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FSFE Newsletter - September 2013

F-Droid: Privacy aware software repository for Android

F-Droid is a project that provides Free Software applications for Android via a repository system, much like most package systems of the GNU/Linux distributions. This differs from other mobile app markets, like Google Play or Apple's AppStore, since the client and server side software respect your freedoms and do not force you to register an account to use them. F-Droid's settings will value your privacy: although you can choose to enable it, by default it does not show programs which 1) show advertisement, 2) track and report your activity, promote 3) non-free add-ons or 4) non-free network services, or 5) depend on other non-free apps. That is why since the beginning of FSFE's "Free Your Android" campaign we point people to F-Droid.

For the last two months Daniel Martí, one of the F-Droid developers, was an intern in FSFE's Berlin office. Beside participating in FSFE's day to day business, improving our newsletter publishing process and some other nice tools for FSFE's work, he gave two F-Droid workshops in Berlin. In the workshops he toughed others how to include new programs into the F-Droid repository, and documented what he learnt from the first two workshops. As you can see in FSFE's event section, Daniel already announced general Free Your Android workshops in Spain, and will also continue giving F-Droid workshops.

To promote F-Droid Torsten Grote and others from our android list finalised a new F-Droid leaflet. So if you want to promote a Free Software repository for Android, you can print the new leaflets yourself, order them from FSFE, or make a donation so FSFE can continue to distribute our leaflets widely.

New Zealand bans software patents

As one of the organisations working to get rid of software patents for over a decade now, and the recent success in Germany, FSFE welcomes New Zealand's decision to ban software patents. It also contains the potentially troublesome "as such" wording, which some courts in the EU interpreted to permit software patents. But in New Zealand they made clear how to interpret this: you can only patent it if the inventive step is not merely in the software. Besides, the law seems to get around the TRIPS requirement that all inventions in all fields of technology have to be patentable by stating that computer programs are not inventions, and therefore not patentable.

Something completely different

Get active: Tell us which company benefits from Free Software!

As a non-profit organisation depending on donations, FSFE constantly has to ask people to actually donate. Although more and more of FSFE's budget comes from its supporting members -- the Fellows -- FSFE also receives donations from several companies. Most of them extensively use or write Free Software, use Free Software as a basis for their business models, or want to enable social change.

Do you know a company which benefits a lot from Free Software and which is not yet donating to us? If so please send us an e-mail with the company's name, if possible a contact name, e-mail, phone number, and a short note how they benefit from Free Software or FSFE's work. This way we are able to contact them and secure our funding.

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

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