FSFE Newsletter - April 2016
EU Radio Directive threatens software freedom
We published our position on the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (adopted in May 2014) that demands from device manufacturers to check each device software's compliance. At first sight, this may sound reasonable but it has highly negative implications on user rights and Free Software, fair competition, innovation, environment, and volunteering – mostly without large benefits for security. The directive needs to be implemented in member states before 13 June 2016. We have formulated several proposals to EU institutions and EU member states with concrete steps to solve these issues.
US government demands publicly financed software to be published as Free Software
As one of our main goals for 2016 is to push for the demand of all publicly funded software to be published as Free Software in the EU, we are positive to see some concrete steps in this direction happening across the Atlantic. In particular, in the beginning of March, the US Government published a draft of Source Code Policy for the public to comment upon until 11 April. The policy requires every public agency to publish their custom-build software as Free Software for other public agencies as well as for the general public to use, study, share and improve the software.
We would like the EU to follow this example and come up with similar policies on the European level. If you have any feedback or comments in regard to the US Source Code Policy, please send them to our English discussion list or directly to Matthias Kirschner. We would like to make sure to consider your feedback before talking with European politicians about this topic.
From the community
Björn Schiessle blogged about the new feature of the ownCloud 9.0 the Federation App that allows users to exchange their Federated Cloud ID-s and share data between their "clouds" more easily.
Sergey Matveev summarised the GoVPN Free Software daemon: why it was born, which tasks it is aimed to solve, and its technical overview in his blogpost.
What else have we done?
Founding member of FSFE, Werner Koch received this year's Free Software award for the Advancement of Free Software for his GnuPG project. The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is given annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of Free Software.
Our president Matthias Kirschner and the German coordinator Max Mehl gave talks at Chemnitzer Linuxtage. The event was a success with most of our merchandise and promotional material disappearing quickly from the booth handled by Reinhard Müller, Katja Müller, Max Mehl and Fabian Keil.
Our volunteers in Berlin participated in the FSF campaign against digital restrictions proposed by W3C in the web HTML standard. Digital restrictions in Web standards would make it easier and more politically acceptable to impose restrictions on users.
FSFE was present with a booth at CIJ Logan Symposium, a conference dedicated to gather leading journalists, hacktivists, legal and security experts to discuss freedom of press and digital rights. The list of the speakers at the CIJ event included Edward Snowden, who also gave a keynote at Libreplanet, a Free Software conference organised by FSF.
To all awesome translators out there! Help us to expand our outreach by updating the 'Spread the Word' page for ordering our promotional material into your language. Currently, the page exists in English, German, Dutch and Albanian but it would be great to include any other languages into this list too.
Good Free Software news
Indian Patent Office said no to software patents in its updated guidelines that clearly state that any patent claim that lies only in software will not be permitted under Indian patent law. Poland's new eGovernment strategy recommends that publicly financed software for a new system of public registers should be considered to be published under a Free Software licence. Sweden has updated the list of 'Open IT standards' that can be made mandatory when procuring software and related services. To make it to the list IT standards must be developed openly and publicly, must not constrain reuse of the standard, and standard-essential patents should be made freely available.
your editors Polina Malaja and Jonas Öberg, FSFE