FSFE Newsletter - February 2013

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Mon Feb 4 19:51:05 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 December[1]the 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[2], legal experts[3],
SMEs[4]and civil society groups such as FFII[5]as 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[6],
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 complaint[7]to
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 work[8]and its plans
for 2013.

== Don't look back in anger! ==

At least there should be no reason for FSFE's work in 2012. Read our
annual report[9]to find out what we achieved, how we did it, and what is
ahead for 2013. We thank all of our Fellows[10], donors and
sponsors[11]for making our work possible! If you like what you read
please also donate as a Fellow of FSFE[12].

== Something completely different ==

- Open Standards: The 2013 DFD posters arrived[13]and volunteers all
  over the world, including our new Fellowship group in Munich[14], are
  starting to prepare this years edition of the event. In 2012 we had 54
  events[15]in 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
  players[16]like Wikipedia's new one[17]. If you have experiences with
  this, please get in contact with us[18].
- Fellowship interview: One of the most active DFD volunteers, Anna
  Morris, tells us why everyone should have a Free Software buddy[19]to
  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)[20], 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 copyright[21]which badly hinders the Free
  Software hackers.
- 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 claims[22]of the unpublished study, and
  several others criticised the study[23]. On the other hand, there are
  good news: in the Swiss city Bern, the majority in council wants to
  switch to Free Software[24], and the Basque government started a
  public Free Software repository[25]to 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"[26]. It was published in
  the book"Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State"[27].
  The German version of the book (PDF)[28]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[29].
- From the planet aggregation[30]:
  - 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[31].
  - Hugo started the "PatentBS series". Number one covers:"Abolishing
    software patents would harm Free Software"[32].
  - Fellowship representative Nikos Roussos, reports from a small
    hackathon at Athens Hackerspace[33]. 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[34]. For FSFE's
    interns[35], we also summarised this topic some time ago in a brief
    e-mail guide[36].
  - Paul Boddie looks into microcontrolers. He wrote"Why the Raspberry
    Pi isn't the new BBC Micro (and perhaps shouldn't be, either)"[37].
  - 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 thesis[39]on this
  - Hannes continues sharing his Android experiences with us. Read why
    using the Linux kernel can be a pain[40]when you come from the BSD-
    world and why he misses a proper e-mail client[41]; and
  - Michael Clemens published[42]his 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
love[43]to 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[44],
use one of the banners or buttons[45]made by Markus Meier on your
website, blog (like your editor did[46]), profile pages, and motivate
others to participate in the"I love Free Software" day[47]. Thanks to
Markus and Erik we also have ilovefs posters and flyers available. You
can pick them up at FSFE booths[48]or order FSFE promotion
material[49](soon updated with other new material).

All the Fellows among you[50]also 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

   1. http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20121211-01.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
   2. http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2012/12/unitary-patent-deja-vu-council-debate.html
   3. http://www.ip.mpg.de/en/pub/publications/opinions/unitary_patent_package.cfm
   4. http://www.april.org/en/against-software-patents-460-companies-demand-improvement-unitary-patent-europe
   5. http://www.unitary-patent.eu/
   6. http://fsfe.org/join?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
   7. http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20121217-01.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
   8. http://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2013/01/edu-team-2012-summary/?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
   9. http://fsfe.org/news/2012/report-2012.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  10. http://fsfe.org/join?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  11. http://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  12. http://fsfe.org/join?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  13. http://blogs.fsfe.org/eal/2013/01/23/new-dfd-posters-arrived?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  14. http://www.softmetz.de/2013/01/20/bericht-vom-ersten-muenchner-fsfe-fellowship-treffen/
  15. http://documentfreedom.org/news/2012/news-20120403-01.html
  16. http://html5video.org/wiki/HTML5_Video_Player_Comparison
  17. http://lwn.net/Articles/527081/
  18. http://documentfreedom.org/contact.html
  19. http://blogs.fsfe.org/anna.morris/2013/01/15/phone-coop-pdf-bug-fixed/?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  20. http://drm.info
  21. http://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/fsfe-frances-reading-copyright-limiting-innovation
  22. http://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/city-munich-refutes-rumours-spread-about-costs-using-open-source
  23. http://jan.wildeboer.net/2013/01/that-hpmicrosoft-study-on-the-linux-migration-in-munich-hm/
  24. https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/majority-bern-council-tells-swiss-city-switch-open-source
  25. https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/basque-government-unveils-open-source-repository-facilitate-reuse
  26. http://mako.cc/writing/hill-freedom_for_users.html
  27. http://www.wealthofthecommons.org/
  28. http://www.boell.de/downloads/2012-04-buch-commons.pdf
  29. http://wiki.fsfe.org/Audio?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  30. http://planet.fsfe.org?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  31. http://blogs.fsfe.org/tonnerre/archives/88?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  32. http://blog.hugoroy.eu/2012/12/24/patentbs-series-1-abolishing-software-patents-would-harm-free-software/
  33. http://roussos.cc/2012/12/10/firefoxosappdays-hold-your-breath/
  34. http://matija.suklje.name/general-e-mail-netiquette
  35. http://fsfe.org/contribute/internship.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  36. http://wiki.fsfe.org/Fellows/mk/EmailGuide.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  37. http://blogs.fsfe.org/pboddie/?p=111&pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  38. http://blogs.fsfe.org/mkesper/?p=155&pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  39. http://jonasoberg.net/post/40906740451/bachelor-master-thesis-opportunity
  40. http://blogs.fsfe.org/h2/2012/11/29/tracking-memory-usage/?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  41. http://blogs.fsfe.org/h2/2012/12/27/missing-free-android-apps-ii-e-mail/?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  42. http://blogs.fsfe.org/clemens/2013/01/29/adressenmeister/?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  43. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/ilovefs/2013/ilovefs.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  44. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/ilovefs/2013/whylovefs.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  45. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/ilovefs/2013/banners.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  46. http://blogs.fsfe.org/mk?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  47. http://fsfe.org/campaigns/ilovefs/2013/ilovefs.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  48. http://fsfe.org/events/events.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  49. http://fsfe.org/order/promoorder.en.html?pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302
  50. https://fellowship.fsfe.org/ams/join.php?ams=join&pk_campaign=enewsletter&pk_kwd=201302

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