FSFE Newsletter - August 2015
press at fsfeurope.org
press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Aug 4 14:15:37 CEST 2015
= FSFE Newsletter - August 2015 =
[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201508.el.html ]
== Reply to EU consultation on copyright, patents, and trade secrets ==
Earlier this month, FSFE answered to the “Consultation on the respect of
intellectual property in public procurement procedures”, initiated by
the European Commission. According to Commission the initial purpose of
the consultation was to “gather evidence, opinions and feedback
regarding the respect of intellectual property rights and trade secrets
in public procurement procedures”, and assess whether there is a need
for a guide for public authorities in this regard.
In our answer, we restate several issues that need to be addressed in
the overall topic of the consultation. For example on software patents
we explained that it is impossible to procure software that is not
violating any patents, and that the rights of copyright holders should
not be devalued by third parties’ patents. In addition, FSFE argued that
every publicly funded software should be published and distributed as
Free Software by default, so that everyone can use the software for
their own purposes and provide better services for public authorities in
Our current trainee Polina Malaja summarised our answers and wrote about
the consultation in her blogpost, and made our answers available in
== How to deal with firmware restrictions ==
FSFE's goal is to ensure that the owners of IT devices are always in
full and sole control of them. During the last years this fundamental
principle is being challenged by such developments as UEFI “Secure
Boot”, or the proprietary BIOS. This is low-level software that runs
when you turn on your computer. It initialises the hardware and may be
designed to restrict users to install software which is not “authorised”
by the manufacturer. This development was also a topic in your editor's
keynote at this year's Akademy in A Coruña/Spain, that gives an
insight on how to resolve these manufactured restrictions.
One of the ways to counter those developments is alternative boot
firmware. There are several ways to have the built-in proprietary
firmware replaced with free analogues. Our fellow Kevin Keijzer explains
in detail how to "set up a beaglebone black to flash Coreboot", and
how to "flash Libreboot on an Lenovo X200 with a Raspberry Pi".
Another fellow André Ockers explains in his blogpost how he got a
Thinkpad T60p with Trisquel and Libreboot.
Beside working on free alternative boot firmware, we also have to look
further into the future. We have to think about how to extend the ideas
of Free Software to hardware. Richard Stallman wrote about this in his
article "Why we need free digital hardware designs".
== Something completely different ==
- On July 24-26, FSFE held its European Coordinators Meeting 2015
(ECM15) in Essen. Amongst many topics our coordinators discussed
strategy, a proposal to restructure FSFE's community and
communication, as well as our press and campaign work. For more
information please read Erik Albers's blogpost.
- FSFE's education team updated their website. Have a look at it,
give us feedback, or even better: join our education team to promote
the use of Free Software in schools and universities.
- Your editor, Matthias Kirschner, was interviewed before Akademy. The
interview is available on KDE's website. It covers questions about
your editor's first GNU/Linux distribution, why he studied politics
and management, how he got involved in FSFE, how Free Software is
linked to the progress of society, as well as his involvement in wild
first aid seminars. (Victorhck translated the interview into
- The European Commission published the legislation editor LEOS as Free
Software. It can be used to draft and automatically process legal
texts. Currently the software supports legal texts issued by the EC,
yet can be extended to support other legislative processes.
- Two good developments in France: On one hand the French government has
published templates to be used by procurement officers when
requesting free software-based ICT solutions. The templates include
Free Software procurement clauses that prompt developers to organise
contributing code. On the other hand, France wants its public
administration to prioritise ODF over Microsoft OOXML format (see an
article in the Register ).
- On 3 October 2015 the FSF celebrates its 30th birthday in Boston. That
is a reason to celebrate. As their sister organisation, we invite you
to organise small birthday parties around Europe, too. Let us know
if you plan something, so we promote the celebration.
- From the planet aggregation:
- Riccardo Iaconelli wrote about WikiFM, a KDE project which
aims to bring free and open knowledge to the world, in the form of
textbooks and course notes. It is aimed at students, researchers
and continuous learners, with manuals and content ranging from
basic calculus to “Designing with QML” (already used by High
Energy Physics Software Foundation).
- Daniel Pocock explains howto record live events with your
mobile phone and a lapel microphone.
- Guido Arnold reported on Galicia introducing over 50 000 students
to free software, and a school in Spain switching to using
Ubuntu/Linux for its desktop PCs in class rooms and offices.
== Get active: Contribute to our static website generator ==
Since 2002 FSFE is using a static website generator for our web
presence. The first version was written by Jonas Öberg, who is now
FSFE's Executive Director. Last month we introduced an updated version
to the test instance of our website. In his blog post, FSFE's webmaster
Paul Hänsch summarises its new features, and limitations. So if you
are interested to improve FSFE's web presence on a technical level, read
this and get in contact with our web team.
Thanks to all the volunteers, Fellows and corporate donors
who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE
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