FSFE Newsletter - June 2013
Free Software Foundation Europe
press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Jun 4 19:27:25 CEST 2013
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= FSFE Newsletter - June 2013 =
[Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201306.html ]
== German Bundestag trying to get rid of software patents ==
No Free Software programmer wants them but unfortunately they are still
granted: software patents. They monopolise ideas about software, so
programmers cannot use them. In April the German Parliament (the
'Bundestag') has introduced a joint motion  against software patents.
It urges the German government to take steps to limit the granting of
patents on computer programs. After the first hearing in Parliament,
your editor was invited as an external expert to the legal committee
meeting on May 13th.
Before the meeting FSFE was asked to submit a written statement 
which explained that: programming tools are easily available to everyone
and don't require much investment; programmers learn to code by reading
existing source code; the hard part of software development is the
concrete implementation; copyright is enough to protect implementations;
most products include hundreds of programs; that these same programs are
used in a huge number of products; that Free Software is used to develop
Free and non-free software; that Free Software is especially vulnerable
to malicious patenting activity as its source code is available;
challenging software patents costs a lot of time and money which many
programmers and software companies do not have; the incentive of patents
in software innovation is highly questionable and that programmers
either have to ignore software patents or stop programming. In his oral
statement at the hearing your editor explained programming methods 
to the politicians.
During the meeting the vast majority of the 9 invited experts were in
favour of the motion. Now there will be a second meeting of the
committee and then, on the 6th of June, Parliament will vote upon the
(PDF in German)
== Why do some companies dislike their customers? ==
May the 3rd was the International Day Against DRM . To mark the
occasion Erik Albers wrote an article about Digital and physical
restrictions  on your own device (thanks to Framasoft, there is also
a French translation ). He highlighted how companies and resellers
take control over our software and hardware and in doing so, take away
Discussion on this topic continued at the Berlin Linuxtag. FSFE invited
speakers for the "Reclaim your device" track . The track gave
examples of how we can take back control over our software and therefore
our devices. Beside that, the Linuxtag organisers chose FSFE's speaker
as keynote, so Benjamin Mako Hill gave a speech about anti-features 
-- deliberately crippled technology (see German press article
"antifeatures -- Free Software against paternalism" ). Mako argue
that the anti-features issue makes a good framework within which to
explain the practical advantage of Free Software, and from his
experience your editor fully agrees.
== Illegal procurement favouring Microsoft stopped in court ==
FSFE's goal is that Free Software companies can compete with non-free
software companies on an equal basis. That's why we started an
initiative to advance fair public procurement in Finland , which has
already looked at 300+ procurement notices.
In related news, the administrative court of Almada, Portugal, recently
declared a 550,000 Euro contract between Microsoft and the municipality
of Almada to be illegal. (see our press release ). In this example,
the technical specifications of the competition launched by the
municipality prevented any company other than Microsoft and their
partners from being capable of fulfilling the contract criteria. This
ruling clarifies that a widely used procurement procedure is illegal:
because it names Microsoft products instead of their general functional
and technical requirements. FSFE welcomes the court's decision, and
calls on other European national courts to continue to systematically
annul similarly discriminatory contracts.
== Something completely different ==
- As reported in the last edition  W3C wants to implement usage
controls on the web. The EFF have published a formal objection (which
we urge you to read and distribute) to the HTML working group draft
- There is also some discussion about how Google's new VP8 patent
license influences Free Software. On one hand, Simon Phipps from Open
Source Initiative (OSI) argued that each user wishing to benefit from
the agreement has to enter into a contract with Google  , and that
this is a problem for Free Software initiatives. On the other hand,
Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) argues that the VP8 cross-license
draft is compatible with Free Software licensing .
- Current intern Lucile Falgueyrac organised FSFE's booth at Toulouse
Hacker Space Factory, in southern France . She said: "I enjoyed
this event especially as most people there didn’t know anything about
FSFE, and quite a few didn’t know much about Free Software in general.
Talking to people who are not yet convinced is a great pleasure and in
this case, very productive".
- The French Free Software organisation April has reported that the
French Senate demands that the public service for digital education
prioritises Free Software and open formats 
- Other news from the Europeans public administration by Joinup include
Tariq Rashid from the IT Reform group at the UK Cabinet, who says that
Free Software solutions helps public administrations to regain their
power as consumers . Spain's Extremadura are starting to switch
40,000 government PCs to Free Software, and over 36,000 students,
teachers and staffers are using a Free Software groupware in Switzerland
- Single-board computers are computers delivered as one circuit board
that are powerful enough to run a real operating system. Our sister
organisation the FSF has created a new resource page for single-board
- On May 14.-17., Matija Suklje and Karsten Gerloff participated in
Croatia's largest Free Software conference, Open Systems Days /
Croatian Linux Users Convention - DORS/CLUC. The conference was opened
by Croatia's President Ivo Josipović who said about the Free Software
community: "What you are doing is something good, creative and
- It does not happen often that your opponents make a strong case for
you. So journalist Glyn Moody was very grateful that the Business
Software Alliance (BSA) has made a cogently case for free software in
its report .
== From the planet aggregation: ==
- Hugo Roy writes about Google discontinuing Google Talk and asks
weather Google can keep its promise from their terms of services and
give XMPP users a way out? 
- He also checked out who is tracking him online more: Google or
- With Daniel Pocock we have a new active blogger on the planet. He
wrote about "The BBC and a confused concept of what is free and open"
, how the British Telecom attacks Free Software with patent demands
, is scouting Switzerland for Debian's annual conference , and
about the quickest way to try WebRTC and see it working 
- Besides, after FSFE press release about MSN messenger and Skype Daniel
Pocock writes how Debian can rescue Skype users .
- While Nikos described how to hack a Firefox OS developer phone ,
Thomas Koch asked what others think about the FairPhone . Replies
on the planet came from Paul Boddie  and Jens Leuchtenbörger .
- 58.1 km at 24.0 km/h for Freedom: Reducing weight and further Free
Software. Since Martin Gollowitzer likes to go cycling every now and
then (especially when the weather is fine), he would like to combine
this sport with fundraising . See his first track record .
- After being mentioned in one of the last newsletter, the one-button
audiobook player by Michael Clemens is now featured in new book .
The co-author said "I particularly like the way it’s really improving
someone’s quality of life, by making it possible for your [Michael]
wife’s grandmother to listen to audiobooks."
- Fellowship representative Nikos Roussous wrote about his attendance of
the Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM), which is an annual gathering for the
discussion of Free Software used for design, illustration, typography,
lay-out, art, photography, publishing, cartography, animation and video
- Timo Jyrinki wrote about how to have a network from your laptop to an
Android device over USB , about the current state of Qt 5 in
Debian and Ubuntu, and world domination .
- Michael Stehmann from the German FSFE team participated in an event in
the Parliament from Nordrhein-Westfalen, you can read more about it in
his blog . Beside this Michael also gave a seminar at the
Fachhochschule Düsseldorf about Free Software , and a presentation
at the PythonCamp 2013 in Cologne  about Free Software and its
licenses (all in German).
- First it should be done "like Facebook", afterwards all the features
should be removed. Read Michael Kesper's "Make it like Facebook…or
not?! Or: From Wordpress to Drupal" .
- Anna Morris from the DFD campaign team wrote about how to process
photos in a batch using ImageMagick and Converseen .
- FSFE's vice president wonders to gnome or not to gnome .
- Isabel Drost reported about many talks including the first keynote at
- Björn Schießle writes about the new ownCloud encryption app, which is
now using AES encryption .
- Fellow Jens Leuchtenbörger translated the article "The Tangled Web We
Have Woven—Seeking to protect the fundamental privacy of network
interactions," by Eben Moglen into German .
== Get active: Report warranty problems after rooting!==
After our widely spread analysis about the rooting of devices , the
German Association for Consumer Protection (Verbraucherzentrale
Bundesverband) is now working on this topic , too. They are looking
for people who had problems with warranty after rooting their devices.
So if you bought a product in Germany, rooted it and have problems with
warranty, report it  and forward it to our legal working group .
Of course we are still interested in your experiences in other
countries, so please continue to send them to the same address.
52. mailto:legal at fsfeurope.org
Thanks to all the Fellows and donors who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE
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