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Newsletter

Upcycling Android ++ Major step for Device Neutrality ++ Nico Rikken + Ada + Job

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In the December Newsletter we talk about Upcycling Android, an initiative to overcome software obsolescence with Free Software. The EU is voting on the Digital Markets Act, a major step for device neutrality. Germany aims to adopt PMPC! We interview Nico Rikken for 20 Years FSFE. Meet Ada, a character in a children's book. Spot a job opportunity.

Upcycling Android: Keep using your phone with Free Software

In the European Week for Waste Reduction, the FSFE launched its new initiative "Upcycling Android": Every time we keep using our phone instead of buying a new one we support a more sustainable use of our resources. Upcycling Android helps people to tackle software obsolescence and to keep using their phones with Free Software.

On the initiative's website, you will find background information and our multi-language video that explains in a nutshell the environmental benefits derived from an extended hardware lifespan by using Free Software. In addition you will find professional information material from infographics to expert talks to our study on the sustainability of Free Software.

Upcoming DMA vote might be a major victory for Device Neutrality

A potential first success for Device Neutrality is about to be determined. The EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to regulate internet companies that act as gatekeepers in digital markets. Such gatekeepers may be internet platforms, service providers, manufacturers, and vendors satisfying criteria defined by law. The Digital Markets Act is an opportunity to create fairer and more competitive markets for online platforms in the EU. Open Standards and interoperability will secure interests of European consumers as well as facilitate Free Software use and adoption in said markets.

As a major checkpoint, the four principles we called for were included into the DMA after the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted during its meeting on 22 November. All eyes are now turning to the plenary voting for the final position of the European Parliament's first reading on 15 December 2021. Stay tuned!

New German government introduces 'Public Money? Public Code!'

Promising news does not end here. The newly formed German government agrees with the FSFE 'Public Money? Public Code!' demand and declares it as one of the aims of the coalition. It should be noted that this development did not come out of the blue but only after persistent advocating from the FSFE: giving workshops, working together with local German groups, creating an activity package (DE) for volunteers, conducting 5 interviews (DE) with representatives of German political parties, forming a vision for the upcoming decades and concrete demands for the next government and analysing the election programs of the parties.

The decision is an important development for the Free Software movement in Germany. We would like to thank everyone who advocated with us in recent years and helped us arrive at this point. The FSFE will now focus on the implementation of the decision.

Children's book character Ada learns the power of software

Ada unravels the mysteries of software in an adventure with her friends, after an unfortunate meeting with the rich and famous inventor Zangemann. A children's book for young and old readers, 'Ada & Zangemann' is a fun and educational tale. Matthias Kirschner, author and FSFE president, conveys to young readers the importance of software, and even the basics of more complex topics around it. The book is published under a Creative Commons license.

'Ada & Zangemann' is in German, and it was just released in Germany. It is already sold out at the publisher, O'Reilly, but you can still get copies from other booksellers. The FSFE is looking for a suitable publisher for an English edition. If you would like to see Ada's story in English and more languages, we welcome donations. "After my son read the book last night, he told me the whole story this morning... He wants to make something out of old pallets after school today. And then he wants to learn programming" said Ingo Wichmann, CEO of Linuxhotel GmbH.

An overview of the past year: software freedom in 2021

Cancelling of large events, limitations in meetings, and travel restrictions: none of this stopped the FSFE from advancing software freedom in 2021. From Router Freedom to new podcast episodes to co-organising the Legal and Policy devroom at FOSDEM, we keep empowering people to control technology. 'Public Money? Public Code!' online workshops were offered to volunteers, and an online Legal and Licensing Workshop for legal experts was organised. The FSFE assisted software projects to become REUSE compliant with our new initiative, REUSE Booster.

Group of people in front of a building
FSFE Staff after two-day participation in the SFSCon. Bolzano, Italy, November 2021.

Meanwhile, a two-year court case initiated by FSFE supporter Luca Bonissi successfully came to an end, unequivocally recognising the right to a Windows licence refund. Our yearly report corresponds to our work during November 2020 - October 2021. Overall, significant accomplishments for software freedom marked 2021, the year FSFE is celebrating its 20th anniversary.


Thanks to the trust of our supporters, the FSFE counts 20 years. Our stable presence enables us to succeed in lengthy endeavours for software freedom, and to be ready at all times to respond to related developments. We are grateful for the trust of our supporters, and we will keep on empowering people to control technology. To help us, consider becoming a supporter and boost our charitable work for freedom in the information society for the next 20 years.


20 Years FSFE: Interview with Nico Rikken on country teams' activities

20 Years FSFE is meant to be a celebration of everyone who has accompanied us in the past or still does. In our fifth birthday publication we interviewed Nico Rikken, who has been helping the FSFE with his technical skills while contributing greatly to community building since 2014. With this interview, you do not only get to know Nico Rikken, but also the FSFE Netherlands country team, as he is one of their coordinators. How do people start joining a country team? This was one of the questions we asked Nico, and we quote a glimpse of his insight.

Three people talking around a table
FSFE stand at NLLGG booth in Utrecht. The Netherlands, 2019.

"People somehow gained in interest in Free Software and found the FSFE as the designated party to uphold these values in Europe. Then they found out about the NL country team, joined the mailing list and attended a physical meeting. [...] It highlights the importance of letting people know you exist as a local team, being open to newcomers, and making it easy to join community meetings [...] As we are all volunteers, it is important that our supporters do what they enjoy doing. Most of us have our own topics and efforts we work on, and the country team is a way to align and get support."

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If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, please send them to us. As always, the address is newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you! If you also want to support us and our work, join our community and support us with a donation or a monthly contribution. Thanks to our community and all the volunteers, supporters, and donors who make our work possible. And thanks to our translators, who enable you to read this newsletter in your native languages.

Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou