For Facebook's Sake

I must admit, I do not really get the point of the ongoing discussion about having an "official" Facebook page. In my understanding it should be a source of information about Debian for Facebook users, technically a mirror of and

Yes, Facebook is a piece of non-free, data-harvesting sh*t. But there are users, maintainers and developers who use that service (they also use Twitter, Xing, Linkedin, StudiVZ, MeinVZ and so on). Why should we prohibit them to have an official source of information on their platform? If there is someone who wants to run that kind of service: go for it! Or would we prohibit someone to run a mirror of on a Windows machine just because the surrounding environment is non-free¹? Most probably, that wouldn't be an official mirror listed on, but it would still contain the official set of packages, signed with the official key of the archive.

Btw, is @debian on Twitter "official"?

And please, do not compare this situation to SourceForge, GitHub, Google Code etc. It's just not the same! On SourceForge etc one relies on a non-free service as the primary way of distribution (that's not perfectly true for DVCS based services, as here one can push the tree to every service one has access to). On Facebook we'd just have a mirror of the already "freely" available information.

¹) do not forget: almost every machine used for hosting/developing/whatsoever Debian has non-free hardware, firmware etc!


Stefano Zacchiroli wrote on 2010-09-10 14:52:

I’ve the impression that you’re missing the point (or else that I didn’t explain my point clearly enough in my post).

You use verbs like “prohibit”, that I’ve surely not used.

I’ve also made *very* clear that individuals can, and as a matter of fact already do, use Facebook to promote the Debian cause and that IMHO there is nothing wrong with that.

The whole point is about using Facebook as an “official” medium for promoting Debian. That would just be wrong.

What does it mean to be “official”? A lot of things, for instance having someone approaching Facebook *as an official Debian representative* (e.g. me) asking them to set up things to advertise Debian stuff there. That IMHO is not acceptable and it would be similarly unacceptable to advertise the Facebook page on the Debian website or anything like that.

I still think that all of the above was expressed fairly clearly in my blog post ( If you think it was not, please point me to ambiguities in the text.

Thanks for your blog post!


evgeni wrote on 2010-09-10 15:31:

I guess we just differ at the definition of “official” :)

And of course “prohibit” was used as an exaggeration here.

What I want from an official Debian page at Facebook: a selected member of the community or a team post the regular Debian related information from our site to Facebook. As far as I understood this does not happen at the moment. Neither we know who is the “owner” of the page.

I do not need/want facebook-like buttons all over on, just a place on Facebook where the random visitor can have a source for official information (= the stuff the project, not the page owner, has to say) and where he/she can be sure the information has the same level of quality as when he would visit

Neither I care who runs the page (you, the next DPL, the press team, the facebook team…) as long we can be sure that person/team will publish the opinion of the project there.

That’s my understanding of an official page.

malte wrote on 2010-09-10 18:09:


if you hadn’t written that piece, I would have.

So have a nice day, and someone find out who that Facebook-Group-Founder is (to establish some proper communication)!


Arno wrote on 2010-09-10 19:08:

In my view, “official” implies endorsement, in the same way that most people would interpret Steve Jobs posing with President Obama as a political statement (from either side). And I would not want Debian endorsing Facebook or any other non-free community site. If you’re going the “social” route, then I’d suggest to pick Diaspora as the medium.

That said, I don’t see anything wrong with having a Debian fan page, or a Debian news feed on Facebook. But I would not want any of the Debian Project’s resources (time, money) to be spent on supporting any organization that does not adhere to the same (or compatible) standards.

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