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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Why contains in nonfree that's not ethical?

From: John Pozzi
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Why contains in nonfree that's not ethical?
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:41:58 +0000 (UTC)

For global privacy -
----- Original Message -----
From: Adam Bolte <>
Sent: Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:03:32 -0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Why contains in nonfree that's not ethical?
On 18/03/15 00:57, Will Hill wrote:
> On Monday 16 March 2015, Adam Bolte wrote:
>> If you talk to people on the street, I suspect they'll all say
>> something similar to what you have heard - that they care about
>> privacy issues. But when you actually look at what they are doing, I
>> doubt most of them are doing anything about for themselves.
>> Convenience, ease and efficiency takes priority with it's an option
>> for their work-flow.
> The Cory Doctorow test is to ask them if they will give you their email
> address and password. You can promise you don't care what's going on in
> their life, that you won't interfere with their mail delivery, etc, but no
> one will give it to you.
> This proves people care but don't know how to protect themselves from
> predatory monopolists.
Ahh. Interesting theory, but there is a difference. When people decide
not to say No to a Facebook account (for instance), the expectation is
that they are getting something useful or interesting to them in
exchange for giving up their privacy. If I (especially as a stranger)
were to simply ask for their e-mail credentials, there is nothing for
them to gain from handing them over to me.
In fact, if they really didn't care, they still wouldn't hand them over
out of sheer laziness. :)

> It's up to people who both care and know to do something about the problem.
At my company, I have tried very hard to get everyone using GPG for
e-mailing credentials or anything of value, and have implemented a basic
policy around using this. Some people did everything they could to get
out of installing the software, and most people only use it when
strictly required by the new(-ish) policy.
Come to think of it, the people who have taken the most interest in
using the technology day-to-day aren't very technical. That's not to say
everyone non-technical was interested mind you, and it was a very low
percentage overall. Some people pushed back against the idea very hard,
because it was "too hard" - without even trying or accepting my
assistance, or because "I don't have 15 minutes to set it up" -
apparently ever!

> People want answers and they flow into them when they find them. The best
> solution is for the community to provide services. Municipal networks, email
> hosted by local groups like schools or clubs, and local IT people
> recommending and servicing free software.
If it were implemented in a natural way, that's probably true. But has I
described in an earlier e-mail, trends are heading towards simplicity
over security, privacy and freedom. GMail won't implement GPG natively
in the web interface - it can't work that way (the End-to-End extension
doesn't count), and even if it could, and it didn't conflict with
Google's business model, people would still complain that GMail couldn't
search through their encrypted mail.
Mozilla has removed the tick-box to disable _javascript_ in Firefox,
despite claiming to respect user rights to privacy, again because ease
of use has taken priority. I though privacy-conscious people were
supposed to be a large part of Mozilla's user base? Same deal with
scripts being allowed by default these days in Tor.
So making software with freedom, security and privacy that users will
simply discover on their own is becoming an increasingly difficult
challenge. In some cases we may already be past the point where it's
possible, because it looks like any solution that improves security and
privacy will decrease simplicity, and hence likely won't find popularly
and remain a niche.
If people don't want to use GPG because it's too inconvenient not to use
a GMail web interface, how are we going to convince such people to use
community services? I like the idea in principle, but it's not going to
achieve mainstream success without somehow addressing these issues.
Perhaps the trick is to prevent people ever using these
privacy-disrespecting services in the first place, so they never need to
transition to something harder? Rysiek said students seems to be very
privacy conscious right now. Maybe people providing community services
such as e-mail accounts, free software groups, etc. should focus more
towards schools?

> Objections sometimes work and we are creating a culture that considers non
> free software rude. Often you will be the customer and the offender is an
> organization that's trying to serve you. We can, for example, get rid of
> Word documents by telling people about the problems and recommending formats
> that work.
Oh no, you'll regret getting me started on Word documents! I ask for it
exported to PDF every single time I get a Word document and explain the
reasoning for it, often to the sender in person. Yet, the same people
keep sending me Word documents weeks later. They just think I'm crazy.
However these days I'm given most documents through a work-provided
Google Docs account. This is perhaps easier to export into a format I
like, but now we're forcing proprietary software to staff and
sacrificing privacy in the process. It's just trading one problem for

> My back quickly learned that relying on Excel format was a bad
> idea because many people complained. The advent of cell phones has made this
> easier because Microsoft does not work there. This is a battle that's been
> going on for thirty years and people are tired of it. It's one of the
> reasons I think they are tired of software owners, even if they don't
> understand the problem completely.
I've been told by some people Word is required for dealing with people
outside the company, and it's impractical to use two different office
suits for different people.
I've also been told by other people that LibreOffice doesn't have
<insert obscure feature here> and hence isn't an option. It probably
does do what they want, but they just didn't want to spend any time
learning a different way to do it. It's as if people are trying to find
excuses to justify using Microsoft Office!

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