Ugh. I'm so frustrated to be continually asked to participate in talks & panels on Zoom specifically about tech ethics & . There are great systems for this. See @fosdem's successful use of solely FOSS solutions for over 30,000 participants.

I am all for meeting people where they are, but at this point, if you're an expert in these issues enough to be running a conference on these topics and still using Zoom you just aren't trying, and you are comfortable broadcasting that you don't really care.

We undermine our own advocacy by not leading by example when we can. @mako's seminal essay makes the great point at we cannot allow ourselves to be at the whim of the companies whose tooling we do not control.
By ceding control to proprietary platforms, we set ourselves up for failure when they inevitably fall down or ask for more.

@o0karen0o What you're describing goes for so much tech. It's kind of frustrating.

I feel your pain @o0karen0o
Also today I had to participate to more events on Zoom and Teams that could have easily been Jitsi or BigBlueButton based events.

It's even more annoying for the fact that I host several Jitsi/BBB instances and I sometimes offer them for free to avoid having to use the others but... "The users are familiar with mainstream platforms" 🤦‍♂️

@fosdem @o0karen0o Also if you like Jitsi but need more control I can highly recommend as a paid option. I use it and really appreciate the ability to always be the moderator without having to either self-host or get to the meeting 2 hours in advance.

@o0karen0o @fosdem I fully agree. I'm currently working on creating a FOSS conference ( and inspired by FOSSDEM we try to use only FOSS software for everything. And while it's not plug-and-play, it looks like it is definitely possible (even for our much smaller team) to get something working with #BigBlueButton, #Nginx for streaming a recording of BBB, #Matrix for Chat and #Pretalx for schedule and organizing.

@lukas As I recall @gnome offered to help FOSS conferences who needed it, and in this particular situation (and others) where I bet the attendance will be fairly low I've volunteered @conservancy's BBB instance to no avail.

@o0karen0o @gnome @conservancy
This is definitely helpful to others organizing events.
We are quite happy with the cooperation of who help with the technical details and server capacity.

@o0karen0o @fosdem I refuse to participate in anything not running #FOSS communication tools. Instead I provide a BBB instance I run. Positive experiences for slaves-to-proprietary so far? all of them.

@lightweight yes, I usually try to just supply an easy alternative too. "You don't need an account or to download any software - really!" This is why I'm just completely flabbergasted that people who actually know better keep brazenly using Zoom and expecting me to use it too. It's not like being invited to a relative's birthday party. This is a professional discussion about the ethics of freely licensed code.

@o0karen0o agreed. I'm similarly flabbergasted that every single country's national school organisation (like the US Dept of Ed or NZ Ministry of Ed) haven't implemented BBB across their entire school system. It's criminal negligence, actually..

@o0karen0o @lightweight

I'm planning a conference (linguistics) for the Spring. Our University/Department has Zoom accounts, which we're expected to use for classes and official University business.

But we don't have a high enough "tier" of Zoom for me to use it for a conference whether I wanted to or not. I'm not keen on spending conference resources to pay Zoom. I'd rather pay a host to spin up a BBB instance for the conference and have been looking into different options.

@emacsomancer @o0karen0o Do it! Then your uni has a solid datapoint to support not renewing Zoom and going full BBB instead. It's a no brainer for universities.

@lightweight I doubt it will affect Uni decisions. Our IT departments routinely choose the worst solutions. I think their guiding principle is "use whatever most other Unis are using so we can't be blamed for X", and thus we have Outlook and Zoom etc.

(Tragically, there was actually some use of BBB pre-pandemic and early pandemic here, but they switched everything to Zoom.)

But I at least don't want to add to the issue by paying Zoom more more.


@emacsomancer @o0karen0o this is where a little civil disobedience comes into play. Perhaps you can convince your department to make the switch? Or voice concern about the terms of service for the proprietary services - see this for example:

@lightweight Yes. Though right now my main concern is that our Department has decided that Microsoft Teams is a good and safe platform for faculty, staff, grads, and undergrads to discuss issues of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion on.


@emacsomancer @o0karen0o yes, most institutional IT policy makers are grossly incompetent. We need to call it out a LOT more. And more forcefully.

@lightweight The Microsoft Teams one is worse, because, while it is true that Teams is one of the "official" solutions of our University, unlike Outlook, which is now the only allowed channel for email, it is not mandated. So we could have made a different choice there, at the Department level.

On the larger issue of incompetent (I'm tempted to say, and also paid off by large corps) IT policy makers - it's not clear to me exactly where I can apply leverage.


@emacsomancer @o0karen0o organise your peers... state that you no longer accept the draconian/byzantine terms you've been forced to accept, and then show the Uni why it's an imposition on the rights of all attending or employed by the institution... And yes, your Uni's institution IT folks are getting lots of 'perks' to ensure they stick with the Frightful Five (and Zoom). They need to be helped to 'move on', i.e. put out to pasture.

@lightweight The organising my peers step is likely to be the stumbling block, as most of them really don't care. I'll do what I can though.


@emacsomancer @o0karen0o it might be a long game... but by seeding the concern, it might galvanise folks into action when the next major centralised service provider outage occurs, for example. :)


Where are you based ?
If you're in Poland (or the EU), Teams¹ is illegal to use for Universities since Safe Harbor has been turned over.
The French CNIL has confirmed it in June (or July ? Don't remember) and any European CNIL is bound to draw the same conclusion.

¹ And all american cloud collaborative solutions.

(and yes we're used to have IT laws not applied, but still it's the law)

@lightweight @o0karen0o

@emacsomancer @o0karen0o by forcing you to accept those Ts&Cs your uni's policy is effectively forcing you to sacrifice your personal privacy and data sovereignty. That's a serious imposition.

@o0karen0o @lightweight The trouble is mobile support. Jitsi uses their app that has to be reconfigured for not using their site. BBB doesn't have an app and just assumes everyone's mobile has the latest version of Chrome (which is not only ridiculous given that most Androids aren't the latest and half the country uses older iOS, it basically requires all but the most technical users to use something that slurps all their data!)

@DHeadshot @o0karen0o you can run BBB on Firefox and Brave among others on Android, & Safari on iOS.

@lightweight @o0karen0o Latest version of Safari only, not the versions on older iPads that don't get the latest OS updates.

As for Firefox for Android, I guess it must only work with the stock version...

@DHeadshot @o0karen0o dunno - it's always worked fine for me on LineageOS with FF or Brave...

Agh I'm so frustrated I wrote a message that was too big and lost all of it. But in short jibri is a mess, with docs from Ubuntu 16.04 and many holes. I'd like to get some time to update it.

Jitsi needs to provide sample config files instead of relying on tutorials with conflicting ideas. 8x8 is good, but the idea of a premoderated room is critical and deal breaks it for most places wanting to do an event. I made a manual workaround this for work but it's more a wrapper.

Wow. Talking tech ethics on a platform that lied about how they protected their users, then were caught and lied again then just kept on lying? And then open source to boot? Talk about working in a vacuum.

@o0karen0o @fosdem embrace the RMS.

:blobcat: will you lend us your popularity?
:blobfoxglare: will you use free software
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