First FSFE Summit Will Focus on Social Issues and Strategies


Free Software advocates from all over Europe will be meeting in Berlin Sept. 2-4 at the first ever Free Software Foundation Europe’s summit.

This 2016 event, besides being long overdue, also marks 15 years since the creation of the FSFE. Throughout its history, the FSFE has had its fair share of landmark achievements. It has been instrumental in a successful antitrust-case against a big software corporation that intended to dominate the market of personal computers. It managed to keep software patents unenforceable in Europe, thereby avoiding a veritable apocalypse for European small and medium-sized tech companies. And, it worked alongside to get free licenses vindicated in German courts, setting ground-breaking precedents for the whole of the EU.

One of the main missions of the Free Software community in general, and the FSFE in particular, is to put users back into the driver’s seat, so that people control technology and not the other way around. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it would likely not be an exaggeration to say that the FSFE has transformed the foundations of IT in Europe and that it has had a deep impact on anybody who has used a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet in the last decade or so.

On the Schedule

In that spirit, September’s event will not be a technical one; instead speakers will focus on social issues, policies, and business strategies that will help encourage further adoption of Free Software in homes, companies, and public institutions.

The summit will feature, for example, Sonia Montegiove explaining how the Italian Armed Forces, a traditionally conservative institution, migrated to LibreOffice; Sam Tuke will describe a whole new tool set of open source utilities and frameworks for sales and marketing; and Matthias Kirschner, the current President of the FSFE, will dispel some of the more persistent misconceptions associated with Free Software.

Additionally, the Summit will be held alongside QtCon, KDE’s aKademy, VLC’s yearly conference, and KDAB’s 2016 meetup, which means if you are into hardcore technical development stuff, there’s something for you, too. So, if you’re in Berlin in early September, drop by the Berlin Congress Center for some Free Software goodness.