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Re: Advice Workplace that Forces Non-Free Software

From: Jonathan Sandoval
Subject: Re: Advice Workplace that Forces Non-Free Software
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2020 11:33:13 -0500
User-agent: mu4e 1.4.3; emacs 26.3

Sad to hear your story. It sounds like a bad working environment for new
ideas if they answered like that. And I think you're right when you say
it's a bad time to lose your job.

What I'd do in your place it's try to keep my job while trying to get a
new one. You'll be able to negotiate better terms in a new job, and be
more picky, if you have a current job. You can research other places,
what tools they use, how open are they to new ideas and so
on. Eventually, a good job offer will appear. And try to save as much
money as you can, just in case.

And kudos for promoting freedom.

lily via libreplanet-discuss writes:

> Dear LibrePlanet Community,
> I am reaching out to you again for advice. 7 months ago, I asked for
> advice with asking IT to support a GNU+Linux operating system. Months
> later, and now in the middle of a pandemic, I am working remotely on a
> Windows laptop. I have admin rights and so I am able to install and
> run all the Free Software I wish, but I have run into some problems in
> the workplace.
> Let me remind you that I work as a biostatistician for a research team
> at a major hospital in Portland. And as a non-patient facing health
> care worker, I and the team I work with have been working remotely
> since April. We are forced to use Microsoft Outlook, Teams,
> Skpye/Lync, OneDrive for communication and storage. I continue to use
> R, Emacs, LibreOffice, GIMP, and other pieces of Free Software, but I
> have run into a problem. The data analysts and my manager primarily
> use SPSS, Tableau, and Microsoft products, and other non-free
> software. And, when I propose that we use Beamer to produce
> professional research posters, as opposed to PowerPoint, or when I
> propose LaTeX to write up research reports as opposed to Word, or Git
> to maintain a repository of the R and SPSS code, I get shut down, and
> even punished. Now all my emails have to go to my manager before I can
> send them to the medical doctors, and data analysts. I try to gently
> show how great these tools are from a utility perspective, forget the
> ethical standpoint, because all I get is "We use Word and PowerPoint.
> That is how things are done here."
> I am very passionate about Free Software, without it I would be
> nowhere. It was there for me all throughout my studies in mathematics
> and beyond. But now, as I have only been in the biostatistics field of
> paper pushing research for less than two years, I fear that if I upset
> my manager too much I could easily lose this job (I have been at this
> job for less than a year). I am the only biostatistician on this team,
> but unfortunately, the team can get away with producing research
> papers without understanding the mathematics/statistics, because they
> can run some code and there will always be an answer. So, practically
> they can do without me.
> I have learned enough statistics within these past two years, on top
> of my mathematical background and computational background, that I
> feel confident in my knowledge and skills. But, now with the state of
> the economy, due to the poor response to the pandemic, there are hiring
> freezes at my place of work and many others. Even if I were lucky
> enough to pick up another position in this field, who is to say I
> will not face the same problems as before.
> So in my mind I have two options.
> 1. Continue to use Free Software just for myself and keep my mouth
> shut, and give the results of my work in the non-free software format
> like Word and PowerPoint to keep the manager happy so that I may
> continue to eat and donate to the Free Software movement. (This option
> I also risk loosing the Free Software I have, since eventually they
> plan to take away my admin rights.)
> 2. Gently try to push for a little more Freedom in the work place, but
> risk loosing my job and not be able to contribute what I can
> financially to the Free Software Movement.
> I am leaning more towards Option 1, but if I lose the Free Software I
> am able to work with, I will also lose the opportunity to learn and
> grow as a biostatistician.
> I understand that this is more of a social issue, rather than a
> technical issue, but I would greatly appreciate any advice from people
> who can relate to this experience.
> Thank you so much LibrePlanet community, you are wonderful! I also do
> volunteering where I get to promote Free Software, but again with the
> pandemic, those activities have come to a halt. And as a result I
> tried pushing for alternative software in the work place, which is
> having a the negative outcome I described above.
> I look forward to hearing your responses. FSF and others are free to
> share my story, but please remove my name and location.
> Thank you again. (Forgive my misspellings.)
> Crista (Electrostatic Woman)
> ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
> On Friday, 7 de August de 2020 14:40, Greg Farough <> wrote:
>> Hi, everyone,
>> We're happy to share a new video that we've come up with together with
>> the producers of Shoetool, the video we released over the holiday
>> season. This one speaks to the dangers of remote learning based on
>> proprietary software, and how its unethical behavior might impact your
>> friendly, local college of masked crusaders. But, more importantly, it
>> shows the ability each of us have -- superhero or not -- to stand up
>> against it.
>> Please take a moment to watch and share with others to spread the
>> message:
>> Best,
>> -Greg
>> --------------
>> Greg Farough // Campaigns Manager
>> Free Software Foundation
>> Join the FSF and help us defend software freedom:
>> libreplanet-discuss mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> libreplanet-discuss mailing list


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