FSFE Newsletter - March 2015
FSFE's reply to EU consultation on patents and standard
We believe that proprietary standards and software patents are barriers to Free Software adoption. To get rid of those barriers we have to help the public administration to understand this, too. That is why last month we responded to a consultation on the interaction of standards and patents by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
In our response, we focused mainly on how software patents negatively affect competition and innovation in the software market. We also highlighted that so-called “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) licensing terms are in practice a grave discrimination against Free Software. In many segments of the software market, these programs are the most significant competition to non-free offerings. So the FSFE recommends that standards organisations instead implement the successful patent licensing policies of the W3C and other bodies, and make the restriction-free licensing of standard-essential patents mandatory.
If you want to help us to promote Open Standards, please participate in this year's Document Freedom Day (see this month's get active item at the end of the newsletter).
Free Software as integral part of Open Educational Resources
The more we see classic educational environments equipped with computers, the more important becomes an education system that teaches every student to be in control of their technology. For the FSFE, the basis for this is Free Software.
Together with other partners in the “Bündnis Freie Bildung” (Free Education Alliance) we published a position paper about the creation and usage of Open Educational Resources (OER). The paper has a specific focus on the creation and usage of OER inside the German educational system. It should be mandatory to publish educational resources including software that has been paid with public money under free licences. Furthermore, the position paper demands that educational institutions should consider the compatibility with Free Software already during the development or extension of their IT infrastructures. By this it envisions to have “all educational resources usable without any legal or technical barriers”.
If you want to know more about what happened in the education field connected with Free Software, read the January Education team report.
What happened on the “I love Free Software” day?
On 14 February 2015 people all over the world showed Free Software contributors their appreciation. It was the fifth year we asked people to participate in the “I Love Free Software” day. This year's report shows a variety of love declarations that happened this day, including blog posts, pictures, comics, poems, and an #ilovefs Android library.
We want to thank everybody who motivated Free Software contributors at this year's “I love Free Software” day, and ask everybody to mark 14 February in their calendars to motivate the people who enable us to control our technology.
Something completely different
- Hannes Hauswedell from the German team wrote an update about the situation with secure texting. The last months Hannes and others wanted to improve the situation with Textsecure, which unfortunately did not work out until now. So Hannes changed his mind and is now recommending kontalk.
- Fellow Cory Doctorow wrote an article in the Guardian imagining how it would look like “If dishwashers were iPhones”.
- Christian Kalkhoff reported from FSFE's Munich group meeting in January. To find upcoming local meetings close to you, please have a look at our event page.
- The Fellowship election for one of the seats in FSFE's General Assembly is running until 6 March 2015. All sustaining members should have received the voting instructions to decide between Nicolas Dietrich, Max Mehl, and Felix Stegerman. So if you have not yet voted, do it now!
- From the planet aggregation:
- After there have been plenty of reports of Lenovo shipping products with a form of adware known as Superfish, Paul Boddie asks what Lenovo's reasoning was, and from whom they want their money in future.
- Max Mehl has been asked by a friend why he is “investing so much time in the FSFE instead of putting more energy in other organisations with more focus on privacy issues.” In his blog post, he answers that question.
- Mirko Böhm summarised his last weeks including what he worked on with his students, about amendments to Julia Reda's report, software patents, and Qt programming.
- Daniel Pocock wrote about the 3rd birthday of Lumicall.
- Christian Kallhoff reports from his experience to fix a bug in Free Software.
- Nico Rikken wrote about understanding software and why it is not magic, and about the freedom Ubuntu phone offers.
Get active: Be a part of Document Freedom Day 2015!
Every year since 2008, people who care about a free information society celebrate Document Freedom Day to raise awareness of Open Standards. This year again people around the world come together on 25 March to talk about access to communications, run local public activities, and generally spread the word about Open Standards in a dozen different ways.
We are offering promotion materials in many languages, and artwork you can remix, share and improve to publicise your own event. If you are running a local event, we may be able to offer funding of your local activities or your local print runs - thanks to DFD's sponsors. To get inspired, take a look at what other groups from Mexico to Japan did last year.