Celebrate I Love Free Software Day on Feb. 14th by staying connected
Times are tough in 2021, but free software enthusiasts are a tenacious lot, and while we haven't been able to hug many friends, we haven't lost touch with them, either, thanks to a wonderful plethora of free software communications tools. Given how crucial our families and social networks are to our ability to survive and thrive right now, we're so fortunate to be able to talk to all the people we love, anywhere in the world, without sacrificing our principles or exposing ourselves and our loved ones to the predatory and abusive practices of proprietary software companies. The handcrafted communications tools we use don't come with strings attached – they are a simple and perfect gift, shared with an absolute commitment to generosity and respect.
Accordingly, our friends at the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) have chosen the theme of "staying connected" for their I Love Free Software Day celebration, which happens every year on February 14, Valentine's Day, and we also want you to share the love!
Tell the world why you love free software
FSFE has created a very cute and clever picture for you to customize and share for the occasion: you can add your favorite photo of yourself to an I Love Free Software frame and then, following these instructions, add your own reasons why free software brings you joy every day! We encourage you to share your custom picture on your preferred social media with the hashtag #IloveFS. You can read more about why FSFE loves free software in their blog, and listen to messages from free software supporters on their upcoming podcast, including one from Free Software Foundation (FSF) campaigns manager Greg Farough.
Show your loved ones that you care about their freedom
It may be easier to just default to the substandard options most people are using for video chat, like Zoom or Skype, but by now I'm sure you're familiar with all of the pitfalls of using proprietary software for work, school, and leisure. As Javier Sepulveda wrote in our Spring 2020 Free Software Foundation Bulletin, "these tools are free because the product is the user, and the benefit is derived from intercepting the data transmitted through these platforms." But Javier's story, in which he convinced local schools to use Jitsi Meet for classes instead, demonstrates that as long as you have user-friendly free software options available, it's actually not that hard to get people to use them.
Today is the perfect day to show someone you love that you care about their right to control the software they use. So if you've been thinking of using Jitsi, GNU Jami, BigBlueButton, or another free software program to make your next video call to your best friend, or your cousin, or your nieces and nephews in the next town, or state, or country, try it now! It's a great way to open up a conversation about your favorite subject, and ours -- more free software supporters are essential to build our movement.
If you want to take this conversation a step farther, you can even purchase someone you love a gift associate membership to the FSF. Along with many other benefits, all FSF members have free access to our handy Jitsi Meet server!.
We don't know when life will return to "normal," but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Until we get there, free software has all the tools you need to reach the people who make your heart sing and keep your spirits high. Share the love, and spread freedom far and wide!
Image Copyright © 2019, Free Software Foundation, Inc., Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.