FSFE Newsletter - July 2009
This month has been full of activity, but one bit of news has cast a shadow over it all. We have learned of the death of Richard Rothwell, who was a prominent and respected advocate for Free Software in education and a Fellow. We are saying farewell to him below.
Major activities of the month were: the support of our German Chapter to OpenRuhr initiative, the participation to a Conference hosted by the WIPO, an interesting Fellowship meeting in Berlin, our presence to RMLL in Nantes, and the publishing of our statement about the latest developments in the EU browser case.
Table of Contents
- Fresh air at WIPO, but old habits die hard
- A farewell to Richard Rothwell
- FSFE supports OpenRuhr
- FSFE booth at RMLL Nantes, France, 07-11 July
- Fellowship Meeting in Berlin, 09 July
- The Fellowship interviews: Smári McCarthy In the spotlight
- EU browser case: FSFE says details of settlement will be crucial It happened in the past
- FSFE supporting European Commission in their case against Microsoft Upcoming events
- 4th Froscon, St. Augustin, Germany, 22-23 August
On the 13 and 14 July, in Geneva, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) hosted the Conference "Intellectual Property and Public Policy Issues" with the aim of reflecting on the consequences of the policies that WIPO promotes. Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's president, attended the event and wrote an extensive report: "Fresh air at WIPO, but old habits die hard". He highlights that the event in itself was a very positive step for the organisation, which is starting to pay attention to the real-world impact of the policies it develops. Still, some troubling old mistakes remain.
It is with sorrow that we pay our respect to Richard Rothwell. A Fellow, a brilliant activist and a key figure in the UK Free Software community. On 17 July, Richard passed away, tearing a hole in the network of the Free Software movement which will be difficult to fill. We want to remember him here, and to offer our condolences to Richard's family and closest friends.
Our German chapter has decided to support the OpenRuhr initiative. During 2010 in the Ruhr area the 'cultural cities' will set facilities and plan events which will promote Free Software as a cultural technique for creative people in their works. Our German chapter aims at developing informative material to portray Free Software as a cultural technique.
Rainer Kersten and Michel Roche manned our booth at the 10th "Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libres" (RMLL), which took place in Nantes. RMLL is the most important Free Software event in France with some 5000 visitors. Rainer and Michel had a very busy four days explaining the basics of Free Software, and telling a large number of people about FSFE's work.
The Berlin Fellowship group met on 9 July at the Newthinking Store, at Tucholskystrasse 48. On the meeting's agenda was an interesting debate with representatives of youth organisations of various political parties. Members of the Junge Union Brandenburg, Jungen Liberalen Brandenburg, Grüne Jugend, Piratenpartei, and SDS.Berlin presented their views about Free Software issues and answered questions from other participants. Lena Simon recorded the event, which we will publish shortly on our Fellowship platform.
This month, Stian Rødven Eide interviewed Smári McCarthy: a thoughtful anarchist and practical chaos technician with a deep interest in Free Software and democracy. The interview addressed various aspects of Smári's life from his work at the Fab Lab, to the Icelandic Society for Digital Freedoms, concluding with his views on a "crowdsourced democracy".
In the spotlight
In 2007, Opera Software presented the European Commission with a formal complaint regarding Microsoft's tying of Internet Explorer (IE) to its operating systems. We decided to follow the development of this issue and we officially offered our help as interested third party to the Directorate General for Competition.
On January 2009, the European Commission DG Competition issued a statement of objections against Microsoft which recently led the company to consider a settlement. While the offer of a settlement is an important achievement for the European Commission, we believe that it is the details which will make all the difference. A settlement that simply looks good will not be enough. We need to be sure that any agreement between Microsoft and the Commission really puts Free Software on an equal footing with proprietary competitors, and allows for free competition in the web browser market.
Our press release, which outlines some details of the settlement that should be carefully considered, is available here:
It happened in the past
Five years ago, Microsoft appealed against the European Commission antitrust decision. The Directorate General for Competition called for cooperation upon FSFE and Samba. A call that we did not miss: on 27 July 2004 we had already participated to the preliminary hearing of the appeal in Luxembourg. That was the beginning of what would become the greatest success for FSFE and for Free Software in the legal field in 2007, when Microsoft was ordered by the European Court of First Instance to share interoperability information with the Samba team.
We will be present with a booth at the 4th Froscon in St. Augustin, Germany. The conference is organised by the Department of Computer Science of the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, with the help of Fachschaft of Computer Science, LUUSA and FrOSCon e.V. For coordination we will use the booth@ mailing list and the Fellowship Wiki.
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