Marking twenty years of the FSFE, we highlight the importance of software freedom in Europe and important accomplishments since 2001. We shed light on our community with a birthday page where you can find community interviews and videos. People are invited to celebrate with us and share their own stories.
20 Years FSFE
The Free Software Foundation Europe turns 20. This means two decades of empowering users to control technology. Two decades of helping individuals and organisations to understand how Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
We would like to take a breath and look back on the road we have come, to reflect the milestones we have passed, the successes we have achieved, the stories we have written, and the moments that brought us together and which we will always joyfully remember.
But it is not just about the FSFE itself: for our 20th birthday we want to give momentum to our pan-European community, the community that has formed and always will form the shoulders that our movement relies on. 20 Years FSFE is meant to be a celebration of everyone who has accompanied us in the past or still does. Thank you for your place in the structure of the FSFE today and for setting the foundation for the next decades of software freedom to come.
On our birthday page we keep publishing related material throughout the year, from videos, to stickers, to interviews, and more. Bookmark this page and stay tuned!
A message to you from our President Matthias Kirschner
Although technology is ever-changing, our values have been consistent throughout the last twenty years. The core of our work is, in a nutshell: educating people on the nature of Free Software, highlighting its political implications, and simplifying its legal preconditions. Matthias Kirschner, President of the FSFE since 2015, explains this in his own words in a short video.
Matthias Kirschner fuels his motivation by his deep faith that small collective actions can have an enormous impact.
20 Years FSFE birthday videos
Time traveller Cory Doctorow congratulates us from 2041!
It is our honour to receive congratulations and wishes from prolific Sci-fi author Cory Doctorow! For over a decade, Doctorow has been vocal in supporting the work of the FSFE. This year, he is celebrating our 20 year anniversary in his own fascinating way. He greets us and congratulates us on our 40 year anniversary, talking to us from 2041!
'Hello FSFE, and congratulations from the year 2041 on your forty years of fighting for the digital rights of Europeans and of all people in all places!' Cory Doctorow
20 Years FSFE articles and interviews
We contacted people who paved the way of the FSFE since its beginning, such as long term volunteers and past staffers. In a series of interviews we discuss the progress of the FSFE as well as technological topics.
Join the Celebrations
The FSFE is all about you, the community. For 20 years we have only been able to operate thanks to a wide network of people who support us and support software freedom. Every person who is involved in the FSFE has unique memories, expertise, and hopes for the future. They are all part of the story of 20 Years FSFE.
We want to hand over the mic to our community: this autumn we want to publish another dedicated birthday page whose content is entirely made from your contributions. This is the time for you to join in! Would you like to share your thoughts about your time with the FSFE? You can choose your preferred channel, be it pictures, videos, quotes, abstract paintings or a self-coded mini-game -- all contributions are welcome! The deadline is October 15th. For your inspiration, we offer some ideas:
- What made you curious about the FSFE and do you remember the first contact you had with the FSFE?
- How did you decide to start volunteering in the FSFE?
- What is your favourite activity, campaign or message that the FSFE has done or is still doing?
- What is a story that still makes you laugh or smile when you remember it?
- What do you wish for the FSFE for the next 20 years?
Answer any number of questions you like or follow your own train of thought and send it to us at contact (at) fsfe (dot) org including a picture of yourself. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Share your FSFE pictures from the past
So many things have happened in the last 20 years! Countless hours were spent by members of our community to run booths, give talks, hold workshops, organise meetings, do lobbying, and more. Unfortunately we lack a lot of visuals from these activities! We would love to fill up our archive with all the great things you were doing in support of our cause!
So if you have a video, a picture, or anything else that represents your time with the FSFE and that you are willing to share, please send it to contact (at) fsfe (dot) org together with a short description of what there is to see on the visual and a license we can use to publish it.
Create a birthday video
Would you like to send us your personal birthday wishes and show your affiliation with the FSFE? Take a camera and record a one or two minute video of you sending your birthday wishes, maybe together with some commemorations of your time with the FSFE. Please send your video to contact (at) fsfe (dot) org together with a license we can use to publish it and it possibly might end up here.
Join the hashtag
If you enjoy social media, use #FSFE20 to share your wishes or comment on our anniversary interviews. This way we can find each other's wishes and memories and share them along.
Get our new sticker: "FSFE since 2001"
For our birthday celebrations we have a brand new sticker "FSFE since 2001". Order some for yourself and show others how long we have been working together for software freedom.
Highlights from the last 20 years
In 2021, the FSFE looks back on a successful history with major successes in the public, legal, and policy fields. For example in 2005, when our intense campaigning and collaboration with other organisations persuaded the European Parliament to vote against Software Patents. Or two years later, when the European Court of Justice aligned with the FSFE, requiring Microsoft to publish interoperability information. During that time, we saw that it was needed to help Free Software developers by clarifying the legal aspects of their work, such as the enforcement in case of license violations. This led to the FSFE starting to work with Free Software legal advocates and practitioners for legal initiatives in 2006.
Meanwhile, the FSFE maintains the world's largest professional network on legal issues related to Free Software. The FSFE's legal experts on this network help with concrete licensing consultancy. To this end in 2017 we also created the highly successful REUSE initiative to provide a set of recommendations that make licensing Free Software projects easier for developers. REUSE has been adopted by well known projects such as the German Corona Warn App and the KDE.
Since its founding, the FSFE has been committed to running public campaigns and helping people to understand the benefits of Free Software. As early as 2012, we helped users to overcome software restrictions in their phones with the launch of our 'Free Your Android' campaign. Two years earlier we introduced "I love Free Software day" which is celebrated around the globe every year on 14 February. In 2017, we launched the extraordinarily successful 'Public Money? Public Code!' campaign, convincing several public administrations to change their IT strategy. The accompanying open letter has been signed by over 200 civil society organisations, 31.000 individuals, and several public administrations like the city of Barcelona and the Swedish JobTech Development center.
Of course, all these accomplishments can only give a glimpse of the impact of the FSFE and our activities in the last 20 years. All these successes are the result of our large community that we can rely on.
Help us get to the next 20 years
In the FSFE, your contribution will always be valuable to keep us going. There are many ways you can engage depending on your skills and interests. For example, you can help us to improve our website, design information material, or translate our publications to your mother tongue. Our community welcomes new members!
Support us financially
Your donation will allow us to continue our charitable work for freedom in the information society and stay independent for the years to come.