This year we celebrated the 11th edition of the "I Love Free Software Day". Every year on 14 February we show our love for Free Software and say thank you to the people working for software freedom. To all of you who took part and celebrated the "I Love Free Software Day", we - the Free Software Foundation Europe - would like to thank you so much.
For this year's "I Love Free Software Day" we tried something new. Together with FSFE's volunteer Florian Snow we created some share pictures for sharing our love for Free Software. Those share pics could be used to create a personalised message saying why you love Free Software. The pictures could then also be shared on social media.
Our second novelty this time was our Software Freedom Podcast Episode. It provides a nice background from Matthias Kirschner, the President of the FSFE, of the origin and last 11 years of the "I Love Free Software Day". For the episode, Bonnie Mehring also invited several people from popular Free Software communities and asked them to share their thoughts about "I Love Free Software Day" and its importance.
Similarly to the last years we have been heavily present on social media, and due to the current pandemic had not planned for any offline events. But this did not prevent us from celebrating and sharing our love for Free Software. Here are the figures for "I Love Free Software Day" 2021. In the Fediverse #ilovefs was the most used hashtag!
As in previous years, a lot of us were active in the Fediverse and on Twitter. We counted 411 tweets on Twitter and 210 toots in the Fediverse using the hashtag #ilovefs. People from all over the world joined the "I Love Free Software Day" via social media and tweeted and tooted from at least 328 different places. The most messages were published during the 14th of February, around noon (CET). Thanks to our former intern and current volunteer Jan Weymeirsch who wrote a scraper to collect and analyse the data, we have concrete numbers and visuals to support them:
Some people were inspired by the new share pic design and designed their own to show the world why they think it is important to use Free Software and to say thank you. This year, both people and organisations used the opportunity to send a big thank-you to those working so hard for software freedom during the year.
Also, while social distance kept us from celebrating together offline, we were still able to join each other online. One example for this is the Developers Italia who created a lovely group picture.
Besides hundreds of individuals, projects also joined the celebration and some even created special blog entries, like The Document Foundation and Debian. Because of the overwhelming amount, we are not able to highlight all of them but have only named these two.
Compared to last year's high, we noticed a slight decrease in tweets and toots and went back to the level of the participation in 2019. While in 2020, 539 tweets were posted on Twitter and 330 in the Fediverse network, there were 473 tweets and 194 toots in 2019. This was not unexpected as this year's event was on a Sunday.
But nevertheless the important takeaway is the meaning behind those numbers. It is the sense of the community feeling they demonstrate. All those people, organisations and companies from different Free Software communities joining the "I Love Free Software Day", celebrating together and being able to share common values. Together, we show how important are using, studying, sharing and improving software for a better digital and analogue world!
In case you missed your opportunity to thank your favourite project, mark February 14 as "I Love Free Software Day" in your calendar for next year. But remember, you can always and without any special occasion express your gratitude and appreciation throughout the entire year. You do not need a special day, as there is simply no wrong time for that!
We would like to thank everyone involved in and contributing to this day, as well as the countless developers, translators, community managers, artists and anyone else involved in Free Software.