Using Free Software doesn't automatically give people freedom.

The freedom is in the user's ability to modify the software when it does something user doesn't like, and make it do what user wants it to do.

As long as there's someone in the world for whom modifying the software they use is not an option, be it because of license, excessive complexity, lack of time, lack of patience, or because the person is afraid or overwhelmed by the concept of modifying something - that person is not free.

@Wolf480pl This is a complex topic between legality and practicality. Someone who has the right to travel has that right, but the right does not guarantee a plane ticket.

Free Software is about the legal right. It is the underpinning. The practical issues are important but when we say that it's all or nothing, we don't move forward.

@emacsen I think the practicality aspect is getting more and more important recently.

I've seen relatively many situations like:
a) a piece of software works against the wishes/best interest of some user/group of users, the user[s] demand that the developer changes the software (for free) and if that request is not satisfied, they call the dev evil and unethical


@Wolf480pl These are each separate issues, so (like you) I need to address them separately.

First, we must look at the situation of software usability and accessibility If software is Freely licensed but requires a lot of training to use, it will be effectively out of the hands of certain people where time is an asset they don't have to spare, for example poor people. Being accessible is part of being welcoming, especially to minority or underprivileged people. 1/

@Wolf480pl To further our global goals of Freedom, we need to be aware of and consider issues of accessibility in both the software we develop, as well as the way in which we interact with those in our community.

As this applies to people who demand things from us, we should look at who they are and the historical context. Are they a minority/oppressed/disabled or underprivileged group asking us to help them get out of this situation? 2/3


@Wolf480pl If we're talking about helping an underprivileged group, then if the thing they're asking for is more than you can do, you can explain it to them in those terms. "I want to help you but I'm not able to do so... maybe you can find another way to get this done?"

And if not, if they simply demand with no reciprocity or understanding, then that's called entitlement. We can't fix someone else's entitlement, only understand it and act accordingly. 3/3

I agree with the approach you recommend in your last post.

But that the whole situation where they need to ask us to change software for them, is because they can't control their own software, it's the software that controls them, and we control the software.

Giving them the feature they want is like giving them a fish.
Teaching them so that they can implement the feature themselves, is like giving them a fishing rod. It lets them control their software, so that the software no longer controls them.

@Wolf480pl In some cases, teaching them to fish is great! But imagine if you're a poor mother of three children working two or even three jobs to make ends meet. Hearing "Learn how to do it yourself" can be like hearing "If you want to heal your sick child, first go to medical school".

That doesn't obligate you to take any action. You may still decide not to implement it for them (your time is worth something too), but our answer can't always be to require others to learn programming.

Thank you for your explanation. It helped me understand what "learn to do it yourself" may sound like from the other side, and that "now" may not be the best time for someone to learn programming.

But the case you described is something I mentioned in my original post:
A person is controlled by the software they use because they lack time. They can't benefit from freedoms 1-3.

And if we can't eventually teach some form of programming to everyone, then our global goal will not be achieved.

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