FSFE Newsletter

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Wed May 21 11:38:29 UTC 2008

Issues around standardisation continued to make headlines during April.
However, other important areas of focus were also under discussion around
the world.  

In Amsterdam, FSFE's Freedom Task Force hosted the first European Legal and 
Licensing Workshop, leading to broad agreement between many European
stakeholders on methods of improving legal infrastructure for Free Software
in Europe.  In Brazil, the 9th FISL conference provided a forum for various
discussion about the adoption and evolution of free technologies.

The Fellowship and FSFE volunteers were also active.  The Fellows in Berlin
had a booth at a distribution release party and the Italian volunteers worked
on building the structure to ensure long-term sustainability for their team.

Please consider how you can contribute to our movement.  You can visit 
http://fsfeurope.org/contribute for suggestions of ways to get involved.

						Shane, FSFE Zurich Office

1. FTF workshop leads to broad agreement on European licensing infrastructure
2. Lack of quality in standardisation a serious problem
3. Licensing as a strategic imperative, speech at FISL
4. Fellowship Group at Ubuntu Release Party in Berlin
5. Italian team: new mailing list and renewed blog

6. Linuxwochen, Vienna, Austria (2008-05-15 to 2008-05-17)
7. Fellowship meeting in Vienna (2008-05-17)
8. LinuxTag 2008, Berlin, Germany (2008-05-28 to 2008-05-31)
9. 'Strategic implementation of Free Software in business' speech at eLiberatica (2008-05-30)

1. FTF workshop leads to broad agreement on European licensing infrastructure

The recent European Legal and Licensing Workshop hosted by FSFE's Freedom Task 
Force lead to productive discussions and broad agreement on important focus
areas in Free Software licensing between commercial and non-commercial 
stakeholders.  The event took place in Amsterdam during early April and was 
attended to capacity.  Shane Coughlan, FTF Coordinator, states that "this marks
an example of the growing maturity of Free Software in Europe.  We have a great
deal to do to ensure strong infrastructure to support the community, but as
this workshop showed, the will and ability to create the infrastructure is
present in all stakeholders."  Documentation from the workshop will be 
released to the public shortly.

2. Lack of quality in standardisation a serious problem

"FSFE published its 'Six questions to national standardisation bodies'
before the September 2nd vote last year. [1] Considering the statements
about progress made on MS-OOXML, one would have hoped that at least one
of these questions enjoyed a satisfactory response," states FSFE's
German Deputy country coordinator Matthias Kirschner.  He continues: 
"Unfortunately that is not the case. Issues like the 'Converter Hoax' [2] 
and the 'Questions on Open Formats' [3] are still equally valid. As the 
'Deprecated before use' [4] and 'Interoperability woes with OOXML' [5] 
documents demonstrate, MS-OOXML interoperability is severely limited in 
comparison to Open Standards. In addition to these issues, there are the 
legal concerns that were raised by various parties. [6]"

FSFE vice-president Jonas Öberg states: "Governments have to start
asking themselves what the ISO seal of approval really means. As
demonstrated by the MPEG standards, it never meant that something
qualifies as a meaningful 'Open Standard.'"

  [1] http://fsfeurope.org/documents/msooxml-questions
  [2] http://fsfeurope.org/documents/msooxml-converter-hoax
  [3] http://fsfeurope.org/documents/msooxml-questions-for-ms
  [4] http://fsfeurope.org/documents/msooxml-idiosyncrasies
  [5] http://fsfeurope.org/documents/msooxml-interoperability
  [6] http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/stdlib/offdoc/mision

3. Licensing as a strategic imperative, speech at FISL

Shane Coughlan, FSFE's Freedom Task Force Coordinator, delivered a speech on
the strategic importance of Free Software licensing at this years FISL event
in Porte Alegre, Brazil.  FISL has grown to be perhaps the largest Free
Software event in the world.  This year it was attended by 7,000 people 
and notable speakers included Jon 'Maddog' Hall, Theodore Ts'o from the 
Linux Foundation and Mitchell Baker from Mozilla Corporation.  Well known 
European faces like Knut Yrvin from Trolltech and Bram Moolenaar, the creator
of VIM, were also present.

4. Fellowship Group at Ubuntu Release Party in Berlin

The Berlin Fellowship Group attended the "Hardy Heron" release event in
Berlin's cbase and featured a talk from Fellow Torsten Grote about Gobuntu --
which aims to be a complete free (as in free speech) GNU/Linux operating system
-- and the importance of Free Software in general. The group also had a booth
there which attracted many interested visitors who were very eager to learn
about Free Software.  While Ubuntu is not entirely Free Software, it has
helped a lot to make Free Software accessible to many people. The Berlin
Fellowship wanted to build on this and foster discussion about our goal of
having 100% Free Software available to everyone.

If you would like to join in the fun, please note that the Berlin Fellowship
meets every second Thursday in the month at the Newthinking Store,
Tucholskystr. 48 in 10117 Berlin at 19:30 pm.

5. Italian team: new mailing list and renewed blog

The Italian team of the FSFE has just launched a new public discussion
mailing list about Free Software and FSFE activities in Italy. All
Italian fellows, volunteers and interested people are invited to join us
and come up with ideas, proposals and any kind of questions. You can
subscribe to the new fsfe-it@ list at:

Also, Gnuvox (http://www.gnuvox.info), the blog on Free Software and
Free Culture maintained by the Italian team, has just been renewed
thanks to the TIS Free Software Center in Bolzano. We have some
interesting plans for the future, and we invite all italian Fellows and
bloggers to follow Gnuvox , submit comments and new posts too: you can
contact the editorial team at: pr-it(at)fsfeurope.org


6. Linuxwochen, Vienna, Austria (2008-05-15 to 2008-05-17)

>From 15 to 17 May, an event of the Linuxwochen Austria will take place in the 
building of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Rudolf-Sallinger-Platz 1, 3rd 
district, Vienna. A group of Fellows will be present with a booth where they 
inform about FSFE, the Fellowship, and Free Software in general. Admission is 
free for the whole event.

7. Fellowship meeting in Vienna (2008-05-17)

The twenty-second Austrian Fellowship meeting is integrated in the Linuxwochen 
event in Vienna. Fellows and other interested people can meet at the FSFE 
booth during the whole event to discuss, and at the end of the last day of 
the event, we will join the Linuxwochen After-Show-Party.

8. LinuxTag 2008, Berlin, Germany (2008-05-28 to 2008-05-31)

As in the last years FSFE will be present with a booth at LinuxTag 2008. It 
takes place at Berlin's Expo Center under the Funkturm. FSFE will inform 
visitors about various aspects of Free Software, like the Freedom Task Force, 
software patents, the SELF project, GPLv3, our work in the United Nations, or 
the Fellowship of FSFE. Also it is planned to sell T-shirts from FSFE and 
books about Free Software. 

9. 'Strategic implementation of Free Software in business' speech at eLiberatica (2008-05-30)

Shane Coughlan, FTF coordinator, will deliver a speech entitled 'Strategic 
implementation of Free Software in business' at the eLiberatica conference 
in Romania on the 30th of May. 

You can find a list of all FSFE newsletters on

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