Report of Document Freedom Day 2012

Document Freedom Day 2012 was a great success! America, Asia, Africa and Europe celebrated together Open Standards at 54 events. It is no doubt that DFD is growing and we believe that it will be even more successful next year. So what about having look at what happened around the world on 28th of March? And what has the Pope to do with Open Standards? Read our detailed report to find out.

DFD around the world

This year was the most powerful DFD day in the history! And we are proud to say that. Our DFD team and amazing volunteers managed to get on board more than 50 local organisers all around the world. One of the most active countries that deserves our respect is Venezuela with 10 events in a single country. The Document Freedom Day 2012 was celebrated in 23 countries and in 19 world languages. Our fifth year of organising this event got considerable press coverage with almost one hundred articles. All this was possible thanks to the support of hundreds of volunteers and 38 partners spread in all the corners of the world and also our two main sponsors, Google and Oracle.

So what did all of these people actually do to raise the awareness about the Document Freedom?

Handcuffing people - 100x times

Pope Benedict XVI. receives DFD handcuffs.

One of our campaigns was about sending out handcuffs to important people who in your opinion need more education about Open Standards. All you had to do was to submit the name and postal address of the person you'd like the DFD team to contact by March 30. The DFD team then promised to deliver by post gratis Open Standards educational packages, consisting of a short letter explaining the topic and - to symbolise proprietary standards - a pair of handcuffs! We received more than 100 suggestions, including names such as Pope Benedict XVI, Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and German chancellor Angela Merkel. Your suggestions covered more than 20 countries ranging from Argentina and United States to Egypt and Russia.

These are not only the numbers. Our handcuffs campaign really made a difference, what is well documented by several public statements of politicians we provoked or by the great press coverage we received.

Giving talks - 26x times

Document Freedom Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Lots of local groups decided to organise talks about Open Standards. The talks featured a wide range of ideas, from "media and net policies" discussed in Düsseldorf (Germany), "importance of free standards and data formats" in Saratov (Russia) and in Yuli (Taiwan) to presentations of LibreOffice in the Southern America. Some of the events were bound with other interesting activities, such as building of the "diy book scanner" in Cairo (Egypt) or LibreOffice installations on the computers of attendees. Our biggest event was organized in Jakarta, in the Theater of Budi Luhur University with amazing 170 participants.

Panel: Jeanne Tadeusz, Anne-Catherine Lorrain, Karsten Gerloff, MEP Christian     Engström.

In the European parliament, members of the European Parliament and the Greens/EFA group Malika Benarab-Attou, Sandrine Bélier, Christian Engström, and Judith Sargentini hosted a Document Freedom Day event titled "Open Standards in the eBook market". From the speakers we shall mention, Carl-Christian Buhr from Neelie Kroes' personal cabinet, who was speaking about the EC's initiatives on Open Standards, Karsten Gerloff, the president of FSFE, who gave a speech on "Open Standards and Free Software as an issue of power and control" and Charles Hayley from Calibre, a Free Software ebook manager, who explained how important Open Standards are for developers.

Awarding institutions - 6x times

Marvellous DFD Cake from Venezuela Colourful DFD Cake from Berlin

It looks like DFD cake is becoming the second most important symbol of the DFD right after the logo. This year, we presented the Document Freedom Awards with thematic DFD cakes in Croatia, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Turkey and Venezuela. Our cake experts say that the best looking cakes were those given in Venezuela and Germany and the most creative was the Slovakian one with "poppy seed and nougat" stuffing. Among awarded institutions this year, we shall mention

  • German Document Freedom Award rewarding a company 1&1 for automatically adding XMPP for all customers of their mail services.
  • Italian DFD Price 2012 rewarding the City administration of the Tuscan town for its adoption of Open Standards within the administration services and communications with the citizens. See Alessandro's blog for a report of this event.
  • Slovak DFD Price 2012 rewarding the Slovak Committee for Standardisation of Information Systems of Public Administration for its adoption of Open Standards for entire Slovak public administration.

Other events

DFD poster in street of Rio

But Document Freedom Day is also about something else. It is about bringing together the creativity and knowledge of people who are passionate and feel strongly about freedom. It's about having fun and also doing something important for society. Lots of volunteers set up small parties or discussed the issues in the close circles of friends, while others were handing out DFD leaflets at universities, setting up small DFD booths or explaining people the importance of use of Open Standards on the streets. And that is exactly what the DFD is - a day where everybody can deliver the idea of Open Standards in a way he feels. Because that is the freedom we aim for.

Thank you!

Thank you all for your motivation and efforts to celebrate Document Freedom Day around the globe without borders! Again, we would not be able to achieve this without great support of volunteers, sponsors and attentive media. We wish that 2012 will be marked as a better year for Open Standards and that next year we can meet again to celebrate this day. If you enjoyed our initiative you can support us by donating yet today for the next year!

About Document Freedom Day (DFD)

Document Freedom Day (DFD) campaigns to celebrate information accessibility and introduce non-technical audiences to Open Standards. Open Standards are a basic condition for the freedom of choice in software, to ensure the freedom to access data, and the freedom to build Free Software by reading and writing information. Since 2008, DFD is celebrated around the world on the last Wednesday of March.

DFD around the world

We are always updating this part, so you can still send us some of your DFD pictures.


FSFE's Document Freedom Award Algeria



DFD event in Rio DFD event in Rio DFD event in Santarem Audience at DFD event in Santarem Audience at DFD event in Santarem Santarem DFD team





The best partner logo :) Event in Cairo Hackerspace, Egypt

European Parliament

Dr. Carl-Christian Buhr Karsten Gerloff, Anne-Catherine Lorrain DFD posters in European Parliament Audience at DFD in European Parliament


Green party's DFD cake Berlin Green party's DFD event

FSFE's Document Freedom Award Karlsruhe DFD cake in Karlsruhe



DFD in Jakarta, Indonesia Audience in Jakarta


DFD event in Italy DFD event in Hacking Laboratory Catanzaro




Polish DFD team Polish DFD Cake DFD Prize in Poland




DFD CDs, Omsk, Russia Presentation in Omsk, Russia


The certificate and the Document Freedom cake with the DFD logo on top From left: Martin Husovec (FSFE), Miloš Molnár (chair of the Commission)     and Peter Bíro (deputy chair of the Commission)


The Netherlands



Izmir, Turkey, waiting for a DFD cake Izmir, Turkey, two DFD cakes


Venezuelan DFD cake.

Further information

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