Luca vs Lenovo +++ Reinhard and the FSFE +++ IloveFS report
In our March Newsletter read about our supporter Luca Bonissi who forced Lenovo to pay a 20.000 Euros refund for a pre-installed Windows, about our supporter Reinhard Müller who has volunteered for the FSFE for two decades, our "I Love Free Software" report and as usual about our other diverse community activities.
Luca Bonissi vs Lenovo: 20.000 Euros refund for a pre-installed Windows
We all know how frustrating it is to buy a brand new computer and realise that it comes with a pre-installed proprietary operating system. After an initial annoyance, however, even most Free Software stalwarts do not further complain, wipe the system and proceed with a fresh install of a free operating system of their choice. Not so Luca Bonissi, an Italian developer and long-term FSFE supporter. After buying a new Lenovo Ideapad, he contacted Lenovo to file a request for a license refund and a return of the pre-installed Microsoft Windows. However, Lenovo refused to refund Luca for the Windows license - worth 42 Euro - and what followed was a truly legal and bureaucratic quest which consumed many months and several court proceedings. Finally, in December 2020, the Court of Monza rejected all Lenovo's arguments, confirming that the reimbursement of the pre-installed software was due.
In its sentence, the Court of Monza also pointed out that the manufacturer itself had expressly assumed an obligation to pay a refund in the Windows licence. In its historic decision, the court further imposed upon Lenovo punitive damages amounting to 20.000 euros for abuse of the appeal procedures. Lenovo forced its customer to take part in a disproportionate and unnecessary legal process. The court also noted that this case is an example of the arrogance and prevarication of a giant company against a modest consumer. In the end, the court ruled that the sum was to be paid to Luca, by way of compensating for the damage caused by aggravated procedural liability.
In a deeply selfless act, Luca Bonissi donated 15.000 Euros from the recovered damages to the FSFE, encouraging people to stand their ground for their rights. We are extremely grateful for this donation by Luca and also that he shared the documentation and procedures in the updated wiki page for Italy.
"The Monza decision demonstrated that is possible to reverse the unacceptable behaviour of big techs. What was taken away from the Free Software community has now been returned to it. I encourage everyone to fight back for their legitimate rights!" says Luca Bonissi and we could not agree more.
20 Years FSFE: Interview with Reinhard Müller
Now from Luca Bonissi in Italy to Reinhard Müller in Austria: Reinhard is another volunteer whose dedication to Free Software and the FSFE are legendary. Throughout the last two decades, Reinhard has helped to shape the FSFE in its self-understanding and in its overall organisation as well as in our daily operations. Indeed, Reinhard has basically taken over any position from local volunteer to country team member, from booth volunteer to financial officer and from a supporter to the General Assembly. Most people are surprised when they hear that he is a volunteer and not a paid staffer of the FSFE.
Listing all of his contributions in this newsletter basically seems impossible, but we conducted an interview with Reinhard in which we try to cover at least some of the most essential parts of his life with and within the FSFE. Read about what keeps him motivated, his energy sources, his favorite FSFE activities and his wishes for the FSFE for the next 20 years.
I Love Free Software Day
From Reinhard Müller to the I Love Free Software Day, because this is his favorite campaign and it is the favorite campaign for many people around the globe. This year we already celebrated the 11th edition of the "I Love Free Software Day" and we just published our activity report. In numbers we counted 411 tweets on Twitter and 210 toots and countless retweets and retoots in the Fediverse using the hashtag #ilovefs. People from all over the world joined the "I Love Free Software Day" via social media and tweeted and tooted from at least 328 different places.
This year we had two novelties: Together with FSFE's volunteer Florian Snow we created some share pictures for sharing our love for Free Software and a lot of people participated. Also we created a special Software Freedom Podcast Episode which provides a nice background of the origins and the highlights of the last eleven years of the "I Love Free Software Day".
This year the FSFE celebrates its 20th anniversary. Support our work for the next 20 years to come
What have we done? Inside and outside the FSFE
- As you know from our previous newsletters, the FSFE was again present at FOSDEM with a community event before FOSDEM, and this year we also co-organised the Legal and Policy Devroom for the first time. Now [all talks are available online], including the talks in the Devroom as well as Cory Doctorow's keynote in our community event.
- Johanna Pohl, Anja Höfner, Friederike Rohde and the FSFE's Erik Albers published an Open Access article about the "Design Options for Long-lasting, Efficient and Open Hardware and Software" in "Ökologisches Wirtschaften: Digitalisation and Sustainability"
- Our PMPC Video is now available in Swedish; it is now available in nine different languages.
- The FSFE was present at this year's Chemnitzer Linuxtage where Bonnie Mehring gave a talk about "Public Money? Public Code!" in which she explained how the campaign framework can be used to push for the adoption of Free Software friendly policies on a local level. Matthias Kirschner gave a talk about "20 years FSFE - The long road to software freedom"
- Erik Albers was at the Winterkongress of the Digitale Gesellschaft Schweiz, where he gave a talk about the sustainability of Free Software.
- In the aftermath of his participation in a panel discussion about opportunities, hurdles with and incentives for Free Software in the public administration, Matthias Kirschner wrote down his recommendations and thoughts for public procurement and Free Software in his blog.
- The German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg, together with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, are planning to set up a joint Free Software code repository for public administrations, consisting of a central part and compatible, decentralized "satellites". This approach comes close to our demands formulated in the initiative "A Place for Public Code"
- On 17 March 2021, in the Netherlands the Bestuursafdeling van de Raad van State heard our Dutch team member Jos van den Oever in a case against the Tweede Kamer. It concerns the app 'Debat Direct'. With this app, debates in the Lower House can be followed. Jos requested the Tweede Kamer to disclose the source code of the app 'Debat Direct'. As yet, Chamber President Arib refuses to make this public. [https://broncode.org/nieuws/20210315.html]
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Your editor, Erik Albers