“Can I trust app X?”

Can you trust the company/organisation/people who make it? (What have they done in the past/are doing now?)

Can you trust their business model? (How/when do they make money?)

Is it open source?

Is it decentralised?

If yes to all, yes. Otherwise no.

@aral don’t forget: can you trust all potential future owners of the company, its databases and its business partners.

@zensaiyuki @aral that's why open source/free software is not enough, it should be copyleft. then it can't be made proprietary later!

GPL / CC-BY-SA

but that only applies to software you run on your own devices. when you give your data to a company, you have to trust them not use it for malicious purposes. with GDPR they have to tell that they do it. open tumblr for example, you get a list of hundreds of partners with whom they share your data and the partners also have partners and so on...

@davidak @aral open source AND copyleft mean nothing without ethical guidelines as well. An oppressive government or evil corporation can leverage copyleft software just as easily as anyone else.

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@zensaiyuki @aral yes. my only point is that you can trust copyleft software not to become closed source what can happen with permissive open source licenses. it happen sometimes when a project is sold

@davidak @aral I wouldn’t bet on it. in order for copyleft software to not become closed source, the author must be prepared to sue, and have the money to do so. it’s a license not a magic spell.

@davidak @aral now the EFF does a great job at backing software authors up on such issues but their resources are not unlimited.

@davidak @aral and, also, it’s a legal agreement in a country. entities in foreign countries and foreign governments aren’t particularly bound to honour it.

@zensaiyuki @aral sure some companies ignore copyright, but it's one thing where we can use the law for common good. and i think we should.

or would you say in practice copyleft is not that important. it's good enough when it's open source? the community can still fork the last os version.

@davidak @aral I am not enough of a lawyer to argue the finer points of copyleft vs. e.g MIT,BSD. only that I don’t trust law to serve justice, and it is stacked against the disadvantaged. if it can sometimes be used for justice I won’t complain. Just that i won’t put my faith in high ideals from software people anymore.

@zensaiyuki @aral software people are just that. some might have high ideals, most probably not. people with high ideals are more like activists. i try to be both

the idea behind free software licenses is to use the copyright law for common good, as it gives users rights instead of limiting them

i thought again about GPL vs. MIT. the main difference is that MIT supports closed source. so i could say: if you care about free software, use GPL

even this GitHub site say it choosealicense.com/

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