FSFE Newsletter - July 2012
press at fsfeurope.org
press at fsfeurope.org
Wed Jul 4 16:51:30 CEST 2012
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= FSFE Newsletter - July 2012 =
== "Secure Boot": Who will control your next computer? ==
The FSFE's goal is to ensure that the owners of IT devices are always in
full and sole control of them. This fundamental principle is recently
being challenged. For maintaining sustained growth in the development
and use of software, the broad availability of general purpose computers
is crucial. This month the FSFE published its "Secure Boot" analysis.
We demand that before purchasing a device, buyers must be informed
concisely about the technical measures implemented in this device, as
well as the specific usage restrictions and their consequences for the
Furthermore, we strongly recommend to exclusively purchase IT devices
which grant their owners full, sole and permanent control over security
subsystems (e. g. signature-based usage restrictions), in order to
maintain the ability to install arbitrary software and lastly to retain
exclusive control over ones own data.
== European Court of Justice confirms: We are right! ==
We always said "They are willing to deal with everybody, but those who
compete with them." Meaning, proposing conditions against Free Software
is an abuse. Microsoft replied "change your business model to suit our
licensing scheme and you'll be served", or "Free what? Who the hell are
you, what's your turnover", or dismissals like this. Apart from
annoying, they were wrong. ( Carlo Piana, who represented the FSFE
and the Samba Team)
This month the European Court of Justice has ordered Microsoft to
finally pay a record fine of 860 million euros for using its near-
monopoly on the desktop to keep rivals out of the workgroup server
Microsoft spent over 3.000.000.000 EUR to buy third parties out of this
case. But for a decade, we continued to participate in the case, to
assert the rights of Free Software developers to access interoperability
information, especially for the Samba Team. Samba is a Free Software to
share files and printers in a network competing with Microsoft's
This decisionestablishes that we were right: Receiving the
interoperability information was our right as Free Software community,
not a concession by Microsoft.
== Spain won the Championship! What about Finland? ==
Interesting times in the European Free Software Championship. Spain won
the European Free Software Championshipwith 4:3 against Norway.
Thanks to referee Guido Arnoldwe did not receive any reports of
fouls during the alternative games. Outside those games the FSFE also
works on fairness.
We have started an initiative to advance fair public procurements in
Finland, to lower the barrier for Free Software in the Finnish public
sector. The initiative concentrates on IT related procurement notices
that require brand instead of defining functionality required by the
procurer. To date the FSFE has skimmed over 300 procurement notices, and
of those taken into closer analysis, 14 have been found to clearly
violate the Finnish procurement law. These violating notices explicitly
asked for tenders of specific brands of software manufacturers or
products and thus discriminate all other brands and manufacturers,
effectively stopping free competition.
The FSFE contacts the violating authorities and informs them about the
specific violation the notice contains, including a six item list of
recommendations to ensure proper competition.
== Something completely different ==
- The FSFE's former legal coordinator Shane Coughlan launched
OpenRelief. The project is aimed at developing
inexpensive—"disposable"—drone aircraft to assist relief teams in
detecting people, changes in terrain, smoke, radiation, and other
conditions in places that may be difficult or dangerous for on-the-
- After meeting other Fellows at Linuxtag in Berlin, Heiki Ojasild
decided to hold a PDFreaderssprint at Akademy in Tallinn, Estonia.
On July 4th everyone is invitedto follow our PDF Readers Sprint
Guidestopping public bodies from restricting the users' freedom
and unfairly distorting the competition in favour of certain
proprietary software makers.
- The FSFE's president Karsten Gerloff welcomesthe Basque Country's
move to introduce a policy that software developed with public funds
will be released as Free Software by default.
- The draft for the UK Communications Bill outlines how civil servants
are intent on surveilling the internet communications of British
citizens. Sam Tukewrote about how to use Free Software to protect
your privacy online, regardless of the measures that the Coalition may
impose upon you or your telecoms providers.
UPDATE: The European Parliament rejected ACTA. (04/07/2012)
- The FSFE has been asking activists across Europeto protest against
the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Our aim is that the
European Parliament finally rejects this controversial treaty, which
would greatly harm citizens' rights. The Parliament will hold a
plenary vote on ACTA on 4th of July.
- A bit sarcastic: some people are wondering who was violating the GNU
GPL with StuxNet.
- And in the upcoming month, the FSFE will be present at the
RMLL(Libre Software Meeting) in Geneva, and as you can see on our
event pageRichard Stallman is giving talks in the Czech Republic,
Germany, and Spain.
- A selection from the Fellowship blog aggregation:
- Fellowship representative Hugo Roy commented on Facebook's updates of
the terms of service(that is the document most people never read,
but everyone agrees to when they sign up to services online).
- Mirko Böhm is analysing why Nokia is laying off 10.000 employees,
including 700 core Qt developers?
- A Federal US Judge says APIs are not copyrightable. Read more in Carlo
Piana's article, and learn why copyright in software is not the
same copyright as the one granted to literary works.
- Hannes Hauswedell wrote a triology ( part 0 part 1, and part
2) about a versatile, open and future-proof audio setup.
- And finally, read why it might somtimes be complicated to really "try
turning it off and on again"?.
== Get Active: Whom should we ask next? ==
Every time your editor reads a Fellowship interviewhe feels proud to
work for the FSFE with all those amazing people. Again this month when
Bjarni Runar Einarsson was interviewedabout PageKite, an application
which allows the publication of websites stored on personal computers.
PageKitecan be combined with other Free Software to realise
Please help Chris Woolfrey and Sam Tuke by suggestingother Fellows
for an interview. You can also participate in our editors teamto
help interviewing people and editing other publications. And finally, if
you know interesting people in the Free Software community who are not
yet Fellows (it is hard to believe, but your editor heard rumours they
still exist), convince them to become a Fellow, so we can make new
interesting interviews for you.
30. mailto:editors at fsfeurope.org
Thanks to all the Fellowsand donorswho enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner- FSFE
Free Software Foundation Europe
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