Declaration of Intent - Free Software Foundation Europe

Georg C. F. Greve <greve@gnu.org>
22 Nov 2000

A group of people have begun working on the concept of a "Free Software Foundation Europe" which will essentially be a sister organisation of the Free Software Foundation founded by Richard M. Stallman.

It has become evident that the FSF in the U.S., being in a totally different time and culture zone, can hardly keep in touch with the strong developments and currents in European Free Software. Legally independent of the FSF in America it will seek to grant an organisational backbone for Free Software in Europe - especially for (although not limited to) the GNU Project. Furthermore it will provide the necessary local organisation for political work and distribution of funds.

In achieving the goals

we perceive it as absolutely paramount to maintain the true spirit and essence of Free Software.

We also would like to avoid creating another splinter group in the movement. For this reason we are in contact with Richard M. Stallman as the goal is to become the acknowledged "European sister organisation" of the FSF - this will also allow Europeans to make tax-deductible donations to "the" FSF.

Being the official sister organisation brings the responsibility to preserve its philosophical standpoints and values. In our eyes it is the lastingness of all decisions and workings of the FSF that makes it so special; so we will apply the same long-term considerations in all our steps.

As the recent past has shown, it is quite quite easy to stray off the path and lose track of those long-term goals. Hence it is crucial only to have members with a firm grasp on the movement, its origins and the goals.

We felt that this responsibility made it necessary to become aware of the possible traps and pitfalls along the way before making our plans public. After over a year of discussions and building trust into each others integrity, we feel that it is time to bring those plans to life.

So far the core consists of

and we will set up a "FSF Europe" organisation in Germany as a starting point. From there on we will follow a step-by-step to other European countries with the final plan to have a strong and sound structure in Europe that will work towards the goals of Free Software.

We will be looking for other people with a firm GNU and Free Software awareness especially in France, the U.K. and Spain as our first step of becoming truly European. If you feel you should be contacted and we haven't done so already, don't despair. You might consider getting in touch with us, but please bear in mind that being part of this organisation requires a relatively high level of commitment and establishing the necessary level of trust into each other is a slow process.

We intend to do things right as a flawed approach might reap hideous results. If you want to help us, feel free to get in touch with us at

<team@fsfeurope.org>

or subscribe to the general discussion list <discussion@fsfeurope.org>.

If you just want to be kept update of the progress, feel free to subscribe to the announcement-only mailing list <announce@fsfeurope.org>.

You can subscribe to the mailing lists by sending mail to

[name]-request@fsfeurope.org

with "subscribe" in the subject or by using the web interface at

http://mailman.fsfeurope.org/mailman/listinfo.