The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) filed an application for leave to intervene in the antitrust suit against Microsoft today. Georg Greve, President of FSFE said: "The more Microsoft is able to purchase its opponents' solidarity, the more important FSFE's commitment to freedom and interoperability is." These days, FSFE meets adversaries of freedom in various venues: In Brussels, the 'Intellectual Property Rights European Enforcement Directive' (IPRED2) is being pushed by the rights-holding industry, and Microsoft has shown that it was able to rewrite the Vienna Conclusions on ICT and Creativity for the UN World Summit on Information Society (WSIS).
News Archive for 2005
"Microsoft finally seems to have made a step forward on their long march towards giving their users freedom: [...] Given previous Microsoft statements about the Copyleft approach and in particular the GNU GPL as 'viral', 'cancerous' and 'communist', seeing Microsoft now publish licenses applying the very same principles seems quite an evolution."
"We congratulate Microsoft on effective use of their considerable financial resources: First they manage to pay off Sun, then Novell and the CCIA. Now they convinced Real Networks to serve their own head on a silver platter for just US $761 Million"
Not continuing what was begun, or changing from a horse to a mule midstream, as the honored Indian delegate so eloquently put it, would be wasting the time and effort spent on this initiative by all sides, North and South. For this reason we strongly support the notion of letting the IIM process finish what it began.
Stichting NLnet donate 150,000 EUR to support GPLv3 activities
The project will bring together thousands of organisations, software developers, and software users from around the globe during 2006, in an effort to update the world's most popular Free Software licence. The GPLv3 promises to be one of the largest participatory comments and adoption efforts ever undertaken.
During the third Inter-Sessional, Inter-Governmental Meeting (IIM) on a Development Agenda (IIM/3), Georg Greve delivered a statement on behalf of the WSIS Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks (PCT) Working Group of Civil Society, in which the working group asked WIPO to proactively prevent software patent legislation on a global level:
After years of struggle, the European Parliament finally rejected the software patent directive with 648 of 680 votes: A strong signal against patents on software logic, a sign of lost faith in the European Union and a clear request for the European Patent Office (EPO) to change its policy: the EPO must stop issuing software patents today.
Members of the European Parliament have been given a copy of the Karlsruhe Memorandum against Software Patents 2005. Issued by Free Software Foundation Europe, this memorandum collected more than 200 signatures at this year's GNU/LinuxTag conference in Karlsruhe. Citing scientific evidence, the text argues that software patents in Europe will hurt jobs and innovation. Among the supporters are leaders of some of Europe's biggest trade union groups.
Giovanni Angoli is the lucky winner of the Sharp SL-C1000 raffled at GNU/LinuxTag 2005 in Karlsruhe, Germany. FSFE congratulates Giovanni and thanks Werner Heuser of Xtops.DE who sponsored the PDA for Fellowship of FSFE!
Xtops.DE has sponsored a handheld computer which will be raffled on June 25 at 14:00 CEST. The winner will be chosen at random from all FSFE Fellows whose contribution has been received before that date.
"Microsoft abuses the good will of Ms. Kroes" - "European Commission is about to enter legal house-to-house fighting!". Comment of the FSFE on the latest Microsoft proposal. "The European Court decided in December 2004 that Microsoft is to publish this information immediately. This proposal, if accepted, will effectively revert the court decision for the most serious competitor of Microsoft in this market."
Open letter to Mr Borrell Fontelles, President of the European Parliament. On July 6th, European Parliament will have to decide on the "Software Patents" directive. By relying on undefined terms and ineffective limits, the text that the Council has handed to the Parliament would allow patents on software standards, business methods, and website development.
Europe's biggest Free Software conference, the GNU/LinuxTag in Karlsruhe, is less than three weeks ahead. The FSFE has set up a page to gather, list and publish information about its activities there.
"The FSFE is a great place to work, and I've enjoyed almost every single day. In few other companies or organisations would I have had the chance to do useful work and learn in an international context like I did here. Take this chance, if you can."
On 7th May 2005, the general assembly of FSFE met in Vienna, Austria to review the activities of the past year and plan ahead for the next year to come. As this was the end of the second electorial period for FSFE's extended executive committee, the executive committee presented another two-year executive summary.
Four years after its official start in March 10th, 2001 and the finalisation of its founding process in April 24th, 2001, the general assembly on 7 May 2005 in Vienna, Austria marks the end of another electorial period for the Free Software Foundation Europe Extended Executive Committee.
Software patents vs Microsoft antitrust suit: European Commission is going to undermine some of its best work
Open letter to Mr McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. "The European Commission is currently involved in a historic antitrust suit with Microsoft. [...] Unfortunately, that unique success is now in danger of becoming a meaningless victory."
After some months of discussions including FSFE president Georg Greve, a team of Free Software advocates in Latin America published their declaration of intent to join the global network of Free Software Foundations.
Statement at Inter-Sessional, Inter-Governmental Meeting (IIM), 11-13 April 2005: "We explicitly support the Friends of Development in their statement that no tool should ever be promoted for its own sake and should therefore be beyond review. [...] Essential building blocks of human creativity, such as access to knowledge and freedom to participate in society and economy should once again become the norm, not the exception. [...]"
Open Letter to staunchly pro-software patent European Information & Communications Technology Industry Association: "We would like to inform you how software patents pose a threat to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), as all the ideas used in these standards will be implemented in software and would therefore be patentable."
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Samba Team have presented terms explaining how Microsoft could be brought into compliance with the decision of the European Court of First Instance of December 2004.
Pushed by the FSFE, the EU antitrust case against Microsoft is gathering momentum again. "We will help the Commission to bring Microsoft to its feet and move towards re-establishing competition", Georg Greve, FSFE's president.
Letter to Catherine Parmentier, Chief Executive Officer of EUROCITIES: "With the introduction of software patents, European cities would have to be aware of dramatically increasing costs and an increasingly difficult legal situation with high risks for the administration."
"We stand up to protect our freedom to shape and participate in a digital society that respects liberty and privacy." With this slogan, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) started its fellowship program at the FOSDEM fair for Free Software last weekend in Brussels.
On 1st February 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) published a set of 20 issue papers concerning "Internet Governance." Together with its associate organisation La Fundación Vía Libre, the Free Software Foundation Europe managed to comment on the paper on "Cyber security, cybercrime", which, among other things, asked to outlaw the art of finding elegant solutions to non-obvious problems ("hacking") and the paper on "Intellectual Property Rights", which for instance asked to "balance human rights with the interests of rights-holders."
The column TUX&GNU@school 8th edition is now available. In this edition, Mario Fux presents GAMGI, Skolelinux and the KDE Edutainment project. In future, the column will be published in five languages (German, English, French, Swedish and Spanish).
Once Basel II becomes widely used, a dramatic increase in software patent infringement lawsuits for this area is likely to occur on a global basis. Any bank or any of its customers for Basel II based software may become target of such legal action -- the risk is incalculable and can bring about multi-billion Euro lawsuits.