FSFE Newsletter â February 2014
Free Software Foundation Europe
press at fsfeurope.org
Wed Feb 5 19:14:20 CET 2014
= FSFE Newsletter – February 2014 =
[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201402.fi.html]
== A big step forward for Free Software in Italy ==
More public administrations using Free Software means more money for the
development of Free Software and less problems for citizen using Free
Software communicating with their authorities. In January the Italian
government has made Free Software the default choice for public
administrations. The Italian Digital Agency issued new rules saying
that all government organisations in the country must consider using
Free Software before buying licenses for proprietary programs. The rule,
which has been discussed for over a year, has now been reaffirmed. Carlo
Piana, who participated on FSFE's behalf in the working group, wrote
: "Now public administrations have no excuse not to comply with the
guidelines. There are no more excuses, there is no room for ambiguous
== What else is going on in the public administration ==
First the bad news, the European Commission is still in denial on their
vendor lock-in and Karsten Gerloff offers good reasons to believe
that they are not serious about using and supporting the Open Document
Format. But there were also a lot of good developments: The European
Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
(LIBE), wants to use more Free Software for their new IT systems. The
Greens/ETA in the European parliament started a small pilot program
to increase e-mail security, running 10 laptops with Debian GNU/Linux.
The next step for them would be to budget to pay for the Free Software
support, like the Parliament does for non-free software.
The city of Munich successfully completed their GNU/Linux migration with
14.800 PCs. They also announced that they will continue their
advocacy work for Free Software. EC's Joinup reports that public
administrations in the Netherlands who use Free Software spend 24% less
than the ones who do not. In Denmark public libraries are switching
to GNU/Linux, and are demanding a complete free admin system. Carsten
Agger, our local coordinator for Århus/Denmark, is involved in providing
== Compulsory routers: Private network should be private! ==
You should be able to use a router of your own choice in your home, so
you can have more control over this gateway from your private network to
the internet. But in Germany ISPs started to force customers to use
specific routers, and did not offer them the internet access credentials
to use routers of their own choice. Together with dedicated volunteers
from OpenWRT, IPFire and others, FSFE worked on this issue in
2013, sending a letter to the authorities, and answering 18 detailed
questions. Our argument were then covered by German newspapers,
magazines and and television news sites.
What did we achieve? The new coalition agreement of the German
governments says that they are against compulsory routers, and that the
ISPs have to send the usernames and passwords without request from the
customers. Those are the good news from the new coalition agreement. Our
intern Max Mehl summarised our work on compulsory routers in his blog
entry "Why free choice of routers is a must".
But although the coalition agreement by CDU/CSU und SPD is an
improvement for Free Software compared to the one from the last
Government, there are still some critical points, which we pointed out
in our press release (in German, but Joinup published a good article
in English about it ).
== Something completely different ==
- You might have noticed it already: Our web team applied a new design
to FSFE's website. Hugo Roy announced the plans in the beginning of
the month. The new design should make the website better usable on
every screen (tiny mobile, mobile, big mobile/tablet, laptops,
desktops, whatevercomesnext) and we will reuse this for
www.,wiki.,planet.,fellowship., search. and eventually,
blogs.fsfe.org. Hugo documented how to use the new web design in a
template article, and how to edit our CSS with LESS.
- Matthew Garrett criticised Canonical's contributor agreement.
Other copyright assignment tools, such as FSFE's Fiduciary License
Agreement and the GNU Project's copyright assignment, enable
developers to prevent their code from being used in non-free software.
In contrast, Canonical's agreement explicitly states that the company
may distribute people's contributions under non-free licenses. If you
value software freedom, FSFE recommends you *not to sign* agreements
which make it possible to distribute your code under non-free
- Get 46.03€ back for an unused Microsoft Windows license. Rui Miguel
Silva Seabra explains in a series of blog entries how he was
successful to get a Windows tax refund in Portugal. You can help
us to keep Windows Tax Refund wiki up to date.
- Fellowship representative Heiki "Repentinus" Ojasild and other Free
Software supporters convinced the Institute of the Estonian Language
to differ between Free Software and gratis software.
- Local groups: Carsten Agger, our local group coordinator from Aahrus
Denmark, started blogging about Free Software and FSFE in Danish.
FSFE's local group in Manchester ran a Cryptoparty and explained
public/private key encryption with actual locks, keys, and a diary. We
had our first Fellowship meeting in Aschaffenburg, and at the
meeting in Frankfurt local Free Software activists discussed I
love Free Software, Document Freedom Day, PDFreaders,
TheyDontWantYou.to, the local event Fuxcon, and CryptoParties.
- Interesting news about Free Software in education are covered in Guido
Arnold's latest update,
- and an edited version of Benjamin Mako Hill's talk "When Free Software
isn't better" is now available.
- From the planet aggregation :
- Debian.org enabled SIP federation. Furthermore Daniel Pocock
describes how easy it is to have a phone call from a mobile phone
to a desktop system using WebRTC.
- Fellow No 1, Mario Fux, wrote about the 2014 Free Software
meetings in Randa/Switzerland about several KDE topics, Open
Street Map, and usability.
was it created and when? This information often gets lost. Former
FSFE's Vice President Jonas Öberg wants to fix this, and received
another year of funding by the Shuttleworth Foundation for working
on Commons Machinery.
- Are you looking for ways to get your children in touch with
technology? Isabel Drost-Fromm was asked how to achieve that and
wrote about it in "Children tinkering". But be careful, like
mentioned in the quote from the December education news : If
your children start hacking, companies might want to hire them.
- Lucile Falgueyrac organised a meeting about the European
Commission's consultation on copyright to share knowledge
about the consultation, and she wrote about her first television
interview in Russia Today.
- The KDE Community released a tech preview of the upcoming KDE 5
Frameworks, Mirko Böhm summarised the changes.
- Tobias Platen wrote about GNU/Linux on mobile devices and single
- Paul Boddie wrote an article about "Python 3: I Told You So?"
explaining why it may be easier for users to choose another
technology entirely than to deal with version 3,
- and your editor found his old Free Software floppies and CDs,
and remembered how he got involved in Free Software.
== Get active: You love Free Software? Show it! ==
Free Software eases our daily life and ensures we can work and create in
freedom. In many cases, we do not pay for these tools and yet we write
bug reports to make the developer improving his software even more. On
14 February we ask you to show your love to the people working on the
Free Software you use. For example, you could prepare a "love letter"
telling the developers of a certain program why you love their work,
include banners or buttons on your website, (micro)blog about your
favourite piece of software, or help us collecting quotes by well-
known people and yourself. On " I love Free Software day ", it is
time to give back.
In Manchester, our local group is even celebrating Free Software with a
week-long event. The " I love Free Software Festival " takes place
from 3 to 8 February 2014 and focusses especially on Bitcoin, Wordpress,
encryption, and Free Your Android. It is a great opportunity to meet
other likeminded people in MadLab's great atmosphere.
Thanks to all the volunteers, Fellows and corporate donors
who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE
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