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  4. <title>About Free Software Foundation Europe - FSFE</title>
  5. <meta content="More information about FSFE, including, principles, decision making and structure." name="description" />
  6. <meta content="co-operation across cultures digital society freedom political interest democracy transparency pluralism consistency reliability focus self-conception principles decision making structure consensus compromise" />
  7. </head>
  8. <body>
  9. <p id="category"><a href="/about/about.html">About</a></p>
  10. <h1>About FSFE</h1>
  11. <h2>Self-Conception</h2>
  12. <p>We, the people of the <a href="http://fsfe.org">Free Software
  13. Foundation Europe</a> (FSFE), see ourselves as Europeans from
  14. different cultures with the shared goal of co-operation across
  15. cultures and of developing a common culture of co-operation from a
  16. regional to a global level.</p>
  17. <p>We form a non-profit non-governmental organisation and network that
  18. itself is part of a global network of people with common goals and
  19. visions. We are not representative of anyone, except ourselves and our
  20. work. Our common work and dedication to freedom in all aspects of
  21. digital society is what defines us.</p>
  22. <p>With the Free Software community growing faster every day, it
  23. becomes more important to keep the vision of Free Software healthy,
  24. solid and alive. In some cases, increased political interest in our
  25. issues also creates desire to exploit them for particular personal
  26. interests, regardless of the medium- and long-term effects.</p>
  27. <p>Therefore, the central component of our work is keeping the legal,
  28. political and social base of Free Software strong, secure and free of
  29. particular interests. This requires deep understanding of Free
  30. Software and related issues. Above all, it requires being primarily
  31. committed to the long-term vision.</p>
  32. <p>We understand this sometimes means having to accept short-term or
  33. even medium-term disadvantages in order to remain true to our
  34. principles, which may be hard to communicate and occasionally even
  35. unpopular.</p>
  36. <h3>Principles</h3>
  37. <p>We feel strongly committed to the principles of democracy,
  38. transparency, pluralism, consistency, reliability and focus.</p>
  39. <p>In the light of substantial legal responsibilities and the need to
  40. remain decisive even in difficult times, our structure aims to
  41. implement the above principles as well as possible.</p>
  42. <h3>Structural Overview</h3>
  43. <p>Voluntary work and contribution
  44. is the fundamental on which everything rests. Different levels of
  45. involvement exist; level of involvement is primarily a personal
  46. decision.</p>
  47. <p>Everyone is welcome to occasionally, regularly or permanently
  48. participate in the activities of the Free Software Foundation Europe
  49. (FSFE) and make its activities their own.</p>
  50. <p>If you wish to become part of the Free Software Foundation Europe, you
  51. can join one of our teams -- either geographically or by focus --
  52. and take responsibility to work and act in the name of the FSFE. </p>
  53. <p>The country-based teams are generally co-ordinated by the members
  54. of the association (see below) responsible for these countries. The
  55. other teams are either co-ordinated by members of the association,
  56. members of the teams or members of an associated organisation (see
  57. below).</p>
  58. <p>If you wish to become part of the Free Software Foundation Europe,
  59. but do not have the time to do work, you might also choose to <a
  60. href="/donate/donate.html">make a donation to FSFE</a> or become a <a
  61. href="http://fellowship.fsfe.org">fellow</a> of the FSFE.
  62. </p>
  63. <p>If your association pursues similar goals to those of the Free
  64. Software Foundation Europe and wishes to establish formal
  65. co-operation, it can become an <a href="/associates/">associate
  66. organisation</a> of the FSFE, thus becoming part of the FSFE
  67. network.</p>
  68. <p>The skeleton of the Free Software Foundation Europe is the formal
  69. and legally established <a href="/about/legal/">association</a>.
  70. Membership in this association
  71. requires the highest commitment, measured in years of dedication and
  72. the responsibility to put long-term consensus over personal
  73. opinion.</p>
  74. <p>The FSFE association is fundamentally democratic. All parts of the
  75. FSFE - members of the association, members of the teams, as well as
  76. <a href="http://fellowship.fsfe.org">fellows</a> and members of associate
  77. organisations - are welcome to actively take part in the decision
  78. making process for the areas of work they participate in.</p>
  79. <p>Members of the association are often proposed by other members, or
  80. propose themselves.
  81. They are
  82. then approved by the general assembly of the FSFE association.</p>
  83. <p>Although voluntary contributions in terms of work and resources are
  84. the grounds of our work, we recognise that some of these tasks cannot
  85. be undertaken as part-time activities and therefore require full-time
  86. work.</p>
  87. <p>Employees of the association are held to the highest standard and
  88. often take on tasks such as coordination of our activities, which
  89. would be difficult to do as a volunteer.</p>
  90. <p>The main criterion for any employment are the needs of the Free
  91. Software Foundation Europe in terms of successfully pursuing its
  92. goals. Whenever possible, we try to hire a person for each job that
  93. has already done the job without getting paid - either within the
  94. FSFE structures or outside - because knowledge, dedication and
  95. initiative are virtues of the FSFE.</p>
  96. <p>Ideally we will allow someone to dedicate themselves fully to a task
  97. that was already important enough to them to contribute much of their
  98. available resources.</p>
  99. <h3>Decision Processes</h3>
  100. <p>The people of the Free Software Foundation Europe believe in
  101. consensus. We also believe it is occasionally necessary to make quick and
  102. decisive actions. Our working teams, both geographical and focus
  103. teams, are encouraged to act within their area. The FSFE
  104. association also has an executive council which can act quickly and
  105. the composition of which is determined, monitored and controlled
  106. through votes of the members.</p>
  107. <p>This approach was adopted in search of a structure that will allow
  108. transparency, pluralism and participation, at the same time remaining
  109. as lightweight as possible. It also encourages participants in our
  110. working teams to act autonomously and to seek participation in the
  111. teams acting in areas of their interest.</p>
  112. <p>It ensures the possibility of participation by all parts of FSFE,
  113. allowing the Free
  114. Software Foundation Europe to act quickly when necessary and maintain
  115. a strong organisational long-term consistency.</p>
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