FSFE Newsletter - March 2013
Brussels flooded with Free Software activists
From February 1st to February 3rd thousands of people went to Brussels to participate in FOSDEM -- the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting. At FOSDEM you have the opportunity to meet developers and contributors from nearly all major Free Software projects. FSFE is always there to talk with people about ongoing developments and the needs and contributions in the Free Software community. So it is a good place to exchange information, talk with very interesting people, plan future activities, and meet all the people you would usually just have e-mail contact with.
As in previous years, FSFE was present with a booth, answering questions about current political topics and activities, distributing information material and – what every hacker needs – cool t-shirts. Fellow Mirko Böhm has written a summary about FOSDEM, including tips on communication for Free Software groups and projects, if we should embrace app stores and how to share a trademark. Isabel Drost has documented FOSDEM in 9 blog posts: from her arrival with spider robots, about Trademarks and Free Software, or the panel discussion about GNU APL.
We were also present with several talks: For example our Finnish team coordinator Otto Kekäläinen gave a talk about "Fixing public procurement", our vice-president Henrik Sandklef gave a talk about Searduino, and Erik Albers presented our Free Your Android campaign (recording available (webm).
As part of the FYA campaign, Several Fellows also participated in a meeting at the European Parliament on Friday. It was organised by Alexander Alvaro, Vice-President of the European Parliament (EP), together with the European Parliament Free Software User Group (EPFSUG). He wanted his EP colleagues to learn how to regain control of their data and how to install a free operating system and Free Software on their Android devices.
Just three weeks later, we were shocked to hear that Mr Alvaro had a car accident and is still in hospital with serious injuries. FSFE wishes him a fast and full recovery.
Why we love Free Software
A lot of people followed our call to participate in the I love Free Software activity. The result – which has been summarised in a report by FSFE's new interns Lucile Falgueyrac and Stepan Stehlicek – was a lot of e-mails, blog posts, pictures and a comic strip. E.g., Fellow Mirko Böhm explains why he loves Free Software:
The benefits of Free Software go beyond the individual contributors and the communities they form. The four freedoms laid out as the foundations of Free Software are a fanfare to the ability to exercise one’s free will, to freely collaborate by helping your neighbors, to achieve independence from directions other people have thought up for us. The effects can be seen all around us – when teaching material for schools is developed collaboratively and freely shared, when government data is opened up to improve the transparency of the political process, when the technical foundations of the internet and the operating systems running modern technology become a common good, and in many other places. People start to expect similar freedoms they learned to get used to in software when engaging in society. And more participation is always better.
Something completely different
- Our DFD team published a video tutorial, which explains how to watch Youtube videos using HTML5. Do not miss this month's "get-active" item below, which is also about Document Freedom Day.
- We have received a report about a successful case of Windows tax refund in Croatia. One has to apply for the refund within 30 days of a purchase of an ASUS product and fill out a form in order to receive €42 refund for Microsoft Windows 8 OEM.
- LWN writes about trademarks and their limits, the idea behind trademarks, about how effective this protection is, and gives examples of bad behaviour; e.g., offering Free Software with unwanted toolbars and adware.
- In FSFE we receive a lot of license questions, but we have not yet evaluated how many we receive through country teams, our legal teams, or over the phone. Our sister organisation FSF reports that they have responded to and resolved over 400 reports of suspected license violations and over 600 general licensing and compliance questions.
- Your editor has written an article for the German news site Heise titled "Politics and Free Software". The article covers his experience from the parliament working group on interoperability, standards, and Free Software.
- Guido Arnold has published the January update about Free Software in education, covering news from the community and the government as well as upcoming events.
- Mirko gave a talk at Embedded World 2013 about defensive publications.
- Besides many other positive news from Joinup about Free Software in the public administration: Member of the European Parliament Amelia Andersdotter wants public administrations to consider software freedom as one of the reasons to select new ICT solutions, and the city of Bolzano has automated testing of e-government services on Free Software systems.
- Fellow Jelle Hermsen asked for blog aggregation for our Dutch Fellows, and now it is up and running.
- From the planet aggregation:
- Anna Morris, who created the DFD video mentioned above, wrote about Guake: a command-line tool for "dyslexics and beginners".
- You wonder why we published the DFD as ".webm"? Peter Bubestinger wrote a summary article about different video formats from a Free Software perspective, explaining that digital video consists of video codec, audio codec, and container format. He explains the different codecs, and why some videos do not work out of the box on a Free Software Distribution.
- Beside this, Peter also wrote about Tears of Steel, a movie made with Free Software.
- From Steel to Stealth: What could the Americans and British do to put the stealth back into stealth bomber? Daniel Pocock explains why the US military might need the Free Software lumical.
- Mark Lindhout described how to use RSYNC to delete remote folders and after inspiration from the last Fellowship meeting in Berlin he also wrote about why and how to play high-fidelity white noise.
- Interested in a distributed solution for one-time-password authentication on GNU/Linux operating systems? Daniel wrote about dynalogin which is providing this.
- Thomas Løcke describes how to use the Ada Web Server and,
- Henri Bergius is thinking about the flow-based programming user interface.
Get active: Organise an event for Document Freedom Day 2013
Help us to introduce more people to Open Standards – participate in Document Freedom Day 2013 on March 27th! Local teams can now promote their events on DocumentFreedom.org, and have them marked on the global campaign map.
In 2012 groups of volunteers ran 54 events in 23 different countries. If you want to get some inspiration for your event, take a look at our activity packages or the DFD report from 2012. Help us to make this year's DFD the most successful yet!