"I Love Free Software Day" 2024: Forging the future with Free Software

Together with hundreds of people and several organisations, we have celebrated another "I Love Free Software Day" on 14 February! On this day, we reached out to Free Software contributors to say Thank you!. To all who joined us this time: Thank you for participating in this 14th edition of the "I Love Free Software Day" ❤️❤️❤️!

The "I Love Free Software Day" 2024 focused on younger generations and how to introduce them to the Free Software community. Therefore, several of our local groups celebrated this day with a meeting focused on younger people. The rest just focused on the main "I Love Free Software Day" idea: to acknowledge the amazing Free Software community, thanking Free Software projects and sharing their love for Free Software. And while several FSFE local groups - in Italy, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, England, Germany, and Switzerland - got together and celebrated their love for software freedom in person, we were happy to see how other members of the Free Software community joined our call and organised meetings, like the one in Portugal.

Participants at the Bergamo, Italy, 'I Love Free Software Day' celebration in discussion with Kenobit and Dario
"I Love Free Software Day" celebrations in Bergamo, Italy

I Love Free Software Day celebrations 2024

For this year the FSFE planned a special gift for several organisations and long-term volunteers to get them ready for 'I Love Free Software' day. We gave them an acrylglas heart and an LED strip, plus a microcontroller and some jump wires. The challenge? To tinker around with these things and to upload a picture of the heart on 14 February. It turned out to be quite a challenge, but a lot of fun!

'I Love Free Software Day' heart-shaped badge with LED strip, a group of FSFE volunteers with their personal ilovefs badges

Moreover, during FOSDEM the FSFE asked visitors to share their Thank you for "I Love Free Software Day". Here are some impressions:

Many people love Free Software for different reasons.

Local group celebrations 2024

For the celebrations in 2024, over a hundred people came together in seven different countries in 13 local meetings organised either by FSFE local groups or by other Free Software groups. The celebrations were as different as the groups. The local group in Aarhus, Denmark, organised a reading of the children's book "Ada & Zangemann", while the Portuguese organisation esop organised a translation of this book into Portuguese.

Reading of FSFE's children book "Ada & Zangemann" in Danish

FSFE and BGlug celebrating, Bergamo, Italy

In Bergamo the local Linux user group, BGlug, together with the FSFE organised an event for all Free Software enthusiasts. The locally famous DJ Kenobit came to talk about how he produces his music with Free Software and his love for software freedom.

Kenobit and Dario from the Free Software Foundation Europe at the "I Love Free Software Day" in Bergamo, Italy

Dario Presutti, FSFE's Project Manager, welcomed around 50 guests, including some younger people, to celebrate "I Love Free Software Day" together. After everybody arrived, and the guests settled in, Dario and Kenobit had a deep and insightful discussion about Free Software and younger generations, with a special focus on how the fediverse could be a game changer in attracting more people to the world of software freedom. But not only did they speak, but also guests where afterwards invited to thank their favourite Free Software project. The evening continued in a relaxed round with food and drinks.

People standing and sitting, while listening to Kenobit and Dario at the 'I Love Free Software Day' celebration in Bergamo, Italy.
Participants of the "I Love Free Software Day" celebration in Bergamo, Italy

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

DJ Kenobit playing Free Software music on a gameboy

Meet-up in Potteries, UK

In the middle of England the local group FSFE Pottieres organised a lovely and cosy get together for all local Free Software enthusiasts. The group set-up some laptops with Free Software games pre-installed on them, so everybody could enjoy the fun with Free Software right away.

Free Software enthusiasts in Potteries sitting around a table full of food
Free Software enthusiasts in Potteries sharing their love for Free Software

Celebrations in Spain

In Barcelona around 30 people came together to celebrate their love for Free Software. Among those, a lot of new people came along to get to know software freedom and share their gratitude for all it's contributors. The event kicker off with a fun and engaging talk about the history of Free Software. This caught a lot of the peoples attention and it was a very nice round. Afterwards, the local group in Barcelona, ended the evening with food and drinks while sharing their love for Free Software.

MakeSpace in Madrid was once again the place to hold the meeting in Madrid. Around 20 people joined this celebration that consisted in a explained visit of the venue and short talks about Free Software, such as a talk about NextCloud, about 3D printing and Free Software, and a short summary about what has happened in the Free Software community in 2023. Afterwards, they had a really nice time networking around yummy food from a cooperative supermarket.

"I Love Free Software Day" in Berlin, Germany

The local group in Berlin invited everybody to the "Ick lieb' dir, Freie Software"-Day, which is a translation to the Berlin dialect of "I Love Free Software". The celebrations for the "I Love Free Software Day" 2024 moved from the C-Base to X-Hain, another local hackerspace in Berlin. Here, around 25 people came together and shared their favourite Free Software Project, a full list can be found on the local groups wiki page.

Reaching out to the people behind Free Software: Thank you

Another "I Love Free Software Day" has passed and hundreds of people shared their appreciation for Free Software by reaching out to the people behind their favourite Free Software project. There where a lot of great ways to do so. While the Fedora Project shared their appreciation for a lot of Linux distribution, NLnet published their list of projects in a blog post.

«It is amazing and inspiring to see how many FOSS projects and organisations come up with ideas for the "I Love Free Software Day". It is truly humbling to see how grateful the whole Free Software ecosystem is for the work all those contributors do for software freedom. Thank you so much for making this another amazing "I Love Free Software Day"» -Bonnie Mehring, coordinator of the "I Love Free Software Day"

And of course there were a lot of movement in the social networks and in the Internet! A lot of tweets and toots we published encouraging and thanking Free Software contributors. The Tor Project published an interview with the FSFE's President, Matthias Kirschner, about the children's book Ada & Zangemann. And the Swiss GNU/Linux.ch dedicated a podcast episode to this year's "I Love Free Software Day". Also some news about the FSFE where published by TUXEDO Computers, who talked with Albert Dengg about FSFE's activities. Albert, is a System Administrator of the FSFE and a member of the FSFE's System Hackers.

Apart from the visible presence on Twitter (now X) and in the Fediverse, the FSFE said thank you, in a more old-school way, with some postcards. The postcards where sent to projects opn which the FSFE's infrastructure and daily workflow relays.

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 is the second time the FSFE has sent out some postcards to Free Software projects. This activity was well received and it was awesome to see how much joy a thank you can spread. Several Free Software projects reached out to the FSFE by e-mail and shared their joy about the postcards.

Software Freedom Podcast episode with Karen Sandler and Alexander Sander

For this years "I Love Free Software Day" Bonnie Mehring met with Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the software freedom conservancy andAlexander Sander, FSFE's Senior Policy Consultant. Together they recorded a dedicated Software Freedom Podcast episode about the current situation for Free Software in politics and society.

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

After their first involvement for the "I Love Free Software Day 2023", the FSFE's women group came together again and sent out some thank you messages to women in Tech. As women are still under represented in FOSS it is immensely valuable to highlight the important work done by FLINTA.

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.

Sharepic by Karen Sandler, thanking everybody wo makes software freedom a critical movement

Thank you for joining this year's “I Love Free Software” celebrations ❤️ ❤️ ❤️