Software Freedom 2020 +++ EU Open Source Strategy +++ New staffers

press at press at
Wed Nov 25 19:45:15 UTC 2020

 = Software Freedom 2020 +++ EU Open Source Strategy +++ New staffers =

[ Read online: ]

In our Newsletter November, we review our annual report "Software
Freedom in Europe" and the new Free Software Strategy by the European
Commission. We have new staffers, a new call for FSFE community
projects, REUSE is taking off, the local group in Zurich received an
award, and so much more has happened to discover.

 == Software Freedom in Europe 2020 ==

2020 is a year to remember. While many may remember the pandemic, there
have nevertheless been many positive changes in terms of Free Software
in recent months. In fact, a lot has changed. You can now read in one
document how busy our movement was in our annual report Software Freedom
in Europe 2020 [1].

The EU and the WHO followed our arguments [2] that publicly funded
Corona-related contact tracing apps should be published only under a
Free Software license. Several cities, including Munich, promised to
rely more on Free Software in the future. We convinced publicly funded
hackathons to publish their results as Free Software, and the largest
conservative party in Europe, the German CDU, resolved to join the FSFE
in demanding that software developed with public money should be
publicly available as Free Software.

We convinced the Board of European Regulators for Electronic
Communications to side with the FSFE's demand that any router and modem
be under the full control of the user [3]. With our REUSE initiative, we
aim to provide simple best practices and accompanying tools for machine-
readable licensing. KDE, one of the largest and oldest projects in our
community, adopted the REUSE guidelines in 2020. We now know of around
300 projects [4] which have benefitted from REUSE.

We participated in multiple European public consultations, introduced a
new way for our community to get their local community projects funded
[5], moved from physical to online events [6], had many exciting guests
in our regular Software Freedom Podcast [7], relaunched our website [8],
produced a new multilingual Free Software shirt, and there have been
many other activities to report.

Enjoy reading our annual report [9] and discover your personal favorite
success story of our community in 2020. This success is based on the
shoulders of all the people and communities who support our work.

Join our European movement now [10] and make our success your success.

 == New EU Free Software Policy misses concrete ideas or actions ==

The EU Commission published its new "Open Source Strategy". While the
proposed strategy recognises the benefits of Free Software, it lacks
concrete targets and indicators to implement the strategy. Instead of
the hoped-for major step, which would reflect current developments
around the debates on digital sovereignty and state of the art
administration, the Commission has presented only a fig leaf. What the
European Commission presented is simply too little for a strategy [11].
With a lack of clear task descriptions and processes or concrete
guidelines for the implementation of wholehearted statements and
indicators to monitor success, we worry that the strategy will end up
accomplishing too little.

>From a general perspective, the strategy mainly repeats previous
commitments and activities; sustainable and verifiable approaches are
sought in vain. And while the benefits of Free Software are fully
emphasised and the Commission is on paper ambitious in its future use of
Free Software, concrete goals are rare and a clear commitment to the use
of Free Software is lacking.

With this little engagement from the EU Commission it is once more clear
to see how important civil society organisations like the FSFE are to
make our solutions heard. In contrast to the uninspiring strategy by the
central European technocratic institution, our direct bottom-up approach
helped many public administrations in Europe find the road to freedom
"by themselves" in 2020. Read in our annual report [12] about Munich,
Hamburg, Beniganim and the Netherlands taking steps towards more
software freedom.


Christmas is coming and our merchandise is a nice surprise for your
loved ones or yourself. Order now [13] before we run short.


 == New staffers: Linda Wagener and Lina Ceballos ==

Linda Wagener joined the FSFE team as our new office assistant. Linda
has an M.A. in communication studies and is looking forward to
supporting the organisation and accounting of the FSFE, because - as
Linda states - /"I believe in the importance of the advancement of free
access to information and the means to study and understand the world."/

Lina Ceballos is our new intern until March 2021. Lina is an attorney
from Colombia with an M.A. in development and governance. Lina is
looking forward to working with our community and says: /"I am quite
excited to be part of this organisation, since one of my main drivers
has been always the construction of a more transparent and free society,
in this specific case in a digital society."/

 == Call to apply for FSFE support for your local project ==

We are currently running our second call for FSFE community projects
[14]. We happily support you with our expertise, our information
material, our networks, or even financially. Participating is as simple
as filling out a short online form [15] until 10 January 2021.

Among the successful applications in the last round is,
which we support with promotion, a new logo, stickers, and a microphone
set for their regular podcast. Another project we will support is
Freedombox install events, which we will support with premises. If you
need support for a FSFE community project, don't hesitate to apply.

 == Upcoming events ==

Together with a lot of other civil (digital) rights organisations, the
FSFE forms the cluster "about:freedom" [16] during the annual Chaos
Communication Congresses, which have become one of the biggest hacking-
related events in Europe. The event takes place from the 27th to the
30th of December, this year for the first time online. We are currently
reviewing the proposals we received in our call for participation to
offer you a good choice of software freedom related content.

 == What have we done? Inside and outside the FSFE ==

- Our REUSE campaign is taking off. Some weeks ago KDE adopted the REUSE
  guidelines and a new screencast has been produced [17] to show how to
  make a repository REUSE compliant. Also the German Corona Warn App's
  iOS version is REUSE compliant now [18] and we helped almost a hundred
  projects so far that are supported by the FSFE's help in the NGI0
  project [19] to do likewise.

- The local FSFE group in Zurich created a website called "Learning like
  a pro" [20] (original German: "Lernen wie die Profis") that explains
  the needs and benefits of using Free Software in education. It
  proceeds describing individual Free Software solutions and how these
  solutions in particular can be used to make school learning efficient
  and easy. This project has now been awarded a special award by the
  Dinacon conference [21] - a conference on digital sustainability. The
  FSFE is proud of the Zurich local group's success and recommends that
  you look at other interesting local projects in 2020 in our yearly
  report [22]

- Several sessions were organised by the FSFE for this year's SFScon
  [23]. We have a long-lasting relationship with that conference. Last
  year we also celebrated our annual community meeting at SFScon [24].
  This year, we focused on talks in which legal issues are clarified and
  current political developments are analysed. Concrete practical
  questions concerning compliance were addressed as well as questions
  about machine learning and problems that arise in the development of a
  free smartphone. In talks from our own staffers, Alexander Sander
  talked about our "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign [25] and Lucas
  Lasota about the "Challenges ahead for software freedom in Europe"

- The FSFE participated in the consultation by the European Commission
  regarding "Interoperable digital public services – European
  Interoperability Framework evaluation & strategy" [27] in that we
  highlighted the crucial role Free Software and Open Standards play for

- The FSFE demanded establishing Free Software as a standard for
  publicly funded software and concrete data-oriented monitoring of the
  adopted strategies with measurable reports of progress evaluation in
  our consultation feedback for "eGovernment services across the EU
  (ISA² programme) - final evaluation" [28] by the European Commission.

- Germany tested their public alert system with an official warning day
  in September. The proprietary apps involved caused the event to become
  an official failure. We analysed the situation [29] and found more
  robust solutions that respect user rights.

- Thomas Friese published a blog post [30] (DE) in which he tells the
  background story and gives insights on the creative work behind the
  Software Freedom Podcast [31] jingle.

- A coalition of organisations in Switzerland produce the 7at7 event
  series. In its November edition, the FSFE's There is no cloud [32]
  campaign was part of a virtual exhibition on "campaigning for digital
  rights" [33].

- From October 2020 until March 2021 our legal expert Lucas Lasota is
  conducting a course on software licensing at Humboldt University of
  Berlin [34].

- Our policy expert Alexander Sander gave talks about our "Public Money?
  Public Code!" campaign at the openSUSE + LibreOffice Virtual
  Conference [35], at the Open Web Lounge / CMS Unconference [36], at
  the Open Source Summit Europe, [37] and at FOSSCOMM2020 [38].

- Our president, Matthias Kirschner, gave a talk about "The long road to
  freedom" [39] at the KNF Conference.

- Like many local FSFE groups, the Dutch country team now started with
  regular online meetings.

 == Get Equipped (aka Get Active) ==

Christmas is coming and if you'd like to make a loved one happy and
spread the message of Free Software at the same time, check out our
online shop [40]. We have a new multilingual Free Software shirt for men
and women, in beautiful colors and with a print of a big heart. Our "No
Cloud" and "Public Money? Public Code!" shirts go very well in any
professional setting, as well as in private. And our "100 Freedoms" puts
a smile on any insider's face.

We have buttons, magnets and for the parents we have our highly demanded
baby bibs and kid's t-shirts stating "I am a fork ()".

We cannot refill our stock before Christmas. So get your special present
[41] before it is too late!

 == Contribute to our newsletter ==

If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, please send
them to us. As always, the address is newsletter at We are
looking forward hearing from you!

If you also want to support us and our work, join our community and
support us with a donation or a monthly contribution [42].

Thanks to our community and all the volunteers [43], supporters [44],
and donors [45] who make our work possible. And thanks to our
translators [46], who enable you to read this newsletter in your native

Your editor, Erik Albers


Support us with your donation [47]


Discuss this [48]

Free Software Foundation Europe <>
FSFE News <>
Upcoming FSFE Events <>
Fellowship Blog Aggregation <>
Free Software Discussions <>


More information about the Newsletter-el mailing list