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Come together for free software

Item posted by Wensheng XIE <wxie> on Wed 27 Nov 2019 09:36:26 AM UTC.

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. Thank you for being an associate member we can depend on. While it's humbling to have thousands of people around the world giving us their votes of confidence, we also know we need to connect with millions more. Please take this moment to publicly share your passion for free software. If each associate member inspires just one other, we can double our strength. Plus, if you manage to get a minimum of three people to mention you as a referral before December 31st, you will receive an exclusive year-end gift. If you can do a little more, any extra donation you can make will help us reach even more people on your behalf.

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.

    This October we organized a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar on GPL Compliance and Legal Ethics, educating law professionals, students, and anyone interested about a range of relevant free software licensing topics.

    We invested in the development of a brand new Respects Your Freedom (RYF) Web site, so that we can connect retailers with potential customers. Our RYF program provides anyone looking for freedom-respecting products with an increasingly wide range of options. Our Licensing and Compliance Lab does the important leg work of verifying devices for users.

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.

Zoƫ Kooyman
Program Manager

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