22nd October 2017
This approach seems to me to be impractical and misguided.
What about the freedom to modify? Well we have a similar problem as with studying. We have to keep our modified version up-to-date with a back-end with probably undocumented workings which may change without warning.
Is it useful to re-use software that's specifically crafted to work with a specific back-end service? Sometimes, but probably not. Unless you want to distribute a modified version for people to use with that website as discussed above.
We need to get out of the mindset of software creator and software user. On the web we have creator, user and visitor. And the user is the website's owner, not the client.
However, if the software creator and user are the same person (that means the website owner programs their own website) then it does not need to be Free Software. It's like private software written for their own use.
The real thing we need to fear on the web is SaaSS (Service as a Software Substitute). SaaSS web apps like Facebook, Google Docs, Google Maps, etc. substitute software you could run yourself (such as email clients, office suites and mapping programs) with services, which are out of our control or understanding. And they store our data on their own servers and use it to make money.
If you want to avoid substituting your software with a service please find great Free Software programs to do these things. Instead of Facebook you can use email, IRC and a blog. Or if you want a Facebook-esque social-networking experience you can run GNU Social or Mastodon on your own server. Instead of Google Docs you can use LibreOffice or Calligra. Instead of Google Maps you can use Marble or OsmAnd. Instead of DropBox you can use OwnCloud or NextCloud (though I just use a USB stick).
For web-services that you cannot replace with software I think it's wise to avoid depending on them too much.
So when using a web application, the best way to think is not "am I using proprietary software" but rather "I am using a service. Could I do what it does using software under my own control? Am I relying on this service too much?"
I'd like to pay homage to an article by Richard Stallman that I do agree with: Who does that server really serve?. It's a bit long but thoroughly thought through article about SaaSS (Software As A Service Substitute).