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Organizing Software Freedom Day: it's not hard!

Kid building a tower (symbolic)

Don't want to read it all? Organizing your first SFD event isn't hard! These first steps will get you a long way.

So you're thinking about throwing a Software Freedom Day party? But seeing all those huge events scare you off? Don't worry, they all started small!

Here are some pointers at how easy it is to throw a SFD Party!


Typically, Software Freedom Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of September. But - a bit comparable to a birthday party - you can always celebrate it on another moment around that time, if that works out better. What could be typical reasons to pick a different date?

  • The date doesn't work out for most of your volunteering team
  • There's a collision with another event in the area, and you don't want to compete (e.g. there's a religious holiday)
  • There's another event happening that would fit great together, and you want to align (e.g. there's a town fair where you can have a stand)
  • ...


Basically, if you throw a party, you can pick what you want to do. Here are some ideas to start small.

  • Give a demo of your favorite piece of music writing software to a bunch of friends
  • Set up a table on a public spot and hand out flyers explaining how Free Software better respects your privacy and let them try out Linux with LibreOffice and some other applications.
  • Hang a poster saying: "Your phone is spying on you. Change my mind" and sit on a chair behind it.
  • Organize an Arduino workshop in your local hackerspace
  • Give a presentation about how you migrated from a cloud service to your personal installation of NextCloud
  • Hand out "Software Freedom Day" balloons to kids in the street, and a flyer with some pointers to the parents
  • Ask some people from like-minded communities to join forces and give some talks on technical or non-technical topics.


There are plenty of places where you can organize Software Freedom Day.

  • Your school or workplace is sympathetic to the cause, and maybe you can use some office space or a classroom?
  • Local libraries often welcome low profile initiatives.
  • Are you a member of a LUG, hackerspace, computer club or tech group? Probably you can gather over there.
  • If all fails, gather in a local pub or tea-room and your audience can buy a drink in there.


So who should you invite? There's a wide range of options here too. You decide what's in your comfort zone. In essence, you could reach out, or you could reach in.

Reach out: invite people who aren't familiar with the topic of Software Freedom and introduce them

  • You could just put an invitation on the bulletin board of your school or work and see who shows up
  • You could put flyers in the houses around the area
  • Spread the word through your social media channels
  • You could invite local policymakers and/or press if you feel like it (but you don't need to)

Reach in: invite people who are already familiar with the topic of Software Freedom and do a deep dive

  • Invite friendly groups from the bigger area for more in depth topics
  • Spread the word on topical niche communities online

Who could be speaking?

  • You could invite external speakers. They often will be happy to give a talk or workshop
  • This is the perfect playground for first time experiences in public speaking. It's fun to talk about something you're passionate about.
  • Friends from like-minded groups.


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