Attracting new contributors and free software enthusiasts

As the number of computer users is growing, the need for free software is being felt more than ever. We see new services every day and free software developers are trying to make their programs look more like the proprietary ones, in order to make sure nobody is forced to use any proprietary software because of the user interface or possible features.

Some foundations such as FSF and EFF are trying their best to spread knowledge about people’s digital rights. However, getting people to avoid proprietary software and only using free programs is not an easy job to do.

We need more than possibility of using free software to get people respecting their computer freedom and rights. There should be benefits for people in using free software. For example, whenever I ask people to leave Google services and use free (as in freedom) tools such as Nextcloud, I tell them how more efficient and useful Nextcloud is comparing to proprietary services such as Google.

Another example is telling them how tech giants are violating their privacy and those corporations control people by controlling the flow of information people get. I tell them how using free software benefits them and gives them back their control over their digital and non-digital life by giving them back their rights.

Another thing which can attract people is that I treat them with respect. I tell them they have rights over what’s theirs and I answer their questions with patience. Unlike most proprietary software companies that treat people as “customers” or “money machines”, I try to treat people with kindness and patience. This way, they understand that free software is more humane. GNU Kind Communications Guidelines can be a good document regarding this.

Another thing that I always have in mind is to teach people how freedom of software can lead us to a free society. I teach them how their rights is being violated every day and how governments are benefiting tech giants instead of people. For example, I tell people how governments spend millions of people’s taxes in buying license of Microsoft Windows when they can use GNU+Linux for free.

Many times, I try to teach people about about their privacy and security. I teach them how free software is generally more secure than proprietary software because we can study and/or change it while proprietary software forces us to use them as is, without any ability to actually know how it works. I teach them how using free software can free them from being a digital slave.

Finally, I teach companies and projects/individuals about how they can make money from their project by publishing it under a free (as in freedom) license and receive help from a large community to make their program better and more efficient, so they can attract more people into buying it. I teach them how they can benefit from the free software communities worldwide and how they can be mutually beneficial.

I teach people how free software generally costs less than proprietary software and how free software projects are more economical for them.

Published by

Avatar photo

Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.