Why we can’t regulate Google, etc:

Because of useful idiots like @conservancy legitimising them by being sponsored by them.

Me: Google is a surveillance capitalist that makes billions tracking and profiling you. They are a threat to our human rights and democracy. We just regulate them.

Policymaker: you must be mistaken, they’re the good guys. Look, here they are allowed to sponsor CopyLeft Conf with the FSF logo displayed proudly next to theirs.

Some of the foundations not only take Google's money, but also let Google dictate what to do. GNOME has this rule for the Board of Directors:
"Keep confidential discussions private. This includes legal discussions or conversations with the Advisory Board." Google is in the "Advisory" Board.


@aral @conservancy

I don't think Google uses GNOME in any of their products.
But GNOME Desktop has an option to integrate Google services into the desktop environment. For example automatic syncing user's GNOME calendar to their Google calendar. Also it can sync email, contacts, documents, photos and even printers.


Also, GNOME Desktop has native Google Drive integration.


@bob @aral


@neoncipher @bob FFS! (I’m sick of this crap. Seriously. Every stone you turn over, something new…)

@aral @neoncipher @bob well yeah, that's what you get when a company becomes big, rich and powerful enough: it puts its tentacles everywhere. It's just capitalism, nothing surprising here.

Terrible, yes; but not surprising.

@mathieu @bob @neoncipher @aral it's also not like Google gets any special treatment in this - GNOME also supports IMAP/SMTP and free providers for other services as well, such as Nextcloud for contacts, files, calendar, and notes.

The unfortunate truth is that if you want the average person using free software, that software will need to have the ability to connect to common services until we can make them less common.

@aral @brainblasted @neoncipher @bob so, keep in mind that Geary was started pretty much as a GMail client **for** GNOME, maintained outside of it (by the now dead Yorba). Its generic IMAP/SMTP support is indeed a bit of an afterthought.

Geary was later adopted by GNOME, and since then Michael has been working hard on making it better.

The issue you link to even states the plan for dropping that Google special preference.

@mathieu @aral @brainblasted @neoncipher @bob

Particularly hilarious when you consider that Yorba's *primary goal* of writing Geary in the first place was to wean people off web mail services by providing a better user experience.

Aral, you know where I stand on this and you know that Geary lists GMail first has nothing to do with some deep corporate conspiracy. So I'd appreciate it if you'd stop shitting on the work that I and other contributors put into the app in our spare time. Thanks.

@mjog @mathieu @brainblasted @neoncipher @bob Yes, Michael, I’m the problem here by criticising legitimisation of surveillance capitalists. I’m not shitting on your work (it’s great work, you’re an amazing developer, I’m in awe), I’m criticising your ethics.

I’ll leave it here. If I had to explain to every person in the mainstream individually why I oppose surveillance capitalists, I would get nothing else done.

@mjog @mathieu @brainblasted @neoncipher @bob It’s clear that GNOME considers Google and other surveillance capitalists to be entirely acceptable. They’re on your advisory board and they have first class support.

It is what it is.

If GNOME opposed surveillance capitalism, there would be privacy warnings and it would try to lead people towards ethical alternatives.

Anyway, like I said, I’m done here.

@aral "the Advisory Board does not have decision-making authority for the GNOME Foundation" (wiki.gnome.org/AdvisoryBoard)
If Google really had influence over apps, I assume they would be more concerned with adblocking in GNOME Web.

@brainblasted @neoncipher @mathieu @bob And, regardless of special treatment (which it gets), what GNOME is saying is that it is cool with surveillance capitalism and surveillance capitalists like Google, etc. (And it is.)

@aral @mathieu @neoncipher @brainblasted One of the many tasks to be done is to shift the Overton window around the big tech companies and their domination of conferences. So I think some folks need to be attending these and then to give talks in which they publicly criticize the sponsors and bring into question whether their presence is desirable, even if they don't get invited back. Especially the influence of the tech companies on paid for advisory boards should be examined and shouldn't be opaque as it currently is.
@aral @mathieu @neoncipher @brainblasted Paid for advisory boards seem like an especially insidious way for companies to buy influence in the direction of a project.

@bob @aral historically, companies on the advisory board have had very few impact on the direction of the project, as the Foundation only helps with logistics, it doesn't set the direction, takes technical decisions, etc…

This might change now that the Foundation has a developer employee, we will see.

At the same time, companies have much more power by just hiring developers, so the Foundation having its own employee also helps against that.

@bob @aral the bottom line is this is all very complicated, and abolishing capitalism entirely would probably be easier and lead to better results. 😏

@bob @aral @neoncipher @mathieu @brainblasted as a former board member I can assure you that the money entities pay is for the privilege of being able help guide the foundation (not the project). There is nothing insidious about it as you claim.

@bob @neoncipher @brainblasted as a GNOME Foundation member, I agree with this sentiment and tactic.

I'm all for refusing Google's money. But we do need some money unfortunately.

@aral do you want to get Indie on the advisory board and help us get rid of Google? 🙂


@mathieu @bob @neoncipher @brainblasted Sure, would love to… should I shoot @laura or myself though because we’d have to get rid of one of our salaries to afford the annual fee.

@aral @bob @neoncipher @brainblasted @laura ouch, that's a pretty high price indeed, I hadn't looked at the page before sending it. 😣

We should probably have a lower entry point for small companies… I'd be much happier with multiple smaller sponsors instead of one Google-like huge one.

@mathieu @bob @neoncipher @brainblasted @laura And how about free for a not-for-profit working for progressive change? If @indie had an advisory committee, I wouldn’t dream of making them pay. In fact, I’d feel bad if I couldn’t compensate them for their time and input.

@aral @bob @laura is @indie a not for profit?

I don't know whether Debian pays to be on the advisory board or not, to be honest, it's possible that it's already free for nonprofits.

@aral @laura @indie alright, so first, apologies, I just assumed you were a for-profit consultancy (albeit one with a sense of ethics).

I'll try to ask around for membership, whether there's a discount/gratuity for non-profits.

@aral @mathieu @bob @neoncipher @brainblasted @laura you got go for a regular donation subscription and get your friends to do it. Just like in politics if there are a lot of donors the project gets money. But just like the advisory members, you don't get a say in the technical direction of the project just to be clear.


... OR publicly declining the invitation referring to the issue. Like it should be done regarding all-male conferences, etc.

@aral @neoncipher @mathieu @brainblasted

@bob @aral @neoncipher @mathieu @brainblasted

this will be explosive Stuff on Fosdem and will lead to a lot of controversy; another reason why @bob should attend

@bob @aral @neoncipher @mathieu @brainblasted

whereas I learned from a reliable source of the Fosdem Orga that me fighting over years the booth of GsoC which is clearly an Recruiting tool for Google is tolerated because the University Libre Bosh wants their students to get a job

@yukiame @brainblasted @mathieu @neoncipher @aral Yes, the politics of Free Software gets murky. GSoC is about the only remaining thing that Google does which is vaguely good (things like OMEMO came out of it), and people always need jobs.

But in the long run I think it should be a goal to try to extricate ourselves from these murky relationships with giant companies whose agendas are almost certainly not well aligned.
@yukiame @aral @neoncipher @mathieu @brainblasted Ah but I'm sure if a few extra beers are purchased the recruiting rules can be overlooked 😉

@bob @aral @neoncipher @mathieu @brainblasted

it shows that you have never been to Fosdem otherwise you wouldn't say that

@brainblasted @aral @neoncipher @mathieu @bob But... that IS special treatment! Google should support open standards like IMAP to get the general free open software treatment like the rest of us.

@djoerd @bob @mathieu @neoncipher @aral sure, they absolutely should. But for now they don't, and users complain if they can't access GMail (the current largest email provider).

@brainblasted @mathieu @aral @neoncipher @bob Really? But.. everyone can access Gmail in the browser. When I still used Gmail, I had a Gnome desktop entry like this:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/usr/bin/chromium-browser --app=mail.google.com/mail/u/0 --user-data-dir=.config/chromium-gmail

@djoerd @bob @neoncipher @aral @mathieu not everyone wants to use a web client. For those people, because GMail makes up a majority of email accounts, a native client needs to support GMail.

@brainblasted @aral @neoncipher @mathieu @bob

Exactly. Not supporting Google's products simply means that people who use them will not use you app/desktop/whatever. Supporting proprietary services and libre services equally well provides a means for people to migrate from the former to the latter.

@mjog @aral @bob

When I was using GNOME I could easily access my Gmail account from a browser. You don't need a standalone app for that. The reason why I stopped using GNOME is that it keeps pushing some hidden corporate agenda, using corporate money. I care about my privacy and freedom more that I care about interface usability because I know how dangerous surveillance capitalism is. Exploiting non-tech-savvy people who have no idea about how modern tracking works is a shame.


i stopped using it because it is fucking unstable and freezes randomly.Now i will avoid it

@mjog @aral @bob


I've commented on your use of youtube before.

It's less I fault you or @neoncipher or @aral (Apple) for using these centralizing FAANG/GAFAM companies, especially if you're working to move people away from them. 1/2


@deejoe @mjog @aral @neoncipher Moving away from YouTube is complicated by the copyright situation. It is possible to mirror a YouTube video or channel on PeerTube, but unless it's Creative Commons then there's legal liability to deal with. Google has a lot of lawyers to rebuff the vultures, but self-hosting non-CC content is a lot more risky.

Another thing to remember is that after the p2p wars laws were introduced against "pirates". In the UK there was the now totally forgotten Digital Economy Act of 2010, rushed through because these things always are. It allows for copyright infringers to be disconnected from the internet either at the ISP level or just by cutting the cable. So far I don't think that law has been used, but it's there waiting for the appropriate moment of political expediency.

Sorry @bob it looks like there is a lot you have to say there, but all I see is "my rationalizations are the only valid ones".

@neoncipher @aral @mjog

@deejoe @mjog @aral @neoncipher There are a few possible approaches. I could just stick to archive.org and the existing PeerTube sites.


I wasn't challenging your purity so much as your compassion, but ok, sure, that could work too.

At least, from here on out. The lesson about the broader struggle remains.

@aral @neoncipher @mjog

@deejoe @mjog @neoncipher @aral I've never claimed to be pure. In fact, I wrote a lot of proprietary software in the past, although it was typically for industrial systems rather than more common use cases.

@bob @aral @deejoe @neoncipher

Need some Good People from piratesbay😬😬😬 and a Domain from njal.la or some P2P based Domain.

It's the call-out culture, purity-politics, very much outrage-driven, circular firing squad (and thus *very* FAANG-like in its engagement qualities) to which you are subjecting @conservancy and GNOME that hurts.

We're supposed to be doing better than that, here. Please do so.



@mjog @aral @bob

@neoncipher @mjog @aral @bob :

So now you don't use GNOME to access your Gmail account?

(I thought that this toot was a parody)

@neoncipher @mjog @aral @bob I don't understand. I don't use GNOME's UIs much, but how do you see them "pushing a corporate agenda"?

@alcinnz @mjog @bob

There was a long discussion about that 5 days ago:

In short: GNOME has Google in their “Advisory board”. Their conversations are strictly private (GNOME has that as a rule). Google gives money and GNOME implements integration with Google services, refusing to include alternative privacy-friendly solutions. All that goes without any warning about privacy violations for the users.

@aral mentioned it in his article:

@neoncipher @mjog @bob @aral Yeah, I've seen that. I guess compared to what I see from Mac and Windows this is nothing, and passes by quickly once you've got everything set up.

And the reasoning for not integrating Fastmail specifically is that they want to do something a bit more generic with it. Because they're one of the few eMail providers which implemented for allowing them to download these settings.

If you want something more privacy protecting then that, it requires more effort.

@neoncipher @mjog @bob @aral Then again, I would prefer some more subtlety in how these services are integrated into the UI, so that integration doesn't become promotion.

But I don't think it's because of Google's influence or a desire to push an agenda that we have this. If it was, GNOME Web would be very different.

GNOME's simply trying to deliver what they think people expect.

@alcinnz @neoncipher @mjog @bob Can we agree that GNOME does not think Google is harmful or they would not be on their advisory committee?

Thus, can we agree that GNOME will not protect people from Google (because why would you protect people from a thing that isn’t harmful and is – moreover – advising you?)

Can we agree that that is a problem?

@aral @neoncipher @mjog @bob I can agree that the GNOME foundation doesn't appear to see Google as (at least too much) of a problem. Though I hear they really don't have that much off an influence over their projects.

And that I prefer an approach of using standards to improve your experience BEFORE you resort to integrations. Let that heavily influence your designs. But I won't vilify anyone for doing otherwise.

@aral @bob @mjog @neoncipher @alcinnz Aral, GNOME is not the GNOME Foundation. The GNOME Foundation is disconnected from every day development on GNOME, and it does not represent the views of every contributor to GNOME.

Many people working on GNOME are vehemently against surveillance capitalism - that's why a lot of us are working on it: to provide an alternative platform to those created by surveillance capitalists. It is a problem that the Foundation receives money from Google, but it certainly doesn't mean that we don't care.

I wonder if the anonymous donor who pledged $1M donation to the GNOME Foundation is aware that “The GNOME Foundation is disconnected from every day development on GNOME”. They must be pissed right now. 😮


@brainblasted @alcinnz @aral @mjog @bob

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