Lettre d'information

FSFE Newsletter - June 2012

Free Software, Open Source, FOSS, FLOSS – Same same but different

There are two major terms connected to software that can be freely used, studied, shared and improved: Free Software and Open Source. You can also find different combinations and translations of those terms like FOSS, Libre Software, FLOSS and so on. Reading articles about Free Software or listening to people involved in Free Software often raises the question: Why do they use one term or another and how they differ from each other?

Long time FSFE volunteer Björn Schiessle wrote a good article about this topic, how to deal with the different terminology.

State neglected web standards, company now faces EUR 5600 in fines

In Slovakia, the state has mandated electronic means as the only way of fulfilling certain statutory obligations. However the dedicated web solution excludes some citizens from participating as it is not interoperable and runs only on the non-free software from one vendor. In absence of any non-electronic option, this means that the state mandates the use of a certain product from a certain vendor. People who did not own the copy, had to buy one. A Slovak textile importer deemed that the state should not force him to use a certain software for its business and fulfilled its legal obligation by paper. Now the company faces EUR 5600 in fines.

Current FSFE intern Martin Husovec decided this is not just and made it his internship project to change it: he is working on the case, reading court files, wrote FSFE's press release, and an executive summary of the EURA case. He is motivated to ensure that no one is forced to use certain non-free software in Slovakia just to fulfil the law, and will keep you updated.

Will the UK be lobbied into the FRAND trap?

Free Software could be blocked from the UK's public sector use if the new policy allow "FRAND" terms within British standards. As recently revealed by Freedom of Information Requests: Intensive lobbying efforts have focused on pressuring the Cabinet Office to back down on a strong definition of Open Standards over the past few months.

FSFE is trying to counter this development. In May the FSFE asked North-West UK businesses to tell Government that Open Standards matter, and we will continue to work on the case.

Democratic elections with non-free software?

In France, the FSFE has raised its concerns (French) on the online voting process implemented for French electors registered abroad. FSFE strongly criticised the complete lack of precautions, the opacity of the voting process, and the request to use proprietary software to vote.

Something completely different

Get Active: PDFReaders 2.0 – Your help is needed!

Our petition is signed by 72 organisations, 57 businesses, and 2327 individuals. The Green party filed an oral request in the European Parliament (5 questions) , and in the German Parliament (18 questions with introduction). The German agency for IT security is recommending pdfreaders.org in their new migration guide and highlights that you should not advertise for non-free software readers. And 539 public administrations removed the advertisement for non-free software, which is a success rate of 25%.

After long discussions and considerations the PDF readers team is now preparing a major update to PDFReaders.org, adding: a more appealing and cleaner front-page, with one recommendation for the auto-detected platform; free pdf reader recommendations for mobile platforms; and free pdf browser plugin recommendations.

Please have a look at the current reader overview and the TODOs there, and tell us if you know any other free PDF reader that we have not listed, and which Android reader you would recommend.

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

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