Distros need to stop promoting nonfree software


It is no secret that I can't stand the absolute state of the modern GNU/Linux desktop. Even putting all of that aside though, there are some other issues I want to talk about. I've talked a lot about package management, audio and more, but the biggest problem is how we (the community) approach the normies. Many of these easy distributions come with a graphical package manager. Fair enough if you're new, right? These package managers often have a "featured" section, I know PopOS has one, and that's where the problem lies. PopOS and likely other distributions are actively recommending nonfree software through the "featured" section.

That is a huge problem because by recommending nonfree software you are telling normies that they SHOULD continue to use nonfree software, and they should not adapt to our ideas and start using free software alternatives. I get that some nonfree software just does not have good free software replacements, but you as the distro maintainer need to be able to put your foot down, and stop recommending Google Chrome or Microsoft Office or LastPass or other nonfree software when there are clear free software alternatives that usually accomplish the same task, and usually does a better job at it too.

The solution: Nonfree software should not be recommended by the GNU/Linux community. There is no harm in keeping it available, if not intentionally making it a little bit harder to install, because some users just are not able to move away from it for many different reasons. But we should not make it as easy to install nonfree software as it is to install free software. When you install GNU/Linux, you should be encouraged to move away from nonfree software for the most part in favor of free software that respects the user's freedom and privacy. By recommending nonfree software, you are encouraging the user not to care about privacy, and use GNU/Linux because "it works better than Windows" rather than "I care about my privacy and security".

If you have read ploum.net's excellent article titled We need more of Richard Stallman, not less you're no doubt aware of this already, but the free software foundation has slowly been replaced by the more corporate friendly open source movement which doesn't care about your freedom, only the collaboration aspect of free software. These same people want Stallman and the Free Software Foundation gone, because they actively dislike free software. The thing is we NEED Stallman's extremist views on software. We need to go all out on free software, not just use SOME free software but mostly nonfree software, because if we don't we still have terribly privacy and security. And when a "faster" or "better" version of the free software comes out, why shouldn't we just use that instead?

The best way to spread free software and avoid spreading nonfree software is to promote free software, and shame nonfree software for not respecting users' freedom and privacy. Normies usually get into free software by using GNU/Linux, so there's an excellent opportunity to promote free software rather than nonfree software.

Let me know what you think. Do you think it's justified to promote nonfree software? Do you think we should be even more strict, maybe not even allow nonfree software in the main repositories? I'm interested to hear about it. Have a good day.