Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Reason Why You Cannot Convince Anyone To Switch To FOSS

How many times have you talked about your favorite free software to a friend and they appeared totally convinced about how cool it is, but just won't stop using their proprietary tool?

Firefox is cool. But Chrome's market share keeps increasing.
XMPP and IRC are both cool. But they're both dying.
LibreOffice can do everything you need, but you still look for how to get Microsoft Office for the cheapest price.
Facebook is evil, but you have to post this photo there itself.

Why does this happen? Why is it so hard to make people start using perfectly good, free and open source software for their daily needs?

Why don't people understand?

To answer it, you should ask yourself why you use any of those FOSS things.

Why do you use Firefox? Because it's secure, protects your privacy, and puts you in control? No. You use Firefox because you know Mozilla's mission, and you are passionate about it. Or, because you know how to develop an add-on that changes the colour of the toolbar. Or, because you can do cool things with the in-built Developer tools.

You use Firefox because it's fun for you to use it.

Why do you use GNU/Linux? Because it's free software, secure, and puts you in control? No. You use GNU/Linux because you know the economic and social goodness of free software. Or, because you know how to do cool things from the terminal. Or, because you're one of those people who can actually code the kernel and make it behave the way you want.

You use GNU/Linux because it's fun for you to use it.

Why do you use encrypted/private channels for communication? Because it protects you from governments? No (unless you're Edward Snowden). You use encryption because the very idea of having a conversation that nobody can snoop into makes you curious. You use encryption to understand how the whole thing works. You use encryption to prove that it is possible.

You use FOSS because that's what you do!
You are probably a coder. You already enjoy building FOSS things.
You are probably political. Your philosophy makes you averse towards proprietary.

Think of anything that you use so naturally and you can't convince a friend to switch to.

Ask yourself why your friend should be using that software.

If the answer is any of "free software", "secure", "control", etc. your friend will never use it.

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