Structure of FSFE

Georg C. F. Greve greve at
Thu Apr 26 20:36:45 UTC 2007

 || On Thu, 26 Apr 2007 15:05:27 +0200
 || Stefano Maffulli <stef at> wrote: 

 sm> It's clear that FSFE doesn't have money spare and it can't give
 sm> money to third parties easily. But things are rarely black or
 sm> white.  Dozza wasn't asking simply for money from FSFE. You can
 sm> read his message as a request for help.

The answer was a polite answer that we could not supply funds, and an
offer for help. So things should have been fine, then.

 sm> He was really asking that FSFE took the leadership of a global,
 sm> worldwide activity to defend open standards from being tainted
 sm> with a not-so-open standard.

FSFE has been doing quite a bit in the area of Open Standards, in
which ISO is really only one line of battle. Almost every day we are
in some way doing things that relate directly to one of the various
aspects of the Open Standards debate.

But I'm not sure what you mean by "FSFE taking the leadership."

In my experience, this could easily occupy five dedicated people
full-time, which we would only have if we stopped very much everything
else we are doing -- and that is not a good idea, imho.

But we are doing our part, be it by speaking to governmental
representatives about the issue (as I did today) or working to build
stronger alliances for Open Standards (as I will be doing the next

In these activities we follow the same principles that have guided us
in other fields: Seek the points where we can make the most difference
and do not lose oversight of the bigger picture over some details.

So we are constructively working to build an alliance for Open
Standards through the IGF DCOS, are promoting Open Standards through
SELF, and we are planning for the eventuality that Microsoft will be
able to buy itself an ISO certification.

In parallel we do what we can to prevent the ISO certification -- and
writing my articles was just one way to create more visibility for
that issue and getting more people involved in the debate.

But giving 2k EUR to a third party was not what we could do, as I
explained. And since you had declined internally to represent FSFE in
the Italian standardisation organisation and also told us there were
no volunteers to help with this, being present in the Italian
standardisation came out as something we could not do.

We did not take that decision easy, either, and discussed it for a
while, but in the end we had to concede that we cannot be everywhere
at the same time.

But as also others have pointed out, there are many more things we do
on Open Standards, and our offer to help the activities in Italy in
any way we can still stands.

 sm> Dozza, was convinced that with the credibility and the network of
 sm> contacts of the big FSFE, finding 2500euro would have been a
 sm> matter of making one single phone call to a couple of people. (1)

Again, I'm sorry. But as I also explained in my reply: making those
calls on behalf of someone I do not know is not something that is
easily done.

That is what I meant by the difficulties of a missing track record.

 sm> Georg took responsibility of managing the opposition to OXML for
 sm> FSFE, since FSFE team couldn't find anybody else to do the job.

No. I had the responsibility for several years now because I am the
person who works a lot in the global public policy field, which is
where Open Standards are handled. This goes back all the way to 2001
when we started being massively involved in the UN WSIS.


Georg C. F. Greve                                 <greve at>
Free Software Foundation Europe	                 (
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