Today we celebrate with the Free Software Community the ‘I Love Free Software Day (#ILoveFS)‘. Free, Open Source Software (FOSS) enriches our lives every day and makes an important contribution to our (digital) society.
We would like to thank the Free Software community, all contributors and volunteers for their tireless efforts to promote Free Software. Special thanks go to our partners at Collabora, who have trusted us from the beginning, as well as the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), who after years of pandemic are organizing meetings for the ‘I Love Free Software Day’ on site all over Europe for the first time again. Having already expressed our gratitude to the community several times in 2021 and 2022, this year we would like to use this day to clearly proclaim our opinion on the topic of open source software: FOSS is not a niche topic and digital innovations are not even conceivable without Free Software.
Free software as a driver of innovation
As much as we appreciate the dedication of all Open Source enthusiasts, Free, Open Source Software is no longer a niche and never has been upon closer examination. Often overshadowed by the discussions surrounding the monopolization of the Internet by giant global corporations, it is overlooked that over 70% of all German companies use Open Source Software. In other countries, especially in Europe, the numbers are likely to be similar. 
In addition to well-known Open Source Software, such as Mozilla Firefox, Linux or LibreOffice, more than 90 percent of all software applications contain Open Source components. Apart from countless small and large providers (including ViOffice), some Open Source companies even have market values of several billion euros (e.g. Red Hat or Oracle). A study by the Fraunhofer Institute on behalf of the EU Commission put the contribution of Open Source to the total economic output of the EU at 60 to 95 billion euros, with an investment sum of only 1 billion euros. 
Although the political and social focus has not yet been sufficiently directed towards Open Source Software, good approaches are visible. The current German government, for example, has explicitly committed itself to open source in its coalition agreement:
Open source formats are explicitly supported.Coalition Agreement, 24.11.2021, S. 47
We do not want to minimize the problem of monopolies in the digital space and have explicitly commented on this several times in our blog. Our concern in this article is to make clear that FOSS, whether visible or not, is an indispensable part of our everyday lives and that considerable potential has not yet been exploited. The impact of Open Source in innovative areas such as artificial intelligence and cloud and quantum computing is significant and growing. 
We can be proud of our community and the label as “alternative” software does not do justice to the performance and distribution of FOSS. We want to improve that and we are working on it every day.
ViOffice as an Open Source company
Since our founding in 2020, we too have evolved. We would like to pick up on a few aspects here.
1. Versatile Solutions: Cloud Services, Collabora Online, Web Analytics & the Fediverse
After initially starting with a comprehensive cloud platform for the (home) office, mainly based on Nextcloud, we have steadily developed our portfolio. For example, as a proud partner of Collabora, we have been offering online hosting of the popular office suite since March 2021. Since January 2022, our product range has also included data protection-compliant ViOffice Web Analytics based on the Open Source Software Umami. Fedi Social was also added at the end of last year. Behind the term Fedi Social is our hosting of Fediverse services, in particular Mastodon. Because of our belief in the benefits of Open Source Software, we continue to stay on top of developments to support it. We also offer all our services in a convenient subscription.
2. Our Blog: A Plea for Free, Open Source Software
We believe that FOSS has many advantages over non-free or proprietary software. We have argued this thesis in numerous entries in our blog – whether in our article on software security, the article on Free Software in administration or our series on direct comparisons between our services and the big competitors from Microsoft and Google. Open source business models are not only mostly sustainable, but also successful.
3. Open Tech Newsletter
We have set up a monthly newsletter. In our Open Tech Newsletter we want to support our goal of an open, digital society by informing about digital topics and pointing out events – all around Open Source, privacy and data protection. We are happy about every newsletter subscription! Of course, the subscription is free of charge, we comply with all applicable data protection regulations and do not spam you with frequent mails.
- Bitkom (2021): Open-Source-Monitor. Online unter: https://www.bitkom.org/Bitkom/Publikationen/Open-Source-Monitor-2021
- EU Kommission (2021): Study about the impact of open source software and hardware on technological independence, competitiveness and innovation in the EU. Online unter: https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/library/study-about-impact-open-source-software-and-hardware-technological-independence-competitiveness-and
- Marianne Janik (2021): Deutschlands Weg führt über Open Source. Online unter https://www.faz.net/aktuell/zukunft-der-software-deutschlands-weg-fuehrt-ueber-open-source-17432607.html
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.