How to get people to use open source services (in an ethical way)?

Today I asked in the Matrix Channel about an idea on how to get new users to the open source way.

A short summary of the idea:
As a hoster we wanna provide a sub-community for gaming. A lot of people play games and most of them use unfree operating system or chat software like Discord or Teamspeak.
What we wanna try is to get new people through this channel to open source services. Of course this is not possible with open source things, so we first need to use closed source applications and services.
It is nearly impossible to get new people to the open source way without using closed source applications first.

The question is now, is this okay in terms of a Librehoster?

An example: What if we announce a gaming tournament for game XY via Mastodon? The game is probably not open source. But what if we meet someone during the tournament, talk a bit, and get this person to switch from Teamspeak to Mumble? Or at least he uses Mumble next to Teamspeak? What if he uses Framapoll instead of Strawpoll for his next game voting?

Speaking for myself: Yes! From the ethical side this is fully okay for me. Trying to get new people to the open source side through closed source channels is the best and often only way.

What do you think?

/edit: Of course we will NOT host any non-free services!

I would like to have more focus in our exchanges about how the LH can help making a change in society, to get more people away from surveillance capitalism and gain back some freedom through free tools.
We have to put a lot of effort into explaining and helping to find ethical services. That’s why I think that every libre hoster should have maximum 50% technical staff, the other half should do information, communication and technical emancipation work.

But how do we talk with people about free software without going to them first?

Why wouldn’t you announce a gaming tournament that actually is a free software game, using Mumble and Framapoll, instead of taking lukewarm measures? Maybe that’s why I have so much difficulty reading “to use open source services (in an ethical way)?”: you have to insist on ethics in parenthesis, instead of clearly stating your intention by using the term free software. Because free software is ethical, and open-source is not, you don’t have to mention it, especially in parenthesis.

Now if your idea is to convert existing gamers of existing non-free games, I’m not sure they’re interested at all in using a sub-quality free software game instead of a multi-million dollars blockbuster game.

There’s research towards high-quality free games, just to mention a few:

People that are playing GPL games, are already using Linux/BSD and certain FOSS. The whole thing is about getting to people that aren’t. No one wants to host non-free services, no one wants to promote them either.

To make people even consider switching to ethical ways, we have to go where those people are. This means by actually having events surrounding those games, we might be able to talk to those people.

Those games would be handpicked, so only games that have actual Linux support (no WINE) will be played.


Strictly in terms of a librehoster, I don’t think it would be fitting. In my opinion, member organisations shouldn’t promote the use of non-free software even if it’s as an avenue to FLOSS. As an individual or a separate organisation, definitely. I’m all for that and would certainly participate.

I’m organising a gaming party for people from the Fediverse and, while we have the most people wanting to play SuperTuxKart, there are also a few that want to play games like Borderlands 2, Guns of Icarus, etc. We’ll be using my Mumble instance for voice chat so it’s pretty much exactly like what you’re talking about putting together.

Pad with more information

Poll to decide dates

Mumble is identical to Teamspeak in my experience.