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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<title>PDFreaders - Free Software PDF Readers</title>
<body class="article" microformats="h-entry">
<h1 class="p-name">Free Software PDF Readers </h1>
<div class="captioned right" style="max-width: 650px; width: 53%">
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<a href="/activities/pdfreaders/highway.png">
<img src="/activities/pdfreaders/highway.png" alt="highway" width="100%"/>
<div class="e-content">
<div class="p-summary">
<p>What would you think about a sign on the highway saying “You need a
Toyota to drive on this road. Contact your Toyota dealer for a gratis
test drive -- Your Government”? When it comes to software that opens PDF
files, many public sector organisations do this every day.</p>
<p>With the campaign we have turned the spotlight on
government organisations who behave in this way, exposing how frequent such
advertisements for non-free software are. With the help of activists across
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Europe, <a href="/activities/pdfreaders/follow-up.html">we contacted</a> these
organisations and explained to them how to improve their websites so that
they respect our freedom.</p>
<h2>Why should we care?</h2>
<p>Even when a certain software is given away for free, the company behind it
can have an economic gain: promoting that software means prioritising a
specific company. Public bodies should not promote any specific private
company, instead they should promote equality and choice on the software
market. That is why FSFE and its volunteers intervened to fix the
<p>This campaign was based on three core principles we support at FSFE:</p>
<li>Neutrality - Public institutions should not engage in advertising</li>
<li>Freedom - Public institutions should not ask citizens to use non-free
<li><a href="/freesoftware/standards/def.html">Open Standards</a> – The versions of
the PDF format which are Open Standards can be implemented by all PDF
<h2>What did we achieve?</h2>
<div class="captioned left">
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<a href="/activities/pdfreaders/finanzBrandenburg.png">
<img src="/activities/pdfreaders/finanzBrandenburg_p.png" alt="Finance ministry Brandenburg" /></a>
<p>Example from Germany with the advertisement</p>
<p>Every day, public institutions advertise non-free software on their
websites. With the help of our Fellows and of hundreds other Free Software
activists, we collected <a
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href="/activities/pdfreaders/buglist.html">2104 bug
reports</a> over the course of one month from every country in Europe,
and also nine countries outside of Europe. </p>
<p>Next, the FSFE and its volunteers sent letters to all the public
administrations on our list asking them to either remove their advertising
for proprietary software, or to at least run equal advertising for Free
Software, so that users of their websites realise that they have a choice. In
response, we received a lot of positive feedback from the institutions
thanking us for our letters.</p>
<p>Several years, and thousands of letters later, the FSFE has closed
the campaign. Thanks to all the dedicated Free Software activists who helped
contact institutions, we can proudly announce that we were able to remove
advertisements for proprietary PDF readers in 1125 of the 2104 public
administration websites (53%).</p>
<div class="captioned right">
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<a href="/activities/pdfreaders/BrandenburgResolved.png">
<img src="/activities/pdfreaders/BrandenburgResolved_p.png" alt="resolved" /></a>
<p>The same website after they fixed it</p>
<p>Furthermore, we were able to push for a change at both national and
international levels.</p>
<li> In Germany, <a
parties</a> gave statements in favour of free PDF readers and the
German Government itself has recommended the usage of our text snippet
in their <a
guide</a>. FSFE's coordinator for Germany, Max Mehl, <a href="">covers it</a>
in more detail on his blog.</li>
<li>In the EU: the European Parliament <a
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asked</a> the European Commission what were the reasons for advertising
a specific software and which steps were taken to solve this problem.</li>
<li> In 2011 one of our coordinators, <a
Hannes Hauswedell, was in contact with Google</a>, asking them to
release the PDF reader included in their Chrome browser as Free Software.
Finally, in May 2014 the <a
href=""> pdfium
sources were published openly</a>, and while FSFE's inquiry might not
have been the only reason they were released, it marks an important
change for the widespread adoption of Free Software PDF readers.</li>
<p>In addition to contacting public institutions to resolve the issue, FSFE
also collected signatures from 90 organisations, 63 businesses, and 2731
individuals who demanded equal access for Free Software PDF readers. This
wide-ranging support also demonstrated the popularity of the campaign
<h2>What's next?</h2>
<p>The Free Software movement is, above all, supported by its community; we
always need your help to continue to help promote free PDFreaders, and
together we can make a difference for the future of Free Software! We
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encourage you to continue to <a href="/activities/pdfreaders/letter.html">use
our template and send letters</a> or emails to public bodies that are still
advertising for proprietary software and closed standards. We also have a
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link for tips on <a href="/activities/pdfreaders/follow-up.html">how to
follow up with the relevant institution</a>. This is a great (and easy)
activity for a local Free Software groups to spread Free Software knowledge
in the public administration.</p>
<sidebar GoingFurther="pdfreaders" promo="about-fsfe">
<h3>More on PDF Readers</h3>
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<li><a href="/activities/pdfreaders/follow-up.html">How to contact institutions</a></li>
<li><a href="/activities/pdfreaders/buglist.html">List of reported institutions</a></li>
<li><a href="/activities/pdfreaders/petition.html">The petition</a></li>
<li><a href="/activities/pdfreaders/letter.html">Model Letter</a></li>
<li><a href="">List of Free Software PDF readers</a></li>