FSFE Newsletter - August 2015

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Aug 4 14:15:35 CEST 2015

 = FSFE Newsletter - August 2015 =

[ Lexojeni online: https://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201508.sq.html ]

 == Reply to EU consultation on copyright, patents, and trade secrets ==

Earlier this month, FSFE answered to the “Consultation on the respect of
intellectual property in public procurement procedures”, initiated by
the European Commission. According to Commission the initial purpose of
the consultation was to “gather evidence, opinions and feedback
regarding the respect of intellectual property rights and trade secrets
in public procurement procedures”, and assess whether there is a need
for a guide for public authorities in this regard.

In our answer, we restate several issues that need to be addressed in
the overall topic of the consultation. For example on software patents
we explained that it is impossible to procure software that is not
violating any patents, and that the rights of copyright holders should
not be devalued by third parties’ patents. In addition, FSFE argued that
every publicly funded software should be published and distributed as
Free Software by default, so that everyone can use the software for
their own purposes and provide better services for public authorities in

Our current trainee Polina Malaja summarised our answers and wrote about
the consultation in her blogpost[1], and made our answers available in
FSFE's wiki[2].

 == How to deal with firmware restrictions ==

FSFE's goal is to ensure that the owners of IT devices are always in
full and sole control of them. During the last years this fundamental
principle is being challenged by such developments as UEFI “Secure
Boot”[3], or the proprietary BIOS. This is low-level software that runs
when you turn on your computer. It initialises the hardware and may be
designed to restrict users to install software which is not “authorised”
by the manufacturer. This development was also a topic in your editor's
keynote[4] at this year's Akademy in A Coruña/Spain, that gives an
insight on how to resolve these manufactured restrictions.

One of the ways to counter those developments is alternative boot
firmware. There are several ways to have the built-in proprietary
firmware replaced with free analogues. Our fellow Kevin Keijzer explains
in detail how to "set up a beaglebone black to flash Coreboot"[5], and
how to "flash Libreboot on an Lenovo X200 with a Raspberry Pi"[6].
Another fellow André Ockers explains in his blogpost how he got a
Thinkpad T60p with Trisquel and Libreboot[7].

Beside working on free alternative boot firmware, we also have to look
further into the future. We have to think about how to extend the ideas
of Free Software to hardware. Richard Stallman wrote about this in his
article "Why we need free digital hardware designs"[8].

 == Something completely different ==

- On July 24-26, FSFE held its European Coordinators Meeting 2015
  (ECM15) in Essen. Amongst many topics our coordinators discussed
  strategy, a proposal to restructure FSFE's community and
  communication, as well as our press and campaign work. For more
  information please read Erik Albers's blogpost[9].

- FSFE's education team updated their website[10]. Have a look at it,
  give us feedback, or even better: join our education team to promote
  the use of Free Software in schools and universities.

- Your editor, Matthias Kirschner, was interviewed before Akademy. The
  interview is available on KDE's website[11]. It covers questions about
  your editor's first GNU/Linux distribution, why he studied politics
  and management, how he got involved in FSFE, how Free Software is
  linked to the progress of society, as well as his involvement in wild
  first aid seminars. (Victorhck translated the interview into

- The European Commission published the legislation editor LEOS as Free
  Software[13]. It can be used to draft and automatically process legal
  texts. Currently the software supports legal texts issued by the EC,
  yet can be extended to support other legislative processes.

- Two good developments in France: On one hand the French government has
  published templates[14] to be used by procurement officers when
  requesting free software-based ICT solutions. The templates include
  Free Software procurement clauses that prompt developers to organise
  contributing code. On the other hand, France wants its public
  administration to prioritise ODF over Microsoft OOXML format (see an
  article in the Register[15] ).

- On 3 October 2015 the FSF celebrates its 30th birthday in Boston. That
  is a reason to celebrate. As their sister organisation, we invite you
  to organise small birthday parties[16] around Europe, too. Let us know
  if you plan something, so we promote the celebration.

- From the planet aggregation[17]:

    - Riccardo Iaconelli wrote about WikiFM[18], a KDE project which
      aims to bring free and open knowledge to the world, in the form of
      textbooks and course notes. It is aimed at students, researchers
      and continuous learners, with manuals and content ranging from
      basic calculus to “Designing with QML” (already used by High
      Energy Physics Software Foundation).

    - Daniel Pocock explains howto[19] record live events with your
      mobile phone and a lapel microphone.

    - Guido Arnold reported on Galicia introducing over 50 000 students
      to free software[20], and a school in Spain switching to using
      Ubuntu/Linux[21] for its desktop PCs in class rooms and offices.

 == Get active: Contribute to our static website generator ==

Since 2002 FSFE is using a static website generator for our web
presence. The first version was written by Jonas Öberg, who is now
FSFE's Executive Director. Last month we introduced an updated version
to the test instance of our website. In his blog post, FSFE's webmaster
Paul Hänsch summarises its new features, and limitations[22]. So if you
are interested to improve FSFE's web presence on a technical level, read
this and get in contact with our web team.

Thanks to all the volunteers[23], Fellows[24] and corporate donors[25]
who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE[26]

Free Software Foundation Europe <https://fsfe.org>
FSFE News <https://fsfe.org/news/news.en.rss>
Upcoming FSFE Events <https://fsfe.org/events/events.en.rss>
Fellowship Blog Aggregation <https://planet.fsfe.org/en/rss20.xml>
Free Software Discussions <https://fsfe.org/contact/community.en.html>

  1. http://blogs.fsfe.org/polina/2015/07/24/fsfe-answers-to-the-consultation-on-copyright-patents-and-trade-secrets-in-public-procurement/
  2. https://wiki.fsfe.org/Free_Software_in_public_procurement
  3. https://fsfe.org/campaigns/generalpurposecomputing/secure-boot-analysis.sq.html
  4. https://dot.kde.org/2015/07/25/akademy-talks-day-1
  5. http://blogs.fsfe.org/the_unconventional/2015/06/08/setting-up-a-beaglebone-black-to-flash-coreboot/
  6. https://blogs.fsfe.org/the_unconventional/2015/06/06/libreboot-x200-raspberry-pi/
  7. https://blogs.fsfe.org/ao/2015/05/29/how-i-got-a-thinkpad-t60p-coreboot-gnu-linux-libre-trisquel-laptop/
  8. http://www.wired.com/2015/03/need-free-digital-hardware-designs/
  9. https://blogs.fsfe.org/eal/2015/07/30/european-coordinators-meeting-2015/
 10. http://fsfe.org/activities/education/education.html
 11. https://dot.kde.org/2015/07/15/akademy-2015-keynote-matthias-kirschner
 12. https://victorhckinthefreeworld.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/entrevista-a-matthias-kirschner-vicepresidente-de-la-fsfe-que-dara-una-charla-en-akademy/
 13. https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/node/144375
 14. https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/node/144729
 15. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/22/french_government_computer_agency_recommends_giving_microsoft_le_boot/
 16. http://www.fsf.org/news/fsf-invites-the-free-software-community-to-its-30th-birthday-party-on-october-3rd-2015
 17. http://planet.fsfe.org
 18. http://blogs.fsfe.org/ruphy/2015/07/announcing-wikifm/
 19. http://danielpocock.com/recording-live-events-like-a-pro-part-one-audio
 20. http://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2015/07/galicia-introducing-over-50-000-students-to-free-software/
 21. http://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2015/07/we-dont-use-free-software-we-want-something-that-just-works/
 22. http://blog.plutz.net/The_FSFE_org_buildscript.html
 23. https://fsfe.org/contribute/contribute.sq.html
 24. http://fellowship.fsfe.org/join
 25. https://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.sq.html
 26. https://fsfe.org/index.sq.html

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