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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html newsdate="2014-10-06" type="newsletter">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>FSFE Newsletter - October 2014</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body class="newsletter article" microformats="h-entry" id="nl-201410">
  7. <h1 class="p-name">FSFE Newsletter – October 2014</h1>
  8. <h2>Italian Court supports unbundling of software and hardware</h2>
  9. <p>When buying a laptop, it can be difficult to avoid paying for a Microsoft
  10. Windows licence since many laptops come bundled with one. This “Windows Tax”
  11. has artificially increased hardware prices for Free Software users who do not
  12. want to use Microsoft's operating system. We as Free Software users want to
  13. support the development of Free Software instead of non-free software like
  14. Microsoft Windows.</p>
  15. <p>Since 2008 we maintain <a href="">a
  16. wiki page with advice for consumers who want to avoid funding the development
  17. of non-free software</a>, and for over a decade we talked with politicians and
  18. consumer protection organisations about this topic. Nonetheless, there is only
  19. slow progress on the subject, and it will take years to change this situation
  20. in Europe. For such long term goals, reaching intermediate goals is important.
  21. Last month we had such a victory.</p>
  22. <p><a href="/news/2014/news-20140912-01.html">Italy's High Court ruled</a> that
  23. a laptop buyer was entitled to receive a refund for the price of the Microsoft
  24. Windows licence he was forced to purchase with his computer. The judges sharply
  25. criticised the practice of selling PCs only together with a non-free operating
  26. system as “a commercial policy of forced distribution”. The court considered
  27. this practice as “monopolistic in tendency”. It also highlighted that the
  28. practice of bundling means that end users are forced to use additional non-free
  29. applications due to compatibility and interoperability issues, whether they
  30. want these programs or not.</p>
  31. <p>Now the Italian authorities have to turn this ruling into a real win for
  32. consumers, by ensuring that computer buyers can choose their device with any
  33. operating system they want, or none. Afterwards we hope that we can convince
  34. other countries in Europe to follow the example set by Italy, or that we find a
  35. European-wide solution to the problem.</p>
  36. <h2>European public administrations using Free Software</h2>
  37. <p newsteaser="yes">Often there is a tendency in the media and also from us to
  38. concentrate on the bad news about Free Software usage in the public
  39. administration. In this edition, we will concentrate on good examples from last
  40. month instead. So there is good news concerning Free Software office suites:
  41. Austria's Bundesrechenzentrum, the federal government-owned
  42. computing centre, <a href="">praises the
  43. wide range of application uses of Apache OpenOffice</a>. They appreciate that
  44. the “solution can be adapted to the data centre's needs, integrated in its
  45. specialist applications and also allows documents to be created and submitted
  46. automatically and semi-automatically. OpenOffice is the standard office suite
  47. at the computing centre since 2008, installed on 12000 PCs across the
  48. organisation.” Furthermore, the public administrations of the Italian
  49. cities <a href="">Todi and Terni
  50. are switching to LibreOffice</a>. They follow the example of the Italian
  51. province of Perugia, using LibreOffice on all of its 1200 PCs and the Perugia
  52. Local Health Authority, which installed the office suite on 600 PCs.</p>
  53. <p><a href="">The French public
  54. administration is using a Free Software office suite on 500,000 desktops</a>.
  55. Although they said switching to Free Software was hard, they were able to
  56. handle the problems. The project's success is partly due to two contracts the
  57. ministries have with ICT service providers. The contracts entail support for 260
  58. Free Software applications, and the support team ensures that patches made for
  59. the ministries are contributed back to the software projects.</p>
  60. <p>The Greens in Saxony/Germany <a
  61. href="">urge the federal state
  62. government to do a feasibility study on migrating to Free Software</a>. “The
  63. political group, free software users themselves since December 2011, say that
  64. lower IT costs and advantages in IT security should drive public
  65. administrations” to use Free Software. They argue that the dependency on
  66. proprietary software “gives large corporations access to and influence on
  67. official internal workflows, as well as sensitive communication and data of the
  68. state's citizens.”</p>
  69. <h2>Something completely different</h2>
  70. <ul>
  71. <li>Even without the Windows tax mentioned above, you still have to find out if
  72. the computer you want to buy works with Free Software. To improve the
  73. information which hardware is compatible, the <a
  74. href="">FSF
  75. and Debian now cooperate to expand and enhance the hardware database h-node</a>
  76. to help users learn and share information about computers that work with Free
  77. Software operating systems.</li>
  78. <li>On our English public mailinglist a discussion about good metaphors for
  79. Free Software is currently taking place. <a
  80. href="">Hugo
  81. Roy started the thread</a> with some examples. Alessandro Rubini had some <a
  82. href="">critical
  83. remarks, arguing against the metaphors mentioned</a>. He argues that if we need
  84. a metaphor to explain Free Software to people, we need to remain in the field
  85. of information, of knowledge that can be spread at no cost. In a recent post
  86. Guido Arnold reported good experiences with <a
  87. href="">using
  88. the recipe analogy with children</a>.</li>
  89. <li>On this year's Software Freedom Day several local FSFE groups were
  90. involved: Edgar Hoffmann organised an <a
  91. href="">info booth in front of the
  92. Offenburg town hall, and a mini-community-conference with talks and our Free
  93. Software quiz in the evening</a> (in German, but with lots of pictures).
  94. Dominic Hopf, our Hamburg coordinator, gave a <a
  95. href="">talk
  96. at SFD event in Kiel about F-Droid</a>, while Torsten Grote introduced people
  97. to F-Droid at the Berlin SFD event. Also present at this event were Nermin
  98. Canik from Istanbul and your editor to talk with people about software freedom.
  99. Moreover, Michael Stehmann gave a <a
  100. href="">talk about Free Software and
  101. privacy at the SFD event in Cologne</a> (in German).</li>
  102. <li>From 13 to 15 October the FSFE will have a booth at Linuxcon in Düsseldorf.
  103. As many Free Software activists will already be around before, our Düsseldorf
  104. Fellowship group invites all Free Software supporters to brunch on 12 October
  105. 2014 starting from 11:00 am at bistro <a
  106. href="">&quot;Schwesterherz&quot;</a>,
  107. Bilker Allee 66, 40219 Düsseldorf. Thus, a very active time for our local group
  108. there, after participating at a cryptoparty for the <a
  109. href="">Commissioner for Data Protection
  110. and Freedom of Information</a> (in German) and <a
  111. href="">organising a booth at Zackk
  112. street festival</a> (in German).</li>
  113. <li>Guido Arnold summarised the outcome of FSFE's work shop in Essen, in which
  114. we discussed <a
  115. href="">best
  116. practices for doing advocacy work on a local level</a>.</li>
  117. <li>The Free Software developer Matthew Garret is “solidly convinced that Free
  118. Software that does nothing to respect or empower users is an absolute waste of
  119. time”. In <a href="">his blog</a> he
  120. argues that we need to design software from the ground up in such a way that
  121. those freedoms provide immediate and real benefits to our users. In his
  122. opinion, anything else is a failure.</li>
  123. <li>From the <a href="">planet aggregation</a>:</li>
  124. <ul>
  125. <li>Guido Arnold reports from the Teckids workshops at FrOSCon9. More than 60
  126. children from 9 to 13 participated in three different workshops about <a
  127. href="">robots,
  128. python games and Blender</a>.</li>
  129. <li>Max Mehl explains <a
  130. href="">how
  131. to use Openstreetmap as default in Thunderbird’s contacts</a> and <a
  132. href="">how
  133. to access ownCloud contacts' birthdays via CalDAV calendar</a>.</li>
  134. <li>Henri Bergius reports from the <a
  135. href="">status of the
  136. NoFlo development environment</a>, a user interface for Flow-Based
  137. programming.</li>
  138. <li>There are some steps you can take in order to avoid having to deal with
  139. Microsoft Office files. However, in some cases you will be forced to deal with
  140. them. Kevin Keijzer documented <a
  141. href="">how to make
  142. the best out of Microsoft Office files as Free Software user</a>.</li>
  143. <li>Our current intern Michele Marrali wrote a blog post on <a
  144. href="">how
  145. patents, copyright and trademarks can be used to promote freedom in Hardware
  146. projects</a>.</li>
  147. </ul>
  148. </ul>
  149. <h2>Get active: Give feedback about the User Data Manifesto</h2>
  150. <p>Version 2 of <a href="">the User Data
  151. Manifesto</a> has been released. The aim of this manifesto is to define the
  152. fundamental rights for users on their own data in the Internet age: to control
  153. access to their data (and metadata), to know how and where the data is stored
  154. and to be free to choose a platform. Some projects are already working towards
  155. supporting the manifesto to give their users these rights! At the moment,
  156. version 2 <a href="">is published as a
  157. draft on a wiki allowing public comments</a>.</p>
  158. <p>We ask all Free Software supporters to give feedback on the manifesto, so it
  159. can be further improved upon, and we can decide whether we want to support it
  160. as FSFE. Please give feedback yourself, discuss the manifesto <a
  161. href="/contact/community.html">on our discussion lists</a>, and ask other Free
  162. Software organisations for feedback and if they would support it in this form,
  163. too.</p>
  164. <p>Thanks to all the <a href="/contribute/contribute.html">volunteers</a>, <a href="">Fellows</a> and
  165. <a href="/donate/thankgnus.html">corporate donors</a> who enable our work,<br/>
  166. <a href="/about/kirschner">Matthias Kirschner </a> - <a href="">FSFE</a></p>
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  179. <author id="kirschner" />
  180. <date>
  181. <original content="2014-10-06" />
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