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  5. <title>Our Work in 2011</title>
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  8. <h1>Our Work in 2011</h1>
  9. <p>FSFE turned ten this year. How things have changed! Today, Free
  10. Software is not just mainstream, it's the market leader in many
  11. areas, whether on web servers, mobile devices, in the embedded sector,
  12. or in high-performance computing. The advantages of Free Software have
  13. proved so compelling that today, any electronic device you pick up is
  14. likely to have some Free Software inside it.</p>
  15. <p>But have we really won? Many of these devices are still locked down, so we
  16. can't change the software on them if we want to. Our mobile phones may
  17. run Free Software, but many of them still lock us into services
  18. controlled by someone else. Free Software may be everywhere, but it is
  19. still constantly under threat from software patents, from outlandish
  20. interpretations of copyright, and from the brutal forces of a software
  21. market built around selling licenses for proprietary programs. We have
  22. a long way to go until software freedom becomes the default on every
  23. computer.</p>
  24. <p>In this letter, you'll find a short overview of some of the things we
  25. in FSFE -- Fellows, volunteers, staff -- worked on this year. There
  26. is a lot more than will fit these pages. Please see our website for a
  27. full overview of our work in 2011, and lots of links.</p>
  28. <h2>Freedom in a world of networked services</h2>
  29. <p>Telling people about Free Software is one of FSFE's main reason to
  30. exist. Software freedom concerns everyone, and this year, we've
  31. probably managed to reach a broader set of people through conferences
  32. and events than ever before. FSFE people spoke at meetings as diverse
  33. as LinuxCon Europe in Prague (see <a
  34. href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2011/10/28/free-software-policy-issues-at-linuxcon-europe/">Karsten's blog</a> for his intervention), a <a
  35. href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/samtuke/?p=215">Feminist Festival in Manchester
  36. (UK)</a>, and a <a href="http://piana.eu/korea_fosscon">legal conference in
  37. Seoul, South Korea</a>. In Germany, we
  38. continued a series of monthly radio interviews on one of the major
  39. nationwide stations.</p>
  40. <p>At many of these events, our topic was power and control in a world of
  41. networked services. How do we stay in control of our computing when it
  42. doesn't happen on our own computers anymore? Can we build services
  43. that are convenient, accessible from anywhere, independent from the
  44. devices we use -- and still keep our freedom? Two years ago, this
  45. looked like a distant dream. Now, our <a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/CloudComputing">list of distributed projects</a>
  46. working towards precisely these goals has grown to impressive
  47. length. We helped to boost the movement towards distributed systems by
  48. explaining the idea to a wider audience, and by organising conference
  49. tracks on the topic, for example at this year's <a
  50. href="http://2011.rmll.info/?lang=en">RMLL</a> in Strasbourg,
  51. France. We also highlighted the topic in connection with the
  52. distributed <a href="http://yacy.net/en/">YaCy</a> search engine, creating
  53. quite a <a
  54. href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/alessandro.polvani/2011/11/30/yacy-gets-an-extraordinary-press-coverage/">splash around the world</a>.</p>
  55. <h2>Patent warfare goes nuclear</h2>
  56. <p><a href="/activities/swpat/swpat.html">Software patents
  57. </a>came back on the agenda in a big way this year. The
  58. discussion was all about how software patents are used to hurt
  59. competition in the software market. There were several huge battles
  60. around patent portfolios, with the stakes increasing each time, as
  61. Microsoft, Apple and others chose software patents as the most
  62. important stick to beat their competitors with. Free Software is
  63. constantly at risk of being caught in the middle and trampled over. So
  64. we hoisted the Free Software flag, rode into battle, and fought as
  65. hard as we could. We got in touch with competition authorities in the
  66. US and Germany, and <a href="/activities/swpat/novell-cptn.html">explained to them</a> why Free Software is crucial for
  67. competition in the software market, and how patents hurt Free
  68. Software. <a href="/news/2011/news-20110420-01.html">We won the first round</a>, when the authorities prevented
  69. Microsoft from getting hold of Novell's patent portfolio. We are still
  70. waiting for a decision in the <a href="/activities/swpat/nortel.html">similarly structured sale of Nortel's
  71. patents</a> to a consortium led by Apple, with Microsoft on board again.
  72. </p>
  73. <p>Patents weren't the only thing that kept our legal and policy people
  74. busy. We helped to fend off a legal challenge to the GPL's fundamental
  75. principles in Germany, and participated in another <a
  76. href="/news/2011/news-20110525-01.html">hearing</a> in the
  77. still-ongoing <a
  78. href="/activities/ms-vs-eu/ms-vs-eu.html">antitrust case of the EU
  79. vs Microsoft</a>. We provided the
  80. European Commission with <a href="/news/2011/news-20111206-01.html">input on how best to spend 80 billion Euro</a> in
  81. research and development funding, talked to several members of the
  82. European Parliament about software patents, and supported the build-up
  83. of a Free Software user group in the parliament. We helped some
  84. countries such as the UK to come up with better ways of buying
  85. software for the public sector, and highlighted how the European
  86. Commission was doing it precisely wrong when it again decided to <a
  87. href="/news/2010/news-20101207-01.html">lock
  88. itself into Microsoft's products</a> for many years to come. The
  89. <a href="/activities/pdfreaders/pdfreaders.html">PDFreaders</a>
  90. campaign managed to remove advertisements for proprietary
  91. software from a quarter of all <a
  92. href="/activities/pdfreaders/buglist.html">reported
  93. websites</a>.</p>
  94. <p>Our <a href="/activities/ftf/ftf.html">Legal Department</a>
  95. organised another edition of the highly
  96. successful annual workshop for legal experts on Free Software. This
  97. year, we were invited to organise a similar <a
  98. href="http://piana.eu/korea_fosscon">event in Seoul</a>, South
  99. Korea, which provided a lot of new angles and fresh inspiration.</p>
  100. <h2>New hands on deck</h2>
  101. <p>We were happy to welcome <a href="http://matija.suklje.name/">Matija
  102. Šuklje</a>, who took over coordination of our Legal Department from
  103. Shane Coughlan.
  104. Henrik Sandklef, a
  105. GNU
  106. hacker and university teacher, replaced
  107. Fernanda Weiden as FSFE's
  108. Vice
  109. President. Bernhard Reiter handed over his role as coordinator
  110. of the
  111. German team to <a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/torsten.grote/">Torsten Grote</a>.
  112. <a href="/about/tuke/tuke.html">Sam Tuke</a> took on the task
  113. of building up
  114. FSFE's activities in the UK.</p>
  115. <h2>Together, we'll make a difference</h2>
  116. <p>If we managed to handle such a wide range of complex challenges, it was
  117. thanks to you, our supporters, donors, and volunteers. Without you, none of this
  118. work would be possible. Thank you! </p>
  119. <p>Looking ahead, there are many challenges for Free Software in 2012. Microsoft
  120. is trying to extend its stranglehold to the hardware market with an initiative
  121. called "<a
  122. href="http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/secure-boot-vs-restricted-boot/statement">SecureBoot</a>". We will stand up for our freedom to install Free
  123. Software. The Netherlands are currently locking everyone in their education
  124. system into a proprietary platform, and <a
  125. href="/activities/nledu/nledu.html">we are campaigning
  126. hard </a>to unlock education there. Public software procurement shows no signs
  127. of fixing itself, so
  128. we will educate authorities and push for better rules and practices.</p>
  129. <p>For all this and more, we will need your help. We are currently working hard
  130. to make it even easier to participate in FSFE's work, for example in the
  131. <a href="/freesoftware/education/education.html">education
  132. team</a> and the newly launched policy team.</p>
  133. <p>All this work <a
  134. href="/about/funds/funds.html">costs
  135. money</a>. In 2011 we were able to complete our campaigns
  136. and appointments with a budget of just 287,000 Euro. In 2012 we
  137. need to do even more. If we receive enough new donations we would
  138. be able to hire two part time employees (~43k), and intensify our
  139. work on public procurement (~20k) This would require an increased
  140. budget of 364,000 Euro, and allow FSFE to have a significantly
  141. greater impact. To secure and increase our work, we need to raise
  142. 103.500 Euro by the end of January. If we reach this goal, we will
  143. be financed for the whole of 2012. Every contribution,
  144. including yours, will help to fill the gap.</p>
  145. <p>Together with you we will continue to make a real difference for Free
  146. Software in 2012 and beyond. Thank you for joining us in this struggle.</p>
  147. <p>I wish you wonderful holidays and a very happy New Year!</p>
  148. <p>With best regards,</p>
  149. <p>Karsten Gerloff</p>
  150. </body>
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