FSFE Newsletter - August 2013

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Aug 6 12:10:08 CEST 2013


= FSFE Newsletter - August 2013 =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201308.html ]


== Proprietary companies ask European Commission to restrict business
models ==

Because Android is Free Software and gratis, the non-free software
competition cannot compete with it, therefore the market has less
alternatives, thus the consumer suffers from this lack of competition.
In a nutshell that is the argumentation of the so-called "Fair Search"
coalition. Essentially they are asking the European Commission to favour
a restrictive business model over a liberal one, which is exactly the
opposite of what competition regulators should do in order to achieve a
fair market.

Asking the European Commission to cripple Free Software in order to
allow proprietary vendors to sell their locked-down systems is absurd.
Therefore the FSFE has written a letter to the European Commission's
competition authorities to refute the claims[1], and make it clear that
Free Software is critical for a competitive IT market. In our letter we
ask the European Commission to dismiss the "FairSearch" coalition's
unfounded claims regarding predatory pricing, and not make them part of
whatever steps it decides to take. For further information: our legal
council Carlo Piana wrote a background article about this case[2].


== Election software: source code available but not Free Software ==

Estonia has used Internet voting for general elections since 2005. Local
activists have recently managed to convince Estonia's National Electoral
Committee (NEC) to release source code for some of the software under a
non-free licence, but this licence does not permit distribution of
derivative works or commercial use and therefore is non-free. Besides
"[i]mportant system components remain completely unknown to the general
public. One of those components is the client side voting application
that must be loaded and executed on the voter's computer," said Heiki
Ojasild, Fellowship representative in the FSFE's General Assembly in our
press release[3] accompanying our open letter to NEC regarding the
country's Internet voting system[4].

Similar in Norway: Paul Boddie reports about the Norwegian voting and
the illusion of "Open Source"[5], where the published software covers
only "testing, reviewing or evaluating the code", restricts commercial
purposes, and for a lot of things you need a "written approval" from the
vendors.


== NSA leaks motivates Free Software activists ==

For almost two decades the Free Software Foundations have been working
for a society where the power over technology is distributed. We work
for a world in which nobody can prevent others from learning how
computers work. A world in which programmers can work with each other
instead against each other. Nobody should be forced to use a certain
kind of software without being able to adjust it to her own needs
instead of adjusting herself to the software. Everybody should be able
to audit software, to understand what a program does exactly and what
happens to your data.

The Free Software movement wrote a lot of software which respects your
privacy, including encryption and anonymisation software. The FSFE
pushed for Open Standards to prevent monopolies by enabling different
software to work with each other. We promote decentralised systems, so
there is no single point in our infrastructure which has too much power
and which enables you to store the data in a trusted enviroment.

It seems the NSA leaks of the last weeks have strengthened the Free
Software community's will to continue fighting for our freedoms in a
digital society. More people are listening to Free Software programmers
and activists, more people demand Free Software solutions, more people
are using Free Software to protect their privacy, and more people
appreciate Free Software developer's work. E.g. Eva Galperin from EFF
said in her keynote at KDE's conference akademy[6]: "Help us Free
Software, you are our last and only hope". She asked Free Software
developers to build new products, and "save us"! And as you will see
below, the Free Software movement will continue to do so.


== Something completely different ==


- Privacy is a fundamental human right, and is central to maintaining
  democratic societies. The FSFE joined more than 100 other
  organisations in demanding that states respect human rights, and bring
  their surveillance apparatus under democratic control.[7] More than
  one year in the making, the demands are now more relevant than ever.
  The FSFE also signed an Open Letter to stop surveillance[8], which
  calls for twelve political steps including the development and
  promotion of Free Software for digital self-defence.

- The FSFE commented on leaked documents[9] which show how Microsoft is
  actively cooperating with the NSA.

- Together with the Open Rights Group we sent an open letter on
  transparency to Martin Schulz, President of the European
  Parliament[10]. Mr Schulz has recently been asked to produce a study
  on transparency within the Parliament. In our letter we are offering
  Mr Schulz our help in this effort and suggest several questions, e.g.
  if the Parliament would be obliged to publish the source code of the
  software it uses.

- News about Free Software in education are back: Guido Arnold
  summarised what happened in the education sector[11] during April,
  May, and June. He also summarised the relevant parts[12] of the UNESO
  conference World Summit on an Information Society (WSIS+10).

- Ubuntu is aiming to raise $32 million in crowdfunding to produce
  Ubuntu Edge, a mobile computer that can dual-boot between Android and
  Ubuntu GNU/Linux. Our sister organisation[13] the FSF is asking the
  crucial question: Will Ubuntu Edge commit to using only Free
  Software?[14]. Paul Boddie, Fellow and maintainer of Fellowship
  wiki[15], looked into the question if Ubuntu Edge is making things
  even harder for open hardware?[16]

- Besides our sister organisation reports that the New Internationalist
  adopted the DRM-free label[17] and over 50 others were added to the
  DRM-free Guide.

- From the public administrations: Students and teachers at 160 high
  schools in the Brussels Region have started to use Free Software[18]
  like LibreOffice or Mozilla Thunderbird on PCs and tablets. Joinup
  reports that France's ministry of Agriculture extensively uses Free
  Software[19]: For instance in 2012 it spent 174,000 euro on support
  for Free Software. Additionally news from France: Lucile wrote about
  the Zombie Free Software provision[20] -- a Free Software law for
  France's higher education -- and how to contact politicians.

- For those amongst you giving talks at conferences: LWN now offers a
  handy calendar for call for papers[21].

- From the planet aggregation[22]:

  - Former FSFE president Georg Greve wrote a tetralogy about the Post
    PRISM society. He puts together what actually has been proven so
    far[23], what that means for society[24], what the implications for
    businesses around the world are[25], and takes a look at
    governments[26]. He argues that any government should be able to
    answer the following question: What is your policy on a sovereign
    software supply and digital infrastructure? If that question cannot
    be answered, he suggests it is time to get to work. And soon.

  - FSFE's president Karsten Gerloff wrote about what you can do to
    secure your communications[27], e.g. participating in politics,

  - Werner Koch, author of GnuPG and FSFE GA member wrote about Gpg4win
    and the feds[28], commenting on a CT article which mentions GnuPG
    and claims that only a self compiled version is trustworthy.

  - and Kevin Keijzer documented how he maintains his online
    privacy[29].

  - Anonymisation hobbyist Jens Lechtenboerger explains how he selects
    Tor guard nodes under global surveillance[30], and also publishing
    code how he analysed the situation.

  - A proposal for a new encrypted mobile messaging app called Hemlis
    received $125,000 in crowdfunding. It is good to see ambitious new
    software projects get support from the community when they are Free
    Software. Sam Tuke checks if this is really the case with
    Hemlis[31].

  - Viktor Horvath published the video from his talk at FOSDEM about
    SlapOS[32] a decentralised Free Software plattform.

  - Lucile wrote about several examples of interesting uses of
    transparency policies[33], related to Free Software especially for
    France.

  - Should a person be bound by terms of use and contracts where that
    person has been effectively coerced into accepting them? Other
    questions about IT in universities are asked by Paul Boddie in
    "Students: Beware of the Academic Cloud!"[34]

  - News from Martin Gollowitzer's "Tracking for Freedom"[35] project:
    he is now cycling with the pros.

  - Mirko Böhm reports from his travel to Akademy and the Qt contributor
    summit[36]. Together with Armijn Hemel he started a process to make
    defensive publications a routine part of the Qt release process[37],

  - and Free Software activities in Munich have intensified. Christof
    Kalkhoff and the Munich group now bought a pavilion to be present at
    more and more public events (German)[38].



== Get active: Help with Crypto parties! ==

Crypto parties are getting more popular. They also attract funding from
non-free software companies. One company offered money to crypto party
organisers if they also mention non-free software (German)[39]. Good
that a lot of FSFE's volunteers already support the organisers to help
people install encryption software, and educate participants about Free
Software.

In the Free Software community a lot of us understand how end-to-end
encryption works. At the moment a lot of people new to Free Software
want to use it themselves. If you have some time, either help some
friends, colleagues, or search for local crypto parties and show others
how to use GnuPG for e-mail encryption, OTR for encrypted chats, TOR to
anonymise your online behaviour or programs like Jitsi to have encrypted
audio and video communications.

Thanks to all the Fellows[40] and donors[41] who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE


-- 
Free Software Foundation Europe <http://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>


  1. http://fsfe.org/news/2013/news-20130729-01.en.html
  2. http://piana.eu/android
  3. http://fsfe.org/news/2013/news-20130730-01.en.html
  4. http://fsfe.org/ee/i-voting/2013-07-26_Open_Letter_to_NEC.en.html
  5. https://blogs.fsfe.org/pboddie/?p=291
  6. https://lwn.net/Articles/559124
  7. https://necessaryandproportionate.org/
  8. http://www.stopsurveillance.org/?page_id=20
  9. http://fsfe.org/news/2013/news-20130712-01.en.html
 10. http://fsfe.org/activities/os/transparency-letter.en.html
 11. https://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2013/07/free-software-in-education-news-aprilmayjune-2013/
 12. https://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2013/06/1347/
 13. http://fsfe.org/about/fsfnetwork.en.html
 14. https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/will-ubuntu-edge-commit-to-using-only-free-software
 15. http://wiki.fsfe.org
 16. https://blogs.fsfe.org/pboddie/?p=366
 17. https://www.defectivebydesign.org/new-internationalist-drm-free-label-guide-additions
 18. http://joinup.ec.europa.eu/community/osor/news/open-source-tablets-and-pcs-schools-brussels-region
 19. http://joinup.ec.europa.eu/community/osor/news/extensive-open-source-use-frances-ministry-agriculture
 20. https://blogs.fsfe.org/lucile.falg/2013/06/28/zombie-free-software-provision-update/
 21. https://lwn.net/Calendar/Monthly/cfp/2013-08/
 22. http://planet.fsfe.org
 23. https://blogs.fsfe.org/greve/?p=553
 24. https://blogs.fsfe.org/greve/?p=568
 25. https://blogs.fsfe.org/greve/?p=573
 26. https://blogs.fsfe.org/greve/?p=586
 27. https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2013/07/01/some-things-you-can-do-to-secure-your-communications/
 28. http://rem.eifzilla.de/archives/2013/07/16/gpg4win-and-the-feds
 29. https://blogs.fsfe.org/the_unconventional/2013/06/29/more-work-to-maintain-my-privacy/
 30. https://blogs.fsfe.org/jens.lechtenboerger/2013/07/19/how-i-select-tor-guard-nodes-under-global-surveillance/
 31. https://blogs.fsfe.org/samtuke/?p=564
 32. https://blogs.fsfe.org/viktor/archives/62
 33. https://blogs.fsfe.org/lucile.falg/2013/07/19/clear-answers-demanded
 34. https://blogs.fsfe.org/pboddie/?p=197
 35. https://blogs.fsfe.org/gollo/2013/07/06/tracking-for-freedom-cycling-with-the-pros/
 36. http://creative-destruction.me/2013/07/10/kde-akademy-and-qt-contributor-summit-in-bilbao-spain/
 37. http://creative-destruction.me/2013/07/16/qt-project-and-defensive-publications/
 38. http://www.softmetz.de/2013/07/16/bericht-vom-treffen-der-muenchner-fsfe-fellows-im-juli/
 39. http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/hacker-lehnen-teletrustt-sponsoring-fuer-cryptopartys-ab-a-912190.html
 40. http://fellowship.fsfe.org/join
 41. http://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.en.html


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