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You are here: Home Blogs Community A message from FSF president Geoff Knauth: Your FSF membership will help us build a stronger future for software freedom

A message from FSF president Geoff Knauth: Your FSF membership will help us build a stronger future for software freedom

by Geoff Knauth Contributions Published on Dec 29, 2022 10:28 AM

This year-end, we are putting emphasis on one of the four freedoms, sharing, to help remind everyone that our work to defend computer users everywhere can effect change in all areas where software touches modern life. However, we can only achieve this if we do it together. We have a goal of gaining 455 new associate members before December 31. The deadline is only one day away! — and we are behind on this goal. We need your support to reach this number. The more members we can count, the better equipped we are to defend important freedoms such as the #FreedomToShare, and educate people about its importance. Below is a message from our president, Geoffrey Knauth, reflecting on the FSF's mission to protect software users everywhere.

2022 was a year that saw many conflicts over rights and freedom. We have seen abuse of power, displacement of people, and violence spreading globally. These conflicts have directly affected people's representative rights, worker's rights, privacy, and bodily rights. The powerful perpetually seek control over individuals.

In the world of computing, there are always forces that seek to make you, the user or developer, subservient and dependent on the will of others. You have to ask yourself, who is there to protect your individual freedom, your individual rights, and your privacy against those who would seek to control and direct you to serve their interests at the expense of your own?

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) was created in 1985 specifically to guarantee you, the individual person, the rights you deserve as enshrined in the four freedoms, against forces that seek to limit and take away your rights and to make you a servant. You are not a servant! You are a free person. You must remain free to use, adapt, develop, and share the joys of computing as you wish.

The birth of the free software movement created the FSF. Now, decades later, there are a few organizations that have goals very close to those of the FSF, both spinoff and grassroots efforts of persons animated by the ideals of computing freedom and not by territorial ambitions of control. I urge you to lend your support, enthusiasm, and generosity to FSF and to other organizations where you see the values of individual freedom upheld the most. We must stick together and support each other to prevail.

Of course, I specifically ask and hope that you will continue to support the FSF. The free software community is dedicated to the four freedoms. Our staff works very hard on a daily basis to advocate for you. A major success is the annual LibrePlanet conference the staff organizes. People who come to work or volunteer at FSF have a sense of idealism and vision that you don't see in the ordinary corporate world. They work hard and often make significant sacrifices. They have done and are doing this for you. That is why I appeal to you to support the FSF, so it can continue the work that empowers you and protects your rights against those who would deprive you of your freedom.

I also ask that as we enter 2023, you, free software citizens, will participate in community discussions and decisions, lending your voice and wisdom. We must ensure that the FSF, and the movement, will always be guided by principles that put your individual computing rights first. There will always be interests that seek to dilute, diminish, or eliminate rights you have now and must always have. It is our collective responsibility to make sure these rights are preserved for generations to come.

Be well and be free,

Geoff Knauth

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