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<html newsdate="2015-08-04" type="newsletter">
<title>FSFE Newsletter - August 2015</title>
<body microformats="h-entry">
<h1 class="p-name">FSFE Newsletter - August 2015</h1>
<h2>Reply to EU consultation on copyright, patents, and trade secrets</h2>
<p nesteaser="yes">Earlier this month, FSFE answered to the “Consultation on
the respect of intellectual property in public procurement procedures”,
initiated by the European Commission. According to Commission the initial
purpose of the consultation was to “gather evidence, opinions and feedback
regarding the respect of intellectual property rights and trade secrets in
public procurement procedures”, and assess whether there is a need for a guide
for public authorities in this regard.</p>
<p>In our answer, we restate several issues that need to be addressed in the
overall topic of the consultation. For example on software patents we explained
that it is impossible to procure software that is not violating any patents,
and that the rights of copyright holders should not be devalued by third
parties’ patents. In addition, FSFE argued that every publicly funded software
should be published and distributed as Free Software by default, so that
everyone can use the software for their own purposes and provide better
services for public authorities in return.</p>
<p>Our current trainee Polina Malaja summarised our answers and wrote about the
consultation in her <a
and made our answers available in <a
<h2>How to deal with firmware restrictions</h2>
<p>FSFE's goal is to ensure that the owners of IT devices are always in full
and sole control of them. During the last years this fundamental principle is
being challenged by such developments as <a
“Secure Boot”</a>, or the proprietary BIOS. This is low-level software that
runs when you turn on your computer. It initialises the hardware and may be
designed to restrict users to install software which is not “authorised” by the
manufacturer. This development was also a topic in <a
href="">your editor's
keynote</a> at this year's Akademy in A Coruña/Spain, that gives an insight on
how to resolve these manufactured restrictions.</p>
<p>One of the ways to counter those developments is alternative boot firmware.
There are several ways to have the built-in proprietary firmware replaced with
free analogues. Our fellow Kevin Keijzer explains in detail how to <a
up a beaglebone black to flash Coreboot&quot;</a>, and how to <a
Libreboot on an Lenovo X200 with a Raspberry Pi&quot;</a>. Another fellow André
Ockers explains in his blogpost how he got a <a
T60p with Trisquel and Libreboot</a>.</p>
<p>Beside working on free alternative boot firmware, we also have to look
further into the future. We have to think about how to extend the ideas of Free
Software to hardware. Richard Stallman wrote about this in his article <a
we need free digital hardware designs&quot;</a>.</p>
<h2>Something completely different</h2>
<li>On July 24-26, FSFE held its European Coordinators Meeting 2015 (ECM15) in
Essen. Amongst many topics our coordinators discussed strategy, a proposal to
restructure FSFE's community and communication, as well as our press and
campaign work. For more information please <a
Erik Albers's blogpost</a>.</li>
<li>FSFE's education team <a
href="/freesoftware/education/education.html">updated their
website</a>. Have a look at it, give us feedback, or even better: join our
education team to promote the use of Free Software in schools and
<li>Your editor, Matthias Kirschner, was interviewed before Akademy. The
interview is available on <a
website</a>. It covers questions about your editor's first GNU/Linux
distribution, why he studied politics and management, how he got involved in
FSFE, how Free Software is linked to the progress of society, as well as his
involvement in wild first aid seminars. (Victorhck <a
the interview into Spanish</a>.)</li>
<li>The European Commission <a
href="">published the legislation editor
LEOS as Free Software</a>. It can be used to draft and automatically process
legal texts. Currently the software supports legal texts issued by the EC, yet
can be extended to support other legislative processes.</li>
<li>Two good developments in France: On one hand the French government has
published <a href="">templates</a> to be
used by procurement officers when requesting free software-based ICT solutions.
The templates include Free Software procurement clauses that prompt developers
to organise contributing code. On the other hand, France wants its public
administration to prioritise ODF over Microsoft OOXML format (see <a
article in the Register</a>).</li>
<li>On 3 October 2015 the FSF celebrates its 30th birthday in Boston. That is a
reason to celebrate. As their sister organisation, we invite you to <a
small birthday parties</a> around Europe, too. Let us know if you plan
something, so we promote the celebration.</li>
<li>From the <a href="">planet aggregation</a>:</li>
<li>Riccardo Iaconelli wrote about <a
href="">WikiFM</a>, a
KDE project which aims to bring free and open knowledge to the world, in the
form of textbooks and course notes. It is aimed at students, researchers and
continuous learners, with manuals and content ranging from basic calculus to
“Designing with QML” (already used by High Energy Physics Software
<li>Daniel Pocock explains howto
record live events with your mobile phone and a lapel microphone.</li>
<li>Guido Arnold reported on <a
introducing over 50 000 students to free software</a>, and a <a
in Spain switching to using Ubuntu/Linux</a> for its desktop PCs in class rooms
and offices.</li>
<h2>Get active: Contribute to our static website generator</h2>
<p>Since 2002 FSFE is using a static website generator for our web presence.
The first version was written by Jonas Öberg, who is now FSFE's Executive
Director. Last month we introduced an updated version to the test instance of
our website. In his blog post, FSFE's webmaster Paul Hänsch <a
href="">summarises its new
features, and limitations</a>. So if you are interested to improve FSFE's web
presence on a technical level, read this and get in contact with our web
<p>Thanks to all the <a href="/contribute/contribute.html">volunteers</a>, <a href="">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="/index.html">FSFE</a></p>
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