FSFE Newsletter - January 2012
Preventing 6000 mines against Free Software?
Competition authorities are investigating the sale of 6000 patents from Nortel, a bankrupt telecommunications equipment manufacturer, to a consortium of Apple, Microsoft and four other companies.
FSFE considers it a serious risk to competition in the mobile technology space, and Free Software as a whole, if those companies acquire these patents. Soon after the sale, we approached EU and US competition authorities, and in September submitted a summary of our concerns.
80 billion EUR for R&D: What will we get?
The European Commission has adopted a set of proposals for its next framework program, called Horizon 2020. This program will provide 80 billion EUR for research and development projects from 2014 to 2020. Prior to finalisation of the proposal, FSFE had provided input to the Commission in order to make the program accessible for Free Software research and projects. FSFE will continue to engage with the European institutions in order to support the development of Horizon 2020 in the interest of Europe's citizens.
Free Software makes German Parliament more secure
On the request of some members of parliament, the German Bundestag's IT-department now supports GnuPG, so members of the parliament have the option to set this up and receive encrypted and signed e-mails. The president of the German City Council and Munich's main mayor Ude wrote to the EU-Commissioner Neelie Kroes that she should support Open Standards and Free Software.
Those are nice examples where politicians understand the advantages of Free Software and also act upon this knowledge. We want more politicians with this knowledge. One concrete activity is our "ask your candidates campaign", where we send out questions to the political parties before elections, and then evaluate the answers. This year we did so for elections in Vienna/Austria, Switzerland, and 5 federal state elections in Germany.
Something completely different
- In the dispute between the companies AVM and Cybits the written reasoning of the decision of the Regional Court of Berlin is now available. The court confirmed FSFE's view that users of GNU GPLed software are allowed to modify and install it even if it is shipped as a part of an embedded device's firmware.
- City officials in Helsinki, Finland, are overwhelmingly satisfied after trying out the Free Software office suite OpenOffice.org on their laptops. 75% of 600 officials have been using OpenOffice.org exclusively since February, as part of a pilot project where the city installed the program on 22,500 workstations.
- In this month Fellowship interview Chris talked with Paul Boddie, who has been working with Python since 1995, and from 2006 to 2010 was involved in organising the annual EuroPython conference, administering various conference-related tools and developing the conference website.
- An important decision of the Court of Justice of EU, AG's opinion in awaited European interoperability ruling, two software patent cases and much more is to be found in our legal news.
- We are preparing for Document Freedom Day 2012. The website was updated, on the mailing list we are discussing new ideas, and you are welcome to join.
- From the Fellowship planet
- So what might Digital Sustainability be? Read Georg Greve's explanation about it.
- Want to see a quadrocopter and other pictures from the Chaos Communication Camp? Take a look at Florian's blog article.
- What do nerds drink? Michael Stehmann answers this question in his article about the "Chaosvillage" in Düsseldorf.
- Patrik from our Swedish team writes about awk filtering and counting.
- Our translator Heiki Ojasild thinks about the question what to translate and what not to translate?
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Matthias Kirschner - FSFE
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