May has been an hot month for us. Not only because the first real sunbeams start showing up all-over Europe, but mainly because during the whole month we run our first-ever voting process to elect a Fellow representative to FSFE General Assembly (GA). Moreover, we published our call for applications as coordinator and staff positions in our legal department, and our Austrian team concluded its challenging and satisfying tour across the whole Austria, by participating to "Linuxwochen Eisenstadt".
Right now, while drafting this newsletter, Matthias Kirschner announced the result of the election, therefore if you want to know who is the first Fellow to sit at FSFE's General Assembly, just keep reading!
Fellowship posters lined the wall at this year's edition of eLiberatica in Bucharest where FSFE president Georg Greve analysed the shortcomings of wide-spread innovation policies in providing a balanced environment for innovation, competition and governmental procurement in his speech "Free Software 2009: challenges and opportunities." Organised once more by an energetic team of volunteers, eLiberatica continues to be a very important conference in the region, and we intend to participate in the next one, as we participated in all previous editions.
PDFreaders.org was launched less than six months ago, as a Fellowship project to promote Free Software PDF readers for all the major platforms. Thanks to the hard work of our Fellows and the cooperation with José E. Marchesi, GNU PDF team, PDFreaders.org now includes an Open Standard (OS) page. This is an easy to read and complete instructive page which explains the nuances of the format from a standards perspective and provide the technical-legal background for why we are able to support it.
Our organisation is slowly, but constantly growing. To manage the increasing work load and managerial challenges, we recently started looking for an Executive Director (ED) who would oversee the daily work of the organisation. Similarly, our legal department, the Freedom Task Force (FTF), is becoming a key actor in the European Free Software licensing area, as the success of the "Second European Licensing and Legal Workshop for Free Software" shows. Therefore, we also started accepting application for coordinator and staff positions for the FTF.
On 7 May, Bernhard Reiter gave a talk at the University of Stuttgart about "Professional Free Software in Economy and Politics" as part of the lecture "Free/Libre and Open Source Software Engineering". A mixed public of 20 people, made by students, researchers, activists and interested persons attended the lecture. Bernhard mostly focused on categories of Free Software licenses, after having provided an overview of Free Software principles, Open Standards and the problems of software patents.
As a new item to add to our merchandise stock, we are planning to produce a backpack, which should satisfy the taste and needs of hacktivists. We would like to encourage the Fellows, an other interested people to give their input to the details. How should the backpack you always dreamed of look like? What should it absolutely have? And what not? We are thinking of high quality material, so it might also be useful to know what price can be considered reasonable. Feel free to send your ideas to:
This month, Stian Rødven Eide interviewed Timo Jyrinki for "The smallest unit of freedom" series. Beside being a Fellow, Timo is also the team contact for Ubuntu Finland, the friendly media face of Wikipedia Finland, and founder of local advocacy project Vapaa Suomi (Libre Finland). In the interview, Timo tells us about his interest in computer graphics, his involvement as developer and translator in different projects and organizations. He shared with Stian and with us his thoughts on user interfaces, the Free Software situation in Finland and on how businesses should let the community lead.
As conclusive stage of the Austrian events started in March, our Austrian team manned a booth at "Linuxwochen Eisenstadt", in Eisenstadt, Austria. Although the event was smaller than the previous ones, our volunteers at the booth presented our current work and merchandise to the visitors in a friendly atmosphere. The Austrian team will soon make available pictures, reports and slides concerning the whole series of events.
Georg and Pablo Machón, President and Vice-president of FSFE, participated at "Libremeeting 2009" which took place on 13 May, in Miraflores de la Sierra, Spain. Central theme of this year was "business and free software industry", and it is during the event that iUnika Gyy Minipc was launched. The Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) weights 700 g, it is eco-friendly, as it is made of bioplastic and is also capable of using solar power. Thanks to the mediation of our Spanish team and our associate organisation, the Free Knowledge Foundation (FKF), Iunika has committed to use only 100% Free Software for its product and, in accordance with the manufacturer, will deliver with each unit our informative material and general Free Software documentation.
With the end of May it found conclusion a significant experience both for us and for the Fellowship. The whole election process that brought us to identify and to elect the first Fellow to seat at the General Assembly (GA) reached an end. This experience required us to plan and implement a process we were not familiar with and, at the same time, demanded the Fellows who decided to candidate, to put themselves under scrutiny by other Fellows.
Torsten Grote, Jan-Hendrik Peters, Michel Roche and Björn Schießle were the Fellows standing out from the the candidacy period in March. During the whole month of May other Fellows had the chance to get to know them through their blogs and the Fellowship portal, before making up their minds and voting them.
Of particular interest in the whole process was the "Meet the candidates" jabber meeting we run on 25 May. Starting from 20:30 and for the following two hours Björn, Jan-Hendrik, Michel and Torsten answered to Fellows' questions. The topic of the questions ranged from potential strategies for increasing Fellowship's efficiency in spreading Free Software to the kind of commitment the candidates would be able to provide when elected, from the Fellowship's shortcomings and the strategies to improve it to the candidates' motivations to run for the elections. The meeting was a success with nearly 30 Fellows constantly present throughout the whole session and actively participating. After the conclusion of the meeting, moderated by Matthias Kirschner, some of the Fellows continued discussing informally on Free Software. This kind of meeting will definitely become part of the official election process for the Fellowship's seats and we will also set up similar meetings more often. We hope you will participate!
It is now time to thank Björn, Jan-Hendrik and Michel for their involvement in the process and to congratulate with Torsten Grote for he is the first Fellow elected to represent the Fellowship at our GA. Congratulation Torsten! See you in Miraflores de la Sierra!
May and June are usually the months for us to have our GA. It is during the GA held five years ago, on 15 May 2004, that the core members decided to improve the level of information we provided our public about our activities. Thus it was decided to start publishing a monthly newsletter and this is the first we ever published:
The local Fellowship group will meet on 11 June in the NewThinkingStore at Tucholskystraße 48. There will be discussions about Openstreetmap, "Linuxtag" and our campaign regarding the "Bundestagswahl". Guests are welcome to join in!
On Saturday 20 June in Miraflores de la Sierra, in Spain, we will organise a social event co-located with our GA, which will take place in the same place on 19-21 June. Check our news page for the details of the event as they will be published shortly.
We will participate with a booth at "LinuxTag 2009" which takes place at Berlin's Expo Center. The crew of our booth will explain visitors the importance of Free Software for society and economy.
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
You can order our merchandise athttp://fsfe.org/order/order.html