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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html newsdate="2014-09-04" type="newsletter">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>FSFE Newsletter - September 2014</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body class="newsletter article" microformats="h-entry" id="nl-201409">
  7. <h1 class="p-name">FSFE Newsletter – September 2014</h1>
  8. <h2>An Introduction to Free Software and the liberation of cyberspace</h2>
  9. <p newsteaser="yes">The freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of
  10. association, and privacy are essential preconditions for a Free Society. If it
  11. lacks one of those freedoms, it is difficult to maintain the others. As a
  12. society, it is important to defend those freedoms, especially in light of
  13. fundamental changes such as the one introduced by the ubiquity of computers.
  14. Such changes can threaten old freedoms and can create the need for new ones. So
  15. now software freedom is crucial to distribute and balance power in society. The
  16. FSFE is convinced that a free society needs the freedoms which only Free
  17. Software can offer. That is, why we advocate Free Software.</p>
  18. <p>In 2010, we wrote the article <a
  19. href="/freesoftware/society/democracy.html">"Democracy requires Free
  20. Software"</a>, explaining the message above to politicians at the ceremony at
  21. which the Theodor-Heuss medal was awarded to the FSFE. Thanks to FSFE's
  22. translators team, the article is meanwhile available in 15 languages, and is
  23. shared widely.</p>
  24. <p>Since last month, the message of the importance of Free Software is also
  25. featured in a short TEDx video <a
  26. href="">&quot;Introduction
  27. to Free Software and the liberation of cyberspace&quot;</a> by Richard
  28. Stallman. It is a good way to make others aware of the significance of Free
  29. Software and why it matters. We need more people to understand why Free
  30. Software matters for a free society, as the following examples will show once
  31. again.</p>
  32. <h2>Slovakia still forcing users to use non-free software</h2>
  33. <p>In 2012 -- thanks to our former intern Martin Husovec -- the FSFE got
  34. engaged in <a href="/campaigns/eura-slovakia/eura.html">a case against the
  35. Slovak Tax Authorities</a> together with the European Information Society
  36. Institute (EISi). As current FSFE intern <a
  37. href="">
  38. Matej Gera writes in his blog</a> the problem of Slovak authorities forcing
  39. people to use non-free software is still ongoing: According to a new regulation
  40. in Slovakia, people who own agricultural land and want to sell it must make an
  41. offer on web page of the Ministry of Agriculture first. In order to submit an
  42. offer to the Ministry's web page, you need to use additional software. The
  43. software in question is proprietary and only available for Microsoft Windows,
  44. and it is the only way -- there is no paper form. If you would try to sell the
  45. land otherwise, you would break the law.</p>
  46. <p>This practice is not only unacceptable for Free Software users, but also
  47. unlawful itself in Slovakia. Since 2008, there is a binding regulation which
  48. forbids public authorities to request users to use a specific operating system.
  49. But the website of Ministry clearly does not comply with this rule. Now, the
  50. Slovak non-profit organisation EISi sent a letter to Ministry of Agriculture,
  51. calling to end this practice. If they will not comply with the letter and will
  52. not provide an interoperable solution until October, EISi will go to court to
  53. protect rights of Slovak software users.</p>
  54. <h2>Forced by Internet Service Provider to use certain hardware</h2>
  55. <p>It should go without saying that in our society, we should be able to freely
  56. choose technical devices for use in our homes like we choose the furniture or
  57. the books in our shelves. But besides authorities forcing us to to use non-free
  58. software, the FSFE currently also has to counter companies who want to force us
  59. to use certain computers in our home. In this case even one of the most
  60. important computers: the router, which should act as the gatekeeper between our
  61. private network and the public internet.</p>
  62. <p>In Germany, Internet service providers (ISPs) force their customers to use
  63. certain types of hardware in order to connect to the internet. Users of
  64. alternative devices, instead, are not able to connect to the internet by those
  65. ISPs. Together with other members of the Free Software community, our German
  66. team wrote several comments on this case and we entered talks with government
  67. agencies, corporations, and other organisations about compulsory routers.</p>
  68. <p>As this topic was mainly covered in Germany and in German, our German team
  69. member Max Mehl summarised <a href="/activities/routers/routers.html">this
  70. case</a> and made a <a href="/activities/routers/timeline.html">timeline of the
  71. most important events which lead to the current state</a>. We hope that with
  72. this information we can support other Free Software activists around the world,
  73. who might face similar problems.</p>
  74. <h2>Something completely different</h2>
  75. <ul>
  76. <li>FSFE has received television coverage twice in the last months. First, our
  77. legal coordinator Matija Šuklje was interviewed for the RTV Slovenia to point
  78. out the challenges for the newly appointed Information Commissioner of Slovenia
  79. related to cloud computing. Although they translated the FSFE into "Foundation
  80. for unrestricted programming", it was the first time for the FSFE to appear on
  81. Slovenian television. Thereafter, our Austrian coordinator Peter Bubestinger
  82. was in Mexico City at an archiving seminar, where he presented use cases for
  83. file-formats and long-term storage implemented in Free Software. The whole
  84. seminar was translated live into Spanish and broadcasted on Televison
  85. Educativa, a nation-wide education TV channel. They also uploaded the videos to
  86. youtube. <a href="">Peter's
  87. interview</a> can be found at 3h50m.</li>
  88. <li>Guido Arnold published some <a
  89. href="">education
  90. news</a> covering a hacking contest to find security holes in Moodle, Free
  91. Software activists visiting schools in Slovakia, and other education related
  92. news.</li>
  93. <li>GNU community members and collaborators <a
  94. href="">have
  95. discovered details about a five-country government surveillance program
  96. codenamed HACIENDA</a>. Those same hackers have already worked out a Free
  97. Software countermeasure to thwart the program.</li>
  98. <li>Equipped with free GNU Radio software, a group of citizen scientists has
  99. contacted, controlled, and is attempting to recapture a 1970s-era satellite and
  100. bring it back into an orbit close to Earth. <a
  101. href="">The
  102. story behind this</a> demonstrates the importance of developing, maintaining,
  103. and promoting Free Software.</li>
  104. <li>From the <a href="">planet aggregation</a>:</li>
  105. <ul>
  106. <li>Hugo Roy takes a look at what is featured in the European Court of
  107. Justice's <a href="">&quot;right to be
  108. forgotten&quot;</a>. As he found it difficult to read, he wrote an alternate
  109. version of the directive. In another post he explains <a
  110. href="">why he helped the Free Software
  111. search engine developer Pablo Joubert to publish a defensive publication</a>
  112. around search engines making use of distributed hash tables.</li>
  113. <li>Our former intern Lucile Falgueyrac writes about why <a
  114. href="">TTIP
  115. &amp; CETA entails a few reasons for Free Software advocates to get angry</a>.
  116. She argues that now, there is a good moment to send a strong message to the
  117. European Commission, the governments and states that policy laundering is not a
  118. legitimate way to legislate, and never should be.</li>
  119. <li>Our current intern Bela Seeger <a
  120. href="">wrote
  121. a blog post about Off-The-Record (OTR) Messaging</a>, clarifying the meaning
  122. and technicalities of "off-the-record" (OTR) messaging and giving
  123. insight into the possibilities of implementing it in various devices. (You
  124. might have noticed in this edition, that current and former interns of FSFE are
  125. quite active!)</li>
  126. <li>Our Fellows participated at many events. Nikos Roussos <a
  127. href="">writes about his
  128. personal highlights of the Fedora Contributor Conference 2014</a>. He also
  129. mentioned the keynote about the Novena laptop project, which was <a
  130. href="">summarised on LWN</a>. Mario Fux and
  131. Mirko Böhm report from the KDE meeting in Randa, with around 50 Free Software
  132. activists improving KDE. To get some impressions from the meeting, Mirko posted
  133. a <a
  134. href="">short
  135. video from the meeting in Switzerland</a>.</li>
  136. <li>André Ockers, who is currently updating and translating almost all FSFE
  137. materials into Dutch, <a href="">started
  138. blogging</a>. He writes in English, Dutch, German, and French.</li>
  139. <li>Kevin Keijzer, also from the Netherlands, gives a <a
  140. href="">detailed
  141. overview of Free Software he is using</a>.</li>
  142. <li>Daniel Pocock gives an update on <a
  143. href="">WebRTC, explaining
  144. what works, what does not</a>.</li>
  145. <li>Matija reports from his <a
  146. href="">free music
  147. experiment</a>, highlighting his favourite artists who are using Creative
  148. Commons licenses for their music.</li>
  149. </ul>
  150. </ul>
  151. <h2>Get active: Spread the word on Software Freedom Day</h2>
  152. <p>On 20 September 2014, people around the world celebrate Free Software. The
  153. organisers from Software Freedom International announced that the registration
  154. for events is now open. They provide a <a
  155. href="">start guide</a> with tips
  156. and pointers for organising your own SFD team event. If you organise an event,
  157. or just want to spread information about Free Software on Software Freedom Day
  158. you can also:</p>
  159. <ul>
  160. <li><a
  161. href="/contribute/spreadtheword.html#promo-material">order
  162. printed information materials from us</a></li>
  163. <li>send around <a
  164. href="">the
  165. FSF's e-mail self defence guide</a> which is now available in 11 languages. (At
  166. the "Freedom not Fear" demonstration our Berlin Fellowship group handed out a
  167. hundreds of printed leaflet of the German version, which you can also order
  168. from us.)</li>
  169. <li>share <a
  170. href="">Richard
  171. Stallman's video</a>, or the <a
  172. href="/freesoftware/society/democracy.html">article mentioned
  173. above</a> to explain your friends Free Software.</li>
  174. </ul>
  175. <p>Thanks to all the <a href="/contribute/contribute.html">volunteers</a>, <a href="">Fellows</a> and
  176. <a href="/donate/thankgnus.html">corporate donors</a> who enable our work,<br/>
  177. <a href="/about/kirschner">Matthias Kirschner </a> - <a href="">FSFE</a></p>
  178. <!--/e-content-->
  179. </body>
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  190. <author id="kirschner" />
  191. <date>
  192. <original content="2014-09-04" />
  193. </date>
  194. <followup>donate</followup>
  195. <tags>
  196. <tag>newsletter</tag>
  197. </tags>
  198. </html>
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