FSFE Newsletter - December 2012
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Tue Dec 4 17:28:33 CET 2012
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= FSFE Newsletter - December 2012 =
[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201212.nl.html ]
== UK: Small and major steps towards more Free Software ==
On 7th November, several political candidates standing in the Manchester
Central By-election participated in the"Manchester Digital Debate",
organised by our UK coordinator Sam Tuke and the Open Rights Group
(ORG). The event is part of FSFE's "Ask Your Candidates" campaign, which
aims to provide an opportunity to engage (local) politicians with
digital concerns that they typically do not address.
Besides these important steps at the local level, last month the UK
government has released a new Open Standards policy. In future all UK
Government bodies must comply with the Open Standards Principles or
apply for an exemption. FSFE welcomed this step, and particularly its
strong Open Standards definition. It also includes another long-standing
FSFE demand: to take into account the software exit costs. From now on,
when UK government bodies buy a software solution, they have to consider
in the price a calculation of what it will cost them to get out of this
solution, in the future. This means that government bodies could not
simply avoid buying Free Software solutions because they are locked into
one particular vendor's proprietary file formats. FSFE president Karsten
Gerloff analysed the new policy in detail.
== Secure Boot: FSFE welcomes German Government's White Paper on "Secure
We want to make sure that you are in control of your computing. This
control is, currently, restricted by "Secure Boot". On 19th November, as
the first government, the German Ministry of the Interior published a
white paper about "Trusted Computing" and "Secure Boot". The white
paper states that "device owners must be in complete control of (able to
manage and monitor) all the trusted computing security systems of their
devices." This has been one of FSFE's key demands from the beginning of
the debate. The document continues that "delegating this control to
third parties requires conscious and informed consent by the device
Another FSFE demand is also addressed by the government's white paper:
Before purchasing a device, buyers must be informed concisely about the
technical measures implemented in this device, as well as the specific
usage restrictions and its consequences for the owner: "Trusted
computing security systems must be deactivated (opt-in principle)" when
devices are delivered. "Based on the necessary transparency with regard
to technical features and content of trusted computing solutions, device
owners must be able to make responsible decisions when it comes to
product selection, start-up, configuration, operation and shut-down."
And "Deactivation must also be possible later (opt- out function) and
must not have any negative impact on the functioning of hard- and
software that does not use trusted computing functions."
Though all of what the German Government stated, should be self-evident,
unfortunately it is not. FSFE will continue talking to other governments
about this issue, to improve their understanding of the political and
economic consequences of this technology.
== German Cities: Two good news and a bad one ==
First the bad news: The city of Freiburg has decided to switch back,
from OpenOffice.org, to Microsoft Office. The study they based their
decision on was published one week before the decision, which we and
other Free Software organisations had criticised before. Unfortunate
news, but as IBM's Rob Weir wrote in his articlein the Free Software
community we tend to look at the bad news, and forget about the good
So, some good news: on the one hand, the City of Leipzig has just
migrated 4200 working stations to OpenOffice (DE), and on the other
hand, Munich announced they are saving over 10 Million Eurowith Free
Software. If you want to be updated with good news from the public
administrations in Europe, the European Commission's Join-up
Portalis a good place to check out.
== Something completely different ==
- LWN has a good summary of Karsten's talk "All watched over by machines
of loving grace", which is about society, power, and control.
Besides, Karsten recommended the German authorities to publish the
code of mobile phone apps.
- Our Finnish team coordinator Otto Kekäläinen and the Danish hacker
Ole Tange received the 2012 Nordic Free Software Award. With this
recognition, the Swedish Association for Free Software and Free
Culture ( FFKP, Föreningen Fri Kultur och Programvara) honours
people and projects who have made important contributions to software
freedom. Congratulations Otto!
- "Fuck you, this is my culture!". This statement ended Amelia
Andersdotter's (Swedish Pirate Party) speech at the Internet
Governance Forumwearing a European Parliament Free Software User
- Matija Šuklje, Jürgen Kneissl, Peter Bubestinger and Martin
Gollowitzer (all FSFE) were interviewedby Radio Orange about Free
Software, software patents and other connected topics. In 2010 Radio
Orange was awarded with the German Document Freedom Award, because
they provide OGG Vorbis for all their radio shows.
- Also on software patents, Richard Stallman wrote an interesting
article on the WIRED, suggesting to change the effect of patents:
"We should legislate that developing, distributing, or running a
program on generally used computing hardware does not constitute
- Former KDE president Aaron Seigo pleads to end the cults of
personality in Free Software.
- Mark Lindhout published the default Fellowship blog theme Pome on his
Github account, and invites everyone to contribute!
- Do you remember the time of the browser bundling? Or the Samba
antitrust case? You might also enjoy XKCD's comic strip named
- From the planet aggregation:
- Looking for a self-made Christmas present for your grandmother? What
about a one button audiobook player? Michael Clemens described how he
build such a devicewith a Raspberry Pi for his 90 year old
- FSF to begins to accept scanned assignments from Germany, and
Werner Koch, author of GnuPG, wrote the article"The tragedy of GNU
copyright assignments", where he asks if the GNU hackers really
have the freedom they demand from others?
- Erik Albers wrote about his experience with Ubuntu running on a Nexus
7while he and Torsten Grote gave a Free Your Android workshop at
SFSCON in Bolzano. Albert Dengg gave talks in Austria, and in our
upcoming eventsyou will find upcoming Free Your Androidrelated
- Otto wrote about the WOW effect, and a wishlist for future mobile
devices while Henri Bergius wrote an extensive blog post about Jolla's
- How to open computed tomography (CT) scan pictures (DICOM)? Our
president, Karsten Gerloff, broke his footjust for you to find
- What can you learn out of the Skolelinux pilot in Rhineland
Palatinate? Guido Arnold wrote a summary about Kurt Gramlich'sin
English, so more people can learn what happened after the first
euphoria and the reasons why the pilot may be considered a failure.
- There were several reports from events: Erik Albers organised the Free
Your Android workshop during FSCONS, where Fellow Bjarni Einarsson
rescued an (almost) bricked phone. Ana wrote about her high
expectations to FSCONSand how a perfect weekend looks like.
- Isabel Drost wrote 11 reports about the ApacheCon Europe,
- Mirko Böhm reported (in German) about the summit of Newthinking ( day
1, and day 2), and about our workshop at an event from the
Green party about Internet Policy.
- And finally, read Leena Simon's blog postto find out why South
Park failed on copyright.
== Get active: New year, new donations ==
It is the end of the year, and like FSFE's financial officer Reinhard
Mülleryour editor would like to start 2013 with a good money
buffer. So this month, please help us to fill our war chest:
- If you are not yet a Fellow, please join nowand support us with
- Check out our support programsto find out if the webshops you
already use for your Christmas shopping are listed there, and install
our plugins. (If you need some suggestions for books, take a look at
your editor's recommended books about Free Software.
- And please convince your employer to support us, and join our list
of donors. (If you do not want to talk to your employer on your
own, please contact us, and suggest whom we should talk to.)
Thanks to all the Fellowsand donorswho enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner- FSFE
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