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<html newsdate="2021-07-21">
<title>FSFE: 20 years of empowering people to control technology</title>
<h1>FSFE: 20 years of empowering people to control technology</h1>
Marking twenty years of the FSFE, we highlight the importance of
software freedom in Europe and important
accomplishments since 2001. We shed light on our community with a
birthday page where you can find community interviews and videos.
People are invited to celebrate with us and share their own
Long before the first smartphone was introduced, it was evident to
the FSFE's founders that it is the people who should be in
control of technology and not vice versa. In 2001, Free Software
experts around Europe therefore <a href="">created</a>
the Free Software Foundation Europe. 20 years later, we successfully
concentrate our daily work on <a href="/about/ourwork.html">three main
pillars</a> to help software freedom thrive in Europe: public
awareness, policy advocacy, and legal support.
<img src=""/>
<h2>Some highlights of the last 20 years</h2>
In 2021, the FSFE looks back on a successful history with
major successes in the public, legal, and policy fields. For example
in 2005, when our intense <a href="">campaigning</a>
and collaboration with other organisations persuaded the European
Parliament to <a href="">vote</a>
against Software Patents. Or two years later, when the European
Court of Justice aligned with the FSFE, <a href="/activities/ms-vs-eu/ms-vs-eu.html">requiring
Microsoft to publish interoperability information</a>. During that
time, we saw that it was needed to help Free Software developers by
clarifying the legal aspects of their work, such as the enforcement
in case of license violations. This led to the FSFE starting to
work with Free Software legal advocates and practitioners for legal
initiatives in 2006.
Meanwhile, the FSFE facilitates <a href="/activities/ftf/ln.html">the world's
largest professional network on legal issues related to Free
Software</a>, by providing an online platform as well as in-person events for network members to discuss and share information on licensing issues and best practices. In 2017, we also
created the highly successful <a href="">REUSE</a> initiative to provide a
set of recommendations that make licensing Free Software projects
easier for developers. REUSE has been adopted by well known
projects such as the German Corona Warn App and the KDE.
Since its founding, the FSFE has been committed to running public
campaigns and helping people to understand the benefits of Free
Software. As early as 2012, we helped users to overcome software
restrictions in their phones with the launch of our <a href="/activities/android/">'Free Your
Android' campaign</a>. Two years earlier we introduced <a href="/activities/ilovefs/index.html">"I Love Free Software Day"</a> which is celebrated around the
globe every year on 14 February. In 2017, we launched the
extraordinarily successful <a href="">'Public Money? Public Code!'
campaign</a>, convincing several public administrations to change
their IT strategy. The accompanying <a href="">open letter</a> has been signed
by over 200 civil society organisations, 31.000 individuals, and
several public administrations like the city of Barcelona and the
Swedish JobTech Development center.
<h2>FSFE20 campaign: handing over the mic to our community</h2>
Of course, all these accomplishments can only give a glimpse of the
impact of the FSFE and our activities in the last 20 years. They do not tell how all these successes are the result of our
large community that we can rely on. To at least shed light on some
of them we created the <a href="/activities/20years/20years.html">FSFE20 campaign</a>
this year, where we hand over the mic to our community.
We have contacted people who paved the way of the FSFE since its beginning,
such as long term contributors and past staffers. In a series of
interviews we discuss the progress of the FSFE as well as
technological topics. Every person who is involved in the FSFE has
unique memories, expertise, and hopes for the future. They are all part
of the story of 20 Years FSFE.
<a href="/activities/20years/20years.html"><img src="" /></a>
So far we interviewed <a href="/news/2021/news-20210204-01.html">Georg
Greve</a>, founder president of the FSFE; <a href="/news/2021/news-20210305-01.html">Reinhard
Müller</a>, long-term volunteer and former Financial Officer of the
FSFE; <a href="/news/2021/news-20210420-01.html">Fernanda
Weiden</a>, former Vice President of FSFE and founding member of
FSF Latin America; and <a href="/news/2021/news-20210625-01.html">Torsten
Grote</a>, Free Software developer and long time volunteer in the
And this is just the beginning. We will conduct several more
interviews to shed light on 20 Years FSFE. In addition, this autumn we want to publish another dedicated birthday page whose content is entirely made from our community contributions.
You will find more on this and the interviews on our <a href="/activities/20years/20years.html">birthday
page</a>! Besides these interviews, you will also find a birthday
video from science-fiction author Cory Doctorow and one by our
current president Matthias Kirschner alongside information on
how people can join the celebrations.
<div class="text-center">
<a class="btn btn-lg btn-success mb-3" href="/activities/20years/20years.html">FSFE20 Birthday Page</a>
<h3 id="a-birthday-message-from-our-president-matthias-kirschner">A
message to you from our President Matthias Kirschner</h3>
Although technology is ever-changing, our values have been
consistent throughout the last twenty years. The core of our work
is, in a nutshell: educating people on the nature of Free Software,
highlighting its political implications, and simplifying its legal
preconditions. Matthias Kirschner, President of the FSFE since
2015, explains this in his own words in a short video.
<video width="100%" crossorigin="crossorigin" poster="" controls="controls">
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<source type="video/webm; codecs=&quot;vp9, opus&quot;" src=""></source>
<track default="default" label="English" srclang="en" kind="subtitles" src=""></track>
<track label="Italian" srclang="it" kind="subtitles" src=""></track>
<h2>Celebrate with us!</h2>
This autumn we want to publish another dedicated birthday page whose content is entirely made from your contributions. <a
href="/activities/20years/20years.html#join-the-celebrations">This is the time for you to join in!</a>
Would you like to share your thoughts about your time with the FSFE?
You can answer our interview questions. We are looking forward to
hearing from you! </p>
<p> Other ways you can join our celebration are to send
us FSFE pictures from the past, or to create a birthday video and share
your wishes for the future. Find out how to <a
href="/activities/20years/20years.html">share your memories</a> in
our birthday page.
To cherish this anniversary we also produced something commemorative. Show off your long lasting dedication to Free Software by having an &#39;FSFE since 2001&#39; <a href="/contribute/spreadtheword.html#fsfe-since-2001-sticker">sticker</a> on your laptop.
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<tag key="fsfe20">20 Years FSFE</tag>
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