FSFE Newsletter - December 2015
From the FSFE
MEPs in support of our amendments
The European Parliamentary committees for Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) as well as Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) issued their joint own-initiative report based on the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy. FSFE's policy team analysed their report and proposed changes to include standards that are open, minimalistic, and implementable with Free Software, to integrate users' control over their data and to make sure that the single open science cloud is implemented with Free Software.
The report received more than 1000 amendments from Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), several of whom supported our points and proposed amendments. This shows increased awareness in the Parliament towards the importance of Free Software in "cloud computing", big data and standardisation, as well as in public sector. Shadow rapporteur Cornelia Ernst even highlighted the need to address Free Software during her talk in the joint meeting of IMCO/ITRE on 10 November. This month, on December 14, the Parliament will vote for the final version of the report.
Although the report is non-binding and the Commission is not obliged to follow the Parliament's recommendations, the fact that our amendments were supported by several MEPs is an important step. Especially in the Parliament that is usually less receptive when it comes to the issues concerning digital rights and Free Software.
Germany passed law against compulsory routers
After three years of intensive lobbying by the FSFE and other organisations, the German Parliament as well as the second chamber, the Federal Council, passed a law against compulsory routers but for free choice of the user. This is an important step towards consumer protection and fair competition of manufacturers. Free choice also empowers users to take care of critical features like security or privacy on their own preferred device. The law will become effective in the mid of 2016 and should set an example across Europe. We will support similar legislation wherever needed.
Sony Rootkit makes headlines 10 years later
In the end of October FSFE reminded of the dangers posed by technical restrictions on technology to promote everyone's right to tinker. As a result, the topic got picked up by the press and the FSFE info page was linked with at least a dozen articles from several big name news sources. Our ex-intern Asa Ritz summarised in his blogpost the media coverage we received.
What else have we done?
- FSFE president Matthias Kirschner gave a talk about the computer as a universal machine at Codemotion Berlin, and ran a workshop about restrictions on technical restrictions at the "Open IT Summit" in Berlin. In a podcast, Matthias argued against a "non-military clause" in Free Software licenses.
- FSFE community coordinator Erik Albers and FSFE legal team coordinator Matija Šuklje participated at Copycamp Warsaw to host a booth and Matija to gave a talk about "Implications of the EU Copyright Reform on Free Software".
- FSFE was present at FSCONS in Goteborg, Sweden. Christian Kalkhoff wrote about his FSCONS experience in a blogpost.
- FSFE had its booths also at Open Source Summit in Paris, at Linuxday in Dornbirn, Austria, at T-Dose in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and at OpenRheinRuhr Oberhausen, Germany.
- If you like to meet us in person, you will meet members, staff and community of the FSFE at our booth at FOSDEM. And if you go to this year's Chaos Communication Congress, #32C3, then do not miss to pass by the FSFE assembly, participate in one of our sessions or simply take a break in our "Free Software lounge".
- The FSFE Education team is redesigning its educational leaflet. If you like to join or share ideas, feel free to participate on the wiki page.
- The local group FSFE Zurich started a Free Software photo book to show people that use Free Software. If you like, you can be part of it.
- In our Free Your Android campaign we highlight the importance of Replicant as a 100% free Android-based operating system. We are happy to see that business grows, that start to sell phones with Replicant pre-installed and we hope there are more companies who follow this example.
- If you like what we have done in 2015 and you like us to continue the good work in 2016 or even grow stronger, then consider to support us with a donation or to become a sustainable member. Funding is crucial to our existence.
Out of the community
- A new team got established: North Rhine-Westphalia is the biggest state of Germany with currently three local FSFE groups. This month, they had an inaugural meeting of a state-wide action group, the Team NRW. Besides coordination, the primary tasks shall be the education of teachers.
- At the local meeting of FSFE Düsseldorf, Andreas Schreiber talked about the open source strategy of Germany’s Aerospace Centre DLR and this event was picked up by the European Open Source Observatory
- After offering pre-flashed Libreboot Laptops at freie.computer the local group FSFE Zurich now decided to start doing Flashdays
- Daniel Pocock reports about team building around SIP and XMPP communication in Debian and Fedora, and Daniel has also written a quick start to use Blender for video editing
- Marcus Möller customised Fedora 23 in a Freed version, which includes linux-libre kernel and Icecat webbrowser. All proprietary firmware has been removed.
Good Free Software News
At the EU level: the European Parliament calls upon the Commission for the systematic replacement of proprietary software by verifiable Free Software in all the EU institutions. In Italy, the Italian Ministry of Defence is replacing Microsoft Office with LibreOffice on 150,000 PCs in what is Europe’s second largest LibreOffice implementation. Meanwhile, the second most important industrial city in Southern Italy, Bari, is about to complete its transition to LibreOffice and the ODF. At the same time in Switzerland, the council of Bern ordered the IT department to end its dependence on proprietary software, and replace proprietary software by Free Software solutions. The same example was followed in Denmark where the city of Aarhus is requiring the use of open IT standards for all of its future IT projects in order to rid itself of IT vendor lock-in. Lastly, recent study in France confirmed that country's administration is still a large enabler of Free Software in France. According to the study, the Free Software market is growing on a linear trend and will grow by 9% annually until 2020.
This was the final newsletter in 2015. Thank you very much for your attention. You will receive the next newsletter in the beginning of February 2016.
BTW: We are still experimenting with new ways and formats for our newsletter. Please feel free to give us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Christmas and a Happy GNU-year!
Your editors Polina Malaja and Erik Albers FSFE