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"I Love Free Software Day" 2023: Meet & Connect

On the 14th of February Free Software enthusiasts celebrated the 13th edition of the “I ❤️ Fee Software Day”! Hundreds of people and numerous organisations shared their love for Free Software and reached out to the ones behind these projects. Thank you for taking part in the celebration of our favourite type of software: Free Software.

For this years’ celebration of “I Love Free Software Day”, the Free Software Foundation Europe organised several meetups and events all across Europe. The FSFE local groups in Spain, England, Portugal, Greece, Germany, and Switzerland took up the call of the FSFE to get together and celebrate their love for software freedom in person. Even Free Software contributors from outside the FSFE joined the call and organised a meeting, like the one in Austria and Barcelona.

DJ Tasmo playing music at the “I Love Free Software” party in the C-Base, Berlin.
"DJ Tasmo at the “I Love Free Software” party in the C-Base, Berlin."

Meet-ups, Parties and events across Europe

C-Base Party, Berlin, Germany

In Berlin, over 70 people celebrated their love for Free Software in the C-Base, one of the most famous hackerspaces in Germany. They enjoyed good pizza and lovely themed cakes for the special occasion.

'I Love Free Software' themed cake, with an red icing on top, at the party in the C-Base, Berlin

After a friendly welcome by FSFE’s project manager Johannes Näder, FSFE’s president Matthias Kirschner shared the story of the “I Love Free Software Day”. Together, Lina Ceballos and Matthias moderated the first part of the evening in which over 20 people talked about their favourite Free Software. They thanked the contributors, some of whom were even among the crowd and received a thank-you chocolate

I Love Free software thank you chocolate for Free Software contributors with a thank you postcard

The evening ended with some great music played by DJ Tasmo and it was wonderful to see so many people sharing their love for Free Software.

Party crowd at the “I Love Free Software” party in the C-Base, Berlin
"Party crowd at the “I Love Free Software” party in the C-Base, Berlin"

Thessaloniki, Greece meet-up

In Thessaloniki, Greece, the “I Love Free Software Day” was spent with talks from various Free Software groups from the region and even some from other cities. Everybody attending enjoyed the meeting and used the opportunity to discuss community project ideas for the future: The networking continued with some drinks and food, allowing everyone to get to know each other better.

'I Love Free Software Day' in Thessaloniki, Greece. Group picture with some of the participants after the event
“I Love Free Software Day” in Thessaloniki, Greece. Group picture with some of the participants after the event

Among other speakers did Fani Partsafyllidou give an introduction to FSFE's work and various campaigns as well as the story behind the “I Love Free Software Day”. Ioannis Stamelos, Information Technology Professor and President of GFOSS said this was a historic moment as probably it was the first time FSFE was present in Thessaloniki. Our associate organisations, GFOSS and GreekLUG then continued to presented their work and activities.

Fani Partsafyllidou is giving a talk on 'I Love Free Software Day' in Thessaloniki, Greece
Celebrating "I Love Free Software Day" in Thessaloniki, Greece

Following the general interest in privacy, they discussed encrypted emails and the federated social media Mastodon. At the end of the evening, every person thanked their favourite "I Love Free Software" program.

Meet-up in Potteries, UK

In Potteries, UK, people also came together to celebrate their love for Free Software with pizza. Those who attended enjoyed the gathering and shared their favourite Free Software with each other.

Free Software enthusiasts in Potteries wrote down for which Free Software projects they are thankful
Free Software enthusiasts in Potteries wrote down for which Free Software projects they are thankful

Madrid, Spain, meet-up

In Madrid people shared their love for Free Software in MakeSpace Madrid. This was the FSFE’s first event there. For the event a great crowd of around 25 people got together to share their love for Free Software.

The event started with a tour and a talk from Javier Fernandez, the president of MakeSpace Madrid. It continued with a talk from our volunteer Pablo Hinojosa, who explained the hot topics for 2023 in the Free Software field. Everybody attending had the chance to thank different Free Software projects. The evening ended with a lot of interesting networking and conversations around yummy pizzas. And of course, with the participants taking some information material and stickers home!

'I Love Free Software' meet-up in Madrid’s MakeSpace, Spain
"I Love Free Software" meet-up in Madrid’s MakeSpace, Spain

Online Italian community meeting ❤️

The Italian community gathered virtually for the celebration of the "I Love Free Software Day"! The local group from Merano joined the call while enjoying their Italian "Aperitivo". A lot of new faces joined the meeting and it was great to see how everybody connected with each other. It was a great occasion to celebrate Free Software and stay in the loop of what is happening in Italy!

“I Love Free Software Day” in Zurich, Switzerland

In Switzerland old and new people met from the FSFE-Switzerland, the Digital Society, the LUGS and GNU/Linux.ch. Together they celebrated the "I Love Free Software Day" and even had a speaking Tux with them.

'I Love Free Software' gathering in Zurich, Switzerland
"I Love Free Software" gathering in Zurich, Switzerland

Meet-up in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

For the event in Frankfurt am Main, organised by the local group, around 25 people showed up and celebrated the “I Love Free Software Day”. They had lightning talks about their favourite Free Software and inspiring Free Software contributors. It is great to see how many people took up the opportunity to say thank you to their favourite Free Software project and share it with others.

Free Software enthusiasts standing around and eating pizza at the Frankfurt am Main 'I Love Free Software' meet-up
Frankfurt am Main "I Love Free Software Day" meet-up

"I Love Free Software Day" in Barcelona, Spain

In Barcelona people met to celebrate the “I Love Free Software Day” on the 16th of February. The participants shared their appreciation for Free Software contributors with each other and attended several talks about software freedom and Free Software activities happening last year. One of those talks was by FSFE’S senior policy consultant Alexander Sander, who introduced the Public Money? Public Code! initiative. All talks can be watched in the recording of the event.

After the talks the event continued with great food and drinks. It was wonderful to see so many people turn up to continue sharing their love for Free Software.

Reaching out to the people behind Free Software: Thank you

Another I Love Free Software Day has passed and hundreds of people shared their love for Free Software by reaching out to the people behind their favourite Free Software project. Even the Free Software unit of the French public administration “La direction interministérielle du numérique” (DINUM) shared their love for Free Software.

BlueHats, members of the French administration “La direction interministérielle du numérique” (DINUM), are showing their appreciation of Free Software
BlueHats, members of the French public administration DINUM, are showing their appreciation of Free Software

And of course there were more tweets and toots which where encouraging for Free Software contributors. The Document Foundation celebrated with a blogpost about their love for the LibreOffice community. While the KDE Foundation celebrated this special day with the release of their new Plasma desktop.

Apart from the visible presence on Twitter and in the Fediverse, the FSFE said thank you, in a more old-school way, to numerous projects with our newly designed postcards.

A picture of the thank you postcards sent by the FSFE to Free Software projects
Thank you postcards sent by the FSFE to Free Software projects

This activity was well received and it was awesome to see how much joy a thank you can spread. The Free Software project DAVx⁵, who was among the recipients of the postcards, shared their happiness about the postcards in the Fediverse and thanked the FSFE for such a kind gesture.

The Free Software project DAVx⁵ says thank you for the lovely postcards sent by the FSFE via mastodon

Software Freedom Podcast episode with Karen Sandler

For this years "I Love Free Software Day" Bonnie Mehring together with Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the software freedom conservancy recorded a dedicated Software Freedom Podcast episode. They talked about the rise in awareness of software freedom in western societies, with Karen getting an honorary doctorate from the KU Leuven for her work for software freedom. They then continue discussing Free Software on medical devices, on of the main topics Karen is advocating for.

FSFE women's activity for the "I Love Free Software Day"

A special activity was organised by the FSFE women’s team who reached out to women working in tech and thanked them for their contribution to Free Software. This was a wonderful and heart-warming experience for all people involved.

Thank you message sent by the FSFE women team
Thank you message sent by the FSFE women team

One of those who the FSFE’s women team thanked is Isabela Fernandes, the executive director of the Tor Project. Who said that we need a strong and diverse Free Software community.

“We not only need Free Software to be strong and alive but we need it to be a safe community and a safe culture that includes everyone, women, LGBTQIA+, folks from all cultures and races”

This activity was also a touching moment for the coordinator of the FSFE women’s team Antje Kazimiers and Gabriele Pohl, deputy coordinator of the team where glade the acitivy worked out so well and it was a real joy to see the outcome of it.

"Seeing only a few people of your gender is a situation a lot of women* face in tech and also in Free Software communities, which can be challenging. Saying thank you was a way for us to recognize this. Knowing that there are many women* out there in a similar situation gives us the chance to feel connected with each other. So that we can be community by ourselves, which supports each other." by Antje Kazimiers

"I suppose every Free Software contributor rejoices at a 'thanks for your good work' and for a network of women* it was obvious to address female contributors ;-)" by Gabriele Pohl

Those are just some of the actions that took place for this years “I Love Free Software Day”. For all of you who want to continue sharing your their love for Free Software take a look at our share-pic generator or watch the new thank you messages on our Peertube-instance.

Amandine “Cryptie” Jambert saying thank you to nextcloud and DAVx⁵

Thank you messages by other organisations

The "I Love Free Software Day" was celebrated by a lot of different Free Software contributors, organisations, advocates and enthusiasts alike. Digitalcourage shared their love for Free Software with a blogpost about their teams favourite Free Software projects. And the Fedora project thanked all its contributors for their work, as they would not exist without them.

The mastodon post reads: FairEmail can do everything and is awesome in handling several e-mail-accounts at once

There are many more thank you messages and blogposts out there highlighting the work of Free Software contributors. It is touching to see so many people, companies and organisations joining us for this special day and reaching out to the people who work for software freedom.

Thank you for joining this years “I Love Free Software” celebrations ❤️ ❤️ ❤️