FSFE Newsletter - March 2016
"I love Free Software" Day 2016
For the 6th time in a row we asked everyone to express their gratitude and appreciation towards Free Software contributors on Valentine's Day. Check out our #ilovefs 2016 report and see who got acknowledged this year through countless blog posts, pictures, artwork, memes, personal notes and many more. Don't forget to mark next year's 14 February as "I love Free Software" Day to continue this nice tradition of acknowledging the people and hard work of everyone behind Free Software. We thank all participants who found time to say "thank you" and for making #ilovefs 2016 such a success!
"No cloud" went viral
Just before "I love Free Software" Day, thanks to a spontaneous Reddit post we received over 200 orders of our promotional material in the time span of 48 hours. In comparison, in 2015 we had around 370 orders in total. After 24 hours we had more orders than usual in 6 months. The majority of orders requested "no cloud" material but beside that people also ordered our leaflet with basic information about Free Software, the GnuPG leaflet, and our F-Droid leaflet.
European Free Software Policy Meeting 2016
In the end of Janury we organised, together with Open Forum Europe, a pre-FOSDEM policy meeting in Brussels with the active Free Software policy groups around Europe. The purpose of the meeting was to learn about each other's activities and exchange views, with an emphasis on public policy related actions. In total, 19 organisations participated in the meeting. In addition, Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda, and a representative of the IT department of the European Commission, Pierre Damas, attended the meeting to present the work of EU institutions in the field of Free Software.
From the community
February was dedicated to the sweet love declarations to Free Software in the light of #ilovefs day. Check out our #ilovefs 2016 report above for more detailed information about different blogposts, and get inspired for the next year's celebrations by following Florian Snow's idea for DIY #ilovefs banners.
Paul Boddie combined retrocomputing with Python programming and wrote how to make Python programs faster with Shedskin.
Marcus Moeller gave tips about getting started with the federated social network GNU social.
Björn Schießle contemplated about the future of GitHub and the next generation of code hosting platforms.
What else have we done?
After the adoption of the European Parliament's own-initiative report "Towards a Digital Single Market" which included several positive references to increase the use of Free Software in public sector, it turned out that the meaning of "free" got lost in translation. In particular the Italian version of the report referred to Free Software as "gratis" as in free beer, instead of "libre" as in freedom. We asked the staff of the member of the European Parliament Julia Reda to help us and draw attention of the authors of the report to this mistake. The mistake got fixed and the Italian version of the report now rightfully refers to software freedom, and not the price.
We've simplified a lot of our internal processes: no longer it is necessary for someone helping us with our web pages or in other teams to register a guest account in our systems. Instead they will now register in the same system as our Fellows. It may not sound like much, but it's a revolution in simplification which we're very happy with! Read about how you too can contribute to our work
We published a report of our work in 2015. From teaching people to use encryption for their e-mail, to changing the direction of policy on a European level, FSFE worked hard in 2015 to empower users to control technology. We saw a lot of improvements in how we work, and we ended the year positively with a lot to look forward to in 2016. We want to thank everyone for helping us making the world a better place!
As hinted at in the previous newsletter, we've teamed up with KDE, Qt, VideoLAN and others who are organising QtCon 2016 in Berlin 2-4 September 2016. We'll use the opportunity to host an FSFE summit during QtCon, with more information forthcoming.
We still have plenty of "no cloud" stickers and other informational material in stock! Help us to spread the word about software freedom in your local community by ordering our leaflets, stickers, postcards and posters.
Good Free Software news
The French government is reviewing its existing Free Software support contract, signed in 2011, and asks Free Software communities and the public to help them draft their next multi-year framework contract for Free Software services and support. Meanwhile, the French Parliament has approved a first draft law for a Digital Republic, which encourages the use of Free Software by public administrations, and considers source code of software developed by or for public administrations to be public information. Schools in the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, are gradually moving to Free Software after the city administration decided to switch to Free Software in January 2015. By September 2015 more than 4000 workstations and laptops across the 50 schools in Tallinn are running on Free Software. In Germany, Federal Pension Insurance, which is the largest in the country, is increasing the use of Free Software by publishing a call for tender seeking assistance for its Free Software-based services.
your editors Polina Malaja and Jonas Öberg FSFE