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<title>FSFE Newsletter - October 2014</title>
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<h1 class="p-name">FSFE Newsletter – October 2014</h1>
<h2>Italian Court supports unbundling of software and hardware</h2>
<p>When buying a laptop, it can be difficult to avoid paying for a Microsoft
Windows licence since many laptops come bundled with one. This “Windows Tax”
has artificially increased hardware prices for Free Software users who do not
want to use Microsoft's operating system. We as Free Software users want to
support the development of Free Software instead of non-free software like
Microsoft Windows.</p>
<p>Since 2008 we maintain <a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/WindowsTaxRefund">a
wiki page with advice for consumers who want to avoid funding the development
of non-free software</a>, and for over a decade we talked with politicians and
consumer protection organisations about this topic. Nonetheless, there is only
slow progress on the subject, and it will take years to change this situation
in Europe. For such long term goals, reaching intermediate goals is important.
Last month we had such a victory.</p>
<p><a href="/news/2014/news-20140912-01.html">Italy's High Court ruled</a> that
a laptop buyer was entitled to receive a refund for the price of the Microsoft
Windows licence he was forced to purchase with his computer. The judges sharply
criticised the practice of selling PCs only together with a non-free operating
system as “a commercial policy of forced distribution”. The court considered
this practice as “monopolistic in tendency”. It also highlighted that the
practice of bundling means that end users are forced to use additional non-free
applications due to compatibility and interoperability issues, whether they
want these programs or not.</p>
<p>Now the Italian authorities have to turn this ruling into a real win for
consumers, by ensuring that computer buyers can choose their device with any
operating system they want, or none. Afterwards we hope that we can convince
other countries in Europe to follow the example set by Italy, or that we find a
European-wide solution to the problem.</p>
<h2>European public administrations using Free Software</h2>
<p>Often there is a tendency in the media and also from us to
concentrate on the bad news about Free Software usage in the public
administration. In this edition, we will concentrate on good examples from last
month instead. So there is good news concerning Free Software office suites:
Austria's Bundesrechenzentrum, the federal government-owned
computing centre, <a href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/node/103311">praises the
wide range of application uses of Apache OpenOffice</a>. They appreciate that
the “solution can be adapted to the data centre's needs, integrated in its
specialist applications and also allows documents to be created and submitted
automatically and semi-automatically. OpenOffice is the standard office suite
at the computing centre since 2008, installed on 12000 PCs across the
organisation.” Furthermore, the public administrations of the Italian
cities <a href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/node/104084">Todi and Terni
are switching to LibreOffice</a>. They follow the example of the Italian
province of Perugia, using LibreOffice on all of its 1200 PCs and the Perugia
Local Health Authority, which installed the office suite on 600 PCs.</p>
<p><a href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/node/103567">The French public
administration is using a Free Software office suite on 500,000 desktops</a>.
Although they said switching to Free Software was hard, they were able to
handle the problems. The project's success is partly due to two contracts the
ministries have with ICT service providers. The contracts entail support for 260
Free Software applications, and the support team ensures that patches made for
the ministries are contributed back to the software projects.</p>
<p>The Greens in Saxony/Germany <a
href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/node/103307">urge the federal state
government to do a feasibility study on migrating to Free Software</a>. “The
political group, free software users themselves since December 2011, say that
lower IT costs and advantages in IT security should drive public
administrations” to use Free Software. They argue that the dependency on
proprietary software “gives large corporations access to and influence on
official internal workflows, as well as sensitive communication and data of the
state's citizens.”</p>
<h2>Something completely different</h2>
<ul>
<li>Even without the Windows tax mentioned above, you still have to find out if
the computer you want to buy works with Free Software. To improve the
information which hardware is compatible, the <a
href="https://www.fsf.org/news/fsf-and-debian-join-forces-to-help-free-software-users-find-the-hardware-they-need">FSF
and Debian now cooperate to expand and enhance the hardware database h-node</a>
to help users learn and share information about computers that work with Free
Software operating systems.</li>
<li>On our English public mailinglist a discussion about good metaphors for
Free Software is currently taking place. <a
href="https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/discussion/2014-September/010265.html">Hugo
Roy started the thread</a> with some examples. Alessandro Rubini had some <a
href="https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/discussion/2014-September/010295.html">critical
remarks, arguing against the metaphors mentioned</a>. He argues that if we need
a metaphor to explain Free Software to people, we need to remain in the field
of information, of knowledge that can be spread at no cost. In a recent post
Guido Arnold reported good experiences with <a
href="https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/discussion/2014-October/010296.html">using
the recipe analogy with children</a>.</li>
<li>On this year's Software Freedom Day several local FSFE groups were
involved: Edgar Hoffmann organised an <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/fast_edi/?p=476">info booth in front of the
Offenburg town hall, and a mini-community-conference with talks and our Free
Software quiz in the evening</a> (in German, but with lots of pictures).
Dominic Hopf, our Hamburg coordinator, gave a <a
href="http://blog.dmaphy.de/2014/09/software-liberty-is-like-security-in-it.html">talk
at SFD event in Kiel about F-Droid</a>, while Torsten Grote introduced people
to F-Droid at the Berlin SFD event. Also present at this event were Nermin
Canik from Istanbul and your editor to talk with people about software freedom.
Moreover, Michael Stehmann gave a <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/stehmann/?p=1258">talk about Free Software and
privacy at the SFD event in Cologne</a> (in German).</li>
<li>From 13 to 15 October the FSFE will have a booth at Linuxcon in Düsseldorf.
As many Free Software activists will already be around before, our Düsseldorf
Fellowship group invites all Free Software supporters to brunch on 12 October
2014 starting from 11:00 am at bistro <a
href="http://www.bistro-schwesterherz.de/">&quot;Schwesterherz&quot;</a>,
Bilker Allee 66, 40219 Düsseldorf. Thus, a very active time for our local group
there, after participating at a cryptoparty for the <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/stehmann/?p=1227">Commissioner for Data Protection
and Freedom of Information</a> (in German) and <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/stehmann/?p=1247">organising a booth at Zackk
street festival</a> (in German).</li>
<li>Guido Arnold summarised the outcome of FSFE's work shop in Essen, in which
we discussed <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2014/09/how-to-advocate-for-free-software-in-local-politics/">best
practices for doing advocacy work on a local level</a>.</li>
<li>The Free Software developer Matthew Garret is “solidly convinced that Free
Software that does nothing to respect or empower users is an absolute waste of
time”. In <a href="http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/32686.html">his blog</a> he
argues that we need to design software from the ground up in such a way that
those freedoms provide immediate and real benefits to our users. In his
opinion, anything else is a failure.</li>
<li>From the <a href="https://planet.fsfe.org">planet aggregation</a>:</li>
<ul>
<li>Guido Arnold reports from the Teckids workshops at FrOSCon9. More than 60
children from 9 to 13 participated in three different workshops about <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/guido/2014/09/teckids-workshops-at-froscon9-robots-python-games-and-blender/">robots,
python games and Blender</a>.</li>
<li>Max Mehl explains <a
href="http://blog.mehl.mx/2014/setting-openstreetmap-as-default-in-thunderbird-contacts/">how
to use Openstreetmap as default in Thunderbird’s contacts</a> and <a
href="http://blog.mehl.mx/2014/birthday-calendar-with-owncloud-via-caldav/">how
to access ownCloud contacts' birthdays via CalDAV calendar</a>.</li>
<li>Henri Bergius reports from the <a
href="http://bergie.iki.fi/blog/flowhub-kickstarter-delivery/">status of the
NoFlo development environment</a>, a user interface for Flow-Based
programming.</li>
<li>There are some steps you can take in order to avoid having to deal with
Microsoft Office files. However, in some cases you will be forced to deal with
them. Kevin Keijzer documented <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/the_unconventional/2014/09/12/ooxml/">how to make
the best out of Microsoft Office files as Free Software user</a>.</li>
<li>Our current intern Michele Marrali wrote a blog post on <a
href="https://blogs.fsfe.org/puster/2014/09/08/freedom-and-openness-in-hardware/">how
patents, copyright and trademarks can be used to promote freedom in Hardware
projects</a>.</li>
</ul>
</ul>
<h2>Get active: Give feedback about the User Data Manifesto</h2>
<p>Version 2 of <a href="https://userdatamanifesto.org/2.0/">the User Data
Manifesto</a> has been released. The aim of this manifesto is to define the
fundamental rights for users on their own data in the Internet age: to control
access to their data (and metadata), to know how and where the data is stored
and to be free to choose a platform. Some projects are already working towards
supporting the manifesto to give their users these rights! At the moment,
version 2 <a href="http://udm.branchable.com/index.en.html">is published as a
draft on a wiki allowing public comments</a>.</p>
<p>We ask all Free Software supporters to give feedback on the manifesto, so it
can be further improved upon, and we can decide whether we want to support it
as FSFE. Please give feedback yourself, discuss the manifesto <a
href="/contact/community.html">on our discussion lists</a>, and ask other Free
Software organisations for feedback and if they would support it in this form,
too.</p>
<p>Thanks to all the <a href="/contribute/contribute.html">volunteers</a>, <a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">Fellows</a> and
<a href="/donate/thankgnus.html">corporate donors</a> who enable our work,<br/>
<a href="/about/people/kirschner">Matthias Kirschner </a> - <a href="/">FSFE</a></p>
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