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FSFE Newsletter - February 2018

lun, 19/02/2018 - 18:00
FSFE Newsletter February 2018Barcelona is the first city council to join the FSFE's "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign

"Funds that come from the citizens have to be invested in systems that can be reused and open to a local ecosystem" says Francesca Bria, Commissioner of Digital Technology and Innovation of Barcelona. She is the driving force behind the City's Digital Transformation Plan, which - among other things - aims to establish the use of Free Software and open data in the city's administration.

Step by step, all key applications shall be replaced with Free Software solutions until the city finally replaces its currently running Windows-system with a suitable GNU/Linux-system. Therewith, Barcelona is heading to achieve and guarantee "complete technological sovereignty" for the municipality. By spring of 2019, when its municipal term of office ends, the City Council has planned to spend 70 percent of its software budget on open-source software.

With this in mind, Barcelona has been the first city council to sign the Open Letter of our "Public Money Public? Code!" campaign. The FSFE is very pleased to see one of European's biggest metropolitan areas moving to Free Software, and we wish Barcelona much success!

I love Free Software Day

Every year, our community celebrates "I Love Free Software Day" on February 14. Our report from this year's celebration is coming soon but we like to say thank you for hundreds of love declarations via social media channels, pictures of people celebrating their favourite Free Software projects like Developers Italia, beautiful artworks like the one from Grise Bouille as well as multiple blog posts informing about the benefits of Free Software. We even found people opening issues on project's development platforms, just to say "Thank You!" on "I love Free Software Day".

Thank you for celebrating with us and stay tuned for the detailed report coming soon.

People celebrating #IloveFS 2018

Join our community of freedom fighters.

What else have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE The day before FOSDEM, the FSFE once again partnered up with OpenForum Europe for the third edition of European Free Software Policy Meeting to discuss the most important current policy issues on European level regarding Free Software. The FSFE country team Italy is running an "Ask your candidates" campaign and sent a set of questions about the use and promotion of Free Software to the participating parties of the Italian national elections, happening on March 4. The "besondere elektronische Anwaltspostfach (beA)" is publicly financed software aiming to establish a secure communication between lawyers in Germany from January 2018. Its usage, however, is currently being withheld for multiple security issues. The FSFE published an open letter to demand the full publication of beA under a Free Software license. At the 34th Chaos Communication Congress the FSFE, together with EDRi, set up a cluster called “Rights & Freedoms” with its own freedom related track. Erik Albers wrote a report about it on his blog. Daniel Pocock, the FSFE community representative, writes about Everything you didn't know about FSFE in a picture in which he analyses overlapping relationships between staffers, Council, community and the General Assembly. Vanitasvitae reports about his trip to XSF-summit, FOSDEM and the importance of XMPP libraries Daniel Pocock distributed an email to the FSFE community in that he reflected the GA membership process, the FSFE's identity process and his personal travels. Sebastian Schauenburg shares his insides on sharing local OsmAnd and Geo URL's Polina Malaja, the FSFE's policy analyst, writes about our response to the PSI Directive public consultation that in short asks to include source code into the list of re-usable public sector information. Do not miss it! Upcoming events with the FSFE

We are happy to see a first local FSFE meet-up happening in Madrid, Spain, on February 22 and on March 3. We wish all participants to spend their time at the meet-up in a positive and fruitful manner. If you are from the area, do not miss it.

By the way: If you miss a local FSFE group in your area but you like to start one, get in contact with our community coordinator Erik Albers who is happy to help you with the first steps.

Get Active

Have you found an interesting Free Software story online that you would like to share? Maybe you have a question that you like to discuss with other Free Software activists? Or you like to announce your upcoming Free Software event or report about a recent one? Then post it on one of our public mailing lists and share it with the community! We currently have active public mailing lists in English, German, Spanish, and Greek.

If you live in Italy, contact your local candidates during their current election-campaigns, point them towards our "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign and ask them the questions that we have also sent to the participating parties or similar ones.

Contribute to our newsletter

If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, send them to us. As always, the address is newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks to our community, all the volunteers, supporters and donors who make our work possible. And thanks to our translators, who enable you to read this newsletter in your mother tongue.

Your editor, Erik Albers

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FSFE Italy asks political parties about their positions on Free Software

dim, 18/02/2018 - 18:00
FSFE Italy asks political parties about their positions on Free Software

In light of the upcoming elections in Italy on March 4th, the FSFE country team Italy sent out multiple questions to the participating parties to challenge them on their position about Free Software in public administration and education. We will publish and analyse their answers once we receive them.

At the Free Software Foundation Europe, we believe that we can and should make Free Software and Open Standards an issue in all elections, be they on a European, national, regional, or local level. That is why the FSFE uses the time in the runup to elections to ask politicians about their stance on Free Software and Open Standards in our Ask Your Candidates framework.

Recently, the FSFE country team Italy sent multiple questions to the participating parties in the Italian general election, happening on March 4th. The questions are about the parties' positions on the use of Free Software and Open Standards within public administrations and their willingness to replace proprietary formats. More questions are about the use of Free Software in public education and about their stand on Art. 68 and 69 of the "Codice Amministrazione Digitale" as well as on net neutrality. We will publish and analyse their answers once we receive them.

"With this campaign we like to remind Italian politicians about the importance of Free Software and the execution of Article 68 and 69 of the Codice Amministrazione Digitale that public administrations are obliged to comply with." says Natale Vinto, FSFE's coordinator Italy. "On the other hand we like to give Italian voters a chance for this election to easily know about the participating parties positions on Free Software."

Background: Art 68 and 69 of the "Codice Amministrazione Digitale" require public administrations in Italy to prefer internally made solutions and Free Software solutions over proprietary ones. Also, they have the duty to share the source code and documentation of self-developed software with public money. Unfortunately, these requirements still lack implementation a lot of times.

These are the questions that have been sent to the participating parties:

What is your position on the use of Free and Open Source Software within the public administration? Are you in favour of making the use of open standards obligatory for public administrations? Are you in favour of introducing the expansion and development of Free and Open Source Software into the school and university curricula? What is your stand in respect to the Digital Administration Code (in particular Art. 68 and 69: "Reuse of open solutions and standards") and in case of agreement, would you still modify anything in it? What is your position or that of your party on net-neutrality?

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European Free Software Policy Meeting 2018: more joint activities important for Free Software in Europe

mer, 14/02/2018 - 18:00
European Free Software Policy Meeting 2018: more joint activities important for Free Software in Europe

Following the well-established tradition of gathering active Free Software groups before FOSDEM kicks off, the FSFE once again partnered up with OpenForum Europe for the third edition of European Free Software Policy Meeting in Brussels, the heart of European decision-making.

This time the purpose of the meeting was to shed light on topics important for Free Software in public policy all over Europe, not only within the European Union; and to exchange experience for any policy action within different regions in case similar concerns for Free Software pop up. Practice shows that they often do, and this is why it is important to be informed about similar actions in other parts of Europe, in order to be able to address corresponding concerns in a timely and effective manner.

17 different groups were represented at the European Free Software Policy Meeting 2018: from national Free Software groups to public sector representatives, and international organisations. Our participants deemed to be a diverse group, yet similar in the challenges we face on both national and European level.

Common challenges for Free Software in Europe and beyond

EU Copyright reform: Article 13 of the current copyright directive proposal can seriously hamper collaborative software development, and especially Free Software, imposing the use of mandatory upload filters, and illegal monitoring of their users. As a result of this proposal code repositories can be arbitrarily removed online. The directive proposal is currently being discussed by co-legislators in the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, which both are struggling to reach an agreement on controversial Article 13. Action within the Member States to "#savecodeshare" is needed more than ever, in order to make sure that decision-makers understand the repercussions of Article 13 for Free Software.

Software patents: while the EU legislation to impose patents on software was rejected back in 2005, patentability of software insinuates itself into policy discussions through other means. In particular, the Unitary Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) may in practice impose the patentability of software in the EU. By now 15 Member States have ratified the UPCA, without such Member States as post-Brexit UK and Germany whose support is necessary in order for the Unitary Patent Court system to start to function. A petition against UPCA ratification was run in the UK, however, there is a need for remaining Member States to be aware of the practical ramifications of UPCA for innovation and especially software business in Europe.

Open Standards: standardisation policies are still being infiltrated by closed standards disguised as "open", and tricky patent licensing practices that are only called "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) in the name of greater innovation. In fact, these practices only dilute the discourse. It is time the term "open standards" is used in accordance with the Free Software definition defined through 4 freedoms, and appropriate Free Software licences as approved by Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative. Otherwise, we will continue facing misconceptions about (un)equal treatment of Free Software in public procurement, where Free Software can be de facto excluded as a result of policies prescribing business models.

Public Money, Public Code: "All publicly funded newly-established software should be made publicly available under Free Software licence". This is the demand that the FSFE together with ca 116 other organisations and Free Software projects, as well as more than 16 000 individuals are asking from politicians. The campaign is aimed at gathering evidence about public expenditure on software and other IT services in public sector, to provide information that is easily understandable for decision-makers, and to equip Free Software activists all over the world with tools to ask their politicians during national elections to make sure that software paid with taxpayers money is made freely available to the public.

Ways to move forward

The meeting once again proved that there is a need to continuously exchange ideas, update each other on concerns and victories for Free Software, and experience we gather while pursuing our mutual goals to maintain the ecosystem for Free Software to flourish. More collaboration and staying informed is necessary in order to establish the "smart network" of Free Software activists all over Europe and beyond, where more joint activities can take place. We will continue to build on that resource to share information, and update each other on activities crucial for Free Software, and to establish meaningful collaborations to address common challenges for Free Software.

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Join the I Love Free Software Day 2018

dim, 11/02/2018 - 18:00
Join the I Love Free Software Day 2018

The Free Software Foundation Europe calls on everyone to say "thank you" to all contributors to Free Software on 14 February. Last year the annual I Love Free Software Day has been committed with offline activism to tell people outside of our filter bubble about the importance of Free Software. This Wednesday, we will go back to our roots and focus on why this day has been invented in the first place: to celebrate the Free Software community.

Sticker for people loving Free Software (order)

Free Software is built upon collaboration and the desire for constant improvement. But over all these bug reports and milestones we sometimes forget to express our gratefulness to all the people making our daily lives so much easier and freer: developers, translators, designers, testers, or documentation writers, for large software suites or small helper tools.

Show your love for Free Software

You don't have to be a techie to benefit from the often invisible work of these people. Take a moment to think about which software made you enjoy your work and private life. Done? Then tell the world! Our campaign website, the last year's report, or the updated gallery of Free Software lovers may give you some inspiration.

Spread the word in the offline world with your friends and colleagues and be part of the #ilovefs crowd in online networks and blogs. Let's enjoy a lovely day packed with thankfulness and creativity!

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Organisationen und Juristen fordern: Das besondere elektronische Anwaltspostfach muss Freie Software werden

jeu, 18/01/2018 - 18:00
Organisationen und Juristen fordern: Das besondere elektronische Anwaltspostfach muss Freie Software werden

Das Vertrauen in das besondere elektronische Anwaltspostfach (beA) hat nach bekannt gewordenen Sicherheitslücken und erheblichen technischen Mängeln das Vertrauen von Juristen und Mandanten verloren. Die Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) übermittelt heute ihren Offenen Brief mit Empfehlungen und Forderungen an die auftraggebende Bundesrechtsanwaltkammer (BRAK) zusammen mit drei weiteren bekannten zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen und 21 Juristen.

Obwohl es der Anspruch des bisher 38 Millionen teuren Projektes ist, eine sichere Ende-zu-Ende-verschlüsselte Kommunikation im Rechtsverkehr zu bieten, wurde spätestens Ende 2017 öffentlich, dass akute Sicherheitsmängel und grundlegende Konstruktionsfehler vorliegen. Auch eine bis heute geheim gehaltene Sicherheitsprüfung von 2015 hat offenbar nicht zu einer ausreichenden Verbesserung beigetragen.

Die Unterzeichner der Forderungen, neben der FSFE der Chaos Computer Club, Digitalcourage, The Document Foundation und eine Vielzahl deutschlandweit aktiver und bekannter Juristen, erwarten daher von der BRAK:

die Veröffentlichung der bisherigen und zukünftigen Entwicklung der beA-Software unter einer gängigen Freie-Software-Lizenz, öffentliche Audits des gesamten Programmcodes durch unabhängige IT-Sicherheitsforscher, Kompatibilität der Software zu allen aktuellen Betriebssystemen (u.a. GNU/Linux, Windows, MacOS).

Ohne diese Voraussetzungen kann das Vertrauen in die Software und somit das ganze Projekt nicht mehr gerettet werden. Mandanten erwarten eine vertrauliche Kommunikation und Juristen benötigen diese, um ihre anwaltliche Pflicht der Verschwiegenheit erfüllen zu können. Zudem stellen die Unterzeichner fest, dass die bisherige Geheimhaltung von Software und Sicherheitsüberprüfungen auch in diesem Fall der IT-Sicherheit mehr geschadet als genutzt hat. Stattdessen hätte von Anfang an auf etablierte Freie-Software-Komponenten und einen transparenten Prozess gesetzt werden sollen.

Dass Freie Software generell für öffentliche digitale Dienstleistungen Standard sein muss, fordert die FSFE auch in ihrer Kampagne "Public Money, Public Code", die bereits von über 16.000 Personen und mehr als 100 Organisationen und Institutionen, darunter der Stadt Barcelona, unterzeichnet wurde.

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Wie das besondere elektronische Anwaltspostfach (beA) noch zu retten ist

mer, 10/01/2018 - 18:00
Wie das besondere elektronische Anwaltspostfach (beA) noch zu retten ist

Das Besondere elektronische Anwaltspostfach sollte eigentlich seit Anfang 2018 verschlüsselte Kommunikation mit und unter Rechtsanwälten ermöglichen. Allerdings sorgen zahlreiche Sicherheitslücken dafür, dass der Dienst vorerst offline bleiben muss. Die Free Software Foundation Europe empfiehlt der auftraggebenden Bundesrechtsanwaltkammer (BRAK), durch die Veröffentlichung des Programmcodes unter einer Freie-Software- und Open-Source-Lizenz verloren gegangenes Vertrauen wiederherzustellen.

Zahlreiche Skandale und ein fragwürdiges Sicherheitsverständnis prägen das Projekt, das sich schon seit einigen Jahren in Entwicklung befindet. Eigentlich müssen Rechtsanwälte seit dem 1. Januar 2018 über diese Software erreichbar sein, doch wegen bekannt gewordener Sicherheitslücken wurde die Plattform auf unbestimmte Zeit vorerst abgeschaltet. So wurde etwa die verschlüsselte Verbindung der Anwender nicht nur über das beA, sondern auch zu sämtlichen anderen Webseiten ausgehebelt. Vor allem aber ist die Ende-zu-Ende-Verschlüsselung, eigentlich Hauptmerkmal der Software, grundlegend gefährdet, da die Bundesrechtsanwaltkammer offenbar Zugang zu allen privaten Schlüsseln und damit den eigentlich vertraulichen Nachrichten ihrer Rechtsanwälte hat. Es steht zu befürchten, dass durch die ebenfalls öffentlich gewordene Implementierung zahlreicher längst veralteter und anfälliger Komponenten weitere Sicherheitslücken existieren.

Obwohl bereits 2015 eine Sicherheitsprüfung durch eine beauftragte Firma stattgefunden hat, dessen Reichweite und Ergebnis allerdings bis heute nicht veröffentlicht wurde, ist die ganz Tragweite der fehlerhaften Programmierung erst kürzlich bekannt geworden. Damit hat das Projekt, das die Rechtsanwälte bisher etwa 38 Millionen Euro kostet, bereits jetzt sein Vertrauen verspielt. Angesichts der zahlreichen Fehler ist die Vertraulichkeit der gesendeten Nachrichten nicht mehr zu gewährleisten – und das, wo die Nutzung der Software ab 2022 für den gesamten Dokumentenverkehr mit Gerichten Pflicht wird.

Freie Software als Grundlage für die Zukunft

An den zahlreichen Problemen des besonderen elektronischen Anwaltspostfachs besteht kein Zweifel. Doch anstatt weiter ihre Mitglieder im Unklaren zu lassen und unabhängige Sicherheitsforscher auszuschließen, sollte die Bundesrechtsanwaltkammer nun die gesamte Software unter einer Freie-Software- und Open-Source-Lizenz veröffentlichen und den weiteren Entwicklungsprozess transparent machen. Nur dadurch kann der erschütterte Vertrauen der Nutzer, also aller Rechtsanwälte, Behörden und Gerichte, langsam wiederhergestellt werden. Die Offenlegung des Programmcodes ermöglicht unabhängigen IT-Experten, bereits frühzeitig potenzielle Sicherheitslücken zu melden, damit diese behoben werden; dass eine Geheimhaltung des Quellcodes und der in Auftrag gegebenen Audits nicht zum gewünschten Ergebnis führen, hat sich nun ein weiteres Mal erwiesen.

Ohnehin ist fraglich, warum nicht von Anfang an auf bereits verfügbare Softwarekomponenten gesetzt wurde, die unter einer Freie-Software-Lizenz verfügbar sind. Für verschlüsselte E-Mails existiert beispielsweise das etablierte und vielfach geprüfte GnuPG, welches sich nahtlos in Mailingprogramme wie Thunderbird einbinden lässt. Spezielle Anforderung wie etwa die verschlüsselte Weiterleitung an Vertretungen und Assistenzen könnten auf dieser Basis ebenfalls als Freie Software veröffentlicht werden und dieselben Vorteile der Transparenz genießen. Warum Freie Software generell für öffentliche digitale Dienste Standard sein sollte, zeigt die FSFE in ihrer aktuellen Public Money, Public Code-Kampagne.

Ganz gleich ob die Bundesrechtsanwaltkammer sich für eine komplette Neuentwicklung der Software oder ehrhebliche Verbesserungen der jetzigen Lösung entscheidet, die Veröffentlichung unter einer freien Lizenz ist unumgänglich, um das Projekt überhaupt noch zu retten und die Sicherheitserwartungen zu gewährleisten.

Sie sind Rechtsanwalt und möchten, dass das beA Freie Software wird? Bitte melden Sie sich bei uns.

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FSFE Newsletter - December 2017 / January 2018

lun, 18/12/2017 - 18:00
FSFE Newsletter - December 2017 / January 20182017: A year full of Free Software

The Free Software Foundation Europe looks back on a very exciting year. While on one hand we managed to take our regular campaigns like I love Free Software and Ask Your Candidates to a new level with extraordinary activities, we also started three new major activities this year that will keep running in 2018 and beyond. These are Public Money Public Code, Save Code Share and the Reuse Initiative.

In the legal field we held the 10th Legal and Licensing Workshop and updated the Fiduciary Licence Agreement to version 2.0. In the technical field, we set up new tools for our community and (co-)developed new tools for our campaigns. All of them are Free Software, of course.

2017 was also a very good year for our outreach. Our community attended 75 events in 11 countries with talks, workshops and booths. In our Berlin office we have welcomed six interns from six different European countries, and our message keeps spreading with new merchandise items and promotional material.

As a result of our joint efforts, we have seen growth in many sectors: in funds, in media attention, and in our community, with the latter being the most important point. The Free Software Foundation Europe could not pursue its mission without the people that make up our community and spread our message. This is a big thank you to all of you: the countless volunteers, supporters and donors who were part of or who made the work of FSFE possible in 2017. Your contributions are priceless and we are doing our best to keep the good work going in 2018!

If you are interested in more details about our activities in 2017, read our yearly report. If you like what we are doing, join the FSFE as a supporter and help us to continue our work for Free Software!

Participants at the FSFE community meeting 2017.

Help us grow and make a difference in 2018

What else have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE Part of a new copyright proposal currently discussed by the European Union is Article 13, which imposes the installation of arbitrary upload filters on every code hosting and sharing provider. Together with over 80 organisations, the FSFE called the EU member states to reject the harmful Article 13 and to Save Code Share. The Dutch government released the source code and documentation of "Basisregistratie Personen", a 100 million Euro IT system that registers information about inhabitants within the Netherlands. The FSFE applauds the Dutch government's move towards releasing publicly financed code as Free Software. Max Mehl, project manager of the FSFE, explains the current status of the FSFE's work on proposed European Radio Lockdown. While the FSFE was not accepted as member of committee, which assists the European Commission with drafting the delegated acts, we keep raising our demand to save users' rights and Free Software, backed by more than 50 civil society organisations. The FSFE submitted its response to the public consultation on the Directive on the re-use of public sector information. In our response we argue that source code needs to be added to the list of 'documents' that governments and other public bodies need to make available for re-use in an open and machine readable format. When it comes to publicly financed software, it should be released to the public under Free Software licences. Thanks to April, the French Free Software association, we now have a French translation of our "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign video. Erik Albers wrote a report of the FSFE's community meeting and the common spirit with some pictures (http://blog.3rik.cc/2017/12/report-about-the-fsfe-community-meeting-2017/) Earlier this year, after a public consultation, we took the decision to change the name of our supporter program, the Fellowship of the FSFE, and talk about our supporters by their true name: Supporters. At the same time as we're completing this change, we're also decommissioning our old Fellowship SmartCard in favor of a brand new FSFE supporter patch. Matthias Kirschner, President of the FSFE, argues in a blogpost as a reply to Scott Peterson from Red Hat, that the terms "Open Source Software" and "Free Software" are referring to the same kind of software but only differ in their emphasis. And that it is challenging to impossible and maybe even unnecessary to find a "neutral" term. Jonas Öberg, Executive Director of the FSFE, introduces the FSFE's forms API in a blogpost, a way to send emails and manage sign-ups on web pages used in the FSFE community. Daniel Pocock, community representative of the FSFE, shared a picture of the fixme.ch hackerspace in Lausanne which promotes the FSFE. Michael Kappes blogs about a group of supporters from the Berlin local FSFE group who went to the FIfF-Konferenz in Jena to set up a booth for the FSFE. Björn Schiessle, German team co-coordinator, blogs about how to achieve practical software freedom in the cloud. We welcome our new associate: Open Labs, Albania FSFE has a new t-shirt celebrating the 100 freedoms of Free Software. Also, we have a lot of other nice shirts and merchandise in our online shop - for Christmas or for any other reason. Thanks to our growing community and the big demand by people around the world to spread the word about the FSFE and Free Software, we are looking for an office assistant as a part-time job to help us with packing and posting. In 2018, again, we are looking for students who can join our team in Berlin for three months or more as a mandatory part of their studies or before graduation. Do not miss it! Upcoming events with the FSFE

As in recent years, the FSFE will be present with an FSFE assembly at the Chaos Communication Congress, one of the biggest technology related events in Europe. The assembly will be equipped with current merchandise and promotional material, run a Free Software track, invite people to play a Free Software game or to join us in several Free Software song sing-along sessions. After all, the assembly shall be a place for our community to get together and connect with each other. If you are attending Chaos Communication Congress too, use this opportunity to meet and get to know the people behind FSFE, including volunteers and staffers.

As usual, find all the other future events with or by the FSFE listed on our events page.

Get Active

Use the vacation time to read our yearly report and share it among your friends. Let people know about the importance of Free Software and why they should care about it. Tell them that people around the world form communities with the aim to bring technological freedom, transparency, knowledge and emancipation to everyone. Spread the word about the four freedoms and if possible, help others to exercise their freedoms too. Join our cause.

Contribute to our newsletter

If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, send them to us. As always, the address is newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks to our community, all the volunteers, supporters and donors who make our work possible. And thanks to our translators, who enable you to read this newsletter in your mother tongue.

Your editor, Erik Albers

Help us grow and make a difference in 2018

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FSFE releases refreshed set of REUSE practices and a tool to help developers comply

lun, 18/12/2017 - 18:00
FSFE releases refreshed set of REUSE practices and a tool to help developers comply

The REUSE Initiative has received an updated set of practices that simplify the process of declaring copyright and licence information. To help facilitate developers with updating their projects, the FSFE has also published a tool that verifies whether a project is compliant.

Copyright and licensing is difficult. Finding out the exact copyright and licence of a piece of code is often times more difficult than it should be. Missing or scattered licence information makes it very labour-intensive to verify whether you can legally use a piece of code. For a thorough legal review, you have to manually check every file for licence information, and every file has a different way of declaring its copyright and licence.

But what if we could automate this? That is what the REUSE Initiative postulates. By defining a standard for copyright and licence declaration, the legal process of complying with licences becomes a lot easier. Simply include a standard, computer-readable header tag to every file, and extracting the licence information should be as simple as running a parser.

Earlier in October, we released a set of practices towards that end. Now, we have updated those practices to streamline them some. To accompany the streamlined changes, we have published a tool for developers to check whether they comply with our recommendations.

The primary change between the old version and the new is that you no longer need to declare two tags; only one. 'License-Filename' has been deprecated, and instead its functionality has been rolled into 'SPDX-License-Identifier'. This is more in line with existing projects, and is less effort to boot.

Complying with the REUSE recommendations is very simple. Why not give it a spin? We would love to hear from you.

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Radio Lockdown: Current Status of Your Device Freedom

lun, 11/12/2017 - 18:00
Radio Lockdown: Current Status of Your Device Freedom

For more than two years the Free Software Foundation Europe has worked on the issue of Radio Lockdown introduced by a European directive which may hinder users to load software on their radio devices like mobile phones, laptops and routers. We have informed the public and talked to decision makers to fix critical points of the directive. There is still much to do to protect freedom and IT security in our radio devices. Read about the latest proceedings and the next steps.

In 2014, the European Parliament passed the Radio Equipment Directive which, among other regulations, make vendors of radio hardware responsible for preventing users from installing software which may alter the devices' radio parameters to break applicable radio regulations. While we share the desire to keep radio frequencies clean, the directive's approach will have negative implications on users' rights and Free Software, fair competition, innovation and the environment – mostly without equal benefits for security.

[R]adio equipment [shall support] certain features in order to ensure that software can only be loaded into the radio equipment where the compliance of the combination of the radio equipment and software has been demonstrated. – Article 3(3)(i) of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU

This concern is shared by more than 50 organisations and businesses which signed our Joint Statement against Radio Lockdown, a result of our ongoing exchange and cooperation with the Free Software community in Europe and beyond.

The Radio Equipment Directive was put in effect in June 2017, but the classes of devices affected by the controversial Article 3(3)(i), which causes the Radio Lockdown, have not yet been defined. This means the directive doesn't concern any existing hardware yet. The definition of what hardware devices are covered will be decided on by the European Commission through a delegated act and is expected to be finished at the earliest by the end of 2018.

The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 44 specifying which categories or classes of radio equipment are concerned by each of the requirements [...] – Article 3(3), paragraph 2 of 2014/53/EU

However, that list is already being prepared in the Expert Group on Reconfigurable Radio Systems, a body of member state authorities, organisations, and individuals whose task is to assist the European Commission with drafting the delegated acts to activate Article 3(3)(i). The FSFE applied to become a member of this committee but was rejected. The concerns that the members of the Expert Group do not sufficiently represent the civil society and the broad range of software users has also been raised during a recent meeting in the European Parliament.

Nevertheless, we are working together with organisations and companies to protect user freedoms on radio devices and keep in touch with members of the expert group. For example, we have shared our expertise for case studies and impact assessments drafted by the group members. We are also looking forward to a public consultation phase to officially present our arguments and improvement suggestions and allow other entities to share their opinion.

All our activities aim to protect Free Software and user rights on current and future radio devices. This is more important than ever since only a few members of the expert group seem to understand the importance of loading software on radio devices for IT security, for example critical updates on hardware which is not or only sporadically maintained by the original vendor. We will continue our efforts to make decision makers understand that Free Software (a.k.a. Open Source Software) is crucial for network security, science, education, and technical innovation. Therefore, broad exceptions in the class definition are necessary.

Conducting such lengthy policy activities requires a lot of resources for non-profit organisations like the FSFE. Please consider helping us by joining as an individual supporter today or a corporate donor to enable our work.

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Equip yourself for 2018: Get FSFE's new t-shirt celebrating the 100 freedoms of Free Software!

dim, 10/12/2017 - 18:00
Equip yourself for 2018: Get FSFE's new t-shirt celebrating the 100 freedoms of Free Software!

Wear this t-shirt as an icebreaker to explain binary counting and Free Software to your friends—and look good doing it!

The t-shirts are available in geeky green-on-black and in a softer pink or orange. The t-shirts are 100% organic and fair trade.

Check out the new t-shirts in our online shop or at one of our booths.

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
Make a one time donation

FSFE Yearly Report 2017

mer, 06/12/2017 - 18:00
FSFE Yearly Report 2017

The yearly report of the Free Software Foundation Europe gives you a breakdown in one document of important things we have done and achieved during the last 12 months. Read on to find out about our activities, the campaigns we have run, the events we have visited or organised, the groups we have helped, and what resources we counted on to do it.

Table of content

What we have done in 2017 FSFE's 2017 in numbers The people behind FSFE At the end What we have done in 2017Public Money, Public Code

In September, we launched our Public Money, Public Code campaign. The idea is simple: Software created using taxpayers' money should be available under a free licence for everybody.

To drive our campaign, we have set up a campaign siteand published an open letter that everyone can sign to support our demand. To boost virality and help everyone understand the benefits of public bodies publishing their source code under free licences, we made a video (Webpage / Download / Vimeo / YouTube) explaining the situation. So far it is available in English, German and French, with more languages to come.

This campaign is ongoing and still in its early stages. In fact, we intend to continue it well into 2019 at least, so as to raise awareness among candidates for the elections to the European Parliament. At the moment of writing, we have collected over 14,000 signatures of our open letter. Among the signatories are national representatives and European Parliament Members, and we have received endorsements from over 100 organisations and prominent players in the IT field, including security expert Edward Snowden.

Our goal is to get elected officials to commit to policy and legislations that make publicly funded software free software by default. To that effect, we contacted ~1000 candidates for the German Federal Parliament elections and asked the addressees to "implement legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for public sector [...] be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence." from the candidates who contacted us that they support our claim, 19 are now members of parliament. Beside that the whole parliamentary group of the German Green party responded to our campaign in a public letter, stating their support for our demand.

We will keep raising awareness for our demand in upcoming elections. To help us, sign the open letter yourself, spread the word about the campaign and increase our funding.

Save Code Share

A new copyright proposal is currently being discussed by the EU co-legislators. Part of this proposal is Article 13, an item that will hamper our ability to collaborate with each other online. Article 13 mandates that all online hosting service providers must install an upload filter that blocks any works from being uploaded that may constitute a copyright violation and must monitor their users as well as actively seek possible copyright infringements. These fundamentally flawed filtering algorithms will ultimately decide what code developers should be allowed to share. Beside all the problems upload filters come with, there are no known filtering technologies that could accurately and reliably identify whether Free Software code is being shared in accordance with its terms and conditions.

To combat this legislation, we launched a website to Save Code Share in collaboration with Open Forum Europe. We aim to raise awareness of the topic and work to change the proposed legislation. We published a white paper to explain Article 13's impact on free software developers and communities, and an Open Letter that has already been signed by more than 6000 individuals, organisations and companies.

While the European Parliament prepares to vote on its main negotiating position regarding the EU copyright directive proposal in the beginning of 2018, several parliamentary committees have already issued their opinions on Article 13. Together with Open Forum Europe, we put pressure on the vote in Civil Liberties Committee that rejected the use of upload filters when it comes to hosting works online. Now, we have to make sure that the main parliamentary effort takes our concerns into consideration, and rejects Article 13 from its negotiating position with the co-legislators in the EU Council.

REUSE Initiative REUSE Initiativebest practices for conveying copyright and licence information

The website hosts a video (Webpage / Download / Vimeo) that explains the three simple steps involved in making a project REUSE compliant. Developers will also find extra resources. To demonstrate the ease of making a project compliant in practice, we host a number of repositories] that are REUSE compliant.

Furthermore, the FSFE is writing and providing a tool that will help developers make their software REUSE compliant. The goal is to package the tool into the repositories of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions, so that the barriers for adoption are as low as possible.

Do you like what we are doing? Then become a supporter and help us to make a difference in 2018!

10th Legal and Licensing Workshop

Free Software licences are just as important as free code. The Free Software movement would not survive without the legal documents that allow and enforce software to be freely shared and modified. The Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) is probably the most important Free Software event you have never heard of. It is aimed at the niche made up by legal experts and professionals that work with the legal system supporting Free Software.

In 2017 we held the workshop's 10th edition in Barcelona. For us this is a landmark because we have managed to get the top legal experts from a wide variety of communities, public institutions and industries travel from all over the world to come together in an event like no other in the Free Software sector. This year's LLW compliance track was all about the tools used to enforce licences and how companies can support them.

Free Software in public administrations was another important topic discussed during the event. The aim was to discover ways of how public administrations could be more transparent and more responsible with the funds when financing the development of software. The ideas legal professionals walked away with will deeply affect society as a whole.

Fiduciary Licence Agreement 2.0

The FSFE acknowledges that the licensing of code has been well served by Free Software licences, but managing rights and content within a project over long periods of time is still a complex issue. To fix this, the FSFE has drafted the Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA), a well-balanced contributor agreement which gives the trustee, responsible for managing the rights within a Free Software project, power and responsibility to make sure the contributed software always remains free and open. This ensures that the project, together with all the respective contributors, are protected against any misuse of power by a new copyright holder.

This year we have updated the Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA) to version 2.0 which now also covers patents, and has been reworded to be compatible with more jurisdictions and to be easier to read.

We have joined forces with ContributorAgreements.org and integrated the FLA-2.0 into its Copyright Licensing Agreement (CLA) chooser/generator. This makes the use of the FLA easier both for projects and for developers

FLA 2.0 makes it easier to ensure that contributed software always remains free.

European Free Software Policy Meeting

Apart from travelling with our booth to the community's favourite event, the day before the opening of FOSDEM, we hosted the second European Free Software Policy Meeting. We met with Sebastian Raible, parliamentary assistant to Julia Reda, MP of the EU for the German Pirate party; Pierre Damas, Head of Sector, Digital Services at the Directorate General of Information Technologies of the European Commission; Jaana Sahk-Labi from the Estonian Permanent Representation to the EU; Laurent Joubert from the French government; and members of other Free Software advocating organisations.

Together we discussed the progress of the Free and Open Source Software Audit (or FOSSA) programme, some of the Commission's plans for updating its Open Source Software Strategy, and national projects to promote Free Software in public administration and businesses.

Ask your candidates

The FSFE's community participated in the political campaigns during the Dutch general elections, the state of North-Rhine Westphalia as well as the German federal elections.

Our team from the Netherlands developed freedomvote.nl to give voters orientation on internet policies and Free Software. A similar tool was developed by the FSFE together with a "Free Knowledge Coalition" for the German federal elections; the "Digital-o-Mat". This tool made it into the news of multiple national media agencies as well as the public television and attracted tens of thousands of visitors to inform themselves about internet policy topics and Free Software.We also asked political parties in the German elections about their position on Free Software in our "Ask your candidates" campaign-framework.

Do you like what we are doing? Then become a supporter and help us to make a difference in 2018!

New git hosting service: git.fsfe.org

Sharing knowledge and collaboration are two of the core principle in the Free Software society. To encourage both, This year, the FSFE opened a Git hosting service for our supporters with Gitea as a web interface.

By visiting git.fsfe.org, you can share and collaborate on a platform that fully respects your freedoms. Using the graphical web interface, you can open issue reports for bugs or feature requests. git.fsfe.org can host individual projects; complex multi-project repositories for organisations, or act as a mirror for another Git repository hosted elsewhere, like on GitHub or GitLab.

FreedomBox Install Fest in the FSFE Village during SHA 2017.

Investigate Europe

We supported a network of journalists to uncover the degree at which Europe's public infrastructure is dependent on proprietary software from one single provider: Microsoft. Published in 13 newspapers, magazines and online media outlets in nine different languages, the report laid bare how one company has a stranglehold on our public institutions and the negative impact this has on our budgets and freedoms. The FSFE provided the investigative journalists with leads, data and testimonials we had accumulated over years and that served as the backbone to the story.

LiMux: A Lighthouse goes Dark

This year Munich's new mayor, Dieter Reiter, a self-confessed "fan of Microsoft", went out of his way to undermine the work carried out by the administration to migrate away from their proprietary IT framework and pushed for a return to proprietary software on all levels. The FSFE president Matthias Kirschner explained the background to this decision in several talks, for example at the openSUSE Conference 2017 in May, with the intent of spreading insight and awareness to other organisations and Free Software advocates.

Along with The Document Foundation, KDE, and OSBA, we campaigned to keep Free Software in the city of Munich. We reached out to all members of the city council prior to the public hearing and we sent a call for action to our German speaking supporters, asking them to get in contact with politicians. The reaction was phenomenal. During the public hearing, politicians quoted some of our questions, and said that they had never received as much input from citizens and the press before. Unfortunately, all this public pressure did not alter their decision to transition away from LiMux, Microsoft Exchange had been phased in during the talks, and the decision to switch back to proprietary software has been taken.

Taking the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign out onto the streets of Berlin.

Although this is sad to see, we should use this as an opportunity to evaluate the LiMux case, and see what we -- as the Free Software Community can learn from it -- for future migrations in the public administration. In his talks Matthias raised questions to support an evaluation by the Free Software community.

Do you like what we are doing? Then become a supporter and help us to make a difference in 2018!

FSFE's 2017 in numbers

Having precise data will help you visualise what resources we use to carry out our activities. With that in mind, the next section reduces FSFE's 2017 to figures and numbers. (As a sidenote: A lot of the data in this section, for example the number from our budget, refers to 2016 because it only became available when 2016 was over, that is, in 2017.)

Booth, events and PR

The FSFE has attended no less than 75 events in the last twelve months. The events we attended were of all sizes, from meetups organised by local Free Software groups, to big fairs set up by public institutions and industries, to outdoor non-profit camps. Many take our representatives all over Europe and, in the last year, the FSFE has attended events in 11 countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Albania, Austria, Sweden, Portugal, Belgium, Greece and the USA. Apart from speaking and listening to others speak, we also set up our booth at 15 venues.

The FSFE village during SHA Camp 2017 in the Netherlands.

At our booth you can also get stickers, flyers and balloons. These promote Free Software, warn about clouds, advise on using free formats, and so on. In fact, you don't have to visit our booth to get your hands on these goodies: you can ask us yourself for a boxful for your own event at no cost. In the last 12 months we have sent out 233 boxes for the recipient. Since we are talking about rather big boxes, this amounts to literally thousands of stickers, flyers and other goodies.

Budget

In 2017 we got the final data for the 2016 budget and can reveal now that, over the last four years, FSFE's income came to between 350,000 and 450,000 euros, but in 2016 the amount went up to nearly 650,000 euros, which was a nice surprise. That is over a 45% increase with regard to 2015. Most of the growth can be attributed to extraordinary donations from our generous sponsors (up by over 83%), including an inheritance from a person who wants to stay anonymous, but the supporters contributions have also increased and have done so every year, not even flagging in the worst of the economic crisis.

That said, at the FSFE we try to be as a frugal as possible and, although costs went up a bit in 2016, the increase didn't reach 9% with regard to 2015. The biggest costs in 2016 were in our efforts to increase public awareness, where we spent 142,965 euros; our basic infrastructure costs that includes among other things our personell and office costs for management and administration where we spent 130,082 euros and our legal work where we spent 117,336 euros.

FSFE's costs in recent years.

FSFE's revenues in recent years.

Proportionally, the biggest growth in costs happened in the Merchandising department, which grew 16%, from 32,142 euros in 2015 to 37,464 euros in 2016. This is in line with the amount of merchandising we gave and sold to our friends and followers, which increased by 13% from 2015. This is good news, since, as our main aim for merchandising is to spread our message as far and wide as possible, this shows that year after year, the number of people that are made aware of our campaigns and activities grows.

Our best selling garment is without a doubt the black "There is no cloud..." T-shirt. So far in 2017 we have sold 450 of this smart and relevant item of clothing. But clothes are far from the only kind of merchandising the FSFE distributes.

The people behind FSFE

Beyond events and numbers, FSFE is about the people that make up our community. In this sections we would like to introduce you to our comunity and some of our members that too often don't get all the credit they deserve.

Attendees of FSFE community meeting 2017.

Do you like what we are doing? Then become a supporter and help us to make a difference in 2018!

Our community

There are 5 full time employees at the FSFE: Ulrike Sliwinski is our Office Manager and the person you are most likely to talk to if your phone our office; Polina Malaja is the coordinator of the legal team and our Policy Analyst; Erik Albers is our communications and community coordinator; Jonas Öberg is the FSFE's executive director; and, finally, there's Matthias Kirschner who is the president. We also employ 1 part-time employee: Max Mehl, who is our program manager and deputy coordinator of translations. This team is joined by interns for three or more months to work on specific projects and help out in general as well as occasional contractors for specific tasks. This year our interns have been: Olga Gkotsopoulou, Fernando Sanjurjo, Erik da Silva, Jonke Suhr, Carmen Bianca Bakker and Kristi Progri.

The Executive Council is the body that actually executes the wishes of the members. Currently, there are 4 members in the Council: Matthias Kirschner (President), Jonas Öberg (Executive Director), Patrick Ohnewein (Financial Officer) and Heiki Lõhmus (Vice President and Translations Coordinator).

The FSFE's formal members are responsible for planning, budgeting, setting the agenda and electing and recalling of the Executive Council and the Financial Officer. During 2017, we counted on 28 members, including the the 2 prior presidents, Georg Greve and Karsten Gerloff, and the 4 members of the Executive Council.

Then we have our European Core Team, consisting of the formal members plus another 15 individuals from all over Europe, and they are the people that carry out the day-to-day tasks of the organisation on a voluntary or paid basis on core issues and coordinate the many volunteers that support Free Software.

Finally we have the all important supporters. Supporters are sympathisers that have decided to officially support the FSFE by joining our supporter program. During 2017 we surpassed the 1,600 mark and now have supporters in more than 40 countries around the world, including most European countries as well as the Unites States and Australia.

Introducing some of our individualsReinhard Müller

Reinhard is from Lustenau, Vorarlberg, in Austria and has been part of the FSFE for over more than 10 years. Reinhard has always carried out anonymous, often ungrateful tasks that don't get much visibility, but, without which, the FSFE would grind to a halt.

He started out maintaining the FSFE's website, coordinating the translation team and taking care of the Fellowship database. Then, from 2007 to 2017, he took over the financial side as FSFE's official Financial Officer. In that role, Reinhard has done everything related to managing the Foundation's money, from okaying invoices, to filing out our taxes.

However, that hasn't made Reinhard an antisocial hermit, always poring over dusty books with ink-stained fingers. Quite the contrary: if there is something Reinhard enjoys more than columns and columns of figures it is direct contact with people at events. Reinhard loves participating in fairs and tradeshows at the FSFE booth. Next time you are at Linuxtage or FOSDEM, be sure to come by and say hello. You may get lucky and witness Reinhard's legendary T-shirt folding capabilities in action and live. Something worth beholding.

Ulrike Sliwinski

But, talking of booth service and merchandise, if there is one person you can always rely on to get you sweaters and stickers, that is Ulrike. Ulrike joined the FSFE as an office assistant in 2014 on part-time contract. When we realised how much she brought to the job, we quickly asked her to become our full time office manager.

Ulrike, as Reinhard, carries out tasks that are largely invisible to the outside world, but without which the FSFE simply wouldn't be able to run. If you phone the FSFE up for any reason, it will probably be Ulrike who solves your problem. If you ask for one of our boxes of stickers and flyers for you event, it is Ulrike who packs it and sends it off.

Ulrike has been described by some of her colleagues as the "personification of German efficiency" and as someone who will not leave a task alone until it is completed to her entire satisfaction. But Ulrike is also kind, helpful and friendly, making her the perfect host for our office and booth.

André Ockers

One of the FSFE's main missions is to raise awareness among the general public, in companies, in the public sector, and among politicians. Stating the obvious, the first step towards effectively raising awareness, is putting out your messages in the language of your target audience.

That is where people like André come in. André translates most, if not all, FSFE's output into Dutch, and he does so unprompted. André translated more than 80% of FSFE's site into Dutch, and you can expect him to have a translation of every news item or press release we put out within eight hours.

André represents all of those selfless heroes that year in and year out help us reach people of all countries in their native languages.

At the end

We like to send a big big thank you out to our community, all the countless volunteers, supporters and donors who who made the work of FSFE possible in 2017. Your contributions are priceless and we do our best to keep the good work going in 2018.

If you like what we are doing, join the FSFE as a supporter and help us working for Free Software!

Your Free Software Foundation Europe

FSFE in action! (Picture CC-BY-SA 2.0 by Julie Missbutterflies)

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
Make a one time donation

FSFE Yearly Report 2017

mer, 06/12/2017 - 18:00
FSFE Yearly Report 2017

The yearly report of the Free Software Foundation Europe gives you a breakdown in one document of important things we have done and achieved during the last 12 months. Read on to find out about our activities, the campaigns we have run, the events we have visited or organised, the groups we have helped, and what resources we counted on to do it.

Table of content

What we have done in 2017 FSFE's 2017 in numbers The people behind FSFE At the end What we have done in 2017Public Money, Public Code

In September, we launched our Public Money, Public Code campaign. The idea is simple: Software created using taxpayers' money should be available under a free licence for everybody.

To drive our campaign, we have set up a campaign siteand published an open letter that everyone can sign to support our demand. To boost virality and help everyone understand the benefits of public bodies publishing their source code under free licences, we made a video (Webpage / Download / Vimeo / YouTube) explaining the situation. So far it is available in English, German and French, with more languages to come.

This campaign is ongoing and still in its early stages. In fact, we intend to continue it well into 2019 at least, so as to raise awareness among candidates for the elections to the European Parliament. At the moment of writing, we have collected over 14,000 signatures of our open letter. Among the signatories are national representatives and European Parliament Members, and we have received endorsements from over 100 organisations and prominent players in the IT field, including security expert Edward Snowden.

Our goal is to get elected officials to commit to policy and legislations that make publicly funded software free software by default. To that effect, we contacted ~1000 candidates for the German Federal Parliament elections and asked the addressees to "implement legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for public sector [...] be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence." from the candidates who contacted us that they support our claim, 19 are now members of parliament. Beside that the whole parliamentary group of the German Green party responded to our campaign in a public letter, stating their support for our demand.

We will keep raising awareness for our demand in upcoming elections. To help us, sign the open letter yourself, spread the word about the campaign and increase our funding.

Save Code Share

A new copyright proposal is currently being discussed by the EU co-legislators. Part of this proposal is Article 13, an item that will hamper our ability to collaborate with each other online. Article 13 mandates that all online hosting service providers must install an upload filter that blocks any works from being uploaded that may constitute a copyright violation and must monitor their users as well as actively seek possible copyright infringements. These fundamentally flawed filtering algorithms will ultimately decide what code developers should be allowed to share. Beside all the problems upload filters come with, there are no known filtering technologies that could accurately and reliably identify whether Free Software code is being shared in accordance with its terms and conditions.

To combat this legislation, we launched a website to Save Code Share in collaboration with Open Forum Europe. We aim to raise awareness of the topic and work to change the proposed legislation. We published a white paper to explain Article 13's impact on free software developers and communities, and an Open Letter that has already been signed by more than 6000 individuals, organisations and companies.

While the European Parliament prepares to vote on its main negotiating position regarding the EU copyright directive proposal in the beginning of 2018, several parliamentary committees have already issued their opinions on Article 13. Together with Open Forum Europe, we put pressure on the vote in Civil Liberties Committee that rejected the use of upload filters when it comes to hosting works online. Now, we have to make sure that the main parliamentary effort takes our concerns into consideration, and rejects Article 13 from its negotiating position with the co-legislators in the EU Council.

REUSE Initiative REUSE Initiativebest practices for conveying copyright and licence information

The website hosts a video (Webpage / Download / Vimeo) that explains the three simple steps involved in making a project REUSE compliant. Developers will also find extra resources. To demonstrate the ease of making a project compliant in practice, we host a number of repositories] that are REUSE compliant.

Furthermore, the FSFE is writing and providing a tool that will help developers make their software REUSE compliant. The goal is to package the tool into the repositories of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions, so that the barriers for adoption are as low as possible.

Do you like what we are doing? Then become a supporter and help us to make a difference in 2018!

10th Legal and Licensing Workshop

Free Software licences are just as important as free code. The Free Software movement would not survive without the legal documents that allow and enforce software to be freely shared and modified. The Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) is probably the most important Free Software event you have never heard of. It is aimed at the niche made up by legal experts and professionals that work with the legal system supporting Free Software.

In 2017 we held the workshop's 10th edition in Barcelona. For us this is a landmark because we have managed to get the top legal experts from a wide variety of communities, public institutions and industries travel from all over the world to come together in an event like no other in the Free Software sector. This year's LLW compliance track was all about the tools used to enforce licences and how companies can support them.

Free Software in public administrations was another important topic discussed during the event. The aim was to discover ways of how public administrations could be more transparent and more responsible with the funds when financing the development of software. The ideas legal professionals walked away with will deeply affect society as a whole.

Fiduciary Licence Agreement 2.0

The FSFE acknowledges that the licensing of code has been well served by Free Software licences, but managing rights and content within a project over long periods of time is still a complex issue. To fix this, the FSFE has drafted the Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA), a well-balanced contributor agreement which gives the trustee, responsible for managing the rights within a Free Software project, power and responsibility to make sure the contributed software always remains free and open. This ensures that the project, together with all the respective contributors, are protected against any misuse of power by a new copyright holder.

This year we have updated the Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA) to version 2.0 which now also covers patents, and has been reworded to be compatible with more jurisdictions and to be easier to read.

We have joined forces with ContributorAgreements.org and integrated the FLA-2.0 into its Copyright Licensing Agreement (CLA) chooser/generator. This makes the use of the FLA easier both for projects and for developers

FLA 2.0 makes it easier to ensure that contributed software always remains free.

European Free Software Policy Meeting

Apart from travelling with our booth to the community's favourite event, the day before the opening of FOSDEM, we hosted the second European Free Software Policy Meeting. We met with Sebastian Raible, parliamentary assistant to Julia Reda, MP of the EU for the German Pirate party; Pierre Damas, Head of Sector, Digital Services at the Directorate General of Information Technologies of the European Commission; Jaana Sahk-Labi from the Estonian Permanent Representation to the EU; Laurent Joubert from the French government; and members of other Free Software advocating organisations.

Together we discussed the progress of the Free and Open Source Software Audit (or FOSSA) programme, some of the Commission's plans for updating its Open Source Software Strategy, and national projects to promote Free Software in public administration and businesses.

Ask your candidates

The FSFE's community participated in the political campaigns during the Dutch general elections, the state of North-Rhine Westphalia as well as the German federal elections.

Our team from the Netherlands developed freedomvote.nl to give voters orientation on internet policies and Free Software. A similar tool was developed by the FSFE together with a "Free Knowledge Coalition" for the German federal elections; the "Digital-o-Mat". This tool made it into the news of multiple national media agencies as well as the public television and attracted tens of thousands of visitors to inform themselves about internet policy topics and Free Software.We also asked political parties in the German elections about their position on Free Software in our "Ask your candidates" campaign-framework.

Do you like what we are doing? Then become a supporter and help us to make a difference in 2018!

New git hosting service: git.fsfe.org

Sharing knowledge and collaboration are two of the core principle in the Free Software society. To encourage both, This year, the FSFE opened a Git hosting service for our supporters with Gitea as a web interface.

By visiting git.fsfe.org, you can share and collaborate on a platform that fully respects your freedoms. Using the graphical web interface, you can open issue reports for bugs or feature requests. git.fsfe.org can host individual projects; complex multi-project repositories for organisations, or act as a mirror for another Git repository hosted elsewhere, like on GitHub or GitLab.

FreedomBox Install Fest in the FSFE Village during SHA 2017.

Investigate Europe

We supported a network of journalists to uncover the degree at which Europe's public infrastructure is dependent on proprietary software from one single provider: Microsoft. Published in 13 newspapers, magazines and online media outlets in nine different languages, the report laid bare how one company has a stranglehold on our public institutions and the negative impact this has on our budgets and freedoms. The FSFE provided the investigative journalists with leads, data and testimonials we had accumulated over years and that served as the backbone to the story.

LiMux: A Lighthouse goes Dark

This year Munich's new mayor, Dieter Reiter, a self-confessed "fan of Microsoft", went out of his way to undermine the work carried out by the administration to migrate away from their proprietary IT framework and pushed for a return to proprietary software on all levels. The FSFE president Matthias Kirschner explained the background to this decision in several talks, for example at the openSUSE Conference 2017 in May, with the intent of spreading insight and awareness to other organisations and Free Software advocates.

Along with The Document Foundation, KDE, and OSBA, we campaigned to keep Free Software in the city of Munich. We reached out to all members of the city council prior to the public hearing and we sent a call for action to our German speaking supporters, asking them to get in contact with politicians. The reaction was phenomenal. During the public hearing, politicians quoted some of our questions, and said that they had never received as much input from citizens and the press before. Unfortunately, all this public pressure did not alter their decision to transition away from LiMux, Microsoft Exchange had been phased in during the talks, and the decision to switch back to proprietary software has been taken.

Taking the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign out onto the streets of Berlin.

Although this is sad to see, we should use this as an opportunity to evaluate the LiMux case, and see what we -- as the Free Software Community can learn from it -- for future migrations in the public administration. In his talks Matthias raised questions to support an evaluation by the Free Software community.

Do you like what we are doing? Then become a supporter and help us to make a difference in 2018!

FSFE's 2017 in numbers

Having precise data will help you visualise what resources we use to carry out our activities. With that in mind, the next section reduces FSFE's 2017 to figures and numbers. (As a sidenote: A lot of the data in this section, for example the number from our budget, refers to 2016 because it only became available when 2016 was over, that is, in 2017.)

Booth, events and PR

The FSFE has attended no less than 75 events in the last twelve months. The events we attended were of all sizes, from meetups organised by local Free Software groups, to big fairs set up by public institutions and industries, to outdoor non-profit camps. Many take our representatives all over Europe and, in the last year, the FSFE has attended events in 11 countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Albania, Austria, Sweden, Portugal, Belgium, Greece and the USA. Apart from speaking and listening to others speak, we also set up our booth at 15 venues.

The FSFE village during SHA Camp 2017 in the Netherlands.

At our booth you can also get stickers, flyers and balloons. These promote Free Software, warn about clouds, advise on using free formats, and so on. In fact, you don't have to visit our booth to get your hands on these goodies: you can ask us yourself for a boxful for your own event at no cost. In the last 12 months we have sent out 233 boxes for the recipient. Since we are talking about rather big boxes, this amounts to literally thousands of stickers, flyers and other goodies.

Budget

In 2017 we got the final data for the 2016 budget and can reveal now that, over the last four years, FSFE's income came to between 350,000 and 450,000 euros, but in 2016 the amount went up to nearly 650,000 euros, which was a nice surprise. That is over a 45% increase with regard to 2015. Most of the growth can be attributed to extraordinary donations from our generous sponsors (up by over 83%), including an inheritance from a person who wants to stay anonymous, but the supporters contributions have also increased and have done so every year, not even flagging in the worst of the economic crisis.

That said, at the FSFE we try to be as a frugal as possible and, although costs went up a bit in 2016, the increase didn't reach 9% with regard to 2015. The biggest costs in 2016 were in our efforts to increase public awareness, where we spent 142,965 euros; our basic infrastructure costs that includes among other things our personell and office costs for management and administration where we spent 130,082 euros and our legal work where we spent 117,336 euros.

FSFE's costs in recent years.

FSFE's revenues in recent years.

Proportionally, the biggest growth in costs happened in the Merchandising department, which grew 16%, from 32,142 euros in 2015 to 37,464 euros in 2016. This is in line with the amount of merchandising we gave and sold to our friends and followers, which increased by 13% from 2015. This is good news, since, as our main aim for merchandising is to spread our message as far and wide as possible, this shows that year after year, the number of people that are made aware of our campaigns and activities grows.

Our best selling garment is without a doubt the black "There is no cloud..." T-shirt. So far in 2017 we have sold 450 of this smart and relevant item of clothing. But clothes are far from the only kind of merchandising the FSFE distributes.

The people behind FSFE

Beyond events and numbers, FSFE is about the people that make up our community. In this sections we would like to introduce you to our comunity and some of our members that too often don't get all the credit they deserve.

Attendees of FSFE community meeting 2017.

Do you like what we are doing? Then become a supporter and help us to make a difference in 2018!

Our community

There are 5 full time employees at the FSFE: Ulrike Sliwinski is our Office Manager and the person you are most likely to talk to if your phone our office; Polina Malaja is the coordinator of the legal team and our Policy Analyst; Erik Albers is our communications and community coordinator; Jonas Öberg is the FSFE's executive director; and, finally, there's Matthias Kirschner who is the president. We also employ 1 part-time employee: Max Mehl, who is our program manager and deputy coordinator of translations. This team is joined by interns for three or more months to work on specific projects and help out in general as well as occasional contractors for specific tasks. This year our interns have been: Olga Gkotsopoulou, Fernando Sanjurjo, Erik da Silva, Jonke Suhr, Carmen Bianca Bakker and Kristi Progri.

The Executive Council is the body that actually executes the wishes of the members. Currently, there are 4 members in the Council: Matthias Kirschner (President), Jonas Öberg (Executive Director), Patrick Ohnewein (Financial Officer) and Heiki Lõhmus (Vice President and Translations Coordinator).

The FSFE's formal members are responsible for planning, budgeting, setting the agenda and electing and recalling of the Executive Council and the Financial Officer. During 2017, we counted on 28 members, including the the 2 prior presidents, Georg Greve and Karsten Gerloff, and the 4 members of the Executive Council.

Then we have our European Core Team, consisting of the formal members plus another 15 individuals from all over Europe, and they are the people that carry out the day-to-day tasks of the organisation on a voluntary or paid basis on core issues and coordinate the many volunteers that support Free Software.

Finally we have the all important supporters. Supporters are sympathisers that have decided to officially support the FSFE by joining our supporter program. During 2017 we surpassed the 1,600 mark and now have supporters in more than 40 countries around the world, including most European countries as well as the Unites States and Australia.

Introducing some of our individualsReinhard Müller

Reinhard is from Lustenau, Vorarlberg, in Austria and has been part of the FSFE for over more than 10 years. Reinhard has always carried out anonymous, often ungrateful tasks that don't get much visibility, but, without which, the FSFE would grind to a halt.

He started out maintaining the FSFE's website, coordinating the translation team and taking care of the Fellowship database. Then, from 2007 to 2017, he took over the financial side as FSFE's official Financial Officer. In that role, Reinhard has done everything related to managing the Foundation's money, from okaying invoices, to filing out our taxes.

However, that hasn't made Reinhard an antisocial hermit, always poring over dusty books with ink-stained fingers. Quite the contrary: if there is something Reinhard enjoys more than columns and columns of figures it is direct contact with people at events. Reinhard loves participating in fairs and tradeshows at the FSFE booth. Next time you are at Linuxtage or FOSDEM, be sure to come by and say hello. You may get lucky and witness Reinhard's legendary T-shirt folding capabilities in action and live. Something worth beholding.

Ulrike Sliwinski

But, talking of booth service and merchandise, if there is one person you can always rely on to get you sweaters and stickers, that is Ulrike. Ulrike joined the FSFE as an office assistant in 2014 on part-time contract. When we realised how much she brought to the job, we quickly asked her to become our full time office manager.

Ulrike, as Reinhard, carries out tasks that are largely invisible to the outside world, but without which the FSFE simply wouldn't be able to run. If you phone the FSFE up for any reason, it will probably be Ulrike who solves your problem. If you ask for one of our boxes of stickers and flyers for you event, it is Ulrike who packs it and sends it off.

Ulrike has been described by some of her colleagues as the "personification of German efficiency" and as someone who will not leave a task alone until it is completed to her entire satisfaction. But Ulrike is also kind, helpful and friendly, making her the perfect host for our office and booth.

André Ockers

One of the FSFE's main missions is to raise awareness among the general public, in companies, in the public sector, and among politicians. Stating the obvious, the first step towards effectively raising awareness, is putting out your messages in the language of your target audience.

That is where people like André come in. André translates most, if not all, FSFE's output into Dutch, and he does so unprompted. André translated more than 80% of FSFE's site into Dutch, and you can expect him to have a translation of every news item or press release we put out within eight hours.

André represents all of those selfless heroes that year in and year out help us reach people of all countries in their native languages.

At the end

We like to send a big big thank you out to our community, all the countless volunteers, supporters and donors who who made the work of FSFE possible in 2017. Your contributions are priceless and we do our best to keep the good work going in 2018.

If you like what we are doing, join the FSFE as a supporter and help us working for Free Software!

Your Free Software Foundation Europe

FSFE in action! (Picture CC-BY-SA 2.0 by Julie Missbutterflies)

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Dutch government publishes large project as Free Software

mar, 05/12/2017 - 18:00
Dutch government publishes large project as Free Software

The Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations released the source code and documentation of Basisregistratie Personen (BRP), a 100M€ IT system that registers information about inhabitants within the Netherlands. This comes as a great success for Public Code, and the FSFE applauds the Dutch government's shift to Free Software.

Operation BRP is an IT project by the Dutch government that has been in the works since 2004. It has cost Dutch taxpayers upwards of 100 million Euros and has endured three failed attempts at revival, without anything to show for it. From the outside, it was unclear what exactly was costing taxpayers so much money with very little information to go on. After the plug had been pulled from the project earlier this year in July, the former interior minister agreed to publish the source code under pressure of Parliament, to offer transparency about the failed project. Secretary of state Knops has now gone beyond that promise and released the source code as Free Software (a.k.a. Open Source Software) to the public.

In 2013, when the first smoke signals showed, the former interior minister initially wanted to address concerns about the project by providing limited parts of the source code to a limited amount of people under certain restrictive conditions. The ministry has since made a complete about-face, releasing a snapshot of the (allegedly) full source code and documentation under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License, with the development history soon to follow.

In a letter to Dutch municipalities earlier in November, secretary of state Knops said that he is convinced of the need of an even playing field for all parties, and that he intends to "let the publication happen under open source terms". He went on to say: "What has been realised in operation BRP has namely been financed with public funds. Software that is built on top of this source code should in turn be available to the public again."

These statements are an echo of the Free Software Foundation Europe's Public Money, Public Code campaign, in which we implore public administrations to release software funded by the public as Free Software available to the citizenry that paid for it.

The echoes of 'Public Money, Public Code' do not stop there. In a letter to the Dutch parliament Wednesday 29 November, the secretary of state writes about the AGPL: "The license terms assure that changes to the source code are also made publicly available. In this way, reuse is further supported. The AGPL offers the best guarantee for this, and besides the GPL (General Public License), sees a lot of use and support in the open source community.

"Publication will happen free of charge so that, in the public interest, an even playing field is created for everyone who wants to reuse this code."

This is big news from the Netherlands and an unprecedented move of transparency by the Dutch government. Following a report to the Ministry of the Interior about publishing government software as Free Software (Open Source Software), it seems that this will happen more often. In it, Free Software is described as making the government more transparent, lowering costs, increasing innovation, forming the foundation for a digital participation society, and increasing the quality of code.

"We applaud the Dutch government for releasing the source code for BRP. We have been asking for this method of working since 2001, and it is good to see that the government is finally taking steps towards Free Software. In the future, we hope that the source code will be released during an earlier stage of development, which we believe in this case would have brought issues to light sooner", says Maurice Verheesen, coordinator FSFE Netherlands.

If you like our campaign "Public Money, Public Code", please become a supporter today to enable our work!

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
Make a one time donation

Dutch government publishes large project as Free Software

mar, 05/12/2017 - 18:00
Dutch government publishes large project as Free Software

The Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations released the source code and documentation of Basisregistratie Personen (BRP), a 100M€ IT system that registers information about inhabitants within the Netherlands. This comes as a great success for Public Code, and the FSFE applauds the Dutch government's shift to Free Software.

Operation BRP is an IT project by the Dutch government that has been in the works since 2004. It has cost Dutch taxpayers upwards of 100 million Euros and has endured three failed attempts at revival, without anything to show for it. From the outside, it was unclear what exactly was costing taxpayers so much money with very little information to go on. After the plug had been pulled from the project earlier this year in July, the former interior minister agreed to publish the source code under pressure of Parliament, to offer transparency about the failed project. Secretary of state Knops has now gone beyond that promise and released the source code as Free Software (a.k.a. Open Source Software) to the public.

In 2013, when the first smoke signals showed, the former interior minister initially wanted to address concerns about the project by providing limited parts of the source code to a limited amount of people under certain restrictive conditions. The ministry has since made a complete about-face, releasing a snapshot of the (allegedly) full source code and documentation under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License, with the development history soon to follow.

In a letter to Dutch municipalities earlier in November, secretary of state Knops said that he is convinced of the need of an even playing field for all parties, and that he intends to "let the publication happen under open source terms". He went on to say: "What has been realised in operation BRP has namely been financed with public funds. Software that is built on top of this source code should in turn be available to the public again."

These statements are an echo of the Free Software Foundation Europe's Public Money, Public Code campaign, in which we implore public administrations to release software funded by the public as Free Software available to the citizenry that paid for it.

The echoes of 'Public Money, Public Code' do not stop there. In a letter to the Dutch parliament Wednesday 29 November, the secretary of state writes about the AGPL: "The license terms assure that changes to the source code are also made publicly available. In this way, reuse is further supported. The AGPL offers the best guarantee for this, and besides the GPL (General Public License), sees a lot of use and support in the open source community.

"Publication will happen free of charge so that, in the public interest, an even playing field is created for everyone who wants to reuse this code."

This is big news from the Netherlands and an unprecedented move of transparency by the Dutch government. Following a report to the Ministry of the Interior about publishing government software as Free Software (Open Source Software), it seems that this will happen more often. In it, Free Software is described as making the government more transparent, lowering costs, increasing innovation, forming the foundation for a digital participation society, and increasing the quality of code.

"We applaud the Dutch government for releasing the source code for BRP. We have been asking for this method of working since 2001, and it is good to see that the government is finally taking steps towards Free Software. In the future, we hope that the source code will be released during an earlier stage of development, which we believe in this case would have brought issues to light sooner", says Maurice Verheesen, coordinator FSFE Netherlands.

If you like our campaign "Public Money, Public Code", please become a supporter today to enable our work!

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
Make a one time donation

EU Copyright review: The FSFE joins more than 80 organisations asking the EU member states to reject harmful Article 13

mer, 29/11/2017 - 18:00
EU Copyright review: The FSFE joins more than 80 organisations asking the EU member states to reject harmful Article 13

A new copyright proposal is currently discussed by the EU co-legislators. Part of this proposal is Article 13 which can hamper our ability to collaborate with each other online as it imposes new monitoring obligations and installation of arbitrary upload filters on every code hosting and sharing provider. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) today raises its voice to save code sharing and joins 80 other organisations in an open letter towards the EU Council.

Free Software development often relies on code hosting platforms to build software together. Current ongoing EU copyright review, and in particular its Article 13 however, could hamper our ability to collaborate online with each other by imposing new obligations on every code hosting and sharing provider to prevent any possible copyright infringement in the form of arbitrary upload filters. In addition, the proposed Article 13 will oblige online platforms to monitor their users and actively seek for possible copyright infringements. However, there are no known filtering technologies that could accurately and reliably identify whether any Free Software is being shared in accordance with its terms and conditions. That means with such an Article 13 as currently proposed in the Council of the European Union (EU Council), software developers’ ability to share and collaborate in the development of source code would be limited.

Together with over 80 organisations, the Free Software Foundation Europe calls the EU member states to acknowledge the danger that Article 13 of the current EU Copyright Directive proposal poses to fundamental rights and freedoms, our economy, our education, our innovation, and our culture. And in order to address the issues Article 13 specifically poses on Free Software, the FSFE together with Open Forum Europe already launched Save Code Share and has published a White Paper to explain how Article 13 endangers our ability to build and share software online. We also ask individuals, organisations and companies to sign our Open Letter addressed to EU legislators to prevent harmful impact of Article 13 on collaborative software development and Free Software.

Support us today so we can make the voice of Free Software developers heard in this policy process.

Background on the policy

The main parliamentary effort in the copyright reform led by the Legal Affairs committee (JURI) will be voted upon in January 2018. However, several other parliamentary committees have issued their opinions on the matter. The most recent one by the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), proposes to remove the most harmful provisions from Article 13, which means:

no to upload filters; no to general monitoring obligation to actively seek for any possible copyright infringement on their platforms.

As a result, the LIBE opinion goes in the right direction to make sure that no content, including source code, is taken down because of 'potential' copyright infringement decided by the arbitrary filters. While LIBE's vote did not reject the harmful Article 13 as a whole, it still sends a clear message to the rest of the European Parliament that there is no place for arbitrary code filters when it comes to sharing Free Software online.

While European Parliament's main negotiating position regarding the EU copyright directive is yet to come, the co-legislator EU Council consisting of the EU member states representatives, however, seems to be taking a completely diverging direction, evident from their revised presidency compromise proposal on Article 13. EU Council's compromise proposal reinforces arbitrary removal of works hosted online.

In particular, the EU council proposal reinforces the European Commission's proposal to oblige online platforms, such as code sharing platforms, to prevent any copyright infringement on their platforms. It explicitly mandates to delete and block any content, including code uploads, as soon as the platform is notified of a potential infringement without any meaningful redress mechanism for users to contest that decision. Furthermore, it makes it an explicit responsibility of a platform to make sure that the same content is not being available elsewhere on the same platform, including for example all other projects that might have incorporated the same source code into their software. As a result any code repository or project can be disabled or taken down from online code hosting services at any time.

The EU Council's text is even more inconsistent in its proposals. Not only are platforms obliged to pre-block content, but they have to make sure the "preliminarily blocked content"' is made publicly available so the relevant rightsholders can "enforce their rights with regard to infringing works". The proposal mandates at the same time to both pre-block content upon uploading, and to make the same content publicly available simultaneously, in order to expand the number of possible copyright infringers for rightsholders to go after. Only then, platforms cannot be held liable for actions of their users, while demanding mutually exclusive actions from them. As a result, the EU Council's compromise proposal is introducing more legal uncertainty for online platforms and their users when it comes to sharing works online, including software.

Please become a supporter of the FSFE now, and enable our work!

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FSFE Newsletter - November 2017

dim, 19/11/2017 - 18:00
FSFE Newsletter - November 2017The FSFE presents modernised Fiduciary Licensing Agreement 2.0

The FSFE's Fiduciary License Agreement (FLA) was initially introduced in 2002, to address the challenge of managing rights and content within a Free Software project over long periods of time. The FLA is a well-balanced contributor agreement, which gives the trustee, responsible for managing the rights within a Free Software project, power and responsibility to make sure the contributed software always remains free and open. This way the project, together with all the respective contributors, is protected against any possible misuse of power by a new copyright holder.

However, the last review of the initial FLA was back in 2007 and we are happy to present an improved and modernised version - FLA-2.0. The biggest improvements are that the FLA-2.0 now also covers patents and enables more practical licensing options directed towards third parties – including referencing an external licensing policy. In addition, the new wording is much improved both in its compatibility with more jurisdictions as well as being easier for everybody to understand and apply.

For FLA-2.0, the FSFE joined forces with ContributorAgreements.org and integrated the FLA-2.0 into its Copyright Licensing Agreement (CLA) chooser/generator, in order to make the use of the FLA easier both for projects and for developers. As a side-effect, all CLA on ContributorAgreements.org have been updated as well, following some of the improvements from the FLA.

General Assembly 2017: new members, new roles and new directions

The members of the Free Software Foundation Europe held their General Assembly on October 15 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The annual meeting is held to discuss strategies for the upcoming year and to set the overall direction of the organisation. Amongst other things, the General Assembly prepared a route to some reforms of the organisational structure and adopted an overall Code of Conduct for the FSFE. Patrick Ohnewein was elected as the new Financial Officer, and six new members joined the association. You can read more details in the official minutes and a summary about the accepted proposals in the corresponding news-item.

Participants of the General Assembly 2017.

Help us grow and make a difference in 2017

What else have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE The Free Software Foundation Europe released its next version of REUSE practices to make computers understand software copyrights and licenses. The REUSE page now also comes with an explanatory video as well as a set of developer tools and examples which show the REUSE practices in action. The FSFE's Vice President Heiki Lõhmus explains the background about decisions for future changes to FSFE membership and the removal of the Fellowship Representatives during the General Assembly 2017. As in previous editions of the Chaos Communication Camp, the FSFE will set up an assembly during 34C3 for all friends of Free Software and is running a call for participation until November 19. At the beginning of October, 32 European Ministers signed the Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment. The FSFE's policy analyst Polina Malaja writes about FSFE's input and the good process involved in this declaration. The FSFE's Executive Director Jonas Öberg blogs about the steps he took to make cURL REUSE compliant. André Ockers analyses the Dutch coalition agreement on the matter of software and misses any support of Free Software within. Tarin Gamberini evaluates that in the last semester, eight Italian Regions have reduced advertisement of proprietary PDF readers on their website, and that one region has increased its support for Free Software PDF readers. Hannes Hauswedell explains how to use FSFE's Gitea and/or Github to host comments in statically generated blogs and in a privacy-friendly way. The FSFE was present at the Open Source Summit 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic. The FSFE's president Matthias Kirschner gave a talk about "Limux: The Loss of a Lighthouse", and Polina Malaja about "DSM, EIF, RED: Acronyms on the EU Level and Why They Matter for Software Freedom". Jonas Öberg was at the Open Source Strategy Forum in New York to present updates to FSFEs' REUSE practices. The FSFE's country coordinator Germany Björn Schiessle gave a talk about how to avoid digital dependencies at the Fellbacher Weltwochen. The FSFE's country coordinator Italy, Natale Vinto, gave a talk about Public Money? Public Code! at Linux Day Milano to celebrate Linux Day, a national manifestation to discuss about Linux and free software. Do not miss it! Upcoming events with the FSFE

Always find the FSFE's future events listed on our events page.

Contribute to our newsletter

If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, send them to us. As always, the address is newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks to our community, all the volunteers, supporters and donors who make our work possible. And thanks to our translators, who enable you to read this newsletter in your mother tongue.

Your editor, Erik Albers

Help us grow and make a difference in 2017

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Welcome supporters (and goodbye smartcard)

mer, 15/11/2017 - 18:00
Welcome supporters (and goodbye smartcard)

Earlier this year, after a public consultation, we took the decision to change the name of our supporter program, the Fellowship of the FSFE, and talk about our supporters by their true name: Supporters. This is an exciting change for us, as it brings our Supporters much closer to the organisation, by making them an integral part of the FSFE. Today, with the change almost complete, we're also taking the opportunity to say goodbye to the Fellowship Smartcard, which has been a part of FSFE life for more than ten years.

These changes do not come easy for us. They have been a part of the FSFE for as long as many of us, and many of us have at times identified as being part of the Fellowship. But what's become apparent is in creating the Fellowship, we also introduced an artificial divide between the FSFE and its supporter program.

In order to have a closer connection to the FSFE, anyone who has felt part of the Fellowship should, and will, be encouraged to think of themselves as a part of the FSFE. Rather than talking about Fellowship Groups, meeting locally to discuss Free Software, we're now talking about FSFE groups. Instead of being a Fellow of the Fellowship program of the FSFE, you will be a Supporter of the FSFE.

A photo of the brand new FSFE supporter patch which all new (and old!) supporters will receive, as an exclusive gift for supporters.

This connection between our supporters, volunteers, and the FSFE is important to us: as a volunteer organisation, anyone who participates in our work, regardless of whether they support us financially or through volunteer contributions, should feel a part of the FSFE. You can choose to do either, or both.

By changing the name we also make clear that a Supporter is someone who contributes to the FSFE, not someone who gets funded by the FSFE (as some have thought it to mean to be a Fellow).

At the same time as we're completing this change, we're also decomissioning our old Fellowship SmartCard, an OpenPGP SmartCard which all our Fellows have traditionally received as a thank you for joining. As we say goodbye to the Fellowship, we also say goodbye to the SmartCard, but for different reasons.

We love the SmartCard, and many of us still use it. But the number of of supporters who actually use it is small. The fact it requires a SmartCard reader, which most people do not have in their computers, further limits its use, especially amongst the non-technical supporters who increasingly join us. Most of the questions we receive about the SmartCard are also about how to use it. Which we would love to help with, but the FSFE is not setup to handle support inquiries related to OpenPGP smartcards.

Since the FSFE is not the only provider of these SmartCards, we've decided to stop offering them to new Supporters. These days, you can get similar SmartCards and other crypto devices from other vendors for those of our Supporters who still want to get a hand on one. Without the SmartCard, the FSFE can focus its ressources better at what is at the core of our mission: Promoting Free Software. It's also a way for us to be more welcoming towards new Supporters: you don't need deep technical skills to become a Supporter.

So with this, it's time for us to say; Goodbye Fellows! Welcome Supporters!

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Open position as office assistant

lun, 13/11/2017 - 18:00
Open position as office assistant

FSFE is a charity dedicated to keeping the power over technology in your hands. We are working to build freedom in a digital society and operate in a lively environment with volunteers from many countries. We are looking for an assistance supporting the office manager with for instance:

Sending out information material, merchandise-articles and welcome-letters for new supporters Packing and posting packages for FSFE’s information-booths Keeping office and staff’s kitchen tidy

Basic details

Location: FSFE’s office in Berlin (Schönhauser Allee 6/7, 10119 Berlin.

Duration: unlimited, 10 hours per week attending at least twice a week once at beginning of the week and once at the end of the week.

Compensation: 8,84 € per hour as Minijob

Qualifications

Basic knowledge with computers, fluent in English and German.

Application deadline

Please apply by 07.01.2018.

How to apply

Send your application containing a letter of motivation, a CV by e-mail to contact@fsfe.org. Please make sure to write clearly you apply for the office assistant position with reference A-2018. We prefer to receive your documents in PDF format.

Contact persons

If you have any questions about the position or any administrative details in connection with it, you're welcome to contact:

Jonas Öberg about the work of the FSFE, Ulrike Sliwinski for any questions about the work itself.

Both will be reading and responding if you send your question to the contact@fsfe.org address. We look forward to reading your application!

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2018 internship positions as student interns

lun, 13/11/2017 - 18:00
2018 internship positions as student interns

FSFE is a charity dedicated to empowering users to control technology. We are working to build freedom in digital society. We operate in a lively environment with volunteers from many countries. We are looking for students who can join our team in Berlin for three months or more as a mandatory part of their studies or before graduation.

What we can offer is: A challenging and exciting time with a dynamic NGO working internationally A close-up view of organisational and community processes A chance to take the initiative and put your own ideas into practice The opportunity to meet and work with Free Software advocates across Europe

What you'll do: Contribute to FSFE's ongoing projects, working with one or more of our staff and volunteers. Communicate with contacts from the FSFE community, NGO, industry, and public administrations. Coordinate volunteers and others in the work on various projects. General office tasks. Find your own strengths, and do something you care about.

Be sure to read our pages about internships in general before applying!

Basic details

Location: Berlin, Germany. Please note the FSFE has no ability to help with accommodation or travel, you will need to cover this yourself and arrange this prior to your internship.

Duration: 3 months full time at 35 hours per week, starting as agreed. If the internship is a mandatory part of your education, the internship duration can be longer.

Compensation: This internship is salaried with a basic salary of €450 per month.

Qualifications

You should have some experience or a considerable interest in Free Software. Your field of study doesn't matter, but you should be able to relate it to our work. Traditionally, a lot of interns in the FSFE have a legal or political science background, but we've also had interns working with us with a more technical or other social science background.

Formal requirements

You must be fluent in English and will be required to show that you can legally work in Germany; either by being an EU citizen, or by having a residence and work permit for the duration. The FSFE can not help you in getting either of these documents, but we will accept them if you have them.

The internship must be a formal part of your education, or, if you do the internship on a voluntary basis, you must do the internship before you graduate and in direct connection with your studies.

You must also have a German tax number which you get by registering with the residents registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) in Germany. This should ideally be done before starting the internship, or at latest on the first days of your internship.

If the internship is a formal part of your education, you also need health insurance which is valid in Germany, for example the European Health Insurance Card.

Application deadline

There is no fixed application deadline for these positions. We accept interns regularly throughout the year, but to facilitate with our planning and to increase the chances of us being able to accommodate you for an internship, you should ideally send your application at least six months before your intended starting date.

How to apply

Send your application containing a letter of motivation, a CV by e-mail to office@fsfe.org. Please make sure to write clearly you apply for the internship position with reference SI-2018. We prefer to receive your documents in PDF format.

Contact persons

If you have any questions about the position or any administrative details in connection with it, you're welcome to contact:

Jonas Öberg about the positions themselves, and the work involved Ulrike Sliwinski for any administrative questions

Both will be reading and responding if you send your question to the contact@fsfe.org address. We look forward to reading your application!

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32 European ministers call for more Free Software in governmental infrastructure

mer, 08/11/2017 - 18:00
32 European ministers call for more Free Software in governmental infrastructure

On 6 October, 32 European Ministers in charge of eGovernment policy signed the Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment that calls for more collaboration, interoperable solutions, and sharing of good practices throughout public administrations and across borders. Amongst other things, the EU ministers recognised the need to make more use of Free Software solutions and Open Standards when (re)building governmental digital systems with EU funds.

The Tallinn Declaration, lead by the Estonian EU presidency, has been adopted on 6 October 2017. It is a ministerial declaration that marks a new political commitment at European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) level on priorities to ensure user-centric digital public services for both citizens and businesses cross-border. While having no legislative power, the ministerial declaration marks a political commitment to ensure the digital transformation of public administrations through a set of commonly agreed principles and actions.

The FSFE has previously submitted its input for the aforementioned declaration during the public consultation round, asking for greater inclusion of Free Software in delivering truly inclusive, trustworthy and interoperable digital services to all citizens and businesses across the EU.

The adopted Tallinn Declaration proves to be a forward-looking document that acknowledges the importance of Free Software in order to ensure the principle of 'interoperability by default', and expresses the will of all signed EU countries to:

"make more use of open source solutions and/or open standards when (re)building ICT systems and solutions (among else, to avoid vendor lock-ins)[...]"

Additionally, the signatories call upon the European Commission to:

"consider strengthening the requirements for use of open source solutions and standards when (re)building of ICT systems and solutions takes place with EU funding, including by an appropriate open licence policy – by 2020."

The last point is especially noteworthy, as it explicitly calls for the European Commission to make use of Free Software and Open Standards in building their ICT infrastructure with EU funds, which is in line with our "Public Money, Public Code" campaign that is targeted at the demand for all publicly financed software developed for the public sector to be publicly made available under Free Software licences.

What's next?

The Tallinn Declaration sets several deadlines for its implementation in the next few years: with the annual presentation on the progress of implementation of the declaration in the respective countries across the EU and EFTA through the eGovernment Action Plan Steering Board. The signatories also called upon the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU to evaluate the implementation of the Tallinn Declaration in autumn 2018.

"The Declaration expresses the political will of the EU and EFTA countries to digitise their governments in the most user-friendly and efficient way. The fact that it explicitly recognises the role of Free Software and Open Standards for a trustworthy, transparent and open eGovernment on a high level, along with a demand for strengthened reuse of ICT solutions based on Free Software in the EU public sector, is a valuable step forward to establishing a "Public Money, Public Code" reality across Europe", says Polina Malaja, the FSFE's policy analyst.

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