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Free Software PDF Readers

PDFreaders - Follow Up

In November 2010, during the the PDFreaders campaign, FSFE has sent a letter to all the public institutions on our buglist asking them to either remove their advertising for proprietary software or run concurrent advertising for Free Software, so that website users realise they have a choice.

Some of the institutions already answered to our requests but others have not answered yet. As we, as Free Software activists and European citizens, spent time and money to send these letters, we want to get an answer, whatever it would be.

Here is how you can get active and send some emails to the institutions of your country asking them to remove advertisements to non-free software from their websites.

Check before

Before start sending emails take a look to the website of the institution reported in the buglist and check if they have removed the advertise. If you do not see any advertise do the following:

If the advertise is still visible on the website of the public body you can get active by sending an email based on our model letter to them.

Always be kind

Getting angry will not help at all. We sent a letter making a kind and motivated proposal. What we have to do now is to keep the same attitude and friendly ask the institutions to take our letter into consideration. It may happen that someone will respond you with a rude criticism: that is not important! Always be kind and take into account that our goal is to convince them to correct an obvious neutrality problem on their website. Do not answer to criticism not related to our goal.

Find the right person to contact

Take some time to look at their website. If you find the webmaster's email, that is certainly the best person to contact. If the website has been made by an external company, you will probably get nothing from them: it is not in their interests to let the public institution know that the site they have made has a problem of neutrality.

If you are not able to find the webmaster, you could look for a webform for contact. Be also aware that many public institutions have a Public Relations Office and that some of them should keep track of the emails they receive as for the standard letters.

If you are not able to find any of above mentioned contacts, you may write to the Mayor or to the Administration office of the institution. These people certainly have the greatest powers in the institutions, but keep in mind that they could be very busy and they would not directly modify the site. So, to get a reply from them can take much time.

Choose the right subject for your email

People employed in public institutions receive dozens of emails every day (including spam). We want them to read our email, so it is important to choose the right subject. A good subject could be: "Unanswered letter of FSFE from 2010".

Write your email

Write your email to remind them about the letter we have sent. If you want, you can use our model letter and translations, but, please, remember to change the part inside the brace { }

What's happening next?

After 15 days check again the website if something has changed.

CASE 1: nothing has changed: Do not worry, even Rome was not built in a day. Write them again and check again after 15 days. You could also try to write to a different email address.

CASE 2: the bug has been removed: Check if there are other bug pages on their website. If so, write them again. If not, you were successful! Write an email to thank them for their efforts and also inform us about your success so we can update the buglist.

CASE 3: you received an email from the institution with some questions: Some institutions do not understand our letter. Reply to them, always be kind and try explain our proposal. If you do not know what to answer, contact us.

CASE 4: you received an email from the institution that told you that they have corrected the page but the page is still unchanged. Wait for few days then write them again.

Final considerations

It is easy to achieve good results for the PDFreaders campaign in your country. Before receiving our letter, many of the institutions have not even realised that they were advertising any software on their website and many of them will thank you to point it out. So, the hardest part is to capture their attention. To do this, we need your patience and your determination.