FSFE Newsletter – March 2014

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Mar 6 13:41:45 CET 2014

 = FSFE Newsletter – March 2014 =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201403.en.html]

 == The UK attempts to break free from vendor lock-in ==

The UK government is making progress towards less vendor lock-in. In
January, they published a few principles[1] for future government IT
contracts. They want to break the dominance of the big software
companies who provided the vast majority of software and services to the
UK government.

Now they are asking for comments on the standards they should use for
"sharing or collaborating with government documents". Among other
things, the government proposes to make ODF the sole standard for
office-type documents. The FSFE has submitted comments on a proposal[2]
by the UK government to use only document formats based on Open
Standards in the future. Microsoft also submitted a lengthy comment[3],
urging the government to include OOXML in its list of standards, to
which we responded as well[4].

 == Why Open Standards aren't enough: the minimal principle ==

Although a good data-format can only be an Open Standard, FSFE's
Bernhard Reiter[5] argues that this requirement alone is not enough.
Originally written for last year's Document Freedom Day[6] in German,
the article "The minimal principle: because being an open standard is
not enough"[7] is now available in English. In a nutshell Bernhard
argues that the data-format needs to solve a problem adequately: It
should be a good fit from a functional point of view, as well as on a
technical level. In order to judge this, there are a number of things to
consider: efficiency, maintainability, accessibility, extensibility,
learnability, simplicity, longevity and a few more. Two central
questions posed are: How well does the data-format solve the problem and
--more interesting-- is there a simpler format that could solve the
problem just as well?

Read the article[8], discuss it on our public mailing lists[9], and if
you are a developer always ask yourself if it can be done simpler.

 == Lots of motivation for Free Software contributors ==

On February 14th, people all around the world followed our
suggestions[10] to express their gratitude and appreciation to Free
Software and its contributors on " I love Free Software" day 2014! Blog
entries, e-mails to developers, a comic, a picture by the leadership of
the German Green party, an #ilovefs festival, blogs dedicated to Free
Software in general and developers in particular, and a lot of microblog
messages were dedicated to Free Software. We were overwhelmed by the

Contributors of Free Software projects work hard to ensure our freedom
and on this day surely many of them gained new motivation. Thanks to
everybody who participated in this year's #ilovefs campaign and if you
have not been involved enjoy some of the many love declarations we

 == Something completely different ==

- On Document Freedom Day (March 26), FSFE and the Greens/EFA group in
  the European Parliament are organising an event in the European
  Parliament[12] to discuss how cryptography can help us break the grip
  of the surveillance state. The draft program includes Werner Koch (of
  GnuPG fame, and one of FSFE’s founders), Karen O’Donoghue (Internet
  Society), French journalist Amaelle Guitton, and Swedish IT security
  expert Joachim Strömbergson.

- Free Software in the public administration: After a decision by the
  Parliament in the Swiss canton Bern[13], the government has to
  implement a bill which lists six measures to support Free Software in
  the canton's public administrations. The Canaries are increasing their
  Free Software usage[14] and in Riga they are using more Free Software
  in children hospitals[15].

- Furthermore the European Parliament passed a resolution[16] that,
  among other things, highlights the need for decentralised services
  with strong privacy protections.

- With our Free Your Android campaign[17], we ask developers to also
  publish their mobile applications in F-Droid, a Free Software
  repository for Android[18]. After talking with the LibreOffice
  developers about it, briefly before FOSDEM they published "Impress
  Remote" version 2[19], a program to control your presentation. Thanks
  to Daniel Martí, Christian Lohmaier, and Norbert Thiebaud for the

- Fighting compulsory routers, raising awareness about "Secure Boot", a
  joint motion against software patents in the German Parliament,
  supporting a working group in the German parliament about Free
  Software, raising questions about Free Software in several elections,
  organising compliance workshops, and lots of talks and events. Read
  the 2013 summary from FSFE's German team[20].

- With the end of the support for Microsoft Windows XP, and a low
  adoption rate of Windows 8 it is a good time to convince people to
  switch to GNU/Linux. Our sister organisation FSF wants to improve
  online resources for helping people to achieve this, and demonstrate
  GNU/Linux to new audiences[21].

- They also published an interview with Joerg Henrichs of

- As every year FSFE was present at FOSDEM with a booth. This year with
  a lot of new posters, leaflets, stickers, t-shirts, and our Fellows
  gave lots of talks[23].

- What has happened with Free Software in schools and universities? Read
  the new Free Software in education news[24].

- From the planet aggregation[25] :

    - Carsten Agger gave an interview[26] for the Danish newspaper about
      software patents and the European Parliament election.

    - The Fellowship group in Aarhus/Denmark which Carsten coordinates,
      is moving their meetings into the new hackerspace[27].

    - Henrik Sandklef wants to better understand his students, read why
      he learned Haskell to achieve that in part 1[28], 2[29], and 3[30]
      of this blog series.

    - Fellow Iain Learmonth reported from the Debian Med Sprint 2014[31]
      in Stonehaven, Aberdeen.

    - Karl Beecher is writing a computer science book[32] for everyone.

    - Karsten made a proposal for more transparency in EU policy

    - Having been inspired by the prospect of chat integration within
      Roundcube, Paul Boddie set out to install a suitable XMPP

    - Daniel Pocock writes about about JitMeet a web application from
      the Jitsi team[35].

    - Erik Albers now published his article The right to control your
      own devices as a requirement for privacy (in German)[36] in his
      blog, after it was published in the book Snowden surveillance book
      by netzpolitik[37].

    - Isabel Drost-Fromm argues that if something didn't happen on the
      mailing list it didn't happen at all[38].

    - Our intern Max Mehl wrote about secure alternatives to WhatsApp
      (in German)[39], covering surespot, Telegram, ChatSecure,
      TextSecure, and Kontalk.

 == Get active: Participate in Document Freedom Day! ==

There has been so many news about Open Standards in this edition. Do you
want to help us to promote them? If so, Document Freedom Day on 26 March
is a good occasion for that. Last year we had 59 events in 30 countries
all over the world[40]. This year Sam Tuke and the DFD campaign team aim
for 75 events, but they need your help.

Either organise a small event or educate your friends and colleagues
through other ways about Open Standards. You can now register your
event[41] or order promotional packs with new materials[42], including
multilingual posters and leaflets, flyers, and stickers, as well as new

  Thanks to all the volunteers[44], Fellows[45] and corporate donors[46]
who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE

  1. https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2014/01/30/uk-to-pick-odf-as-default-document-format/
  2. http://fsfe.org/activities/os/2014-02-uk-consultation-os.en.html
  3. http://standards.data.gov.uk/comment/929#comment-929
  4. https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2014/02/26/comments-on-uk-governments-consultation-on-document-standards/
  5. http://www.intevation.de/~bernhard/
  6. http://documentfreedom.org
  7. http://fsfe.org/activities/os/minimalisticstandards.en.html
  8. http://fsfe.org/activities/os/minimalisticstandards.en.html
  9. http://fsfe.org/contact/community.en.html
 10. http://fsfe.org/news/2014/news-20140211-01.en.html
 11. http://fsfe.org/news/2014/news-20140221-01.en.html
 12. https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2014/02/14/free-speech-crypto-and-free-software/
 13. https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/community/osor/news/canton-bern-parliament-votes-open-source
 14. https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/community/osor/news/canaries-continue-save-open-source
 15. https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/community/osor/news/more-and-more-linux-riga-children-hospital
 16. https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2014/02/05/european-parliament-calls-for-distributed-systems/
 17. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/android/android.en.html
 18. https://f-droid.org/
 19. https://f-droid.org/wiki/page/org.libreoffice.impressremote
 20. https://blogs.fsfe.org/mk/german-fsfe-activities-in-2013/
 21. https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/help-the-fsf-bury-windows-8
 22. https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/interview-with-joerg-henrichs-of-supertuxkart
 23. http://blogs.fsfe.org/eal/2014/01/29/fosdem-2014-fsfe-fellowship-and-speaking-schedule/
 24. https://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2014/02/free-software-in-education-news-%E2%80%93-january/
 25. http://planet.fsfe.org
 26. https://blogs.fsfe.org/agger/2014/02/05/fsfe-in-the-news/
 27. https://blogs.fsfe.org/agger/2014/02/22/opening-reception-at-open-space-aarhus/
 28. http://sandklef.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/understanding-my-students-or-why-i-started-learning-haskell-part-i/
 29. http://sandklef.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/understanding-my-students-or-why-i-started-learning-haskell-part-ii/
 30. http://sandklef.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/understanding-my-students-or-why-i-started-learning-haskell-part-iii/
 31. https://blogs.fsfe.org/irl/2014/02/06/debian-med-sprint-2014/
 32. http://computerfloss.com/2014/02/brown-dogs-barbers-crowdfunding-book-computer-science/
 33. https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2014/01/30/transparency-in-eu-policy-making-a-modest-proposal/
 34. https://blogs.fsfe.org/pboddie/?p=741
 35. http://danielpocock.com/jitmeet-webrtc-free-communications-takes-another-big-jump
 36. https://blogs.fsfe.org/eal/2014/02/20/eigene-geraetehoheit-als-bedingung-der-privatsphaere/
 37. https://netzpolitik.org/2014/wir-verschenken-unser-buch-ueberwachtes-netz-der-sammelband-zum-nsa-skandal/
 38. http://blog.drost-fromm.de/posts/on-being-aggressively-public.html
 39. http://blog.max-mehl.com/2014/wirklich-sichere-whatsapp-alternativen/
 40. http://documentfreedom.org/news/2013/news-20130419-01.html
 41. https://documentfreedom.org/how-add-event
 42. https://documentfreedom.org/en/promotion.en.html
 43. https://documentfreedom.org/en/products
 44. http://fsfe.org/contribute/contribute.en.html
 45. http://fellowship.fsfe.org/join
 46. http://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.en.html

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