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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html newsdate="2010-07-04" type="newsletter">
  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title>FSFE Newsletter - July 2010</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>FSFE Newsletter - July 2010</h1>
  9. <p>This edition covers Neelie Kroes' statement about Open
  10. Standards, the Free Software discussion in Saxony (Germany), and the
  11. relicensing of WebM to be GPL compatible, and asks you all to keep in touch
  12. with your politicians about Free Software issues.</p>
  13. <p>Beside that, FSFE's strategic decision making body, the <a
  14. href="/about/team.html">General Assembly</a> (GA) ,
  15. met in Bozen, Italy. The various outcomes of this meeting will become
  16. apparent in the next months and years. On the operational side we organised
  17. <a href="">Fellowship meetings</a> in
  18. Tampere (Finland), Göteburg (Sweden), Paris, Lille (France), Berlin,
  19. Düsseldorf, Siegen, (Germany), as well as a Fellowship jabber meeting about
  20. ACTA. Stian published a new <a
  21. href="">Fellowship
  22. interview with David Reyes Samblas Martinez</a>, in which he answers
  23. questions on hardware manufacturing, e-learning and Free Software
  24. politics.</p>
  25. <h2>"Proprietary technology is a waste of money"</h2>
  26. <p>No, this is not a quote from someone out of the Free Software community.
  27. As <a href="">Karsten reported in his
  28. article</a> it was Neelie Kroes, European Commission’s vice president, who
  29. commented at the Open Forum Europe (OFE) meeting in Brussels on 10 June. She
  30. also said that:</p>
  31. <blockquote><p>"Many authorities have found themselves unintentionally locked
  32. into proprietary technology for decades. After a certain point that
  33. original choice becomes so ingrained that alternatives risk being
  34. systematically ignored, no matter what the potential benefits. This is a
  35. waste of public money that most public bodies can no longer
  36. afford."</p></blockquote>
  37. <p>Kroes also backed up <a
  38. href="/activities/os/def.html">our definition of Open
  39. Standards</a>. She made clear that "truly open" standards "do not come with
  40. any constraints for implementers". This is important as it means that
  41. programmers can implement a standard in Free Software; Microsoft and others
  42. have been trying to convince the Commission that a standard is "open" even if
  43. it cannot be implemented in Free Software. These developments are good news -
  44. please share them!</p>
  45. <h2>"Free" State of Saxony argues against Free Software</h2>
  46. <p>Already in May German politicians had a discussion about Free Software in
  47. the Free State of Saxony's state parliament. I (Matthias) published an <a
  48. href="">analysis about this
  49. discussion</a> (in German). The state government talks about strategic
  50. reasons against Free Software, but does not name any of them. The CDU and the
  51. FDP say they do not want to influence the market. On the other hand the state
  52. government educates all their pupils with software from a monopolist and
  53. advertises Adobe's proprietary software on their websites. In their tenders
  54. they do not ask for Free Software, but complain that there are too few Free
  55. Software service providers and programs. Beside that they use the term
  56. "market standards" against Free Software.</p>
  57. <p>That such discussions happen in parliament are a very good sign. They mean
  58. that politicians have to think about Free Software, and that we can all enter
  59. discussion with politicians about Free Software, too. That is why we asked
  60. people from Saxony to send their politicians feedback on the discussion, and
  61. to write them what they liked about the discussion and ask questions like
  62. ‘when politicians talk about strategic reasons against Free Software, what
  63. are these reasons?’. The speech by Neelie Kroes quoted above is also
  64. something that you can point politicians to.</p>
  65. <h2>Free Video Formats / Software licenses</h2>
  66. <p>In May, Google <a
  67. href="">Updated
  68. the license for their WebM project</a> to make it GPL-compatible. As
  69. explained <a href="/news/nl/nl-201006.en.html">in the last
  70. issue</a> WebM is important so users do not have to install the non-free
  71. flash plugins anymore, but have a free video format to play and encode
  72. videos.</p>
  73. <p>WebM was already Free Software, as the rightsholders stated in the licence
  74. that users have the freedom to use, study, share, and improve it. The problem
  75. was that its license was not compatible with the <a
  76. href="">GNU General Public
  77. License (GPL)</a>.</p>
  78. <p>There are <a href="">a lot of Free
  79. Software licenses</a>, but the GNU GPL is the most famous Free Software
  80. copyleft license and is used by a large percentage of Free Software. It
  81. ensures the four freedoms and adds the condition that those freedoms remain
  82. intact in further distribution of the software.</p>
  83. <p>If people use the same licence or at least GPL-compatible licences, then
  84. programmers can exchange code freely, and easily, so programmers do not have
  85. to reinvent the wheel again but can use already existing code. That is why it
  86. is so important that programmers use the <a
  87. href="">GNU AGPL</a>, GPL, <a
  88. href="">LGPL</a>, or a compatible Free
  89. Software license for their software. There is also an article by David
  90. Wheeler which is worth reading, <a
  91. href="">why you should
  92. make your software GPL compatible</a>, like WebM does now.</p>
  93. <h2>Get active: Support us gathering speeches about Free Software</h2>
  94. <p>Our mission is to explain the concept of Free Software to as many people as
  95. possible. This month the German team had a booth at the GNU/Linuxtag in
  96. Berlin and explained Free Software to all the different visitors, gave
  97. interviews and speeches about "Freedom in the cloud" and common
  98. misunderstandings about Free Software. Depending on the audience you should
  99. use slightly modified explanations. To support Free Software supporters, we
  100. are providing links to <a href="">video</a> and <a
  101. href="">audio</a> files, as well as <a
  102. href="">transcripts of speeches</a>.</p>
  103. <p><a href="">As Fellow</a> you automatically have an
  104. account there, but you can just <a
  105. href="">register for a
  106. guest account</a> and help us to make those pages a good resource for
  107. people who want to learn from others how to best explain the benefits of
  108. software freedom.</p>
  109. <p>Regards,<br /> <a href="/about/people/kirschner/kirschner.html">Matthias Kirschner</a>- FSFE</p>
  110. <p>-- <br />
  111. <a href="/index.html">Free Software Foundation Europe</a><br />
  112. <a href="/news/news.rss">FSFE News</a><br />
  113. <a href="/events/events.rss">Upcoming FSFE Events</a><br />
  114. <a href="">Fellowship Blog Aggregation</a><br />
  115. <a href="/contact/community.html">Free Software Discussions</a> </p>
  116. </body>
  117. <tags>
  118. <tag key="newsletter"/>
  119. <tag key="matthias-kirschner"/>
  120. <tag key="gpl">GNU GPL</tag>
  121. <tag key="licensing"/>
  122. <tag key="europeancommission"/>
  123. <tag key="openforumeurope">Open Forum Europe</tag>
  124. <tag key="webmasters"/>
  125. </tags>
  126. </html>
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