FSFE Newsletter October 2018
Microsoft joins the Open Invention Network
Historically, Microsoft has used software patents to slow down Free Software adoption in businesses and public administration, by claiming patent infringement of important Free Software components and taking billions of dollars from Free Software re-distributors. In recent years, however, Microsoft approached themselves more and more with the Free Software community. In October, this led to Microsoft's next big step to join the LOT Network and the Open Invention Network (OIN), two organisations that aim to solve problems created by software patents towards the GNU/Linux systems.
LOT works to protect members against so called "non-practicing entities", while the OIN wants to protect a defined set of Free Software technologies from patent litigation, defined in their so-called "Linux system definition".
The FSFE welcomes Microsoft's steps, and encourages them to continue in this direction. The FSFE aligns with our sister organisation, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in their demand that useful next steps should make a clear, unambiguous statement that Microsoft has ceased all patent infringement claims on the use of Linux in Android: to expand the list of packages protected from patents inside the definition of "Linux System", to include every Free Software component found in a GNU/Linux system, and to use the past patent royalties, extorted from Free Software, to fund the effective abolition of all patents covering ideas in software.
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What else have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE
- From December 27th to 30th there will be the 35th Chaos Communication Congress and the FSFE is happy to host an assembly again, acting as an information booth and a meeting point for our friends and all friends of Free Software. For sessions at the FSFE assembly, we are looking for inspiring talks, hands-on workshops, community/developer/strategy meetings or any other public, informative or collaborative activities and have an open call for sessions running until November 18.
- On the first weekend of October, the FSFE held it's annual assembly in the Onion Space in Berlin. The general assembly are the members of the FSFE, responsible for strategic planning and budgeting. Besides the members, this year's general assembly welcomed our newest staffer Alexander Sander to attend as guest. Soon after this newsletter reaches you, a more detailed report, including the official minutes, will be published on our homepage.
- We started onboarding two new staffers: Galia Mancheva and Gabriel Ku Wei Bin have joined as project managers. We are excited to see our team growing organically, and you will soon hear more from Galia's and Gabriel's work in this newsletter.
- Prior to the elections in Hessen and Bavaria, the FSFE together with the "Free Knowledge Coalition", published another "Digital-O-Mat". The Digital-O-Mat is one of our elections campaigns and an online tool to help voters to inform themselves on the parties positions about Free Software. Voters can use the Digital-O-Mat to compare their own views about internet related policies with the ones from the participating parties, and, this way, they are able to find their best match. To also help understand the parties positions in a broader context and raise public attention, the FSFE analysed and evaluated their positions in a public statement.
- The FSFE's president Matthias Kirschner gave a talk at Kernel Recipes on the importance of Free Software and its role in protecting democracy.
- The FSFE's country coordinator Germany Björn Schießle gave a talk at the “Free Software Free Knowledge as a Profession” series of lectures organised and hosted by the dedicated working university group at TU Dresden.
Do not miss: upcoming events with the FSFE
From November 15 to 17, part of the FSFE team will be present at the SFScon in Bolzano, Italy. The FSFE's president Matthias Kirschner will give a talk and our EU public policy programme manager Alexander Sander will host a policy workshop. Also, we will run a booth, where we will present the findings of the REUSE software study - carried out by the University of Bolzano. If you are around, do pass by: we look forward to meeting you.
To let as many people as possible know about software freedom and the FSFE's mission, it is beneficial to explain our cause to them in their mother tongue. Our team of translators does an amazing job in making sure that a majority of Europeans can read our pages in their native language. Indeed, many parts of our homepage have been translated in more than 20 European languages. This is a priceless contribution to spreading software freedom and we are grateful to all contributors who helped us in this.
However, every homepage needs an update from time to time and we will refresh several parts of our homepage in the upcoming weeks - on top of our general publications and news, like this newsletter. This means new parts of our page that need translations. If you are a native speaker of any language apart from English and you like translating, please join our translator team now, and help us to modernize our infrastructure by getting our message out. Our translators team is very helpful and looks forward to welcoming new members. You can get in contact with the team via our mailing list or with individual coordinators listed on the translators page.
Open positions at FSFE
We currently have open positions for an internship as well as for a "Bundesfreiwilligendienst". You an find more information about our internships, previous interns and currently open positions on our internships page.
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Thanks to our community, all the volunteers, supporters and donors who make our work possible. And thanks to our translators, who enable you to read this newsletter in your mother tongue.
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