FSFE Local group in Belgium

Nicolas Pettiaux nicolas at pettiaux.be
Sun Nov 13 16:03:30 UTC 2022


Thanks Nico for the answer.

Indeed, languages can be a barrier, as much as the fact that we are 
small communities (the Belgian French, Flemisch and German communities). 
In October 2000, more than 20 years ago, we gathered in a room on the 
VUB campus in Brussels to setup a « Belgian Free Software association ».

About 35 people were present, under the leadership of Herman Bruyninckx, 
a then assistant professor at KUL and myself. We have started a group 
that called itself openbe but very soon, people started to fight to know 
if we would support free software (the people liking the GPL or copyleft 
spirit) or open-source software (the people liking the BSD spirit). We 
have had many meetings to try to setup an association and we have 
decided that it was too difficult as we were too small.

I have then joined the French speaking AFUL and APRIL association, 
noting that they were theoritically international and French speaking 
but in practice more French than international.

In parallel, the BXLUG user group has started, and is still living, but 
it is a team of people more interested and active with the organization 
of install parties and very important reciprocal help than with lobbying 

In 2012, I have started the organisation in Brussels of the RMLL 
(rencontres mondiales du logiciel libre) a French annual conference that 
started in Bordeaux in 2000 to gather annually free software developpers 
and users (unlike Fosdem that wants to gather only developpers, hence 
the name). RMLL had been organized outside of France for the first time 
in Geneva in 2012. Brussels was the second out of France gathering. At 
this occasion, the association Abelli has started and since lives. It 
has organized other activities (associalibre, educalibre) since 2017.

Hope to read you soon,


Le 13/11/22 à 09:20, Nico Rikken a écrit :
> Hi Sébastien,
> Thanks for the initiative! No there isn't a local group Belgium or even ones with a smaller regional scope. I'd be happy to help start something up if needed and similarly I think the FSFE Core team can assist.
> I kept hoping for a Belgium initiative to pop up, that is why we kept the BNL meetup at FOSDEM around.
> I'm mostly curious how you'll deal with language barriers. In the Netherlands group we switch to English if needed. Then again, this is something for you to find out what works. Similarly for physical vs online meetings. The Big Blue Button instance from the FSFE works very well for us in the Netherlands as we're spread out over the country.
> With my limited Belgian connections I created this page to list groups and organisations of relevance:https://wiki.fsfe.org/LocalGroups/BNL/BE/Landscape  That might also be groups to reach out to find other supporters. I saw Nicholas already mentioned some groups as well. I'm even in some now to promote the Router Freedom related consultation by BIPT:https://www.bipt.be/operatoren/publication/raadpleging-over-een-ontwerpbesluit-betreffende-de-identificering-van-het-netwerkaansluitpunt-voor-de-breedbanddiensten-en-tv-diensten
> Deadline is the 17th so it is still possible to write to the consultation. Sam, Lucas and I have been busy with this for now. Would be really good to have a local group for the future.
> We'll have our Dutch local group get-together next Wednesday, you are more then welcome to join.
> I really hope something comes of this, if only something small.
> Best,
> Nico Rikken
> Coordinator Netherlands
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