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<html newsdate="2013-02-04" type="newsletter">
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<title>FSFE Newsletter - February 2013</title>
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<h1>FSFE Newsletter - February 2013</h1>
<h2>Unitary fail for our society</h2>
<p>We want software as a tool to help society. Software patents are a threat to
this as they add legal and financial risks to software development and
distribution by giving the patent holders legal power to completely prohibit
software developers from using patented ideas.</p>
<p>In <a href="/news/2012/news-20121211-01.html">December</a> the European
Parliament has adopted a proposal to create a patent with unitary effect for
Europe (henceforth the "unitary patent"). In adopting the proposal, Members of the
European Parliament (MEPs) chose to disregard intense criticism of the proposal
from all sides of the debate. Already before the vote <a
href="http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2012/12/unitary-patent-deja-vu-council-debate.html">patent
lawyers</a>, <a
href="http://www.ip.mpg.de/en/pub/publications/opinions/unitary_patent_package.cfm">legal
experts</a>, <a
href="http://www.april.org/en/against-software-patents-460-companies-demand-improvement-unitary-patent-europe">SMEs</a>
and civil society groups such as <a
href="http://www.unitary-patent.eu/">FFII</a> as well as FSFE all voiced
their concerns to MEPs. With the adoption, the European Parliament has given up
part of its power to shape Europe's innovation policy. That power will instead
fall to the European Patent Office (EPO), which has a track record of awarding
monopoly powers on the widest possible range of subject matter.</p>
<p>According to the European Parliament's website, "the international agreement
creating a unified patent court will enter into force on 1 January 2014 or
after thirteen contracting states ratify it, provided that UK, France and
Germany are among them. With your <a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">ongoing
help</a>, FSFE will continue to inform companies and politicians about the
danger of software patents.</p>
<h2>Italy does not want Free Software users as teachers</h2>
<p>Pupils, as well as teachers, must have the possibility to
use Free Software at school. Unfortunately, many of the IT questions on the
questionnaire used to evaluate prospective teachers in Italy focus on a
single proprietary operating system and software exclusively available on that system.
The practice discriminates against Free Software users wishing to become teachers.
Our Italian team <a
href="/news/2012/news-20121217-01.html">filed a legal complaint</a> to
the Italian Ministry of Education about that. In association with AsSoLi, Wikimedia
Italia, the Free Software User Group Italia, the Associazione per
l'Informazione Geografica Libera (GFoss.it), the Italian Linux Society,
LibreItalia and 38 other groups we explain that the country's Ministry of
Education is putting Free Software at an unfair disadvantage.</p>
<p>In addition to the ongoing work in Italy, FSFE's education team did more in 2012 than ever
before to promote the use of Free Software in schools and universities. Guido
Arnold <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2013/01/edu-team-2012-summary/">summarised
the team's work</a> and its plans for 2013.</p>
<h2>Don't look back in anger!</h2>
<p>At least there should be no reason for FSFE's work in 2012. Read <a
href="/news/2012/report-2012.html">our annual report</a> to
find out what we achieved, how we did it, and what lies ahead for 2013. We thank
all of <a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">our Fellows</a>, <a
href="/donate/thankgnus.html">donors and sponsors</a> for making our work
possible! If you like what you read please also <a
href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">donate as a Fellow of FSFE</a>.</p>
<h2>Something completely different</h2>
<ul>
<li>Open Standards: The <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/eal/2013/01/23/new-dfd-posters-arrived">2013
DFD posters arrived</a> and volunteers all over the world, including <a
href="http://www.softmetz.de/2013/01/20/bericht-vom-ersten-muenchner-fsfe-fellowship-treffen/">our
new Fellowship group in Munich</a>, are starting to prepare this year's
edition of the event. <a
href="http://documentfreedom.org/news/2012/news-20120403-01.html">In 2012
we had 54 events</a> in 23 countries and in 19 world languages, all of them
about Open Standards. One of the many topics will again be web video and
audio. We would like to raise awareness for <a
href="http://html5video.org/wiki/HTML5_Video_Player_Comparison">HTML5 video
players</a> like <a href="http://lwn.net/Articles/527081/">Wikipedia's new
one</a>. If you have experience with this, please <a
href="http://documentfreedom.org/contact.html">get in contact with
us</a>.</li>
<li>Fellowship interview: One of the most active DFD volunteers, Anna Morris,
<a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/anna.morris/2013/01/15/phone-coop-pdf-bug-fixed/">tells
us why everyone should have a Free Software buddy</a> to keep them on the
right path when problems are abundant, be proud of them when they have
learned something new, and help them contribute to more and better to Free
Software. We all have something to give!</li>
<li>FSFE helping VLC to play Blu-ray. The Video Lan Client (VLC) is the
world's most widely used Free Software player. For a long time its
developers have wanted to enable playing Blu-ray discs. They have asked Hadopi,
France's copyright authority, over one year ago for legal guidance on how to
handle the <a href="http://drm.info">digital restrictions management
(DRM)</a>, but the copyright authority is yet to come up with an answer.
At an event organised by the French Ministry of Economy, Karsten Gerloff
supported the VLC developers <a
href="http://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/fsfe-frances-reading-copyright-limiting-innovation">criticising
France's strict interpretation of copyright</a> which badly hinders
Free Software hackers.</li>
<li>Public Administrations: Microsoft paid HP for a study about the City of
Munich's use of Free Software. Their result is that the Free Software
solutions cost millions of Euros more than Microsoft's solutions. <a
href="http://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/city-munich-refutes-rumours-spread-about-costs-using-open-source">Munich
refutes the claims</a> of the unpublished study, and several others <a
href="http://jan.wildeboer.net/2013/01/that-hpmicrosoft-study-on-the-linux-migration-in-munich-hm/">criticised
the study</a>. On the other hand, there are good news: in the Swiss city
Bern, the <a
href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/majority-bern-council-tells-swiss-city-switch-open-source">majority
in the city council wants to switch to Free Software</a>, and the <a
href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/basque-government-unveils-open-source-repository-facilitate-reuse">Basque
government has started a public Free Software repository</a> to facilitate
reuse.</li>
<li>"Free software advocates must return to their ultimate goal of freeing
people, not software", writes Benjamin Mako Hill in his article <a
href="http://mako.cc/writing/hill-freedom_for_users.html">"Freedom for
Users, Not for Software"</a>. It was published in the book <a
href="http://www.wealthofthecommons.org/">"Wealth of the Commons: A World
Beyond Market and State"</a>. The <a
href="http://www.boell.de/downloads/2012-04-buch-2012-04-buch-commons.pdf">German
version of the book (PDF)</a> also includes an article about Free Software
in the German Foreign Office.</li>
<li>FSFE on air: In the last weeks Torsten Grote gave a radio interview about
distributed systems, whereas Erik Albers and Matthias Kirschner talked about
Ubuntu Phone. Together with other interviews, they are available on the <a
href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/Audio">Fellowship wiki's audio page</a>.</li>
<li>From the <a href="https://planet.fsfe.org">planet aggregation</a>: </li>
<ul>
<li>Women in the Free Software community: "Right now, we're unfortunately
too far from that to just ignore the whole problem and wait for it to go
away on its own." writes Tonnerre in his article <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/tonnerre/archives/88">Gender Liberalism: what
got us here won't get us there</a>.</li>
<li>Hugo started the "PatentBS series". Number one covers: <a
href="http://blog.hugoroy.eu/2012/12/24/patentbs-series-1-abolishing-software-patents-would-harm-free-software/">"Abolishing
software patents would harm Free Software"</a>.</li>
<li>Fellowship representative Nikos Roussos reports from a <a
href="http://roussos.cc/2012/12/10/firefoxosappdays-hold-your-breath/">small
hackathon at Athens Hackerspace</a>. Around 40 developers showed up,
learning about Mozilla's new effort to liberate the mobile ecosystem
through Open Web Apps and Firefox OS.</li>
<li>What should you keep in mind when writing an e-mail? Matija highlighted
some articles about <a
href="http://matija.suklje.name/general-e-mail-netiquette">e-mail
netiquette</a>. For <a href="/about/jobs/internship.html">FSFE
interns</a>, we also summarised this topic some time ago in a <a href="
https://wiki.fsfe.org/Fellows/mk/EmailGuide">brief e-mail guide</a>.</li>
<li>Paul Boddie looks into microcontrollers. He wrote <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/pboddie/?p=111">"Why the Raspberry Pi isn't
the new BBC Micro (and perhaps shouldn't be, either)"</a>.</li>
<li>Michael Kesper has to use Microsoft Windows at work. He published a
blog post on why Windows 8 <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/mkesper/?p=155">is a big step
backwards in all categories</a>. </li>
<li>How can you embed metadata for license and attribution requirements in
digital works, making it easier to share them? Jonas Öberg is <a
href="http://jonasoberg.net/post/40906740451/bachelor-master-thesis-opportunity">offering
to supervise a paid bachelor or master thesis</a> on this subject.</li>
<li>Hannes continues sharing his Android experiences with us. Read why
using the <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/h2/2012/11/29/tracking-memory-usage/">
Linux kernel can be a pain</a> when you come from the BSD-world and <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/h2/2012/12/27/missing-free-android-apps-ii-e-mail/">why
he misses a proper e-mail client</a>.</li>
<li>Michael Clemens <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/clemens/2013/01/29/adressenmeister/">published</a>
his first software project from 1992 written in BASIC 2.0 on his good old
C64.</li>
</ul>
</ul>
<h2>Get active: You love Free Software? Show it!</h2>
<p>As in the previous years, for February 14th we ask you to <a
href="/activities/ilovefs/index.html">show your love</a> to people
involved in Free Software, and who's work you admire.</p>
<p>For example, prepare a "love letter" telling the developers of a certain
program, why you love what they do, send us a <a
href="/activities/ilovefs/index.html">quote and a picture</a>,
use one of the <a href="/activities/ilovefs/index.html">banners or
buttons</a> made by Markus Meier on your website, blog (like <a href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/mk">your editor did</a>), profile pages, and motivate
others to participate in the <a
href="/activities/ilovefs/index.html">"I love Free
Software" day</a>. Thanks to Markus and Erik we also have ilovefs posters and
flyers available. You can pick them up at <a href="/events/events.html">FSFE
booths</a> or order <a href="/order/promoorder.html">FSFE promotion
material</a> (soon updated with other new material).</p>
<p>All the <a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">Fellows
among you</a> also have the e-mail forwarding login@ilovefs.org, in addition to
their @fsfe.org one.</p>
<p>Thanks to all the <a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">Fellows</a> and
<a href="donate/thankgnus.html">donors</a> who enable our work,<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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