Welcome, welcome, WELCOME to Mastodon Hour!!! This was first announced on fsf.org/blogs/community/flock- and is our very first time hosting such an event. During this time, you may communicate via reply to our toots, mention us in a new thread, or direct message, and we will be available to respond in real-time.


For this first Mastodon Hour, the main topic will be "Help others find their reason to support free software." This is the theme of our spring fundraiser, which is going on now. Our secondary topic will be "decentralization and federation," and what better place to discuss this than on a decentralized service such as Mastodon!

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Also, do you know anyone who is "on the freedom ladder" who you would like to introduce? They can either be people you know personally or not, even just someone you know who is creating or sharing resources relevant to educating people about free software, no matter how simple or complex. We are interested to know!!!

f you don't know how to start, you can try replying to this thread. (It's a first time for us, too, so we will be playing it by ear together.

@fsf Just a hint for next time: If you tag the posts for an event like this, people can follow the tags as to not miss any of the dialog #fsf #mastdonhour (suggestions)

@murph Good point. Sometimes I (blame me, Devin U, if you want to name names) either 1) gets lazy or 2) runs out of space. I will try to keep it more consistent next time.

Hello @fsf! I expect many more people to say this, but while I like this initiative a lot, I think you give too much focus to Mastodon. There’s a number of other decentralised services which federate with Mastodon, such as Pleroma, Hubzilla, or Misskey. All of these federate with Mastodon and each other, and I believe this is a very important part of what makes federation more resilient, user-friendly, and in some sense of the word, free. Therefore, I think you would do very well to mention some of the other options, and use the common name ‘Fediverse’ when talking about the network as a whole. (Though I see no problem if Mastodon stands out; it is by far the most popular, and seems more accessible than some of the others, too.)

GNU Social is supposedly able to federate with these services using ActivityPub. There is a new version 3 of GNU Social being developed on this website, but your own project page seems to be pointing to a different, much older page. Is the version 3 still a part of the GNU project and a legitimate continuation? Perhaps you wouldn’t need separate accounts for GNU Social and Mastodon if your GNU Social instance was made to federate with the latter?

@tirifto (As I mentioned in another reply...) I did read the comments, and shared it with the team. I think it is worth considering. Since we are responding via Mastodon, we decided to call it "Mastodon Hour." FWIW, we did make some updates to fsf.org/twitter, which emphasizes fediverse, in general. I recommend checking it out.

As for the GNU Social comments, I will bring it up with the rest of the team.

@fsf Thank you for your consideration!

I’ve skimmed through the page, but it still only talks about Mastodon and GNU Social for microblogging, and mentions PeerTube for videos. Perhaps listing some other known services would help to illustrate the diversity of the network and give a way for users who like to explore to find what might suit them best? Right now, I think it makes the network seem more limited than it really is. (‘Fediverse’ is also not mentioned, but then again, it doesn’t really have an official definition, so I reckon that makes sense.)

@tirifto We believe it is an improvement upon what it was a few months ago. Please remember that, as the Free Software Foundation, our primary main goal is user freedom. (This is why the page recommends free/libre Twitter front-ends like Nitter, for example.)

@fsf Absolutely; I share your view on freedom, and am happy you stand up for it as firmly as you do. I use Nitter myself. ^ ^

Since we are talking about leading users towards freedom, though, I believe showing the size and variety of the network would make it more attractive for them. Showing the free side of the web as a blooming and diverse garden shows that it can be and is being very much alive and practical. This is not to downplay the importance of freedom, but rather show that the free world is doing well (in part thanks to the freedoms it’s built on, no doubt).

Of course, improvement comes in increments, and I don’t mean to be negative. Thank you for your work, and please keep it up!

@fsf My first attempt to reply to this thread. Successful (y / n)?

@isharefreedom @a8o I don't know if this is disappointing or not, but I (Devin U) am using the Web client. 😜

@isharefreedom No, I am using a web-browser interface. Open to any suggestions!

@fsf Is there another fsf-sponsored mastodon gathering in the works?

@a8o We cannot make any promises at the moment (because we are super-duper busy fighting for ), but it is our hope that we can continue sponsoring events such as these. Thanks for attending and for participating! 🎇

People will support free software more if it's easy to use (not just copying what exists) and gives people a reason to use it.

Which is easy when Microsoft is deciding "yeah we'll make Windows 11 spy on you more than Google and also lock out booting Linux on new laptops". Linux needs to be less bloated though, flatpacks are terrible.

@PhenomX6 Is there any free software packages you believe succeed at this?

@fsf Quite a few come to mind, especially when a popular proprietary or paid program deteriorated. I think everybody old enough remembers how Firefox took over market share hard from IE (back when there were more than two browser engines) because not only was IE stagnating, but it's nature as a Windows component arguably limited it somewhat. People didn't seem to notice it was free software, but they loved how it was a much better browser.

A more niche example of this is Krita. Krita has dominated the online art world because it's not only free to download, but since it's actually free there's no need to fight with DRM cracking. Did I mention it's pretty powerful feature set wise? While it's been compared to GIMP even though the object of both programs is wildly different, unlike Clip Studio Paint and Corel Painter it's both free and open source.

On the other hand, something like Mumble was commonly critiqued for being somewhat hard to use on top of having weird bugs with audio output. While Discord and Zoom and the like got so popular for being easy for someone who cannot operate a computer to use, Discord in the early days was known for "just working" and needing no sign-up to join a server, similar to like what IRC was. But Discord got big for the same reason those two programs did, it was truly filling a void and giving someone something to use when Skype was collapsing hard.

@PhenomX6 FWIW, we use mumble at FSF, and it works very well for us. (Apart from the freedom, of course...) Personally, I like that I can drag and drop from room to room.

@fsf @PhenomX6 I use Inkscape and GIMP regularly. We use KiCad for our PCB design and layout. But generally I agree- we need more focus on user experience. It's difficult enough in a for-profit setting, but for nonprofits I imagine it's even more difficult to wrangle a community to support a singular vision for usability.

@mikeroft @fsf Agreed, especially consistency wise (not doing radical UI changes every version). Mobile apps are notorious for doing that, while successful ones like Discord or Telegram don't change the UI every year.

Also another thing is training. Many schools and businesses teach people how to use Microsoft/Google/Apple products, but not FOSS projects unless it's Linux server administration for that one class that none of the kids like or care about because they're taking IT classes so they can learn to make games or write cheats for Call of Duty.

Meanwhile Apple and Google and MS know that if you hook the kids early they'll be lifetime customers. So Apple would infamously give schools cheap or free Apple IIs and Macs, and later ran advertisements into the 90s talking about how schools use Apple products.
@PhenomX6 @fsf We already have package managers like Pacman, Emerge, Apt, Yum, and so on, I really fail to see the point of adding Flatpaks and Snaps on top of it.
Basically, all it has contributed to was basically this:

@ryo @PhenomX6 @fsf

((( SNAP ))) and ((( FLAT PAK))) are bloated centralised stores goyim

Its 'RREEEEEEEEEEE insert made up weaponised word' to use a offline package manager that doesnt 'require' constant updates or the internet

@fsf Honest question, how should we get people to care about free software alternatives when they really have no reason to? As much as I like using free software I find it difficult to convince most people they should switch to it.

Also, this is more related to the FSF, but whatever happened to those custom fundraiser pages? I wanted to make one for a planned fundraiser but they didn't work last i checked🙁

@Slips It can be really tricky. In our experience it's important to highlight the ethical advantage as much as possible. Now, in practice that's going to get more than a few apathetic responses, but setting an example when it comes to your own freedom is something that we've found successful. It just takes persistence.

As for the fundraiser pages, they haven't worked for a while and are currently disabled, but it's on our todo list to bring back. We liked them, too.

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