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Re: Practicality of GNU project and libre movement

From: Aaron Wolf
Subject: Re: Practicality of GNU project and libre movement
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2020 16:05:20 -0700

Please forgive me for adding on when I didn't make time to read the
whole discussion. I saw that this is about concerns around funding for
free software.

I want to emphasize that funding is a BIG issue. If we could *sabotage*
the funding or otherwise existence of proprietary software, it might be

See, IRC exists, XMPP too, etc. And everyone could be at least
functional using them. But they lose potential users because Slack and
other proprietary stuff has both some nice features and a strong
marketing budget. If we could *eliminate* the proprietary competition,
not only would the free software options get more use, they probably
would also get more funding.

But in practice, we have to better out-compete the proprietary
competition. That's been the issue since the earliest pre-GNU days of
RMS working to reverse engineer proprietary software to keep people from
moving to it. It helps that we have the freedom-selling-point but that's
not enough on its own for most people, unfortunately. It's simply easier
sell if we also compete on features and usability.

To out-compete, we need funding. And it's not merely whether free
software wins. We *also* want it to be better and to be as user-friendly
as possible.

Now, when people get into HOW to get funding, I see a lot of repeated
ideas that aren't that effective (e.g. bounties or shaming of users for
not donating).

I'm involved in building a better solution at
and we're a fully free software project ourselves, though we're building
for people to use the platform rather than as intending for
self-hosting. Anyway, we also have described the history, dilemmas, and
issues at and we invite anyone who wants to see
better funding for free software to volunteer to help us get fully launched.

Aaron Wolf

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