FSFE Newsletter - October 2013
FSFE Newsletter - October 2013
Our movement turned 30!
On 27 September 1983 Richard Stallman announced the GNU project. An initiative
that started with a programmer's frustration
over a broken printer driver has changed our society. The idea of
software that everyone can use,
study, share and improve has proven powerful.
The GNU project has acted as the starting point of a movement that makes
sure we can control technology, and not technology controlling us. Today, Free
Software is everywhere: It powers the Internet, our mobile phones, televisions,
cars, routers, and electronic devices of all sorts. Free Software has
fundamentally changed the way people create software: instead of preventing
people to adapt the software to their own needs, they invite people to
participate in the development.
FSFE is grateful to Richard Stallman for sparking this epochal change, and
to everyone who has joined our movement to drive Free Software's progress for
Boost local activities: European Fellowship Coordinators Meeting
For example our local Fellowship groups. During last month our groups in Aarhus hosted a talk
and the meetings in Frankfurt
are continuing. In Munich
we had a public booth during a street festival, during Software Freedom
Day our Fellows informed passers-by about Free Software in Vienna
and in Offenburg, whereas
Helsinki they helped others installing Free Software. Our Düsseldorf
Fellowship group was very active the last weeks as well: They had a booth at
the summer party of the Pirate
Party, and attended the summer party of the Green Party, held a Software Freedom Day event,
supported a Cryptoparty in
Kempen, held a regular
meeting, as well as a
talk by Sam Tuke about Free Your Android.
From 27-29 September 22 Fellows of FSFE from 10 countries
gathered in Berlin for the first European Coordinators Meeting. During the
weekend the coordinators got to know each other, presented their work, talked
about possibilities to promote Free Software, shared good practices, and
provided valuable feedback about our campaigns. If you are interested to see
who is promoting Free Software in local Fellowship groups have
a look at Lucile's blog entry.
Something completely different
- Technology should be a means to freedom and creativity. Yet governments
around the world are turning computers and networks into tools of oppression.
FSFE joined a coalition of more
than 265 organisations which launched a list of 13 International
Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communication
- Ask Your Candidates: Our Austrian team published their questions and
answers for the Nationalratswahl (federal election), and the German published the
answers to similar questions for the state election in Hessen.
- After FSFE
already spoke up against it, KDE also rejected the Fairsearch
initiative claims, and stated
why Free Software is competitive.
- There is a
new edition of the Free Software in education news for August,
including what Open Education Resources can learn from Free Software.
- Together with Mirko Vogt from OpenWrt FSFE wrote a letter to the German
Federal Network Agency (German). We argued about the importance of
having the freedom to use every router you want to have for your internet
- CERN, which is publishing a lot of hardware design documentation, has updated its Open Hardware License to
- To celebrate GNU's 30th anniversary, FSF suggested software freedom actions for
each day during September. Of course you can repeat that anytime you
- Public administration: the French
Gendarmerie now maintains 37,000 GNU/Linux desktops, and after the
planned switch next summer it will be 72,000. Officials say they are able to
lower the total cost of operation by 40% compared to the proprietary
solution. But the savings are just one point, the other one is more vendor
- From the planet aggregation:
- Hugo Roy asks for feedback on the user
- Georg Greve argues that software freedom advocates had it right all
along: You cannot trust
proprietary cryptography, or proprietary software.
- Mirko Böhm and Paul Adams organised a
seminar about Free Software in economy and society at the German
protestant student union (German), where Karsten Gerloff also gave a
talk as a guest speaker in front of students of medicine, natural
sciences, or theology.
- Lucile learnt
to appreciate regular expressions, and
highlighted some quotes by Bruce Schneier, including "We’re afraid of
risk. It's a normal part of life, but we're increasingly unwilling to
accept it at any level."
- Thomas Løcke asks
if we want to live in a world where shadow agencies run amok and
where our hard-earned taxes are being used to fund leashes for our necks
and whips for our backs?
- Our Munich Fellowship coordinator Christian Kalkhoff explains
why he finally quit facebook (German) after they changed their terms
- On a technical level: if you have to dual boot GNU/Linux and Windows 8
on a machine with restricted
boot read the
description from our Finnish Fellows.
- If you used GnuCash or HomeBank before for your finances, Daniel Pocok
suggests to have a look at PostBooks, and maybe support their
crowdfunding campaign for missing features.
- He also looked into
calendar and contact data with Free Software in the Smartphone
- Paul Boddie wrote about the Neo900, successor of the
famous N900 mobile phone.
- Guido Günther is
monitoring a heating system powered by Free Software, and
- Henri Bergius was
flying a quadrocopter with NoFlo.
- After many years Matija's laptop broke. Read
how he changed his distribution after a decade and the good feeling
to have working backups.
- Finally he is
discussing if copyright, patents and state-given monopolies in general
Get active: Talk to some friends about how it started!
As you read on the first paragraph it is 30 years since Richard Stallman
announced to start with the GNU operating system. Many people mistakenly
think of this
30th anniversary only as a success in a technical way but it is more: GNU
and the philosophy behind it is a social revolution as well.
More people should know about the importance and uniqueness of the development
GNU has started. So we ask you to talk with your friends, acquaintances and colleagues about
the history and
philosophy of GNU project and to reflect
about which positive side effect of GNU's invention you personally appreciate the most.
Please share your experiences with us, for example by writing a blog post about the talk
with the people you spoke with or sharing your experiences on our
public mailing lists.
Thanks to all the Fellows and
donors who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE
Free Software Foundation Europe
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