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<title>FSFE Newsletter - July 2010</title>
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<body>
<h1>FSFE Newsletter - July 2010</h1>
<p>This edition covers Neelie Kroes' statement about Open
Standards, the Free Software discussion in Saxony (Germany), and the
relicensing of WebM to be GPL compatible, and asks you all to keep in touch
with your politicians about Free Software issues.</p>
<p>Beside that, FSFE's strategic decision making body, the <a
href="/about/team.html">General Assembly</a> (GA) ,
met in Bozen, Italy. The various outcomes of this meeting will become
apparent in the next months and years. On the operational side we organised
<a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/FellowshipEvents">Fellowship meetings</a> in
Tampere (Finland), Göteburg (Sweden), Paris, Lille (France), Berlin,
Düsseldorf, Siegen, (Germany), as well as a Fellowship jabber meeting about
ACTA. Stian published a new <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/fellowship-interviews/david-reyes-samblas-martinez/">Fellowship
interview with David Reyes Samblas Martinez</a>, in which he answers
questions on hardware manufacturing, e-learning and Free Software
politics.</p>
<h2>"Proprietary technology is a waste of money"</h2>
<p>No, this is not a quote from someone out of the Free Software community.
As <a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/?p=359">Karsten reported in his
article</a> it was Neelie Kroes, European Commission’s vice president, who
commented at the Open Forum Europe (OFE) meeting in Brussels on 10 June. She
also said that:</p>
<blockquote><p>"Many authorities have found themselves unintentionally locked
into proprietary technology for decades. After a certain point that
original choice becomes so ingrained that alternatives risk being
systematically ignored, no matter what the potential benefits. This is a
waste of public money that most public bodies can no longer
afford."</p></blockquote>
<p>Kroes also backed up <a
href="/freesoftware/standards/def.html">our definition of Open
Standards</a>. She made clear that "truly open" standards "do not come with
any constraints for implementers". This is important as it means that
programmers can implement a standard in Free Software; Microsoft and others
have been trying to convince the Commission that a standard is "open" even if
it cannot be implemented in Free Software. These developments are good news -
please share them!</p>
<h2>"Free" State of Saxony argues against Free Software</h2>
<p>Already in May German politicians had a discussion about Free Software in
the Free State of Saxony's state parliament. I (Matthias) published an <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/mk/?p=589">analysis about this
discussion</a> (in German). The state government talks about strategic
reasons against Free Software, but does not name any of them. The CDU and the
FDP say they do not want to influence the market. On the other hand the state
government educates all their pupils with software from a monopolist and
advertises Adobe's proprietary software on their websites. In their tenders
they do not ask for Free Software, but complain that there are too few Free
Software service providers and programs. Beside that they use the term
"market standards" against Free Software.</p>
<p>That such discussions happen in parliament are a very good sign. They mean
that politicians have to think about Free Software, and that we can all enter
discussion with politicians about Free Software, too. That is why we asked
people from Saxony to send their politicians feedback on the discussion, and
to write them what they liked about the discussion and ask questions like
‘when politicians talk about strategic reasons against Free Software, what
are these reasons?’. The speech by Neelie Kroes quoted above is also
something that you can point politicians to.</p>
<h2>Free Video Formats / Software licenses</h2>
<p>In May, Google <a
href="http://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/googles-updated-webm-license">Updated
the license for their WebM project</a> to make it GPL-compatible. As
explained <a href="/news/nl/nl-201006.html">in the last
issue</a> WebM is important so users do not have to install the non-free
flash plugins anymore, but have a free video format to play and encode
videos.</p>
<p>WebM was already Free Software, as the rightsholders stated in the licence
that users have the freedom to use, study, share, and improve it. The problem
was that its license was not compatible with the <a
href="http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl.html">GNU General Public
License (GPL)</a>.</p>
<p>There are <a href="http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/">a lot of Free
Software licenses</a>, but the GNU GPL is the most famous Free Software
copyleft license and is used by a large percentage of Free Software. It
ensures the four freedoms and adds the condition that those freedoms remain
intact in further distribution of the software.</p>
<p>If people use the same licence or at least GPL-compatible licences, then
programmers can exchange code freely, and easily, so programmers do not have
to reinvent the wheel again but can use already existing code. That is why it
is so important that programmers use the <a
href="http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl.html">GNU AGPL</a>, GPL, <a
href="http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html">LGPL</a>, or a compatible Free
Software license for their software. There is also an article by David
Wheeler which is worth reading, <a
href="http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html">why you should
make your software GPL compatible</a>, like WebM does now.</p>
<h2>Get active: Support us gathering speeches about Free Software</h2>
<p>Our mission is to explain the concept of Free Software to as many people as
possible. This month the German team had a booth at the GNU/Linuxtag in
Berlin and explained Free Software to all the different visitors, gave
interviews and speeches about "Freedom in the cloud" and common
misunderstandings about Free Software. Depending on the audience you should
use slightly modified explanations. To support Free Software supporters, we
are providing links to <a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/Video">video</a> and <a
href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/Audio">audio</a> files, as well as <a
href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/Transcripts">transcripts of speeches</a>.</p>
<p><a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">As Fellow</a> you automatically have an
account there, but you can just <a
href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/UserGuide?action=newaccount">register for a
guest account</a> and help us to make those pages a good resource for
people who want to learn from others how to best explain the benefits of
software freedom.</p>
<p>Regards,<br /> <a href="/about/people/kirschner/kirschner.html">Matthias Kirschner</a>- FSFE</p>
<p>-- <br />
<a href="/index.html">Free Software Foundation Europe</a><br />
<a href="/news/news.rss">FSFE News</a><br />
<a href="/events/events.rss">Upcoming FSFE Events</a><br />
<a href="https://planet.fsfe.org/en/rss20.xml">Fellowship Blog Aggregation</a><br />
<a href="/contact/community.html">Free Software Discussions</a> </p>
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