FSFE Newsletter - December 2011
Your own web search - version 1.0
Who controls what you find on the internet? Search engines are a vital connection between you and information. In the eyes of the FSFE, it is important that users can be independent. That is why we spread awareness about the 1.0 release of YaCy, a peer-to-peer search engine. Read about YaCy at our press release, Karsten Gerloff's blog entry or choose one of the many news sites who wrote about it, including Wall Street Journal, BBC News, The Telegraph or TAZ.
Dutch government hands over education's keys to Microsoft
The Dutch government wants to tie the country's schools to a single software vendor for years to come. Dutch students using Free Software or devices without support for Silverlight will find themselves locked out of schools' online systems due to the use of proprietary technology and closed standards. Marja Bijsterveldt, the secretary of education, recently said that she is unwilling to enforce the Dutch government's own Open Standards policy on educational institutions. Instead, the government will accept long-term vendor lock-in of educational institutions.
With our campaign, FSFE's volunteers in the Netherlands want to enable all citizens to have free access to education and all other publicly-funded institutions, both online and offline, by pushing for a mandatory use of Open Standards and a guaranteed platform-independent access to all online environments. This would allow students and their parents to use Free Software, and in that way enable them to tap into their potential for growth and personal development.
Only the firealarm could end it
It's been a good weekend for Free Software advocacy: by the end of FSCONS, the FSFE led a dedicated Free Software in Politics track, Richard Stallman gave a keynote, there were many other Free Software talks (e.g. read our webmaster's blog entry), the FSFE staffed a booth both at FSCONS and at the Open Rhein Ruhr (Germany), Erik Josefsson received the Nordic Free Software Award, and we had a FSFE workshop one day before the conference. In the end it was only possible to terminate FSCONS's social event with a fire alarm. (Your editor still thinks this fire alarm is part of a bigger conspiracy.)
At the workshop before FSCONS, Sam Tuke organised the second PDFreaders sprint after the one in the UK. The 11 participants checked several websites from our buglist, and translated the form letter and the petition into Swedish. Special thanks to Daniel Melin, Henri Nordstrom, and Josef Andersson for this!
Our current success rate: 511 out of 2081 (24%) reported public websites have removed the non-free software advertisement. 1938 individuals, 58 organisations and 56 businesses have signed the petition.
Something completely different
- The Regional Court of Berlin rejected AVM's claims opposing third party modifications of GNU GPL software. gpl-violations.org and the FSFE welcome this decision. When we receive the reasoning of the court, we will inform you about it in our news section.
- Together with six other civil society organisations, the FSFE has urged the Parliament to make the ACTA committee session public, so that European citizens can form their own opinions on ACTA.
- Mirko Boehm has been involved with KDE since 1997 and was a board member of KDE e.V. from 1999 to 2006. This month Chris Woolfrey talked with him for the Fellowship interview.
- From the planet aggregation:
- The legal news update from November 1–6, and November 7–13 is presented by Hugo Roy and Martin Husovec.
- How many principles exist for good practice in the undergraduate education? Guido Arnold says there are seven, just like in good fairy tales! Do you agree? Discuss it with our education team.
- Karsten informs us about the current Free Software policy issues, which he presented at Linuxcon Europe.
- Are you interested in a 100% Free Software phone? And what phone do you use at the moment? Timo Jyrinki has an interesting comment about free phones.
- Erik Josefsson talked about Free Software tools for the European Parliament at FSCONS, now Karsten wrote about it in his blog.
- You want to make your own panorama pictures during winter? Michael Kesper describes how to do that. While visiting Michael's blog, you can also read how to install Debian the easy way.
- Kostas Boukouvalas writes about the development in his Greek Free Software group from 2007–2011.
- Fellowship representative Hugo Roy explains how to add Duck Duck Go as a search engine in Gnome Shell.
- And Nikos Roussos argues: Free Software web applications are not not just the future, but they are also cool.
Get active: Ensure it is Secure Boot, not Restricted Boot!
Microsoft has announced that if computer makers distribute machines with the Windows 8 compatibility logo, they will have to implement a measure called "Secure Boot." This measure is meant to increase security on your computer, but we are very concerned that hardware manufacturers will implement these boot restrictions in a way that will prevent you from booting any other operating system than Microsoft Windows. That is why we ask you for help:
- Participate in the translation of this statement. (Heiki Ojasild gave some good reasons why to join our translators team, but you can also just send the translation to email@example.com.)
- Sign the statement yourself, and ask your family, friends, colleagues to do the same.
Currently 20,562 people have signed the statement, making it clear they want to have the choice. We need more signatures to send a clear signal to hardware vendors that they have to enable us to install Free Software on our computers.