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FSFE Newsletter – April 2014

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Document Freedom Day: Open Standards explained for grandpa

Although more entrepreneurs and politicians understand the importance of Open Standards, people do not see the connection with their daily life. That is why on 26 March we again organised Document Freedom Day (DFD). This year we had a lot of new materials: new leaflets in different languages explain Open Standards, and a nice comic shows why you should use Open Standards so you do not have problems with your files when you are old.

There were at least 51 events in 22 countries organised by a lot of independent groups. FSFE's volunteers in the UK presented an award to The OpenStreetMap Foundation in Birmingham, while FSFE's Werner Koch participated in an event on Open Standards in Cryptography in the Parliament. Our local group in Linz organised an information booth in the city centre, and in the evening they gave a talk about Open Standards at the university. At the booth in Vienna our volunteers had some problems with an artist of a monument, but still handed out a huge amount of leaflets and also informed four friendly police officers about Free Software and Open Standards. Our DFD team is still gathering information of what happened during the DFD week, and will publish a full report during April.

EU institution acknowledges captivity to Microsoft

In a recent letter to MEP Amelia Andersdotter (PDF), the EC acknowledges that it is in a state of "effective captivity" to Microsoft. As FSFE has pointed out repeatedly that this is a persistent problem for the Commission, the Council and the Parliament. On Document Freedom Day the FSFE and Open Forum Europe sent an open letter to the European Parliament and the European Commission highlighting its vendor lock-in with Microsoft.

Using Free Software in the Netherland's education sector

The Free Software in education news for February are out, including an update from the NLEdu campaign: Kevin reports that the commercial director of SchoolMaster, the largest Dutch ELO/student administration software supplier, confirmed that they will roll out a platform-independent HTML5 version in April, replacing the Silverlight version. This would make the NLEdu campaign a success as it will allow Free Software users to access the course materials with any standard compliant browser. Kevin Keijzer published detailed information about this matter.

Something completely different

Get active: The right not to pay for non-free software

The revelations from Edward Snowden concerning massive surveillance of communications demonstrates the need for each person to be able to control their computers and phones. Yet computer and telephone manufacturers and retailers typically impose on users programs that jeopardise their privacy.

Each person should therefore have the opportunity to refuse to pay for non-free software, and be allowed to choose the programs that run on their telephone and computer, in our case a Free Software operating system and other Free Software.

We joined other organisations throughout the world in requesting an unfettered choice of the operating system on telephones, laptops and other computing devices.

This month we ask you to sign the international petition, and help us promoting it!

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