate free software?

@xiroux I want the people I care about to be free

@arran Thanks for answering! That's a noble goal, (which I do share). I am just trying to get info on the views of other people on free software. Why do you think that free software helps that people being free.


I think what makes people free using free software is that they are not subject to a proprietor agenda and are not locked in to any ecosystem.

Propriety software essentially enables a power differential, where the user is at a major disadvantage.

Free software brings this back into balance.

@arran I like that idea. What if all the proprietary software would use open standards, avoiding the vendor lock-in? Would you be comfortable using that kind of software (closed source, open interfaces)
Regarding your other argument, people using free software are still subject to the specific developers agenda. I agree that this is several magnitude orders better than the big companies agendas.

@arran @xiroux I believe having open interfaces that give you control over your data is just a tiny bit slightly more important than software itself being open source.

@xiroux @arran Most of the ethical problems with current technology are related with the Internet rather than software itself. We're not in the 80-90's anymore, software is not abused to control people any more than services are. That's probably what old-school free software advocates get wrong. I think every aspect of technology should be Free as in Freedom, but the focus should be on Internet services and platforms.

@csepp Could you care to develop this thought a bit further? Do you mean that supporting free software makes power more balanced? As in reducing the power from proprietary software creators?

@xiroux Well, I'll try. The main thing is that users should be thought of as stakeholders. If you have a large stake in a piece of software / platform, then you should have a say in how it's developed. Having access to the source code is the bare minimum for that. Otherwise you are giving up your rights to a middleman, who can (and often does) sell you out to the highest bidder. And often you won't even know if or to whom the platform or software or data was sold to.

@csepp I like that idea, and I think I do share the argument. However, does free software fixes this in practice? I see how it is the bare minimum to do it, though.

@xiroux It's a step in the right direction. Obviously megacorps will try stuff like "open core" or just plain ignore GPL. Can't fix social issues with tech alone. Or with specific copyright terms.
But wide acceptance of and familiarity with would IMHO also result in people examining social systems for power imbalances.
There are also specific types of software that can empower users, like NDN or SecSB.

@xiroux Who gets to know how to develop software also matters in this case. Also who the developers listen to.

@csepp Yup, I agree. Do you think software development is something everyone should know?

@xiroux On some level, yes, just like how everyone should know chemistry so they don't poison themselves. If you use a computer without understanding it, the people who do can hurt you really badly.

@xiroux It's also important to highlight that we shouldn't pass the job of teaching compsci onto Microsoft and Google.

@csepp @xiroux As a side note, and I'm not too involved myself, but I do enjoy it when a small piece of software has a small community around it that "forms" the software - not just a dev publishing something as they see fit or a giant corp indulging in engagement, but more as a collaborative exercise in setting needs, and then helping to fulfil that as a group, with coding as one part of the skills needed.

Hmm, I should probably try to stick to that approach more... 🤔

@csepp @xiroux It doesn't scale well, and has lots of drawbacks and overheads 😊 and 'big' software is essential still... But it might encourage a different sense of where our tech comes from, our relationship with it, and encourage us to simplify what we use it all for...

@xiroux Accessibility, more people can use it, regardless of income. Resilience, ease of repair, can outlive its creators. Passing knowledge, can be learned from, improved, or made into something else that is useful.

@rek These are all great arguments, thank you! There are some that may be also available with proprietary software, some definitely not. I probably value the last one the most.

@xiroux do you mean free as in libre/freedom, as opposed to DRM? or free as in as opposed to paid/subscription?

@xiroux I think DRMs are forms of control that are incompatible with individual liberty and that are amplifying the commodification and disposability of art and science.

@neauoire They are forms of control, I agree, and they remove individual liberty. I also agree on the commodification and disposability argument. But does free software solves any of that? I guess that the point is that free software is the bare minimum, is that right? Do you think we need something else to fight that commodification and disposability?

@xiroux being able/allowed to repair software is the bare minimum, anything less I'll advocate against.

@neauoire The right to repair is indeed a non-negotiable one. I agree with that.

@neauoire @xiroux very weird how, in 13 years of using and advocating for FLOSS, I never thought of wording it that way: “the right to repair software”. I think it is a way more effective argument and realistic/achievable action than “the right to create a modified version or to add a new feature”.
Love it, thanks!

@stragu Repairing software could be THE argument for companies and goverments to invest in #FLOSS @neauoire @xiroux

@xiroux We need thousands and thousands of companies in FLOSS. Each company with 1 to 250 and more employees should be involved in individualizing FLOSS projects for their customers. @stragu @neauoire

@funqr I was thinking of a different way of involvement. Small companies focused on individualizing FOSS projects for their customers seems a healthy strategy to me.

@xiroux We, human beings, need to control our technology instead of being enslaved by it. Free software allows us to take back control.

@eliasr I love that idea of owning what is ours. It's fun how private property defenders sometimes do not understand this.

@xiroux I believe in cooperation and sharing, not competition and hoarding (that has only gotten us to the brink of doom)

@xiroux freedom of choice, freedom to create, freedom to collaborate (or not) and give freedom to others, and spread freedom using computers.

@kubikpixel It is for me, too! I guess the question is now: how do free software makes us more free?

@xiroux first to use legal good SW, can use in freedom and give others to use to.

@xiroux @kubikpixel I think the freedom to care for it by yourself makes one more free. Beeing responsable has no boundaries so to speak. I can use software as it was developed which is fine in many cases but in others I want to have the chance to try and/or break things and own the responsibility. Also everyone can learn from one another.


Mainly, it's the state of the people who develop and sell proprietary software.

@xiroux The most important reasons why I use #Free / #Libre Software:

* freedom and privacy
* not supporting (surveillance) capitalists
* hacking on Libre Software is fun!

Apart from these mostly political and private reasons, there are also some more pragmatic reasons, e.g.:

* You can learn a lot about computers. (Hey, you can just look up the code that is executed when you press *that* button!)
* Relatedly, you have a lot of customization options -- e.g. you can create a distraction-free environment, or maybe you want fancy animations and features
* No vendor lock-in

@maxi Love the "hacking on Libre Software is fun" argument, I think it is an important one. Regarding "not supporting (surveillance) capitalists": there are lots of anarcocapitalists that do believe in free software (for the wrong reasons, I think). Also, free software is used by all big corporations as their basis, so we may be helping capitalists, instead. (This is actually what made me trying to re-assess my free software principles, actually)

@xiroux i dont advocate for free software, but for open software. i think that free software isn't worth perusing; as a movement it is failed.

however, most open software is free. i end up advocating for the use of free software in the end! it's sad.

@eris Could you care to elaborate on the difference between those two?

@xiroux the free software movement is a movement piloted by GNU and the FSF. 'Free Software' is software that can be used for any purpose, by anyone, without restrictions.

as a result, it is a tool of oppression - many 'tools' that plague the modern world are directly powered by free software, due to the lack of ethics in it.

this is not unlike the paradox of intolerance; by being tolerant of everything you allow intolerance to arise. free software enables oppressors to oppress.

@xiroux open software is not a real term. i just made it up. i dont like buzzwords and lexicalised phrases.

but you can derive a lot of meaning from this random phrase.

open software is software that is, well, open - software you can change, software you can take a look at(introspectability), software you can tear apart(modularity), tear down(just getting rid of it!). free software generally doesn't provide this to the extent i'd desire, but it does enough to make a difference.

@xiroux i'd adovcate for ethical software if i could, but there's... not enough of it. i can't name a single project that could help someone which is under an ethical license, a hippocratic license, an anticapitalist one, etc.

@eris This is basically what made me rethink my approach to free software. Free software does let megacorporations leech the work off thousands of workers without paying a single cent to them. Of course, closing the sources is not an option (that would destroy the freedom to learn/repair/share/redistribute...), but I feel like free software is not enough. I've seen those anticapitalist licenses in the wild, but I don't know how legal/effective they are with the current state of things.

@xiroux yup! i think there's a big step that can be taken here. inviable software. software that for whatever reason, simply cannot be used for corporate purposes.

software that is good! software that is great for the individual who wishes to use it. but it is not good enough for the corporation.

maybe it has an unviable license, maybe it has an annoying memory safety bug, maybe it doesn't quite run on Linux or BSD or whatever. to properly combat misuse of software, it has to be less usable.

@xiroux i'd point to uxn sofrware as an example of software unviable for corporations - it is useful, but not in such a way that a corporation could pick it up.

in terms of licenses, stuff like the anticapitalist license is likely bunk legally. this gives it power - not the fact that it is legally valid, but the fact that it is not.

any license that isn't going to hold up is avoided by corporations. the anticapitalist licenses make a statement to their users, which is arguably more important,

@eris And how can we support the work of those developers? Living through donations is something only a few can afford.

@xiroux that i dont know....
it is a difficult topic. however, those developers *are* free to sell their software, if licensing isnt their method to decorporate. same goes for GPL users, actually - people have made businesses out of selling gpl software.

@eris It is *the* topic, and I agree it is a very difficult one. Thanks for your opinions!

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