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The journey begins with a single step: climb the freedom ladder

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The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is the most uncompromising nonprofit leader working for software freedom. For years, people have described the FSF's community of staff, volunteers, and contributors as being the "lighthouse" others use to find their way to software freedom, and we take that responsibility seriously. Swapping out one set of programs you use for another set may not seem like that much of a challenge, but those who bend over backwards to avoid nonfree software even in the form of nonfree JavaScript can tell you how many roadblocks there are along the way to software freedom; a cursory examination of the programs the average person depends on can show how deeply nonfree software has seeped into daily life.

We will never stop aiming to be that "lighthouse." At the same time, we recognize that a stance like ours can sometimes be a deterrent to people making important incremental improvements in their practices. For years, we've been holding the principled finish line, and we'll continue to do so. Now, we're developing an actionable set of steps to help support individuals in making the step-by-step improvements that they can. By supporting them in taking a step at a time, we're confident that we can help bring more people to a fully free setup than ever before. We're calling this campaign the "freedom ladder," and we need your support to help others begin climbing it.

In the free software community, we sometimes use the term "throwing over the wall" to describe when a person or group releases a program as free software, but doesn't provide any insight into its development. While this is absolutely better than releasing the software as proprietary, it forgoes opportunities for engagement and collaboration. We don't want our advocacy to be this way, and want to involve you as much as we can. From the first day that we began formulating the concept, we knew that we were going to need the help of the community in getting it right. Each of the fourteen members on the FSF staff came to free software in a different way, and we are all still at different places on the freedom ladder. While comparing our experiences has been instructive, we know that it's nowhere near exhaustive. Maybe you've already "arrived" at the combination of a fully free operating system and BIOS, or maybe you're still on Windows but have started to use LibreOffice. Either way, we need your participation.

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