FSFE Newsletter – January 2014
From Yuletide to Full-Blown Winter
Many hackers (including us, of course!) have been enjoying the various festivities occurring around the winter solstice. But, alas!, the time to dwell on Christmas presents and enjoy a family recess is no more – the Yule has gone, the year has been made anew, and the fight for freedom and liberty demands our attention once more. Hence, it is only fitting to begin with a short review of what 2014 has got in store for us during the next few months.
Those fond of celebrations should already have their eyes set on February 14, the yearly occasion when our website turns pink and heart-laden, and the perfect time to hug developers and bring loved ones to Free Software and the Fellowship.
Those favouring a more hands-on approach have to wait until late March to educate their fellow citizens about Open Standards. However, it is not necessary to despair: our various ongoing campaigns are always looking for new hacktivists. Getting in touch is easy!
And while we are on the topic, there will be many opportunities to meet our staff, volunteers, and Fellows throughout the year. For starters, FSFE is going to be present with a booth at the Free Software conference FOSDEM, which takes place on the first weekend of February at Brussels. Everyone fancying a chat or running low on freedom gear should stop by. Those who cannot make it to FOSDEM this year should occasionally check the events section on our website for future opportunities to meet us.
Do It Yourself versus Digital Restrictions Management
While we are sure that many of our readers were either lucky or vocal enough to only receive Christmas presents that respect their freedom, there are probably some who find themselves in possession of items that were neither made by the giver nor appear in our sister's Holiday Giving Guide.
We have a few recommendations for handling such gifts: some of those can be liberated (e.g., Android devices); developers working to create free replacements to various proprietary systems would most likely appreciate hardware donations (search the web for various efforts to liberate various device categories); and you might be able to hack such a gift to run Free Software.
Whatever you have decided to do with such items, we would love to hear about your solutions. We have opened a mailing list thread on the topic and e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org (please be advised this is a public mailing list) are most welcome. In addition to solutions to non-free gifts, we are also looking forward to reading about freedom-respecting or DIY gifts you are truly enjoying.
Something Completely Different
- This newsletter is regularly available in Romanian since December 2013 . Our associate Fundația Ceata has taken it upon themselves to provide timely translations for which we are extremely grateful.
- From the planet aggregation:
- Our ex-Vice President Henrik Sandklef has been busy adding LCD support to Searduino. The latter post (not on the planet) also serves as a call for contributors.
- Isabel Drost-Fromm's ‘On geeks growing up’ contemplates the meaning of life, or to put it more plainly, family-friendliness of various technology conferences. The positive role models Isabel has identified deserve a few words of encouragement, and to Isabel herself we say naught but Inductive Bias rocks!
- Guido Arnold, Deputy Coordinator of the Education team, has collected and summarised November news stories about Free Software in education.
- Daniel Pocock has written extensively about WebRTC (‘Free calling from browser to mobile with free software’, ‘Get WebRTC going faster’, ‘xWiki: 10 years and a WebRTC success story’).
- Paul Boddie has done the same about Kolab (‘Adventures in Kolab Packaging and pykolab’, ‘Integrating setup-kolab with Debian Packaging’).
- The last planet item to warrant an honourable mention in the newsletter under this temporary editorship is Jens Lechtenbörger's ‘OpenPGP and S/MIME or Trust and “Trust”’. Jens explains why OpenPGP should be preferred over S/MIME for e-mail encryption. Acquainting oneself with the explanation is highly recommended for anyone making use of, or contemplating the use of, e-mail encryption.
Giving for Freedom
This newsletter started with a short overview of annual events waiting us in the next few months. Such celebrations, while fun and educational, require the combined efforts of volunteers and our staff to organise. In addition to requiring staff time, activities hosted as part of the celebrations require funds. Furthermore, in addition to the fun celebrations, we require funds to keep our continuous campaigns running, lobby for Free Software, advise developers on Free Software licensing, and educate technology companies on Free Software and licence compliance. Unfortunately, we have not yet secured our budget for 2014. Our readers considering supporting our work can either make a one-time donation or join the Fellowship. We thank all our existing donors and Fellows!
Free New Year!
Heiki Ojasild - FSFE