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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2016-02-24">
<title>FSFE's work in 2015</title>
<body microformats="h-entry">
<h1 class="p-name">FSFE's work in 2015</h1>
From teaching people to use encryption for their e-mail, to changing
the direction of policy on a European level, the Free Software
Foundation Europe worked hard in 2015 to empower users to control
technology. With welcome help from our donors and contributors, we
set out with ambitious goals for the year. We saw a lot of
improvements in how we work, and we ended the year positively with a
lot to look forward to in 2016. Please enjoy this story of (some!) of
our work over the year, and thank you for helping us make the world a
better place!</p>
<blockquote><p>Free software and FSFE is to me: sharing, learning,
being independent of monopolies, producing things together, passion
and freedom! Since I've been a Fellow, I am finding new friends who
help me in Free Software and other topics, teaching new things every
day even though we are kilometres away. It is magnificent to be in a
community that continually supports my Free Software passion and motivation!
<cite>Nermin Canik</cite></blockquote>
<div id="toc">
<li><a href="#telling-the-world-about-free-software">Telling the world about Free Software</a></li>
<li><a href="#changing-the-rules">Changing the rules</a></li>
<li><a href="#our-free-software-legal-work">Our Free Software legal work</a></li>
<li><a href="#fsfes-finances">FSFE's finances</a></li>
<li><a href="#where-fsfes-funds-come-from">Where FSFE's funds come from</a></li>
<li><a href="#how-we-spend-the-money">How we spend the money</a></li>
<li><a href="#whats-ahead-in-2016">What's ahead in 2016</a></li>
<h2 id="telling-the-world-about-free-software">Telling the world about
Free Software</h2>
<p>We want to help individuals and organisations to understand how Free
Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
One of the ways to do this is through participation at local and
regional events around Europe, often organised or supported by our
local Fellows and teams. In 2015, we had booths at many events
including FOSDEM (Belgium), T-Dose (Netherlands), FiFFkon (Germany),
RMLL/LSM (France), Veganmania (Austria), Euskal Encounter (Spain),
32C3 (Germany), Linuxtage (Austria), Chaos Cologne Conference
(Germany), Linuxwochen (Austria), FrOSCon (Germany), DebConf (Germany)
and OpenTech Summit (Germany).
<div class="captioned">
<img src="graphics/v2015martin.jpg"/>
<p>The FSFE's Fellowship group in Vienna exhibiting at Veganmania.</p>
<p>Our Fellowship group Rhein/Main also
presented Free Software and the FSFE with a booth at an event
organised by the Green Party Hesse. Thanks to our local fellows,
information about Free Software also reached many at conferences where
we did not have any formal presence with a booth. Furthermore we gave
talks and presentations at many more conferences and events.</p>
<p>We increased translations of our information materials. Our flyer
about Free Software-based encryption technologies was printed in no
less than nine different languages (German, Greek, English, Spanish,
French, Dutch, Polish, Albanian and Turkish) and was offered for
download in a further two (Chinese and Italian). You can help us
distribute those leaflets and others by <a
href="/promo">ordering them on our website</a>. Aside
from our flyers, our monthly newsletter was also prepared and sent out
on average in seven different languages.</p>
<div class="captioned">
<img src="/contribute/promopics/fdroid-flyer_thumb.png"/>
<p>One of the flyers we use to <a
href="/contribute/spreadtheword.html">spread the
word</a> about Free Software.</p>
<p>The <a href="/news/2015/news-20150303-01.html">fifth
I Love Free Software Day</a> was another
successful appreciation day, not only for the FSFE, but for Free
Software contributors everywhere. Individual Free Software fans from
all over the world spread loving messages online through thank-you
letters and poems, as well as sharing pictures and collecting
donations to support Free Software groups. Organisations like the EFF,
the Document Foundation, Wikimedia, Framasoft and the German Green
Party participated in this global celebration.</p>
<div class="captioned">
<img src="/activities/ilovefs/whylovefs/photos/gallery/ilovefs-gallery-thumb-25.jpg"/>
<p>Cryptie expressing her love for Chatsecure during I Love Free
Software Day.</p>
<h2 id="changing-the-rules">Changing the rules</h2>
<p>FSFE wants to enhance users' rights by abolishing barriers to Free
Software adoption. Following our <a
goals for the period of 2014-2019</a>
we are involved in the policy work on both national and the EU
In the end of 2014, <a
href="https://download.fsfe.org/policy/letters/20141215.FSFE.EC_OSS_Strategy-input.pdf">FSFE provided input to the European Commission's (EC) internal strategy for the use of Free Software</a>.
In April 2015, the European Commission published a new version of
their <a
href="http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/informatics/oss_tech/strategy/strategy_en.htm">"Open Source
which included several improvements in comparison to its former
version. For example, it included a more determined attitude to Free
Software and a clearer approach to Open Standards which include
promotion of the use of products supporting open technical
specifications which can be freely adopted, implemented and
<p>FSFE also replied to the European Commission's public consultation on
patents and standards in February 2015, and on public procurement and
respect for intellectual property rights in July 2015.</p>
<div class="captioned">
<img src="graphics/dfd-venezuela-merida-05.jpg"/>
<p>Part of the Document Freedom Day team in Mérida, Venezuela.
<i>Licensed under a <a
href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License</a></i>.
<p>In March 2015, as a part of Document Freedom Day 2015,
<a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2015/03/26/909/">FSFE together
with Greens/EFA,  organised the seminar presenting the study “Ensuring
utmost transparency - Free Software and Open Standards under the Rules
of Procedure of the European
Parliament”</a>, to
reinstate the importance of Free Software and Open Standards for
transparency within the EU. The participation in such events is
intended to raise awareness amongst EU officials about Free Software
and Open Standards and their reliance on  proprietary document
formats. Awareness of vendor lock-in in the EU institutions is
slowly growing, but the concrete steps to overcome this problem are
absent. However participation in such events was a good opportunity
to reinstate our main position amongst EU officials themselves and who
will, in the end, make the relevant decisions.</p>
<p>With several other organisations such as April, EDRi, OFE, and OSB
Alliance, we at the same time issued
<a href="/news/2015/news-20150325-01.html">a joint
statement to call on the European Commission to ensure all interactions
with the public can be performed entirely using Open Standards</a>.
This addressed the current alarming situation of EU institutions imposing
proprietary software from particular vendors onto citizens in order to
effectively communicate with them. </p>
<p>In this light 2015 was also the year when we closed our six-year-long
<a href="/activities/pdfreaders/pdfreaders.html">PDFreaders
campaign after convincing 1125 public administrations to
remove advertisement for proprietary software from their
websites</a>. It is one of our the most successful campaigns to
date and we are happy to see the public sector moving to the right
direction of not forcing visitors of their website to use proprietary
sofware. Despite this, more work needs to be conducted in order to
bring and uphold the necessary change. </p>
<p>To further strengthen users' rights, together with many other
organisations we issued a statement in May 2015 asking the European
Commission to put in place safeguards allowing anyone the
<a href="/news/2015/news-20150506-01.html">right to
tinker</a> with
their own devices. In a similar way, during 2015, we also helped end
compulsory routers in Germany with a law which ensures users have the
freedom to choose their own Free Software router. This should set an
example across Europe, and we support similar legislation wherever
<div class="captioned">
<img src="graphics/router.jpg"/>
<p>One of the routers worked on as part of our campaign on compulsory
routers. <i>Image by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid. Licensed under a <a
href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 License</a></i>.
<p>Since May 2015,  European policy is heavily focused on the <b>Digital
Single Market strategy (DSM)</b> which involves several important
political and legislative changes in the areas important to our policy
work, in order to ensure  "efficiency, trust and security in digital
services" in the EU.
<a href="https://download.fsfe.org/policy/letters/20151029-fsfe-dsm-comments.pdf">Our evaluation of the Digital Single Market
Strategy for the European Commission</a>
was well received and we expect the Commission to follow our
recommendations while pursuing the legislative initiatives within
DSM. </p>
<p>We also closely followed the own-initiative report of the European
Parliament "Towards a digital single market" which was based on the
Commission's Digital Single Market strategy. We informed members of
the European Parliament about existing problems for Free Software in
standardisation, and proposed possible solutions according to our
evaluation of the DSM. The final adopted version of the Report
included several positive references to Free Software and we were
happy to see the Parliament supporting our points to increase the use
of Free Software in public sector.</p>
<p>Another important area for Free Software has been the on-going
<b>copyright reform in the EU</b>. Throghout 2015, we evaluated the
European Parliament's own-iniative report on on the implementation of
Directive 2001/29/EC (InfoSoc Directive) both on
<a href="/news/2015/news-20150605-02.html">the draft report</a>
and then on <a
final adopted version</a>.
The final version included a few positive improvements for Free
Software, e.g. better protection for public domain and explicit
protection of private copying against technological measures. We hope
in 2016 the European Commission will take Parliament's
non-binding recommendations into consideration and use the opportunity
to adapt copyright law to the needs of digital environment.</p>
<h2 id="our-free-software-legal-work">Our Free Software legal
<p>One of FSFE's biggest networks we facilitate is our legal
network, which in 2015 grew to more than 380 members, both legal
professionals and technologists with deep knowledge and understanding
of free software licensing. The legal network is unique in that it's
not built on representation from businesses or organisations, but on
individuals and trust between the individuals and our legal team, a
format we're actively looking to replicate in other areas, to
similarly advance the dialogue and understanding of free software.</p>
<p>Our legal team continued to answer legal enquiries throughout the
year, primarily from members of the Free Software community, and
organised our network's annual Legal &amp; Licensing Workshop again. In
the end of 2015, the special interest group (SIG) focusing on
trademarks in Free Software released a
<a href="http://fossmarks.org/">A practical guide to understanding
trademarks in the context of Free and Open Source Software
projects</a>. It's been encouraging for
us to see over the year individuals coming into the network and
learning about the benefit of copyleft and how both businesses and
other organisations work successfully with copyleft and free software
in general in their work.</p>
<p>In the beginning of 2015, a part of our work also focused on Bacula,
for which the FSFE held rights due to its use of our Fiduciary License
Agreement (FLA). FSFE's main interest has been on keeping Bacula Free
Software. With this in mind we agreed to conditionally retransfer
some of the rights held by FSFE and in a
<a href="/news/2015/news-20150817-01.html">new
agreement</a> between Kern Sibbald, Bacula Systems and FSFE, we agreed the
Bacula Community edition should continue to be released as Free
Software, and the FSFE will have the right to take back the
exclusive right to the code in question this should ever change.</p>
<h2 id="fsfes-finances">FSFE's finances</h2>
<p>With an annual budget of now over €400,000 per year, which is close
to four times as much as we had the same time ten years ago. The
organisation, as well as its financial resources, continue to grow,
mostly due to a continuous increase in individual donors and our
sustaining members, the Fellows.</p>
<h3 id="where-fsfes-funds-come-from">Where FSFE's funds come from</h3>
In 2015, the FSFE received €441,963 in income. About 40% of this is
from Fellowship contributions (up from 35% in 2014) and a further 35%
in unrestricted donations (meaning this money isn't connected to
any one specific activity we do). 18% of our income came from sponsors
of specific activities (the Free Software Legal &amp; Licensing Workshop,
and Document Freedom Day) and 7% from sale of merchandise at booths
and through our web orders.
The FSFE <a
href="/about/transparency-commitment.html">has a transparency
commitment</a> to
list our donors which contribute more than 10% of our annual budget.
For 2015, our only donor contributing more than this was Google, with
a donation representing 14% of the annual income for the
<p>82% of FSFE's income is unrestricted, while 18% are tied to specific
purposes -- mostly the sponsoring mentioned above. The Fellowship
contributions continue to be important for our work and we see a
gradual shift towards an increase of Fellowship contributions (up by
9% from 2014 to 2015, and an average per donation of 124€ to 126€)
which are the bedrock of FSFE's financial independence.</p>
<h3 id="how-we-spend-the-money">How we spend the money</h3>
<p>No matter how you look at the money the organisation spend, the
largest amount of it will be staff salaries, including funding for
trainees and interns which work for a few months upwards of a year
with the FSFE to learn about Free Software and contribute to our work.
The FSFE's team of experienced and dedicated staff contribute greatly
to the success of the organisation, and also contribute to
facilitating the volunteer work hundreds of our Fellows and
community members engage in. The total spending in 2015 amounted to
€431,216 whereof 63% was spend on personnel costs.</p>
<p>Of the other cost centres, we spent 15% on administration (office
costs, internal coordination, technical infrastructure, bank fees, and
everything we need to keep the organisation running and
fulfilling its legal obligations).</p>
<p>If looking at our policy, public awareness, legal work and merchandise
(purchase and shipping), the distribution between them was with 48% of
the funding going to legal work, 28% on public awareness, 24% on
merchandise and almost no money on policy! The latter is due to most
of our costs for working on policy come from staff time, not on travel
or materials needing to be produced. It was slightly higher in 2014,
but overall, our investment in policy is an investment in staff
<p>Regarding staff time, the highest portion of our work time goes to
public awareness (32% of working time across the organisation). A
further 24% is spent on legal work, 10% on policy work and 3% on
merchandise. The remaining 31% is administrative work, which include
everything from internal administration and meetings to reading and
responding to emails and is the number most difficult to
measure, since a large part of what can be seen as
administrative (reading and writing emails) can also be seen as
supporting one of our other work areas, such as public awareness.</p>
<h2 id="whats-ahead-in-2016">What's ahead in 2016</h2>
<p>For 2016, our focus is on pushing our demand for <b>all publicly funded
software to be published as Free Software</b>, and for <b>everyone's
right to experiment with their own hard- and software</b>. We will also
work to provide training for our volunteers and initiate coordination
between Free Software groups active on policy issues in the EU. It's
an exciting year ahead for Free Software, and we hope that you will
<a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">join
us</a> on the way!</p>
<p>Sincerely,<br />
Jonas Öberg<br />
Executive Director
Matthias Kirschner<br />
<tag key="annual-report"/>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<author id="oberg" />