FSFE Newsletter September 2019
In this month's newsletter, we focus our attention on the impact of Free Software on competition, in a piece written by our guest expert, Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri. We also take the chance to announce the awesome progress we have made in the REUSE project towards making copyright and licensing easier for developers. Further down, you can discover upcoming events and information about the FSFE Annual Community meeting, as well as see some photos and video recordings from events where our community promoted Free Software across Europe. We also make some recommendations for articles you may find useful.
Free Software and its impact on competition
Our guest writer Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri shared his expert knowledge on what the impact of Free Software on competition is. Elaborating on the legal and economic arguments on whether the release of software under a Free Software license distorts the market, this article was originally written for our "Public Money? Public Code" brochure. If you missed it, please take a look and learn more about the impact that Free Software has on competition.
REUSE makes copyright and licensing easier than ever
As you most likely already know, the FSFE is running a project called REUSE. Its main goal is to help developers display copyright and licensing information of their projects according to the recommended best practices. Just recently, the project released version 3.0 of their specification. The new edition is accompanied by a helper tool that makes adopting these best practices easier than ever. If you are curious for more details on the topic, we welcome you to visit the dedicated article.
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Do not miss: upcoming events with the FSFE
As with every month, we are trying to spread the word and help individuals and organisations understand what Free Software is and how Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination. If you are interested in seeing us in action and to join our cause, keep in mind the following dates and locations in the coming months:
- The Open Source Summit Europe in Lyon, France is happening between 28-30 October and the FSFE's Programme Manager Max Mehl will talk about the REUSE project and Free Software licensing compliance.
- Between 15-16 November the FSFE Community Meeting will unite forces with the South Tyrol Free Software Conference (SFScon) in Bolzano, Italy. The FSFE will have its own track and you are kindly invited to join the expert and community talks, as well as the social activites. You can read more about this on our wiki page.
What have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE
Since the last newsletter, we have been very active in promoting the Free Software cause, by helping individuals and organisations have a better understanding of what Free Software is and encouraging them to develop and implement it in their lives. We want to share with you the events we have photos and videos for, below:
- The FSFE Policy Manager Alexander Sander went to the FrOSCon and gave a talk about the current state of the "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative, the full recording of which is available online. Thanks to the FSFE's local group in Bonn, we were also present with a booth. It turned out that many of the visitors were truly interested in what happens at a local level, as well as how they can help and support the cause with specific actions. It was a great opportunity to have such substantial discussions and exchange of ideas and best practices.
- The most frequently asked question our Viennese FSFE Group faced during the local Veganmania Summer Festival in August was why a Software organisation like the FSFE participates in a vegan festival. Their answer? The same ethical considerations that lead people to adopt a vegan life style can be applied analogously to information technologies and the use of Free Software. For more interesting insights, read their blog entry.
- At the Chaos Communication Camp in Mildenberg, Germany that happened between 21-25 August, the FSFE hosted its own assembly in the about:freedom cluster. This cluster organised more than 50 talks, workshops and panels about the Sustainability of Software, Argumentation Trainings for Data Protection, Copyright, workshops on Free Your Android and Crypto, and measuring Internet censorship. A recording of Erik Albers' talk about the sustainability of software is also available on our channel (German). Also some great photos from the Village settings are accessible online.
- During the NextCloud Conference in Berlin that took place on 14 September at the premises of the Technical University of Berlin, our Policy Manager Alexander Sander was part of a panel discussion dedicated on "Public Money? Public Code!". He debated on behalf of the FSFE with people representing NextCloud, the Working Group of Youth Organisations and Regional Youth Council in Germany, and the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany. The full video of the debate and what was said can be seen on our video channel.
- As a result of our participation at events and efforts promoting the "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative during the summer, the Open Letter received 6 new supportive signatures from organisations over the last 2 months. The following organisations from around Europe and the world endorsed these principles and joined the actions on local ground:
- OpenSaar is an initiative based in the SaarLorLux region. They have dedicated their efforts to promoting Free Software in their region.
- FOSS Bangladesh is the most prominent Free Software organisation in the South Asian nation of Bangladesh and has worked with FSF some time ago.
- Peercoin Foundation is an international NGO working towards the development of a Free Software blockchain.
- Computertruhe is a German NGO that repairs old computers and donates them to people in need.
- Idealiste.cz is a Czech NGO advocating for better quality public services that are accessible to the general public, especially when it comes to schools, hospitals, public transport or housing.
- Liquid Democracy is a Berlin based "Think and Do Tank". Their work revolves around the development of a Free Software and digital participation tool called Adhocracy, providing users with various civic participation tools.
From FSFE's planet
In the months since the last newsletter and during the summer break, many things have happened. Some of them have been shared on the FSFE's Planet and are directly related to the organisation while others are more into the general direction of our mission:
- In his article, Frank Karlitschek reminds us of the bigger picture of Free Software and why the differences with proprietary solutions are not only a matter of software licenses;
- On a more technical note, if you had problems installing the WackoWiki, Evaggelos Balaskas has created a helpful walkthrough.
- "Blocking Untrusted USB devices" is a good read by Nikos Roussos, especially if you are concerned about digital security.
The Internet Freedom Fund is Open Tech Fund's primary way to support projects and people working on open and accessible technology-centric projects. These are supposed to promote human rights, internet freedom, and open societies, and help advance inclusive and safe access to global communications networks for at-risk users including journalists, human rights defenders, civil society activists, and every-day people living within repressive environments who wish to speak freely online. You can apply for this fund until 01.11.2019.
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