FSFE Newsletter – January 2015
The Earth has once again completed a full, customarily counted revolution. Here at FSFE we have been busy throughout 2014, working hard to ensure that users remain in control of their devices and that Free Software may once compete on a level playing field for public tenders. More information, including the extent of our limited success and our future prospects, on both these issues and our other frontiers may be found in our annual report for 2014, penned by our President Karsten Gerloff.
In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of our activities in 2014, Karsten finishes the report with a sneak peek of the challenges we are going to face and overcome in revolution 2015. For instance, we intend to build on the success of the Free Software Pact to spread awareness about Free Software among both the elected representatives of the European citizenry and the unelected bureaucrats of the executive branch.
We also intend to invest more in our local volunteers and Fellowship groups. We are hopeful that not only will we reach a wider audience and have a greater impact with increased local participation, but this will also be much more fun for everyone involved.
FSFE has a bit less than 1500 Fellows or sustaining members. In addition to receiving certain benefits useful for digital activists, all of them have a say in the governance of the FSFE. This right is exercised by electing representatives to the General Assembly, the highest decision-making body of FSFE. Your temporary editor will have served his term as a Fellowship Representative by this spring, and hence a new Representative will be elected by the orderly Fellows from February 20th to March 6th 2015, 12pm.
Your outgoing Representative would like to take this opportunity to invite all our Fellows to partake in the elections. The General Assembly is responsible for making all strategic decisions for FSFE, and all Fellows, whether true idealists or business-minded pragmatists, have the same right to affect our future growth and direction, so please do so.
EU: the good and the bad
On December 17, 2014, the European Parliament adopted the EU budget for 2015. We are very happy to report that thanks to the efforts of MEPs Julia Reda (Pirates) and Max Andersson (Greens), the Parliament has allocated up to a million euros to audit Free Software used by the European Parliament and Commission. We hope that the institutions concerned will closely work with upstream developers to best benefit the public. We also welcome further allocations that aim to allow equal participation in the digital society.
Unfortunately, we must still call upon EU institutions to make use of Open Standards and Free Software, as a recent study prepared for the Greens/EFA has found that the EU Parliament falls woefully short of its democratic obligations to ensure transparency and openness. Among other shortcomings the parliamentarians lack access to a standards-compliant e-mail solution.
Something completely different
From the planet aggregation:
- Paul Boddie writes about the ‘unplanned obsolescence’ of early Fairphone devices, justifiedly arguing that Fairphone's decision to overlook or deprioritize hardware support for Free Software was unwise considering the abundance of information available on the lack of hardware support for Free Software.
- Otto Kekäläinen writes about password management while recognizing that people are not storage media. Otto's piece is an excellent read when taken with a pinch of salt.
- Nico Rikken contemplates the right to make bad choices in his piece ‘Optional rights’.
2015 will bring a new etiquette to our Fellowship Planet. A proposed draft will be presented to the Fellows for consultation at the earliest convenience.
Get active: spread free software
The gift giving season has just ended. No doubt you have a friend or relative unfortunate enough to have been given a computer bundled with non-free software as a gift. Help them install a free GNU/Linux distribution or Replicant.