FSF fights to secure software freedom for future generations

This year-end, we are focusing on growing the community with our year-end goal of gaining 500 new associate members before December 31st. The deadline is only two days away, and we are not there yet. We need your support to continue to grow, and to give strength to the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) mission to protect #UserFreedom. Below is a message from our president Geoffrey Knauth reflecting on the FSF's mission to protect software users everywhere.

The US government recognized that 2020 was a difficult year for people, and for charities like the FSF. Special tax law changes for 2020 now make it possible for deduction of cash donations, including becoming an associate member, of up to $300 made before December 31, 2020.

A message from FSF president Geoffrey Knauth

The core mission of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is, and always will be, to support the four freedoms of free software as embodied by the GNU Project. In 1985, when I saw Richard Stallman attempt to undertake the task of creating for you, users and creators of software, a wholly free GNU operating system by himself, I thought it was a noble idea unlikely to succeed. How wrong I was! Luckily, I made the correct decision to pitch in and help, as have many thousands of people since. In the thirty-five years since the FSF was established, countless free software users and supporters around the globe have experienced the joys that come from creating software and knowing that you have the right to learn, to tinker, to make modifications to suit your needs, to make your own contribution, to be heard and recognized, to share your work, and to be appreciated by your peers.

While the pandemic has been very hard on people everywhere, there was one bright spot for me in 2020: by attending virtual conferences all over the world, I was able to see and hear about the work of hundreds of people inspired by the free software movement, and I have been astounded at the brilliance, creativity, and dedication of contributors everywhere on the planet. I think back to the Moon missions of a half century ago, when the astronauts peered back at the world and saw that it really was one world, that limitations in the way of boundaries seem very artificial from space. From the vantage of space, you see a beautiful blue ball with land masses, oceans and clouds, a fragile atmosphere, and as you visualize there are people down there, they should be roaming free and enjoying all that beauty.

What I have learned in 2020 is that despite the injustice of proprietary software's restrictions on our freedoms, the people of the world are by and large energized by learning, creating, and sharing their creations as freely as they can, because it is clearly what they want to do. We know that water flows and knows its way; so do people know what they really want, and like water, people will find a way. It is our duty to fight for the freedoms in computing that give people that special joy that comes from being fully in control of their computing environment.

We don't always agree with each other. That's okay. We are richer for our disagreements when we debate and act in good faith. We have had a rough year, but we are still here, and we will continue the fight. We want your help, we ask for your support, and we desire your participation and ideas, because if it weren't for you, we would be right back where we started in 1985. There has been so much progress since then, and we have to make sure all that has been created is safeguarded for generations to come after us, and that it continues to flourish.

I thank the hard-working staff of the FSF, and the thousands of volunteers who add their brilliance to GNU every single day. What you do is breathtakingly good. Please keep it up! For our part, you can read more about what the FSF has planned in 2021 in the pieces from each team at https://fsf.org/appeal.

Please enjoy the holidays, and safeguard your health! I hope if you -are not already a part of the marvelous free software movement or a -member of the FSF, you will consider joining us.

Be well and be free,

Geoff Knauth

Illustration Copyright © 2020 Free Software Foundation, Inc., by Raghavendra Kamath, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.