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
"My name is Florian Snow, I live in Nürnberg, work as a programmer, and I became interested in Free Software around 1999, but from a purely technological perspective. Back then, I still thought there was a Free operating system called Linux, I believed the Mac was generally the same as "Linux", and a little bit later, I thought Open Source was a cool idea. Since then, I have learned a lot, found out about differences and shared interests between Free Software and Open Source, I now know about the GNU operating system with Linux as its kernel, and I have become more and more involved in the community."
Short Interview with Florian Snow (2019)
FSFE: What made you interested in the FSFE and motivated to become a supporter?
Florian Snow: I knew the Free Software Foundation and to be honest, I was unsure what to think about the FSFE at first. So I became an FSF associate member and engaged as a volunteer with them. It was actually after a talk by Richard Stallman in 2012 that I decided to support the FSFE. I simply realized that the two organizations complemented each other incredibly well and that I should also support the organization that is more focused on Europe. When I reveived my welcome letter, Matthias Kirschner who was the German and Fellowship coordinator at the time had hand-written a little note at the bottom that he was hoping to meet in person soon. He also encouraged me to post some of the work I did for the FSF to FSFE mailing lists as well and that is how my engagement started.
What is the most fun part about engaging for the FSFE?
I love the welcoming culture at the FSFE. Whenever I have a halfway decent idea, I get to do it. The only requirement is that I will either do the work myself or am willing to coordinate others to work on it. It feels good to be able to actively work for Free Software in such an unbureaucratic way.
What is your favourite FSFE campaign at the moment?
For me, it is still "I love Free Software". It only happens once a year, but there are so many cool graphics around it and it draws a lot of public attention. It is also a campaign that shows that we can be fun and even a bit goofy as a community and I love that because I can be quite goofy myself.
In one sentence: What is the biggest benefit of Free Software?
The four freedoms that allow you to be independent of a specific entity: You choose and adapt the best-suited software and then independently choose services from a whole range of offers.
You are the most active volunteer for PMPC campaign, you are Deputy Coordinator Germany and Coordinator Franconia and you do not mind driving hundreds of kilometers to support a booth-team if you see necessary. What is your secret superpower and can we have access to it too?
I think that may be too much praise. In any of the positions you mentioned, there are so many other volunteers involved that make great contributions that all I do at times, is tweak a suggestion a little. So I would pass on that praise to all of our other great volunteers.In regards to the superpower, I would have to name my bad conscience that I might not be doing enough. In all seriousness though, I know that it is important for volunteers to avoid burn-out and so not taking on too much and taking breaks is important. Still, there is always the drive to spend more time on this important cause and that, in combination with meeting other wonderful volunteers at events such as RMLL or FOSDEM and in personal visits is what keeps me going.
What is your favourite Free Software?
That's a tough one. I love VLC, because it plays anything you throw at it, I love also Inkscape, Emacs, Firefox, Audacity, Krita, and many more. So perhaps I can cheat a little bit and name Debian as my favorite Free Software. Debian is absolutely reliable and trustworthy and I could not do my work or my volunteer tasks nearly as consistently without it.
Is there anything you believe the FSFE should improve or begin working on next? Any wishes for the future?
I think the FSFE is generally on a good path with it's campaigns to promote Free Software. The one thing we and any organization with a similar structure always needs to pay attention to is how to engage volunteers and keep them motivated. The FSFE consists of mostly volunteers and the more consistently we can engage people, the more good work we can do. We need to continue our efforts here to keep entry barriers low, avoid frustration, and let people work on interesting tasks.