Software Freedom in Europe 2021
Cancelling of large events, limitations in meetings, and travel restrictions: none of this stopped the FSFE from advancing software freedom in 2021. From Router Freedom to new podcast episodes to co-organising the Legal and Policy devroom at FOSDEM, we keep empowering people to control technology.
'Public Money? Public Code!' online workshops were offered to volunteers, and an online Legal and Licensing Workshop for legal experts was organised. The FSFE assisted software projects to become REUSE compliant with our new initiative, REUSE Booster. We created a monitoring map to demonstrate the developments of Router Freedom rights in Europe. The FSFE presented suggestions and demands to support sustainable software. Meanwhile, a two-year court case initiated by FSFE supporter Luca Bonissi successfully came to an end, unequivocally recognising the right to a Windows licence refund. Overall, significant accomplishments for software freedom marked 2021, the year FSFE is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
While this yearly report corresponds to our work during November 2020 - October 2021, many of our activities last for many years. We are celebrating our 20-years milestone because ultimately it is our long term presence that allows us to advance software freedom. Initiatives become more robust every year, as we have seen with the growing adoption of 'Public Money? Public Code!' and REUSE.
In 2017, we launched the 'Public Money? Public Code!' campaign, convincing several public administrations to change their IT strategy. Since then, the accompanying open letter has been signed by over 200 civil society organisations and several public administrations like the city of Barcelona and the Swedish JobTech Development center. The same year, we also initiated REUSE to provide a set of recommendations that make licensing Free Software projects easier for developers. Since then, REUSE has been adopted by well-known projects such as the German Corona Warn App and KDE.
Likewise, informing the public about the benefits of Free Software is a core activity that builds up over time. We inform people in information booths, we run workshops and give talks, we send out a monthly Newsletter and publish a podcast episode every two months to help the Free Software community grow and stay connected. Our "I Love Free Software Day", which started over a decade ago, is celebrated around the globe every year on 14 February. Still, sometimes our endeavors succeed after an entire journey which brings us in parliaments or to courts, as the Microsoft v. EU case did. This is why continuous engagement for software freedom matters.
Table of contents
- Celebrating 20 Years FSFE
- Policy advocacy
- 1. Raising 'Public Money? Public Code!' demand
- 2. Discovering the sustainability of Free Software
- 3. Supporting Router Freedom in the EU
- 4. Promoting Free Software in international development cooperation
- 5. Preventing a Radio Lockdown
- 6. Suggesting improvements to the German warning system
- 7. Running electoral activities
- Legal support
- 1. Launching REUSE Booster
- 2. Celebrating win in landmark court case
- 3. Organising Legal and Licensing Workshop
- 4. Assisting projects in Next Generation Internet Initiative
- 5. Answering licensing questions
- Public awareness
- 1. Co-organising FOSDEM Legal and Policy devroom
- 2. Publishing podcast episodes
- 3. Thanking creators behind Free Software
- 4. Participating in SFSCon
- The FSFE community
- Join our movement
- Looking forward to 2022
- About the FSFE
Celebrating 20 Years FSFE
Long before the first smartphone was introduced, it was evident to the FSFE's founders that it is the people who should be in control of technology. In 2001, Free Software experts around Europe therefore created the Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. In 2021, the Free Software Foundation Europe turned 20. This means two decades of empowering users to control technology. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use, study, share, and improve software. This way, Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
The FSFE was founded in April 2001, so this year in April 2021 we started having a look at our community and previous work. We contacted people who paved the way of the FSFE since its beginning, such as long term volunteers and past staffers. We have interviewed Georg Greve, Torsten Grote, Reinhard Müller, and Fernanda Weiden, and we received a video message from Cory Doctorow. We shared the FSFE highlights from the last 20 years, and Matthias Kirschner, President of the FSFE since 2015, presented the work of the organisation since its founding. To mark this important milestone, we produced a bag and a sticker.
Although technology is ever-changing, our values have been consistent throughout the last twenty years. The core of our work is, in a nutshell: highlighting the sociopolitical implications of Free Software, simplifying its legal preconditions, and educating people on the nature of Free Software. Therefore, we divide our work into three areas: Policy Advocacy, Legal Support, and Public Awareness. Matthias Kirschner explains this in his own words in a short video:
1. Raising 'Public Money? Public Code!' demand
Why is software created using taxpayers’ money not released as Free Software? The 'Public Money? Public Code!' initiative was launched in 2018. Its popularity demonstrates that our continuous effort through the years can make a difference. More than 200 organisations and administrations support our call for action by signing our open letter. Good news of municipalities embracing Free Software keeps coming in. In 2021, PMPC progressed in a variety of sectors, ranging from EU policy to public health related apps.
Examining the EU Open Source Strategy
The FSFE examined the new 'Open Source Strategy' of the EU for the period 2020-2023 and raised its concerns. The benefits of Free Software are fully emphasised and the Commission is on paper ambitious in its future use of Free Software. However, concrete goals are rare and a clear commitment to the use of Free Software is lacking. The strategy mainly repeats previous commitments and activities; sustainable and verifiable approaches are sought in vain.
In February 2021, we interviewed Evangelos Tsavalopoulos, Head of Sector of the European Commission Open Source Software Unit, and addressed the most important questions about this strategy.
Offering PMPC Workshops
In the framework of its campaign 'Public Money? Public Code!', the FSFE has launched a workshop series, 'Contact your administrations'. Its target audience is volunteers and supporters from all over Europe who want to become active in reaching out to their local representatives. This workshop aims to share best practices when addressing public administrations to discuss Free Software in the public sector, while empowering volunteers to become more active within their own communities. During 2021, Lina Ceballos, an FSFE Project Manager, and Alexander Sander, Policy Consultant of the FSFE, held online sessions of this workshop for our Italian and Spanish communities. Alexander Sander and Bonnie Mehring, Translations Coordinator, held the online session for this workshop in German.
Conceptualising a code repository for the public sector
Together with our associated organisation the 'Open Source Business Alliance', the federal working group of municipal IT service providers and other experts, FSFE has developed a first concept for a code repository for the public sector (EN, DE, .pdf). In the proposal, we clarified the potential of Free Software for use in public institutions and how such a repository can contribute to the further development of the digitalisation of administrations. This concept is already being tested with a pilot project in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior.
Demanding Free Software in Public Health related apps
Amid the difficulties of the pandemic, the FSFE identifies a crucial aspect: that apps related to public health should be Free Software. This way they will be transparent, trustworthy, and available to people who consciously avoid proprietary software. Throughout this challenge our demands focus on user rights, and this is reflected in our work. In December of 2020, the FSFE stood in favour of coronavirus tracing apps to be Free Software and thanked the volunteers who liberated the German Corona Warn app (CWA). The FSFE appealed to governments and administrations to publish developed software as Free Software, to break dependencies on proprietary app stores and instead make their apps installable from independent sources like F-Droid, and to renounce proprietary dependencies. This also helps to protect fundamental rights such as the right to privacy.
In August 2021, we witnessed the same problematic pattern in Germany: volunteers once more had to step in to take over the government's task in order to make the CovPass app available to everyone. The FSFE urges the government to quickly adapt its practices and make sure everyone can use such apps without any restrictions from the start. Furthermore, if it is ensured that solutions are published as Free Software, they can be adjusted and reused by other institutions around the world.
Demanding accessibility to political participation apps
In the Netherlands, the official application for parliamentary debates is not available under a Free Software license. In 2018, FSFE supporter Jos van den Oever noticed that the 'Debat Direct' app could not be downloaded to his Firefox OS phone. Jos' request to get the app's source code was denied, and he brought the case to court. The Council of State ruled on 31 March 2021 that the Parliament does not have to publish the source code. The FSFE therefore calls upon the Dutch Parliament to impose rules on itself, to act transparently, and to publish the source code of such applications under a Free Software licence in the future.
Moreover, the FSFE calls on the Dutch government to stand firm and get a grip on their digital security and autonomy by adhering to Open Standards and Free Software, in line with their earlier commitment to use Free Software by default. The Netherlands is becoming dependent on a digital infrastructure that is dominated by a small number of monopolistic companies. Although the Dutch Cyber Security Council recognises the consequent risk, their report neglects focusing on Open Standards and Free Software, the proven best practices to face this problem.
Spreading the word
In 2021 we translated our 'Public Money? Public Code!' video into Swedish and Dutch. Apart from those translations, the PMPC video is available in English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Slovenian. We also translated the PMPC brochure into Spanish.
Bringing Free Software to local governments
On May 2021, we contributed to a report on the use of Free Software in local administrations (DE)(.pdf) which was released by the German association for municipal government.
With an overwhelming cross-faction majority, Dortmund committed itself to the use of Free Software in a groundbreaking resolution (DE) in February 2021. The case of Dortmund, where the motion passed unanimously, proves that all sides can appreciate the practical benefits of Free Software. The result was made possible by the consistent efforts of the DO-FOSS initiative, which also supported the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign of the FSFE. The Council's decision means that there is now political backing to gradually break down dependencies on proprietary vendors. The FSFE will follow the implementation and at the same time call on other administrations in Germany and Europe to follow Dortmund's example.
The Swiss cantons of Bern and Uri embraced Free Software and the FSFE met online with the people behind this process. Bern followed the steps of another Swiss canton, Uri, trailbrazer for the use of Free Software in administration. For years, the Free Software app 'Caluma' has been successful in Switzerland. The example of the cantons of Uri and Bern shows that the principle of "Public Money? Public Code!" benefits everyone: citizens, the administration, and also the economy.
2. Discovering the sustainability of Free Software
We recently published a study 'On the Sustainability of Free Software' that includes five core demands about What can politicians and society do for a more sustainable digitization? Among them are:
- When the software of a device is not supported any more, the manufacturers should publish the source code of the software under a Free Software license.
- Users must be given the right to install the operating system of their choice on their own devices, as well as any software.
- Devices should be produced with open standards, drivers, and interfaces, to ensure a sustainable use of hardware resources.
Icons reused from sources available on Freepik.com
Erik Albers, Program Manager of the FSFE, also gave a talk (DE) about the subject of software sustainability at this year's Winterkongress, the annual conference from the Swiss Digital Intiative, and in the second round table "How do we shape and grow a green tech sector?", organised by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament. In February, Erik co-published the paper "Design Options for Long-lasting, Efficient and Open Hardware and Software" in "Ökologisches Wirtschaften: Digitalisation and Sustainability". In January we participated in the European Comission's consultation about "Designing mobile phones and tablets to be sustainable – ecodesign".
3. Supporting Router Freedom in the EU
Since 2013 the FSFE has been a leading voice in promoting end-users' right to use their own personal modems and routers. Router Freedom is not a one-time achievement. As the regulations change, our work is continuous to defend this digital right. Our long-term engagement for Software Freedom is needed, and it makes a difference.
2021 represented a milestone for the implementation of Router Freedom in Europe. We exerted great efforts to protect Router Freedom on the European level. We have been involved in legislative processes and implementation of technical rules in diverse jurisdictions in the EU. Also, we provided to communities and individuals all necessary elements to engage in initiatives so that they can push the agenda on a political level.
This year demonstrated that although the regulatory framework remains fragmented in the EU, Router Freedom is emerging as a prospective reality. We empowered people to defend their right to use their own internet equipment all over Europe.
Informing and empowering the public
In response to the EU reform of telecommunications law (EECC), we explained that Router Freedom is fundamental for security and privacy and summarized the current status in an Activity Summary. Router Freedom is essential for fair competition in markets and sustainability by promoting compatibility among devices and the right to repair.
In March 2021, when EU countries started to implement the telecom reform, we launched an Engagement Package so that anyone can organize supporting activities for Router Freedom. The included wiki page helps the volunteers of the initiative identify interested people, collect information, and set up courses of action. To involve the maximum number of people, we promoted Router Freedom in several events, gave talks, and organised expert meetings with stakeholders all over Europe. Our demands have been shared by several groups in public consultations and official hearings.
Pushing the Router Freedom demand in each country
We followed closely the positive developments in the Netherlands, which confirmed our demands for consumer rights. In June 2021, we talked with a representative of the Finnish regulator, who explained why Router Freedom is essential for net neutrality. Our coordinated activities in Greece in May 2021 supported that regulator's preliminary decision to secure Router freedom. We worked closely with consumer organisations, digital groups, and business representatives to promote and leverage the agenda, demanding clear rules for consumers, as in the beginning of the legislative process in Austria.
On another hand, we have monitored issues with implementations which could harm Router Freedom. We raised our concerns when Germany decided to step back from the positive experience the country has built since 2016 by allowing the national regulator to determine a regulatory framework against consumers. Latvia opened an extremely dangerous precedent by allowing ISPs to determine by themselves technological issues to prohibit the use of personal routers.
Router Freedom is undergoing a rapid development in Europe, so we created a monitoring map to help everyone keep track of the Router Freedom status in their countries.
To understand better the issues end-users are facing with ISPs' abusive commercial practices, we started a survey. With this research, which is unique in the EU, we aim to gather data about end-user experience, so we can highlight the issues to regulators and decision makers. Our survey is still open and you are welcome to answer our questions.
4. Promoting Free Software in international development cooperation
In December 2020, the FSFE published an analysis of the benefits of using Free Software in international development cooperation. In this increasingly digitised sector, Free Software is becoming an indispensable fundamental technology that guarantees legally compliant international cooperation and reuse. With Free Software, global scaling is possible, as well as local adaptability. New monopolies and dependencies are avoided, which is a major UN sustainability goal.
5. Preventing a Radio Lockdown
Since 2015, we have been monitoring the possible unpleasant effects of the European Radio Equipment Directive, for which we coined the term Radio Lockdown. Although the FSFE has warned the European Commission multiple times of the disastrous consequences Article 3(3)(i) can have for users, organisations, and the whole communication equipment market, the regulators did not give in. However, in the past 12 months the Commission did not propose any concrete draft regulations, so we are in limbo. The FSFE will continue to monitor the situation closely.
6. Suggesting improvements to the German warning system
Already in November 2020, the FSFE flagged that Germany's warning system is unstable and ineffective and pointed out pragmatic improvements that can guarantee that a warning message can reach every person needed while respecting software freedom and privacy. Unfortunately, our suggestions were not implemented in time: the German warning system once again failed in July 2021 during a number of heavy regional floodings, after which the FSFE repeated that the more effective alternatives must be adopted as soon as possible to prepare for the next serious events. The commentary received several republications. Since this wake-up call, it seems the responsible administrations have been giving this crucial change the necessary attention and traction.
7. Running electoral activities
Prior to the German elections we raised our PMPC demand, in line with our electoral activities. During the final week before the German federal election we reached out to politicians asking their stance on Free Software. The FSFE and the Open Source Business Alliance conducted interviews with representatives of all political parties with a prospect of government participation. The videos are available in German. Also we released our vision for the upcoming decades and concrete demands for the next government (DE) and analyzed the elections programs (DE) of the parties.
1. Launching REUSE Booster
REUSE has facilitated the licensing of Free Software projects. Developers are given standardised ways to mark all files in a project with their chosen license and copyright notice. A tutorial, a set of FAQs, a helper tool, and an API have been made available to lower the threshold and save time.
With REUSE Booster, launched in 2021, the FSFE takes this initiative one step further. This progress was possible thanks to the support the FSFE has received, which enables the implementation of long-term activities. REUSE Booster enables Free Software projects to seek tailored support by our legal experts. As the name suggests, this will boost the process of adopting the best practices as well as general understanding of licensing and copyright. Each project is evaluated individually and the recommendations apply to its particular situation.
Max Mehl joined a podcast episode to present REUSE Booster and talk about the recent developments of the whole initiative. For example, REUSE was adopted by the KDE community as the standard best practice to communicate all projects' licensing and copyright situation. To learn how a large community like KDE managed this step, we interviewed Andreas Cord-Landwehr, long-term developer at KDE, to discuss this implementation.
2. Celebrating win in landmark court case initiated by Luca Bonissi
On March 2021, FSFE supporter Luca Bonissi won a court case he initiated against Lenovo. Ιn a historic judgment in Italy, Lenovo was ordered to pay 20,000 euros in damages for abusive behaviour in refusing to refund the price of a pre-installed Windows licence. In a motivating gesture for the Free Software cause, Luca donated 15,000 euros to the FSFE.
3. Organising the Legal and Licensing Workshop
In 2021, we organised and supported the first online edition of the Legal and Licensing Workshop. The FSFE's Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) has been held annually for the FSFE's Legal Network since 2008, and serves as a conference for legal experts in the field of Free Software to debate over issues and share best practices surrounding Free Software licenses. Instead of a physical one-time conference, this year, from March to July, LLW offered online presentations, discussion panels, and workshops continuously.
Discussions ranged from the recently concluded Google v. Oracle case in the US Supreme Court to legal considerations of Open Hardware. The LLW provided workshops on improving the quality of Free Software licensing information, including those specific to copyleft licenses. As with all online discussions of the Legal Network and its associated events, the Chatham House Rule applied to this year's edition of the LLW. Next year we plan to organise LLW again as a physical meeting to continue building a robust Free Software legal community.
4. Assisting projects in Next Generation Internet Initiative
2021 marks the 3rd and final year of FSFE's involvement in the European Commission's Next Generation Internet Zero Initiative. Our work has been praised by the European Commission and the projects which we have been working with. The FSFE has been a partner organisation of Next Generation Internet Zero (NGI0).
“Our Free Software developer needs were understood and met with minimal frictions. With audits, this NGI0 support went further than just allowing us to spend more time working on the project, they taught us how to improve it. The FSFE REUSE team even contributed actual code with a regular merge-request, in a perfect illustration of ‘them’ teaming up with us!”
Simon Descarpentires, Meta-Press.es Project
Supporting Free Software Developers Through NGI0
The FSFE provided guidance on how to communicate the components, licences, and copyrights associated with software packages. We assisted software projects with their legal and licensing needs, and convinced them to adopt our REUSE standards as best practices for displaying licensing and copyright information.
We have guided over 100 NGI0 software projects to implement the REUSE standards on their workflow. This has included working directly with their repositories to better improve how the licensing and copyright information contained in their repositories is displayed, so that any adopters of their work in the future can more easily comply with these licence and copyright obligations.
"Regarding REUSE, we have learnt a lot. We realise that the idea behind REUSE is simple, clear, and powerful. Nowadays, Free Software projects become more and more complicated, and many components/files of a single project have different license/copyright information. REUSE helps a lot on tracking the status of this information in our project.”
Xianjun Jiao, OpenWifi Project
Making Copyright and Licensing Easier for Everyone
Together with another NGI0 partner organisation, the Institute for Legal Issues regarding Free and Open Source Software, or ifrOSS, we have included in our website a set of educational FAQs about Free Software legal and licensing issues. These FAQs tackle topics useful to any Free Software developer, such as the basics of copyright, licensing issues with Free Software, and issues with licence compatibility. In total, we have created eight educational PDF documents that explain these topics more, in greater depth.
"Being involved in NGI0 has been a nurturing experience. On one hand, it has been very interesting to work closely with and learn from projects that are reshaping the future of the internet. On the other, being part of the FSFE team has provided me with the necessary technical and legal skills to feel comfortable to contribute directly to projects' repositories through merge-requests; a task that was completely new for me in the beginning. All the positive feedback from these projects only encourages me to keep up the good work.”
Lina Ceballos, FSFE Legal Trainee at the time, meanwhile FSFE project manager
5. Answering licensing questions
The FSFE runs a group for License Questions, composed of several volunteer legal experts from around Europe who continuously help projects and individuals with topics concerning Free Software licensing. In 2021 the department was busy dealing with inquiries related to licence violations, contribution policy, relicensing and even the NASA license over photos, video, and content.
1. Co-organising FOSDEM Legal and Policy devroom
On February 2021, the FSFE participated in FOSDEM. This year it took place online, and according to the main FOSDEM organisers it had a peak of 33,600 attendees. Also, the FSFE co-organised the Legal and Policy Devroom for the first time.
In the Legal and Policy Devroom we aimed to cover the most crucial current issues, such as the proprietary software monopolies which were formed within the rapid digitization after the outbreak of the pandemic. This issue was also related to the intentional misuse of the term Free Software for marketing purposes. The panels covered three ongoing EU policies, the 'Open Source strategy', the Digital Markets Act, and the regulations connected to Router Freedom.
2. Publishing podcast episodes
In addition to our regular news stories and monthly newsletter, the FSFE regularly publishes the Software Freedom Podcast. We talk once a month with people deeply involved in software freedom. Podcasts facilitate community building around Free Software. In 2021 we created five new episodes: "Enforcement of the GNU GPL" with Till Jaeger, "REUSE Booster and our update on REUSE" with Max Mehl, "How to support Free Software and a sustainable digital infrastructure" with Elisa Lindinger, "I love Free Software", and "How to tell my mother that Free Software can cost money?".
3. Thanking creators behind Free Software
Free Software often benefits from the generous work of individuals who work to develop and maintain Free Software projects. By making software available to everyone, they help us chat with our friends in privacy, share our notes, save our passwords -- you name it! Their valuable contributions should not go unnoticed. In the FSFE we celebrate 'I Love Free Software Day ' every 14 February thanking creators of Free Software and we invite others to join us in doing so. Our I Love Free Software Day 2021 received a lot of attention. We counted 411 tweets on Twitter and 210 toots in the Fediverse using the hashtag #ilovefs. People from all over the world joined I Love Free Software Day via social media and tweeted and tooted from at least 328 different places.
4. Participating in SFSCon
The South Tyrol Free Software Conference, SFSCon, is "one of Europe’s most established annual conferences on Free Software". In recent years we have been represented with talks, workshops and our information booth. In November 2020, the FSFE organised several talks in which legal issues and current political developments were analysed. The FSFE will also participate in SFSCon 2021 with several talks, and we will organise a sustainability track. If you cannot attend, you can follow our track online this year.
The FSFE community
Educational activity by Local Group Zurich receives award
On December 2020, our Local Group Zurich members received a DINAcon award and we interviewed them. The local FSFE group created a website called "Learning like a pro" (original German: "Lernen wie die Profis") which they use to explain why Free Software matters in education. It proceeds describing individual Free Software solutions and how these solutions in particular can be used to make school learning efficient and easy.
FSFE Women group formed in 2021
In 2021, the FSFE Women group was created to help women and everyone who identifies as female build connections with each other while discussing technological issues. Starting out as a German-speaking group, the FSFE Women turned to English in May to welcome new members from around Europe. FSFE Women meets every month online and covers aspects related to Free Software. In June 2021, Irmhild Rogalla gave a talk about the accessibility of video conferencing tools, supporting a conferencing platform for all. In July 2021, Bonnie Mehring presented 'Public Money? Public Code!' in relation to the German elections. In August 2021, Loria presented how maps are created in a 2D workadventu.re world. FSFE Women is open to everyone who identifies as female; it gladly welcomes new members.
There is nothing that System Hackers cannot fix
The fact that you can read this report is also thanks to our volunteers who call themselves System Hackers. This group is responsible for the development and maintenance of the FSFE's technical infrastructure: servers, connectivity, virtual machines, DNS, services, backups; a hundred of things can break in between, but they keep it running. In 2021, there have too many exciting changes to list them here, which is why they will write an article about their activities within the next weeks.
Translators remove language barriers
The FSFE Translators team removes language barriers for Software Freedom. During the past year the team has worked tirelessly on creating new translations and improving old ones. Since November 2020, the translators team has created 376 new translations. Most of them are in Italian (189), followed by Dutch with 79 new translations. The translators team has also worked on improving the translation processes.
Staffers run day-to-day activities of the FSFE
Besides its dedicated volunteers, the FSFE also relies on its employees for its daily operations. At the FSFE we currently have 7 people working full-time, 5 working part-time, and 2 interns.
In 2021 we welcomed 6 new staffers. Since November 2020, Linda Wagener completes bookkeeping and accounting tasks, offering a helping hand when needed. Lina Ceballos completed her internship in the FSFE last year, and she has now joined our permanent team. Lina is a Project Manager focusing on PMPC, REUSE, and Router Freedom. Also, she helps the FSFE to reach our Spanish-language audience.
Linus Sehn is our new System Administrator; he makes sure our systems run smoothly and solves any problems that come up. Since May 2021, Fani Partsafyllidou has been our new Project Manager and Newsletter Editor, supporting the implementation of Youth Hacking 4 Freedom, 20 Years FSFE, and Upcycling Android. Fani makes sure that the work of the FSFE is accurately communicated to our community.
In September 2021, Marlene Kietreiber joined our team and brings the magic of graphic design to the FSFE. At the same time, Niharika Singhal joined our Legal team as an intern. Would you like to join our team? We are always interested in internship applications.
The General Assembly guides the progress of the FSFE
The FSFE is governed by its formal members, the "General Assembly", who are responsible for planning, budgeting, and setting the agenda, as well as electing the Executive Council which currently consists of the FSFE's President Matthias Kirschner, Vice-President Heiki Löhmus, and Financial Officer Patrick Ohnewein.
The FSFE complies with the guidelines set out in “transparent civil society” by Transparency International Germany with our transparency commitment. Besides our constitution and minutes from our general assemblies, you will find information in our general reports, name and functions of decision makers and staff, our connections with other organisations, how we use our money, and who our donors are.
Spreading the word
We offer gratis information packages, so that people can raise awareness about software freedom in their communities. From 1 November 2020 until now we have sent 263 information packages. Thank you to all of you who spread the news and help us to reach more people about Free Software. The FSFE T-shirt collection is beloved; we have sold 700 T-shirts since 1 November 2020. Also, we introduced two new products to celebrate 20 Years of the FSFE: a bag, which you can see below, and a sticker.
Join our movement
In the last few years, we exceeded ten thousand people from Europe and beyond who are supporting our cause by spreading our word, signing our open letters, subscribing to our community mails and newsletter, or joining our public discussions. If you ever wondered who all these people are and what a FSFE supporter looks like, we have created a dedicated testimonials page for you, where several of our supporters have left a quote, an interview, or a video.
The FSFE would be nothing without our contributors. And it would be so much more with you! If you feel inspired after reading our report, there are many ways to engage in our movement. We have a dedicated contribution page to help you find a way that best fits your interests and skills.
One of the easiest entrance levels is to spread the word about Free Software in public or among your friends with our promotion material or directly show your love for Free Software by wearing some of our inspiring merchandise items. Follow and share our event announcements, find an event that fits your interests, and then go there to meet like-minded people. Don't be shy; most of us have been in your position once.
If you find no event near you, you can also join us online. If you want to contribute with your IT skills or your language skills, you are more than welcome to join our respective online teams. Not yet sure where to start? Then look into our discourse-instance and start to get to know our community and get inspired about what you can do.
Finally, advocating for freedom also costs money and we depend on people like you to support us financially. All support is used to improve European software freedom a little more each day, step by step, bit by bit.
Looking forward to 2022
In 2022, the FSFE will continue its activities while undertaking new ones. The following paragraphs are not an exhaustive account of our future activities, but a glimpse of what is coming up.
In 2022 we are going to monitor the implementation of our PMPC demands, protect Router Freedom in countries where the respective legislation is coming up, and advocate to prevent a Radio Lockdown. We plan to have a physical Legal and Licensing Workshop 2022 in Gothenburg, Sweden, and will continuously evaluate the current conditions there to ensure the safety of all participants. We are currently preparing two exciting projects for the next year, Youth Hacking 4 Freedom and Upcycling Android.
Youth Hacking 4 Freedom is a coding competition to inspire young people to Software Freedom. It is open to teenagers 14-18 from around Europe. Participants will compete in Youth Hacking for Freedom by creating programs of their choice licensed as Free Software. This hacking competition is a great opportunity for young people to receive inspiration and to network with important people of the field. For the winners, the cash prize might turn into an investment for their own project.
Upcycling Android will be a campaign with a web presence and practical workshops to overcome software obsolescence on Android by installing Free Software. It will aim to achieve users' freedom and care for the environment at the same time.
Overall, the next year of the FSFE is exciting and promising as we plan to reach out to a younger audience and to highlight the importance of software sustainability. If you are interested in following our future projects make sure you subscribe to our mail updates.
About the FSFE
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a charity that empowers people to control technology by enabling access to software and its source code. The rights to use, study, share, and improve this software are essential to guarantee equal participation in democracies of the 21st century.
Thanks to the trust of our supporters, the FSFE counts 20 years of promoting software freedom in Europe. Our stable presence in this field enables us to succeed in lengthy endeavours for software freedom, and to be ready at all times to respond to related developments. We are grateful for the trust of our supporters, and we will keep on empowering people to control technology.