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<title>FSFE Newsletter - May 2011</title>
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<h1>FSFE Newsletter - May 2011</h1>
<h2>Competition authorities: Free Software protects competition</h2>
<p>882 software patents, likely related to GNU/Linux, in the
hands of people who could use them to pressure Free Software companies and
developers? Maybe in the hands of Microsoft, which has for years used nebulous
patent claims to extract licensing fees from companies that use the Linux
kernel in their products. This month the German and the US competition
authorities approved the sale of those patents to CPTN, a consortium consisting
of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and EMC. But, barring nasty surprises in the still
to be published detailed decision, we neutralised the danger for Free
Software.</p>
<p>Software patents are a very complex matter, and competition authorities are
not used dealing with them. So beginning from December 2010 we explained
to the German competition authorities why the patent sale was highly problematic.
In our <a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20101222.html">first</a>, and <a
href="/activities/swpat/letter-20110406.html">second</a> submission we
explained the mechanics that some companies use to compete in the software
market, and how they preserve their monopolies. </p>
<p>In their press release the authorities have not only highlighted the
importance of Free Software for competition, and that actual patent lawsuits
are anticompetitive but also that threatening with patent lawsuits, like the
fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) strategies from some non-free software
companies, can be anticompetitive.</p>
<p>So for the first time, competition authorities have acknowledged the
essential part of Free Software for competition, and that patent lawsuits by
dominant market participants can be anticompetitive. This will also be
important for future debates, when the behaviour of big non-free software
companies has to be evaluated from a competition law perspective.</p>
<p>As the devil is in the details, we hope to hear about the exact wording of
the CPTN contracts <a href="/activities/swpat/novell-cptn.html">to evaluate
them</a>. Such work is very time consuming, and we would not be able to keep
track of those activities, without the support of <a
href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">one time donations</a> and regular ones by <a
href="/join.html">our Fellows</a>.</p>
<h2>Mission is possible</h2>
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<p>To date, 17 percent of the public institutions, <a
href="/activities/pdfreaders/pdfreaders.html">we contacted</a>, already
replied and removed the non-free PDF reader advertisements from their websites.
The current progress of the campaign can be seen on <a
href="/activities/pdfreaders/buglist.html">our buglist</a>. Until now we have
only received one negative reply. However, as about 83 percent of the contacted
institutions have not responded yet, we want to remind them about the letter we
have sent, and ask for a reply. This works only with your help. To take part,
follow the actions from our <a
href="/activities/pdfreaders/follow-up.html">follow-up guide</a>. In short
this is:</p>
<ul>
<li>have a look at organisations in your country which appear as not having
answered yet,</li>
<li>contact and remind them of FSFE's letter on inadmissibility of advertising
of proprietary software by public institutions, and</li>
<li>ask them to remove the proprietary software advertising from their
websites.</li>
</ul>
<p>If you discover non-free PDF reader advertisement, and is not on our list,
you are encouraged to contact them on your own. For public institutions use a
modified version of <a href="/activities/pdfreaders/letter.html">our
letter</a>, for companies and non-profits we are working on a template, after
volunteers have convinced organisations like <a
href="http://www.greenpeace.de/themen/energie/nachrichten/artikel/deutschlands_energieriesen_zu_05_prozent_nachhaltig/">Greenpeace
Germany</a> to link to pdfreaders.org instead.</p>
<h2>Something completely different</h2>
<ul>
<li>Data stored per-user, and under the user's control. That is the aim of
the unhosted web. This project is covered by this month <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/fellowship-interviews/?p=299">Fellowship
interview with Michiel de Jong</a>. If you want to discuss this in person
with Michiel, he will help as one of our booth volunteers for one day during
<a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/FellowshipEvents/Linuxtag%20berlin">Berlin's
Linuxtag</a>. </li>
<li>Free Software for the public sector: We have provided input for the
European Commission <a href="/news/2011/news-20110418-01.html">on modernising
the way in which public bodies buy software</a> and related services.</li>
<li>At the moment fellows are starting new <a
href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/groups/">Fellowship groups</a> in <a
href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/groups/Augsburg">Augsburg</a> (Germany) and <a
href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/groups/Manchester">Manchester</a> (UK). For the
Manchester group our British coordinator Sam Tuke created a good
presentation template about the Fellowship which is now linked from the
<a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/MeetingHowTo#General">meeting howto</a>.</li>
<li>Noteworthy articles from the <a href="https://planet.fsfe.org">Fellowship
planet</a> include:</li>
<ul>
<li>Timo Jyrinki's article about his <a href="
http://losca.blogspot.com/2011/04/tuning-old-but-free-phone-video-now.html">
presentation of "tuning an old but free phone"</a> with corresponding
videos from <a href="http://www.fscons.org">FSCONS</a>, </li>
<li>Carlo Piana's article <a href="http://piana.eu/it/node/265">"Doors
opened at Openoffice"</a> about Oracle's announcement that they want to
make OpenOffice.org a community developed project,</li>
<li>and Lena Simon's article <a
href="http://www.stud.uni-potsdam.de/~leena/2011/04/alte-mythen-in-der-digitalen-gesellschaft/">about
the old myths in a digital society</a> (German) which also covers some
issues we have to explain often. </li>
</ul>
<li>Groklaw's well deserved pension. Groklaw is shutting down and <a
href="http://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/farewell-groklaw-and-thanks">like
our sister organisation</a> we would like to thank them for their good
work.</li>
<li>Free Software licensing, Free Software business, software patents, and
other topics from a legal point of view are covered in Matija's Free Software
and law related links. Editions are available for <a
href="http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/239">29.03.-17.04.</a>, <a
href="http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/241">18.04.-24.04.</a>, and
<a href="http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/244">25.04.-29.04.</a>. </li>
</ul>
<h2>Get Active - Internships at FSFE</h2>
<p>We are looking for smart, motivated interns to join <a
href="/about/team.html">our team</a>. Apply for an <a
href="/about/jobs/internship.html">internship position</a> yourself, or
distribute the information about it. We offer:</p>
<ul>
<li>a challenging and exciting time with a dynamic NPO working internationally,</li>
<li>a close-up view of organisational and community processes, </li>
<li>a chance to take the initiative and put your ideas into practice, and</li>
<li>the opportunity to meet and work with Free Software advocates across Europe.</li>
</ul>
<p>Beside the current interns <a href="">Natalia Evdokimova</a>, and
Nicolas Jean, past interns include our
Italian coordinator <a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/poderi/">Giacomo Poderi</a>,
Fellowship representative <a href="/about/people/roy/roy.html">Hugo Roy</a>, our
president <a href="/about/people/gerloff/gerloff.html">Karsten Gerloff</a>, UK
coordinator <a href="/about/tuke/tuke.html">Sam Tuke</a>, Swedish team member
<a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/julipan/">Stian
Rødven Eide</a>, education team coordinator <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/riepernet/">Thomas Jensch</a>, and <a
href="/about/people/kirschner/kirschner.html">your editor</a>, who was FSFE's first
intern. So as you can see, the internship is a good start to get more involved
in FSFE.</p>
<p>Regards,<br/>
<a href="/about/people/kirschner">Matthias Kirschner </a> - <a href="/">FSFE</a></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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