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<h1>FSFE Newsletter - October 2010</h1>
<p>In this edition we discuss the misleading term "fair, reasonable
and non-discriminatory terms" (FRAND), we explain what we are doing about centralised
computer systems and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and update you on our
current campaign to end non-free software commercials by public institutions.</p>
<p>FSFE celebrated Software Freedom Day with a variety of local events and activities. We
organised talks and booths in Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg, Cologne, Offenburg (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland),
and The Hague (Netherlands). <a
href="/events/SFD-2010.html">With our activities</a> we
reached new audiences, and explained to them why Free Software will become as
important as freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.</p>
<h2>Why FRAND excludes Free Software</h2>
<p><a href="/news/2010/news-20100907-01.html">We asked
European Free Software businesses</a> to participate in a survey of business
attitudes towards the acceptability of including patents in industry standards.
A major theme in the survey was whether patents that cover standards should be
licensed royalty-free (as W3C recommends), or whether they should
instead be licensed under so-called "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory
terms" (FRAND). </p>
<p>FRAND is a misnomer as the terms are often unfair, unreasonable, and highly
discriminatory, particularly for Free Software. In reality FRAND is only fair
and reasonable to a small circle of the most powerful software companies.</p>
<p>Paying royalties of 0.000001 Cent per copy to implement a standard might look
fair at the first sight, but such a fee would make it impossible to distribute
a program as Free Software. Free Software safeguards the right to share with
others. Therefore,Ya when Free Software companies sell their software they cannot know how
many people will eventually end up using it. It becomes impossible to estimate the
total amount of royalties owed to patent owners; Free
Software businesses will be unable to compete with their proprietary competitors
and Free Software as a whole would be undermined.</p>
<p>We encouraged Free Software companies to respond to this survey, so that their
views were heard and the interests of Free Software were represented in the study's
results. Unfortunately the
implicit assumptions of the survey were biased towards large corporations with
dedicated 'standardisation employees' dedicated to providing detailed information.
We received feedback that it was very
difficult and sometimes impossible for small and medium sized companies to
fill out the questionnaire. We will highlight this fact as well as our general
criticism in the forthcoming process, <a
href="/freesoftware/standards/ps.html">as we have done in the
past</a>.</p>
<h2>Cloudy Internet Governance Forum</h2>
<p>The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a global policy discussion forum of the
United Nations, established as an outcome of the UN World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS). We are constantly following the IGF to ensure that
policy discussions will not endanger digital freedom in general and Free
Software in particular. Karsten attended the Forum in Vilnius,
Lithuania and presented his talk <a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/?p=391">"Data in the
cloud: Where do Open Standards fit in"</a>.</p>
<p>He drew attention to potential solutions to the threats of cloud computing,
including the possibility of users operating their own easy to
administer, always connected servers, which could offer preconfigured web, mail, jabber, and microblogging services. He also discussed YaCy, GNU Social, Angel Applications and other Free
Software programs which present decentralised alternatives to dominant proprietary services.</p>
<p>We are currently working on ways to encourage wider use of applications which
use distributed models, so that control of the software is also distributed
amongst users. As a result we have integrated <a href="http://www.yacy.net">Yacy, the
distributed search engine </a> into our website and are now testing its results.
YaCy's lead developer Michael Christen will be speaking at our track of talks <a
href="/events/fscons-2010.html">'Divide and Reconquer: regaining control of our communications'</a> at FSCONS, which focuses on issues of centralisation of key Internet services.</p>
<h2>Non-free software commercials presented by public institutions</h2>
<p>Each day public institutions advertise non-free software on their websites.
They link to non-free software PDF readers and thereby recommend that their visitors
use non-free software. <a
href="/freesoftware/society/democracy.html">Non-free
software harms our society</a>, and it is particularly inappropriate for public institutions to unnecessarily endorse it. Some public institutions go as far as stating that it is only possible to view their PDF files with the proprietary reader that they recommend, which is simply false. Many <a
href="http://www.pdfreaders.org">Free Software PDF readers</a> exist and provide users with a clear choice over which reader they wish to use.</p>
<p>To raise awareness of this behaviour we started a new PDF readers campaign, and began collecting reports of infringing institutions, and petition signatures agreeing that this practice should be changed. </p>
<p>Adverts for gratis non-free PDF readers readers are nonetheless adverts for non-free software, and because of this we do not include them on pdfreaders.org. Public websites should not list them either as promoting one proprietary reader over another reader gives an unfair advantage, and supports the existence of software monopolies.</p>
<p>Since 13 September, volunteers from all over the world helped us with the
campaign. At the time of writing they submitted over 1369 occurences of
advertisement for 39 countries. 762 individuals, 20 organisations and 21
businesses signed the "Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software
Advertising On Public Websites". Amazingly the campaign website is
available in 10, the petition page in 11, and pdfreaders.org in 18 languages.</p>
<h2>Get active</h2>
<p>This month we ask you to support our PDFreaders campaign:</p>
<ul><li>Find and <a
href="/activities/pdfreaders/pdfreaders.html">report
advertisements for non-free software</a> on websites belonging to public institutions.</li>
<li>Sign our <a href="/activities/pdfreaders/petition.html">Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software Advertising On Public Websites</a>. </li>
<li><a
href="/contribute/translators/translators.html">Translate
the websites about this campaign into your language</a>.</li>
<li>Find out if it is <a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/maelle/?p=60">illegal for the public institutions to give unfair advertising to particular companies in your country</a> and inform us about it.</li>
<li>Find out and inform us how much money it would cost in your country to get an
online advertisement on websites comparable to the public institutions which
contain the advertisement.</li>
<li>Inform others about the campaign and what they can do to help.</li></ul>
<p>Regards,<br /> <a href="/about/people/kirschner/kirschner.html">Matthias
Kirschner</a>- FSFE</p>
<p>-- <br />
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