FSFE Newsletter - May 2011

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Wed May 4 16:41:21 CEST 2011

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= FSFE Newsletter - May 2011 =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201105.en.html ]

== Competition authorities: Free Software protects competition ==

882 software patents, likely related to GNU/Linux, in the hands of
people who could use them to pressure Free Software companies and
developers? Maybe in the hands of Microsoft, which has for years used
nebulous patent claims to extract licensing fees from companies that use
the Linux kernel in their products. This month the German and the US
competition authorities approved the sale of those patents to CPTN, a
consortium consisting of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and EMC. But, barring
nasty surprises in the still to be published detailed decision, we
neutralised the danger for Free Software.

Software patents are a very complex matter, and competition authorities
are not used dealing with them. So beginning from December 2010 we
explained to the German competition authorities why the patent sale was
highly problematic. In our first[1] , and second[2] submission we
explained the mechanics that some companies use to compete in the
software market, and how they preserve their monopolies.
1. http://fsfe.org/projects/swpat/letter-20101222.en.html
2. http://fsfe.org/projects/swpat/letter-20110406.en.html

In their press release the authorities have not only highlighted the
importance of Free Software for competition, and that actual patent
lawsuits are anticompetitive but also that threatening with patent
lawsuits, like the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) strategies from
some non-free software companies, can be anticompetitive.

So for the first time, competition authorities have acknowledged the
essential part of Free Software for competition, and that patent
lawsuits by dominant market participants can be anticompetitive. This
will also be important for future debates, when the behaviour of big
non-free software companies has to be evaluated from a competition law

As the devil is in the details, we hope to hear about the exact wording
of the CPTN contracts to evaluate them[3] . Such work is very time
consuming, and we would not be able to keep track of those activities,
without the support of one time donations[4] and regular ones by our
Fellows[5] .
3. http://fsfe.org/projects/swpat/novell-cptn.en.html
4. http://fsfe.org/donate/donate.en.html
5. http://fsfe.org/join.en.html

== Mission is possible ==

To date, 17 percent of the public institutions, we contacted[6] ,
already replied and removed the non-free PDF reader advertisements from
their websites. The current progress of the campaign can be seen on our
buglist[7] . Until now we have only received one negative reply.
However, as about 83 percent of the contacted institutions have not
responded yet, we want to remind them about the letter we have sent, and
ask for a reply. This works only with your help. To take part, follow
the actions from our follow-up guide[8] . In short this is:
6. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/pdfreaders/pdfreaders.en.html
7. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/pdfreaders/buglist.en.html
8. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/pdfreaders/follow-up.en.html

- have a look at organisations in your country which appear as not
  having answered yet,

- contact and remind them of FSFE's letter on inadmissibility of
  advertising of proprietary software by public institutions, and

- ask them to remove the proprietary software advertising from their
If you discover non-free PDF reader advertisement, and is not on our
list, you are encouraged to contact them on your own. For public
institutions use a modified version of our letter[9] , for companies and
non-profits we are working on a template, after volunteers have
convinced organisations like Greenpeace Germany[10] to link to
pdfreaders.org instead.
9. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/pdfreaders/letter.en.html
10. http://www.greenpeace.de/themen/energie/nachrichten/artikel/deutschlands_energieriesen_zu_05_prozent_nachhaltig/

== Something completely different ==

- Data stored per-user, and under the user's control. That is the aim of
  the unhosted web. This project is covered by this month Fellowship
  interview with Michiel de Jong[11] . If you want to discuss this in
  person with Michiel, he will help as one of our booth volunteers for
  one day during Berlin's Linuxtag[12] .

- Free Software for the public sector: We have provided input for the
  European Commission on modernising the way in which public bodies buy
  software[13] and related services.

- At the moment fellows are starting new Fellowship groups[14] in
  Augsburg[15] (Germany) and Manchester[16] (UK). For the Manchester
  group our British coordinator Sam Tuke created a good presentation
  template about the Fellowship which is now linked from the meeting
  howto[17] .

- Noteworthy articles from the Fellowship planet[18] include:

- Timo Jyrinki's article about his presentation of "tuning an old but
  free phone"[19] with corresponding videos from FSCONS[20] ,

- Carlo Piana's article "Doors opened at Openoffice"[21]  about
  Oracle's announcement that they want to make OpenOffice.org a
  community developed project,

- and Lena Simon's article about the old myths in a digital society[22]
  (German) which also covers some issues we have to explain often.
11. http://losca.blogspot.com/2011/04/tuning-old-but-free-phone-video-now.en.html
12. http://www.fscons.org
13. http://piana.eu/it/node/265
14. http://www.stud.uni-potsdam.de/~leena/2011/04/alte-mythen-in-der-digitalen-gesellschaft/

- Groklaw's well deserved pension. Groklaw is shutting down and like our
  sister organisation[23] we would like to thank them for their good

- Free Software licensing, Free Software business, software patents, and
  other topics from a legal point of view are covered in Matija's Free
  Software and law related links. Editions are available for
  29.03.-17.04.[24] , 18.04.-24.04.[25] , and 25.04.-29.04.[26] .
15. http://blogs.fsfe.org/fellowship-interviews/?p=299
16. http://wiki.fsfe.org/FellowshipEvents/Linuxtag%20berlin
17. http://fsfe.org/news/2011/news-20110418-01.en.html
18. http://wiki.fsfe.org/groups/
19. http://wiki.fsfe.org/groups/Augsburg
20. http://wiki.fsfe.org/groups/Manchester
21. http://wiki.fsfe.org/MeetingHowTo#General
22. http://planet.fsfe.org
23. http://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/farewell-groklaw-and-thanks
24. http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/239
25. http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/241
26. http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/244

== Get Active - Internships at FSFE ==

We are looking for smart, motivated interns to join our team[27] . Apply
for an internship position[28] yourself, or distribute the information
about it. We offer:
27. http://fsfe.org/about/team.en.html
28. http://fsfe.org/contribute/internship.en.html

- a challenging and exciting time with a dynamic NPO working

- a close-up view of organisational and community processes,

- a chance to take the initiative and put your ideas into practice, and

- the opportunity to meet and work with Free Software advocates across
Beside the current interns Natalia Evdokimova[29] , and Nicolas Jean[30]
, past interns include our Italian coordinator Giacomo Poderi[31] ,
Fellowship representative Hugo Roy[32] , our president Karsten
Gerloff[33] , UK coordinator Sam Tuke[34] , Swedish team member Stian
Rødven Eide[35] , education team coordinator Thomas Jensch[36] , and
your editor[37] , who was FSFE's first intern. So as you can see, the
internship is a good start to get more involved in FSFE.
29. http://fsfe.org/index.en.html
30. http://fsfe.org/about/jean/jean.en.html
31. http://blogs.fsfe.org/poderi/
32. http://fsfe.org/about/roy/roy.en.html
33. http://fsfe.org/about/gerloff/gerloff.en.html
34. http://fsfe.org/about/tuke/tuke.en.html
35. http://blogs.fsfe.org/julipan/
36. http://blogs.fsfe.org/riepernet/
37. http://fsfe.org/about/kirschner/kirschner.en.html

Matthias Kirschner - FSFE

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