On February 14 we show our love not only to our beloved ones, but also for Free, Open Source Software (FOSS) and the Free Software Community. One year after our first blog post about the ‘I Love Free Software Day’, we want to show why using Free Software instead of proprietary software makes sense and how we contribute to our society by using Free Software.
Free Software & the ‘I Love Free Software Day’
What is Free Software?
Free Software lives from the community of free programmers, the Free Software Movement or Free Software Community. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) defines software as “Free” if it fulfills the basic four freedoms: The freedom to use the software, the freedom to understand it, the freedom to distribute it, and the freedom to improve it.
Free Software is everywhere! Most of today’s software is under a Free Software license itself or relies on Free Software core components. We dedicated our very first blog article in October 2020 in detail to the topic of Free Software.
February 14 is ‘I Love Free Software Day’
The ‘I Love Free Software Day’ is part of a campaign of the Free Software Foundation Europe, which was launched more than 10 years ago. The FSFE is a sister organization of the US-based Free Software Foundation (FSF) and, as a non-profit association based in Germany, has been an integral part of this movement since 2001. Under the hashtag #ilovefs, both organisations as well as the Free Software Movement as a whole make an annual call to thank all Free Software enthusiasts and contributors for their work.
This year’s focus: Free Software Games
The FSFE is organising an event dedicated to Free Software games this year. Please find more information on their website.
ViOffice & Free Software
A lot happened since last year when we celebrated the first ‘I Love Free Software Day’ after the foundation of ViOffice. We just want to highlight three aspects in the context of Free Software.
On our first ‘I Love Free Software Day’, we released our first software contribution to the Free Software community and our whole society: Planado. Planado is a simple, lightweight and easy to host planning- and booking tool for the Free Software video conferencing tool Jitsi-Meet.
2. Collabora & ViOffice: A sustainable Partnership
In March 2021, almost one year ago, we proudly announced our partnership with Collabora. Collabora Ltd. is a global company based in Cambridge (England) that specializes in providing, developing and consulting on Open Source software for the business world. In doing so, they are significantly involved in the further development and consulting for the Free Software office suite LibreOffice with the world’s largest team of developers.
3. Our new Service: ViOffice Analytics
Since this year, we offer a simply subscription model for Open Source, privacy-friendly web analytics: ViOffice Analytics. As you might have heard, the Austrian Data Protection Authority decided that the use of the Google service Google Analytics violates the legally binding European GDPR. So, the Austrian decision will likely have an impact on the situation in other European countries. Since Google Analytics is still the market leader in this sector, it migh bet relevant for your website tracking, as well. The main differences to services such as Google Analytics are that ViOffice Analytics tracks traffic instead of users, all our servers are in Germany and, of course, we do not sell any of your data to third parties. You own all your data!
How ViOffice contributes to our society by using Free Software
After focusing on the question how we contribute to the Free Softare community, we also want to highlight how we contribute to our society by using Free Software.
Digital Monopolies – Google, Microsoft & Co.
Whether it’s Microsoft, Google or Facebook, all major tech corporations are coming under increasing criticism from public organisations, data protection and privacy authorities, antitrust authorities and even courts regarding some questionable practices. The core of the problem lies in the monopolistic behaviour of these corporations often linked to violations of privacy and data protection of individual users. Read our blog post on platform economies & digital monopolies to find out more about this.
ViOffice as an Open Source Solution
Contrarily, ViOffice is 100% based on Free, Open Source Software with a strong focus on data protection and privacy. We only collect individual data which are necessary for technical functionality of our services. All of our services perform only the actions for which they are intended, without running other processes hidden in the background that undermine user privacy. Since they all rely on FOSS licenses, it is always possible to transparently check whether those statements are true.
Furthermore, Open Source software promotes economic competition since other companies are allowed to copy the code and using it commercially. Our idea is neither aimed at dominating whole market segments nor at ironclad profit optimization. We offer simple, useful and transparent tools at reasonable prices, which are primarily measured by our costs and realistic, sustainable future orientation. We strive for social balance and participation through solidarity pricing, without compromising functionality.
Pascal founded ViOffice together with Jan in the fall of 2020. He mainly takes care of marketing, finance and sales. After his degrees in political science, economics and applied statistics, he continues to work in scientific research. With ViOffice, he wants to provide access to secure software from Europe for everyone and especially support non-profit associations in their digitalization.