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  4. <title>FSFE - Two year executive summary, period 2005-2007 -- 30th June 2007</title>
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  6. <body>
  7. <center>
  8. <h1>Two year executive summary</h1>
  9. <h2>period 2005-2007</h2>
  10. <h2>Report for the 2007 general assembly</h2>
  11. </center>
  12. <div align="right">
  13. Belgium, Brussels, 30th June 2007<br />
  14. </div>
  15. <p>Six years after its start in 2001, the Free Software Foundation Europe
  16. (FSFE) has now grown into an organisation of 9 employees equalling 6.7
  17. full-time staff plus two interns. The European Core Team is fast
  18. approaching 30 people and there are active people in more than nine
  19. European countries. This report will try to summarise some of the key
  20. milestones of the past two years of activity.</p>
  21. <h3>European Union: Microsoft Antitrust Case and Investigation</h3>
  22. <p>After the European Union antitrust decision of March 2004, which
  23. issues both fines and an obligation to publish interoperability
  24. information for all competitors, the European Court decided December
  25. 2004 that Microsoft should not be granted interim measures to delay
  26. publication of that information. So Microsoft went ahead and granted
  27. itself such interim measures by publishing useless information under
  28. terms that would not allow the only remaining competitor to use it.</p>
  29. <p>This situation has been ongoing throughout all of 2005, 2006 and until
  30. today in 2007, causing the European Commission to issue repeated fines
  31. against Microsoft, which apparently still are lower than the profits
  32. from lack of interoperability. [Press releases:
  33. <a href="">1</a>
  34. <a href="">2</a>
  35. <a href="">3</a>
  36. <a href="">4</a>]
  37. </p>
  38. <p>FSFE's working group around its legal counsel Carlo Piana and the
  39. Samba Team have been working with the Commission to analyse and shed
  40. light on the repeated attempts to bypass the antitrust decision by
  41. bureaucracy and taken an active part in the big hearing in the
  42. European Court of First Instance in April 2006. [See
  43. our <a
  44. href="">April
  45. 2006 PR</a>]</p>
  46. <p>While waiting for the decision, which will most likely be published on
  47. 17 September 2007, FSFE has now offered its support to the European
  48. Commission for the next investigation against Microsoft, this time
  49. about abusive behaviour in the office and internet. In this, FSFE
  50. represents the common working group formed with the Samba Team and
  51., the main competitor of Microsoft Office.</p>
  52. <p>More information is available on
  53. our <a href="">MS vs. EU page</a>.</p>
  54. <h3>European Union: Legislation</h3>
  55. <p>After years of struggle, the European Parliament finally decided in
  56. 2005
  57. to <a
  58. href="">bury
  59. the software patents directive</a>. Individual members of FSFE were
  60. working on the issue since 1999, the organsation itself was part of
  61. the software patent resistance since 2001 and in the late stages of
  62. the fight hired Ciaran O'Riordan to be present in Brussels.</p>
  63. <p>But even though that directive is dead, software patents themselves
  64. are not off the agenda and there are plenty of initiatives on EU level
  65. that also required our attention. One of them is
  66. the <a href="">IPRED2
  67. directive</a> that seeks to introduce criminal measures for copyright
  68. and trademark infringement, although they were initially also intended
  69. to cover patents. That patents were excluded is one important victory
  70. of the first hearing for a broad alliance of groups, including many
  71. from the software patent debate but also consumer rights and
  72. industry.</p>
  73. <p>Besides these two, FSFE's Ciaran O'Riordan has been monitoring the EU
  74. legislation to not be surprised in the same way as we were with the
  75. first IPRED directive, where we failed to get together enough
  76. resistance.</p>
  77. <p>A lot more work remains to be done in this area.</p>
  78. <h3>United Nations: WIPO, WSIS and IGF</h3>
  79. <p><a href="">The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)</a>
  80. was a two-part summit with the first summit taking place in Geneva in December 2003.</p>
  81. <p>In preparation for the second summit 2005 in Tunis, the Austrian
  82. government organised a WSIS contributory conference on "ICT and
  83. Creativity" with high level participants from various governments and
  84. intergovernmental organisations. The Free Software Foundation Europe
  85. was <a href="">part of a workshop on "Digital Rights/Creative Commons."</a> We agreed
  86. to a text that was supposed to be part of the final output at the WSIS,
  87. only to find out in Tunis that Microsoft had manipulated these "<a href="">Vienna
  88. Conclusions</a>."</p>
  89. <p>At the same summit in Tunis it was also decided to establish the
  90. <a href="">Internet Governance Forum
  91. (IGF)</a> as an open forum to discuss all issues of the internet --
  92. except Free Software, which was too controversial for the United
  93. States and one particular company in Redmond. As the internet is
  94. largely built on Free Software and legislation on spam or cybercrime
  95. has the potential to be quite desastrous for Free Software developers
  96. around the world, FSFE participated in the first IGF in Athens in 2006
  97. where it also helped launch the Dynamic Coalition on <a href="">Access to
  98. Knowledge and Freedom of Expression</a> and the Dynamic Coalition <a href="">on
  99. Open Standards</a>.</p>
  100. <p>Meanwhile the debate about
  101. a <a href="">reform of the World
  102. Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)</a> has seen several
  103. confrontational meetings in which FSFE took an active role until just
  104. recently it was decided that WIPO will get its "Development Agenda" to
  105. address the global injustice about limited monopolies on knowledge and
  106. information. FSFE has also started to push for <a href="">a review of the
  107. software patent system</a> on a global level at WIPO.</p>
  108. <p>At the same time, the "<a href="">Broadcasting Treaty</a>", which initially
  109. threatened to introduce another monopoly on top of copyright for
  110. broadcasters of any kind, finally seems to be off the agenda. FSFE did
  111. not have much resources to invest into this fight, but we have given
  112. our support to all the organisations that were working on this issue
  113. and we are glad to see this threat to freedom off the table.</p>
  114. <p>Over the past years, FSFE has established itself as a strong and
  115. stable force at the United Nations and its effectiveness is limited
  116. mainly by available resources, in particular staff time.</p>
  117. <h3>Freedom Task Force</h3>
  118. <p>After years of consideration and planning and following a decision of
  119. FSFE's 2006 general assembly in Manchester, FSFE finally launched the
  120. <a href="">Freedom Task Force (FTF)</a> under
  121. coordination of Shane Coughlan from FSFE's newly established Zurich
  122. office. The FTF combines the best principles of Free Software and the
  123. legal field by having expert groups and volunteers from the legal and
  124. technical communities, tied together through a full-time
  125. coordinator.</p>
  126. <p>From the start it has been closely coordinated and cooperating with
  127. established by Harald Welte in Germany who managed
  128. to first enforce the GNU General Public License (GPL) in court through
  129. Dr. Till Jaeger, who also is FSFE's legal counsel since 2001. </p>
  130. <p>The Freedom Task Force provides three basic services: 1. Licence
  131. consultancy and education, to help Free Software developers and
  132. companies understand the field and make sure the knowledge about the
  133. legal aspects of Free Software does not remain in the hands of a few,
  134. 2. Fiduciary services, to help Free Software projects consolidate
  135. their legal status and make sure they can react to license violations
  136. while allowing them to focus on the technical and coordinative aspects
  137. of their projects, 3. Licence enforcement in cooperation with
  138. to ensure that the ground rules of Free Software
  139. equally apply to all.</p>
  140. <p>The overall resonance to the FTF has been quite positive. The first
  141. project to make use of the Fiduciary service
  142. was <a href=""></a>, the most advanced
  143. Free Software backup solution available to date, and the FTF has
  144. already handled more than 180 requests since November 2006 when it was
  145. officially launched and built a solid legal network.</p>
  146. <p>So the external review by Stichting NLnet, who helped establish the
  147. FTF through a grant of 30k EUR, has been that the FTF has met and even
  148. exceeded expectations. FSFE expects this area of activites to solidify
  149. in the next years and is prepared to stock them up of the request for
  150. services keeps growing.</p>
  151. <h3></h3>
  152. <p>Following the discussions at the 2006 Manchester general assembly
  153. and on request of FSFE's sister organisation in the United States that
  154. had started the "<a href="">Defective
  155. by Design</a>" campaign, FSFE initiated and launched in
  156. October 2006. <a href=""></a> was started as a
  157. collaborative platform with strong design and solid information and
  158. including various renowned groups and individuals. The launch was
  159. accompanied by demonstrations against DRM in various European cities,
  160. including Zurich, Gothenburg, London.</p>
  161. <p>Takeup of the initiative did not meet expectations, though, due to a
  162. variety of reasons, so the platform is undergoing reconsideration.</p>
  163. <h3>GNU GPLv3</h3>
  164. <p>The revision of the <a href="">GNU General
  165. Public License (GPL) to version 3</a> was one of the most challenging
  166. activities throughout the past two years. Free Software Foundation
  167. Europe (FSFE) was <a href="">one of
  168. the main contributors to the effort of bringing transparency</a> into
  169. the process and details of the revision of the GNU General Public
  170. License (GPL) through participation in the international conferences
  171. on GPLv3 in Boston, Porto Alegre and Tokyo, as well as organisation of
  172. the international conference on GPLv3 in Barcelona.</p>
  173. <p>FSFE's Ciaran O'Riordan also contributed much to the transparency
  174. of the debate through
  175. his <a
  176. href="">transcripts</a>
  177. of important speeches which have helped many thousand people
  178. understand GPLv3 better.</p>
  179. <p>Additionally, FSFE's regional teams organised various local events and
  180. meetings on GPLv3 and FSFE representatives spoke about GPLv3 at a
  181. large number of events.</p>
  182. <h3>Science, Education and Learning in Freedom (SELF)</h3>
  183. <p>FSFE was centrally involved in the planning of
  184. the <a href="">EU project SELF</a>
  185. with partners from around the world, including people involved FSF
  186. India and FSF Latin America. Henrik Sandklef, Jonas Oberg, Mathias
  187. Klang, Georg Greve and others from FSFE are involved in this project
  188. to build a Free Software repository with Free educational material
  189. about Free Software and Open Standards that is going to export its
  190. material in Open Standards for other e-Learning platforms.</p>
  191. <p>FSFE's role in the project is coordinative, substantive, and legal,
  192. where it will provide the fiduciary for the resulting software through
  193. its Freedom Task Force (FTF) to ensure long-term sustainability of the
  194. project.</p>
  195. <p>More information is available
  196. on <a href="">the SELF web site</a>.</p>
  197. <h3>Fellowship</h3>
  198. <p>Launched in February 2005, <a href="">the
  199. Fellowship of FSFE</a> has grown into a considerable community of
  200. people who share a strong commitment to freedom in the digital age. As
  201. foreseen, every Fellow helps to sustain FSFE's activities: the
  202. self-determined Fellowship contributions amount for a significant
  203. amount of FSFE's budget, so helps FSFE to keep the lights on.</p>
  204. <p>These contributions also show that the Fellows are willing to put
  205. their money where their mouth is -- something that has proven
  206. effective to increase the weight of the Free Software message in the
  207. political work FSFE is doing.</p>
  208. <p>But the idea of the Fellowship has also proven to go far beyond that.</p>
  209. <p>Fellows
  210. have <a href="">raised
  211. their flag</a> in various places around the world and have come
  212. together to organise concrete activities to bring Free Software into
  213. schools (Austria) or simply to meet at "freedom parties" in Berlin or
  214. Milano to get together and discuss the issues that move us.</p>
  215. <p>In several places the Fellows have started local initiatives with
  216. regular meetings, either on a regional or national level, and in
  217. November 2006, the Fellowship had
  218. its <a href="">first
  219. international meeting in Bolzano</a>, Southern Tyrol, Italy.</p>
  220. <p>Ultimately activity through the Fellowship is one of the best ways to
  221. get involved in FSFE. A living demonstration of this is FSFE Fellow
  222. Shane Coughlan, now Freedom Task Force Coordinator for the FSFE. Two
  223. years ago, he was not on our radar. But when he became active as a
  224. Fellow, gave presentations on FSFE and the Fellowship out of his own
  225. initiative, and actively sought to become involved in the work, it
  226. took him very little time to be integrated into FSFE.</p>
  227. <h3>Ongoing Activities</h3>
  228. <p>With any organisation such as FSFE there are
  229. always <a href="">a million things to
  230. keep running</a> that stay unnoticed when they are done well, and only
  231. show up when they don't. Three activities for which this is
  232. particularly true are the Office, the Web page and the translation
  233. efforts, which generally get very little recognition, but are seminal
  234. to keep FSFE running.</p>
  235. <p>In the past two years, FSFE's main logistic and administrative
  236. office moved from Essen to Dusseldorf. Thanks to the good work of
  237. former Head of Office Werner Koch, the office in Dusseldorf was built
  238. up solidly with a small footprint and we found three very energetic
  239. and competent people who have been running a very smooth office:
  240. Angelina Bartlett, Anja Vorspel and Rainer Kersten. FSFE also opened
  241. small offices in Zurich and Brussels for the legal and EU policy work,
  242. which are staffed by Shane Coughlan and Ciaran O'Riordan,
  243. respectively.</p>
  244. <p>The web page is often the main point of contact for people with FSFE
  245. and required lots of work over the past two years, from putting the
  246. <a href="">new order interface online</a>,
  247. improving the underlying technology and adding more information.</p>
  248. <p>Last year FSFE also managed to find and implement a new visual
  249. identity along which the web page has been redesigned. All of these
  250. steps are important to make sure the message goes out to those who
  251. need to hear it.</p>
  252. <p>And finally the translation team has slowly grown into a group of
  253. volunteers that make translations fast and effectively into various
  254. languages, a work that is not only time consuming and difficult, but
  255. also important to lower the communication barrier with many people
  256. around the world.</p>
  257. <h3>FSFE Network</h3>
  258. <p>The Free Software Foundation network grew significantly in various
  259. ways. One was the founding of FSFE's sister organisation in Latin
  260. America, the <a href="">Free Software Foundation Latin America (FSFLA)</a>, which
  261. FSFE supported both spiritually as well as practically by hosting
  262. their services on one of its virtual servers.</p>
  263. <p>FSFE's network
  264. of <a href="">associate
  265. organisations</a> now spans 14 organisations in 12 countries,
  266. namely</p>
  267. <ul>
  268. <li><a href="">AFFS</a>, UK</li>
  269. <li><a href="">ANSOL</a>, Portugal</li>
  270. <li><a href="">FKF</a>, Spain</li>
  271. <li><a href="">FFII</a>, Germany</li>
  272. <li><a href="">FFIS</a>, Germany</li>
  273. <li><a href="">FFS</a>, Austria</li>
  274. <li><a href="">FSIJ</a>, Japan</li>
  275. <li><a href="">FSN</a>, Serbia</li>
  276. <li><a href="">Fundacion Via Libre</a>, Argentina</li>
  277. <li><a href="">IFSO</a>, Ireland</li>
  278. <li><a href="">KDE e.V.</a>, Germany</li>
  279. <li><a href="">OFSET</a>, France</li>
  280. <li><a href="">Vrijschrift</a>, Netherlands</li>
  281. <li><a href="">Wilhelmtux</a>, Switzerland</li>
  282. </ul>
  283. <h3>Events</h3>
  284. <p>As in the past years, FSFE has been present at many events to talk
  285. about various aspects of Free Software, to meet the community and to
  286. help others join our community. Events that FSFE has participated to
  287. over the past years include, but are not limited to:</p>
  288. <ul>
  289. <li>2nd CCC, Berlin</li>
  290. <li>5th Jornadas Regionales de Software Libre, Rosario</li>
  291. <li>A2K Meeting, London</li>
  292. <li>A2K2@Yale, United States</li>
  293. <li>A2K@Yale, United States</li>
  294. <li>ATTAC Germany Summer Academy</li>
  295. <li>British Computer Society, London</li>
  296. <li>Campus Party, Valencia</li>
  297. <li>ChaosControl Conference, Vienna</li>
  298. <li>ConfSL, Cosenza</li>
  299. <li>FISL, Brazil</li>
  300. <li>FOSDEM, Brussels</li>
  301. <li>GPLv3 Conferences</li>
  302. <li>HGKZ, Zurich</li>
  303. <li>III Encontro de Software Livre do Amazonas, Manaus</li>
  304. <li>Internet Days, Stockholm</li>
  305. <li>Internet Hungary 2005</li>
  306. <li>Internetdagarna, Stockholm</li>
  307. <li>Java Conference Milano</li>
  308. <li>KDE Conference, Dublin</li>
  309. <li>LACFREE, Recife</li>
  310. <li>LWE, Utrecht</li>
  311. <li>LinuxTag, Berlin</li>
  312. <li>LinuxTag, Wiesbaden</li>
  313. <li>LinuxWorld Expo, Frankfurt</li>
  314. <li>LinuxWorld Expo, Milano</li>
  315. <li>Linuxwochen, Vienna</li>
  316. <li>Meeting Libre 2007, Miraflores de la Sierra</li>
  317. <li> Conference, Koper - Capodistria</li>
  318. <li>SANE, Delft</li>
  319. <li>SERCI Workshop, Helsinki</li>
  320. <li>SFScon, Bolzano</li>
  321. <li>STACS kickoff, Paris</li>
  322. <li>Svenska Linuxforeningen</li>
  323. <li>TACD Conference, Brussels</li>
  324. <li>Trophees du Libre, Soissons</li>
  325. <li>Tweakfest, Zurich</li>
  326. <li>Valtellinux, Caiolo</li>
  327. <li>Wizards of OS, Berlin</li>
  328. <li>, Zurich</li>
  329. <li>eIFL workshop, Kiev</li>
  330. <li>eLiberatica 2007, Brasov</li>
  331. </ul>
  332. </body>
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