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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2014-12-18">
  3. <head>
  4. <title> FSFE's work in 2014</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body class="article" microformats="h-entry">
  7. <h1 class="p-name">FSFE's work in 2014</h1>
  8. <p newsteaser="yes">We shape tomorrow's world by what we do today. FSFE helps people to
  9. understand how technology affects their rights and freedoms, and
  10. empowers them to determine their own path in the digital world. See
  11. what we achieved in 2014, and where we're going next!</p>
  12. <blockquote><p>Free Software has never been more necessary to
  13. journalists and activists throughout the world. FSFE helps shape a
  14. world where technology empowers us, instead of oppressing
  15. us. </p>
  16. <cite>– Amaelle Guiton, journalist on hacker culture and privacy</cite></blockquote>
  17. <p>I would like to share with you an overview of the work we did
  18. during the year of 2014. The support of FSFE's Fellows and donors
  19. has let us reach more people than ever before, and has allowed us to
  20. make an important impact. It has also allowed us to invest time and
  21. effort into making FSFE more effective. Importantly in a time of
  22. countless industry front groups, their contributions have helped to
  23. keep FSFE the way we like it: Fiercely independent and oriented
  24. towards the long term.
  25. </p>
  26. <p>Please enjoy our annual overview. Thank you for helping us make the
  27. world a better place!</p>
  28. <div id="toc">
  29. <ul>
  30. <li><a href="#telling-the-world-about-free-software">Telling the world about Free Software</a></li>
  31. <li><a href="#changing-the-rules">Changing the rules</a></li>
  32. <li><a href="#our-free-software-legal-work">Our Free Software legal work</a></li>
  33. <li><a href="#making-fsfe-better">Making FSFE better</a></li>
  34. <li><a href="#fsfes-finances">FSFE's finances</a></li>
  35. <ul>
  36. <li><a href="#where-fsfes-funds-come-from">Where FSFE's funds come from</a></li>
  37. <li><a href="#how-we-spend-the-money">How we spend the money</a></li>
  38. </ul>
  39. <li><a href="#whats-ahead-in-2015">What's ahead in 2015</a></li>
  40. </ul>
  41. </div>
  42. <h2 id="telling-the-world-about-free-software">Telling the world about
  43. Free Software</h2>
  44. <p>Getting the Free Software message to as many people as possible is
  45. one of the main things we do at FSFE. Working with FSFE's Fellows,
  46. friends, and allies, we help people understand how software freedom
  47. lets them take charge of the technology in their lives.</p>
  48. <p>FSFE's Fellows are great ambassadors for software freedom. The
  49. Zurich Fellowship group really came alive this year. The group
  50. published a detailed position paper on the ability of Swiss public
  51. bodies to distribute Free Software, and set up a version of the Free
  52. Software pact campaign for local elections. These volunteers
  53. established a country team in Switzerland, ran a local Free
  54. Software Pact campaign, and published a position paper on the OpenJustitia
  55. case.</p>
  56. <p>Another team of Fellows got together to form a country team in the
  57. Netherlands which runs privacy cafes, booths at events, and boosts
  58. local Fellowship engagement.</p>
  59. <p>For this
  60. year's <em><a href="http://documentfreedom.org/news/2014/news-20140424-01.en.html">Document
  61. Freedom Day</a></em> campaign, we worked with volunteers around the
  62. world to explain and promote Open Standards at 51 events in 21
  63. countries.</p>
  64. <div class="captioned">
  65. <img src="graphics/dfd-venezuela.jpg"/>
  66. <p>Document Freedom Day
  67. in <a href="http://documentfreedom.org/events/events.en.html#event-20140329-02">El
  68. Tigre, Venezuela</a></p>
  69. </div>
  70. <p>In Munich, Germany, the local Fellowship group had a big media
  71. impact during the local elections in Munich this year, working to
  72. secure the city's use of Free Software amid political change. The
  73. group continues to closely follow the political process, and to build
  74. resistance in the city administration to the aggressive lobbying of
  75. some proprietary vendors.</p>
  76. <p><strong>Events and conferences</strong> are still the single best venue to
  77. establish personal links with people who might be interested in Free
  78. Software. We explained Free Software in talks, workshops, panel
  79. discussions, radio shows and several times on TV. For many of these
  80. events, FSFE's Fellows took charge of organising our participation and
  81. staffing the booth. In addition to the usual IT conferences and
  82. events, we expanded our reach to cover street festivals in Munich and
  83. Düsseldorf (Germany), as well as festivals and game conferences in
  84. Vienna. This new outreach angle worked well, and we want to be present
  85. at many other such events next year.</p>
  86. <p>Quite frequently, these events are also an opportunity for people
  87. to seek FSFE's help and support with moving their own organisations
  88. along the path to Free Software. In this way, we helped the protestant
  89. church in the German Rhineland
  90. to <a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2014/06/30/free-software-in-the-church-from-principles-to-practice/">build
  91. Free Software into its IT strategy</a>, and are currently engaged in a
  92. similar conversation with the European Commission and the European
  93. Parliament.</p>
  94. <div class="captioned">
  95. <img src="graphics/istanbul-nermin-kg.jpg"/>
  96. <p>Turkish DFD volunteer Nermin Canik and Karsten Gerloff in Istanbul</p>
  97. </div>
  98. <p>Of course, we don't just rely on campaigns and events. We spread
  99. the word about Free Software every day, and help others do the
  100. same. Often, our wonderful team of translators helps us do this in
  101. local languages. During 2014, our monthly newsletter was translated
  102. into six languages on average. The same volunteers help us make FSFE's
  103. website available in up to 30 languages.</p>
  104. <p>People who want to talk about Free Software to their friends and
  105. neighbours can order information packs through our website. We are
  106. currently sending out ten packs per month on average. People can order
  107. these free of
  108. charge <a href="http://fsfe.org/contribute/spreadtheword.html#promo-material">through
  109. our website</a>, though of course we appreciate donations to cover
  110. printing and shipping costs. Both our introductory Free Software
  111. leaflet and our F-Droid leaflet are available in five languages. We
  112. recently added a flyer on “email self defence” in German and
  113. English (more languages will be available soon); demand for this has
  114. been so great that we have already done three print runs of
  115. this. Volunteers distributed this flyer at the premiere screenings of
  116. the movie “Citizenfour”.</p>
  117. <h2 id="changing-the-rules">Changing the rules</h2>
  118. <p>Governments make the rules. By working with politicians and
  119. administrators, FSFE makes sure that laws and institutions put human
  120. rights and freedoms first.</p>
  121. <p>For the European elections in May 2014, we helped the French Free
  122. Software association April with the
  123. <em><a href="http://freesoftwarepact.eu">Free Software Pact</a></em>. We
  124. invited candidates in those elections to sign the pact, asking them to
  125. commit to using their European Parliament mandate to promote Free
  126. Software. Many of FSFE's Fellows got in touch with the candidates in
  127. their area to ask them. 33 of the pact's signatories are currently
  128. serving as Members of the European Parliament. We will repeat this
  129. effort for other elections. Preparations are currently under way for
  130. Switzerland's 2015 elections. With more resources available, we could
  131. put more time into following up with signatories, and using the
  132. contact we've built through the campaign to let them know what they
  133. should do in order to improve the situation for Free Software.</p>
  134. <div class="captioned">
  135. <img src="graphics/berlin-demo-eal.jpg"/>
  136. <p>Taking Free Software to street - Berlin</p>
  137. </div>
  138. <p>In order to put users in charge of their devices, we kept pushing
  139. on “<em>trusted computing</em>” and
  140. “<em><a href="https://fsfe.org/campaigns/generalpurposecomputing/secure-boot-analysis.de.html">SecureBoot</a></em>”. We
  141. brought this issue with Germany's Federal Information Security
  142. Office, and to the ministries of economics and interior. At the EU
  143. level, we initiated conversations about alternatives such as
  144. CoreBoot. We are pushing to ensure that consumers have the
  145. possibility to install alternative operating systems on the devices
  146. they buy and own. Our goal is to use the progress we have made in
  147. Germany to create progress in other European countries, and finally
  148. put device owners in full control of their hard- and software.</p>
  149. <p>On <em>public procurement</em>, we pushed hard for the European
  150. Commission to improve the way it acquires software, in order to open
  151. up opportunities for Free Software and Open Standards. Using the
  152. EU's
  153. “<a href="http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/extending_or_replacing_ecs_contr">freedom
  154. of information</a>” mechanism, as well as parliamentary
  155. questions, we got the Commission to
  156. release <a href="http://download.fsfe.org/policy/procurement/">documents</a>
  157. about the way its contracts with Microsoft and other providers of
  158. non-free software are structured. We also obtained a document
  159. outlining the EC's [desktop software strategy] [pdf] for the coming
  160. years. This effort has opened the doors to several meetings with
  161. high-level IT decision makers in the Commission and the Parliament,
  162. and has enabled us to start a constructive conversation with them
  163. about what steps to take next. For example, the Commission has asked
  164. us to provide input to the next version of its “open source
  165. strategy”.</p>
  166. <p>The router that connects your home to the Internet should be under
  167. your control. That's why we have followed developments on the issue
  168. of <em>compulsory routers</em>. We have published position papers,
  169. and documented
  170. both <a href="https://fsfe.org/activities/routers/routers.html">the
  171. arguments</a> and
  172. the <a href="https://fsfe.org/activities/routers/timeline.html">process</a>
  173. in German, English, and Dutch. We supported other organisations with
  174. arguments and technical expertise, such as the Federation of German
  175. Consumer Organisations. Germany's ministry of economics is currently
  176. working on a draft law to enable free router choice for consumers,
  177. and prohibit compulsory routers.</p>
  178. <h2 id="our-free-software-legal-work">Our Free Software legal
  179. work</h2>
  180. <p>Freedom faces many challenges. FSFE builds networks among the
  181. people who can do most to break down the barriers on the way to a
  182. free society.</p>
  183. <p>We facilitate the world's largest network of legal experts on Free
  184. Software, with currently more than 360 members (up from 320 last
  185. year). Participating experts come from a wide range of backgrounds,
  186. from corporate legal departments to lawyers in private practice, and
  187. engineers with legal skills. The network serves to develop and
  188. spread best practices around Free Software, and increase
  189. acceptance. Several participants have called the network's annual
  190. meeting, the Free Software Legal &amp; Licensing Workshop, the best
  191. event of its kind in the world.</p>
  192. <div class="captioned">
  193. <img src="graphics/ThereIsNoCloud.jpg"/>
  194. <p>Our favourite sticker this year.</p>
  195. </div>
  196. <p>This year, we
  197. also <a href="https://fsfe.org/news/2014/news-20140314-01.en.html">launched</a>
  198. the Asian Legal Network as a discussion forum specifically targeted
  199. at the companies in that region, which make most of the world's
  200. computing hardware and embedded devices. Run jointly with the Open
  201. Invention Network and the Linux Foundation, this group is intended
  202. to help those companies join the global conversation on Free
  203. Software best practices, and assist them in improving license
  204. compliance.</p>
  205. <p>FSFE's <a href="http://fsfe.org/activities/ftf/ftf.en.html">legal
  206. team</a> again handled several dozen inquiries from developers and
  207. companies about copyright, licensing, trademarks, patents, and many
  208. other aspects of Free Software. Our legal coordinator Matija Šuklje
  209. also answered lots of in-person questions at conferences and events,
  210. as well as at Ljubljana's CyberPipe hackerspace, where he works one
  211. day a week.</p>
  212. <h2 id="making-fsfe-better">Making FSFE better</h2>
  213. <p>This year, we set aside some time to review FSFE's goals, and the
  214. ways in which we pursue them. We conducted a stakeholder survey to
  215. learn more about the people who take an interest in FSFE, talked to
  216. many of our friends and allies in person about FSFE's work and
  217. direction, and reviewed our activities.</p>
  218. <p>With a small group of internal and external experts, we hammered
  219. out a better way to explain FSFE's purpose that concisely reflects
  220. the direction we want the organisation to take for the coming
  221. years. This was an intense and highly productive internal
  222. process. The results will become visible over time, as FSFE's edge
  223. grows sharper, and we become more effective than we already are.</p>
  224. <h2 id="fsfes-finances">FSFE's finances</h2>
  225. <p>This section is based on our financial results at the end of Q3
  226. 2014. FSFE's information for previous financial years
  227. is <a href="https://fsfe.org/about/funds/index.en.html">available
  228. online</a>. We will post the final numbers for 2014 as soon as
  229. they become available.</p>
  230. <h3 id="where-fsfes-funds-come-from">Where FSFE's funds come from</h3>
  231. <p>FSFE has an annual budget of roughly 400,000 Euro. 35% of this is
  232. covered by Fellowship contributions. 25% is covered by sponsoring
  233. for specific activities (mostly the
  234. annual <a href="http://fsfe.org/activities/ftf/legal-conference.html">Free
  235. Software Legal &amp; Licensing Workshop</a>,
  236. and <a href="http://documentfreedom.org">Document Freedom
  237. Day</a>). 20% comes from three big donors (Google, Linuxhotel and
  238. Red Hat), and 15% from smaller corporate or private donations
  239. (see <a href="https://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.html">our list of
  240. donors</a>. The rest comes from sources such as merchandise sales,
  241. speaker fees and so on.</p>
  242. <p>75% of FSFE's income is unrestricted, while 25% are tied to
  243. specific purposes -- mostly the sponsoring mentioned above.</p>
  244. <div class="captioned">
  245. <img src="graphics/rmll-fsfe-2014.jpg"/>
  246. <p>FSFE's booth at <a href="https://2014.rmll.info/">RMLL 2014</a>.</p>
  247. </div>
  248. <p>In sum, roughly half of FSFE's funds come from a limited number of
  249. large <a href="https://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.html">donors</a>
  250. and sponsors (and let's not forget
  251. our <a href="https://fsfe.org/donate/hardware.html">hardware
  252. donors</a>). The other half comes from countless small
  253. contributions from individuals and companies, in particular through
  254. the Fellowship. Fellowship contributions have shown reliable and
  255. constant growth, increasing by 164% since 2010. This is great, since
  256. they are the bedrock of FSFE's financial independence. In effect,
  257. they put us in the wonderful position to pursue our work for freedom
  258. without being worrying whether our initiatives might annoy our large
  259. donors.</p>
  260. <h3 id="how-we-spend-the-money">How we spend the money</h3>
  261. <p>This section is based on
  262. our <a href="https://fsfe.org/about/funds/2013.en.html">financial
  263. results for 2013</a>. We will publish the figures for 2014 as soon
  264. as they become available; the distribution of costs across different
  265. categories is going to be similar to the 2013 results.</p>
  266. <p>Across nearly all categories, our largest cost factor are staff
  267. salaries. We have a great team of experienced and dedicated people,
  268. and by paying them a living wage, we make it possible for them to
  269. dedicate their working time to Free Software.</p>
  270. <p>The largest cost center is public awareness, where we spent 30% of
  271. our funds in 2013. Most of this went into staff salaries for
  272. campaigns and general public awareness work. The rest paid for
  273. FSFE's participation in events (mostly travel-related costs) and
  274. informationation materials.</p>
  275. <p>About 22% of our spending went to FSFE's legal work. We used this
  276. to pay the salary of our legal coordinator, and travel to
  277. legal-related events. A large chunk of our spending in this category
  278. went towards organising the annual conference of the Legal Network;
  279. we cover the cost of these events through sponsoring and ticket
  280. sales.</p>
  281. <p>Roughly 13% of our 2013 spending went towards the
  282. Fellowship. Again, most of this was for the salaries of our staff
  283. that support the Fellows in being effective ambassadors for Free
  284. Software. We also organised a meeting of European coordinators that
  285. year (to be repeated in 2015), and made money available for local
  286. activities by Fellowship groups.</p>
  287. <p>Pretty much exactly the same share of spending went to FSFE's
  288. policy work. Here, the cost structure is very simple. Nearly all of
  289. the funds we spend on policy work go towards staff salaries. Most of
  290. the rest serves to cover travel costs for policy work, with Brussels
  291. as the most frequent destination.</p>
  292. <p>About two percent of our costs in 2013 were for merchandise,
  293. covering mostly production (buying) costs and staff time. Of course,
  294. these costs were more than covered by the money we made selling said
  295. merchandise.</p>
  296. <p>About 20% of our costs (19.2% in 2013, to be exact) are overhead
  297. spending, covering personnel costs for management and
  298. administration, team meetings (we are a pretty distributed
  299. organisation), rent for office space, phone bills, and so
  300. forth. We're trying hard to keep the overhead rate low; but there's
  301. no escaping the fact that an organisation like FSFE needs some level
  302. of management and coordination in order to remain effective.</p>
  303. <h2 id="whats-ahead-in-2015">What's ahead in 2015</h2>
  304. <p>During the coming months, the new <em>European Commission</em> will
  305. set the direction of its work for the next five years. During the
  306. past year, we have built a number of high-level connections in the
  307. Commission and the Parliament, and we are itching to leverage
  308. these. In addition, we are currently receiving numerous inquiries
  309. from Commission staff with whom we have built long-standing
  310. relationships, and who currently see open doors for Free Software in
  311. Brussels.</p>
  312. <p>It is important that we can intensify our work as soon as possible,
  313. and take advantage of this opportunity to improve the situation for
  314. Free Software and Open Standards at the EU level. Software
  315. procurement, standardisation, patents, and device sovereignty are
  316. core topics for our policy work.</p>
  317. <p>We want to <em>reach more people</em>, and go to more places where
  318. people do not yet know about Free Software. This is why we will
  319. further strengthen FSFE's network of local volunteers and Fellowship
  320. groups. In 2015, we plan to be present at street festivals and other
  321. events where until now, nobody has been promoting Free Software. We
  322. have greatly improved our leaflets, stickers, and other printed
  323. information materials over the past year. Now we will translate it
  324. into more languages, and expand its distribution libraries, cinemas,
  325. shops, and other places.</p>
  326. <p>In the long run, we want to make sure that anyone who hears about
  327. Free Software in Europe can easily find a knowledgeable person close
  328. to them to help them along their path. That's why we will focus
  329. on <em>supporting local activities</em> in various ways. We're
  330. preparing a workshop for the European coordinators of FSFE's
  331. volunteer teams, in order to help them and their teams become more
  332. effective activists. We will enable activists to visit Fellowship
  333. groups in other places, teach their skills, and share their
  334. experiences. And we will make our promotion materials available in
  335. even more languages.</p>
  336. <p>As we prepare to take on these challenges, we are grateful for the
  337. huge support we are experiencing, and for our Fellows' unrelenting passion for freedom!</p>
  338. <p>Sincerely,<br />
  339. Karsten Gerloff <br />
  340. President, Free Software Foundation Europe
  341. </p>
  342. </body>
  343. <tags>
  344. <tag>Report</tag>
  345. <tag>front-page</tag>
  346. </tags>
  347. <author id="gerloff" />
  348. </html>