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FSFE Newsletter - November 2012
Rooting and flashing your device does not void the warranty in EU
Most of the participants in our Free Your Android workshops are concerned whether rooting your device (e.g. an Android phone) and replacing its operating system with something else voids your statutory warranty as consumer. We asked our legal coordinator Matija Šuklje and FSFE legal council Carlo Piana to analyse the problem. Their answer is: No. "Just the fact that you modified or changed the software of your device, is not a sufficient reason to void your statutory warranty. As long as you have bought the device as a consumer in the European Union." Read throughout their analysis.
We hope these news will encourage people to flash their devices with Free Software. Next opportunity to attend on of our Free Your Android workshop is on the 9th of November at FSCONS, in Sweden, and on the 16th of November at SFSCON, in Italy.
Facts about software patents by the New York Times
The New York Times published an article entitled "The Patent, Used as a Sword" about the patent system. Hugo Roy summaries it. It is about how Apple and Google were spending more on patents than on research and development in 2011. Among other issues, it focuses on the number of lawsuits filed each year in the US, which has tripled from 1990 to 2010, and how 70% of patent applications are approved after the applicant altered claims.
On the same topic, Karsten Gerloff gave a talk about "How Software Patents Are Delaying The Future", on a discussion panel organised by the European Patent Office. "Currently, a lot of policy on patents (as well as copyright) is made on the basis of faith and rather dubious argument. We urgently need to move on towards evidence-based policy making", concludes Karsten.
Something completely different
- FSFE will have a track focused on general purpose computing at FSCONS in Gothenburg from 9th to 11th November. Karsten Gerloff will talk about software patents, Erik Albers about the Free Your Android campaign, Sam Tuke will give a preview about a new campaign FSFE will launch soon, and your editor gives a general overview about general purpose computing. In other tracks, Otto Kekäläinen gives two talks, one about "Dirty tactics against LibreOffice in public administration and how to overcome them" and another about "How to fix public procurement"; and Hugo Roy will present his project "Terms of Services; Didn't Read". And there are other interesting talks.
- Chris Woolfrey interviewed Hugo Roy, FSFE's French Team coordinator and co-founder of the Digital Freedoms association. He joined FSFE in 2009 as an intern, assisting FSFE president Karsten Gerloff. In France, Hugo is also active with April and the French Data Network.
- Last month your editor visited Benjamin Mako Hill, John Sullivan, Richard Stallman, and the FSF office staff in Boston. There was a lot happening at our sister organisation: They opened nominations for the 15th Annual Free Software Awards; they crashed the Microsoft Windows 8 launch event in New York City with a cheerful GNU; Libby Reinish wrote about the Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate women's contributions to science and technology; the LulzBot AO-100 3D Printer was awarded the first "Respects Your Freedom" (RYF) certification; and Donald Robertson published a presentation from Jeremy Allison explaining why Samba chose the GNU GPL version 3.
- A study from Carlo Daffara concluded that Free Software is contributing 450 billion Euro per year to Europe's economy. You are contributing to it!
- The European Commission's joinup portal is listing different national and regional Free Software repositories.
- From our Fellowship planet aggregation:
- Thomas Løcke wrote about the GNU MediaGoblin crowdsourcing campaign. Its goal is to improve posting, sharing and commenting on media, with Free Software and with keeping more control of your data. Oskar Welzl also donated to GNU Media Goblin, as he wants to have an alternative to Flickr and YouTube.
- Ana is destroying some myths surrounding Free Software. She also wrote about the "Social media and the concept of 'freedom'" and her experiences from changing keyboard layouts after setting up an encrypted hard disk. In general she concludes "My computer is working better and I am starting to understand software a bit better".
- Karl Beecher reports, that in 1974 Arthur C. Clarke predicted in a video that by 2001 we will all have small computers that can fit on a desk in our own home, and they will even be inter-connected with other computers across the world. (While watching your editor noticed how picky he is about fan noise.)
- Erik explained why you should become a supporter of FSFE. Currently, we have 1233 supporters, and if the growth continues at the same pace, we will have 5733 in a year. Thanks also to all of you promoting the supporter, like Lionel Montrieux, Oskar Wenzel, and others.
- Interested in tablets and phones? Henri looks into how to be productive with them. Our Finnish Fellows describe how to install the Meego offspring Mer and Nemo on ExoPC tablet (WeTab) and Timo wrote about the Bavarian phone OpenPhoenux GTA04 and how to hack on it.
- Sam Tuke described how to install static website generator webgen (which we use for pdfreaders.org), and how to install the Android Emulator in Fedora 17, that lets you to test applications without having an Android phone.
- Do you want to know why Telepathy is awesome? Read Daniele Domenichelli's blog post. Also, and related to KDE, Torsten Grote explains how to build Kontact on Debian Sid. In fact, KDE became 16 last month. Congrats and thanks to all Free Software hackers in KDE! Continue being awesome.
- Our legal coordinator Matija is learning to program Python and he announced to work one day a week from Cyberpipe, Slovenian's biggest hacklab.
Get active: Every buck, fixes a bug!
A lot of you already signed our Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software Advertising On Public Institution Websites, and now we ask you for your support to enhance this campaign.
With the example of PDF readers we raised general awareness of proprietary software advertisements on public administration's websites since September 2010. Until today our Petition was signed by 80 organisations, 58 businesses and 2438 individuals. We contacted 2104 public administrations, and managed to close 552 bugs (26%). So 552 federal government departments, municipalities, and other administrations removed the advertisement, or added additional references to Free Software PDF readers. And we will continue fixing the remaining bugs. Just last month twenty Italian civil society organisations wrote a letter to the President of the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data, asking the agency to ensure that all documents published on its website can be read and used with Free Software programs.
However, we also received a lot of feedback from the public administration and other institutions and political entities. One big task is to improve the PDF readers website, as it is one of our key tools in this campaign. With your donation, we will be able to implement the planned new features for the website until the 1st of February and after it, for its maintenance.