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FSFE: Stop unfair advertising - get your government to promote free PDF readers!

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The Free Software Foundation Europe calls on all Europeans to seek out advertisements for proprietary PDF readers on their government's websites, and report them. In addition, FSFE has prepared a petition demanding an end to such advertising practices, and encourages the public to sign it.

"Every time that state websites link to non-free applications and encourage visitors to use them, they needlessly encourage citizens to throw away their freedom", says Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's President.

As websites such as pdfreaders.org demonstrate, Free Software PDF readers exist for all major operating systems. Fellows of FSFE launched the project in 2009 in response to public bodies' habit of advertising a particular non-free product on their sites.

FSFE's Fellowship Coordinator Matthias Kirschner comments: "What would you think about a sign on the highway saying 'You need a Volkswagen to drive on this road. Contact your Volkswagen dealer for a gratis test drive'? When it comes to PDF readers, governments seem to think that this is acceptable."

Such endorsements give unfair advantage to whichever proprietary product they recommend, and are often accompanied by inaccurate statements presenting the application as the only available option.

The hunt begins on September 13th, and will continue until October 17th 2010. Prizes will be awarded at the end of October to the individuals and groups who report the greatest number of proprietary software advertisements on government websites.

Happy hunting!