[Fsfe-se] [FSFE PR][SV] FSFE : Newsletter October 2010
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Mon Oct 4 12:19:35 CEST 2010
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= FSFE Newsletter - October 2010 =
[Permanent URL: http://www.fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201010.en.html]
In this edition we discuss the misleading term "fair, reasonable and
non-discriminatory terms" (FRAND), we explain what we are doing about
centralised computer systems and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and
update you on our current campaign to end non-free software commercials by
FSFE celebrated Software Freedom Day with a variety of local events and
activities. We organised talks and booths in Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg,
Cologne, Offenburg (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), and The Hague
(Netherlands). With our activities we reached new audiences, and
explained to them why Free Software will become as important as freedom of
the press and freedom of assembly.
== Why FRAND excludes Free Software ==
We asked European Free Software businesses to participate in a survey
of business attitudes towards the acceptability of including patents in
industry standards. A major theme in the survey was whether patents that
cover standards should be licensed royalty-free (as W3C recommends), or
whether they should instead be licensed under so-called "fair, reasonable
and non-discriminatory terms" (FRAND).
FRAND is a misnomer as the terms are often unfair, unreasonable, and
highly discriminatory, particularly for Free Software. In reality FRAND is
only fair and reasonable to a small circle of the most powerful software
Paying royalties of 0.000001 Cent per copy to implement a standard might
look fair at the first sight, but such a fee would make it impossible to
distribute a program as Free Software. Free Software safeguards the right
to share with others. Therefore, when Free Software companies sell their
software they cannot know how many people will eventually end up using it.
It becomes impossible to estimate the total amount of royalties owed to
patent owners; Free Software businesses will be unable to compete with
their proprietary competitors and Free Software as a whole would be
We encouraged Free Software companies to respond to this survey, so that
their views were heard and the interests of Free Software were represented
in the study's results. Unfortunately the implicit assumptions of the
survey were biased towards large corporations with dedicated
'standardisation employees' dedicated to providing detailed information.
We received feedback that it was very difficult and sometimes impossible
for small and medium sized companies to fill out the questionnaire. We
will highlight this fact as well as our general criticism in the
forthcoming process, as we have done in the past.
== Cloudy Internet Governance Forum ==
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a global policy discussion forum of
the United Nations, established as an outcome of the UN World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS). We are constantly following the IGF to
ensure that policy discussions will not endanger digital freedom in
general and Free Software in particular. Karsten attended the Forum in
Vilnius, Lithuania and presented his talk "Data in the cloud: Where do
Open Standards fit in".
He drew attention to potential solutions to the threats of cloud
computing, including the possibility of users operating their own easy to
administer, always connected servers, which could offer preconfigured web,
mail, jabber, and microblogging services. He also discussed Yacy, GNU
Social, Angel Applications and other Free Software programs which present
decentralised alternatives to dominant proprietary services.
We are currently working on ways to encourage wider use of applications
which use distributed models, so that control of the software is also
distributed amongst users. As a result we have integrated Yacy, the
distributed search engine into our website and are now testing its
results. YaCy's lead developer Michael Christen will be speaking at our
track of talks 'Divide and Reconquer: regaining control of our
communications' at FSCONS, which focuses on issues of centralisation of
key Internet services.
== Non-free software commercials presented by public institutions ==
Each day public institutions advertise non-free software on their
websites. They link to non-free software PDF readers and thereby recommend
that their visitors use non-free software. Non-free software harms our
society, and it is particularly inappropriate for public institutions to
unnecessarily endorse it. Some public institutions go as far as stating
that it is only possible to view their PDF files with the proprietary
reader that they recommend, which is simply false. Many Free Software
PDF readers exist and provide users with a clear choice over which reader
they wish to use.
To raise awareness of this behaviour we started a new PDF readers
campaign, and began collecting reports of infringing institutions, and
petition signatures agreeing that this practice should be changed.
Adverts for gratis non-free PDF readers readers are nonetheless adverts
for non-free software, and because of this we do not include them on
pdfreaders.org. Public websites should not list them either as promoting
one proprietary reader over another reader gives an unfair advantage, and
supports the existence of software monopolies.
Since 13 September, volunteers from all over the world helped us with the
campaign. At the time of writing they submitted over 1369 occurences of
advertisement for 39 countries. 762 individuals, 20 organisations and 21
businesses signed the "Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software
Advertising On Public Websites". Amazingly the campaign website is
available in 10, the petition page in 11, and pdfreaders.org in 18
== Get active ==
This month we ask you to support our PDFreaders campaign:
- Find and report advertisements for non-free software on websites
belonging to public institutions.
- Sign our Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software
Advertising On Public Websites.
- Translate the websites about this campaign into your language.
- Find out if it is illegal for the public institutions to give
unfair advertising to particular companies in your country and inform
us about it.
- Find out and inform us how much money it would cost in your country to
get an online advertisement on websites comparable to the public
institutions which contain the advertisement.
- Inform others about the campaign and what they can do to help.
Free Software Foundation Europe <http://www.fsfe.org>
FSFE News <http://fsfe.org/news/news.en.rss>
Upcoming FSFE Events <http://fsfe.org/events/events.en.rss>
Fellowship Blog Aggregation <http://planet.fsfe.org/en/rss20.xml>
Free Software Discussions <http://fsfe.org/contact/community.en.html>
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