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Bringing the free software vision to 2020

by John Sullivan Contributions Published on Dec 27, 2019 05:29 PM

2019 has been an eye-opening, transformative year for free software and the Free Software Foundation (FSF), bringing some major changes both internally and in the world around us. As we navigate these changes, we are guided by the FSF's founding vision -- the four freedoms that define free software, and our mission to make all software be compatible with human freedom. It must be honest, transparent, and shareable, and it must truly work in service of its users.

For the last sixteen years, I have been steeped in these principles, and along with so many of you, have absorbed them into my heart and soul. Thank you for being a member of this community, for your advocacy and code and commitment. It is your support that has put us in a position to be able to face new challenges, and to continue evolving into an organization that can last for as long as the work still needs to be done.

Over the last month and a half, we've been sharing highlights of the work our campaigns, licensing, tech, and operations team have done in 2019. We don't have a full-time position dedicated to fundraising, so you've heard these details directly from the people doing the work. I'm proud of what our teams have accomplished this year with your support: huge steps forward for the Respects Your Freedom product certification program, significant updates to the infrastructure we provide for thousands of free software developers and users worldwide, an impactful International Day Against Digital Restrictions Management, a successful pilot program to teach public school students about free software, and of course our new ShoeTool video. Our intense focus on program work earned us another 4-star top rating from Charity Navigator.

Author and activist Cory Doctorow said recently of the FSF, "You interact with code that they made possible a million times a day, and they never stop working to make sure that the code stays free." We need your help now to be able to continue this work. But we can't stop there. We need to take the free software vision much further in 2020. We have to be better in the areas of mobile devices, network services, software-driven cars, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Most of all, we need to do better at communicating and spreading the free software vision in different ways so that others, from all walks of life, will join us in tackling these problems. This means building a stronger, kinder, more united, and powerful community.

We are behind on our goal of welcoming 600 new associate members by December 31st. But I know we can still reach that goal. In my sixteen years, I have seen single individuals inspire a dozen people to join in a week. Please join us in our final year-end push by becoming a member or renewing your membership? Show your friends, family, and colleagues the ShoeTool video, and explain to them the reasons you support free software. We'll even send you a special thank-you gift if you convince just three others -- email campaigns@fsf.org and let us know who they are.

Thank you for everything you've done for free software, and for believing in us to carry the vision forward into 2020.

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