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Come together for free software

by Zoe Kooyman Contributions Published on Nov 19, 2019 03:44 PM

Here at the Free Software Foundation (FSF), we strongly believe that one person can make a difference. Our main task, as the principal organization in the fight for user freedom, is one of connection; to bring people together around an unwavering set of principles. We will achieve global software freedom by staying the course, by focusing on education, and by making tools and solutions available, all by working together with this passionate and diverse community.

Every individual that takes action now will help us reach our goal of welcoming 600 new associate members by December 31st. Associate members give us the strength to amplify the free software message -- each new member exponentially increases our reach and our ability to make change. Visit to learn more about all the different ways we can stand strong together and for access to engaging images to help you spread the message using the hashtag #ISupportFreeSoftware!

The FSF is supported by thousands of individuals like you who form the heart of the movement. This is an opportunity for you to be an even more central part of an exciting and important community, one determining the future of freedom. Joining as an associate member is easy. You can start for as little as $10 per month, or $120 per year ($5 for students). We have exclusive associate membership gifts if you join or renew before December 31st and you will enjoy all the year-round member benefits, like merchandise discounts, a bootable membership card, and gratis event admissions. If you motivate others to become members, you will also be rewarded with our year-end gifts. Read more about this offer and our exclusive gifts.

Besides associate memberships, the FSF relies on individual donations. Any amount that fits your budget will make a real difference and can help us bring people together around free software. Have a look at "other ways to donate" to see if there is a simple action you can take to give further support to the FSF.

This year, our staff of only fourteen used your financial support to unite people all over the world around our mission, with increased opportunities both in-person and online.

The only way to make sure free software stays free is through enforcing copyleft licenses, like the GNU General Public License, according to the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL enforcement. In addition to their GPL enforcement work, our Licensing and Compliance Lab also provides educational resources to guide people through myriad licensing choices. With the help of a dedicated volunteer team, they help organizations and individuals properly distribute software while protecting user freedom.

More and bigger seminars are in the pipeline, and we are currently processing 55 RYF certification applications. Any financial support will go into increased infrastructure, sourcing volunteers, certification, and hosting in-person, educational events.

  • For years, people everywhere have been able to participate remotely in the annual LibrePlanet conference through our fully free livestream. This year, our tech team was able to share that knowledge with the EmacsConf team, as well as with the WikiConference team so that they could successfully stream their online conferences using only free software for the first time. For EmacsConf, the FSF also organized one of only two satellite instances, and hosted two of the speakers.

  • Our tech team supports the development of free software by providing server space for FSF infrastructure, for the GNU Project, and for other free software projects. We recently moved our cluster of 100+ virtual machines to a new location, where we will continue to work on upgrading and expanding it. With an upgraded cluster, we'll be able to provide even more new and promising free software projects with a fully free hosting location. Rent, equipment, and RYF-compliant hardware are necessary to be able to offer this service more professionally to the public.

  • The thirteenth International Day Against DRM (IDAD) hosted activists in Boston for protests and a sprint on writing educational materials, but also brought together fourteen online partners who amplified IDAD further worldwide. They organized activities ranging from promotional offers to increased writing and local activism. The dust jacket that was specially designed for the event was translated into eight languages by supporters from around the world, which is a testament to its effectiveness and our reach.

  • Lastly, every six months, we find ourselves in the FSF office working with some thirty volunteers to hold true to our promise of sending the print version of our biannual free software publication to our associate members. A combined 300 hours of connecting with local free software enthusiasts allows us to send over 12,500 Bulletins to dedicated advocates in 53 countries. It will soon be published online as well.

This is just a snapshot of the many ways we were able to form new connections this year. Upholding free software and copyleft standards; providing technical infrastructure for free software developers globally; educating about free software; campaigning; organizing events; speaking and tabling at other industry events; and publishing advocacy articles, are at the core of the Foundation's work. We use funds for design, venue logistics, equipment, and operational support; we offer the possibility of attending our events to those who typically would not have the funds; and we also provide guidance and fiscal sponsorship for other free software projects and conferences who are making a difference.

We will continue to do this work and to establish and motivate connections that allow us to build awareness about the unjust power of proprietary software. We achieve a lot for little with the help of volunteers, and often repurpose equipment where we can. We have received Charity Navigator's top rating for six consecutive years. And you can read our financial statements and annual reports online.

Thank you for everything you do to help this cause. The faces behind the free software movement may change, but with your support, the Free Software Foundation will not diverge from our continued defense of the four freedoms -- not now, not ever. We advocate for and facilitate the creation of free software because it is the right thing to do -- and we need you. Our connection with you is valuable to us because you connect the movement to the world.

Thank you.

Zoë Kooyman
Program Manager

Photo 1 by Zoë Kooyman, Copyright © 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc., licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.
Photo 2 by Ruben Rodriguez, Copyright © 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc., licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.
Photo 3 by Valessio Brito, Copyright © 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc., licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

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