FSFE Newsletter - February 2013
Free Software Foundation Europe
press at fsfeurope.org
Mon Feb 4 19:49:23 CET 2013
= FSFE Newsletter - February 2013 =
[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201302.html ]
== Unitary fail for our society ==
We want software as a tool to help society. Software patents are a
threat to this, as they add legal and financial risks to software
development and distribution by giving the patent holders legal power to
completely prohibit software developers from using patented ideas.
In Decemberthe European Parliament has adopted a proposal to create a
patent with unitary effect for Europe, short the "unitary patent". In
adopting the proposal, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) chose
to disregard intense criticism of the proposal from all sides of the
debate. Already before the vote patent lawyers, legal experts,
SMEsand civil society groups such as FFIIas well as FSFE all
voiced their concerns to MEPs. With the adoption, the European
Parliament has given up part of its power to shape Europe's innovation
policy. That power will instead fall to the European Patent Office
(EPO), which has a track record of awarding monopoly powers on the
widest possible range of subject matter.
According to the European Parliament's website, "the international
agreement creating a unified patent court will enter into force on 1
January 2014 or after thirteen contracting states ratify it, provided
that UK, France and Germany are among them. With your ongoing help,
FSFE will continue to inform companies and politicians about the danger
of software patents.
== Italy does not want Free Software users as teachers ==
Pupils, as well as teachers, must have the possibility to use Free
Software at school. But to select prospective teachers in Italy, many of
the Ministry's questions on IT refer only to a single proprietary
operating system and its applications. This discriminates Free Software
users to become teachers. Our Italian team filed a legal complaintto
Italy's Ministry of Education about that. Together with AsSoLi,
Wikimedia Italia, the Free Software User Group Italia, the Associazione
per l'Informazione Geografica Libera (GFoss.it), the Italian Linux
Society, LibreItalia and 38 other groups we warn that the country's
Ministry of Education is putting Free Software at an unfair
Beside the case in Italy, FSFE's education team did more in 2012 than
ever before to promote the use of Free Software in schools and
universities. Guido Arnold summarised the team's workand its plans
== Don't look back in anger! ==
At least there should be no reason for FSFE's work in 2012. Read our
annual reportto find out what we achieved, how we did it, and what is
ahead for 2013. We thank all of our Fellows, donors and
sponsorsfor making our work possible! If you like what you read
please also donate as a Fellow of FSFE.
== Something completely different ==
- Open Standards: The 2013 DFD posters arrivedand volunteers all
over the world, including our new Fellowship group in Munich, are
starting to prepare this years edition of the event. In 2012 we had 54
eventsin 23 countries and in 19 world languages, all of them about
Open Standards. One of the many topics will again be web video and
audio. We would like to raise awareness for HTML5 video
playerslike Wikipedia's new one. If you have experiences with
this, please get in contact with us.
- Fellowship interview: One of the most active DFD volunteers, Anna
Morris, tells us why everyone should have a Free Software buddyto
keep them on the right path when problems are abundant, be proud of
them when they have learned something new, and help them contribute to
more and better to Free Software. We all have something to give!
- FSFE helping VLC to play Blu-ray. The Video Lan Client (VLC) is the
world's most widely used Free Software player. For a long time, its
developers have wanted to enable playing Blu-ray discs. They have
asked Hadopi, France's copyright authority, over one year ago for
legal guidance on how to handle the digital restrictions management
(DRM), but the copyright authority has yet to come up with an
answer. At an event organised by the French Ministry of Economy,
Karsten Gerloff supported the VLC developers criticising France's
strict interpretation of copyrightwhich badly hinders the Free
- Public Administrations: Microsoft paid HP for a study about the City
of Munich's use of Free Software. Their result is that the Free
Software solutions costs millions of Euros more than Microsoft's
solutions. Munich refutes the claimsof the unpublished study, and
several others criticised the study. On the other hand, there are
good news: in the Swiss city Bern, the majority in council wants to
switch to Free Software, and the Basque government started a
public Free Software repositoryto facilitate reuse.
- "Free software advocates must return to their ultimate goal of freeing
people, not software." writes Benjamin Mako Hill in his
article"Freedom for Users, Not for Software". It was published in
the book"Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State".
The German version of the book (PDF)also includes an article about
Free Software in the German Foreign Office.
- FSFE on air: In the last weeks Torsten Grote gave a radio interview
about distributed systems, whereas Erik Albers and Matthias Kirschner
talked about Ubuntu Phone. Together with other interviews, they are
available on the Fellowship wiki's audio page.
- From the planet aggregation:
- Women in the Free Software community: "Right now, we're
unfortunately too far from that to just ignore the whole problem and
wait for it to go away on its own." writes Tonnerre in his article
Gender Liberalism: what got us here won't get us there.
- Hugo started the "PatentBS series". Number one covers:"Abolishing
software patents would harm Free Software".
- Fellowship representative Nikos Roussos, reports from a small
hackathon at Athens Hackerspace. Around 40 developers showed up,
learning about Mozilla's new effort to liberate the mobile ecosystem
through Open Web Apps and Firefox OS.
- What should you keep in mind when writing an e-mail? Matija
highlighted some articles about e-mail netiquette. For FSFE's
interns, we also summarised this topic some time ago in a brief
- Paul Boddie looks into microcontrolers. He wrote"Why the Raspberry
Pi isn't the new BBC Micro (and perhaps shouldn't be, either)".
- Michael Kesper has to use Microsoft Windows at work. He published a
blog post on why Windows 8 is a big step backwards in all
- How can you embed metadata for license and attribution requirements
in digital works, so it is easier to share them? Jonas Öberg is
offering to supervise a paid bachelor or master thesison this
- Hannes continues sharing his Android experiences with us. Read why
using the Linux kernel can be a painwhen you come from the BSD-
world and why he misses a proper e-mail client; and
- Michael Clemens publishedhis first software project from 1992
written in BASIC 2.0 on his good old C64.
== Get active: You love Free Software? Show it! ==
As in the previous years, for February 14th we ask you to show your
loveto people involved in Free Software, and who's work you admire.
For example, prepare a "love letter" telling the developers of a certain
program, why you love what they do, send us a quote and a picture,
use one of the banners or buttonsmade by Markus Meier on your
website, blog (like your editor did), profile pages, and motivate
others to participate in the"I love Free Software" day. Thanks to
Markus and Erik we also have ilovefs posters and flyers available. You
can pick them up at FSFE boothsor order FSFE promotion
material(soon updated with other new material).
All the Fellows among youalso have the e-mail forwarding
loginilovefs.org, beside theirfsfe.org one.
Thanks to all the Fellows and donors who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE
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