Newsletter

FSFE Newsletter – December 2014

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More demand from the EU institutions

The new European Commission is currently setting the direction of its policy making for the coming five years. The FSFE is in frequent contact with Commission staff, who currently see open doors for Free Software in Brussels. We want to make sure to use this momentum to push for changes on software procurement, standardisation, and device sovereignty. So our president Karsten Gerloff participated in several meetings.

In November the European Parliament (EP) organised a conference to inform members of the parliament about the IT services available to them. It featured a panel discussion led by Adina Valean, the new EP Vice President in charge of ICT, with a contribution from Giancarlo Villela, the director of the EP’s IT department. After the panel discussion, Karsten got the chance to contribute a few brief remarks about the EU institution’s live streams, DebianParl, and vendor lock-in.

In the beginning of December Karsten was again at the Parliament, this time at a workshop on “Open Standards for ICT procurement”. The real value of those events, as so often, was in the people who are there. The workshop provided an opportunity for the small community pushing Free Software and Open Standards in procurement to meet and share updates. So in the future we can push together with them for positive changes.

There is no cloud just other people’s computers

Another event Karsten participated in was the presentation of the report on “cloud” computing and interoperability by the Brussels-based lobby organisation ECIS’s. Karsten documented the meeting in his blog post “Some common-sense recommendations on cloudy computing”.

Just a few days later our new “there is no cloud just other people’s computers”-stickers arrived in our office. We received lots of positive feedback about the stickers, and now added them to our promo packs. We are planning to have some more merchandise with this slogan ready for our booth at FOSDEM from 31 January to 1 February 2015 in Brussels.

Progress with “email self-defence” leaflets

Beside the new stickers, you can now also order new leaflets, to promote our sister organisation’s “email self-defence guide”. Originally we produced this leaflet in German for the annual Berlin “freedom not fear” demonstration in September. Afterwards volunteers all over Germany ordered and distributed them. For example, one cinema gave out a leaflet for everybody who bought a ticket for the Snowden documentary “Citizienfour”. Meanwhile we had to reorder the German version for a third time and since the end of November we have been sending out the English version to Free Software supporters throughout Europe.

In the next weeks our translators and designers will finalise a Chinese, Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, and a Spanish version. For 2015 we want to enable local Free Software supporters to distribute this and other leaflets at libraries, universities, schools, cinemas, companies, restaurants and cafes, shops and in other places.

FSFE’s translators: they are just awesome

This brings us to a badly needed thank you note. During the last 12 months we published the newsletter monthly. Two of the editions were written by our volunteer Heiki ”Repentinus” Ojasild, so your editor could enjoy his vacation. Our newsletter was available in 6 languages on average (lowest 4 languages highest 9 languages). We had newsletters in Albanian, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, and Spanish.

Your editor is proud to work in a team with such dedicated volunteers. They translate the newsletter, the leaflets mentioned above, plus other FSFE news. They enable more people around the world to read about Free Software in their mother tongue, and are therefore a crucial part of the FSFE. So your editor would like to deeply thank our growing translators team for this important work.

Something completely different

Get active: Get a smartcard and support us

Next year, we will push harder than ever to weave software freedom into the fabric of our society. To enable us to intensify our work with the European Commission, to let more people know about Free Software, and to continue our other work we still need €190,000 for 2015.

As an individual the best way to support the FSFE’s work financially is to become a Fellow (a sustaining member of the FSFE). All Fellowship contributions directly benefit our work towards a free society.

Fellows receive a state-of-the-art Fellowship smartcard which, together with the free GnuPG encryption software and a card reader, can be used to sign and encrypt e-mails, to securely log into a computer from a potentially insecure machine using SSH, or to store the user’s hard disk encryption keys. Since the encryption key is stored on the card itself, it is almost impossible to steal.

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