Quick status update before christmas!

Georg C. F. Greve greve at gnu.org
Thu Dec 21 15:59:08 UTC 2000

Hi Everyone!

Okay, I wanted to give you a quick update on the current situation of
the FSF Europe. 

First of all I'm sorry that we aren't more active on the list, but
believe us, we are reading everything you guys say and it definitely
does take a part in our considerations. In our perception of things it
is quite important to think before we act in order to chose the best
possible way. Your considerations on the FSF Europe in the discussion
list are very important for us in this respect and we deem them most

Frederic Couchet <fcouchet at april.org>, Jonas Oberg<jonas at gnu.org> and
Alessandro Rubini<rubini at gnu.org> have joined the FSF Europe core team
in the discussion of the structure we will have. 

So far we are pretty sure about the fact that there will be one
central hub organization (located in Germany with charitable status)
that will provide office capacity, computer power, merchandising and
all the things that can easily be centralized to minimize waste of
resources. Attached to this central organization will be local
chapters in each of the other European countries. 

This FSF Europe will serve as the hard core/backbone of the European
Free Software movement. A lot of its work will be political and
communication between the countries.

As to how the organization will be controlled we are facing two
problems: first of all the FSF Europe will need to be rock-solid in
its philosophical standing and that means every member bears a huge
responsibility. But of course we are aware that all of you would like
to become part of it and we certainly don't mean to suggest that you
aren't firm enough in your Free Software philosophy. However: we have
to find a _general_ solution that has equal rules for everyone - even
huge hordes of "Linux-enthusiasts" from the bandwagon. 

This in effect means that we cannot afford to become a completely open
organization - just like the original FSF. New members of this core
organization will only become appointed after discussing this with the
existing members and probably in consultation with RMS and the
original FSF.

But we would still like to give you more ways of directly interacting
and interfacing with us. So our current plans go into the direction
that attached to this FSF Europe skeleton will be the muscles and
various other tissues in form of associated local organizations that
you all can become part of. That way you can become an "associate" of
the FSF Europe, at least. In truth these organizations will do a lot
of the work, they will organize booths at conventions (with the
backing by the FSFE office), user-group meetings, courses and the

In countries where membership organizations exist (like April in
France) that uphold the spirit of Free Software we will probably
"make" those the associated organizations - and there is not
necessarily a limit to the amount of local organizations that may
become associated. In countries where such organizations do not exist
or where enough people feel that another such organization should be
created, we will help create it.

Okay, that is the general structure we have in mind right now. A lot
of this isn't fully settled yet and we are working on some kind of
"structure document" that will be posted once we feel it is ready to
be seen without raising to many misunderstandings. Please keep in mind
that these are "thoughts under construction."

Oh - and then there are two news that might be of interest. One is
good, one bad.

First the sad news: the German Free Software based company ID-PRO
won't make it despite an overfulfilled business plan. Break even would
have been next year but the venture capital market is pretty
catastrophic right now, it seems, so they didn't manage to raise the
necessary money to bridge that gap. 

This is sad news in two aspects: first of all it will look bad and
German news services have already treated it as a "crisis on the Linux
market" whereas it really has nothing to do with the business concept
but is merely a reflection of a crisis on the capital market. If you
are politically active be prepared that people will try to get you
with this one - so I thought you should know what was going on there. 

And furthermore it is pretty sad because they have been supporting me
over the past couple of months very actively by employing me for
development on GNU AWACS and giving me total freedom and support in
terms of working for the GNU Project. Without their help I probably
would not have had the time to work on the FSF Europe and GNU Business
Network concepts as much as I did. Thanks a lot, guys. 

Unfortunately this also means that I will have to find some new source
of income... I'll be checking out my options in the next weeks. My
work for the FSF Europe will continue regardless.

But we also have very good news: Mandrakesoft wants to donate EUR
2.500 to the FSF Europe. Apparently they had a challenge set up where
the winning team could select a project that should be supported and
the result was in favor of the Free Software Foundation Europe. Thank
you so much!

This money comes at the right time, too, as we will have some legal
consultation coming up (things need to be waterproof - so there is no
way around this) that this money will be used for.

Alright, that's it from our side, we all hope you'll have nice
holidays and a good new year!

On behalf of the FSF Europe team,
                                        Georg Greve

Georg C. F. Greve                                       <greve at gnu.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe	             (http://www.fsfeurope.org)
Brave GNU World	                           (http://brave-gnu-world.org)
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