FSFE Newsletter - December 2013
Free Software Foundation Europe
press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Dec 5 11:17:56 CET 2013
= FSFE Newsletter - December 2013 =
[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/nl/nl-201312.sv.html ]
== Our cryptocards and straw fires ==
In 2005 we started giving crypto cards to individuals who donated to
us and have become Fellow of FSFE. We believe it is important to remind
people about Free Software tools to encrypt our communications. Besides
since FSFE was founded in 2001, we have been explaining that those 40
digits on our business cards are about encryption and why this is
important. 8 years later, the topic encryption hit ithe media, and it is
now mentioned in every newspaper in Europe. This is good and bad at the
same time: We currently face the problem that media attention is very
high but it does not mean we have more resources to deal with it. We
would like to work more on these issues but we also cannot stop working
on other long term topics.
== Importance of long term work ==
If you take a look at our new timeline you will see that we often had
to work on topics which are difficult to explain to a larger audience,
work intensive, and sometimes unpopular. Companies worked against Free
Software as they saw it as threat to them earning money but we helped
them to understand how they can make revenues with Free Software. We had
to spend 8 years of work with the European Commission and the European
Court of Justice to make sure Free Software companies are allowed to
compete with Microsoft's work group servers and since then we are
pushing this knowledge also on the national and local levels. License
compliance was an unpopular topic for a long time but developers have to
make sure our software can be programmed and used without legal risks.
When we started working on Open Standards it was a niche topic, now it
is main stream. Companies opposed our position on software patents, now
a lot of businesses and politicians realised they are a dangerous
business risk. Today they use our arguments and ask us for input to get
rid of them.
== What we need to master the challenge ==
We believe in a society in which software is in the hands of all of us:
as individuals, companies and organisations, or governments, instead of
a few powerful entities. Nobody should be allowed to prevent you from
changing software, or asking someone else to change it for you, on your
mobile phone, router, car, or other belongings. The last months have
shown us that it is important for our society to have computers we can
trust. Computers we control. Programs that are transparent in what they
do with our data and which can be changed to fulfil our needs. The only
way to achieve this is with Free Software.
Such a challenge cannot be solved in a few months, it takes a long time.
It takes organisations which continue to work when there is no big media
attention. An organisation which fights for your freedom in the digital
age. FSFE has worked on those issues for over 12 years.
To face this challenge FSFE needs to work continuously towards this
goal, and for this we need you, to invest in your freedom! At the moment
it is a good time to intensify our work, as there are many people out
there who listen differently to the same messages we had before. We
would like to expand our activities, and therefore we need your
donation. Do what others did who value software freedom: Become a
supporting member by joining the Fellowship of FSFE!
== Something completely different ==
- FSFE published a press release about the Rockstar vs. Google case :
Rockstar, a consortium of companies formed to collect certain patents
put on sale in the dissolution procedure of Nortel, has sued Google
and other companies over seven of those patents. FSFE already voiced
serious concerns and warned competition regulators against exactly
such a scenario in December 2011. Again an example how software
patents are a dangerous business risk.
- We welcome our new core team member Maurice Verheesen from the
Netherlands. He already took care of our booth at T-Dose which also
becomes a meeting point for Fellows from the Netherlands and the
- Shall I buy a computer without an operating system and install
GNU/Linux distribution of my own choice, or buy a laptop with
GNU/Linux preinstalled which includes non-free software? Participate
in the discussion on our public English speaking list by reading this
message, continue with the mentioned blogs articles there, comment
on the list, and like Paul Boddie wrote: join other volunteers to
maintain the hardware vendors page.
- Thanks to Nermin Canik, FSFE had its first booth in Turkey, and
Michael Stehmann took care of an FSFE booth and two talks at
- FSFE participated at the Open Knowledge Festival. At the "speed
geeking", in which Lucile Falgueyrac gave the same five minutes talk
seven times, she presented FSFE, Open Standards and Document Freedom
- The Parliament in Spain's Andalusia is unanimously urging the region's
government to switch to Free Software.
- Guido Arnold published the FSFE education update from October.
- Jérémie Zimmermann from our friends at La Quadrature Du Net argues in
"Snowden and the Future of our Communication Architecture" that
the "Snowden revelations give us a vivid illustration that Richard
Stallman and others have been right for all these years." He writes
that we need decentralised services, Free Software, and end-to-end
- The Guardian project wrote about how to set up your own app store with
F-Droid. If you host your own F-Droid repository, then people can
use F-Droid to install your own apps signed by your own signing key.
- Renault apparently has the ability to remotely prevent the battery
from charging. Karsten Gerloff wrote about the Zoe electric car.
- He also summarised a report by the French website Mediapart. At the
European Parliament in Strasbourg, a technically skilled person
managed to intercept 14 Members of the European Parliament and their
staffers using trivial tools.
- From the planet aggregation :
- After discussion with a Danish Member of Parliament, Thomas Locke
wrote what he did to support TOR and is now running a TOR exit
- Torsten Grote summarised the presentation about Dark Mail as
Next-Generation Email to Stop Spying.
- Fellowship representative Nikos Roussos wrote about how he started
- The Neo900 phone moved beyond the discussion phase and into the
fundraising phase. Paul Boddie gives some background.
- Besides he takes a look at the Free Software Desktop. He
argues that "Free Software desktop developers have imperilled
their own mission with the result that they now have to make up
lost ground in the struggle to get people to use their software."
- In Paris another MutterWare meeting took place. Nicolas Jean
wrote a short summary, about the email client meeting. Hugo
Roy documents how to do a carddav lookup in mutt and Karsten
Gerloff how to do address lookup with mu. If you regret not
living in Paris, Hugo and Nicolas suggest to start MutterWare
meetings in your city, too
- A court in Caen/France ruled that a French SME did not infringe
Skype's copyright by reverse-engineering the algorithm used by the
company for its VoIP services, and attempting to use it
- Daniel Pocock highlights the applications for the Outreach Program
for Women and the option for Australian women to get $75,000
to make free software during maternity leave.
- Cryptography: Sergey Matveev wrote about a big cryptoparty in
Moscow, Lucile Falgueyrac helped at a cryptoparty for
journalists, and wrote about the problems accepting a security
signature in GNU/Linux.
- Anna spent a week with some 5-11 year old children for an
plasticine animating using Phatch, Linux Stop Motion and
- And your editor highlighted the part about Free Software from
David Wheelers's article "Vulnerability bidding wars and
== Get active: Why does Free Software matter to you? ==
This month Jacob Appelbaum, spokesperson for the TOR Project, and two
other TOR developers became supporting members of FSFE and Jacob
explained why he did so:
I believe that actions of support for the FSFE are important for
encouraging Free Software development and adoption in Europe as well
as the rest of the world. I'm an FSFE Fellow because financially
supporting the cause of Free Software brings positive improvements
to all societies throughout the world.
Quotes like this help others understanding the importance of our work.
On our english Fellowship page some of our Fellows already explain
why Free Software and FSFE's work is important to them. We would also
like *you* to write us why Free Software and our work matters to
you. In agreement with you, we would then like to publish some of
the submissions on our website. Else they just motivate FSFE's working
Thanks to all the volunteers, Fellows and corporate donors
who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE
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