FSFE Newsletter - September 2013
Free Software Foundation Europe
press at fsfeurope.org
Wed Sep 4 08:50:26 CEST 2013
[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201309.sv.html ]
== F-Droid: Privacy aware software repository for Android ==
F-Droid is a project that provides Free Software applications for
Android via a repository system, much like most package systems of the
GNU/Linux distributions. This differs from other mobile app markets,
like Google Play or Apple's AppStore, since the client and server side
software respect your freedoms and do not force you to register an
account to use them. F-Droid's settings will value your privacy:
although you can choose to enable it, by default it does not show
programs which 1) show advertisement, 2) track and report your activity,
promote 3) non-free add-ons or 4) non-free network services, or 5)
depend on other non-free apps. That is why since the beginning of FSFE's
"Free Your Android" campaign we point people to F-Droid.
For the last two months Daniel Martí, one of the F-Droid developers,
was an intern in FSFE's Berlin office. Beside participating in FSFE's
day to day business, improving our newsletter publishing process and
some other nice tools for FSFE's work, he gave two F-Droid workshops in
Berlin. In the workshops he toughed others how to include new programs
into the F-Droid repository, and documented what he learnt from the
first two workshops. As you can see in FSFE's event section,
Daniel already announced general Free Your Android workshops in
Spain, and will also continue giving F-Droid workshops.
To promote F-Droid Torsten Grote and others from our android list
finalised a new F-Droid leaflet. So if you want to promote a Free
Software repository for Android, you can print the new leaflets
yourself, order them from FSFE, or make a donation so FSFE can
continue to distribute our leaflets widely.
== New Zealand bans software patents ==
As one of the organisations working to get rid of software patents for
over a decade now, and the recent success in Germany, FSFE
welcomes New Zealand's decision to ban software patents. It also
contains the potentially troublesome "as such" wording, which some
courts in the EU interpreted to permit software patents. But in New
Zealand they made clear how to interpret this: you can only patent it if
the inventive step is not merely in the software. Besides, the law seems
to get around the TRIPS requirement that all inventions in all fields of
technology have to be patentable by stating that computer programs are
not inventions, and therefore not patentable.
== Something completely different ==
- Due to the revealed surveillance Groklaw" founder PJ announced that
she does not see another way than to shut down the news site.
Groklaw helped to defend Free Software against FUD in the SCO case,
during the OOXML fight, and followed the Microsoft antitrust case
that FSFE won together with Samba. As Fellow Paul Adams put it
"The world of IT is just that little bit less safe without
Groklaw". In future it will be harder to counter big IT companies
- As every month Guido Arnold gathered all education related news.
He also wrote about a school in the southeast of England, which
began switching its student-facing computers to GNU/Linux. Stuart
Jarvis interviewed the school's Network Manager which is a good case
study to refer to.
- FSFE was also active in giving talks: Karsten Gerloff's keynote at the
Euskalencounter festival in Bilbao received huge press attention in
the Spanish speaking media, for example in Tercera en Linea
(Spanish). In his talk "All watched over by machines of loving
grace" he talked about the question of who controls our machines.
- In a lightning talk at KDE's Akademy Matija explained FSFE's fiduciary
programme. The Video recording is now available.
- German Deputy coordinator Torsten Grote again spent a lot of his
volunteer time to give interviews for the German radio stations,
including a one hour discussion round about "securing your digital
home - privacy in the internet". You find all the interviews on FSFE's
- Joinup reports that the Valencia region government (Spain) completed a
switch to LibreOffice on all of the 120,000 desktop PCs of the
administration, including schools and courts. They also published a
summary about France's detailed use and plans for free software.
- DRM: Loosing all your e-books by going to Singapur? Jim O'Donnell
describes how that happened to him. To prevent that you can buy
- Besides, David Wheeler suggests to adopt the Free Software principles
to IT security. For the name he suggests Open security,
- and the Ada initiative published a history of anti-harassment policies
in the Free Software community. As it is not mentioned in the
article: For this year's libreplanet conference our sister
organisation also had anti harassment policy.
- From the planet aggregation:
- Paul Boddie commented the article Licensing in a Post Copyright
World to clarify some points, bringing some of the missing facts
to the table.
- On privacy: Henri Bergius wrote about GeoClue2, which offers
better privacy controls than its predecessor. The previous version
of the library would provide the current location to any
application; with GeoClue2, GNOME will require the user to confirm
location requests from each application.
- Karl Beecher wrote about Free Software alternatives for the post-
PRISM era, suggesting GNU/Linux as operating system, Kolab for
e-mail, owncloud for storage. But he is looking for VoIP solutions.
- Valentin Rusu wrote a GnuPG backend for the KDE's password manager
KDE Wallet, and
- in "Bruce Schneier and the Lords of the Cloud", Karl Beecher
summarises a talk by the crypto expert.
- Lucile was at the OHM festival. In her summary of the event she came
to the conclusion that advice to activists, whose safety depends on
digital security, is very complicated.
- Guido Arnold found a nice quote which says that Free Software shares
the values that underlie journalism and democracy, and
- reports that the Fellowship group in Rhein-Main area tries another
tactic to spread out (German).
- Kevin wrote about the connection between his new bass strings and
Free Software. Read about this connection and why this bass company
moved away from Microsoft.
- If you want to help raise Martin Gollowitzer's motivation, support
his health, and support Free Software all at once, please donate
to FSFE using "Tracking for Freedom" as the payment reference.
- On technical topics: Sam Tuke explains how to achieve reverse reverb
(echo) effect with GNU/Linux audio plugins,
- Isabel Drost recommends not to switch from RDBMS to Apache
- "IRL" is dreaming of a secure browser.
== Get active: Tell us which company benefits from Free Software! ==
As a non-profit organisation depending on donations, FSFE constantly has
to ask people to actually donate. Although more and more of FSFE's
budget comes from its supporting members -- the Fellows -- FSFE also
receives donations from several companies. Most of them extensively use
or write Free Software, use Free Software as a basis for their business
models, or want to enable social change.
Do you know a company which benefits a lot from Free Software and which
is not yet donating to us? If so please send us an e-mail with
the company's name, if possible a contact name, e-mail, phone number,
and a short note how they benefit from Free Software or FSFE's work.
This way we are able to contact them and secure our funding.
Thanks to all the Fellows and donors who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE
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