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Six Ways to Show Your Love for Free Software Today

Valentine's Day is also 'I Love Free Software Day,' according to the Free Software Foundation Europe

It's no secret that free and open source software is increasingly popular both in the business world and among consumers, and now that it's Valentine's Day, one advocacy group is encouraging fans the world over to show their love.

In fact, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has officially declared today “I Love Free Software Day,” and it's calling on all those who use and appreciate the merits of free software to give a little love back.

“Our online campaign aims at rising awareness to Free Software and the passionate, hard-working people behind it,” explains the group's dedicated campaign page. “Show them that you appreciate their work – it could make all the difference!”

This is actually the second year running that FSFE has done something like this, and this year's campaign also includes a live event in the German city of Essen.

Even if you're not in Europe, though, the FSFE has put together a handy list of ways you can celebrate I Love Free Software Day. Here are a few of their suggestions:

1. Say “Thanks”

Send an email or letter thanking an active free software supporter for his or her work. “Do not underestimate the effects of such a message,” the FSFE urges. “As many Free Software developers work hard for their projects without earning money, a big 'thank you' / 'love you' is like good fuel for their further encouragement.”

Other ways to thank your favorite free software contributors include sending them good books on the topic, buying them a drink, or even offering a hug, the FSFE suggests.

2. Use the Hashtag

Use the #ilovefs hashtag as you tweet your love for free software on Identi.ca or Twitter and you'll help spread the word.

3. Post a Banner

If you have a blog or website, posting a banner can be a good way to make your support known. FSFE has actually published a bunch of banners--including the one above--that are, of course, free for the taking.

4. Wear Your Love

If you have a t-shirt, hat, or other item of clothing featuring Linux or another free and open source software project, today would be a good time to wear it. Such items are available from the FSFE as well.

5. Take Pictures

However you end up expressing your support for free software today, send pictures of what you did to [email protected] and FSFE will publish them on its website to create “a gallery of Free Software lovers from around the world.”

6. Donate

Last but not least, free software initiatives typically depend on financial contributions, so there's no better time to give generously. As the FSFE notes, “money can't buy you love... but it can help to fight for your freedom.”

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