We believe that proprietary standards and software patents are barriers to Free Software adoption. To get rid of those barriers we have to help the public administration to understand this, too. That is why last month we responded to a consultation on the interaction of standards and patents by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
In our response, we focused mainly on how software patents negatively affect competition and innovation in the software market. We also highlighted that so-called “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) licensing terms are in practice a grave discrimination against Free Software. In many segments of the software market, these programs are the most significant competition to non-free offerings. So the FSFE recommends that standards organisations instead implement the successful patent licensing policies of the W3C and other bodies, and make the restriction-free licensing of standard-essential patents mandatory.
If you want to help us to promote Open Standards, please participate in this year's Document Freedom Day (see this month's get active item at the end of the newsletter).
The more we see classic educational environments equipped with computers, the more important becomes an education system that teaches every student to be in control of their technology. For the FSFE, the basis for this is Free Software.
Together with other partners in the “Bündnis Freie Bildung” (Free Education Alliance) we published a position paper about the creation and usage of Open Educational Resources (OER). The paper has a specific focus on the creation and usage of OER inside the German educational system. It should be mandatory to publish educational resources including software that has been paid with public money under free licences. Furthermore, the position paper demands that educational institutions should consider the compatibility with Free Software already during the development or extension of their IT infrastructures. By this it envisions to have “all educational resources usable without any legal or technical barriers”.
If you want to know more about what happened in the education field connected with Free Software, read the January Education team report.
On 14 February 2015 people all over the world showed Free Software contributors their appreciation. It was the fifth year we asked people to participate in the “I Love Free Software” day. This year's report shows a variety of love declarations that happened this day, including blog posts, pictures, comics, poems, and an #ilovefs Android library.
We want to thank everybody who motivated Free Software contributors at this year's “I love Free Software” day, and ask everybody to mark 14 February in their calendars to motivate the people who enable us to control our technology.
Every year since 2008, people who care about a free information society celebrate Document Freedom Day to raise awareness of Open Standards. This year again people around the world come together on 25 March to talk about access to communications, run local public activities, and generally spread the word about Open Standards in a dozen different ways.
We are offering promotion materials in many languages, and artwork you can remix, share and improve to publicise your own event. If you are running a local event, we may be able to offer funding of your local activities or your local print runs - thanks to DFD's sponsors. To get inspired, take a look at what other groups from Mexico to Japan did last year.
Participate in DFD 2015!
Thanks to all the volunteers, Fellows and
corporate donors who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE