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FSFE Newsletter - December 2013

Our cryptocards and straw fires

In 2005 we started giving crypto cards to individuals who donated to us and have become Fellow of FSFE. We believe it is important to remind people about Free Software tools to encrypt our communications. Besides since FSFE was founded in 2001, we have been explaining that those 40 digits on our business cards are about encryption and why this is important. 8 years later, the topic encryption hit ithe media, and it is now mentioned in every newspaper in Europe. This is good and bad at the same time: We currently face the problem that media attention is very high but it does not mean we have more resources to deal with it. We would like to work more on these issues but we also cannot stop working on other long term topics.

Importance of long term work

If you take a look at our new timeline you will see that we often had to work on topics which are difficult to explain to a larger audience, work intensive, and sometimes unpopular. Companies worked against Free Software as they saw it as threat to them earning money but we helped them to understand how they can make revenues with Free Software. We had to spend 8 years of work with the European Commission and the European Court of Justice to make sure Free Software companies are allowed to compete with Microsoft's work group servers and since then we are pushing this knowledge also on the national and local levels. License compliance was an unpopular topic for a long time but developers have to make sure our software can be programmed and used without legal risks. When we started working on Open Standards it was a niche topic, now it is main stream. Companies opposed our position on software patents, now a lot of businesses and politicians realised they are a dangerous business risk. Today they use our arguments and ask us for input to get rid of them.

What we need to master the challenge

We believe in a society in which software is in the hands of all of us: as individuals, companies and organisations, or governments, instead of a few powerful entities. Nobody should be allowed to prevent you from changing software, or asking someone else to change it for you, on your mobile phone, router, car, or other belongings. The last months have shown us that it is important for our society to have computers we can trust. Computers we control. Programs that are transparent in what they do with our data and which can be changed to fulfil our needs. The only way to achieve this is with Free Software.

Such a challenge cannot be solved in a few months, it takes a long time. It takes organisations which continue to work when there is no big media attention. An organisation which fights for your freedom in the digital age. FSFE has worked on those issues for over 12 years.

To face this challenge FSFE needs to work continuously towards this goal, and for this we need you, to invest in your freedom! At the moment it is a good time to intensify our work, as there are many people out there who listen differently to the same messages we had before. We would like to expand our activities, and therefore we need your donation. Do what others did who value software freedom: Become a supporting member by joining the Fellowship of FSFE!

Something completely different

Get active: Why does Free Software matter to you?

This month Jacob Appelbaum, spokesperson for the Tor Project, and two other Tor developers became supporting members of FSFE and Jacob explained why he did so:

I believe that actions of support for the FSFE are important for encouraging Free Software development and adoption in Europe as well as the rest of the world. I'm an FSFE Fellow because financially supporting the cause of Free Software brings positive improvements to all societies throughout the world.

Quotes like this help others understanding the importance of our work. On our english Fellowship page some of our Fellows already explain why Free Software and FSFE's work is important to them. We would also like you to write us why Free Software and our work matters to you. In agreement with you, we would then like to publish some of the submissions on our website. Else they just motivate FSFE's working teams.

Thanks to all the volunteers, Fellows and corporate donors who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE

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