FSFE Newsletter - April 2012
Let us end all Free Software "projects" quickly!
A "project" is always temporary, in the narrow sense of the term. Some Free Software people use "project" to refer to long lasting initiatives instead. Your editor also did this, until Bernhard Reiter convinced him to use different terms for people, the result they create, and temporary concerted actions. After several people in FSFE encouraged Bernhard to write down his thoughts, he now published an article arguing: By adopting the more widespread use of the term project, Free Software initiatives will be more successful. "Free Software is here to stay, prepare your mind for this situation.", writes Bernhard.
Corporate perk or monopolist bribery?
Staff in the European Parliament are facing a challenge to their ethics. A company is offering all of them a gift which could compromise their independence. The company in question is Microsoft, and the gift is a bunch of proprietary programs. Through the Parliament's administration, Microsoft is offering staff (though probably not MEPs) gratis licenses to Microsoft Office, Project, and Visio. This happens under the so-called "Home Use Program".
The staff is working on regulations that also effect Microsoft, who is now making a gift to them. Staff is usually the one who does all the legwork. They are the one who control access to our MEPs. FSFE asks the MEPs to tell their staff, and the staff in their groups, not to accept Microsoft's gift. On the contrary, they should push the administration into making Free Software tools available that staffers can use to do their work, and urge the Parliament itself to migrate to Free Software. Karsten Gerloff wrote about this in his blog and will closeley monitor how the MEPs and their staff in the European Parliament will react. We will keep you posted.
Help for FSFE from Greece
The election period for this year's Fellowship GA seat has ended on February 29th. To summarise the detailed election results: Our new Fellowship representative is Nikos Roussos from Greece. He will meet with other members of FSFE's general assembly in Lisboa at the end of April, to work on strategic questions for the coming years. Thanks to Albert Dengg and Gert Seidl who also stood for the Fellowship GA seat, and who want to continue their great work for FSFE in their area.
Something completely different
- Digital Restriction Management: In his article "Like candy from a baby: PS Vita takes freedom from new generation", Sam takes the Sony PS Vita, as an example how owners of devices are restricted in what they can do with their computers.
- Guido Günther joined the Debian Project while completing his degree in physics at the University of Konstanz. He helped with development of Debian for new processor architectures, and co-initiated Debian’s Groupware Meetings. He also enjoys contributing to the GNOME project, and advanced Free Software virtualisation technologies. Read more in the last Fellowship interview.
- Ask Your Candidates: in Germany, we asked the usual set of questions and published the analysis. Compared with the positive replies in the Berlin election, the Saarland election was a disappointment. Our press release also resulted in discussions if it is "the good right" of companies to restrict the users.
- Fellow Anna Morris was interviewed by the BBC (Audio, starting at 17:13) about a conference that she is organising in London for women in Free Software. In just a few minutes she discusses what Free Software is, what it is like being a woman in the Free Software movement, and how she first got involved.
- FSFE's volunteers and staff have been quite busy with Document Freedom Day in the last weeks. We will send out the handcuffs and write a report what happend all over the world. In the preperation we have published an article by FSFE co-founder Bernhard Reiter. He discusses what makes a good data format, and argues that Open Standards are good, but that we need to push further still. His central question to data formats is "Can we make it simpler?" The article is in German, and we are looking for translations.
- FSF announced the Free Software Awards. Big thanks from FSFE to Free Software hacker Yukihiro Matsumoto and GNU Health.
- Iceland launched a project to encourage migration of the public administration to Free Software. Your editor is already looking forward to a report about this at FSCONS in Gothenburg.
- A selection from the Fellowship planet
- Free Software, nothing for marketing? And which is the most powerful brand in Free Software? Timo Jyrinki writes about brands, marketing and technical details.
- Hugo Roy is organising an event at Sciences Po on 6th April (in French). Beside others Lawrence Lessig, author of "Code and other laws of Cyberspace" will talk about "The Character of Cyberlaw Battles".
- Birgit Hüsken explains how to knit the Fellowship plussy.
- Fellow Number 1, Mario Fux, wants to set up a local association in Randa, Switzerland to keep the local Free Software activities running.
- And Mirko Böhm writes about about managing trust in mixed commercial and volunteer Free Software communities.
Get Active: Leaflets to free others mobile!
Our Free Your Android campaign, got a lot of attention. Beside preparing his exams, Torsten Grote gave interviews for the German newspaper "Die Tageszeitung", radio interviews, and held a first installation party for FoeBud e.V.. Also at our booth at Cebit, Chemnitzer Linux-Tage, as well as Augsburger Linuxinfotage a lot of people showed interest in this campaign. We would like to get more people involved in this campaign. We ask you to promote the campaign with leaflets and posters in your local Free Software user group, your hackerspace, company, university, school, or your favourite bar. Please write an e-mail with a postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we send you some leaflets and posters to promote it.