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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2012-12-14">
  3. <head>
  4. <title> FSFE 2012 Annual Report</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body>
  7. <h1>FSFE 2012 Annual Report</h1>
  8. <div id="toc">
  9. <ul>
  10. <li><a href="#why">Why we work for software freedom</a></li>
  11. <li><a href="#achieved">What we've achieved in 2012</a></li>
  12. <ul>
  13. <li><a href="#frontline">The new frontline: General purpose computing</a></li>
  14. <li><a href="#rules">Making the rules</a></li>
  15. <li><a href="#legaldevelopers">Supporting developers with legal expertise</a></li>
  16. </ul>
  17. <li><a href="#work">Who's doing all the work?</a></li>
  18. <li><a href="#challenges">Challenges for 2013 and beyond</a></li>
  19. <li><a href="#support">Support FSFE</a></li>
  20. </ul>
  21. </div>
  22. <p newsteaser="yes">
  23. Come and see what FSFE did in 2012! Read our annual report to find out
  24. what we achieved, how we did it, and what's ahead for
  25. 2013. We thank all of our Fellows, donors and sponsors
  26. for making our work possible! If you like what you see, please
  27. remember to <a href="http://fsfe.org/support/index.en.html">sign
  28. up as a supporter</a>, so we can keep you updated.
  29. </p>
  30. <h2 id="why">Why we work for software freedom</h2>
  31. <p>With every day, computers become a bigger part of our lives. Our phone
  32. is a computer that we carry in our pocket. Cars, as Cory Doctorow
  33. says, are just computers that we drive around in. Computers in
  34. every shape and form have become central building blocks of our
  35. civilisation.</p>
  36. <p>Who controls these computers? If they are
  37. black boxes that keep their internal workings secret from us, if their
  38. makers have artificially restricted them to limit what we can do with
  39. them, then although we may pay for these computers -- we can never own
  40. them.</p>
  41. <p>In order to be in charge of our own lives, we need to be able to
  42. control the computers we use. We can only do this if they run Free
  43. Software that we can use, study, share and improve. We can only do
  44. this if our computers aren't neutered to restrict their functionality,
  45. or loaded with spyware. We also need neutral networks to connect them
  46. to, so we can freely choose what to say, and to whom.</p>
  47. <p>With this in mind, 2012 was both a good and a bad year for our
  48. freedom. Android is an example of how ambiguous things can get. More
  49. than 500 million smartphones and tablets with the Free Software
  50. operating system have been sold so far, putting Free Software in the
  51. hands of more people than ever before. But this is also an operating
  52. system that sometimes limits what users can do with their phones, and
  53. invites users to hand away private data. This is why we launched the
  54. Free Your Android campaign to help empower citizens to take full
  55. control of their mobile devices.</p>
  56. <p>These new challenges are the latest in a series of long-standing problems that we have
  57. been working on for years. Governments and the public sector should be
  58. a natural customer base for Free Software companies and
  59. developers. Yet, public bodies across Europe remain stuck in the
  60. stranglehold of proprietary software vendors. We have continued
  61. to work on fixing government procurement and wider Free Software
  62. policies, whether in Brussels, London, Berlin or Helsinki.</p>
  63. <p>We are proud to give the Free Software movement a voice in politics,
  64. and policy makers increasingly turn to FSFE for expertise and
  65. input. We helped the UK government shape its new Open Standards policy, and advised the German parliament on Free
  66. Software issues.</p>
  67. <p>We worked hard to get the Free Software message out. During 2012, FSFE
  68. staff and Fellows gave more than 50 talks at events across
  69. Europe. At many of these events, we also set up a booth where people
  70. could easily find us to talk about Free Software, ask for help, and
  71. learn about our work. In addition, we held more than 15 meetings, hackathons and workshops in countries such as Finland, the UK, Estonia and Austria.
  72. The lawyers and engineers in the Legal Network which we facilitate brought the
  73. latest in Free Software thinking to their companies and clients.</p>
  74. <p>Thanks to all this work, and that of the many groups and individuals with
  75. whom we join forces, the world is slowly changing. Every day, more people
  76. wake up to the power of cooperation and sharing. Every day, more people
  77. expect freedom by default.</p>
  78. <p>Please join us, and help us get the world to live up to these
  79. expectations. With your support we can do
  80. it. Thank you for making our work possible!</p>
  81. <p><i><a id="gerloff">Karsten Gerloff</a>, President, Free Software Foundation Europe</i></p>
  82. <h2 id="achieved">What we have achieved in 2012</h2>
  83. <h3 id="frontline">The new frontline: General purpose computing</h3>
  84. <div class="captioned">
  85. <img src="/news/2012/report-1212/karsten.jpg"/>
  86. <p>Karsten Gerloff talking about software freedom</p>
  87. </div>
  88. <p>The Internet and computers in all their forms have become an essential
  89. part of modern civilisation. They have deeply changed the way we live,
  90. work, create, and dream. The technological progress we have seen over
  91. the past couple of decades was only possible because of general
  92. purpose computers -- computers that will perform any task we give them,
  93. and networks that don't care what kind of data we transmit through
  94. them, as our president Karsten explained in his talk called <a href="https://lwn.net/Articles/523537/">All watched over by machines
  95. of loving grace?"</a>.</p>
  96. <p>But this freedom to make our computers do anything we can imagine is
  97. under threat. Locked-down devices are everywhere, from the iPhone to
  98. "smart" TVs and game consoles. If we let this trend continue, the only
  99. freedom we will enjoy in a few years will be the freedom to choose our
  100. masters.</p>
  101. <p>So we have made general purpose computing a focus topic for our
  102. work. We want you to be in full control of the technology you use. The
  103. limit for your ideas should be the boundaries of your imagination, not
  104. some marketing department's plan to take more money from of you.</p>
  105. <div class="captioned">
  106. <img src="/news/2012/report-1212/chorlton.jpg"/>
  107. <p>FSFE booth in Manchester</p>
  108. </div>
  109. <h4> Take charge of your phone</h4>
  110. <p>We decided to start as close to the people as possible: in their
  111. pockets. Your mobile phone is the most personal of your devices. It
  112. knows who you talk to, where you are, and what your plans are. So it is
  113. important that you have full control over what it does.</p>
  114. <p>That is where our <a href="http://fsfe.org/campaigns/android/android.en.html">Free Your Android</a> campaign comes in. We organise
  115. workshops to help people install operating systems on their phones
  116. that don't tie them to a particular company or service provider, and
  117. respect their privacy. At the end of the day participants don't just
  118. have a better phone, but something even more important: The knowledge
  119. that they can truly control the technology they use.</p>
  120. <p>Torsten Grote, a former Fellowship representative, and new staffer
  121. Erik Albers have run or supported nine workshops since August,
  122. from Spain and Sweden through Germany and Italy to Slovenia and
  123. Kosovo, with over 100 participants. <a href="mailto:android@lists.fsfe.org">Get in touch</a> if you would like to
  124. become a trainer and/or organise a workshop near you.</p>
  125. <h4>Your freedom to install Free Software</h4>
  126. <p>If you cannot install whatever software you choose on a computer, you
  127. don't really own it. Many PCs and mobile devices that went on sale
  128. from late 2012 come with a mechanism called "SecureBoot" ("Restricted
  129. Boot" would be a more appropriate name) that would prevent you from
  130. doing exactly that. We <a href="http://fsfe.org/campaigns/generalpurposecomputing/secure-boot-analysis.en.html">accompanied this process,</a> and have made our
  131. demands clear: Device owners must have complete and sole control of
  132. their devices. This and other demands were echoed in a <a href="http://www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/Themen/OED_Verwaltung/Informationsgesellschaft/trusted_computing_eng.html">white paper</a> by Germany's federal government. We will continue to raise this issue with
  133. politicians, consumer protection groups and anyone else who can help
  134. us defend your freedom.</p>
  135. <div class="captioned">
  136. <img src="/news/2012/report-1212/Torsten.jpg"/>
  137. <p>Torsten Grote at a Free Your Android workshop</p>
  138. </div>
  139. <p>We also overhauled our <a href="http://drm.info">drm.info</a> website with fresh information about
  140. digital restrictions management (DRM). Fellow Anna Morris and our campaign
  141. manager Sam Tuke both spoke to the BBC: <a href="http://download.fsfe.org/audio/20120320-bbc5-interview-anna-morris.ogg">Anna</a> about a conference for
  142. women in Free Software that she helped to organise and <a href="blogs.fsfe.org/samtuke/%3Fp%3D255">Sam</a> about teaching
  143. kids how to program.</p>
  144. <h4>Unlock digital handcuffs - use Open Standards</h4>
  145. <p>This year's <a href="http://www.documentfreedom.org/">Document Freedom Day</a> was the most successful yet of our
  146. annual campaigns for <a href="http://fsfe.org/projects/os/os.en.html">Open Standards</a>. Volunteers organised 54 events in
  147. 23 countries. Proprietary file formats are like digital handcuffs --
  148. so we sent out 100 info packages to politicians and public figures,
  149. each containing a letter and a set of handcuffs.</p>
  150. <blockquote><p>Among the recipients
  151. were Pope Benedict XVI. and EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who liked
  152. the idea so much that she took the handcuffs along for one of her speeches.</p></blockquote>
  153. <h3 id="rules">Making the rules</h3>
  154. <p>We give the Free Software movement a voice in politics. We push for
  155. rules that are good for software freedom, and work to get rid of those
  156. that are bad for Free Software.</p>
  157. <p>In May, the <a href="http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120627-01.en.html">European Court of Justice ordered Microsoft</a> to finally pay
  158. a record fine of 860 million euros for using its near-monopoly on the
  159. desktop to keep rivals out of the workgroup server market. Microsoft
  160. had previously spent over three billion Euro to buy third parties out
  161. of the case. We stayed on the case for almost a decade, and asserted
  162. the rights of Free Software developers to access interoperability
  163. information, especially for the Samba Team. Samba is a Free Software
  164. system for sharing files and printers that is a competitor to Microsoft's
  165. proprietary products. The court eventually agreed with us: Receiving
  166. the interoperability information was a right of the Free Software
  167. community, not a concession by Microsoft.</p>
  168. <p>The European Parliament
  169. adopted <a href="/news/2012/news-20121208-01.html">an ill-conceived
  170. compromise</a> for a single European patent system, opening the door
  171. for even more patents on software to be granted and enforced. In the
  172. years ahead, we will work hard to protect the Free Software community
  173. from the negative consequences of this decision.</p>
  174. <p>For almost two years, we worked with the UK government to help them
  175. build a strong Open Standards policy. We were succesful: the
  176. government in
  177. November <a href="/news/2012/news-20120425-02.html">published a new
  178. policy on Open Standards</a> and introduced some fundamental changes
  179. to the way the government buys software. The country's government
  180. bodies are now required to prefer Open Standards, and have to figure
  181. exit costs into the price of any new solution they buy.</p>
  182. <p>The German parliament asked Matthias Kirschner, our German team
  183. coordinator, to participate in its experts' commission on Free
  184. Software. He did a great job of speaking up for the Free Software
  185. movement. We're expecting the group's recommendations to be published
  186. in early 2013.</p>
  187. <p>Our Finland coordinator Otto Kekäläinen together with lawyer Martin
  188. van
  189. Willebrandt <a href="http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120619-01.en.html">monitored
  190. calls for tender in Finland</a> to see if they mentioned brand names,
  191. and <a hfref="http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120711-01.en.html">took
  192. Helsinki's city government to tas</a> for a botched OpenOffice pilot
  193. project. In November, Otto received
  194. the <a href="https://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20121112-01.en.html">Nordic
  195. Free Software Award</a> in recognition of the great job he's been
  196. doing.</p>
  197. <p>In other countries, too, government procurement was a hot issue this
  198. year. We helped the <a href="http://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2012/06/04/common-sense-in-the-basque-country/">Basque Country in Spain to make a rule</a> that
  199. programs developed with public funds should be published as Free
  200. Software. The governments of <a href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/italy-instructs-public-administrations-consider-using-open-source">Italy</a> and <a href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/french-guideline-favours-use-free-and-open-source">France</a> told their public bodies
  201. to prefer Free Software.</p>
  202. <p>Our general counsel Carlo Piana and president Karsten Gerloff helped the European Parliament to <a href="http://opensource.com/government/12/7/helping-european-parliament-release-its-own-free-software">release some Free Software of its own</a>, and
  203. answered legal and practical questions from the Parliament's IT
  204. team.</p>
  205. <blockquote><p>The software should become available by mid-2013. At the same
  206. time, we <a href="http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/it-business/3346719/free-software-foundation-urges-eu-parliament-staff-to-reject-microsoft-bribe/">warned the Parliament's administration</a> that they were compromising staff politically by offering them gratis licenses to
  207. proprietary software.</p></blockquote>
  208. <div class="captioned">
  209. <img src="/news/2012/report-1212/FYA.jpg"/>
  210. </div>
  211. <h3 id="legaldevelopers">Supporting developers with legal expertise</h3>
  212. <p>Our <a href="https://fsfe.org/activities/ftf/ftf.en.html">legal team</a> helped more than 60 Free Software developers and
  213. projects to resolve licensing questions and other legal problems. In
  214. three "Hacking for Compliance" workshops, we trained volunteers to
  215. analyse and report embedded devices for GPL violations, so that
  216. the gpl-violations.org project could pursue them. Our General Counsel Carlo Piana and Legal Coordinator Matija Šuklje supported the Free Your Android campaign by making it clear that <a href="https://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20121106-01.en.html">flashing your phone does not void your warranty</a>.</p>
  217. <p>The international Legal Network which we facilitate continues to be
  218. the premier place for Free Software legal experts to meet and exchange
  219. views. The annual Free Software Legal and Licensing workshop, organised
  220. by FSFE's Legal Team, attracted more than 60 lawyers, developers and
  221. engineers. In two days of discussing compliance, governance and
  222. patents, they contributed to a better understanding of how companies
  223. and community groups can use Free Software to their advantage.</p>
  224. <h2 id="work">Who is doing all the work</h2>
  225. <p>FSFE's General Assembly decides on our strategy and oversees our
  226. work. We welcomed two new members this year, bringing the total
  227. to 17. Martin Gollowitzer is a long-term volunteer from Austria who
  228. has consistently worked on the Fellowship. Nikos Roussos from Greece
  229. was elected to serve a two-year term as a Fellowship representative
  230. alongside Hugo Roy from France.</p>
  231. <div class="captioned">
  232. <img src="/news/2012/report-1212/viennabooth1.jpg"/>
  233. <p>Software Freedom Day action in Vienna</p>
  234. </div>
  235. <p>After Erik joined the team in October to support volunteers'
  236. activities throughout Europe, FSFE now has seven people on staff. Four
  237. of these work full time, three part time. In addition, we had a number
  238. of great interns this year, who made important contributions to our
  239. work. Some of them have taken on responsibility coordinating
  240. volunteers, such as Alessandro Polvani with the Italian team and
  241. Eszter Bako with our policy team. We have a great set of interns lined
  242. up for 2013, and are already looking forward to hosting them.</p>
  243. <p>We couldn't have achieved the impact we made in 2012 without our
  244. Fellows and volunteers. Many people contributed, each person with
  245. their own special skills, for example as developers, system
  246. administrators, or legal experts. The translators team helps us to spread the
  247. word about Free Software across Europe and the world, by translating
  248. our website into up to 30 languages.</p>
  249. <h2 id="challenges">Challenges for 2013 and beyond</h2>
  250. <div class="captioned">
  251. <img src="/news/2012/report-1212/fsfe-ilovefs.png"/>
  252. <p>On Valentine's Day, spread the love</p> </div>
  253. <p>Gaining broad acceptance for Free Software was only the start. For
  254. 2013, we all face some important challenges:</p>
  255. <ul>
  256. <li>Software patents: After the EU has reached a compromise on the
  257. unitary patent, there is a risk that software patents will increasingly be asserted against European companies. FSFE will monitor
  258. the unitary patent system as it develops and speak up for the
  259. interests of those working with Free Software.</li>
  260. <li>Lockdown:The flood of innovation based on the PC and the Internet
  261. was made possible by general-purpose computers and neutral networks. Today, device makers and network operators increasingly
  262. strangle innovation by artificially restricting devices and networks. FSFE builds awareness for the importance of general purpose
  263. computing, and enables people to take innovation into their own hands again.</li>
  264. <li>Public procurement:The public sector stands to benefit hugely from
  265. Free Software, but outdated procurement practices stand in the
  266. way. Working with public bodies, companies and regulators, FSFE explains how procurement practices must change, creating opportunities
  267. for Free Software companies along the way.</li>
  268. <li>Brand abuse: For many buyers of software and services Free Software
  269. has come to stand for great software and great
  270. value. Some companies are mislabeling their software to take
  271. advantage, promising the user freedoms that they do not deliver. FSFE
  272. will help users make informed choices to preserve their freedom.</li>
  273. </ul>
  274. <h2 id="support">Support FSFE</h2>
  275. <p>We ask you to help us tackle these challenges head-on. FSFE is financed through your
  276. donations. As an individual, please<a href="https://fellowship.fsfe.org/">join the Fellowship</a>. As a company, please <a href="http://fsfe.org/donate">donate to
  277. FSFE</a>. Join the many <a Href="http://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.en.html">individuals and companies</a> who support our work, and help keep us independent.
  278. Together, we can build a better society for all. </p>
  279. <p>Donations to FSFE are tax-deductible in Germany, Switzerland and the
  280. Netherlands. Less than 20% of our budget is spent on overhead costs,
  281. and we are looking to further reduce this figure as we grow and
  282. existing structures scale up.</p>
  283. </body>
  284. <tags>
  285. <tag>annualreport</tag>
  286. <tag>front-page</tag>
  287. </tags>
  288. </html>