FSFE Newsletter - October 2009
October has been a dense, vibrant and challenging month for FSFE. We have done more work than will fit the limits of this letter. For this reason, after reading the newsletter, please visit the news section of our website to have a complete overview of our work:https://fsfe.org/news/news.html
Table of Contents
- FSFE suggests to make MySQL independent as solution for Oracle/Sun deal
- Announcing FSFE's new Finnish country team
- Fellowship meetings in Frankfurt, Berlin and Vienna
- Windows 7 to hit consumers with known security problem
- New Fellowship jabber server
- Welcome to Alina Mierlus as intern In the spotlight
- EC vs MS: the browser and interoperability cases It happened in the past
- Fellows discuss the future of the Fellowship portal Upcoming events
- FSFE and the Fellows co-organise FSCONS 2009, Lindholmen, Sweden, 13-15 November
- FSFE to launch the Fellowship grants project
A lot of rumours spread during the last weeks about the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle. Here, the Free Software community is concerned for the future of MySQL. To shed some light on this issue, FSFE's president, Karsten Gerloff, published a detailed analysis of the key points involved in the acquisition. Following this analysis, FSFE suggested that the best solution to allow the Oracle/Sun deal to be finalized and secure a free future for MySQL is to make it independent.
We are pleased to announce the formation of a new country team working under the FSFE's umbrella: Otto Kekäläinen, Henri Bergius, and Timo Jyrinki are the members of FSFE's Finnish team. They will work respectively as team coordinator, deputy coordinator and Finnish translation coordinator. All of them will participate in the upcoming FSCONS, where they will meet other FSFE team members to discuss the team's strategies for cooperation and for their growth in Finland. To contact the Finnish team you can write an e-mail to:
During the month, the regular Fellowship local meetings took place as usual. German Fellows met in Frankfurt and in Berlin on the 7th and 8th of October, while the Austrian Fellows held their usual monthly meeting on the 16th. Main topics of the evenings have been: Free Software in education, follow-up on the "Ask your candidate about Free Software!" campaign, the Fellowship jabber meetings, and specific Free Software projects Fellows are involved in. To get in touch with your local Fellowship group or to start one in your own region, have a look at:
In October, the German federal IT security agency (BSI) issued a report concerning a 'high-risk' vulnerability in Microsoft's SMB2-Protocol which also affects Windows 7. Microsoft remained silent about this warning and did not yet provide a solution to the problem. FSFE published a press release to highlight that the company's bad practice of ignoring high risk vulnerabilities is unfortunately the rule, not the exception. With Free Software, users are not dependent on a single party to fix such problems for them.
In order to improve the services to FSFE's Fellows we recently replaced our old jabber server with a new one based on ejabberd. After a testing period, we are happy to announce that the new server is up and running! This change will solve many of the problems that Fellows reported to us during the past months. To take advantage, remember to update your account settings!
On 15 October, Alina Mierlus joined FSFE to start her internship. She will work with us until mid-February 2010 from our new Berlin office and will mainly focus on campaigns and events coordination. Alina is from Romania and worked over the past six years advocating Free Software. She says: "This internship offers me the opportunity to apply what I've learned, but for a European Foundation. I've always believed that campaigns, events and all the things that put people together are the most important ways to have a healthy community." Welcome on board Alina!
In the spotlight
The open issues that Microsoft has with the European Commission (EC) got shaken up in October. The proposed solutions will not be helpful for Free Software, so FSFE is keeping up the pressure on the EC.
Commissioner Neelie Kroes wants to close two important cases concerning Microsoft before the end of her mandate at the Directorate General for Competition (DG Comp): one case relates to the dominant position of the company in the browser market, the other to the failure in providing interoperability information for desktop applications.
FSFE is working to provide input to the Commission in order to make the settlements as fair as possible for all the actors in the software market, Free Software included. In the past weeks, we already explained why we believe that the current details of the settlements are not satisfactory and provided feedback to the Commissioner. We will soon deliver a new formal comment concerning the updated version of the settlements to the Commission.
It happened in the past
Two years ago, the Fellows of FSFE started a lively discussion on the future of the Fellowship portal. The discussion covered the use of forums, calenders, mailing lists, jabber accounts and other services, and it was one of the landmarks that brought the Fellowship platform to the current and improved version.
This year, the Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit (FSCONS) in Lindholmen (Göteborg), Sweden, will be co-organised by FSFE and the Fellows. Beside the participation of Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's president, Adriaan de Groot, Freedom Task Force coordinator, who will hold talks, the Fellows will organise workshops and panels.
Thanks to FSFE's donors and tarent GmbH in particular, we will be able to award three Fellowship grants each month for one year. These grants will cover the Fellowship contribution for people who have done exceptional things to bring Free Software forward, and will be awarded after evaluation of the individual applications. Candidacies can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. In December, we will announce the first three people who will receive the grants.
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