FSFE Newsletter - September 2009
The Software Freedom Day is one of the main events in the Free Software community in September, and it is an event we never miss: this year FSFE celebrated in Leipzig, Vienna and Hamburg with the help of our Fellows. Thanks to them, the campaign "Ask your candidate about Free Software!" for the German elections became a great success.
FSFE's president commented on the possible settlement in the Microsoft "browser case"; we started using Identi.ca as a micro-blogging platform and we also took on board two new interns. Read on to get to know them!
Table of Contents
- FSFE to EC: Don't waste an opportunity with a hasty deal
- The Fellowship interviews: Andreas Tolf Tolfsen
- The Second Fellowship Jabber meeting, 22 September
- Celebrating the Software Freedom Day, 19 September
- FSFE uses Free Software micro-blogging on Identi.ca
- Welcome to Hugo Roy and Lena Simon: new Berlin interns In the spotlight
- Free Software hits German election campaigns It happened in the past
- European Union versus Microsoft: A victory for Free Software Upcoming events
- Commercial packages: a new way to support FSFE
Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's president, commented on recent news that European Commissioner for Antitrust Neelie Kroes, is working to close all the major cases on her desk before the end of her mandate in November. Two of these cases concern Microsoft's anti-competitive behaviour in the browser market, and the company's practice of preventing others from interoperating with many of its desktop applications. Karsten's article highlights why Microsoft's offer for a settlement is too weak, lists what Free Software needs from any settlement, and asks Commissioner Kroes not to waste the opportunity to establish real competition in the European IT market with a hasty deal.
Andreas Tolf Tolfsen is the Fellow interviewed by Stian Rødven Eide this September. Andreas is a web technologist, developer and aspiring musicologist. He works at Opera Software, and regularly fights for digital freedoms. In the interview, Andreas tells us a lot about HTML5, Electronic Frontier Norway and music.
On the 22 September, from 19:00 until 20:30 we held a new jabber meeting, to repeat the positive experience of the one organised during the Fellowship election. Many Fellows showed up in our virtual room: conference.jabber.fsfe.org, and asked questions to Matthias Kirschner, Fellowship coordinator, and Torsten Grote, Fellowship representative at the GA. The main topics of the meeting were the role of the FSFE's GA and the procedure to take part in it. Free Software in Education was also discussed as an interesting topic for the next Fellowship Jabber meeting. More information about the next meeting will be published soon!
For five years, the Software Freedom Day (SFD) has been the perfect chance for 'hacktivists' to gather together in different place around the world to celebrate Free Software and its principles. More than 500 teams worldwide registered for the event and celebrated on Saturday 19 September SFD 2009. FSFE's local Fellowship groups participated in the events in Vienna and Leipzig, and we manned a booth at the SFD in Hamburg.
Many key people in our organisation have started using the Free Software micro-blogging service Identi.ca to share status updates and interesting links. On Identi.ca it exists now a group "fsfe" which it is possible to subscribe to if you would like to stay informed on our activities. We also started adopting some common tags such as #fellowship, #pdfreaders and #dfd which we encourage you to use. Matthias Kirschner, Fellowship coordinator, published a post on his blog discussing our use of Identi.ca
Starting from the 1 September, FSFE took on board two new, young and motivated interns: Hugo Roy and Lena Simon. Hugo is from France and will work with us until May 2010, focusing on policy and legal aspects. Lena is from Germany, and will stay with us for one month to help in the setting of the new Berlin office. She also provided valuable help during the campain "Ask your candidate about Free Software!". We are happy to have them with us and we are sure they will add value to our work. Welcome Hugo and Lena!
In the spotlight
Ahead of the German elections 2009, FSFE's German chapter with the help of many Fellows and volunteers brought the issue of Free Software in the political debate. The campaign "Ask your candidate about Free Software!" questioned politicians of different parties about their visions on Free Software principles, Open Standards and their diffusion. Matthias Kirschner said: "We want politicians to get in contact with these topics, and to motivate people from the Free Software community to start a dialogue with their politicians."
During the political campaign, the questions prepared by the Fellows and other volunteers were forwarded to representatives of various political parties. We collected their answers in the Fellowship wiki, ordered and summarised them. With the help and coordination of Matthias and Lena the project collected 26 answers (to 35 forwarded questions), and a lot of media coverage during and after the German elections. FSFE's associate organisation ANSOL ran a similar campaign in Portugal, where national elections took place at the same time. We exchanged links and looked to each other for inspiration.
It happened in the past
In September 2007, the European Union versus Microsoft antitrust case was finally closed. The European Court of First Instance found Microsoft guilty of deliberate obstruction of interoperability and upheld the obligation for Microsoft to share its protocol information. This information has now been published and is being used by the developers of Samba and many other projects. FSFE and the Samba team participated in the case as an interested third party. Our work was crucial in bringing about such a decisive victory. Today, the judgement in the case serves as a landmark for the fight against monopolies in the software market.
In order to make it easier for companies who care about Free Software to support our work, we have assembled a set of commercial packages offerings services related to Free Software. They include services such as a Free Software Hotline, personalized workshops, bi-monthly update calls, annual networking dinners and more. More detailed information about these packages will be published soon on our website. Keep an eye on:
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