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FSFE Newsletter - December 2009

Despite the temperatures dropping below zero all over Europe and the Christmas holidays approaching, FSFE kept working as usual for software freedom. The major news of December are that we have begun to restructure our website, added Andreas Tolf Tolfsen as webmaster deputy coordinator, and published a statement on the EC's settlement with Microsoft in the browser antitrust case. Read on to learn more about what we did in December.

Moreover, let us offer you our best wishes for a great and Free 2010!

Giacomo Poderi

Table of Contents

  1. Fellowship Jabber meeting: What do your taxes buy? Free Software in the public sector, 21 Dec
  2. Restructuring FSFE's website
  3. The Fellowship interviews: Simon Josefsson
  4. FSFE welcomes Andreas Tolf Tolfsen as core team member and webmaster deputy coordinator
  5. November Fellowship grants
  6. In the spotlight
  7. FSFE welcomes greater user choice in browsers, warns that Free Software is excluded from interoperability
  8. It happened in the past
  9. Samba team receives Microsoft's interoperability information
  10. Upcoming events
  11. Election for Fellowship GA seat

Fellowship Jabber meeting: What do your taxes buy? Free Software in the public sector, 21 Dec

Various Fellows participated in an interesting jabber meeting on Free Software in the public administration. Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's president, chaired the meeting and brought his sound experience on the topic into the chat-room. The ISO standardization process, Open Standards, procurement rules in the Netherlands, and Free Software in the Swiss Federal Court and Munich were discussed for nearly two hours. As usual the conversation went on much longer in an informal way, after the official closure of the meeting.

Restructuring FSFE's website

In order to make FSFE's work more accessible, the web team this month started work on a major restructuring of fsfe.org's content and usability. The website wasn't originally designed to include so many documents and information related to so many different domains: from the legal to the political, from the educational to the community oriented and more. The time has now arrived to improve its structure, and so that it can reflect the diversity and quality of FSFE's work. The web team's goal is to make our website easier to browse and to read, and make it possible to find information much faster. If you would like to help...join the web team!

The Fellowship interviews: Simon Josefsson

This month, Stian Rødven Eide interviewed Simon Josefsson. Simon is a Fellow and 'old' established GNU hacker with interest in security, who in November received the Nordic Free Software Award. His contributions to the Free Software world include such ubiquitous projects as GnuTLS and Libssh2. In the interview, Stian and Simon talk about differences between proprietary and Free Software in relation to security issues, discuss encryption, DNS and different projects that Simon is involved in, such as GnuTLS, GNU SASL and GSS. Read the interview at:

FSFE welcomes Andreas Tolf Tolfsen as core team member and webmaster deputy coordinatorg

After contributing to FSFE's web team for three years, Andreas Tolf Tolfsen has taken on the role of webmaster deputy coordinator within FSFE, becoming part of the European core team. Andreas is a Norwegian Free Software activists with years of experience on web design and web technologies. Together with Reinhard Muller, webmaster coordinator, Rolf Camps, deputy coordinator, and the web team, Andreas' first big challenge will be the restructuring of FSFE's website. At the same time, he will work on the setting up of a Norwegian country team. Welcome on board Andreas!

November Fellowship grants

The Fellowship grants project we launched in November generated a great response in the Free Software community. We received many outstanding applications by activists coming from all over Europe: choosing the first three people to receive the grants was not easy at all. Finally, Alexjan Carraturo from Italy, Ferdinand Thommes from Germany and Matija Šuklje from Slovenia stood out from the evaluation process due to their lasting and diverse contributions to Free Software. We welcome them in the Fellowship!

In the spotlight

FSFE welcomes greater user choice in browsers, warns that Free Software is excluded from interoperability

FSFE congratulated the European Commission on pushing Microsoft to give users greater choice between different browsers. The settlement that the Commission reached on the Microsoft's browser case is an improvement from the scenario that FSFE criticised this October.

In early 2010, Microsoft will provide the users of its operating systems with a ballot screen that should make it easy for users to chose between different web browsers. The screen will suggests various browsers available on the market, Free Software ones included.

This settlement relates to only one of the two issues that Microsoft currently faces with the EU Commission. FSFE also congratulates the Commission for the decision to keep open the investigation on Microsoft's refusal to let other products interoperate with its own desktop programs. Microsoft has offered a voluntary commitment, but FSFE warns that this will not be enough for real competition to develop.

Relevant links:

It happened in the past

Samba team receives Microsoft's interoperability information

During December 2007, as a consequence of the drawn-out EU vs Microsft antitrust case, the Samba team was finally able to receive Microsoft's network interoperability information. The specifications were requested with a one-time access fee of 10.000 EUR for full access to crucial information. This event marked an important victory for competition in the IT market. It was a great achievement for Free Software, FSFE and the Samba team.

Upcoming events

Election for Fellowship GA seat

During the whole month of February 2010 it will be possible to vote for the second Fellowship representative in FSFE's General Assembly (GA). Fellows will soon have the chance to declare their candidature and to vote again for participation in FSFE's highest decision-making body. We encourage you to run for the second seat!

You can find a list of all FSFE newsletters on


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