This month we interviewed Johannes Böck about CAcert, Gentoo, OpenStreetMap, privacy, security, and Free Software businesses. This is the third in our series of Fellowship interviews - "the smallest unit of freedom".
News Archive for 2008
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) announces a translation sprint for their web pages from 15 December 2008 to 11 January 2009. The aim of this sprint is to provide information about Free Software and FSFE's work in as many languages as possible.
Today FSFE is announcing its revised constitution, adding two Fellowship Seats to its General Assembly. This will give Fellows of FSFE a direct representation in FSFE's strategic decision making body.
FSFE's Freedom Task Force (FTF) and GPL-Violations.org today released a guide to reporting and fixing licence compliance issues. This guide will help users and developers to deal with license violation reports. It explains how to make a report, what information is useful to include, and offers suggestions for how projects or businesses can deal with reports once they are received.
Following up on the "IPR in ICT Standardisation" Workshop two weeks ago in Brussels, FSFE president Georg Greve analysed the conflicts between patents and standards. The resulting paper is about the most harmful effects of patents on standards, the effectiveness of current remedies, and potential future remedies.
The debates on the European Software Strategy came across several issues that are of general interest, but the debates themselves cannot be disclosed for reasons of procedural confidentiality. Instead, this article takes one issue and discusses it from a personal perspective.
This month Ciarán O'Riordan interviewed Rolf Camps about translating, volunteering, and awareness of Free Software in Belgium. Translations are utterly crucial for a European organisation, and it's a lot of work that doesn't get much visible credit, so Ciarán wanted to ask Rolf about motivations and what's involved. This is the second in our series of Fellowship interviews - "the smallest unit of freedom".
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) supports Free Software so that every citizen can play an independent, active and responsible part in our information society. However, censorship of content, violations of the principle of 'Net Neutrality' and increasing online surveillance do not fit with these goals. FSFE is therefore appealing for participation in the world-wide day of action "Freedom Not Fear", which takes place this Saturday, the 11th October.
Today marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the initial announcement of the GNU Project, a pioneering initiative to develop an operating system that gives all users the freedom to modify it and publish modified versions, individually or working together. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) commends the substantial achievements of GNU's first quarter-century and looks forward to furthering their shared goal of facilitating software freedoms.
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) announced today that it plans to make the Fiduciary License Agreement (FLA) available ten languages. The selected languages are English, German, French, Italian, Swedish, Serbian, Polish, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the GNU project FSFE will be offering a 25% discount on merchandise from the 23th September until the 17th October. Please note that this discount does not apply to shipping costs.
A folder with general information about FSFE and Free Software, and some leaflets with specific information about FSFE's projects and activities are now available online in HTML and PDF format. Everybody can download, print, distribute!
"We see the adoption of the FLA by KDE as a positive and important milestone in the maturity of the Free Software community," says Georg Greve, president of Free Software Foundation Europe. "The FLA was designed to help projects increase the legal maintainability of their software to ensure long-term protection and reliability. KDE is among the most important Free Software initiatives and it is playing a central role in bringing freedom to the desktop. This decision of the KDE project underlines its dedication to think about how to make that freedom last."
"Of course, it should be in the users interest to 'ride their bicycles independently', i.e. not having to rely on training wheels. However, the training wheels keep children from falling and give freedom to both the children and their parents. Likewise Wine helped to give freedom and security to the users. It is for this we are thankful and we recognise their work."
"It is a clear, legal fact that distributing Free Software means people must comply with the licences. GPL-Violations.org and the FTF are now building the long-term legal infrastructure for support and compliance" comments Harald Welte. Shane Coughlan adds "I believe our new agreement will help ensure sustainability for legal infrastructure to support Free Software in Europe."
"Technologically speaking, the state of IS29500 is depressing," says Marko Milenovic of FSFE's Serbian Team and co-chair of the Serbian technical committee on DIS29500. "In large parts it is low quality technical prose that fails to use the normative terminology mandated by ISO/IEC's guidelines. We've been told to wait for the maintenance process for MS-OOXML to become usable. That ISO would knowingly approve a dysfunctional specification is disillusioning."
Today is Document Freedom Day: Roughly 200 teams from more than 60 countries worldwide are organising local activities to raise awareness for Document Freedom and Open Standards. [...] Document Freedom is about giving you control of your information, it is about giving governments control of their public records, and it is about freedom of choice. You can give yourself that freedom today [...]
At a time when the EU Commission investigates the anti-competitive behaviour of a market-dominant player, the European Parliament (EP) still imposes that same specific software choice on both the European Union's citizens and its own MEPs. OpenForum Europe, The European Software Market Association, and the Free Software Foundation Europe today launched a petition to call on the EP to use Open Standards so that all citizens can participate in the democratic process.
FSFE has released a context briefing on Interoperability problems caused by Microsoft's Office OpenXML format: "The proposed MS-OOXML/DIS29500 specification raises serious technical and legal concerns. This context briefing highlights three examples of how the proposed specification and its practical implementation in MS Office 2007 hinders interoperability, fosters vendor dependence and results in market distortion."
"The Freedom Task Force is working to foster effective legal infrastructure for Free Software in Europe. A great deal of our work is based on engaging directly with people and Google's contribution will allow us to do this more effectively," says Shane Coughlan, FTF Coordinator.
The European Commission has fined Microsoft 899 million Euro for anti-competitive behaviour by restricting access to interoperability information. "Microsoft is the last company that actively promotes the use of software patents to restrict interoperability. This kind of behaviour has no place in an Internet society where all components should connect seamlessly regardless of their origin," says Georg Greve, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe.
Yesterday's media briefing by Microsoft on its its pledge to release interoperability information for flagship products contained little actual news. Over the years Microsoft has made multiple similar pledges and they at times proved to be detrimental rather than beneficial for interoperability. Examining the terms of the Microsoft's latest action shows no major change of policy.
The Document Freedom Day (DFD) is a global day for Document Liberation with grassroots action for promotion of Free Document Formats and Open Standards in general. The DFD was initiated and is supported by a group of organisations and companies, including, but not limited to, the Free Software Foundation Europe, ODF Alliance, OpenForum Europe, IBM, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems, Inc. On 26 March 2008, the Document Freedom Day will provide a global rallying point for Document Liberation and Open Standards.
When ECMA submitted MS-OOXML as ECMA-376 to ISO for fast-track approval, several countries criticised overlap with the existing ISO standard ISO/IEC 26300:2006, the Open Document Format (ODF). [...] Considering that alleged preservation of idiosyncrasies is the stated reason for the entire DIS-29500 ISO process, FSFE considers it worthwhile to investigate this claim in greater depth.
FSFE's Freedom Task Force today announces the first European Licensing and Legal Workshop for Free Software will be held on Friday the 11th of April in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The venue for this meeting is the InterContinental Amstel Hotel.
FSFE's Freedom Task Force was launched in November 2006 to help support individuals, projects and businesses with Free Software licensing. The initial phase of the FTF was possible thanks to support by the Netherlands based philantropic organisation NLnet foundation. NLnet's support allowed the FTF to provide training, consultancy and to work in partnership with gpl-violations.org to resolve licence issues in the European area. The FTF also formed networks of technical and legal experts to foster cooperation between lawyers, projects and businesses with licensing concerns. Now, after just over twelve months of continual growth, NLnet is providing a second round of financial support to this innovative legal project.