Debian in the Dark Ages of Free Software video, slides

This is a talk at last year’s DebConf by Stefano Zacchiroli, former Debian Project Lead. His most interesting point is that it’s no longer clear what supporters of Free Software should be doing. Ten years ago, it was clear what was to be done: write software that’s as good or better than the software most people are using to do their computing. But that’s no longer going to cut it, because even if Debian was installed on every chromebook and tablet, users’ freedoms would be not much better and maybe even worse than they were in the nineties because everyone would still be doing their computing in the corporate-controlled cloud. The likes of Debian cannot answer this cloud just by attempting to make their own cloud: there aren’t the funds, and again it’s not clear that users would be any more free. Instead of just cloning-with-improvements, the Free Software movement needs to be doing something credibly different: coming up with ways of computing that are as convenient as the cloud but without the losses of freedom. What that is to be is not yet clear.