Do you know one thing that makes Free Software sustainable? You! Yes, it is your support that allows us to operate across the whole Europe and at different levels to promote and defend Free Software principles. Amongst other things, your donations made possible the planning and coordination of the Second European Licensing and Legal Workshop. They allowed the Austrian team to participate in many public events across the whole Austria and to continue having an intern in our Zurich office.
We finished the accounting work for the last year and we published our financial figures. Take a look at them to see how we use your donations.
I want to conclude by introducing a couple of changes in the newsletter. I hope they will improve your 'reading experience' of FSFE's ongoing work. First, "In the spotlight" is a new section where I will treat in more details a selected news. Second, since time passes by and the events pile up, I will pick-up a noteworthy item from the past and mention it under the "It happened in the past" section.
The second European Licensing and Legal Workshop was a resounding success. On 23 and 24 April, legal experts and interested parties in Free Software licensing gathered in Amsterdam for a vibrant event organised by our Freedom Task Force (FTF) and sponsored by Bender von Haller Dragsted, Blackduck, Canonical, HP and Mozilla. Harald Welte, from gplviolations.org, says from his blog: "I have to admit that it was a big surprise to me that the constructive atmosphere and the quality of the presentations, panels and hallway discussions has even improved beyond the already exceptional level last year". Indeed, the conference was considerably bigger than in 2008, and planning is already under way for an enhanced and even larger event in 2010.
From 27 April to 1 May, FSFE's President Georg Greve, participated to the "Committee on Development and Intellectual Property: Third Session" (CDIP/3) at World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In preparation to that meeting, Georg published "The case for a World Innovation Policy Organisation", reflecting on the current significance of the WIPO Development Agenda and how it should relate to international issues such as the one of software patents. Issues that Georg raised at CDIP/3 as three formal intervention on FSFE's behalf throughout the week.
Along with many other organisations, FSFE submitted its comments to the European Patent Office (EPO) on the patentability of software, responding to a request of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. In the submission, FSFE explains why software patents are harmful for innovation, competition and economy, based also on the rationale of the work done at WIPO's Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) in March.
Myriam Schweingruber is the Fellow interviewed for "The smallest unit of freedom" series. Myriam is a devoted Free Software advocate with a flair for convincing people. Having worked as a translator, a school teacher and a pharmacist, Myriam is quite experienced in the art of communication, and gives a clear impression of trustworthiness. In the interview she tells us about her experiences with Whilhelm Tux, Amarok, KDE, FSFE and Free Software in general.
We are happy to welcome Thomas Jensch as our new intern in the Zurich office. Thomas is a political science student at the University of Leipzig in Germany. His job during the next 8 months will be to help us in administrative work and to support the President in coordinating his various activities. Once again, welcome on board Thomas!
Doing an internship at FSFE is an exciting and formative experience. If you want to be our next intern, take a look at:
The voting period for the first seat at our General Assembly (GA) reserved to a Fellow is approaching. The four candidates: Torsten Grote, Jan-Hendrik Peters, Michel Roche, and Björn Schiessle presented themselves to the whole Fellowship. You can get to know them by visiting their blogs and our wiki election page. The approaching and important dates are: the entire month of May as the voting period and the 1 June 2009, when we will announce the results. All our Fellows already received an e-mail containing information and instructions on the voting procedures.
The work on the new Fellowship technological infrastructure is going on. Last month, we completed the migration from the old Fellowship portal to the new site http://fellowship.fsfe.org (for more information about moving your data: http://wiki.fsfe.org/OldPortal) and we activated the new home page, registration procedure and account management pages. You can find an overview of the active Fellowship services at http://wiki.fsfe.org/FellowshipServices and stay informed about their status following the "Fellowship News" blog at:
PDFreaders.org was launched less than six months ago, as a Fellowship project to promote Free Software PDF readers for all the major platforms. Since then, the website has become a formidable success, gaining the attention of several vendors of proprietary PDF readers, including Adobe, as well as much positive response from the community.
April saw yet another increase in traffic after an RSA security conference, where Mikko Hypponen research officer at F-Secure referred to PDFreaders.org in light of the recently disclosed vulnerabilities present in Adobe Reader. Our volunteers managed to translate PDFreaders.org into 15 languages and our Fellows are continuously updating it. New readers have recently been added and a major update concerning Open Standard is approaching!
Continuing the "Linuxwochen Österreich Tour" started in March, our Austrian team spread Free Software principles to major Austrian events for the whole April. The tour consists of six events, four of which in April, for a total of nine days booth and six talks. Peter Bubestinger, Deputy Coordinator Austria, held five of the speeches and David Ayer, Austrian team member, held the one in Linz. The themes of the talks ranged from Free Software in schools and education to future scenarios on Free Software usage. These are the April stages of the tour: "FLOSStag 2009", 15 April, Danube University Krems; "Linuxwochen Wien", 16-18 April, Vienna; "Liwoli 2009", 23-25 April, University for Art and Industrial Design Linz; "LinuxTage", 25 April, Graz.
We recently published our financial figures for 2008. This has been an intense year and as the previous ones it confirmed the growth of our work's breadth. With 245,000 and 68,000 EUR respectively, donations and the Fellowship programme confirmed to be vital to the sustainment of our organisation. Once more, we would like to express our gratitude to anyone who decided to donate or to become a Fellow. This allows us to run our projects and to work for the diffusion and defence of Free Software. With a total income of 383,221 EUR and an expense of 303,419 EUR, 2008 concluded with a very positive balance and this will allow us to empower our organisation as we were planning to do since some time now.
To manage and coordinate the ever growing base of employees and volunteers working for us at local, national and international level we decided to look for an Executive Director as a full-time employee. A similar figure will also be hired to coordinate the Fellowship programme and to overview our German area, where most of the Fellows and our donors come from. The activities of our Freedom Task Force (FTF) will also be strengthened and finally, we will investigate the possibilities to extend our policy work on EU and UN levels. We hope you will continue to follow and to support us!
It was only April 2005 when we prepared and delivered the first batch of 250 Fellowship Smartcards. Since then, many more people joined the Fellowship and many more Smartcards have been delivered.
Georg will talk about the challenges of the traditional standardisation system, the role of patenting and the mechanisms that allow us to cope with legal issues at eLiberatica 2009. One of the biggest events discussing Free Software in Eastern Europe.
You can find a list of all FSFE newsletters onhttp://fsfe.org/news/newsletter.html
You can join the Fellowship and find how to support us onhttp://fellowship.fsfe.org/join http://fsfe.org/contribute/contribute.html
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