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[Freedombox-discuss] blogging in the FB (was Re: Roadmap Brainstorming)

Le vendredi 18 mars 2011 ? 18:37 -0400, Les Orchard a ?crit :
> On 3/18/11 6:01 PM, Yannick wrote:
> > All this is just hurting my feelings; and with much more deep
> > consequences defeating the whole project. Do you guys remember it is
> > about freedom? It is not just another marketing buzz around "freedom",
> > or "green", or [feel with your own concern] you can use to cover another
> > business operation.
> Personally, I don't have a business operation, and my day job is as a 
> web developer at the Mozilla Corporation. I truly want to see freedom 
> increased for everyone.
> > Do you remember Elben's talks? Have you only listen him?
> I sure did listen to him. It's the whole reason I joined the list.
> > I'm getting tired of arguing about technical issues after reading this
> > thread; the goal is quite clear: fine grained control of datas and
> > communication, all in the hand of the user. It is not about the ease of
> > use of services which can and do change their policies without one
> > approval.
> This is what I want to see, too.
> > To put it clearly: the freedombox should take facebook and twitter down.
> +1
> > And no, it wont do it because it provide more/better features, it will
> > do it because it is a tool which design goal is to give people the
> > *respect* it deserves.
> This is where I disagree. If we want to take down Facebook and Twitter, 
> we need to understand why they're successful and address that.
> The reason services like Facebook and Twitter have won so many users is 
> because many people can use them and they don't generally cost money to 
> use. And, because all their friends are there - which is a network 
> effect promoted by the ease-of-use and lack of a monetary fee.

I do think you're mistaken here, quite deeply. Facebook and twitter are
by no mean competitors to the freedombox project. What we aim here is
not only to replace them, it is to surpass them.

I am not talking about some technical superiority, some more confortable
device/GUI, some more commodity, some more imprisonment into one system.

What I'm talking about here is related to what freedom of speech brings
with him: public opinion and his relationship with democracy.

This is something new, something the internet makes finally real for
everyone: we have the tools to express, coordinate, inform, share, build
some virtual stuff together, etc. We are still yet in infancy,
restricted by many things, but we start experiencing it at the scale of
the society. We can see new stuff like poll being replaced by how people
do aggregate in social network. This is quite different: it is no more
about "reading" what the people want or need, it is about how the people
transforms itself, how it evolves.

This is also something we can see in free software: the way it organize,
which again is mostly non-hierarchic, where is it hard to point out who
is in charge of a global vision, how the decision process works. But it
works, and we can see vision coming out of it.

In both social network and free software, the fuel is to act, no more
just to respond. It is about creativity, commitment.

A profit based model, with all the hierarchy and centralisation it
implies, cannot fit very well. The tool has to evolve deeply rooted
within the people. The free software movement has this culture and this
aim. We are at the crossroad between the old world and something new.

The network effect we aim at will come because the freedom box can and
should be in the hand of the people. It is what we call "hacking". It
brings with it the freedom to evolve by your own acting to fit your
needs. This is a huge difference by itself. I do think you underestimate
how deep it is. It is a qualitative change, not just another "more".

The creative commons licences in the culture are also very interesting
for the freedom box. I do think we should consider a service for
searching, sharing, promote and help people using this new culture.

> The FreedomBox could have the most solid technical foundations - but if 
> it will gain few converts if it doesn't have an answer to the concerns 
> of usability, cost, and network effects.

I'm not saying we should go against that. But face it: this is what our
lovely hackers are doing daily.

> For cost, well, we're talking about a free OS on relatively cheap plug 
> computer that can get cheaper.
> For usability, I think we'll get there if it's a priority.
> For network effects, that's what I mean when I say that a FreedomBox 
> should talk to things like Twitter and Facebook. If you give me a box 
> that can talk to almost no one, I'll never use it. Give me a box that 
> lets me talk to my friends on existing services, yet gain more control 
> over my life online, and I'll start using it every day.

My point is: if a few people can do radically new stuff using the
freedom box because this is what fits better, then the rest of the
people will start asking itself: what is this freedom box? 

We have to bring novelty, e.g. real privacy is quite new for the average
internet user today. As a selling argument, "privacy" wont make much
difference. And guess what? Major business on the internet like google,
facebook, twitter, etc. wont make this change happen because it is where
their business model is: collecting datas on users. But once a few
people will achieve something really new and big using it, it will reach
its goal. Think e.g. of wikileaks: real privacy + government leaks =
huge difference. 

About your point, there is no concern: google, facebook, twitter, all
use the web as a platform. And we will ship a web browser. But a freedom
box is not a fancy device to surf the web, like an apple product. It
aims to gives the people more power, possibly up to a world change.
Still, this is just a tool.

Best regards,

> Consider it support for legacy networks while people are eased onto 
> better paths. It can be a bridge - and someday, the bridge can be 
> burned. But, if there is no bridge at all, I don't think many people 
> will make the required leap.
> But, I could be wrong, and maybe concerns of privacy and 
> self-determination will override usability / cost / network effects, 
> once a respectable alternative is available. I'm rather pessimistic 
> about that, though.

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