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I managed to wake up at 3am to follow day 2 of the IGF in Nairobi. Plugged in my laptop, stumbled in to the kitchen to make coffee, came back to find that I had forgotten to switch on the power. So I was almost completely too late for the IGC "Mapping the Internet" workshop.
Had a whole list of workshops for the second session but I also had connection difficulties so ended up in Room 11 listening to a discussion on Open Standards, moderated by Alejandro Pizanty, because that was where reception was clearest.
By that time I had missed a lot, but count myself fortunate to have been in time for Richard Stallman joining the discussion over a telephone link.
He stated categorically that freedom is paramount to him, and that he won't pay with freedom for technology. He went on to caution against the wide use of software with secret or patented formats and protocols. He described a situation with a company creating a space and people being lured in by an illusion of freedom.
Stallman was talking about software, protocols and standards, but I suddenly realised that he had helped me to articulate my concerns about Facebook. It seems to me that Facebook is being allowed to become de facto a standard. It is being presented as an open space, when in fact it is not. The pressure to "sign up for Facebook" is becoming considerable. If you don't sign up you are viewed as anti-social, old-fashioned, rather strange.
I would be interested to hear the opinions of other people about this. I sent a comment to the workshop and the person who replied pointed to the fact that the Facebook software is also "closed".
I wonder how many of us look at situations from the perspective that it might be necessary to pay for technology with freedom.