Today's fedi-convos have been interesting but have me wondering about general public's attitudes towards Free software.

Like...hey I *can* use it "gratis" so that means I'm "entitled" to use it for free, including getting updates and support...even I'd I have the means to pay.

You have the right to use Free software at no monetary cost. This does NOT let you abdicate your responsibility to take care of your own systems. Read the license. NO WARRANTY.




People pay Adobe hundreds or thousands a year and complain bitterly about it, but keep doing it because the Free stuff is inferior. Yet because the likes of and and are Free and made by volunteers instead of corporations they somehow deserve nothing!

ERP systems are even worse...customers pay $1000 plus $100/user each month just to run Oracle Netsuite, then they still pay a small fortune to "consultants"! Yet the Free gets relatively little attention...

...can you imagine if users (especially commercial users) gave even just a fraction of money and effort and attention to support those already very capable Free projects how much more polished they could become! Can you imagine if companies established their own or servers and donated even half the cost of a professional Zoom subscription how much more robust and secure virtual meetings would be!

Stop supporting horrible Silicon Valley rentiers already!

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@msh I think you have conflated 2 things that are not the same: free SOFTWARE and commercial SERVICES. When one pays for zoom, one gets servers, network, operations, support, and infrastructure that runs some (non-free) software. Giving money to software authors doesn’t get you resilient and dependable infrastructure to run the software on. Running reliably is left as an exercise for the reader.

@paco Well yes and no.

People can opt to purchase SERVICES that offer all of those things but with Free SOFTWARE instead. You in fact *can* choose to pay for hosted Jitsi service instead of zoom, and that money not only goes to providing dependable infrastructure and service, some of it goes to further the development of Jitsi too.

Yet, for some reason when the demand for teleconferencing suddenly jumped people consciously chose to pay for Zoom over hosted Jitsi.

@msh @paco I think a big challenge here is that jitsi doesn't aggressively market for its hosted solutions.

I mean, we can make that comparison, but zoom does a damn good job at being a household name, jitsi by comparison fails on all counts.

I agree that people should support open code over proprietary code, but this is a problem of marketing and visibility, not values.

@thatgeoguy @paco the sad part about it is that the Jitsi project is older than Zoom. Zoom was also founded by a former Cisco Webex employee who based on his background most certainly would have been aware of Jitsi. Zoom could have been founded as a Jitsi service provider and could have provided Jitsi with those essential marketing resources.

I've tried marketing myself and products and services before. It is HARD, t is EXPENSIVE, and generally far outside the wheelhouse of most real techies...

@msh @thatgeoguy I agree. Even "branding" is important. "Jitsi" is software, "Jitsi-as-a-service" doesn't have a name. And so much of it is the network effect. Once everyone has "it" installed, "it" gets easier to use. Thank God Facebook doesn't have any traction here.

@paco @thatgeoguy Facebook is trying but not doing well thank goodness.

I think there is historical precedent that it could work though. People bought video recorders and tapes from all sorts of brands without confusion because they all had a VHS logo. People bought computers from all sorts of brands that had "Intel Inside" stickers confident they would be compatible with their software.

Multiple service providers could still have their own brand and be "powered by Jitsi".

@thatgeoguy @paco ...but Zoom made a conscious choice to reinvent the wheel--to bastardise existing standards enough to keep the black box shut--most likely because it was the easier path to more money faster. I think it must be easier to attract VC money that way.

It's a shame there isn't more encouragement for startups to *properly* use open standards and technology (rather than abuse them).

. @msh Thats a big issue, money falls always into very few hands, and with IT this could be bypassed.

Though we have other issues like the hardware where we host software or networking.

I love small realities supporting free and open software, we should push for every body to do the same.

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