FSFE Newsletter - July 2009

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Aug 13 13:25:19 UTC 2009

Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) Newsletter - July 2009

This month has been full of activity, but one bit of news has cast a
shadow over it all. We have learned of the death of Richard Rothwell,
who was a prominent and respected advocate for Free Software in
education and a Fellow. We are saying farewell to him below.

Major activities of the month were: the support of our German Chapter
to OpenRuhr initiative, the participation to a Conference hosted by
the WIPO, an interesting Fellowship meeting in Berlin, our presence to
RMLL in Nantes, and the publishing of our statement about the latest
developments in the EU browser case.

						Giacomo Poderi

1. Fresh air at WIPO, but old habits die hard
2. A farewell to Richard Rothwell
3. FSFE supports OpenRuhr
4. FSFE booth at RMLL Nantes, France, 07-11 July
5. Fellowship Meeting in Berlin, 09 July
6. The Fellowship interviews: Smári McCarthy


7. EU browser case: FSFE says details of settlement will be crucial


8. FSFE supporting European Commission in their case against Microsoft


9. 4th Froscon, St. Augustin, Germany, 22-23 August

1. Fresh air at WIPO, but old habits die hard
On the 13 and 14 July, in Geneva, the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) hosted the Conference "Intellectual Property and
Public Policy Issues" with the aim of reflecting on the consequences of
the policies that WIPO promotes. Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's president,
attended the event and wrote an extensive report: "Fresh air at WIPO,
but old habits die hard". He highlights that the event in itself was a
very positive step for the organisation, which is starting to pay
attention to the real-world impact of the policies it develops. Still,
some troubling old mistakes remain.


2. A farewell to Richard Rothwell

It is with sorrow that we pay our respect to Richard Rothwell. A
Fellow, a brilliant activist and a key figure in the UK Free Software
community.  On 17 July, Richard passed away, tearing a hole in the
network of the Free Software movement which will be difficult to
fill. We want to remember him here, and to offer our condolences to
Richard's family and closest friends.


3. FSFE supports OpenRuhr

Our German chapter has decided to support the OpenRuhr initiative. 
During 2010 in the Ruhr area the 'cultural cities' will set facilities
and plan events which will promote Free Software as a cultural technique
for creative people in their works. Our German chapter aims at
developing informative material to portray Free Software as a cultural


4. FSFE booth at RMLL Nantes, France, 07-11 July

Rainer Karsten and Michel Roche manned our booth at the 10th
"Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libres" (RMLL), which took place in
Nantes. RMLL is the most important Free Software event in France with
some 5000 visitors. Rainer and Michel had a very busy four days
explaining the basics of Free Software, and telling a large number of
people about FSFE's work.


5. Fellowship Meeting in Berlin, 09 July

The Berlin Fellowship group met on 9 July at the Newthinking Store, at
Tucholskystrasse 48. On the meeting's agenda was an interesting debate
with representatives of youth organisations of various political
parties.  Members of the Junge Union Brandenburg, Jungen Liberalen
Brandenburg, Grüne Jugend, Piratenpartei, and SDS.Berlin presented
their views about Free Software issues and answered questions from
other participants. Lena Simon recorded the event, which we will
publish shortly on our Fellowship platform.


6. The Fellowship interviews: Smári McCarthy

This month, Stian Rødven Eide interviewed Smári McCarthy: a thoughtful
anarchist and practical chaos technician with a deep interest in Free
Software and democracy. The interview addressed various aspects of
Smári's life from his work at the Fab Lab, to the Icelandic Society for
Digital Freedoms, concluding with his views on a "crowdsourced



7. EU browser case: FSFE says details of settlement will be crucial

In 2007, Opera Software presented the European Commission with a formal
complaint regarding Microsoft's tying of Internet Explorer (IE) to its
operating systems. We decided to follow the development of this issue
and we officially offered our help as interested third party to the
Directorate General for Competition.

On January 2009, the European Commission DG Competition issued a
statement of objections against Microsoft which recently led the
company to consider a settlement. While the offer of a settlement is
an important achievement for the European Commission, we believe that
it is the details which will make all the difference. A settlement
that simply looks good will not be enough. We need to be sure that any
agreement between Microsoft and the Commission really puts Free
Software on an equal footing with proprietary competitors, and allows
for free competition in the web browser market.

Our press release, which outlines some details of the settlement that
should be carefully considered, is available here:


Relevant links:


8. FSFE supporting European Commission in their case against Microsoft

Five years ago, Microsoft appealed against the European Commission
antitrust decision. The Directorate General for Competition called for
cooperation upon FSFE and Samba. A call that we did not miss: on 27
July 2004 we had already participated to the preliminary hearing of
the appeal in Luxembourg. That was the beginning of what would become
the greatest success for FSFE and for Free Software in the legal field
in 2007, when Microsoft was ordered by the European Court of First
Instance to share interoperability information with the Samba team.



9. 4th Froscon, St. Augustin, Germany, 22-23 August

We will be present with a booth at the 4th Froscon in St. Augustin,
Germany. The conference is organised by the Department of Computer
Science of the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, with the
help of Fachschaft of Computer Science, LUUSA and FrOSCon e.V.
For coordination we will use the booth@ mailing list and the Fellowship


You can find a list of all FSFE newsletters on

You can join the Fellowship or find how to support us on

You can order our merchandise at

Copyright (C) FSFE.  Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire 
article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved. 

More information about the Discussion mailing list