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FSFE Newsletter - March 2012

Subway information screen: Good or bad?

"7500 dead people in the last year, daily up to 100." That is what your editor read on the subway news screen in Berlin. While discussing with DFD volunteer Julia Fuchs what is wrong -- your editors reading skills, his basic mathematical skills, or the news agency -- something else popped up: our FreeYourAndroid.org campaign! Unfortunately your editor was too slow to make a picture of that. But as the German news agency DPA covered the official campaign start, we had a very good press coverage, so a lot of people read about how you can use Free Software on mobile phones. The campaign manager Torsten Grote is currently gathering all the press coverage, please send news and blog stories about #FreeYourAndroid to press@fsfeurope.org.

The Why in Free SoftWare!

On February 14th many people in the Free Software community celebrated the "I love Free Software day". You can read the full report with nice pictures. In case you sometimes feel frustrated or demotivated in future, you can read why others love Free Software. Here is one love declaration by Dr. Stefano Zacchiroli, Debian Project Leader, Scientist and Free Software Developer:

"I love Free Software because we depend more and more upon software, in every moment of our lives. It is software that handles our email and social network activities when we communicate; it is software that controls our ovens and fridges when to prepare our meals; it is software that drives cars and airplanes when we travel around the world; it is software that keeps many of us alive when we need hospital equipment or bio-medical devices like pacemakers. A world without Free Software means being held hostage by proprietary software authors that run our lives. I love Free Software because it can set us free."

More motivation: FOSDEM!

If you still need more motivation for writing, documenting, or promoting Free Software, you probably have not been at FOSDEM. This event is always a challenge for FSFE's team but also one of the events which increases our motivation. Long talks with other Free Software activists from all over the world, answering questions about our current work and our campaigns, making sure all people who want a FSFE T-shirt get one, coordinating work with Fellowship groups all over Europe, and having some time to socialise (=drinking Belgium beer). Beside that in the Legal and Policy Issue DevRoom Hugo Roy participated in a panel discussion about application stores, and our sister organisation's Executive Director John Sullivan gave a talk entitled "Is Copyleft Being Framed?", which is also discussed in the current FaiF OggCast.

Comics and Free Software

When you see computers attached to human brains, makerbots scanning your body, creating perfectly fitting clothes for you (unless they are on drugs), you realise that Free Software will be even more important in future. At the moment this stuff happens e.g. in Transmetropolitan, one of your editor's favourite comics. Lots of comic-related things have happened during the last weeks: Fellow Thomas Leske started translating the web comic Mimi and Eunice into German, read e.g. "A World Without Poop" (or the German version) connected with the article "Did You Say “Intellectual Property”? It's a Seductive Mirage" by Richard Stallman; there was a good "Faceboogle Comic" on distributed systems; our sister FSF is starting a webcomic contest about Restricted Boot; and at the time of writing this our intern Erik ordered 5000 "Join the Fellowship" comic version leaflets.

Something completely different

Get Active: Be like the European Commission!

While Open Standards are threatened in the UK, we are working hard to counter such relapses. The latest success is that the European Commission confirmed to take part in the DFD event in Brussels.

In this regard we ask you to be like the EC: join DFD 2012 activities. In the next days we will have the official call for activities, but you can already write the campaign team an e-mail to get your activity on the website. If you still need inspirations for your own event take a look at proposed activities.

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

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