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FSFE Newsletter - September 2010
In this edition we are covering Free Software in education, distributed Free Software solutions as alternative to centralised services, some ways to celebrate what we -- the Free Software community -- already achieved, and how you can participate in the European football championship even if you are not interested in football.
A lot of us used August to recharge our batteries. We also supercharged our internship team, as Nicolas Jean joined Maëlle Costa and Sam Tuke. Karsten gave an interview in Noticias de Gipuzcoa (Spanish) where he talks about how Free Software contributes to the division of power in democracies. He also discusses how Free Software helps local enterprises to acquire advanced technology skills, and keeps profits in the region. I (Matthias) gave an interview to Dradio to explain a wider audience, that 'Free does not mean gratis (German)', explaining how and why to earn money with software you can use, study, share, and improve.
Free Software in education
As more people understand technology, more people will understand why Free Software is important for our society. Our aim is that children and students do not only learn how to use software, but understand the principles how software and computers in general work. With Free Software there are no artificial barriers to stop you from learning. You can dive right in and see exactly how professionals design software.
Our education team is connecting people working on these topics to avoid duplication of efforts, spreads information about Free Software in education and explains the importance of software freedom.
Edu-team member Guido Arnold published a summary covering news about Free Software in education over the last 16 month in European countries, including news from Free Software distributions aiming for education, and news what happened in the education team itself.
Celebrate Software Freedom
Many of us dedicate a lot of time and energy working for freedom in the digital age. One possibility to celebrate our achievements worldwide is Software Freedom Day on September 18th. At this day we encourage you to celebrate Free Software, and share your joy with others.
We organise and take part in several events. Our Austrian Fellows are organising an event in Graz, Hugo Roy is planning an activity in Paris, our German Fellows take part at events in Berlin, Bonn, Cologne, and Offenburg. Our President Karsten will give a talk at a celebration in the Royal Library of The Hague/Netherlands and Reinhard Müller will hold a speech at FrOSCamp in Zurich titled "Free yourself -- how to save the world in five easy steps". For more details check out our event page and the Fellowship calendar.
Free Software Championship
Do you like Football? To like Guido's Free Software championship, you don't have to. The idea is to run a parallel tournament to the football championship in Europe 2012 where the discipline is Free Software usage in government. Guido developed the ground rules and uses the information from our page about Free Software usage in the public administration as input. Participate by adding missing data about the Free Software usage in governments to our website and discuss the rules with Guido. If you like to microblog about it, you can use the hashtag #euro4fs.
Will distributed Free Software preserve our freedom?
Today, the majority of Europe's citizens communicate on-line, often hundreds of times a day. Employers demand it, communities need it, yet more and more digital communication happens through only a handful of globalised service providers. Whether emailing, social networking, blogging, calling over VOIP, sharing files or researching data, control over our data and what we can do remains firmly out of our grasp.
A democratic society relies on dividing power between its institutions and citizens. Individuals deserve control of their own actions and information in the digital age.
Does Free Software offer us this control, through distributed, accessible and transparent ways of interacting? That is what we want to discuss. We will be hosting an own track at FSCONS. Our five talks form a series entitled 'Divide and Reconquer: regaining control of our communications', and includes speakers from software initiatives that are changing the future of the Internet.
'Divide and Reconquer' invites you to engage with the empowering concept of decentralised networks, understand how recent trends have concentrated control, and witness the most exciting tools available for taking the power back.
- The foundations of the Internet: the dawn of peer-to-peer (working title) - Benjamin Bayart (French Data Network)
- The Centralisation of the Internet (working title) - Torsten Grote (FSFE)
- Socially responsible social networks (working title) - Michael Chisari (Appleseed Project), Jaussoin Timothée and Ludovic Bocquet (Movim)
- Web Search By The People, For The People (working title) - Michael Christen (YaCy)
- TBA - Matt Lee (FSF)
Get active: Encourage people think about distributed software
For our monthly get active item, we would like to encourage more people to think about distributed Free Software programs as an alternative to centralised services. Our track 'divide and reconquer' at FSCONS will deal with that. Please help us:
- Attend the conference, discuss the topics with us and afterwards continue discussions with friends. Accommodation booking through FSCONS will close by the end of September.
- Help out as a volunteer during the conference in Gothenburg. For example you can help us with recording the talks so more people can benefit from them. Get in touch with us. Your help will be very much appreciated.
- Promote the conference on your website, or by inviting friends.
- Check out the topics of the track and send us possible questions for the speakers to our discussion lists.
Matthias Kirschner- FSFE