Compared to commercial popular platforms like Zoom, Gmeet, MS Teams, etc. F/LOSS alternatives, like nextcloud and jit.si we merged for CONVIVIUM, have significant benefits with only small additional inconvenience, which is easy to address with careful preparation before an event (e.g. => Preliminary check).

First of all, F/LOSS platform can respect the privacy of users unlike commercial platforms like Zoom, Gmeet, MS Teams, etc., which are currently (2023) illegal according to GDPR law .

Privacy is more important than people typically think of. Indeed, when things are "normal" one doesn't feel the effect of having their private information in hands of big corporations, but in crises, this can change dramatically.

Here is an indicative list of different ways that things can go bad:

  • The company that keeps your data fails to protect it
  • The company that keeps your data decides to monetize more aggressively this data, through pricing schemes as commercial close software companies often do when they reach a semi-monopoly, or through hidden channels like targeted advertising ("If you are not the customer you are the product").
  • Some people appreciate targeted advertising, but it is beyond advertising. The company that keeps your data might decide to collaborate with a political party or other actor that wishes to influence public opinion or even behaviour - or the data could be mis-used in the same way, e.g. Cambridge Analytica affair
  • In a big political crisis such collaboration can lead to prosecutions even death. Of course in Europe right now (2023) we do not suffer oppression as it happens in authoritarian countries, but not far ago we were not far from this, or even worst - Europe has been the cradle of totalitarianism during the XX century.

But there are also important benefits of using open source even in peaceful times

  • usability: FLOSS platforms allow for customization beyond the configuration options offered by closed platforms, one can change the whole platform itself.
  • health: for-profit platforms depend on our addiction and continuous usage and they are designed for it. Are you perhaps burned out? What about dopamine triggered through addictives UI/UX? A quick introduction: Dopamine webserie
  • sustainability: scaling at a global scale reduces the cost of individual operations but requires a huge overhead of costs for profit making.
  • and more: empowerment, learning, accountability, .... toward an organic internet !