Skip to content, sitemap or skip to search.

Personal tools
Join now
You are here: Home Blogs Community Share your free software journey and help others start their own: Join us on Jan. 20

Share your free software journey and help others start their own: Join us on Jan. 20

by Greg Farough Contributions Published on Jan 14, 2022 01:04 PM
Share your free software journey and help others start their own: Join us on Jan. 20

Person viewing computer with "Freedom Ladder", whilst drinking from an "FSF 35" cup

What's your free software story?

Each of us has our own story to share about how we came to free software. For some, it might have been something as simple as learning about it from a friend. Others may have come to GNU/Linux through an article online or in a magazine, and at least a few lucky members of our community will have grown up with free software being used in the home. As part of our Freedom Ladder initiative, we want to take the time to highlight these stories, and distill what we can from them in order to help more and more people join the free software movement. Our stories may differ widely, but we're confident that we can learn something of value from each of them, and use them as tools to help lead others to freedom.

A person sits behind a computer hosting an online meeting for the freedom ladder

We're inviting you to a live session on January 20, starting at 14:00 EST (19:00 UTC), in the #fsf channel of the Libera.Chat IRC network. During this time, we'll be having an impromptu discussion about our own free software journeys, and opening a convenient place for you to share your own with us. Although it's not necessary to participate in the IRC session to submit your story to the campaign, we hope that you'll take the time to join us! To access the story submission form, please visit the event page on Thursday, or any time over the following weekend.

While each of our stories about how we came to free software are likely as distinctive and diverse as the people sharing them, they might have certain commonalities. Over the sixteen years that I've been using free software, for example, I've often wondered how many people have a story similar to mine. I don't expect that very many people came to software freedom by way of Punkcast, like I did, but I imagine there are quite a few people who still remember that first inspiring reading of the GNU Manifesto (shoutout to C-h g!) -- not to mention the first time they accidentally erased their root filesystem.

In the interest of helping others reach the highest level of freedom that we can, we want to keep these discussions honest and frank. No matter what stage you're on when it comes to computing freedom, your perspective is valuable, and we aim to draw from it as much as we can to help others find their way to computing freedom. Especially when we're considering what we can take from our stories that will help others, we shouldn't shy away from places where we've failed, or where we think our journey could have gone better. The point of this event is to learn what we can from each other, and carry it to the free software users of the future.

The more members we can count on, the better we can build the ladder for others, and this starts with achieving our membership goal of 500 new members before January 20th. Right now, we have 334! Can you join this effort as an FSF associate member? You can start for as little as $10 per month ($5 for students), or $120 per year. Your membership will help the FSF give more people the tools they need to continue on toward software freedom. It will enable us to continue to create new resources, and to lead much needed initiatives like the Freedom Ladder campaign for the community.

Plus, associate members can select a special gift during this fundraiser, and enjoy all the member benefits, which include merchandise discounts, a 16GB bootable membership card, and use of our videoconferencing server.

How to participate

  • If you haven't already, now would be a good time to read the Freedom Ladder campaigns page on the LibrePlanet wiki. This is where we've been publicly developing our campaign materials.

  • In the days leading up to the event, start thinking of the parts of your story that you most want to share, and which parts of your story you feel might be the most helpful to others. If you like, you might write parts of your story down to help you remember.

  • Join the FSF's live discussion on Thursday, January 20th at 14:00 EST (19:00 UTC). This is your opportunity to share your story, and listen to others' stories! For instructions on how to submit, please see our event page.

  • If you're unable to attend the event, would prefer not to speak, or would like to share your story in another way, you can do so on the Ladder's LibrePlanet wiki page, or by writing

No matter whether your free software journey began two days ago or two decades ago, we believe you have something to teach newcomers to free software. At the same time, and especially when considering the dire necessity of bringing computing freedom to the world, we feel sure that the campaigns team can draw on your experiences and use them to make free software advocacy stronger. We're looking forward to seeing you, and sharing with you, as we prepare for the next steps. Your story will help not only for this campaign, but will shape the course of our advocacy throughout 2022 and beyond.

Image Copyright © 2021 Free Software Foundation, Inc., licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Document Actions

The FSF is a charity with a worldwide mission to advance software freedom — learn about our history and work. is powered by:


Send your feedback on our translations and new translations of pages to