Is it right to have Facebook page?


When RMS and free software foundation are so opposed to facebook and its tracking, is it right for FSFTN to have a facebook page?

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Pretty tough question! Personally, I think FSFTN should not have a Facebook page. But, a quick easy way to connect to a lot of people is always tempting - the network effect, basically.

I think we should try setting up something federated like GNU Social, Friendica or Diaspora and slowly siphon away users from Facebook. This, I think, is the best middle path, that preserves the advantages of both extremes.


We have to be in place where people are , to join hands and move to where we want to go . one cannot simply sit in home and say - " hey free software is cool use it " . must reach out to people and try to bring them out of it. That’s the rationale behind having a fb page.


If taking away users from Facebook was that easy wouldn’t it have gone down long back? We are using Facebook to reach people. Let us say we are not interested in reaching people then it is not a problem we need to be on Facebook. We can host pods and ask people to join. I am sure FSFTN will be delighted to get your help in doing that if you are interested. But right now the priority is reaching out to people and talking with them about Free Software, if we are not there where people are regardless of what platform it is we can only bark at walls and empty rooms unfortunately.


Also a small clarification. Free Software Foundation != FSFTN. FSFTN is a part of FSMI.


Oh god, I thought it was FSF Tamilnadu division. Where is real free software foundation?


I understand that it is hard to take people away from Facebook. But, we have to try. Besides, I am a little worried about the circularity of your logic.

I am not volunteering immediately. I don’t think I am ready yet. But, some day in the near future, I will be.

It’s very good to have this non-Facebook non-GoogleGroup forum. In fact, there is no way I’d be on this forum if it were on Facebook.

Imagine a world with a fully federated social network like GNU Social. That would be so awesome!


The logic is very very clear I think probably I am not able to reach you properly. People who are worried about privacy and can operate out of needing to connect with the common crowd can stay away from those platforms but an organization which has to work with people cannot do something like that but I would like to see if this has been done before. AFAIK I have not seen it.

We all like to live in the ideal society do we not? :slight_smile:


I think it should be the FSFI


By the way, FSF as far as I know is not in supportive of regional/state level entities. It only like national entities. It is not against FSMI ofcourse but I am not sure if it entirely supportive of grassroots movements structure.


Great question. Here is my opinion.

  1. FSFTN is an independent organisation where it has many core objectives other than promoting free software. For eg: It tries to spread the knowledge(CS) to people don’t have access to it. So, considering it to be an arm of actual arm of FSF is not appropriate.

  2. I understand that its quite natural to equate any organization to a party model where there is a “leader” and a high command, and smaller divisions that executes their commands. RMS is a great guy, but that doesn’t mean FSFTN or any organization should accept his ideas verbatim. And this is not like a party, where there is a high command and you have to obey them. So, there is that.

I’m of the opinion that right and wrong are subjective and depends on the perspective of the person. But if the question is “Should FSFTN have facebook page”?

  • I’d say “yes”. Say, I live in a society where there is a dictator, and I think that is wrong, and want to change that. Should I say, “this country and people suck, living in such a country is against my ideal”, and move out to a different country? Or should I go to the places where “people meet” and try talk to them, and bring in a change?

  • I think at the end of the day, all that matters is change, not one’s ego or pride. May be we are used to stories where they decorate heroes who die for flags or for being relentless of saying enemy’s slogan. I think people here are normal people who wish for change, a change in other’s attitude, a change in other’s life.

If you’ve to teach a kid, you’ve to bear their antics, you’ve to play with them, you’ve to go with them, because kids won’t get it, you don’t just give into your pride or ego.

I don’t say this as a volunteer or any authority person, it is all my personal opinion.

tl;dr If the motive is working for others to bring a change, it is good. If the motive is to show how one’s ideal is superior, it is bad.


In that case, if we are not sticking to true free software ideals, please drop the FSF name from the organization. Its misleading.

I would rather contribute to a community with idealistic values than one with popularism mentality.


I would request you not to jump to conclusions immediately. I would also like to point out that you are not the first one to raise the question of whether we can be in Facebook / Twitter / Gmail or not. When the Executive committee members of the organization gathers to meetup, we do debate on such questions ourselves.

As an Individual I always vouch for Free Software alternative based on idealistic values not from technical values that propritary platforms has got to offer. But when it comes to the ground reality we have to understand that in order to take the ideals of Free Software, first we must reach out to where the people are breathing. You are raising this question because, you have understood the ideals behind the philosophy of Free Software.

You know, that majority of the masses lacks the idea of Free Software and that is why we are reaching out to them, taking the ideals of Free Software to the masses. The understanding is that, people like me in the organization who are so keen about adopting the Free Software alternatives as much as possible are working in parallel to bring the people to platforms like Diaspora and when a threshold limit is reached, the shift towards free alternative will happen automatically as a network effect. It cannot be enforced on them, rather people will join when they understand the ideals better. It will take time for people to come to their own understanding, until then we have to make ourselves visible to them where they are, pushing our agenda out to them which might attract them to learn more about Free Software to attain that level of understanding.

Infact, FSF has an account in Twitter, but they operate it through GNU Social. Nevertheless they are present in Twitter and they have made an justification for that.

This machine running (Discourse) now was initially supposed to be an diaspora pod, we also wanted to have a discussion platform like discourse and we made the choice of hosting Discourse because we did not have enough fund in hand to bring up another VPS for Diaspora.


I agree with prashere on this one. I am quite particular about the free software ideals and even use Parabola GNU/Linux, one of the FSF approved distros. I myself would never for the life of me be on Facebook. But, I am willing to let others make the compromise in order to forward the larger cause of the movement.

A single VPS can run as many servers as you want, right? If I’m not mistaken, a VPS gives you a full operating system complete with shell access and everything.

Also, I have been running my own server for around 2 years at home on a normal landline broadband connection. Currently, the server runs a web server (serving my blog and an instance of owncloud) and an XMPP server. The server is a 9-year old Pentium 4 laptop. I have enjoyed very reasonable uptimes with this setup.

A lot of people have good broadband connections at home. And, these days, it is very easy to find computers being thrown away for no good reason. So, will running a physical server such as this be an option for the FSFTN?

Having one’s own server is so awesome, actually. It gives you so many ideas that you would have never thought about if you didn’t have one. There is also a certain “democratic feeling” to people running their own personal servers. And, all this, with just a very old machine that would have ended up in a landfill otherwise!


We have some old machines at our office piled up. Need to test the performance of those machines first. Thought of using them as servers initially like you said, but then again the cost of Static IP goes up and so we stick with VPS which is cheaper than Static IP and can be provisioned or removed anytime. Some service providers allow Static IPs only for business lines.

Depends on the resource available on that machine. The machine that is powering this site has 1GB of RAM in total, and running discourse (rails), nginx, redis & postgres occupies 97% of the memory. i.e only some 130MB is free out of 1GB, that prevents us from running any other application on this machine.


Static IP is not required to set up a server. I don’t have a static IP for my server. I use the dynamic DNS service FreeDNS to map my domain name to my dynamically changing IP.

What consumes so much memory? redis? And what distro are you running?

But, of course, if you have a physical machine, RAM or HDD space is not gonna be a problem at all.


Here’s my solution to Facebook issue.

Have a page on Facebook, but don’t let it be the primary mode of communication. The Facebook page can be used to share blog posts or diaspora/GNU social updates. But never use Facebook in a way that people not on it misses out. Rather, use it such that people have to come out of it to not miss out on things.

I also think that Facebook will stop keeping its users tightly clenched only if enough of us use other media to communicate and keep pulling people off Facebook.

For example, this very thread could be shared on a Facebook page and people will have to come here and comment.


That is rather sad is it not? I am not sure if you have experience working in a grassroots organisation, but if you do you would know being puratarian will not work. Also “True Scotsman” argument is a logical fallacy. I would recommend that you can still continue to contribute to whatever organisation you think follows the Free Software Philosophy.


There are not many server experts here AFAIK and most of us don’t have time for this but would appreciate help in this regard if we can get it. AFAIK most of them run Fedora in the machines in office.


We cannot advocate Free Software from within our shell. We have to go out to where there are people who actually need to know about Free Software. That’s why I think we should have a super strong presence on Facebook, which is where most of our target audiences and potential converts are. Otherwise, we’ll be preaching to our own choir. Doesn’t serve any purpose. We’ll just be the whack hipsters. I would rather lean towards pragmatism than idealism at least for now.