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Share this holiday fairy tale to teach your loved ones about free software

by Dana Morgenstein Contributions Published on Dec 17, 2020 01:44 PM

Computer programs can do all sorts of magical things with the tap of a finger: carry messages across the planet in seconds, bring thousands of people together at online events, or smooth flaws off of photographed faces. Software is an incredibly useful tool, and your computer or cell phone drop all of this magic right into your lap or the palm of your hand.

But, like any powerful spell, you can easily become entangled by a dark side to software: the people who created that spell can use it as a means to control you. In this video, we see how the makers of a very useful tool cleverly ensnare Wendell the Elf by offering him a tool to make his life easier – but the ShoeTool is actually a trap, meant to force him to make only the shoes the tool's manufacturer approves.

Please show your support for free software and this video by promoting it on your social media using the #shoetool hashtag.

Luckily, this trap isn't inevitable – if you use free software, then there are no shadowy strings attached. You don't need anyone's permission to modify your tools, use modifications shared by others, or ask someone else to tailor your tools to serve your wishes and exercise your creativity. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) believes that everyone deserves this full control over their computers and phones, and we hope this video, which we released late last year, helps you explain the importance of free software to your friends and family. You can also find subtitles of translations of the video in twelve languages in this blog post!

For 35 years, people in the know have looked to the FSF for leadership, and for our uncompromising defense of free software. We want to keep producing high quality educational materials like this video, but they cost money.

You can support these efforts financially and make a commitment to the mission of freeing all software by becoming an FSF associate member. Plus, you can be one of the 278 new members we need to reach our goal of 500 new members before December 31st, and receive many useful member benefits, including access to our instance of Jitsi Meet for videoconferencing in freedom!

Finally: don't forget that you don't have to let proprietary companies control or spy on your communications with your family over this very unusual holiday. Now is the perfect time to revisit our list of free software tools for staying in touch – and use them as a conversation-starter to explain to your family why you don't want to open your presents over Zoom. We also hope you'll get them gifts that respect their freedom – check out our yearly Ethical Tech Giving Guide for some great ideas!

Wishing everyone a happy holiday and a liberated 2021!


Download the video:

Embed ShoeTool on your site or blog with this code:

<video style="width: 100%; max-width: 640px;" controls="controls" poster="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/thumbnails/ShoeTool-Cover-1.jpg" crossorigin="anonymous"><source src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/fsf-shoetool-720p.webm" type="video/webm"  /><source src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/fsf-shoetool-720p.ogv" type="video/ogg"/><source src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/fsf-shoetool-720p.mp4" type="video/mp4" /><track kind="subtitles" label="English" srclang="en" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_en.vtt" default="default" /></video>

Embed ShoeTool on your site with all approved subtitles using this code:

<video style="width: 100&; max-width: 640px;" controls="controls" poster="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/thumbnails/ShoeTool-Cover-1.jpg" crossorigin="anonymous"><source src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/fsf-shoetool-720p.webm" type="video/webm" /><source src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/fsf-shoetool-720p.ogv" type="video/ogg" /><source src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/fsf-shoetool-720p.mp4" type="video/mp4" /><track kind="subtitles" label="English" srclang="en" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_en.vtt" default="default" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Dutch" srclang="nl" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions shoetoolfsf_nl.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Italian" srclang="it" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions shoetoolfsf_it.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Esperanto" srclang="eo" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions shoetoolfsf_eo.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Romanian" srclang="ro" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_ro.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Spanish" srclang="es" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_es.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Tamil" srclang="ta" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_ta.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="French" srclang="fr" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_fr.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Ukrainian" srclang="ukr" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_ukr.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Basque" srclang="eu" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_eu.vtt" /><track kind="subtitles" label="Turkish" srclang="tr" src="https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/videos/fsf-shoetool/captions/shoetoolfsf_tr.vtt" /></video>


Video credits:

ShoeTool by the Free Software Foundation
LENGTH: 02:05
PRODUCER & DIRECTOR: Brad Burkhart
ANIMATOR: Zygis Luksas
STORY: Douglas J. Eboch

ShoeTool by the Free Software Foundation Copyright © 2019 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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