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<title>Two year executive summary</title>
<h1>Two year executive summary - Report for the 2007 general assembly</h1>
<p>Six years after its start in 2001, the Free Software Foundation Europe
(FSFE) has now grown into an organisation of 9 employees equalling 6.7
full-time staff plus two interns. The European Core Team is fast
approaching 30 people and there are active people in more than nine
European countries. This report will try to summarise some of the key
milestones of the past two years of activity.</p>
<h3>European Union: Microsoft Antitrust Case and Investigation</h3>
<p>After the European Union antitrust decision of March 2004, which
issues both fines and an obligation to publish interoperability
information for all competitors, the European Court decided December
2004 that Microsoft should not be granted interim measures to delay
publication of that information. So Microsoft went ahead and granted
itself such interim measures by publishing useless information under
terms that would not allow the only remaining competitor to use it.</p>
<p>This situation has been ongoing throughout all of 2005, 2006 and until
today in 2007, causing the European Commission to issue repeated fines
against Microsoft, which apparently still are lower than the profits
from lack of interoperability. [Press releases:
<a href="https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/press-release/2005q2/000105.html">1</a>
<a href="https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/press-release/2006q1/000126.html">2</a>
<a href="https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/press-release/2006q1/000129.html">3</a>
<a href="https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/press-release/2006q3/000147.html">4</a>]
<p>FSFE's working group around its legal counsel Carlo Piana and the
Samba Team have been working with the Commission to analyse and shed
light on the repeated attempts to bypass the antitrust decision by
bureaucracy and taken an active part in the big hearing in the
European Court of First Instance in April 2006. [See
our <a
2006 PR</a>]</p>
<p>While waiting for the decision, which will most likely be published on
17 September 2007, FSFE has now offered its support to the European
Commission for the next investigation against Microsoft, this time
about abusive behaviour in the office and internet. In this, FSFE
represents the common working group formed with the Samba Team and
OpenOffice.org, the main competitor of Microsoft Office.</p>
<p>More information is available on
our <a href="/activities/ms-vs-eu/">MS vs. EU page</a>.</p>
<h3>European Union: Legislation</h3>
<p>After years of struggle, the European Parliament finally decided in
to <a
the software patents directive</a>. Individual members of FSFE were
working on the issue since 1999, the organsation itself was part of
the software patent resistance since 2001 and in the late stages of
the fight hired Ciaran O'Riordan to be present in Brussels.</p>
<p>But even though that directive is dead, software patents themselves
are not off the agenda and there are plenty of initiatives on EU level
that also required our attention. One of them is
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the <a href="/activities/ipred2/">IPRED2
directive</a> that seeks to introduce criminal measures for copyright
and trademark infringement, although they were initially also intended
to cover patents. That patents were excluded is one important victory
of the first hearing for a broad alliance of groups, including many
from the software patent debate but also consumer rights and
<p>Besides these two, FSFE's Ciaran O'Riordan has been monitoring the EU
legislation to not be surprised in the same way as we were with the
first IPRED directive, where we failed to get together enough
<p>A lot more work remains to be done in this area.</p>
<h3>United Nations: WIPO, WSIS and IGF</h3>
<p><a href="http://www.wsis.org">The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)</a>
was a two-part summit with the first summit taking place in Geneva in December 2003.</p>
<p>In preparation for the second summit 2005 in Tunis, the Austrian
government organised a WSIS contributory conference on "ICT and
Creativity" with high level participants from various governments and
intergovernmental organisations. The Free Software Foundation Europe
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was <a href="/activities/wsis/">part of a workshop on "Digital Rights/Creative Commons."</a> We agreed
to a text that was supposed to be part of the final output at the WSIS,
only to find out in Tunis that Microsoft had manipulated these "<a href="http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20051130185547876">Vienna
<p>At the same summit in Tunis it was also decided to establish the
<a href="/activities/igf/">Internet Governance Forum
(IGF)</a> as an open forum to discuss all issues of the internet --
except Free Software, which was too controversial for the United
States and one particular company in Redmond. As the internet is
largely built on Free Software and legislation on spam or cybercrime
has the potential to be quite desastrous for Free Software developers
around the world, FSFE participated in the first IGF in Athens in 2006
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where it also helped launch the Dynamic Coalition on <a href="/activities/igf/a2k.html">Access to
Knowledge and Freedom of Expression</a> and the Dynamic Coalition <a href="/activities/igf/dcos.html">on
Open Standards</a>.</p>
<p>Meanwhile the debate about
a <a href="/activities/wipo/">reform of the World
Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)</a> has seen several
confrontational meetings in which FSFE took an active role until just
recently it was decided that WIPO will get its "Development Agenda" to
address the global injustice about limited monopolies on knowledge and
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information. FSFE has also started to push for <a href="/activities/wipo/statement-20050721.html">a review of the
software patent system</a> on a global level at WIPO.</p>
<p>At the same time, the "<a href="http://www.eff.org/IP/WIPO/broadcasting_treaty/">Broadcasting Treaty</a>", which initially
threatened to introduce another monopoly on top of copyright for
broadcasters of any kind, finally seems to be off the agenda. FSFE did
not have much resources to invest into this fight, but we have given
our support to all the organisations that were working on this issue
and we are glad to see this threat to freedom off the table.</p>
<p>Over the past years, FSFE has established itself as a strong and
stable force at the United Nations and its effectiveness is limited
mainly by available resources, in particular staff time.</p>
<h3>Freedom Task Force</h3>
<p>After years of consideration and planning and following a decision of
FSFE's 2006 general assembly in Manchester, FSFE finally launched the
<a href="/ftf">Freedom Task Force (FTF)</a> under
coordination of Shane Coughlan from FSFE's newly established Zurich
office. The FTF combines the best principles of Free Software and the
legal field by having expert groups and volunteers from the legal and
technical communities, tied together through a full-time
<p>From the start it has been closely coordinated and cooperating with
gpl-violations.org established by Harald Welte in Germany who managed
to first enforce the GNU General Public License (GPL) in court through
Dr. Till Jaeger, who also is FSFE's legal counsel since 2001. </p>
<p>The Freedom Task Force provides three basic services: 1. Licence
consultancy and education, to help Free Software developers and
companies understand the field and make sure the knowledge about the
legal aspects of Free Software does not remain in the hands of a few,
2. Fiduciary services, to help Free Software projects consolidate
their legal status and make sure they can react to license violations
while allowing them to focus on the technical and coordinative aspects
of their projects, 3. Licence enforcement in cooperation with
gpl-violations.org to ensure that the ground rules of Free Software
equally apply to all.</p>
<p>The overall resonance to the FTF has been quite positive. The first
project to make use of the Fiduciary service
was <a href="http://www.bacula.org">Bacula.org</a>, the most advanced
Free Software backup solution available to date, and the FTF has
already handled more than 180 requests since November 2006 when it was
officially launched and built a solid legal network.</p>
<p>So the external review by Stichting NLnet, who helped establish the
FTF through a grant of 30k EUR, has been that the FTF has met and even
exceeded expectations. FSFE expects this area of activites to solidify
in the next years and is prepared to stock them up of the request for
services keeps growing.</p>
<p>Following the discussions at the 2006 Manchester general assembly
and on request of FSFE's sister organisation in the United States that
had started the "<a href="http://www.defectivebydesign.org">Defective
by Design</a>" campaign, FSFE initiated and launched DRM.info in
October 2006. <a href="http://drm.info">DRM.info</a> was started as a
collaborative platform with strong design and solid information and
including various renowned groups and individuals. The launch was
accompanied by demonstrations against DRM in various European cities,
including Zurich, Gothenburg, London.</p>
<p>Takeup of the initiative did not meet expectations, though, due to a
variety of reasons, so the platform is undergoing reconsideration.</p>
<h3>GNU GPLv3</h3>
<p>The revision of the <a href="http://gplv3.fsf.org">GNU General
Public License (GPL) to version 3</a> was one of the most challenging
activities throughout the past two years. Free Software Foundation
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Europe (FSFE) was <a href="/activities/gplv3">one of
the main contributors to the effort of bringing transparency</a> into
the process and details of the revision of the GNU General Public
License (GPL) through participation in the international conferences
on GPLv3 in Boston, Porto Alegre and Tokyo, as well as organisation of
the international conference on GPLv3 in Barcelona.</p>
<p>FSFE's Ciaran O'Riordan also contributed much to the transparency
of the debate through
his <a
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of important speeches which have helped many thousand people
understand GPLv3 better.</p>
<p>Additionally, FSFE's regional teams organised various local events and
meetings on GPLv3 and FSFE representatives spoke about GPLv3 at a
large number of events.</p>
<h3>Science, Education and Learning in Freedom (SELF)</h3>
<p>FSFE was centrally involved in the planning of
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the <a href="/activities/self/">EU project SELF</a>
with partners from around the world, including people involved FSF
India and FSF Latin America. Henrik Sandklef, Jonas Oberg, Mathias
Klang, Georg Greve and others from FSFE are involved in this project
to build a Free Software repository with Free educational material
about Free Software and Open Standards that is going to export its
material in Open Standards for other e-Learning platforms.</p>
<p>FSFE's role in the project is coordinative, substantive, and legal,
where it will provide the fiduciary for the resulting software through
its Freedom Task Force (FTF) to ensure long-term sustainability of the
<p>More information is available
on <a href="http://selfproject.eu">the SELF web site</a>.</p>
<p>Launched in February 2005, <a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">the
Fellowship of FSFE</a> has grown into a considerable community of
people who share a strong commitment to freedom in the digital age. As
foreseen, every Fellow helps to sustain FSFE's activities: the
self-determined Fellowship contributions amount for a significant
amount of FSFE's budget, so helps FSFE to keep the lights on.</p>
<p>These contributions also show that the Fellows are willing to put
their money where their mouth is -- something that has proven
effective to increase the weight of the Free Software message in the
political work FSFE is doing.</p>
<p>But the idea of the Fellowship has also proven to go far beyond that.</p>
have <a href="/fellows/greve/img/zrh_hoist">raised
their flag</a> in various places around the world and have come
together to organise concrete activities to bring Free Software into
schools (Austria) or simply to meet at "freedom parties" in Berlin or
Milano to get together and discuss the issues that move us.</p>
<p>In several places the Fellows have started local initiatives with
regular meetings, either on a regional or national level, and in
November 2006, the Fellowship had
its <a href="/fellows/meetings/2006_bolzano">first
international meeting in Bolzano</a>, Southern Tyrol, Italy.</p>
<p>Ultimately activity through the Fellowship is one of the best ways to
get involved in FSFE. A living demonstration of this is FSFE Fellow
Shane Coughlan, now Freedom Task Force Coordinator for the FSFE. Two
years ago, he was not on our radar. But when he became active as a
Fellow, gave presentations on FSFE and the Fellowship out of his own
initiative, and actively sought to become involved in the work, it
took him very little time to be integrated into FSFE.</p>
<h3>Ongoing Activities</h3>
<p>With any organisation such as FSFE there are
always <a href="/contribute/">a million things to
keep running</a> that stay unnoticed when they are done well, and only
show up when they don't. Three activities for which this is
particularly true are the Office, the Web page and the translation
efforts, which generally get very little recognition, but are seminal
to keep FSFE running.</p>
<p>In the past two years, FSFE's main logistic and administrative
office moved from Essen to Dusseldorf. Thanks to the good work of
former Head of Office Werner Koch, the office in Dusseldorf was built
up solidly with a small footprint and we found three very energetic
and competent people who have been running a very smooth office:
Angelina Bartlett, Anja Vorspel and Rainer Kersten. FSFE also opened
small offices in Zurich and Brussels for the legal and EU policy work,
which are staffed by Shane Coughlan and Ciaran O'Riordan,
<p>The web page is often the main point of contact for people with FSFE
and required lots of work over the past two years, from putting the
<a href="/order/">new order interface online</a>,
improving the underlying technology and adding more information.</p>
<p>Last year FSFE also managed to find and implement a new visual
identity along which the web page has been redesigned. All of these
steps are important to make sure the message goes out to those who
need to hear it.</p>
<p>And finally the translation team has slowly grown into a group of
volunteers that make translations fast and effectively into various
languages, a work that is not only time consuming and difficult, but
also important to lower the communication barrier with many people
around the world.</p>
<h3>FSFE Network</h3>
<p>The Free Software Foundation network grew significantly in various
ways. One was the founding of FSFE's sister organisation in Latin
America, the <a href="http://www.fsfla.org">Free Software Foundation Latin America (FSFLA)</a>, which
FSFE supported both spiritually as well as practically by hosting
their services on one of its virtual servers.</p>
<p>FSFE's network
of <a href="/about/associates/">associate
organisations</a> now spans 14 organisations in 12 countries,
<li><a href="http://www.affs.org.uk">AFFS</a>, UK</li>
<li><a href="http://www.ansol.org">ANSOL</a>, Portugal</li>
<li><a href="http://www.libre.org">FKF</a>, Spain</li>
<li><a href="http://www.ffii.org">FFII</a>, Germany</li>
<li><a href="http://www.ffis.de">FFIS</a>, Germany</li>
<li><a href="http://www.ffs.or.at">FFS</a>, Austria</li>
<li><a href="http://www.fsij.org">FSIJ</a>, Japan</li>
<li><a href="http://www.fsn.org.yu">FSN</a>, Serbia</li>
<li><a href="http://www.vialibre.org.ar">Fundacion Via Libre</a>, Argentina</li>
<li><a href="http://www.ifso.ie">IFSO</a>, Ireland</li>
<li><a href="http://ev.kde.org">KDE e.V.</a>, Germany</li>
<li><a href="http://www.ofset.org">OFSET</a>, France</li>
<li><a href="http://www.vrijschrift.org">Vrijschrift</a>, Netherlands</li>
<li><a href="http://www.wilhelmtux.ch">Wilhelmtux</a>, Switzerland</li>
<p>As in the past years, FSFE has been present at many events to talk
about various aspects of Free Software, to meet the community and to
help others join our community. Events that FSFE has participated to
over the past years include, but are not limited to:</p>
<li>2nd CCC, Berlin</li>
<li>5th Jornadas Regionales de Software Libre, Rosario</li>
<li>A2K Meeting, London</li>
<li>A2K2@Yale, United States</li>
<li>A2K@Yale, United States</li>
<li>ATTAC Germany Summer Academy</li>
<li>British Computer Society, London</li>
<li>Campus Party, Valencia</li>
<li>ChaosControl Conference, Vienna</li>
<li>ConfSL, Cosenza</li>
<li>FISL, Brazil</li>
<li>FOSDEM, Brussels</li>
<li>GPLv3 Conferences</li>
<li>HGKZ, Zurich</li>
<li>III Encontro de Software Livre do Amazonas, Manaus</li>
<li>Internet Days, Stockholm</li>
<li>Internet Hungary 2005</li>
<li>Internetdagarna, Stockholm</li>
<li>Java Conference Milano</li>
<li>KDE Conference, Dublin</li>
<li>LACFREE, Recife</li>
<li>LWE, Utrecht</li>
<li>LinuxTag, Berlin</li>
<li>LinuxTag, Wiesbaden</li>
<li>LinuxWorld Expo, Frankfurt</li>
<li>LinuxWorld Expo, Milano</li>
<li>Linuxwochen, Vienna</li>
<li>Meeting Libre 2007, Miraflores de la Sierra</li>
<li>OpenOffice.org Conference, Koper - Capodistria</li>
<li>SANE, Delft</li>
<li>SERCI Workshop, Helsinki</li>
<li>SFScon, Bolzano</li>
<li>STACS kickoff, Paris</li>
<li>Svenska Linuxforeningen</li>
<li>TACD Conference, Brussels</li>
<li>Trophees du Libre, Soissons</li>
<li>Tweakfest, Zurich</li>
<li>Valtellinux, Caiolo</li>
<li>Wizards of OS, Berlin</li>
<li>dorkbot.swiss, Zurich</li>
<li>eIFL workshop, Kiev</li>
<li>eLiberatica 2007, Brasov</li>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<tag key="annual-report">Annual report</tag>