Software Freedom Day

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Software Freedom Day logo

Software Freedom Day (SFD) is an annual worldwide celebration of Free Software. SFD is a public education effort with the aim of increasing awareness of Free Software and its virtues, and encouraging its use.

Software Freedom Day was established in 2004 and was first observed on 28 August of that year. About 12 teams participated in the first Software Freedom Day. Since that time it has grown in popularity and while organisers anticipated more than 1,000 teams in 2010[1] the event has stalled at around 400+ locations over the past two years, representing a 30% decrease over 2009.

Since 2006 Software Freedom Day has been held on the third Saturday of September, it has occasionally coincided with International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Digital Freedom Foundation[edit]

"Digital Freedom Foundation" (DFF) is a non-profit organisation that acts as the official organiser of Software Freedom Day, and is the legal body that handles donations, sponsorship contracts, and accounting. DFF has successfully obtained a tax-exempt status in the USA where it was registered as Software Freedom International, in order to make donations tax-deductible. Since it has moved to Hong Kong and is now registering in Cambodia due to board members relocation. The organization was initially named Software Freedom International, changing to DFF beginning in 2011, reflecting its organisation of additional freedom days for culture, hardware, and education.[2]

Software Freedom Day[edit]

Each event is left to local teams around the world to organise. Pre-registered teams (2 months before the date or earlier) receive free schwag sent by SFI to help with the events themselves. The SFD wiki contains individual team pages describing their plans as well as helpful information to get them up to speed. Events themselves varies between conferences explaining the virtues of Free and Open Source Software, to workshops, demonstrations, games, planting tree ceremonies, discussions and InstallFests.[3]

Students lined up to register at the Software Freedom Day 2011 event in the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines

SFD Events[edit]

Time Teams Countries Source
28 August 2004 12 N/A
10 September 2005 136 60 SFD 2005 map
16 September 2006 180 70 SFD 2006 map
15 September 2007 286 80 SFD 2007 map
20 September 2008 563 90 SFD 2008 map
19 September 2009 700 90 SFD 2009 map
18 September 2010 397 90 SFD 2010 map
17 September 2011 442 87 SFD 2011 map
15 September 2012 301 73 SFD 2012 map
21 September 2013 316 81 SFD 2013 map
20 September 2014 197 59 SFD 2014 map
19 September 2015 141 47 SFD 2015 map
17 September 2016  ? 51 SFD 2016 map

Note on the figures above: it is difficult to find figures of the early years and even more find sources. The maps on the SFD website are only reliable after 2007, however some years such as 2009 saw extra teams from two different sources which didn't "officially" register with SFI. There was about 80 teams from China and a hundred from the Sun community (OSUM) who heavily subsidized goodies for their teams.[4] In the early year of SFD the map was an optional component not connected with the registration script and therefore some teams didn't go through the troubles of adding themselves.

Other Freedom Days[edit]

The Digital Freedom Foundation also organizes other Freedom Day events:

Document Freedom Day was originally organized by the Free Software Foundation of Europe, but the organization of DFD was transferred to the Digital Freedom Foundation in 2015.


The primary sponsor from the start was Canonical Ltd., the company behind Ubuntu, a Linux distribution. Then IBM, Sun Microsystems, DKUUG, Google, Red Hat, Linode, Nokia and now MakerBot Industries have joined the supporting organisations as well as the FSF and the FSFE. IBM and Sun Microsystems are currently not sponsoring the event. In terms of media coverage SFI is partnering with Linux Magazine, Linux Journal and Ubuntu User. Each local team can seek sponsors independently, especially local FOSS supporting organisations and often appears in local medias such as newspapers and TV.[5]

DFF Board Members[edit]

  • Frederic Muller (President), founding member and former President of the Beijing LUG, co-organizer of many international FOSS events in China and Asia such as the Linux Developer Symposium (2008), Gnome.Asia Summits, OOoCon 2008, and of course local SFD events. Fred is as well as co-maintainer of RUR-PLE (a python learning environment for children) and a GNOME Foundation member.
  • Pockey Lam (VP. Treasurer), Former president of Beijing Linux User Group, founding member of, GNOME.Asia Summit, College OSS Society and Beijing GNOME User Group.
  • Julien Forgeat
  • Patrick Sinz

Past DFF Board Members[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]