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FSFE Newsletter - September 2012
Like in the 90s but with phones: First Free Your Android installation parties
More and more people start using mobile phones with Android. But in order to be in full control over your phone, you have to install another Android firmware on them. To make this phone liberation easy we started the Free Your Android campaign.
In the last newsletter edition we asked you in our "Get active" section to help us with Free Your Android installation parties, like the GNU/Linux installation parties some years ago. Thanks to all of you, who contacted us about it, and who offered their help for the future.
This month some of us already started with those installation parties. First, Torsten Grote taught Erik Albers and your editor how to free their phones, which is documented quick and dirty on your editors weblog. Second, on August 26th, 13 people from Austria, France, Germany, Slovenia, and Spain participated at FSFE's workshop. To summarise it in the words of Silke Meyer, one of the trainers: "The workshop had two goals: To help people install free software on their phones and to develop/document some guidelines that trainers for such workshops could use." Result: We liberated 4 phones, updated 3 to a newer version, documented what we did including our internal workshop documentation, and thought about stickers for liberated phones. Beside Silke's blog post, there is also a Spanish article with instructions, and this article including some pictures of happy participants.
We will have other Free Your Android workshops on 4th September in Katowice/Poland, on 9th September Pristina/Kosovo, and on 15th September in Berlin/Germany, Paris/France, and Ljubljana/Slovenia. The campaign team's goal is also to make the update process easier. There is the Free Software "OTA Update Center" which can achieve easy updates, but as Torsten explains, there are still some problems with it. Perhaps you, or someone you know can help with it?
Standardisation Absurdity: Still No OOXML
Office suites have one of the strongest network effects: it is often difficult to use another word processor than Microsoft Word. If something does not work, you as a Free Software user are blamed by the others when the document exchange is not working. So one of the reasons, why we are promoting Open Standards is to make it possible for Free Software users to communicate with others, who are using non-free software.
Because most decision-makers now understand, that Open Standards are crucial for a fair market, Microsoft pushed its own standard called Microsoft Office Open XML (OOXML), claiming it is an Open Standard. FSFE questioned the ISO certification starting in 2007, and when ISO approved it we were concerned about the quality of standardisation process.
Recently Microsoft announced that the next edition of Microsoft Office 2013, will support the OOXML document standard. Karsten Gerloff is analysing this public admission by Microsoft that they have not implemented OOXML until now – despite everything their sales people have apparently been telling clients in business and the public sector.
Something completely different
- Software patents and rounded rectangles: Samsung should pay more than a billion US dollars in damages for Apple. Karsten Gerloff takes a look if this decision matters (German version on netzpolitik).
- Digital Restrictions Management: For the visitors of the Consumer Electronics Unlimited (IFA), FSFE's German team together with "Digitale Gesellschaft e.V." has published a German DRM booklet, based on the one we made together with EDRi (PDF). Our sister organisation published a "DRM-Free" label, and there are offers to get DRM-free ebooks and music in pay-what-you-want bundles!
- Wistleblower software published as Free Software: The weekly German newspaper "Die Zeit" published a whistleblower program, as Free Software. Now security experts have the opportunity to analyse the software, and improve it to provide good technology for more transparency.
- Free Software in your holiday destination: Joinup reports, that the Canary Islands' government is increasing and encouraging Free Software use, especially for their telephone system and their office suite. They expect 25% reduction of non-free software license costs.
- Not directly connected with Free Software, but Fellowship representative and former FSFE intern Hugo Roy is all over the news with his project "Terms of Service - Didn't Read", e.g. Wired, Techcrunch, Die Zeit, Time, Stern, Die Welt, Le Monde, and many more. Thanks Hugo for your good work!
- A selection from the Fellowship blog aggregation:
- Clean Your Android: Mark Lindhout is writing about annoying phone problems. This time it is fixed by cleaning your micro USB port and headphone jack, but this is not as simple as it sounds.
- Distributed Free Software: Bdale Garbee reports that Freedom Box 0.1 was released, and Sam Tuke wrote about Secure Share, which aims to become an ultra-secure social network
- Are you still using paper maps, or are you using map programs on your phones (e.g. OSMAnd+)? Ali Gündüz loves old maps, and he wrote about his three old maps from 1764, 1872, 1859.
- Fellow Number 1, Mario Fux informs you about the donations for the Free Software meetings in Randa.
- One of the rarely bloggers, Mr Rainer "Merchandise" Kersten, wrote a comment about competence, and digital dementia (German).
- On a more technical side: Werner Koch, author of GnuPG and GA member writes about beta release numbering with GIT, and Myriam Schweingruber asked people to participate in a kmail bugsprint which took place on August 18th.
- Do you know Nyancat? Your editor apologises, if you did not want to be reminded about it. But now there is a GNU version of it: the MOOGNU, and
- finally, if you are interested in playing ukulele, Guido Arnold, explains how he tuned his ukulele using Free Software and Wikipedia.
Get Active: Contribute to Free Software news!
Your editor always tries to cover important and interesting news about FSFE and Free Software. So shameless house advertising: if you read or hear interesting Free Software news, please write an e-mail to your editor, with a short note why this news is particularly interesting or important in your view.