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Reinhard Müller

This page is part of a series of interviews with FSFE supporters and friends to help give a face to our community. Get an overview about our interviews on the testimonials page


"I'm a self-employed software developer living in the westernmost part of Austria. Back in the 1990s, I worked with several proprietary flavours of Unix in my job, so it was only a matter of time for me to stumble over GNU/Linux. My first contact must have been in 1998 or 1999, and I remember how the concept of Free Software made me curious about the ideas behind it. A friend pointed me to www.gnu.org, and I read literally every single article I could find there. After that, it was clear for me that I absolutely agree with that philosophy and want to engage for it."

Short Interview with Reinhard Müller (2019)

FSFE: What made you interested in the FSFE and motivated to support it?

Reinhard Müller: After deciding that I wanted to get involved in the Free Software movement, I spent a few months looking for a specific project or activity I would engage in. Just at that time, I read the announcement that the Free Software Foundation Europe was going to be founded, and I decided to make it one of the options to look at closer. And well, I got stuck to it.

In your engagement as a volunteer, what are you doing for FSFE?

Currently, I'm mainly FSFE's accountant. I also maintain some lesser parts of FSFE's internally used software. However, sometimes I feel the urge to break free from my keyboard and screen, and then I participate in the FSFE booth team at events like FOSDEM or Grazer Linuxtage.

What is the most fun part about engaging for FSFE?

Without any doubt, it's the people. It can be very rewarding to see all these smaller or larger victories in our fight for freedom in a digital society, or to break a T-shirt sales record at FOSDEM. But to be allowed to work with the motivated group of dedicated and smart people, who are the FSFE, that's simply priceless.

What is your favourite FSFE campaign at the moment?

"I love Free Software" has been my favourite campaign ever since it started. It's such a positive message, and it is all about appreciation and respect, which is so important these days.

I Love Free Software

In one sentence: What is the biggest benefit of Free Software?

It allows me (and everybody else) to exploit the virtually unlimited possibilities of that great invention called "computer", just as I like.

As a long-term member of FSFE, what do you believe is one fundamental thing FSFE should always carry on doing?

The FSFE has a tradition of sending out positive messages, and I think that's one of the main reasons for its success. Don't complain, change! Don't be *against* the status quo, be *for* a change! Don't criticise, help improving!

What is your favourite Free Software?

The Free Software culture is a culture of cooperation. People build upon each other's work, in most cases even without ever having met or talked. This creates a whole universe of components which you can then arrange and use as you like. The question about the favourite Free Software is a bit like asking "what is your favourite LEGO brick?"; it is the countless possibilities this universe of components gives me that makes me really love Free Software. But well, since you asked anyway: Python.

Is there anything you believe the FSFE should improve or begin working on next? Any wishes for the future?

The FSFE has become very professional over the last years. The organisation meanwhile has a number of dedicated full-time employees, and virtually every activity of the FSFE is coordinated by one of them. This has contributed a lot to FSFE's success, and most of the things FSFE does now would never be possible with purely volunteer work. We have now reached a point where we (and yes, that includes myself!) must pay constant attention to keep existing and potential volunteers involved in our work. We must help people all across Europe to understand how they can participate in our activities, how their personal engagement makes a change, and how there are so many different ways for them to be an integral part of a strong and powerful FSFE.

Community Meeting
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