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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2021-11-10">
<title>Software Freedom in Europe 2021</title>
<h1 id="software-freedom-in-europe-2021">Software Freedom in Europe 2021</h1>
Cancelling of large events, limitations in meetings, and travel
restrictions: none of this stopped the FSFE from advancing software
freedom in 2021. From Router Freedom to new podcast episodes to
co-organising the Legal and Policy devroom at FOSDEM, we keep
empowering people to control technology.
'Public Money? Public Code!' online workshops were offered to
volunteers, and an online Legal and Licensing Workshop for legal
experts was organised. The FSFE assisted software projects to
become REUSE compliant with our new initiative, REUSE Booster. We
created a monitoring map to demonstrate the developments of
Router Freedom rights in Europe. The FSFE presented suggestions
and demands to support sustainable software. Meanwhile, a two-year
court case initiated by FSFE supporter Luca Bonissi successfully
came to an end, unequivocally recognising the right to a Windows
licence refund. Overall, significant accomplishments for software
freedom marked 2021, the year <strong>FSFE is celebrating its 20th
<img src="" />
While this yearly report corresponds to our work during November
2020 - October 2021, many of our activities last for many years. We
are celebrating our 20-years milestone because ultimately
<strong>it is our long term presence that allows us to advance
software freedom</strong>. Initiatives become more robust every
year, as we have seen with the growing adoption of 'Public Money?
Public Code!' and REUSE.
In 2017, we launched the 'Public Money? Public Code!' campaign,
convincing several public administrations to change their IT
strategy. Since then, the accompanying open letter has been signed
by over 200 civil society organisations and several public
administrations like the city of Barcelona and the Swedish JobTech
Development center. The same year, we also initiated REUSE to
provide a set of recommendations that make licensing Free Software
projects easier for developers. Since then, REUSE has been adopted
by well-known projects such as the German Corona Warn App and
Likewise, informing the public about the benefits of Free Software
is a core activity that builds up over time. We inform people in
information booths, we run workshops and give talks, we send out a
monthly Newsletter and publish a podcast episode every two months to
help the Free Software community grow and stay connected. Our "I
Love Free Software Day", which started over a decade ago, is
celebrated around the globe every year on 14 February. Still,
sometimes our endeavors succeed after an entire journey which
brings us in parliaments or to courts, as the <a href="/activities/ms-vs-eu/ms-vs-eu.html">Microsoft v. EU case</a>
did. This is why <strong> continuous engagement for software
freedom matters</strong>.
<div class="toc">
<p>Table of contents</p>
<li><a href="#20-years-fsfe">Celebrating 20 Years FSFE</a></li>
<li><a href="#policy">Policy advocacy</a></li>
<li><a href="#pmpc">Raising 'Public Money? Public Code!' demand</a></li>
<li><a href="#sustainability">Discovering the sustainability of Free Software</a></li>
<li><a href="#router-freedom">Supporting Router Freedom in the EU</a></li>
<li><a href="#international-development-cooperation">Promoting Free Software in international development cooperation</a></li>
<li><a href="#radio-lockdown">Preventing a Radio Lockdown</a></li>
<li><a href="#german-warning-system">Suggesting improvements to the German warning system</a></li>
<li><a href="#electoral-activities">Running electoral activities</a></li>
<li><a href="#legal-support">Legal support</a></li>
<li><a href="#reuse-booster">Launching REUSE Booster</a></li>
<li><a href="#landmark-court-case">Celebrating win in landmark court case </a></li>
<li><a href="#llw">Organising Legal and Licensing Workshop</a></li>
<li><a href="#ngi0">Assisting projects in Next Generation Internet Initiative</a></li>
<li><a href="#licensing-questions">Answering licensing questions</a></li>
<li><a href="#pa">Public awareness</a></li>
<li><a href="#fosdem-devroom">Co-organising FOSDEM Legal and Policy devroom</a></li>
<li><a href="#podcast">Publishing podcast episodes</a></li>
<li><a href="#further-outreach">Thanking creators behind Free Software</a></li>
<li><a href="#sfscon">Participating in SFSCon</a></li>
<li><a href="#inside-the-fsfe">The FSFE community</a></li>
<li><a href="#join">Join our movement</a></li>
<li><a href="#looking-forward">Looking forward to 2022</a></li>
<li><a href="#about">About the FSFE</a></li>
<h3 id="20-years-fsfe">Celebrating 20 Years FSFE</h3>
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. In 2001, Free Software
experts around Europe therefore created the Free Software
Foundation Europe e.V. In 2021, the <strong> <a href="/about/">Free Software Foundation Europe</a>
turned 20</strong>. This means two decades of empowering users to control
technology. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use, study, share, and improve software. This way, Free Software contributes to freedom,
transparency, and self-determination.
<video width="100%" crossorigin="crossorigin" poster="" controls="controls">
<source media="screen" type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.42E01E, mp4a.40.2"' src=""></source>
<source media="screen" type='video/webm; codecs="vp9, opus"' src=""></source>
<track default="default" label="English" srclang="en" kind="subtitles" src=""></track>
<track label="Italian" srclang="it" kind="subtitles" src=""></track>
Prolific Sci-fi author Cory Doctorow sends birthday wishes to the FSFE.
The FSFE was founded in <a href="">April
2001</a>, so this year in April 2021 we started having a look <a href="/activities/20years/20years.html">at our community and
previous work</a>. We contacted people who paved the way of the
FSFE since its beginning, such as long term volunteers and past
staffers. We have interviewed <a href="/news/2021/news-20210204-01.html">Georg Greve</a>, <a href="/news/2021/news-20210625-01.html">Torsten Grote</a>, <a href="/news/2021/news-20210305-01.html">Reinhard Müller</a>, <a href="/news/2021/news-20210420-01.html">and Fernanda Weiden</a>,
and we received a video message from <a href="/news/2021/news-20210529-01.html">Cory Doctorow</a>. We shared
the FSFE <a href="/activities/20years/20years.html#Highlights-from-the-last-20-years">highlights
from the last 20 years</a>, and Matthias Kirschner, President of
the FSFE since 2015, <a href="">presented</a>
the work of the organisation since its founding. To mark this
important milestone, we produced a <a href="/order/index.html#bag-since2001-blue">bag</a> and
a <a href="/contribute/spreadtheword.html#fsfe-since-2001-sticker">sticker</a>.
Although technology is ever-changing, our values have been
consistent throughout the last twenty years. The core of our work
is, in a nutshell: highlighting the sociopolitical implications of
Free Software, simplifying its legal preconditions, and educating
people on the nature of Free Software. Therefore, we divide our
work into three areas: Policy Advocacy, Legal Support, and Public
Awareness. Matthias Kirschner explains this in his own words in a
short video:
<video width="100%" crossorigin="crossorigin" poster="" controls="controls">
<source type="video/mp4; codecs=&quot;avc1.42E01E, mp4a.40.2&quot;" src=""></source>
<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>
<figcaption>We divide our work into three areas: policy
advocacy, legal support, and public awareness.</figcaption>
<h2 id="policy">Policy advocacy</h2>
<h3 id="pmpc">1. Raising 'Public Money? Public Code!' demand</h3>
Why is software created using taxpayers’ money not released as Free
Software? The 'Public Money? Public Code!' initiative was launched
in 2018. Its popularity demonstrates that our continuous effort
through the years can make a difference. More than 200 organisations and
administrations support our call for action by signing our <a href="">open letter</a>. Good news
of municipalities embracing Free Software keeps coming in.
In 2021, PMPC progressed in a variety of sectors, ranging from EU
policy to public health related apps.
<h3 id="eu-open-source-strategy">Examining the EU Open Source Strategy</h3>
The FSFE <a href="/news/2020/news-20201023-01.html">examined</a>
the new 'Open Source Strategy' of the EU for the period 2020-2023 and
raised its concerns. The benefits of Free Software are fully
emphasised and the Commission is on paper ambitious in its future
use of Free Software. However, concrete goals are rare and a clear
commitment to the use of Free Software is lacking. The strategy
mainly repeats previous commitments and activities; sustainable and
verifiable approaches are sought in vain.
<img src="" alt="outside of EU building, Brussels" />
<figcaption>The EU Open Source Strategy 2020-2023 is ambitious but lacks concrete goals.</figcaption>
In February 2021, we <a href="">interviewed</a>
Evangelos Tsavalopoulos, Head of Sector of the European Commission Open Source Software Unit, and addressed the most important
questions about this strategy.
<h3 id="pmpc-workshops">Offering PMPC Workshops</h3>
In the framework of its campaign 'Public Money? Public
Code!', the FSFE has launched a workshop series, '<a href="">Contact
your administrations</a>'. Its target audience is volunteers and
supporters from all over Europe who want to become active in
reaching out to their local representatives. This workshop aims
to share best practices when addressing public administrations to
discuss Free Software in the public sector, while empowering
volunteers to become more active within their own communities.
During 2021, Lina Ceballos, an FSFE Project Manager, and
Alexander Sander, Policy Consultant of the FSFE, held online
sessions of this workshop for our Italian and Spanish
communities. Alexander Sander and Bonnie Mehring, Translations
Coordinator, held the online session for this workshop in German.
<h3 id="code-repository-public-sector">Conceptualising a code repository for the public sector</h3>
Together with our associated organisation the 'Open Source
Business Alliance', the federal working group of municipal IT
service providers and other experts, FSFE has developed a first
concept for a code repository for the public sector (<a href="/news/2020/news-20200910-01.html">EN</a>, <a href="">DE,
.pdf</a>). In the proposal, we clarified the potential of Free
Software for use in public institutions and how such a repository
can contribute to the further development of the digitalisation
of administrations. This concept is already being tested with a
pilot project in the German states of <a href="/news/nl/nl-202103.html#what-have-we-done-inside-and-outside-the-fsfe">North
Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg in cooperation with the
Ministry of Interior</a>.
<img src="" />
<figcaption>The FSFE conceptualised a code repository for the public sector. It is being tested in a pilot project.</figcaption>
<h3 id="public-health-apps">Demanding Free Software in Public Health related apps</h3>
Amid the difficulties of the pandemic, the FSFE identifies a
crucial aspect: that apps related to public health should be Free
Software. This way they will be transparent, trustworthy, and
available to people who consciously avoid proprietary software.
Throughout this challenge <a href="/news/2020/news-20200402-02.html">our demands focus on user
rights</a>, and this is reflected in our work. In December of
2020, the FSFE stood in favour of coronavirus tracing apps to be
Free Software and thanked the volunteers who <a href="">liberated</a>
the German Corona Warn app (CWA). The FSFE <a href="/news/2020/news-20201208-01.html">appealed</a> to
governments and administrations to publish developed software as
Free Software, to break dependencies on proprietary app stores
and instead make their apps installable from independent sources
like F-Droid, and to renounce proprietary dependencies. This also
helps to protect fundamental rights such as the right to privacy.
<img src="" alt="Example of Corona Tracing app" />
<figcaption>Example of Corona Tracing app</figcaption>
In August 2021, we witnessed the same
problematic pattern in Germany: volunteers once more had to step
in to take over the government's task in order to make the
CovPass app available to everyone. The FSFE <a href="/news/2021/news-20210830-01.html">urges</a>
the government to quickly adapt its practices and make sure
everyone can use such apps without any restrictions from the
start. Furthermore, if it is ensured that solutions are published as
Free Software, they can be adjusted and reused by other
institutions around the world.
<h3 id="participation-apps">Demanding accessibility to political participation apps</h3>
In the Netherlands, the official application for parliamentary debates is not
available under a Free Software license.
In 2018, FSFE supporter Jos van den Oever noticed that the 'Debat Direct' app
could not be downloaded to his Firefox OS phone. Jos' request to get the
app's source code was denied, and he brought the case to court. The
Council of State ruled on 31 March 2021 that the Parliament does
not have to publish the source code. The FSFE therefore <a href="/news/2021/news-20210611-01.html">calls
upon the Dutch Parliament</a> to impose rules on itself, to act
transparently, and to publish the source code of such applications
under a Free Software licence in the future.
<img src="" alt="Dutch parliament in the Hague" />
<figcaption>The FSFE calls upon the Dutch Parliament to publish the source code of political participation apps.</figcaption>
Moreover, the FSFE calls on the Dutch government to <a href="/news/2021/news-20210521-01.html">stand firm and get a grip
on their digital security and autonomy by adhering to Open
Standards and Free Software</a>, in line with their earlier
commitment to use Free Software by default. The Netherlands is
becoming dependent on a digital infrastructure that is dominated
by a small number of monopolistic companies. Although the Dutch
Cyber Security Council recognises the consequent risk, their
report neglects focusing on Open Standards and Free Software, the
proven best practices to face this problem.
<h3 id="spreading-the-word">Spreading the word</h3>
In 2021 we translated our 'Public Money? Public Code!'
video into <a href="">Swedish</a> and
<a href="">Dutch</a>.
Apart from those translations, the PMPC video is available in
English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and
Slovenian. We also translated the PMPC brochure into Spanish.
<h3 id="local-governments">Bringing Free Software to local governments</h3>
On May 2021, we contributed to a report on the use of Free Software
in <a href="">local
administrations</a> (DE)(.pdf) which was released by the German
association for municipal government. </p>
<img src="" />
<figcaption>Dortmund embraces Free Software</figcaption>
With an overwhelming
cross-faction majority, <a href="/news/2021/news-20210331-01.html">Dortmund</a> committed itself to the use of
Free Software in a groundbreaking <a href="/news/2021/news-20210331-01.html">resolution</a>
(DE) in February 2021. The case of Dortmund, where the motion
passed unanimously, proves that all sides can appreciate the
practical benefits of Free Software. The result was made possible
by the consistent efforts of the DO-FOSS initiative, which also
supported the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign of the
FSFE. The Council's decision means that there is now
political backing to gradually break down dependencies on
proprietary vendors. The FSFE will follow the implementation and
at the same time call on other administrations in Germany and
Europe to follow Dortmund's example.
The Swiss cantons of <a href="/news/2021/news-20210318-01.html">Bern and Uri</a>
embraced Free Software and the FSFE met online with the people
behind this process. Bern followed the steps of another Swiss
canton, Uri, trailbrazer for the use of Free Software in
administration. For years, the Free Software app 'Caluma' has
been successful in Switzerland. The example of the cantons of Uri
and Bern shows that the principle of "Public Money? Public
Code!" benefits everyone: citizens, the administration, and
also the economy.
<h3 id="sustainability">2. Discovering the sustainability of Free Software</h3>
We recently published a study <a href="/freesoftware/sustainability/sustainability.html">'On the
Sustainability of Free Software'</a> that includes five core demands about <a href="/freesoftware/sustainability/sustainability.html#what-can-politics-and-society-do-for-a-more-sustainable-digitization">What
can politicians and society do for a more sustainable
digitization?</a> Among them are:
When the software of a device is not supported any more, the
manufacturers should publish the source code of the software
under a Free Software license.
Users must be given the right to install the operating system
of their choice on their own devices, as well as any software.
Devices should be produced with open standards, drivers,
and interfaces, to ensure a sustainable use of hardware
<img src=""/>
The "upcycling of software" can extend usage lifetimes and grow
aftermarkets after the end of support by the initial
<p class="license">Icons reused from sources available on <a href=""></a></p>
Erik Albers, Program Manager of the FSFE, also gave a <a href="">talk</a>
(DE) about the subject of software sustainability at this
year's Winterkongress, the annual conference from the Swiss Digital Intiative, and in the second round table <a href="">"How
do we shape and grow a green tech sector?"</a>, organised by
the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament. In February, Erik
co-published the <a href="">paper</a>
"Design Options for Long-lasting, Efficient and Open Hardware
and Software" in "Ökologisches Wirtschaften:
Digitalisation and Sustainability". In January we <a href="">participated</a>
in the European Comission's consultation about "Designing
mobile phones and tablets to be sustainable – ecodesign". </p>
<h3 id="router-freedom">3. Supporting Router Freedom in the EU</h3>
Since 2013 the FSFE has been a leading voice in promoting
end-users' right to use their own personal modems and
routers. Router Freedom is not a one-time achievement. As the
regulations change, our work is continuous to defend this digital
right. Our long-term engagement for Software Freedom is needed,
and it makes a difference.
2021 represented a milestone for the implementation of Router
Freedom in Europe. We exerted great efforts to protect Router
Freedom on the European level. We have been involved in
legislative processes and implementation of technical rules in
diverse jurisdictions in the EU. Also, we provided to communities
and individuals all necessary elements to engage in initiatives
so that they can push the agenda on a political level.
<img src="" alt="Router Freedom Talk" />
<figcaption>We have been promoting Router Freedom all over Europe. SFSCon, 2019. </figcaption>
This year demonstrated that although the regulatory framework
remains fragmented in the EU, Router Freedom is emerging as a
prospective reality. We empowered people to defend their right to
use their own internet equipment all over Europe.
<h3 id="rf-informing">Informing and empowering the public</h3>
In response to the EU reform of telecommunications law (EECC), we
explained that <a href="/news/2020/news-20200601-01.html">Router
Freedom is fundamental for security and privacy</a> and
summarized the current status in an <a href="">Activity
Summary</a>. Router Freedom is essential for fair competition in
markets and sustainability by promoting compatibility among
devices and the right to repair.
In March 2021, when EU countries started to implement the telecom
reform, we launched an <a href="/news/2021/news-20210330-01.html">Engagement Package</a> so
that anyone can organize supporting activities for Router
Freedom. The included <a href="">wiki
page</a> helps the volunteers of the initiative identify
interested people, collect information, and set up courses of
action. To involve the maximum number of people, we promoted
Router Freedom in several events, gave talks, and organised expert
meetings with stakeholders all over Europe. Our demands have been
shared by several groups in public consultations and official
<h3 id="rf-country">Pushing the Router Freedom demand in each country</h3>
<a href="">
<img src="" alt="Router Cable"/></a>
<figcaption>Router Freedom is emerging as a reality in the EU. Photo credit: Tom, CC-BY-2.0. </figcaption>
We followed closely the positive developments in the <a href="/news/2021/news-20210805-01.html">Netherlands</a>,
which confirmed our demands for consumer rights. In June 2021, we
talked with a representative of the <a href="/news/2021/news-20210629-01.html">Finnish
regulator</a>, who explained why Router Freedom is essential for
net neutrality. Our coordinated activities in <a href="/news/2021/news-20210505-01.html">Greece</a>
in May 2021 supported that regulator's preliminary decision to
secure Router freedom. We worked closely with consumer
organisations, digital groups, and business representatives to promote and leverage the
agenda, demanding clear rules for consumers, as in the beginning
of the legislative process in <a href="/news/2021/news-20210506-01.html">Austria</a>.
On another hand, we have monitored issues with implementations
which could harm Router Freedom. We raised our concerns when <a href="/news/2021/news-20210505-01.html">Germany</a>
decided to step back from the positive experience the country has
built since 2016 by allowing the national regulator to determine a
regulatory framework against consumers. <a href="/news/2021/news-20211027-01.html">Latvia</a> opened an extremely dangerous precedent by
allowing ISPs to determine by themselves technological issues to
prohibit the use of personal routers.
<h3 id="collecting-data">Collecting Data</h3>
Router Freedom is undergoing a rapid development in Europe, so we
created a <a href="">monitoring
map</a> to help everyone keep track of the Router Freedom status
in their countries.
<img src="" alt="Router Freedom monitoring map" />
<figcaption>Monitoring map for Router Freedom</figcaption>
To understand better the issues end-users are facing with ISPs'
abusive commercial practices, we started a <a href="">survey</a>.
With this research, which is unique in the EU, we aim to
gather data about end-user experience, so we can highlight the
issues to regulators and decision makers. Our survey is still open
and you are welcome to answer our questions.
<h3 id="international-development-cooperation">4. Promoting Free Software in international development cooperation</h3>
In December 2020, the FSFE published an <a href="/freesoftware/developmentcooperation/index.html">analysis</a>
of the benefits of using Free Software in international
development cooperation. In this increasingly digitised sector,
Free Software is becoming an indispensable fundamental technology
that guarantees legally compliant international cooperation and
reuse. With Free Software, global scaling is possible, as well as
local adaptability. New monopolies and dependencies are avoided,
which is a major UN sustainability goal.
<img src="" />
<figcaption>Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations</figcaption>
<h3 id="radio-lockdown">5. Preventing a Radio Lockdown</h3>
Since 2015, we have been monitoring the possible unpleasant
effects of the European Radio Equipment Directive, for which we coined the term
<a href="/activities/radiodirective/">Radio Lockdown</a>.
Although the FSFE has warned the European Commission multiple
times of the disastrous consequences Article 3(3)(i) can have for
users, organisations, and the whole communication equipment
market, the regulators did not give in. However, in the past 12
months the Commission did not propose any concrete draft
regulations, so we are in limbo. The FSFE will continue to
monitor the situation closely.
<h3 id="german-warning-system">6. Suggesting improvements to the German warning system</h3>
Already in November 2020, the FSFE flagged that <a href="/news/2020/news-20201112-01.html">Germany's warning system is
unstable and ineffective</a> and pointed out pragmatic improvements
that can guarantee that a warning message can reach every person
needed while respecting software freedom and privacy.
Unfortunately, our suggestions were not implemented in time:
the German warning system once again failed in July 2021 during a
number of heavy regional floodings, after which the FSFE <a href="">repeated</a>
that the more effective alternatives must be adopted as soon as
possible to prepare for the next serious events. The commentary
received several republications.
Since this wake-up call, it seems the responsible administrations
have been giving this crucial change the necessary attention and
<img src="" alt="traffic signs" />
The FSFE points out pragmatic suggestions that can guarantee
that a warning message can reach every person needed while
respecting software freedom and privacy.
<h3 id="electoral-activities">7. Running electoral activities</h3>
Prior to the German elections we raised our <a href="/news/2021/news-20210427-01.html">PMPC demand</a>, in line
with our <a href="/activities/elections/index.html">electoral
activities</a>. During the final week before the German federal
election we reached out to politicians asking their stance on
Free Software. The FSFE and the Open Source Business Alliance conducted <a href="/news/2021/news-20210920-01.html">interviews with
representatives of all political parties with a prospect of government participation</a>. The
videos are available in German. Also we released our <a href="">vision
for the upcoming decades and concrete demands for the next
government</a> (DE) and analyzed the <a href="">elections
programs</a> (DE) of the parties.
<img src="" />
<figcaption>Interview with Manuel Höferlin, MdB, FDP Chairman, Digital Agenda Committee. October 2021.</figcaption>
<h2 id="legal-support">Legal support</h2>
<h3 id="reuse-booster">1. Launching REUSE Booster</h3>
REUSE has facilitated the licensing of Free Software projects.
Developers are given standardised ways to mark all files in a
project with their chosen license and copyright notice. A
tutorial, a set of FAQs, a helper tool, and an API have been made
available to lower the threshold and save time.
<figure class="no-border">
<img src="" alt="REUSE Booster logo" />
With <a href="">REUSE Booster</a>,
launched in 2021, the FSFE takes this initiative one step further.
This progress was possible thanks to the support the FSFE has
received, which enables the implementation of long-term activities.
REUSE Booster enables Free Software projects to seek tailored
support by our legal experts. As the name suggests, this will boost
the process of adopting the best practices as well as general
understanding of licensing and copyright. Each project is evaluated
individually and the recommendations apply to its particular
Max Mehl joined a <a href="/news/podcast/episode-11.html">podcast</a> episode to
present REUSE Booster and talk about the recent developments of
the whole initiative. For example, REUSE was adopted by the KDE
community as the standard best practice to communicate all
projects' licensing and copyright situation. To learn how a large
community like KDE managed this step, we interviewed <a href="/news/2020/news-20201215-01.html">Andreas
Cord-Landwehr</a>, long-term developer at KDE, to discuss this
<h3 id="landmark-court-case">2. Celebrating win in landmark court case initiated by Luca Bonissi</h3>
On March 2021, FSFE supporter Luca Bonissi <a href="/news/2021/news-20210302-01.html">won a
court case he initiated against Lenovo</a>. Ιn a historic judgment in Italy,
Lenovo was
ordered to pay 20,000 euros in damages for abusive behaviour in
refusing to refund the price of a pre-installed Windows licence.
In a motivating gesture for the Free Software cause, Luca donated
15,000 euros to the FSFE.
<img src=""/>
<figcaption>"The Monza decision demonstrated that is possible to
reverse the unacceptable behaviour of big techs. What was taken
away from the Free Software community has now been returned to it.
I encourage everyone to fight back for their legitimate rights!" --
Luca Bonissi.</figcaption>
<h3 id="llw">3. Organising the Legal and Licensing Workshop</h3>
In 2021, we organised and supported the first online edition of the
<a href="/activities/ln/llw.html">Legal and
Licensing Workshop</a>. The FSFE's Free Software Legal
and Licensing Workshop (LLW) has been held annually for the <a href="/activities/ln/llw.html">FSFE's Legal Network</a>
since 2008, and serves as a conference for <a href="/activities/ln/ln.html">legal experts</a> in the field
of Free Software to debate over issues and share best practices
surrounding Free Software licenses. Instead of a physical one-time
conference, this year, from March to July, LLW offered online
presentations, discussion panels, and workshops continuously.
<img src="" alt="Miriam Ballhausen LLW"/>
<figcaption>Miriam Ballhausem has been kindly involved in
organising the LLW. Don't miss her <a href="news/podcast/episode-6.html">podcast on copyright
Discussions ranged from the recently concluded Google v. Oracle
<a href="">case</a>
in the US Supreme Court to legal considerations of Open
Hardware. The LLW provided workshops on improving the quality of
Free Software licensing information, including those specific to
copyleft licenses. As with all online discussions of the Legal
Network and its associated events, the <a href="">Chatham
House Rule</a> applied to this year's edition of the LLW.
Next year we plan to organise LLW again as a physical meeting to
continue building a robust Free Software legal community.
<h3 id="ngi0">4. Assisting projects in Next Generation Internet Initiative</h3>
<img src="" alt="Next Generation Internet"/>
<figcaption>Free Software is key for the future of the Next Generation Internet.</figcaption>
2021 marks the 3rd and final year of FSFE's involvement in the
European Commission's Next Generation Internet Zero Initiative. Our
work <a href="/news/2021/news-20210504-01.html">has been
praised</a> by the European Commission and the projects which we
have been working with. The FSFE has been a partner organisation
of <a href="/activities/ngi/index.html">Next Generation Internet
Zero (NGI0)</a>.
“Our Free Software developer needs were understood and met with
minimal frictions. With audits, this NGI0 support went further
than just allowing us to spend more time working on the project,
they taught us how to improve it. The FSFE REUSE team even
contributed actual code with a regular merge-request, in a
perfect illustration of ‘them’ teaming up with us!”
Simon Descarpentires, <a href=""> Project</a>
<h3 id="assistance-ngi0">Supporting Free Software Developers Through NGI0</h3>
The FSFE provided guidance on how to communicate the components,
licences, and copyrights associated with software packages. We
assisted software projects with their legal and licensing needs,
and convinced them to adopt our REUSE standards as best practices
for displaying licensing and copyright information.
We have guided over 100 NGI0 software projects to implement the
REUSE standards on their workflow. This has included working
directly with their repositories to better improve how the
licensing and copyright information contained in their
repositories is displayed, so that any adopters of their work in
the future can more easily comply with these licence and
copyright obligations.
"Regarding REUSE, we have learnt a lot. We realise that the
idea behind REUSE is simple, clear, and powerful. Nowadays,
Free Software projects become more and more complicated, and
many components/files of a single project have different
license/copyright information. REUSE helps a lot on tracking
the status of this information in our project.”
Xianjun Jiao, <a href="">OpenWifi
<h3 id="ngi0-reuse">Making Copyright and Licensing Easier for Everyone</h3>
Together with another NGI0 partner organisation, the <a href="">Institute for Legal Issues
regarding Free and Open Source Software, or ifrOSS</a>, we have
included in our website a set of educational FAQs about Free
Software legal and licensing issues. These <a href="/freesoftware/legal/faq.html">FAQs</a> tackle topics
useful to any Free Software developer, such as the <a href="/freesoftware/legal/faq.html#copyright">basics of
copyright</a>, <a href="/freesoftware/legal/faq.html#license">licensing issues
with Free Software</a>, and issues with <a href="/freesoftware/legal/faq.html#compatibility">licence
compatibility</a>. In total, we have created <a href="">eight educational PDF
documents</a> that explain these topics more, in greater depth.
"Being involved in NGI0 has been a nurturing experience. On one
hand, it has been very interesting to work closely with and
learn from projects that are reshaping the future of the
internet. On the other, being part of the FSFE team has
provided me with the necessary technical and legal skills to
feel comfortable to contribute directly to projects'
repositories through merge-requests; a task that was completely
new for me in the beginning. All the positive feedback from
these projects only encourages me to keep up the good
Lina Ceballos, FSFE Legal Trainee at the time, meanwhile FSFE project manager<br/></p>
<h3 id="licensing-questions">5. Answering licensing questions</h3>
<img src="" alt="Till Jaeger licensing questions"/>
<figcaption>Till Jaeger is one of the kind expert volunteers of the License Questions team. Don't miss his <a href="/news/podcast/episode-12.html">podcast on GPL enforcement</a>!</figcaption>
The FSFE runs a group for <a href="/activities/licence-questions/licence-questions.html">License
Questions</a>, composed of several volunteer legal experts from
around Europe who continuously help projects and individuals
with topics concerning Free Software licensing. In 2021 the
department was busy dealing with inquiries related to licence
violations, contribution policy, relicensing and even the NASA
license over photos, video, and content.
<h2 id="pa">Public awareness</h2>
<h3 id="fosdem-devroom">1. Co-organising FOSDEM Legal and Policy devroom</h3>
On February 2021, the FSFE participated in <a href="/news/2021/news-20210311-01.html">FOSDEM</a>. This year it
took place online, and according to the main FOSDEM organisers it
had a peak of 33,600 attendees. Also, the FSFE co-organised the
Legal and Policy Devroom for the first time.
In the Legal and Policy Devroom we aimed to cover the most
crucial current issues, such as the proprietary software
monopolies which were formed within the rapid digitization after
the outbreak of the pandemic. This issue was also related to the
intentional <a href="/news/2020/news-20200330-01.html">misuse of
the term Free Software</a> for marketing purposes. The
panels covered three ongoing EU policies, the <a href=""> 'Open Source
strategy'</a>, the <a href="">Digital
Markets Act</a>, and the regulations connected to <a href="">Router
alt="5 people in video call" />
The organizers of the Legal and Policy DevRoom for FOSDEM 2021 discuss together the issues they have seen over the last year in FOSS.
<h3 id="podcast">2. Publishing podcast episodes</h3>
In addition to our regular news stories and monthly newsletter,
the FSFE regularly publishes the Software Freedom Podcast. We
talk once a month with people deeply involved in software freedom. Podcasts facilitate community building around
Free Software. In 2021 we created five new episodes: <a href="/news/podcast/episode-12.html"> "Enforcement of the
GNU GPL" with Till Jaeger</a>, <a href="/news/podcast/episode-11.html">"REUSE Booster and our
update on REUSE" with Max Mehl</a>, <a href="/news/podcast/episode-10.html">"How to support Free
Software and a sustainable digital infrastructure" with
Elisa Lindinger</a>, <a href="/news/podcast/episode-9.html">"I love Free
Software"</a>, and <a href="/news/podcast/episode-8.html">"How to tell my mother
that Free Software can cost money?"</a>.
<h3 id="further-outreach">3. Thanking creators behind Free Software</h3>
Free Software often benefits from the generous work of individuals
who work to develop and maintain Free Software
projects. By making software available to everyone, they help us
chat with our friends in privacy, share our notes, save our
passwords -- you name it! Their valuable contributions should not
go unnoticed. In the FSFE we celebrate 'I Love Free Software
Day ' every 14 February thanking creators of Free Software
and we invite others to join us in doing so. Our <a href="/news/2021/news-20210317-01.html">I Love Free Software Day
2021</a> received a lot of attention. We counted 411 tweets on
Twitter and 210 toots in the Fediverse using the hashtag
#ilovefs. People from all over the world joined I Love Free
Software Day via social media and tweeted and tooted from at
least 328 different places.
<img src="" alt="I love free software card" />
<figcaption>In the FSFE we celebrate I Love Free Software
Day every 14 February thanking creators of Free Software
and we invite others to do so.</figcaption>
<h3 id="sfscon">4. Participating in SFSCon</h3>
The South Tyrol Free Software Conference, SFSCon, is "one of
Europe’s most established annual conferences on Free Software". In
recent years we have been represented with talks, workshops and our
information booth. In November 2020, the FSFE organised several <a href="/news/2020/news-20201019-01.html">talks</a> in which legal
issues and current political developments were analysed. The FSFE
will also participate in <a href="/news/nl/nl-202110.html">SFSCon
2021 </a>with several talks, and we will organise a sustainability
track. If you cannot attend, you can follow our track online this year.
<h2 id="inside-the-fsfe">The FSFE community</h2>
<h3 id="zurich-award">Educational activity by Local Group Zurich receives award</h3>
On December 2020, our Local Group Zurich members <a href="/news/2020/news-20201211-01.html">received a DINAcon
award</a> and we interviewed them. The local FSFE group created a
website called "<a href="">Learning like a
pro</a>" (original German: "Lernen wie die
Profis") which they use to explain why Free Software matters
in education. It proceeds describing individual Free Software
solutions and how these solutions in particular can be used to
make school learning efficient and easy.
<video crossorigin="crossorigin" controls="controls">
<source type="video/mp4; codecs=&quot;avc1.42E01E, mp4a.40.2&quot;" src="" />
Ralf Hersel, Coordinator of the FSFE local group Zürich, accepting the DINACon Special Award 2020. (in German)
<h3 id="fsfe-women">FSFE Women group formed in 2021</h3>
In 2021, the <a href="">FSFE
Women</a> group was created to help women and everyone who
identifies as female build connections with each other while
discussing technological issues. Starting out as a
German-speaking group, the FSFE Women turned to English in May to
welcome new members from around Europe. FSFE Women meets every
month online and covers aspects related to Free Software. In June
2021, Irmhild Rogalla gave a talk about the accessibility of
video conferencing tools, supporting a conferencing platform for
all. In July 2021, Bonnie Mehring presented 'Public Money? Public
Code!' in relation to the German elections. In August 2021, Loria
presented how maps are created in a 2D world. <a href="">FSFE Women</a> is open
to everyone who identifies as female; it gladly welcomes new
<h3 id="syshackers">There is nothing that System Hackers cannot fix</h3>
The fact that you can read this report is also thanks to our
volunteers who call themselves System Hackers. <a href="">This group</a> is
responsible for the development and maintenance of the FSFE's
technical infrastructure: servers, connectivity, virtual machines,
DNS, services, backups; a hundred of things can break in between,
but they keep it running. In 2021, there have too many exciting
changes to list them here, which is why they will write an article about
their activities within the next weeks.
<h3 id="translators">Translators remove language barriers</h3>
The FSFE Translators team <a href="/news/2021/news-20211011-01.html">removes language
barriers</a> for Software Freedom. During the past year the team
has worked tirelessly on creating new translations and improving
old ones. Since November 2020, the translators team has created
376 new translations. Most of them are in Italian (189), followed
by Dutch with 79 new translations. The translators team has also
worked on improving the translation processes.
<img src="" alt="multilingual" />
<figcaption>Since November 2020, the translators team has created 376 new translations.</figcaption>
<h3 id="staffers">Staffers run day-to-day activities of the FSFE</h3>
Besides its dedicated volunteers, the FSFE also relies on its
employees for its daily operations. At the FSFE we currently have 7 people working full-time, 5 working part-time, and 2 interns.
In 2021 we welcomed 6 new staffers. Since November 2020, Linda Wagener completes
bookkeeping and accounting tasks, offering a helping hand when
needed. Lina Ceballos completed her internship in the FSFE last year,
and she has now joined our permanent
team. Lina is a Project Manager focusing on PMPC, REUSE, and Router
Freedom. Also, she helps the FSFE to reach our Spanish-language audience.
Linus Sehn is our new System Administrator; he makes sure our
systems run smoothly and solves any problems that come up. Since
May 2021, Fani Partsafyllidou has been our new Project Manager and
Newsletter Editor, supporting the implementation of Youth Hacking 4
Freedom, 20 Years FSFE, and Upcycling Android. Fani makes sure that
the work of the FSFE is accurately communicated to our community.
In September 2021, Marlene Kietreiber joined our team and brings
the magic of graphic design to the FSFE. At the same time,
Niharika Singhal joined our Legal team as an intern. Would you like to join our team? We are always interested in <a href="/about/jobs/internship.html">internship applications</a>.
<h3 id="ga">The General Assembly guides the progress of the FSFE</h3>
The FSFE is governed by its formal members, the <a href="/about/team.html#general-assembly">"General
Assembly"</a>, who are responsible for planning, budgeting,
and setting the agenda, as well as electing the Executive Council
which currently consists of the FSFE's President Matthias
Kirschner, Vice-President Heiki Löhmus, and Financial Officer
Patrick Ohnewein.
The FSFE complies with the guidelines set out in <a href="">“transparent
civil society” by Transparency International Germany</a> with <a href="/about/transparency-commitment.html">our transparency
commitment</a>. Besides our constitution and minutes from our
general assemblies, you will find information in our general
reports, name and functions of decision makers and staff, our
connections with other organisations, <a href="/about/funds/funds.html">how we use our money</a>, and <a href="/donate/thankgnus.html">who our donors are</a>.
<h3 id="spreading-the-word">Spreading the word</h3>
We offer gratis <a href="/contribute/spreadtheword">information
packages</a>, so that people can raise awareness about software
freedom in their communities. From 1 November 2020 until now we
have sent 263 information packages. Thank you to all of you who
spread the news and help us to reach more people about Free
Software. The FSFE <a href="/order/">T-shirt collection</a> is
beloved; we have sold 700 T-shirts since 1 November 2020. Also,
we introduced two new products to celebrate 20 Years of the FSFE:
a bag, which you can see below, and a sticker.
<img src="" alt="bag in front of a tree" />
<figcaption>FSFE since 2001 bag</figcaption>
<h2 id="join">Join our movement</h2>
In the last few years, we exceeded ten thousand people from
Europe and beyond who are supporting our cause by <a href="/contribute/spreadtheword">spreading our word</a>, signing
our open letters, subscribing to our <a href="/contact/email-updates.html">community mails</a> and <a href="/news/newsletter.html">newsletter</a>, or joining our <a href="">public
discussions</a>. If you ever wondered who all these people are
and what a FSFE supporter looks like, we have created a dedicated
<a href="/about/people/testimonials">testimonials page</a> for
you, where several of our supporters have left a quote, an
interview, or a video.
<strong>The FSFE would be nothing without our contributors. And
it would be so much more with you!</strong> If you feel inspired
after reading our report, there are many ways to engage in our
movement. We have a dedicated <a href="/contribute">contribution
page</a> to help you find a way that best fits your interests and
One of the easiest entrance levels is to spread the word about Free
Software in public or among your friends with our <a href="/contribute/spreadtheword">promotion material</a> or directly
show your love for Free Software by wearing <a href="/order/index.html">some of our inspiring merchandise
items</a>. Follow and share our <a href="/events/events.html">event
announcements</a>, find an event that fits your interests, and then
go there to meet like-minded people. Don't be shy; most of us
have been in your position once.
If you find no event near you, you can also join us online. If
you want to contribute with your <a href="/contribute/web/web.html">IT skills</a> or your <a href="/contribute/translators/translators.html">language
skills</a>, you are more than welcome to join our respective
online teams. Not yet sure where to start? Then look into <a href="">our discourse-instance</a> and
start to get to know our community and get inspired about what
you can do.
<strong>Finally, advocating for freedom also costs money and we depend on
people like you to <a href="">support us
financially</a>. All support is used to improve European software
freedom a little more each day, step by step, bit by bit.</strong>
<h2 id="looking-forward">Looking forward to 2022</h2>
In 2022, the FSFE will continue its activities while undertaking
new ones. The following paragraphs are not an exhaustive account of
our future activities, but a glimpse of what is coming up.
In 2022 we are going to monitor the implementation of our PMPC
demands, protect Router Freedom in countries where the respective
legislation is coming up, and advocate to prevent a Radio Lockdown.
We plan to have a physical Legal and Licensing Workshop 2022 in
Gothenburg, Sweden, and will continuously evaluate the current
conditions there to ensure the safety of all participants. We are
currently preparing two exciting projects for the next year, Youth
Hacking 4 Freedom and Upcycling Android.
<a href="">Youth Hacking 4 Freedom</a> is a coding competition to inspire young
people to Software Freedom. It is open to teenagers 14-18
from around Europe. Participants will compete in Youth Hacking for
Freedom by creating programs of their choice licensed as Free
Software. This hacking competition is a great opportunity for
young people to receive inspiration and to network with important
people of the field. For the winners, the cash prize might turn
into an investment for their own project.
<img src="" alt="yh4f logo" />
<figcaption>Looking forward to the Youth Hacking 4 Freedom project</figcaption>
Upcycling Android will be a campaign with a web presence and
practical workshops to overcome software obsolescence on Android by
installing Free Software. It will aim to achieve users' freedom and
care for the environment at the same time.
Overall, the next year
of the FSFE is exciting and promising as we plan to reach out to a
younger audience and to highlight the importance of software
sustainability. If you are interested in following our future projects
make sure you <a href="/contact/email-updates.html">subscribe</a> to our mail updates.
<h2 id="about">About the FSFE</h2>
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a charity that
empowers people to control technology by enabling access to
software and its source code. The rights to use, study, share, and
improve this software are essential to guarantee equal
participation in democracies of the 21st century.
Thanks to the trust of our supporters, the FSFE counts 20 years
of promoting software freedom in Europe. Our stable presence in
this field enables us to succeed in lengthy endeavours for
software freedom, and to be ready at all times to respond to
related developments. We are grateful for the trust of our
supporters, and we will keep on empowering people to control
<tag key="front-page"/>
<tag key="annual-report">Annual report</tag>
<tag key="fsfe20">20 Years FSFE</tag>
<tag key="community">Community</tag>
<tag key="legal">Legal Licensing Workshop</tag>
<tag key="pmpc">Public Money? Public Code!</tag>
<tag key="reuse">REUSE</tag>
<tag key="routers">Router Freedom</tag>
<tag key="podcast">Software Freedom Podcast</tag>
<tag key="sustainability">Sustainable Development Goals</tag>
<tag key="translations">Translators Team</tag>
<discussion href=""/>
<image url=""/>