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FSFE Newsletter - January 2012

Preventing 6000 mines against Free Software?

Competition authorities are investigating the sale of 6000 patents from Nortel, a bankrupt telecommunications equipment manufacturer, to a consortium of Apple, Microsoft and four other companies.

FSFE considers it a serious risk to competition in the mobile technology space, and Free Software as a whole, if those companies acquire these patents. Soon after the sale, we approached EU and US competition authorities, and in September submitted a summary of our concerns.

80 billion EUR for R&D: What will we get?

The European Commission has adopted a set of proposals for its next framework program, called Horizon 2020. This program will provide 80 billion EUR for research and development projects from 2014 to 2020. Prior to finalisation of the proposal, FSFE had provided input to the Commission in order to make the program accessible for Free Software research and projects. FSFE will continue to engage with the European institutions in order to support the development of Horizon 2020 in the interest of Europe's citizens.

Free Software makes German Parliament more secure

On the request of some members of parliament, the German Bundestag's IT-department now supports GnuPG, so members of the parliament have the option to set this up and receive encrypted and signed e-mails. The president of the German City Council and Munich's main mayor Ude wrote to the EU-Commissioner Neelie Kroes that she should support Open Standards and Free Software.

Those are nice examples where politicians understand the advantages of Free Software and also act upon this knowledge. We want more politicians with this knowledge. One concrete activity is our "ask your candidates campaign", where we send out questions to the political parties before elections, and then evaluate the answers. This year we did so for elections in Vienna/Austria, Switzerland, and 5 federal state elections in Germany.

Something completely different

Get active: Support us by becoming a Fellow of FSFE!

Not everybody understands Free Software, and not everybody likes that FSFE works hard on promoting Free Software to enlarge the freedom in our society. If you understand that Free Software is important in order to cope with the upcoming challenges for free society, please support us financially by becoming a Fellow of FSFE.

Since December it is possible to donate your contribution yearly or monthly by credit card, direct debit, and other means. Every small donation helps us to continue to be an independent and critical voice for Free Software advocacy for another year.

Thanks to all the Fellows and donors who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE

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