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The FSFE at the 37C3: Unlocked

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The Free Software Foundation Europe, along with more than 10.000 hackers, took part in the 37th Chaos Communication Congress. It was a great pleasure to be back in Hamburg and to join the Chaos family for another amazing four-day congress. Thank you all for coming and participating in the Chaos!

FSFE booth, without people, at the Bits and Bäume assembly

At the end of 2023, the Chaos Communication Congress returned as an in-person event at the Congress Centre Hamburg. This renowned annual gathering is one of the most important technology conferences, not only in Europe but also worldwide. It brings together developers, technical experts, civil society advocates, and individuals passionate about building a better society.

The FSFE was once again part of the Bits & Bäume assembly, where we had our booth to spread the word about Free Software, our work, and our activities. Here we were surrounded by our t-shirts, socks, books, and stickers. Many familiar faces visited the booth, either to refill their stickers or get one of our new shirts. However, as always at the Chaos events, many new people also stopped by to learn more about our work and Free Software in general. It was wonderful to have so many well-prepared volunteers and staff members with us who were able to answer all questions or direct them to the right people. Thank you all for your great support at the booth!

The FSFE was also represented with two workshops, two lighting talks, an ‘Ada & Zangemann’ reading, and a puzzle session. At the Bits & Bäume assembly we had a great and busy workshop area, which was opened by Tobias Diekershoff with a session on the REUSE tool. Over 25 people attended this workshop, a third of them with previous knowledge of the tool and even great ideas for future development, and others who had their first contact with REUSE.

Our second workshop was also hosted by Tobias Diekershoff, who, for the first time, talked about how to run an NGO on Free Software. This workshop was attended by an audience of around 40 people, including many NGO representatives who wanted to learn how to integrate more Free Software into their daily work. As shown in the following discussion, not all of them had previous knowledge of Free Software, so they asked for more documentation on the subject and examples of tools to be used for managing their daily tasks and communication.

Both lightning talks, “Youth Hacking 4 Freedom” by Bonnie Mehring and “The Free Software Foundation Europe” by Ana Galán, went quite well. Lightning talks usually attract a larger crowd at the Chaos Communication Congress, so it was no surprise that the hall was packed with hundreds of people. It was a great pleasure to reach out to so many people and introduce them to the FSFE and our activities.

Bonnie Mehring presenting the FSFE’s programming competition “Youth Hacking 4 Freedom” at the 37C3

Of course, we also had a reading of our well-known story 'Ada & Zangemann'. Bonnie Mehring had a pleasant time reading the book to a lot of kids at the Bits & Bäume workshop space. As in previous sessions led by Bonnie Mehring, the session ended with a warm discussion about our favourite ice cream. It was fun to connect with the youngest participants about Free Software.

All in all, attending the Chaos Communication Congress was a great experience for our team, as we also had time to attend several talks, widen our network, enjoy being an “angel” helping with congress tasks, and have fun while spreading the word about software freedom. It really is worth a visit for everyone. It is not your usual conference but it is much more than that. We can’t wait to see you at the next Chaos events!

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