New FSF Campaign Celebrates Smaller Steps Up ‘Freedom Ladder’

This summer the Free Software Foundation campaigns manager said that while they'll never stop aiming to be a "lighthouse" for others, "we recognize that a stance like ours can sometimes be a deterrent to people making important incremental improvements in their practices." So while they'll continue holding up the principled finish line, "Now, we're developing a clear set of steps to help support individuals in making the step-by-step improvements that they can." By supporting them in taking a step at a time, we're confident that we can help bring more people to a fully free setup than ever before. We're calling this campaign the "freedom ladder," and we need your support to help others begin climbing it. This week the Free Software Foundation's program manager explained that "Free software can only be a sustainable idea if we are continuously bringing new people into the free software community," and provided an update on their Freedom Ladder campaign: Since we recognized the need for community input at every step of the way, we started off the campaign by holding four interactive Internet Relay Chat (IRC) community meetings... In the community meetings, we once again confirmed that the "typical" free software user does not exist. It's not "one size fits all," and there are as many particular use cases as there are free software users. How do you create one single message for people that range from absolute beginners to lifelong programmers, and who span all walks of life? The answer is: you don't... As everyone's steps will be different, we need to meet people where they are. Our goal, and something important to keep in mind, is to explain the steps on the path forward in a way that allows one to step in from anywhere. We want to recognize the progress they've made so far, while still motivating them to strive towards full freedom... A clear result from our first conversations about the new campaign was the need for educational resources... We believe people's stories about the use cases of free software, much like the free software stories we collected for the thirtieth birthday of the FSF about how people got into free software, as well as on the difficulties that sometimes need to be overcome, will help us better represent and address the multitude of audiences we want to speak to. It will show that free software really is for everyone, and for everyone there is a step forward. The goal of the Freedom Ladder campaign is to deliver an ever-expanding journey towards free software. The ideal result would be a combination of resources, information, connections, and motivation for the future. This is a major undertaking and the campaigns team's main goal at present: delivering a framework we can accelerate building upon that will help people in their journey to freedom. We need to help people identify with other members of the community by delivering these stories, and letting them know that it's more than acceptable to move towards freedom gradually and incrementally... We're interested in both written statements and videos, and we would love to receive yours. You can add them to the Freedom Ladder pages in the wiki, or you can email with your ideas. In the meantime, we will work on the infrastructure to start building this initiative and be able to integrate any information and resources we need. But we need your help... Our work on the Freedom Ladder campaign so far has been inspiring; the community meetings were fun and everything in this post is a result of the interactive, open, and welcoming nature of those events.

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