Free Software Foundation lending aid to support local free software groups
At the 2021 edition of its annual conference on free software and social justice, LibrePlanet, the FSF formally announced its plan to lend support for local free software groups and meetups through its LibrePlanet network for free software advocacy. These groups raise awareness on issues relating to software freedom, and encourage adoption of free software in local communities. In the case of a free software advocacy group, committed activists might join together to protest the opening of an Apple store selling devices locked with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), or form a satellite event for future events associated with the LibrePlanet conference. FSF members who are unable to meet in person but want to plan events can use the organization's free "as in freedom" videoconferencing server.
Local free software groups have historically played a vital role in the growth of the movement: prior to the Internet, they served as the primary place where users would be exposed to free software and free operating systems like GNU/Linux for the first time. This new initiative from the FSF seeks to reinvigorate these groups for 2021 and beyond, once it is safe to resume social gatherings.
"We know there are many advocates out there who know how important free software is. We've also heard feedback from local group organizers saying these small grants would actually make the difference between them being able to hold meetings and organize actions or not. It's our hope that sponsoring these groups will accelerate the growth of grassroots free software activists that we can rely on to pick up the torch when it's safe to meet in person," stated Greg Farough, campaigns manager for the FSF.
Groups meeting the criteria may seek to be reimbursed by the FSF for limited organizational expenses. Any new or "rebooted" groups will receive a basic pack of free software advocacy materials from the GNU Press shop as well.
The LibrePlanet groups initiative is part of the FSF's plan to make basic free software concepts more approachable to the public, in the interest of making free software a "kitchen-table issue." The FSF is encouraging all those interested in organizing or revitalizing an existing free software group to reach out to the FSF campaigns team at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on requesting a grant. The campaigns team also suggests using the FSF's LibrePlanet wiki to look for existing groups in their area, or start a new one through the wiki if one doesn't exist.
About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at https://fsf.org and https://gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.
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