FSFE Newsletter - May 2015
A secret Free Software action plan by the European Commission
The European Commission has published a new version of its strategy for the internal use of Free Software. The FSFE provided input to the Commission during the update phase and while the strategy is broadly similar to the previous version, there are some improvements.
Unlike previous versions, this time the strategy is accompanied by an action plan aimed at putting it into practice. However, the action plan is not public, so it is not possible to assess the Commission's progress towards its own goals. We would welcome it, if the Commission would soon publish its action plan.
Interpretation of law restricting Free Software in Switzerland
FSFE's goal is that software which is developed with tax money has to be released as Free Software. By doing so the public administration would strengthen and stimulate a fair IT market.
In Switzerland, there is currently uncertainty regarding the development and release of Free Software by public contractors. The trigger for this was the development and release of the software “OpenJusticia” by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. The federal council now wants to examine whether the publication of Free Software by the federal administration can be allowed explicitly. The FSFE demands a clarification, so that publicly-financed software can be legally and unambiguously released as Free Software.
Worldwide 63 events about Open Standards
This year again volunteers around the world, accompanied by international organisations as well as politicians and public services joined our demand for document freedom. The global Document Freedom Day had 63 local events in 31 countries on 4 continents. Read our 2015 report to learn about political activities, new cartoons and illustrations, and have a look at pictures from the events including tasty DFD cakes.
Something completely different
- We published a statement on the changed relations between the FSFE and Kern Sibbald. If you are a developer who has contributed to Bacula, we recommend that you look at what Fiduciary Licence Agreements or copyright assignments you have agreed to, and make sure that you fully understand how this termination affect you. If you are not sure, you are welcome to email us and we will do our best to assist you. Please take a look at our FAQ on this issue first.
- On 6 May 2015 the FSF is organising the International Day Against DRM. You can still print out some DRM leaflets, distribute them during the day, and talk with your friends and colleagues about the harm of digital restriction measures. Previously the FSF highlighted the problems with the new Apple products concerning proprietary software and Digital Restrictions Management technologies distributed with its products and services.
- The German Greens want the Government to increase the support for Free Software. FSFE has helped them with a enquiry in parliament about the move to non-free software in the German Foreign Office. You can help us to evaluate the Governments answers (in German).
- Guido Arnold gave a talk about FSFE's education team at the Chemnitzer Linuxtage. The video “Advantages and barriers of Free Software in education” is now online (you can for example use youtube-dl to download it).
- From the planet aggregation:
- Paul Boddie wrote a detailed blog post why Open Hardware and Free Software is not just for the geeks.
- Franz Gratzer published an open letter to everymothercounts.org about their Apple advertisement.
- Mirko Böhm summarised his experiences about parsing Emacs OrgMode files, the EU patent debate, and his vacation.
- Riccardo (ruphy) Iaconelli announced, that he is back blogging, after he has done research at CERN and launched WikiFM.
- And your editor explained how to share multiple links on Android.
Get active: Check the remaining advertisement for non-free software
We currently wrap-up the PDFreaders campaign, and we need your help to measure our success.
Started in 2009 FSFE’s goal with the campaign was to get rid of advertisement for proprietary PDF readers. We focused on the websites of public administrations, and many people helped us gather contact details for over 2000 public websites which advertised non-free software. Many people helped us to contact the public administrations, governments were made aware of it and published guidelines. Until now we know that 772 of the 2110 bugs were fixed, which is a 36% success rate.
But for most countries we did not check the status for several months now. That is why we need your help to make one final round. We are looking for volunteers who can help us by checking websites in their native language, following the step-by-step guide at the end of your editor's blog post.