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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html newsdate="2011-06-04" type="newsletter">
  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title>FSFE Newsletter - June 2011</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>FSFE Newsletter - June 2011</h1>
  9. <h2>The 899 Million question: Microsoft, European Commission, and Free
  10. Software</h2>
  11. <p>What would you do with a monopolist, who uses his dominant position in one
  12. area to create monopolies in other areas as well? The European Commission has
  13. decided in 2004 that Microsoft has to provide competitors with information how
  14. to connect a workgroup server with computers running Microsoft Windows. Since
  15. the main competitor to Microsoft’s workgroup server is the Free Software Samba
  16. project, the Commission made it clear that Microsoft had to release
  17. interoperability information in a way that is compatible with Free Software
  18. licenses like the GNU GPL. The Commission's 2004 decision did not require
  19. Microsoft to publish innovative information, it asked for simple information
  20. how Microsoft computers talk to each other.</p>
  21. <p>But Microsoft played for time, even when the Commission imposed a fine of
  22. two million Euro for every day that Microsoft did not make the required
  23. interoperability information and documentation available in a way that the
  24. Samba team could make use of it. That gave Microsoft three more years to gain
  25. profit from its monopoly position.</p>
  26. <p><a href="/activities/ms-vs-eu/timeline.html">After losing an
  27. appeal in October 2007</a>, Microsoft finally made the required
  28. interoperability information available for a one-time fee of EUR 10,000. This
  29. gives Free Software groups access to Microsoft’s protocol specifications, but
  30. does not give them a license to the patents that Microsoft holds in this area.
  31. Microsoft only offers patent licenses under conditions that are fundamentally
  32. incompatible with the GNU GPL. So the Samba team has a license to use
  33. Microsoft’s protocol specifications, but not its patented technologies. At
  34. least those patents are identified, and the Samba team can work around them
  35. with considerable effort until we fix the problem of software patents as a
  36. whole.</p>
  37. <p>Microsoft appealed the fine. On the 24th of May another hearing took place.
  38. Like in the rest of the process, FSFE was again present, together with the
  39. Samba team, giving crucial input to ensure that Free Software can compete on
  40. market. Karsten Gerloff wrote about the hearing in his blog article <a
  41. href="">"Samba
  42. case hearing: How Microsoft’s gamble backfired"</a>, and you can also read <a
  43. href="">Groklaw
  44. interview with Karsten Gerloff and Carlo Piana</a>. A ruling on the
  45. Microsoft’s appeal is expected in the second half of the year.</p>
  46. <h2>Antifeatures + DRM</h2>
  47. <p>How many times have you been forced to watch those copyright notices at the
  48. beginning of a DVD, without the chance to fast-forward? Or would you miss it,
  49. if no mobile phone would have a SIM lock?</p>
  50. <p>On the 4th of May our American sister organisation organised the "Day
  51. Against DRM". There were several <a
  52. href="">articles,
  53. events, and radio shows about this topic</a>. Your editor was interviewed by
  54. Dradio Wissen on the subject of Antifeatures, which also includes digitial
  55. restriction management (DRM).</p>
  56. <p>An antifeature is a feature, which is implemented by the developer on
  57. purpose, but which user does not want. So, it is not about bugs or missing
  58. functionality, but about functions which the vendor added intentionally to
  59. restrict the user.</p>
  60. <p><a href="">Your editor's interview and
  61. corresponding article</a> explain some examples, like how printer vendors
  62. prevent others from producing printers' cartridges, the sim lock in mobile
  63. phones, the option to get rid of additional software commercials on laptops, or
  64. the copyright notices and the region code for DVDs.</p>
  65. <p>With Free Software adding antifeatures simply isn't lucrative. Every user
  66. has the freedom to change the software and to share those changes with others.
  67. So when one person removes an antifeature, all other users will benefit from
  68. this work. In Free Software new features are implemented either if someone pays
  69. for them, or if someone is convinced that this is an important feature and s/he
  70. has spent spare time on it. Therewith Free Software is more honest and more
  71. transparent towards users.</p>
  72. <p>Benjamin Mako Hill <a
  73. href="">wrote more about
  74. antifeatures</a> and also gave several talks about it, e.g. at <a
  75. href="">Linux Conf
  76. Australia 2010 (Ogg-Theora)</a>, or <a
  77. href="">FrosCon
  78. (Ogg-Theora)</a>.</p>
  79. <h2>Something completely different</h2>
  80. <ul>
  81. <li>As British Telecom plan to roll out new music subscription service to
  82. their 5.5 million broadband customers, <a
  83. href="/activities/os/bt-open-letter.html">our UK Team has asked BT to make
  84. user freedom one of the product's key features.</a></li>
  85. <li>The German Foreign Office is turning away from Free Software, and the
  86. German Government is entangling itself in contradictions. <a
  87. href="/news/2011/news-20110511-01.html">The assessment of our German team
  88. is,</a> that the reaction of the Government to an inquiry by "Bündnis
  89. 90/Grüne" shows that the government either does not understand
  90. important aspects of Free Software or is deliberately offending Free Software
  91. in general as well as Free Software companies in particular. We set up a <a
  92. href="">public comment plattform</a>,
  93. and ask you to participate.</li>
  94. <li>The <a
  95. href="">Free
  96. Software in Education update is out for March/April 2011</a>. Besides,
  97. there is an <a
  98. href="">education
  99. survey in the UK.</a></li>
  100. <li>The German team <a href="/news/2011/news-20110520-01.html">commented the
  101. replies to our question to the political parties in Bremen.</a></li>
  102. <li>From the <a href="">planet aggregation</a>: </li>
  103. <ul>
  104. <li>This month's <a
  105. href="">Fellowship
  106. interview with Florian Effenberger</a>, is out. He was the previous
  107. Marketing Project Lead for and now founding member and part
  108. of the Steering Committee at The Document Foundation.</li>
  109. <li>There are again new issues of Free Software and law related links for
  110. <a href="">30.4.-6.5.</a> <a
  111. href="">7.5.-22.5.</a>, and <a
  112. href="">23.5.-29.5.</a>.</li>
  113. <li>Fellow <a
  114. href="">Jan-Christoph
  115. Borchardt wrote about Free(ing) web games.</a></li>
  116. </ul>
  117. </ul>
  118. <h2>Get active: Translate our Ask your Candidates page</h2>
  119. <p>In the coming month we will do more in our <a
  120. href="/campaigns/askyourcandidates/askyourcandidates.html">"Ask Your Candidates"</a>
  121. activity. You can already help us by translating this page into your native
  122. language. Like on all pages click on the <a
  123. href="/source/campaigns/askyourcandidates/askyourcandidates.xhtml">source
  124. code link</a> at the buttom of the page. Translate the page and then send it
  125. to If you are interested to help us more regularly
  126. with translations, please take a look at our <a
  127. href="/contribute/translators/translators.html">translator
  128. page</a>.</p>
  129. <p>Regards,<br/>
  130. <a href="/about/people/kirschner">Matthias Kirschner </a> - <a href="/">FSFE</a></p>
  131. <p>-- <br />
  132. <a href="/index.html">Free Software Foundation Europe</a><br />
  133. <a href="/news/news.rss">FSFE News</a><br />
  134. <a href="/events/events.rss">Upcoming FSFE Events</a><br />
  135. <a href="">Fellowship Blog Aggregation</a><br />
  136. <a href="/contact/community.html">Free Software Discussions</a> </p>
  137. </body>
  138. <tags>
  139. <tag key="newsletter"/>
  140. <tag key="matthias-kirschner"/>
  141. </tags>
  142. </html>
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