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News Archive for 2015
The FSFE empowers users to control technology with its diverse activities and concrete engagement for software freedom. Follow us and make sure to receive regular updates and deeper insights on our various channels.
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FSFE joins April in their disagreement with the new agreement between Microsoft and the French Minister of Education. Full text of press release with list of participating organisations (in French).
On 29 October 2015, the European Parliament adopted a report (2015/2635(RSP)), which condemned mass surveillance throughout Europe. While focusing primarily on legal precedents of data protection, Parliament proposed new recommendations to improve IT security by migrating to free software, as well as adding free software as a mandatory selection criterion in public IT procurement.
The European Commission has set a goal to make the EU's single market fit for the digital age by adopting “A Digital Single Market Strategy” which is aimed at bringing down regulatory barriers between 28 different national markets. According to the Commission, a true Digital Single Market (DSM) can be achieved by taking the following actions:
Fellows in Zurich started "Free Computer for Free People", an initiative to offer laptops that run completely on Free Software only. This includes alternative firmware as well as free BIOS. By reusing used hardware, the Zurich Fellows also like to foster a sustainable use of hardware.
Together with 9 other civil and economic organisations the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) sent a letter to numerous members of the German Bundestag concerning the compulsory routers issue at the present Wednesday. The letter is supposed to highlight the importance of passing the bill for freedom of terminal devices in telecommunication.
On 3 October 2015 the Free Software Foundation of Europe celebrated the Free Software Foundation's 30th birthday with some delicious cake and many wonderful birthday wishes. The pictures from this celebration are now available online. Special thanks to Isabelle Wunderlich and Mirko Boehm for organising the event and all the attendees who joined the celebration.
After six years of activity, the PDFreaders campaign is coming to a close this month as one of our most successful campaigns.
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day that aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. FSFE happily joins the celebration of Ada Lovelace Day by interviewing Isabel Drost-Fromm - long time FSFE Fellow, member of the Apache Software Foundation and co-founder of Apache Mahout as well as the Berlin Buzzwords conference. Read about Free Software migration, free search engines, Java, Berlin and her advice for your personal contributions.
Today the Free Software Foundation Europe looks back on the Sony rootkit fiasco from 2005. This page outlines some facts about the rootkit and how it was handled, as well as some context about what these kinds of restrictions mean for the notion of computers as general purpose machines. 31 October 2015 marks the 10 year anniversary of when the rootkit was discovered, and in preparation for this day, we ask you all to use this information and spread the word, not only about the Sony rootkit, but about the dangers of digital restrictions on users' freedoms everywhere.
On 4 October 1985 Harold Abelson, Robert J. Chassell, Richard M. Stallman, Garald Jay Sussman, and Leonard H. Tower, Jr. incorporated the Free Software Foundation, Inc. The application included also the GNU Emacs General Public License, the GNU Manifesto, a list of software which was already written (Bison, MIT Schema, Hack, plus a list of several Unix utility replacements)...
Matthias Kirschner and Alessandro Rubini are FSFE's new President and Vice President. They were elected last week in Bucharest during FSFE's General Assembly, while Reinhard Müller was re-elected as Financial Officer. They will serve FSFE in those positions for the upcoming two years.
On July 6th, the European Parliament voted on a report with a number of recommendations for copyright reform. We present today our evaluation of how this could impact Free Software.
The 6th of June, this year, we proposed our own assessment of the draft report on the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC. Afterwards, some amendments were passed and the report was voted at the European Parliament on the 9th of July. As expected, there were plenty of changes; today we present you our evaluation of the final version of the report.
In anticipation of the Swiss national parliament elections (Nationalrat- / Ständeratswahlen) on 18 October 2015, FSFE Switzerland starts the „Freedomvote“ campaign today, in cooperation with the "Swiss Open Systems User Group“ (/ch/open). The campaign offers an online portal that lists those candidates who will run for election, and their opinion towards Internet policy, Free Software, and open data formats.
The router. Despite often being dusty it is one of the most important devices needed for using the internet or phones. However: Most users in Germany don’t own this device even though it is located inside their homes and they pay for it.
FSFE supports the publication of the User Data Manifesto 2.0, which aims at defining basic rights for people to control their own data in the internet age. The manifesto is published today and also supported by GNOME, KDE, Netzpolitik.org, ownCloud, Spreed, “Terms of Service - Didn’t Read” and X-Lab.
In April 2015, we announced a change in the relationship between Kern Sibbald and the FSFE owing to the cancellation of the Fiduciary License Agreement (FLA) between Kern and the FSFE which previously made the FSFE a fiduciary for copyrights in the Bacula software.
After some discontinuity, FSFE will start again to interview their sustaining members. This way, we like to show you who we are, where we come from and what we stand for. This month and as the first in our new series, we interviewed Neil McGovern, FSFE from the United Kingdom. Neil has been working in the Open Rights Group and was recently elected as Debian Project Leader (DPL). Read about his role as DPL, his engagement in Free Software as well as on political levels.
Please note that this position is no longer open for
The Free Software Foundation Europe was founded in 2001 and has gone through a tremendous growth since then, both in the number of volunteers and staff, and also in the complexity of our technical infrastructure and the number of services we run and offer for both internal and external use. We're currently looking for a system administrator and architect that, for a limited time, can support us in our work to migrate our services to a new infrastructure.
Safecast is a global project to map radiation data from around the world and release this information openly. When the project just started out, they used modified hardware, together with their own custom software and a few clever tweaks, to allow anyone to participate in the project. This kind of ingenuity, the ability to re-purpose or adapt existing technology by replacing or supplementing its software, should be permitted and encouraged by the law. In the example of Safecast, fortunately nobody prevented them from being innovative.
We currently wrap-up the PDFreaders campaign, and we need your help to measure our success. Started in 2009 FSFE’s goal with the campaign was to get rid of advertisement for proprietary PDF readers. We focused on the websites of public administrations, and many people helped us gather contact details for over 2000 public websites which advertised non-free software. Many people helped us to contact the public administrations, governments were made aware of it and published guidelines. Until now we know that 772 of the 2110 bugs were fixed, which is a 36% success rate. But for most countries we did not check the status for several months now. That’s why we need your help now to make one final round. We are looking for volunteers who can help us checking websites in their native language, following the step-by-step guide in the blog post.
Since 2006, the FSFE has been the fiduciary for the copyrights held by developers in the Bacula.org software, on the basis of a Fiduciary License Agreement (FLA) and Memorandum of Understanding signed between Kern Sibbald and the FSFE on the 15th of November 2006
Document Freedom Day is the day when we talk about Open Standards around the world. In 2015, all together, we turned this day once more into a global event with 63 local event organisers in 31 countries on 4 continents. Volunteers around the world, accompanied by international organisations as well as politicians and public services joined our demand for document freedom. Read our report to see what happened during Document Freedom Day 2015.
The European Commission has published a new version of its strategy for the internal use of Free Software. The strategy now covers the 2014-2017 timeframe. FSFE has provided extensive input to the Commission during the update process.
Joint statement : Maximising inclusiveness and engagement through the use of Open Standards in the European Commission
Today is Document Freedom Day, the international day to celebrate and raise awareness of Open Standards. On this occasion, we would like to reflect on the importance for public institutions in general, and for the European Commission in particular, considering its leadership role, of using Open Standards in all their digital communication and services.
On March 25 is this year's Document Freedom Day and, depending on your time zone, it has already started. Document Freedom Day is the global campaign for document liberation by local groups throughout the world. So far more than 50 groups registered their events in over 25 countries ranging from Asia, Europe, Africa, to South and North America.
… Nicolas Dietrich! The election period for this year's Fellowship GA seat has ended on March 13, 2015. FSFE is proud to have had three outstanding candidates that were running for office this time. Now, Nicolas Dietrich is happy to take over the GA's Fellowship seat from former representative Heiki "Repentinus" Lõhmus.
Currently, there is uncertainty in Switzerland regarding the development and release of Free Software by public contractors. The trigger for this was the development and release of the software OpenJustitia by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. The federal council now wants to examine whether the publication of Free Software by the federal administration can be explicitly allowed. The Free Software Foundation Europe demands a clarification so that publicly-financed software can unambiguously be legally released as Free Software
On Saturday, 14 February 2015, people all over the world showed Free Software contributors their appreciation. It was the fifth year the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) asked people to participate in the “I Love Free Software” day. This report shows a variety of love declarations that happened this day, including blog posts, pictures, comics, poems, and an #ilovefs Android library. The FSFE thanks everybody who motivated Free Software contributors this year, and ask everybody to mark 14 February in their calendars for next year's “I love Free Software” day.
Document Freedom Day (#DFD2015) is a global campaign for document liberation, with grassroots events throughout the world taking place on March 25, 2015. Add your voice to this worldwide celebration of Open Standards, and register your DFD event for 2015!
In order to push for a more enlightened policy approach to managing innovation and knowledge, FSFE has submitted a response [pdf] to an EU consultation on patents and standards. This is the latest action in FSFE's ongoing work in promoting Open Standards.
Together with FSFE and other partners, the Bündnis Freie Bildung ("Free Education Alliance") today publishes its position paper about the creation and usage of Open Educational Resources (OER). Therein, the Bündnis demands a consequent publishing of all OER-material under public licences and their availability as Free Software and in Open Standard formats.
Every year on 14th February, the Free Software Foundation Europe asks all Free Software users to think about the hard-working people in the Free Software community and to show them their appreciation individually on this "I love Free Software"-Day.