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Where we're going: Working together for Free Software

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Jul 08, 2010 08:47 PM
By working together for free software in a focused movement, we can do much more than the sum of our individual or project efforts.

That's where this campaign is headed--to strengthen the entire movement by promoting the underlying message that all free software projects work for a unified ideal: an end goal of software freedom. It represents a new theme in the Free Software Foundation's work and a shift in focus that recognizes we are ready to engage a much wider audience. The approach for "Working together for free software" is to find new common ground to facilitate an effective public campaign for software freedom that will benefit everyone.

We've already launched the first step of this campaign, so if you haven't yet seen our revamped homepage, please take a look and let us know what you think. We appreciate all of the positive feedback we've been getting on the campaign, but this is just the beginning. Currently, we have the refocused homepage, which was designed with new people in mind, those who may be completely unfamiliar with the concept of free software. We think this is an appropriate start, but we're not leaving it static. We have a lot more planned, and as always we're open to more ideas.

We will begin to feature profiles of key people involved with free software projects. These community members can explain their motivations for working on free software and put a human face to our ideas. In addition, key people from major institutions will explain the critical importance of free software to their operation and why they value the freedom that free software provides. With this, we will present free software in a way which not only highlights the value it has in society but also builds on the trust prominent organizations have invested in it. Many people get involved in free software after hearing a persuasive speaker or after working together with an effective free software project maintainer-- if you have suggestions for people to highlight, please send them.

The free software movement is first and foremost a social movement and we need to make more of an effort to draw parallels between our ideals and the values our fellow citizens hold. People of all political persuasions value freedom, and the campaign will target different user constituencies through existing social and political groups so that they may help spread the free software philosophy through their own advocacy. This will make it easier for people to understand our values without requiring any serious technical knowledge. This is a major barrier between us and the average computer user, but it can be overcome with approaches like this.

We will provide tools for effective advocacy to free software supporters and further engage the community in our efforts through existing free software groups and new LibrePlanet groups. In addition to all of this, we will work with free software distributions to develop advocacy programs as part of their software development and distribution efforts. Free software is all about community effort, and it's our strongest resource. Involvement in our campaigns should always reflect that.

These are all the plans we have to announce for now, but we hope you share our excitement in the direction the "Working together for free software" campaign is taking us. Many opportunities to get involved are opening up, so we'll see you on the road ahead!

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