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<title>FSFE Newsletter - June 2011</title>
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<h1>FSFE Newsletter - June 2011</h1>
<h2>The 899 Million question: Microsoft, European Commission, and Free
Software</h2>
<p>What would you do with a monopolist, who uses his dominant position in one
area to create monopolies in other areas as well? The European Commission has
decided in 2004 that Microsoft has to provide competitors with information how
to connect a workgroup server with computers running Microsoft Windows. Since
the main competitor to Microsoft’s workgroup server is the Free Software Samba
project, the Commission made it clear that Microsoft had to release
interoperability information in a way that is compatible with Free Software
licenses like the GNU GPL. The Commission's 2004 decision did not require
Microsoft to publish innovative information, it asked for simple information
how Microsoft computers talk to each other.</p>
<p>But Microsoft played for time, even when the Commission imposed a fine of
two million Euro for every day that Microsoft did not make the required
interoperability information and documentation available in a way that the
Samba team could make use of it. That gave Microsoft three more years to gain
profit from its monopoly position.</p>
<p><a href="/activities/ms-vs-eu/timeline.html">After losing an
appeal in October 2007</a>, Microsoft finally made the required
interoperability information available for a one-time fee of EUR 10,000. This
gives Free Software groups access to Microsoft’s protocol specifications, but
does not give them a license to the patents that Microsoft holds in this area.
Microsoft only offers patent licenses under conditions that are fundamentally
incompatible with the GNU GPL. So the Samba team has a license to use
Microsoft’s protocol specifications, but not its patented technologies. At
least those patents are identified, and the Samba team can work around them
with considerable effort until we fix the problem of software patents as a
whole.</p>
<p>Microsoft appealed the fine. On the 24th of May another hearing took place.
Like in the rest of the process, FSFE was again present, together with the
Samba team, giving crucial input to ensure that Free Software can compete on
market. Karsten Gerloff wrote about the hearing in his blog article <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2011/05/27/samba-case-hearing-how-microsofts-gamble-backfired-2/">"Samba
case hearing: How Microsoft’s gamble backfired"</a>, and you can also read <a
href="http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110530202005299">Groklaw
interview with Karsten Gerloff and Carlo Piana</a>. A ruling on the
Microsoft’s appeal is expected in the second half of the year.</p>
<h2>Antifeatures + DRM</h2>
<p>How many times have you been forced to watch those copyright notices at the
beginning of a DVD, without the chance to fast-forward? Or would you miss it,
if no mobile phone would have a SIM lock?</p>
<p>On the 4th of May our American sister organisation organised the "Day
Against DRM". There were several <a
href="http://www.defectivebydesign.org/highlights-2011-day-against-drm">articles,
events, and radio shows about this topic</a>. Your editor was interviewed by
Dradio Wissen on the subject of Antifeatures, which also includes digitial
restriction management (DRM).</p>
<p>An antifeature is a feature, which is implemented by the developer on
purpose, but which user does not want. So, it is not about bugs or missing
functionality, but about functions which the vendor added intentionally to
restrict the user.</p>
<p><a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/mk/?p=797">Your editor's interview and
corresponding article</a> explain some examples, like how printer vendors
prevent others from producing printers' cartridges, the sim lock in mobile
phones, the option to get rid of additional software commercials on laptops, or
the copyright notices and the region code for DVDs.</p>
<p>With Free Software adding antifeatures simply isn't lucrative. Every user
has the freedom to change the software and to share those changes with others.
So when one person removes an antifeature, all other users will benefit from
this work. In Free Software new features are implemented either if someone pays
for them, or if someone is convinced that this is an important feature and s/he
has spent spare time on it. Therewith Free Software is more honest and more
transparent towards users.</p>
<p>Benjamin Mako Hill <a
href="http://www.fsf.org/bulletin/2007/fall/antifeatures/">wrote more about
antifeatures</a> and also gave several talks about it, e.g. at <a
href="http://projects.mako.cc/media/revealing_errors_lca2010.ogv">Linux Conf
Australia 2010 (Ogg-Theora)</a>, or <a
href="http://ftp.stw-bonn.de/froscon/2010/hs12/theora/hs12_-_2010-08-22_12:45_-_en_-_antifeatures_-_benjamin_mako_hill.ogv">FrosCon
(Ogg-Theora)</a>.</p>
<h2>Something completely different</h2>
<ul>
<li>As British Telecom plan to roll out new music subscription service to
their 5.5 million broadband customers, <a
href="/freesoftware/standards/bt-open-letter.html">our UK Team has asked BT to make
user freedom one of the product's key features.</a></li>
<li>The German Foreign Office is turning away from Free Software, and the
German Government is entangling itself in contradictions. <a
href="/news/2011/news-20110511-01.html">The assessment of our German team
is,</a> that the reaction of the Government to an inquiry by "Bündnis
90/Grüne" shows that the government either does not understand
important aspects of Free Software or is deliberately offending Free Software
in general as well as Free Software companies in particular. We set up a <a
href="https://etherpad.fsfe.org/1TyQlboVdF">public comment plattform</a>,
and ask you to participate.</li>
<li>The <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2011/04/free-software-in-education-marchapril-2011/">Free
Software in Education update is out for March/April 2011</a>. Besides,
there is an <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2011/05/free-software-in-education-survey-in-uk/">education
survey in the UK.</a></li>
<li>The German team <a href="/news/2011/news-20110520-01.html">commented the
replies to our question to the political parties in Bremen.</a></li>
<li>From the <a href="https://planet.fsfe.org">planet aggregation</a>: </li>
<ul>
<li>This month's <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/fellowship-interviews/?p=308">Fellowship
interview with Florian Effenberger</a>, is out. He was the previous
Marketing Project Lead for OpenOffice.org and now founding member and part
of the Steering Committee at The Document Foundation.</li>
<li>There are again new issues of Free Software and law related links for
<a href="http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/245">30.4.-6.5.</a> <a
href="http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/246">7.5.-22.5.</a>, and <a
href="http://matija.suklje.name/?q=node/247">23.5.-29.5.</a>.</li>
<li>Fellow <a
href="https://jancborchardt.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/freeing-web-games/">Jan-Christoph
Borchardt wrote about Free(ing) web games.</a></li>
</ul>
</ul>
<h2>Get active: Translate our Ask your Candidates page</h2>
<p>In the coming month we will do more in our <a
href="/activities/elections/askyourcandidates/askyourcandidates.html">"Ask Your Candidates"</a>
activity. You can already help us by translating this page into your native
language. Like on all pages click on the <a
href="/source/activities/elections/askyourcandidates/askyourcandidates.xhtml">source
code link</a> at the buttom of the page. Translate the page and then send it
to translators@lists.fsfe.org. If you are interested to help us more regularly
with translations, please take a look at our <a
href="/contribute/translators/translators.html">translator
page</a>.</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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