Free Software and the Netflix Generation

Since this is The Internet[tm], I kindly ask you do not yell at me about any of this. I will talk about it if asked, but I’m not looking to be right or wrong. I’m not looking for a fight, or a heated debate. These are just my observations from talking with people in my life, discussing some of these issues, and asking them questions about any one part of this, and talking about (or mentioning) alternatives.

Also, don’t read this thinking there is going to be a grand realization at the end. There is no grand answer; these are just my observations based out of my place of residence and ruminations between all the reading I come across about other places in the world. (I do not live in a technology center.)


People use what is easiest and what everyone else uses. This is especially true of non-technical users; some of them have the ability to use alternatives, but they won’t if they don’t have to. They might even use it if they are told “it’s free,” and only if they cannot afford the proprietary version (spending untold amounts on Microsoft Office as opposed to the LibreOffice suite).

I had a much longer piece to say, but it’s the same things we’ve all heard:

  • The UX/UI is still too hard to use.
  • It doesn’t do X.
  • It’s different than what I use at work/home/grew up with.

Depending on the person, there’s no real way to get that person to use some form of Free Software without forcing it. Even the people I’ve had technical courses with don’t know about a third of the things I do or converse with people on Mastodon about (or know what Mastodon is). They are on the same level as non-technical users in terms of effort: Why do something weird when the tried and true method (usually one of Microsoft, Google, Facebook) works out just fine?

This also applies to the issue of visibly tangible benefit or detriment. Saying they steal ur dataz” doesn’t mean much when all they see is discounts at the store. Their personal details are sold, but they get a discount, and nothing bad happens to them (e.g., house burning down), so what does it matter?

I don’t really have an answer for it. People don’t care about technology like fediverse nerds do, so it makes sense that they will have no legitimate care about the whole DRM or libre thing. But therein lies an inherent problem. Fedinerds are treating it as an issue of “not trying hard enough.” Like I said, it depends on the person, and for some, that is an issue. But at large, people just want to get their work done and go home and not care about the technology. They want Netflix and YouTube and not have to care beyond that.

Anyway yeah :x It’s all a mess tbh