FSFE summit 2016

September 2nd to 4th

BCC Berlin


Imagine a European Union that builds its IT infrastructure on Free Software. Imagine European Member States that exchange information in Open Standards and share their software. Imagine municipalities and city councils that benefit from decentralized and collaborative software under free licenses. Imagine no European is any longer forced to use non-Free Software.

From September 2nd to 4th, the FSFE organised its first ever summit to bring together our pan-European community and Fellows for a whole weekend and to discuss contemporary and important issues regarding software freedom. A conference as a gathering, with the potential to build bridges and band together.

The summit in a nutshell

The FSFE summit has been the main event in 2016 to bring together FSFE members and supporters from all over Europe. A conference for our community to share and present their ideas and interests. Sessions and talks have been non-technical and primarily about politics and society. In particular, we have been focusing the sessions of each summit day on one major theme:

Summit Outside
Berlin Congress Center
A very unique feature of the FSFE summit was that it was again a subconference of another conference, the QtCon. The QtCon, in turn, was a gathering of five subconferences and this way it brought together the communities of Qt, KDAB, KDE, VLC and FSFE under one roof. Means that people who came for the FSFE summit had the chance to use the same venue to also see technical talks for example about Qt or KDE. And vice versa, for example Qt developers had the chance to hear a political talk hosted by the FSFE. The chance to bring our movements together this way, with all its skills, expertise and different levels of activities was a lot of fun. And from the good feedback we got, the effect of bringing our communities together cannot be underestimated.

Participants of QtCon

Crucial part for the FSFE community were the community tracks that have been developed for and by our community. Many FSFE teams used the chance to present themselves and to grow teams or working groups inside the FSFE.

To highlight the efforts and successes of the European Free Software movement, we have been running a Show Europe as part of the FSFE summit. Show Europe was a session for other (national) Free Software related political organisations to present themselves and their work. One idea to help the European Free Software movement to see that we speak with many voices and languages but with the same message.

Some pictures

Beginning of QtCon
FSFE Birthday
Happy Birthday FSFE!
The friendly FSFE booth
Summit talk 2
Daniel Pockock about
Free communications with
Free Software
Summit Talk3
Katharina Nocun about
Public Code
Matthias talk
Matthias Kirschner about
typical misunderstandings
with Free Software
Chatty atmosphere at
the summit
Pizza break
Pizza party during our 15
years of FSFE celebration
Find the VLC community
Julia Reda giving the
Plussy Router
Plussy Router
Summit Talk
More than 40 talks during
three days

Special: 15 years of FSFE

In 2016, the FSFE turned 15 years old and we were using the summit to have an official birthday party in cbase, the oldest hackerspace in Berlin. People were invited for Pizza, drinks, chit-chat and music, to get in contact with each other, to revel in the past and to look forward to the future.

Matthias Kirschner, president of FSFE, and Erik Albers, community builder of FSFE, were using the opportunity to run a "local heroes of FSFE" session, in that they have been awarding some of FSFE's local heroes that have been present at the summit - in representation of all those countless volunteers who could not make it.

watch the video on vimeo

Schedule, speakers, slides and videos

Friday, September 2nd: Let's talk business

Polina Talk Talk4 Talk5

Saturday, September 3rd: Community and Politics

talk6 Talk7 Talk8

Sunday, September 4th: Beyond Code

Last but not least our keynote speaker Julia Reda, member of the EU Parliament for the Pirate Party, about how "Proprietary Software threatens Democracy"

Feedback and lessons learned

The overall feedback from the participants of the very first FSFE summit was overwhelming good. People loved the idea of having multiple communities and subconferences under one roof. People were complaining that the registration process was kind of unintuitive and uninformative, but we received good feedback for the organisation at the actual venue and that everything went very smooth. Finally, addressing the topic of running business with Free Software was also very well received by a lot of attendees.

Sure, there also have been lessons that we learned. Problematic was one talk that was partly advertising non-free software. Be assured this is a no go for a FSFE summit, but the speaker did not mention it in his application. Also we heard a couple of times that attendees would love to have a symbol, a button, a sticker or anything else to recognise each other. So people can see who is here for the FSFE community and who is here for the KDE community, for example. Finally, the number of tracks and talks seem to have been at a limit for participants to not get flooded by too much information. Be assured, we will take your feedback into account for the preparations of a possible next summit.

Press and media


Here are some of the blogs that have talk about the Summit:

The FSFE Summit in the Press

Some press articles about the FSFE summit:

Other media

Radio interview with Executive Director of the FSFE Jonas Öberg (since 40:00).