Just as we have encouraged free software enthusiasts to move their social media presence from the walled gardens of Facebook to decentralized, federated services like Mastodon, GNU social, Pixelfed, and Diaspora, we would love to be able to point lovelorn free software supporters to an online dating site that will treat them like a human being rather than a commodity to be dissected into chunks of profitable data. So while we can’t endorse a project that’s barely gotten started at all, much less one that’s being built on Kickstarter, we were pleased to see a Redditor introduce the idea of Alovoa, which “aims to be the first widespread free software dating Web application on the Web.” Alovoa is licensed under AGPLv3, which is an excellent signpost for ethical behavior in the future.
Is Alovoa the solution? It’s far too early to say – but we do know that the only acceptable solution will be a dating site that is 100% free software. And we also know that the free software community possesses the talent and conviction to make that alternative happen. When you’re freely permitted to use, share, study, modify, and share the modifications of the software you own, there are no shackles on your creativity: you can build the programs that you need, and make them available to everyone else who needs them. Perhaps we can solve the problem of how to find love online without sacrificing your privacy, and that’s only the beginning of the many problems we can solve. If we can build free software that offers ordinary people the conveniences they crave without the ethical tradeoffs, then someday, we will have a future where all software is free.