FSFE Newsletter - April 2015
Jonas Öberg visiting Boston without a pink backpack
Our new Executive Director Jonas Öberg gave a talk at Libreplanet, and visited Boston to meet FSF board members and staff. In his blog posts he wrote about his meetings with Matthew Garret, Benjamin Mako Hill, Bradley Kuhn, Henry Poole from FSF's board, FSF's staff as well as FSF's Executive Director John Sullivan discussing how to improve cooperation and the two main challenges he sees for FSFE:
- analysing Free Software from legal, technical, and social dimensions and ensuring that any challenges to Free Software within those areas are met,
- assuring that in a world of free and open everything, Free Software is what ties everything together: you can not have open data, open ecology, open government or open educational resources without Free Software.
Furthermore he looks back to his first visit, at that time in his capacity as GNU webmaster, in December 1999 with a pink backpack.
FSFE supporting the Christoph Hellwig GNU GPL enforcement lawsuit
FSFE welcomes the action which Christoph Hellwig and the Software Freedom Conservancy are taking to bring VMware into compliance with the GNU General Public License.
Free Software is a public resource, and it is governed by legal rules and social norms. Anyone who draws on this resource without respecting those rules and norms damages the community at large. The great majority of such problems are successfully resolved through dialogue and goodwill. It is only when dialogue fails that legal steps become necessary in order to protect this resource which we all share.
While FSFE regrets that this lawsuit has arisen, we believe that safeguarding Free Software against those who try to appropriate for themselves what belongs to us all is of the utmost importance.
Joint statement on the use of Open Standards in the European Commission
Open Standards are formats and protocols which everybody can use free of charge and restriction and for which no specific software from a particular vendor is required. It is important that every EU citizen and company should have the right to communicate and interact with its administration using Open Standards exclusively, and not be forced to install and use software from any specific vendor.
At Document Freedom Day (DFD), the international day to celebrate and raise awareness of Open Standards, April (the French Free Software organisation), European Digital Rights (EDRi), Open Forum Europe (OFE), the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA), and FSFE published a joint statement. Besides generally highlighting the topic, the statement focuses on the improper use of standards in the context of applying for EU programmes. (A full report about the 60 DFD events in 31 countries will be published at the beginning of April.)
Something completely different
- Just how transparent does the European Parliament have to be? In its own rules of procedure, the Parliament has set itself the high standard of conducting its affairs in “utmost transparency”. Our president Karsten Gerloff reports from an interesting discussion “Ensuring utmost transparency – Free Software and Open Standards under the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament”, and what that means in practice.
- The German Ministry of Economics published a first draft law to ban compulsory routers (German). Except missing enforcement measures FSFE welcomes the draft. We update the timeline and our overview pages so people outside German could reuse our experiences to fight compulsory routers in other countries, too.
- At a panel discussion, organised by the European Patent Office, about patents, standards, and Free Software your editor experienced an unexpected but positive turn.
- The New Yorker notes the 30th anniversary of the GNU Manifesto and published a longer article about Richard Stallman and the start of GNU and copyleft.
- This year the Free Software Award went to Sébastien Jodogne for his work on Free software Medical imaging with his project Orthanc and to Reglue, which gives GNU/Linux computers to underprivileged children and their families in Austin, Texas.
- FSFE welcomes Nicolas Dietrich in its General Assembly. He was elected by our sustaining members, and thereby holds one of the two Fellowship GA seats.
- From the planet aggregation:
- Peter Bubestinger explains how he saved the songs of a friend's iPod with Free Software.
- In his new job, former FSFE intern Nicolas Jean published EvQueue, a job scheduler and queuing engine, as Free Software.
- Paul Boddie wrote about the BBC Micro Bit, a computing device, which the BBC plan to give to each child in the UK starting secondary school.
- Franz Gratzer highlighted some English interviews held during FOSDEM, and wrote about the booth presence of freie.it, which was founded by some members of FSFE’s Viennese Fellowship group, as a web platform to help people who are interested in using Free Software but who do not want to administrate their own computers.
- Fellow Karl Beecher explained why his company Endocode supports FSFE as silver donor, and
- Mirko Böhm, also part of Endocode, wrote about his activites, including meeting with Jonas Öberg, FSFE’s new Executive Director.
- Nico Rikken wrote about his discussions with the Fairphone producers
- Mario Fux wondered if Konqi -- the KDE mascot -- is male or female.
- And Daniel Pocock explains how you can become your own OpenID provider.
Get active: Spread the message with Free Software merchandise
During the last weeks, many people ordered our “There is no cloud, just other people's computers” stickers. Now Rich Folsom wrote a Chromium Browser add-in, which converts “the cloud” to “other people's computers”.
Since so many people like the slogan, we now also have the corresponding “There is no cloud, just other people's computers” bags in our webshop. Furthermore we have a new Open Standard t-shirt with robots in fitted light blue or a non-fitted khaki, the “I love Free Software” t-shirt in light blue, or a fitted “Hacking for Freedom” t-shirt in grey, as well as the metallic “GNU/Linux inside” stickers and a golden GNU pin.
If you want to spread the Free Software message at work, conferences, or when you are shopping, you can order the equipment on our merchandise page.