Free Software Foundation Europe - Chapter France activity report
loic at gnu.org
loic at gnu.org
Sun May 27 20:17:13 UTC 2001
[Bernhard suggested that the original mail was probably lost.
Here is another post of the report I wrote Sunday 20 May.]
lynx --dump http://france.fsfeurope.org/news/article2001-05-20-01.en.xhtml
The FSF Europe presence in France started its activity on April
12, a little more than a month ago. We worked hard to launch the
core activities that will allow us to implement the goals of the
FSF and the FSF Europe : provide Free Software for everything
and everyone and protect its existence when it is threatened.
Building the administrative and informational infrastructure
came first. It's an endless task but we had to create something to
begin with: a machine located in France that is integrated to
the GNU project and a French non profit organization.
Then it was necessary to establish working relationships with the
French association acting since years for the Free Software
movement in France: APRIL. Cooperation between organizations
requires some amount of magic. After two brainstormings, an
exhibition, a fiesta and many GNU project related
activities the magic apparently worked. APRIL members feel they
belong to the french chapter of FSF Europe (FSF France) and
FSF France members feel they belong to APRIL. A French
association dedicated to Free Software in education (OFSET)
recently united to FSF Europe and we expect the same symbiosis.
The first step is always the harder, following a good example is
Cooperation with APRIL and OFSET was not enough: we had to
be accepted by the GNU project to Do The Right Thing and have a
collaborative spirit. Since the GNU project is made of
many people and is not an organization as such, that was a
challenge. However it was simpler than establishing good social
relationships with organizations. As long as you give and take
technical resources (software, system administration, web editing)
without breaking anything, you can become a new GNU ;-) We built a
standard to create web sites based on XSLT and XHTML in such a
way that it can be used on www.gnu.org and heavily contributed
to savannah.gnu.org. As you all know, contributing to something
you don't use for yourself often give bad results. We therefore
based all the infrastructure for France related activities on
GNU resources, using CVS for sources and HTML, DNS and Savannah on
a daily basis. At this point we could not do without the GNU
project and will therefore always help it grow and keep up to date.
I believe we did reasonably well on this delicate subject. A
newcomer can easily be rejected if he starts to act in a way that
existing players do not like. Although FSF Europe borrows part
of the fame of the FSF from its name, it is without any doubt a
new player in Europe. Since our greatest strength is to be united,
being rejected by the Free Software community in France would have
been a major failure. I see the cooperative attitude and enthusiasm
that enlights projects common to APRIL, OFSET, FSF
Europe and GNU as the major achievement of this first month. Of
course some people may not be content but they did not express
themselves until now ;-)
Demonstrating a cooperative attitude cannot be done by talking. It
can only be done by acting. Only afterwards is it possible to
rationalize actions and conclude that they were conducted in a
cooperative way or not. The rest of this document is a dry report
of actions impulsed or revived by the FSF Europe in France. I
do not forget the numerous actors of Free Software who live in
France (Debian developers at large, TeXmacs author, GNU
philosophy translator to French and countless others). The FSF
Europe is not involved with each of them and they did not wait for
the FSF Europe to build their own garden in the Free Software
universe. The FSF Europe is now there, in France, if they need
it. But I sincerely hope the Free Software movement will always be
so lively that the FSF Europe will never be able to count its
Translation of the GNU GPL in French.
Lead by Mélanie who started the work early 2001 when RMS asked
her for an official translation of the GPL in French. She now
receives support from APRIL/FSF Europe/CNRS under the
coordination of Frédéric. Discussions started with Georg & CNRS
to launch a similar effort in Germany and other European
Volunteers: Mélanie Clément-Fontaine, Benjamin Drieu, Frédéric
Couchet, Olivier Berger, Sebastien Blondeel, Loïc Dachary, Till
Jaeger, Axel Metzger, Jan Polcher.
The four freedoms
One question quiz where people who cite the four fundamental
freedoms of Free Software are listed on the pages of FSF
Europe. After the initial flood 84 persons are listed. Good and
simple concept, entertaining during exhibitions and designed to
make everyone talk about freedom and philosophy.
Volunteers: Raphaël Rousseau, Loïc Dachary.
GNU help desk
Provide help to GNU (or future GNU) with various issues related
to integration in the GNU project, mailing list handling,
customs, getting accounts etc. So far 3 developers
spontaneously approached us for this purpose. We expect to
organize meetings in bars so that we can talk about it and
create a proximity community.
Volunteers: Loïc Dachary.
Technopole Logiciel Libre
A place where companies dedicated to Free Software will be
helped to grow. Mostly financed by the French government we
have a good contact with them and will help them to integrate
the Free Software movement. The goal is that at some point the
FSF Europe will not have to provide assistance and companies
created in the Technopole are philosophically and technically
integrated in the Free Software movement from the beginning of
Volunteers: Frédéric Couchet, Loïc Dachary
Savannah and Europe
We got in touch with two projects (PeCoVall, pure/source) who
are launching an effort similar to Savannah with slight
differences. The first contact only happened last week but we
already had a long talk on how to share efforts and resources.
That would save a lot of time and energy to everyone while
giving a much bigger dimension to a cooperatively managed
development platform. Be it Savannah or known under another
name, as long as it's implementing a cooperative work
methodology and is dedicated to Free Software, that will change
to world we know in the same way as SourceForge did when it
Volunteers: Loïc Dachary, Raphaël Rousseau, Christian Bac.
A SourceForge clone dedicated to the GNU project and all Free
Software projects. This project started a year ago and the
first usable version was available around January 2001. The
most active developers of Savannah as of now are in France and
Portugal. The dynamics of Savannah with FSF Europe has a great
APRIL members responded to the need for new hardware. Joining
efforts with APRIL, FSF Europe was able to provide a brand new
set of equipment (2U machine, switch, ups) to the GNU project.
The machine is being installed this week.
Volunteers: Loïc Dachary, Jaime Villate, Guillaume Morin, Jeff
Bailey, Gordon Matzigkeit, Richard M. Stallman.
Events and advocacy
The Microsoft spokes person did a followup to the declarations
of Craig Mundie. The FSF Europe replied vigorously.
Unisys studies Free Software
Unisys was asked to produce a report about Free Software, costs
and benefits by the European Commission. The study lacks
participation of people involved in the Free Software movement
and the FSF Europe offers help to fix this.
Borland wrongfully listed the Free Software Foundation as a
partner of the Kylix software. The mistake was fixed in three
hours time. An interesting thread followed on the Borland Free
Software policy. It's continuing and more people enter the
Le Journal du Net
The FSF Europe interviewed a journalist while being
interviewed. Although surprising the journalist was pleased by
the result. He sent us the text to review immediately after
publication and fixed all the mistakes we pointed out. The Open
Source section of the online publication was promised to be
changed for Logiciel Libre (Free Software) ... today.
Libre et Vie Locale
Last week FSF Europe and APRIL had a booth and spoke at a
conference during the Libre et Vie Locale exhibition in Brest.
Our presence at this event was organized by APRIL, as always.
Libre en Fête
Four days and three nights to celebrate freedom and Free
Software in March 2002. The FSF Europe will be there, of
course. Since this is an APRIL project, it uses the GNU
Volunteers: Pascal Desroche, Rodolphe Quiédeville.
Imagine, test, debug and use daily a standard to separate web
layout from content while preserving the constraints of
www.gnu.org. After a few weeks of usage it works well, is easy
enough to understand so that newcomers don't have to read the
documentation before doing anything and most importantly it's
intuitive. There is not identified pitfall that should be fixed
but is not.
Volunteers: Jaime Villate, Paul Vischer, Loïc Dachary, Richard
Follow the GNU system administration guidelines to setup the
France machine so that it can be accepted as a new GNU machine.
It is going to be used as a secondary name server for GNU
domains. The accounts on the machine are handled using a
Savannah project dedicated for this purpose which
simplifies account management a great deal. The volunteers
handling accounts on the GNU machines started to use a
similar method shortly afterwards.
Volunteers: Rodolphe Quiédeville, Joel N. Weber II, Vincent
Archer, Frédéric Couchet, Loïc Dachary.
Sharing the same storage format for contacts database is
necessary. There is no doubt about that. FSF, FSF Europe and
APRIL more or less decided to use vCard for the storage format
of their contact database. There was a lot of discussions on
this subject and vCard seems to win the consensus. At present
we are all trying to find out which tools we would like to use
to handle contacts. Some like pure ASCII, others use emacs +
gnus and a few like web interfaces. This is progressing slowly
and will have to be solved before the next occasion to share
contacts (the FSF Awards 2001 organization was painful in that
A web interface called Newt is being installed on
france.fsfeurope.org to allow experimenting. That could even be
the seed of our secured intranet. One thing at a time ;-)
Volunteers: Bradley M. Kuhn, Florent Duval, Yan Babilliot,
Cedric Valignat, Loïc Dachary.
SomeNews & LinuxFr.org
The slashdot equivalent in France, linuxfr.org now responds to
the alias gnulinuxfr.org :-) More important it replaced the
section Open Source of SomeNews by a Free Software section.
The news of FSF Europe in France are displayed in SomeNews. We
have the agreement to re-use the GNU section of gnulinuxfr.org
and planetelibre.org, this needs to be done ASAP. We are using
RSS 0.91 for news syndication but this recently disappeared
from the netscape web site and we will either have to switch to
1.00 and its RDF mixture or try the IPTC XML format.
Volunteers: Loïc Dachary, Olivier Berger, Florent Duval.
Donations from French people to FSF Europe or relayed by FSF
Europe to FSF reaches a total of 50 000 FF. We did not craft a
specific strategy to get more donations. Everyone can see what
we are doing, we made pretty obvious that we are accepting
donations. If someone wants to help FSF Europe financially it's
The tax deductibility status is being worked on but is not in
effect at present. That may take some time.
Volunteers: Olivier Berger, Raphaël Rousseau, Frédéric Couchet,
Loïc Dachary, Noémie, Cyril Bouthors.
Hardware & services donation
Although we did not make a specific page for this purpose we
received numerous donation in hardware and services (hosting,
counseling etc.). In short the assets of FSF Europe in France
at present is a server (PIII500, 512Mb RAM, 30Gb disk), three
UPS (APC 1000), a laptop (PII350, 128Mb RAM, 6Gb disk),
lifelong office hosting by Lolix and lifelong machine
hosting by Nevrax.
Volunteers: Rodolphe Quiedeville, Olivier Lejade, Cyril
Bouthors, Raphaël Rousseau , Frédéric Couchet, Loïc Dachary,
Updated: $Date: 2001/05/24 02:02:56 $ $Author: loic $
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