AI in EU +++ Open letter to Bundestag +++ Plasma Mobile +++ Meshnet

press at press at
Tue Apr 5 10:08:36 UTC 2022

 = AI in EU +++ Open letter to Bundestag +++ Plasma Mobile +++ Meshnet =

[ Read online: ]

In our April Newsletter, we welcome the promising developments on AI in
the EU. We address the German Government to demand a clear budget for
Free Software. We interview Plasma Mobile developer Bhushan Shah, and
talk with Elektra Wagenrad in a podcast episode about Mesh Networking.
We congratulate KDE on the world's first eco-certified software.

 == European Parliament recognises Free Software as key for fair AI ==

The Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA)
of the European Parliament voted on its resolution on Artificial
Intelligence in a Digital Age on March 22nd, and underlined the
importance of Free Software for AI with a broad majority. We now ask EU
co-legislators to take this position into account and to include
provisions and guidelines on Free Software in the upcoming legislation.

Public authorities using AI systems should make them publicly available.
Public research inventing AI systems should make them publicly
available. Transparency in AI technologies is necessary to test them,
evaluate their results, and improve them. The FSFE is following closely
the legislative process [1] and analysed how AI can remain verifiable
and trustworthy as well as lead to further innovation [2] with Free

 == Germany has ambitious Free Software plans. Will it realise them? ==

The coalition agreement of the German government set digitisation as a
priority and Free Software as a secure and transparent solution. 100
days into the new German government in office, no action has been taken.
On the contrary, German administrations are alarmingly close to using
Microsoft products, giving up the chance to adopt a strategy based on
open interfaces. Alexander Sander, the FSFE's Policy Consultant,
explains: "Instead of finally providing a 'Free Software cloud' for
administrations, the new government will again rely on costly
proprietary applications." We call upon the government to follow its own
plans [3].

Specifically, together with other actors such as the Open Source
Business Alliance and the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, the FSFE
demands that the German government includes digital sovereignty in the
2022 federal budget [4] and implement already announced initiatives for
software freedom. In an open letter (DE) [5] the signatories address the
government groups in the Bundestag.

 == Plasma Mobile: Running a privacy-respecting and secure GNU/Linux phone ==

What are my options if I want to run my phone with Free Software? We
interviewed Plasma Mobile developer Bhushan Shah to learn more about the
project. Plasma Mobile is a full Linux-based system which offers a
completely transparent development process. When it comes to privacy,
Plasma Mobile is one of the most secure operating systems for phones.
There is no tracking, spying, nor data mining to craft targeted ads.
Bhushan gives a clear overview of Plasma Mobile, including how it is
developed, and how to get it [6].

 == Listen to our new podcast episode. Discover mesh networking. ==

In our new Software Freedom Podcast episode, Matthias Kirschner talks
with our guest, Elektra Wagenrad, about the origins of Freifunk, the
B.A.T.M.A.N. protocol, and the Mesh Potato project [7]. If you are new
to the world of mesh networking this episode is an easy entrance to it.
Elektra explains the theory behind the protocols and dives deeper into
its philosophical idea.

 == The most energy-efficient PDF reader is Free Software. Congrats, Okular! ==

To be exact, Okular is a universal document viewer. This means you are
not only able to read PDFs, comics, and EPub books, but also you can
browse your image files, visualize Markdown documents, and much more. In
February 2022, Okular was awarded the Blue Angel ecolabel, the official
environmental label awarded by the German government. In 1978, the
German Environment Agency was the first to establish an environmental
label; this year the label's scope was extended to include software
products, making Okular the first ´ŞĆever eco-certified computer program.

In order to receive the Blue Angel ecolabel, a program needs to meet
many requirements, including transparency, backwards compatibility, and
the ability to run the application on hardware at least five years old.
Free Software usually excels in these conditions. The FSFE congratulates
Okular and all of the KDE community [8]!

 == Save the date! ==

Thursday 14 April is the day of three FSFE local group meetings. At
18:00-21:00 Zurich will have its regular in-person monthly meeting [9].
Anyone interested in Free Software and wanting to stand up for the
ideals of Free Software can join. The group will discuss ways to reach
out to new people and the upcoming Open Education Day. Hamburg is having
its regular in-person monthly meeting [10] too. Please join the group's
mailing list for more information. Berlin [11] has its regular online
monthly meeting. Subscribe to the mailing list [12] or follow the
group's Mastodon page [13] to stay tuned.

On Wednesday 20 April, the FSFE country team Netherlands [14] will have
its regular online monthly meeting.

Date TBA. The FSFE local group Aarhus, Denmark, has delayed its first
meeting. If you are interested, now is a great time to contact Carsten
Agger (agger [at] fsfe [dot] org).

 == What we have done ==

On 30 March, Erik Albers, FSFE Programme Manager and sustainability
expert, showcased in the Digital Social Summit that software design and
Free Software licencing impacts the sustainability of hardware and

On 24 March, the FSFE local group Berlin brainstormed with Jessica
Wawrzyniak from Digital Courage how an allowlist of suitable Free
Software for Education could work [15], and how the German
administration could compile such a list.

On 20 March, the FSFE Women group met online to discuss past and future

On 19 March, the participants of the Upcycling Android workshop flashed
phones in Berlin.

On 16 March, the FSFE Country team Netherlands had its monthly online
meeting [16]. The team discussed the new telecommunications law in
Belgium, and the potential actions to secure Router Freedom. The
volunteers have already contacted Neutrinet. The government's open
source strategy was also an important topic, as well as the increased
dependency on DigID, the Dutch digital identity app. On 19 March the
team met in person in the Netherlands Linux Users meeting.

On 15 March, Erik Albers participated in 'Sustainable software for
phones that last', a webinar organised by Fairphone. A panel of experts
[17] discussed why the longevity of phones continues to decline. Within
the panel, Erik took a stand on how the universal right to install Free
Software operating systems on any device will help us to live in a more
sustainable digital society.

On 12 March, Matthias Kirschner, author of Ada & Zangemann, read the
book during Chemnitzer Linux-Tage. A video from an author reading [18]
during Wintercongress is now available.

On 10 March, the FSFE local group Berlin had its monthly meeting [19].
The participants discussed matters of financing and security related to
Free Software. The group discussed the recent plans of Mozilla to create
privacy-friendly advertising.

On 10 March, the FSFE local group Zurich discussed ways to reach out to
new people, and explored possible actions such as workshops and
information events [20].

On 9 March, the FSFE local group Hamburg had its monthly meeting [21].

 == Contribute to our newsletter ==

If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, please send
them to us. As always, the address is newsletter at We're looking
forward to hearing from you! If you also want to support us and our
work, join our community and support us with a donation or a monthly
contribution. Thanks to our community and all the volunteers,
supporters, and donors who make our work possible. And thanks to our
translators, who enable you to read this newsletter in your native

Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou

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