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And the winner of the election for FSFE's Fellowship GA seat is ...

lun, 24/04/2017 - 19:00
And the winner of the election for FSFE's Fellowship GA seat is… Election results

… Daniel Pocock! The election period for this year's Fellowship GA seat has ended on April 24, 2017. FSFE is proud to have such an interested and active community to have had seven outstanding candidates who were running for office this time. Now, Daniel Pocock is happy to take over the GA's Fellowship seat from former representative Nicolas Dietrich.

Thanks to all candidates and Fellows who participated in the process and interesting discussions. You made this a valuable experience for the FSFE and our community. We had a voter participation of 17,23% this time.

Please see FSFE's wiki for more background about 2017's candidates, including our public hustings. You can alse see the detailed Fellowship elections results.

Result details 1234567 1. Daniel Pocock -110 123 121 139 166 125 2. Carsten Agger 99 -119 123 134 163 130 3. Florian Snow 88 92 -121 127 153 124 4. Maurice Verheesen 79 85 82 -105 138 112 5. Patrick Moelands 53 58 63 67 -126 101 6. Joe Awni 39 39 44 52 50 -79 7. Thomas Kandler 14 13 13 20 19 38 -

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Digital-o-Mat: Campaigning for freedom in the state elections of North Rhine-Westphalia

mar, 18/04/2017 - 19:00
North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany's most populated state which is having its next general elections on May 14, 2017. For this election, a "coalition of Free knowledge" developed for the first time a "Digital-o-Mat". The "Digital-o-Mat" is a tool to help those voters who are concerned about digital rights and freedoms, to decide about which party to vote for. Therefor, eight questions guide any user to choose his own preferences on important topics about the digital society - like questions about the use of Free Software, Open Data or Open Educational Resources. After filling them out, a user will see which party matches best with his own preferences and he can additionally browse detailed explanations on the party's positions. The "coalition of Free knowledge" is an alliance of different NGOs who care about freedom in the digital age, including the Free Software Foundation Europe. The tool is Free Software, the version for the elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in German. More detailed background-information in German in Erik Albers' blog.

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FSFE Newsletter - April 2017

mar, 04/04/2017 - 19:00
FSFE Newsletter - April 2017Free Software in the German OGP action plan

Last December, Germany joined the Open Government Partnership and now has until June 2017 to develop and decide on an action plan. Increased transparency and continuous reporting, governmental effectiveness and citizen-friendly administration are all part of the goals of Open Government.

The FSFE has worked together with other organisations and the "working group OGP" Germany to summarise the topic of Free Software in the Open Government context and provide concrete action items, along with a short but illuminating introduction into the topic and a vision for 2030. The recommendations were submitted to the German government in March.

The proposal was the outcome of a workshop, held by the German Government in February, with the contribution of numerous civil society representatives, including the FSFE. By publishing our suggestions, we hope to enable civil society actors worldwide to learn about the OGP discussion in Germany and use these suggestions in other countries.

Help us grow and make a difference in 2017 https://fsfe.org/join

What else have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE In the Dutch elections, Freedomvote.nl, initiated by the Dutch FSFE group, compared party positions on digital freedom and not only helped voters to make up their minds, but also gave a taste of what to expect by the newly elected parties' digital policies. Last month, we welcomed as an associated organisation, Dyne.org - a non-profit think/do tank with more than 10 years of expertise in developing Free Software tools and narratives for community empowerment. On March 7, Matthias Kirschner put the spotlight on LiMux at the talk he gave at the 58. Netzpolitischer Abend in Berlin, and on March 28, he shared his views with the audience at the ISCTE–University Institute of Lisbon in Portugal concerning ways to empower people to use technology. Matthias also participated in a longer podcast in German about LiMux. On March 11-12, the FSFE returned to Chemnitzer Linux-Tage, Germany's biggest Free Software conference, held in the University of Chemnitz. We arranged an information booth and Max Mehl spoke about the developments around the EU Radio "Lockdown" Directive. On March 20, Olga Gkotsopoulou, Polina Malaja and Lusy Vaseva presented the FSFE's Position Paper for the endorsement of Free Software and Open Standards in Horizon 2020 and all publicly-funded research and facilitated a discussion about the role of Free Software in Open Science at the Open Science Barcamp in Berlin. The winners of the 2016 Free Software Awards were announced by the Free Software Foundation during the LibrePlanet 2017 conference. The Award for Projects of Social Benefit was given to SecureDrop, an anonymous whistleblowing platform, maintained by Freedom of the Press Foundation, while the Award for the Advancement of Free Software went to Alexandre Oliva, an advocate of Free Software and the GNU Project. The Vienna FSFE group held an information booth at Veganmania indoor festival 2017. Jonas Öberg wrote about the the need to work more with governments and local municipalities in order to encourage uptake of Free Software friendly policies in procurement and development of IT systems. The FSFE policy team has intensified its efforts in this direction and asks for everyone's support. If you're interested in discussions about Free Software on Android, you can join FSFE's android mailing list, which Matthias Kirschner highlighted in his introduction to installing Signal without a Google account or Google Play. In February, we celebrated the "I Love Free Software day" for the 8th consecutive year. People all over the world used the occasion to declare their love and affection not only towards their significant other, but to the whole Free Software community. This year's celebrations had everything: a FOSDEM photobooth in Brussels, letters and flowers for the German Parliament, light projections in the streets of Berlin and Frankfurt, creative artworks, a bright program of IloveFS events, funny memes, songs, microblogging as well as longer blogposts from individuals, politicians and supporting organisations. Are you currently a student? Is an internship a compulsory part of your studies curriculum? Are you fluent in German and English and interested in the politics around Free Software? Then, check our new intern vacancy announcement, for a position in our office in Berlin, from June till October 2017. And don't forget, that we're still able to accept additional student interns for 2017. Apply now and don't miss the opportunity to become part of a great international and diverse team, based in Berlin! Get active

Fellowship elections 2017: According to our constitution, two seats in the General Assembly are reserved for elected representatives of our Fellows. They serve two-year terms and one seat is up for re-election every year. The electoral process 2017 covers the period from April 10 till April 24. Eight candidates are running for office in the FSFE's General Assembly. You can find the list of candidates, along with their manifestos and background as well as the election schedule and voting procedure, in our dedicated Fellowship Election 2017 page. All Fellows eligible to vote will automatically receive an email with all necessary information.

Help us improve our newsletter

If you see some news you think should be included, forward it to us. If you'd like to share any thoughts, send them to us. The address is as always newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks to all volunteers, supporters and donors who make our work possible.

your editors Jonas Öberg, Olga Gkotsopoulou, Lusy Vaseva FSFE

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Fellowship elections 2017 with eight candidates

mar, 28/03/2017 - 19:00
According to our constitution, two seats in the General Assembly are reserved for elected representatives of our Fellows. They serve two-year terms and one seat is up for re-election every year. The current representatives are Nicolas Dietrich and Mirko Boehm; Nicolas's term is coming to an end and his seat will be up for re-election this April. The election period runs from April 10 to April 24, 2017, with eight candidates eligible for election. The list of candidates, along with their manifestos and background, can be found at the election wiki page. In addition, a moderated hustings will be held on March 30, 5:30 PM UTC to 7:30 PM UTC in #fsfe at irc.freenode.net. Detailed schedule and instructions may be found at the election wiki page. All orderly Fellows eligible to vote will also receive detailed voting instructions by e-mail in due course.

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Input about Free Software for German OGP action plan published

lun, 27/03/2017 - 19:00
Input about Free Software for German OGP action plan published

Today the civil society "working group OGP (Open Government Partnership) Germany" (Arbeitskreis OGP Deutschland) published its input for a German OGP action plan. The goal of the Open Government actions is to increase transparency, citizen friendlyness, reporting, and effectiveness of governments and administrations. The input, which was already handed over to the German Government on 20 March, consists of 30 Open Government topics, including a section about Free Software.

In December 2016 Germany joined the Open Government Partnership. Until June 2017 a German action plan is to be developed and decided by the German government.

To achieve this, on 17 February 2017 the German government invited representatives from the civil society to a workshop to develop input for a German action plan for the upcoming two years. After the workshop members of civil society groups further developed the suggestions published today. In the weeks to come the German federal ministries will examine the different suggestions, debate internally, and draft a national action plan with concrete goals. There will also be another workshop to discuss the goals between administrations and the civil society (see the German timetable for the action plan by the German Government).

The OGP action plan will not just address the federal government but should also affect administrations in the German federal states and municipalities.

Input from the civil society about Free/Open Source Software

The Free Software Foundation Europe worked together with other German Free Software organisations and the "working group OGP Germany" to summarise the topic of Free Software in the Open Government context and develop concrete action items for the government.

By publishing the input we hope to enable civil society actors around the world to learn about the OGP discussion in Germany, adapt suggestions to other countries' contexts, and to enable people to give further input to the German debate.

Below a rough translation of our input originally written in German. (The full submission is available in German at the website for the workgroup OGP.)

Introduction into the topic

Open Government offers the possibility to make the activities of the state more persistent and plausible for its citizens. Open software achieves this with its open/free licensing which is proved as an international standard. The "Open Government Toolbox" sums up 1928 IT projects from 523 organisations to help in the transition to Open Government. The spectrum of this stunning collection shows the potential of Open Government software. From data visualisation to participation tools and on up to tools for local urban initiatives, numerous projects for administration and civil society are already freely accessible.

Recycling: Open Software can be used for various purposes and can be re-used. Once it is developed in the scope of a governmental tender, the software code can then be used by other administrations for similar problems. A good example is "Fix My Street": originally developed as a reporting tool for damage on roads in the United Kingdom, it is now also being used in Switzerland, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway, Sweden, Uganda and Uruguay. As additionally developed extensions to the software and user experiences are shared between nations, all users benefit from the increasing use. Independence: The use of Open Software offers more opportunities for procurement and selection of partners. A strategic "lock-in", a dependency on certain vendors, is avoided as the code can be maintained by other market competitors as well. Neutrality of platforms: With open standards the public authorities can achieve more platform neutrality. Thereby they are no longer dependent on certain vendors and can choose a new one at any time. Transparency: While conventional government software is a blackbox and is a proprietary secret, the source code of Open Government software is basically always available. Participation: The Open Source code combined with a free license allows synergies of government agencies (with civil society), enterprises and citizens. Software provided by the state can be maintained and used by external users - and vice versa. Open Government software projects initiated by the state give an impetus for collaborative projects where various perspectives from administration, civil society, enterprises and citizens come together.

For the implementation of the Open Government road map, new software will be developed. Open Government software should be accessible under a suitable Free/Open license [1] to enable re-use and sharing of solutions between authorities, companies and citizens.

Our vision until 2030:

Federal, regional and local administrations share their solutions with other administrations, companies and civil society. For new solutions, the participants can refer to a collection of pre-existing solutions, re-use and improve these and share them with everyone. All solutions guarantee use independent of the used platform. Neither citizens, companies nor administrations should be technically discriminated against. These German software solutions enjoy an excellent reputation in administrations, civil society, and commercial enterprises around the world. People enjoy using them and they are further developed by other programming groups. Therefore this results in investment protection and a higher sustainability for the public sector, which will be developed further by third-parties, even if individual German administrative authorities opt for other solutions.

Further information sources and links: [1] Free/Open Source licensing model: See also the list of the Free Software Foundation and of the Open Source Initiative OGP Toolbox EU Joinup solutions USA Portal Code.Gov UK: Proof of concept Fixmystreet UK - Fixmystreet OGS EUPL Introduction into "Software Freedom" by FSFE Suggestions for commitments by the workshop for a NAP two-pager Level 1: Suggestions for organising the process Establishment of an expert group, containing members of federal, state and municipal administrations for re-use and sharing of open software for the state and the administration (Re-use and Share OSS). Therefore, at least twice a year, an internal dialogue can take place. There, the group can tap into the topic of Open Source software and understand it in terms of overlapping administrative needs. Due to this overlap, employees from all levels of the public administrations should be utilised as contributors and architects, and encouraged to integrate, share, and promote more re-use of the administration's software. Establishment of a workgroup with members from administration, civil society and companies for re-use and sharing of Free Software for the state and the administration. The workshop should take place at least twice a year to enable an exchange to listen to each other and receive feedback by the civil society for further conceptional development. There should be a strong link between the workgroup and the referring expert group (see paragraph above) in the administration. Thereby a transfer of knowledge into the public administration, and indirectly into politics, is ensured. Commissioning of a study running until December 2018 to do basic research about the cooperation in public administrations in usage of free/open software. It should consider both users and business/development associations so that national and international knowledge and practical experience from study and usage are taken into account. The full potential, with the help of workshops (Collaborative Design), should be outlined. With this approach, all relevant perspectives and proposals for implementation are available for the second National Action Plan. Conducting two "Plug Fest" events in Germany until 2018 as Open Collaborative Workshops, where special departments of local authorities can be brought into technical dialogue with providers of document editing solutions. With those multi stakeholder events many countries in Europe have made positive experiences for increasing interoperability. Commission of a scientific study about open standards and open interfaces in public administrations (including open document formats) by June of 2018. With this the national and international knowledge and practical experience (Germany: SAGA 5.1.0, EU, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Netherlands) will be taken into account. The full potential with the help of workshops (Collaborative Design) should be outlined so all relevant possibilities and proposals should be available for the second National Action Plan. Commission of an evaluation study about the accessibility and platform neutrality of public web interfaces by the federal authorities until January 2018. Through this we can achieve transparency about how certain user groups are technically discriminated against by the websites of the authorities and how these sites are accessible regardless of used devices. Based on this evaluation, best practices will be introduced simultaneously. Also, basic principles acting as suggestions for creating accessible and vendor-neutral websites for authorities as well as for public institutions will be presented. Level 2: Precise legislative steps and regulation requirements Establishment of the EU ISA2 law regarding the platform neutrality in the acquisition of web service until 2019, so that citizens can use public sector services regardless of the technology used by the citizens (Operating systems: Mac OS, Linux, Windows, Android / Browser: Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer.../ Hardware: Tablet, Desktop-PC, Smartphone, Thin Internet Client). Proposal for a law to set up a national software archive by 2019 which clarifies where German authorities and suppliers should deposit and store (long-term-archive) the source code, documentation, interface specifications and database schemes of their software solutions. This enables security checks and the preservation of our digital cultural heritage. Level 3: Minimal measures (Mandatory programme) Software, which is being commissioned or developed in the course of realising the OGP action plan, should re-use free/open software components and should be made accessible on the EU software platform joinup and in the "OGP Toolbox" for other governments, companies and the civil society. Capacity-generating measures for the participation of Germany in the further development of the Free/Open Source Software Contributor Policy Template in the OGP (Bulgaria, France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have already pledged to do this). Until mid 2018 evaluation of which software, of those created during the implementation of the IT-planning council's action plan for 2017, can be made available in the OGP Toolbox under a free/open license by 2019. (See Action Plan) Federal government, federal states, and municipalities should communicate information about the cooperation between the authorities and other participants regarding software solutions to the EU portal Joinup for publication. This will make this kind of cooperation more popular and persuades other entities to participate.

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PraktikantIn für Kampagne zur Bundestagswahl gesucht

lun, 20/03/2017 - 19:00
PraktikantIn für Kampagne zur Bundestagswahl gesucht

Die Free Software Foundation Europe (https://fsfe.org) ist ein gemeinnütziger Verein, der Menschen im selbstbestimmten Umgang mit Technik unterstützt. Dazu helfen wir Menschen und Organisationen dabei, zu verstehen, wie Freie Software zu Freiheit, Transparenz und Selbstbestimmung in der digitalen Gesellschaft beiträgt. Unsere Arbeit und Mission wird von einigen Angestellten und vielen Freiwilligen aus ganz Europa unterstützt und ermöglicht. Für unser Büro in Berlin suchen wir aktuell eine PraktikantIn (m/w), die uns in der Vorbereitung der Bundestagswahl unterstützt. Wir sind ein gemischtes, internationales Team und diskriminieren nicht nach Geschlecht, Herkunft, Hintergrund oder sonstigen Nebensächlichkeiten.

Deine Aufgaben: Du hilfst uns, unsere "Ask Your Candidates"-Kampagnen-Seiten auf den neuesten Stand zu bringen und im Zuge dessen auch die Struktur und das Design zu überarbeiten. Du hilfst uns, unsere verschiedenen Werkzeuge, die wir für Wahlen entwickelt haben, zu dokumentieren. Du unterstützt unsere Bundestagskampagne 2017. Dazu gehört unter anderem die Analyse von Wahlprogrammen, das Verfassen von Nachrichten, Koordination mit Freiwilligen und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit für unser Software-Tool. Du unterstützt unsere täglichen Prozesse im Büro und mit der Community. Was wir Dir bieten: Die Arbeit in einer jungen, europäischen NGO mit Büro im Herzen Berlins. Die Möglichkeit, eigene Ideen einzubringen und mitzugestalten. Eine Arbeitsumgebung voll mit Freier Software, sowie die Möglichkeit, mit Freie-Software-Experten aus ganz Europa zusammen zu arbeiten. Die Einarbeitung und Betreuung durch erfahrene Mitarbeiter (Mentor). Was Du mitbringen solltest: Interesse an Politik, Gesellschaft und neuen Technologien. Vorzugsweise hast Du einen politik- oder sozialwissenschaftlichen Hintergrund. Spaß am Texten! Darunter E-Mails, Dokumentationen, Nachrichten, Newsletter, Kampagnenseiten und mehr. Spaß an Öffentlichkeitsarbeit. Es ist ein Pluspunkt, wenn Du schon Erfahrungen in dieser Richtung hast. Du sprichst und schreibst fließend Deutsch und Englisch. Ein Grundverständnis von (Internet-) Technologien oder die Bereitschaft, sie zu lernen. Insbesondere Linux, HTML, CSS und Wiki. Metadaten:Ort: Schönhauser Allee 6-7, 10119 Berlin Dauer: 1. Juni bis 31. Oktober (5 Monate). Sollte der Zeitraum für Dich aus irgendeinem Grund leicht angepasst werden müssen, ist dies auch möglich. Am wichtigsten ist die Kernzeit der Bundestagswahl: Juli/August und September. Vergütung: 450 Euro im Monat und die Möglichkeit, Deine eigenen Stärken zu finden. Wie du Dich bewirbst:

Bitte sende Deine Bewerbung in Englisch (!) mit kurzem Motivationsschreiben und Lebenslauf im PDF Format per E-Mail mit der Referenz "BTW-17" an contact@fsfe.org.

Noch Fragen?

Wenn du noch Fragen hast, kannst du dich damit jederzeit an Erik Albers wenden (https://fsfe.org/about/albers/).

Wir freuen uns auf Deine Bewerbung!

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#ilovefs Report 2017: Love and Activism

mar, 14/03/2017 - 19:00
#ilovefs Report 2017: Love and Activism

On Tuesday 14th of February, the "I Love Free Software" day was celebrated for its seventh consecutive year, in what can now be called a tradition. This day has become a special day for people all around the world to declare their love and affection not only to their partner but also to the whole Free Software community.

The FSFE would like to thank everybody who participated during this year’s #ilovefs campaign. Thank you for taking the time to show your appreciation to the people that make Free Software possible: the developers, designers, testers, translators and projects that work hard every day to preserve our freedoms. And thanks to everybody for your pictures, videos, blogs and news posted during the 14th, before or after. Because of you, the #ilovefs campaign has become an authentic success.

FOSDEM: Find your way into love

The first love signs were shown at FOSDEM in the beginning of February. This year we held again our IloveFS photobooth and many people, (but don't assume only people) posed in front of our camera in order to confess their love for their favourite Free Software projects, colleagues and community contributors (see our full gallery). When we asked them why they love FS, words such as Free Society, Democracy and Freedom were repeatedly written on our black chalkboards. Who said, you cannot love and be wise at the same time?

Love for Mozilla at FOSDEM

In this ambient full of love, we also distributed around 20 IloveFS packages to Free Software projects present at FOSDEM. Each package included a variety of stickers, leaflets, balloons and a paper with creative ideas in order to grant some inspiration to all those considering to participate in this year's celebrations.

Letters 'n' Roses

Roses and letters ready to be delivered to the German Paliament

631 is the number of elected MPs in the German Parliament. This is also the number of letters and flowers that FSFE volunteers and staff prepared and delivered to every single one of them for the IloveFS Day. The main aim was to use this occasion to raise awareness among parliamentarians and invite candidates - in advance of the German elections taking place this autumn - to support Free Software and endorse the idea of "Public Money Public Code". But no, this is not all...

Berlin and Frankfurt love Free Software to bits

The FSFE volunteers, based in Berlin did not stop there! They chose to combine once again political activism with their love for Free Software and spent a night in the streets of Berlin with a light projector and thought-provoking love messages on the German Parliament, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Berlin Wall and other places of public interest. In the end, even the Berlin Astronaut admitted the universe's love for Free Software.

"Public Money Public Code" projection on the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

On the very same night of the 14th, some Pirates of Hesse also took part in the beamer action and displayed messages of Free Software affection all around Frankfurt.

14th

And finally, the big day has arrived. During Tuesday, 14 February, people all around the world expressed their appreciation to Free Software and the people that make it possible, in many ways, including blog posts, pictures, news items, microblogs and funny memes. Keeping with the cheesy theme, heart-shaped specially decorated chocolates could not be missing from such a day.

@JCR_Internet posting this beautiful We <3 FS graphic

The day was full of love for Free Software projects and developers. For example, Femgeeks wrote about their love for the Lineage OS. The FSF asked people to become each other's cryptovalentines by setting up private and encrypted communication with GnuPG. Others showed their love to GNU/Linux, Ikiwiki and git annex

Also, we were really happy to see that many organisations, coming from different backgrounds and regions, decided to promote the “I love Free Software” campaign from their respective websites. Medialab Prado, in Madrid, organised activities to promote the use of Free Software during the whole day. The artist Elektroll, decided to show his appreciation for Free Software projects with this wonderful artwork. OSB Alliance informed about FSFE's activities and promoted love for Free Software on its page. In general, we would like to thank all the organisations who decided to promote "I Love Free Software" day, like: Ansol, Xarxanet, Punt Tic, Linux Today, Gizlogic and many others. Some Free Software projects took the occasion to send a special ‘thank you’ to their hard working communities, like KDE Spain, The Document Foundation or Framasoft.

Member of the European Parliement, Jan Philipp Albrecht, sending some love to Free Software

Julia Reda, Member of European Parliament, did not miss the chance to show her support for Free Software by calling out Munich to stay with LiMux. Also Green MEP, Jan Philipp Albrecht, posted on twitter about his love for Free Software and the FSFE. In their website GrünDigital, the German Greens expressed their political support for the Free Software community. As did the Pirate Party Hesse, calling for the use of Free Software in public administrations.

Yoda showing #ilovefs

In his blog, FSFE’s president, Matthias Kirschner dedicated his #ilovefs thank you to Free Software contributors in the public administrations. Erik Albers, FSFE's community builder, prepared a blog with nice memes of classic philosophers and their vision on Free Software. While, Max Mehl, our Germany Coordinator, blogged about his new favourite email client, astroid.

We hope all Free Software contributors out there feel even more motivated after this year's #ilovefs day. Our own conclusion? "Build Free Software - Not walls", because in the Free Software world, different languages do not divide us. Instead, our love for freedom unites us all.

We encourage everybody to mark next year's February 14 as "I Love Free Software" day to continue this lovely campaign. Nevertheless, don't forget: each and every day is the perfect day to show your appreciation to Free Software and its contributors, by using, studying, sharing and improving it.

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FSFE Newsletter - March 2017

lun, 13/03/2017 - 19:00
FSFE Newsletter - March 2017The Chronicles of LiMux

In February, the news about LiMux shook the world. LiMux, a project run by the city of Munich and completed in 2013, constitutes one of the finest examples of vendor-neutral administration based on Free Software; during its execution phase, 15,000 personal computers and laptops used by public administrations were migrated to Free Software.

In a surprise move, a coalition of parties filed a motion with minimal lead time before the city council, asking for the abolishment of the project and the return into proprietary solutions.

The response by the community was immediate and formidable. FSFE's Deputy Coordinator for Germany, Björn Schießle, describes what followed. An ad-hoc coalition was formed by the FSFE, the Document Foundation, KDE and OSBA, collecting questions around the motion and its related processes. Members of the city council were contacted prior to the public hearing and FSFE supporters in Germany and Austria were invited to engage, contacting politicians on the issue. Media coverage in multiple languages was additionally created.

During the public hearing, participating parties quoted some of our questions, and admitted they had never before received so much input from the public. The result of the hearing was a modified motion passed on February 15, calling the administration to propose a strategy for the unification of the city's client-side IT architecture by the end of 2020, building on a yet-to-be-developed proprietary client and guaranteeing maximal compatibility with the existing solutions.

The FSFE does not claim LiMux has solved all the problems. However, we do claim these problems are mostly of organisational nature, and as such must be disconnected from the technical side. Public infrastructure must remain independent of single software vendors, and invest into common assets, which are provided by Free Software.

Help us grow and make a difference in 2017 https://fsfe.org/join

What else have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE For #IloveFS, André translated the Free Software song. After last year's successful pre-FOSDEM meeting, the FSFE and OpenForum Europe continued the tradition of bringing together active Free Software stakeholders during a prior to FOSDEM public policy related event. This year's meeting offered the opportunity to individual citizens and decision-makers to exchange their views on the basis of practical first-hand information concerning Free Software in public policy. For 16 years, FSFE has been present at FOSDEM with a booth, numerous volunteers and staff. Reinhard Müller, FOSDEM booth coordinator, describes in his report the great atmosphere among the booth volunteers and how an outstanding amount of merchandise and promotional material was distributed during the 2 days of the event. In 2016, Europe welcomed three new umbrella organizations for Free Software (and hardware) projects: Public Software CIC, The Commons Conservancy, and the Center for the Cultivation of Technology. Standing by the needs of the community, the brand-new organisations provide a legal entity for projects to join, with regards to donations, accounting, grants, legal compliance, or even sophisticated governance. These administrative services allow projects to focus on technical and community matters. Get active

We're still able to accept additional student interns for 2017. If you're currently studying and are required to do an internship as part of your studies, or if you've not yet graduated and want to do a voluntary internship, you should apply now.

Help us to improve our newsletter

If you see some news you think should be included, forward it to us. If you'd like to share any thoughts, send them to us. The address is as always newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks to all volunteers, supporters and donors who make our work possible.

your editors Olga Gkotsopoulou and Jonas Öberg FSFE

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FSFE Lettre d'information - Mars 2017

lun, 13/03/2017 - 19:00
FSFE Lettre d'information - Mars 2017Les chroniques de LiMux

En février, les nouvelles de LiMux ont bouleversé le monde. LiMux est un projet de la ville de Munich mis en place en 2013. Celui-ci est un des plus beaux exemples d'une administration publique indépendante de ses fournisseurs grâce aux Logiciels Libres. Pendant sa mise en œuvre 15000 ordinateurs (fixe et portable) utilisés par l'administration publique ont été migrés vers du Logiciel Libre.

À la surprise générale, une coalition a très rapidement soumis une motion devant le conseil de la ville demandant la suppression du projet et le retour des solutions propriétaires.

La réponse de la communauté à été immédiate et formidable. Le coordinateur associé pour l'Allemagne, Björn Schießle, décrit ce qui a suivit. Une coalition spéciale a été formée par la FSFE, la Document Foundation, KDE et OSBA, recueillant les questions sur la motion et les processus liés. Des membres du conseil ont été contactés avant l’audience publique et les soutiens de la FSFE en Allemagne et en Autriche ont été invité à s'engager en contactant les politiciens sur cette question. Une couverture médiatique dans de nombreuses langues en a résulté.

Pendant l'audience publique, les participants ont cités certaines de nos questions, et ont admis qu'ils n'avaient jamais reçu autant d'information du public. L'audience a résulté en une motion modifié, votée le 15 février, demandant à l'administration de proposer une stratégie pour l'unification de l'architecture informatique côté client d'ici fin 2020. Celle-ci devant s'appuyer sur un futur client propriétaire et garantir une compatibilité maximale avec les solutions existantes.

La FSFE n'affirme pas que LiMux a résolu tous les problèmes. Cependant, nous affirmons que ces problèmes sont principalement de nature organisationnel et, en tant que tel, déconnecté des questions techniques. L'infrastructure publique doit rester indépendante d'un unique vendeur de logiciel et investir dans les biens communs, fournis par le Logiciel Libre.

Aidez nous à grandir et à faire la différence en 2017 https://fsfe.org/join

Qu'avons-nous fait d'autres ? Dans et en dehors de la FSFE Pour #IloveFS, André a traduitla chanson "the Free Software song". Après le succés de la réunion pré-FOSDEM de l'année dernière, la FSFE et l'OpenForum Europe ont perpétué la tradition de rassembler les partis prenantes actives du Logiciel Libre durant un événement pré-FOSDEM dédié aux politiques publiques. La réunion de cette année offrait l'opportunité aux citoyens et aux décideurs d'échanger leurs points de vue, sur la base d'information pratique de première main sur le Logiciel Libre dans les politiques publiques. Pour la 16éme année, la FSFE a tenu un stand à au FOSDEM avec de nombreux bénévoles et employés. Reinhard Müller, le coordinateur du stand de la FSFE raconte dans son rapport la merveilleuse atmosphère parmi les bénévoles du stand et la quantité impressionnante de produits et de matériel promotionnel qui a été distribués durant cet événement de deux jours. En 2016, l'Europe a accueillie trois nouvelles organisations pour les projets de Logiciel (et matériel) Libre : Public Software CIC, The Commons Conservancy et le 'Center for the Cultivation of Technology". Constituées pour répondre aux besoin de la communauté, ces toutes nouvelles organisations fournissent, pour les projets qui le souhaitent, une entité juridique pour les donations, la comptabilité, les subventions, la conformité juridique ou même une infrastructure de gouvernance. Ces services administratifs permettent aux projets de se concentrer sur les domaines techniques et communautaires. Agissez

Nous pouvons encore accepter de nouveaux étudiants en stage pour 2017. Si vous étudiez actuellement et que vous devez effectuer un stage pour vos études, ou si vous n'avez pas encore terminé vos études et souhaitez faire un stage volontaire, vous pouvez candidater dès maintenant..

Aidez nous à améliorer notre lettre d'information

Si vous voyez une information qui devrait être incluse, faites là nous parvenir. Si vous voulez partager vos pensées, envoyez les nous. L'adresse est toujours newsletter@fsfe.org. Nous avons hâte de recevoir de vos nouvelles !

Merci à tous les bénévoles, soutiens et donateurs qui rendent notre travail possible,

vos éditeurs Erik Albers, Olga Gkotsopoulou et Jonas Öberg, FSFE

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Freedomvote.nl helps voters compare party positions on digital freedom in upcoming Dutch election

mer, 01/03/2017 - 18:00
Freedomvote.nl helps voters compare party positions on digital freedom in upcoming Dutch election

Today FSFE Netherlands, NLnet, ISPConnect, and Open Source & Overheid launch Freedomvote.nl to help inform voters in the upcoming Dutch general election, which is held on 15 March 2017. Freedomvote.nl provides guidance to voters on the topic of digital freedom, based on eight questions.

The website allows voters to compare their political views with those of the parties participating in the election. The questions cover the topics of Free and Open Source Software, open standards, open data, open science, open education, surveillance, net neutrality and software patents. Voters can answer these questions for themselves, save them, and then compare the results with the answers from the political parties. Descriptions are added to all the questions, to provide context.

"Freedomvote fills a gap for the Dutch elections." explains Nico Rikken from FSFE Netherlands. "As only a couple of parties have a formal stance on themes of digital freedom, Freedomvote encourages parties to take a stance, so voters who care about digital freedoms know what they'll be voting for."

Unlike its Swiss predecessor, the Dutch Freedomvote model represents the political parties rather than individual candidates, and thus reflects the strong party orientation in the Netherlands' political system. Freedomvote.nl is based on Free Software source code developed for Freedomvote.ch. Further software improvements are in the works, intended for others wanting to run their own Freedomvote in the future.

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What happened in Munich

mar, 28/02/2017 - 18:00
What happened in Munich

On 15 February 2017, the city council of Munich, Germany convened to discuss the future of their LiMux project. In its public session, the plenary voted to have the city administration develop a strategy to unify client-side IT architecture, building atop a yet-to-be-developed "Windows-Basis-Client". A translation of the complete decision is included further down.

The opposing parties were overruled, but the decision was amended such that the strategy document must specify which LiMux-applications will no longer be needed, the extent in which prior investments must be written off, and a rough calculation of the overall costs of the desired unification.

Since this decision was reached, the majority of media have reported that a final call was made to halt LiMux and switch back to Microsoft software. This is, however, not an accurate representation of the outcome of the city council meeting. We studied the available documentation and our impression is that the last word has not been spoken.

We succeeded thus far in forcing the mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) to postpone the final decision, and this was possible through the unwavering pressure created by joint efforts between The Document Foundation, KDE, OSBA, and the FSFE together with all the individuals who wrote to city council members and took the issue to the media.

Although the mandate is highly suggestive in that it suggests that the existing vendor-neutral approach is to be replaced with a proprietary solution, it leaves the door open; Or are you aware of a commonly-used software standard that ensures maximal compatibility in all directions?

The new mandate buys us some time. And we will keep going.

Background information

What lead to this public hearing on 15 February? In 2014, Dieter Reiter was elected new mayor of Munich. He had referred to himself as "Microsoft fan" even before he took office. He prides himself with having played a major part in the decision to move the Microsoft Germany headquarters to downtown Munich. He started to question the LiMux strategy as soon as his term started, and asked Accenture, a Microsoft partner in the same building as Microsoft, to analyse Munich's IT infrastructure. The report can be found here (German). It's noteworthy that in their report, the analysts identify primarily organisational issues at the root of the problems troubling LiMux uptake, rather than technical challenges.

The coalition of SPD and CSU filed a surprise motion with minimal lead time before the city council, with the goal to put LiMux to rest once and for all.

Our reaction

Given the importance of this matter, an ad-hoc coalition of The Document Foundation, KDE, OSBA, and the FSFE collected questions about this motion (German), as well as the processes that lead up to it. We reached out to all members of the city council prior to the public hearing. Additionally, we sent a call for action (German) to all our supporters in Germany and Austria, asking them to get in contact with politicians on this issue. The reaction was phenomenal. During the public hearing, politicians quoted some of our question, and said that they had never received as much input from the public before.

Thank you everyone who made this happen!

We also generated quite a bit of press coverage this way, not only in Germany, but also in other parts of the world. An incomplete list of press coverage can be found here. Please share with us any additional material you might know about.

Conclusion

LiMux suffered from organisational problems, including lack of clear structures and responsibilities, which the Accenture report also makes clear. These are independent from the software used on client machines, and switching operating systems will not solve them.

LiMux as such is still one of the best examples of how to create a vendor-neutral administration based on Free Software. The project was started 13 years ago when the city had to replace their no longer supported Windows NT4 workstations. Since then, they migrated 15.000 workplaces to vendor-neutral Free Software solutions, and Open-Standard-based file formats, supported by local IT companies. Overall this initiative displays not only a successful move to more independence, but also serves as role model of how to strengthen the local IT industry. By solving the organisational problems only, Munich could continue to successfully foster not only an independent administration but also a strong and healthy IT landscape.

Our goal

We understand that LiMux has not solved all problems, but we maintain that the root of the problems are of organisational nature, and thus must not be confounded with the technical choices.

Public infrastructure must stay independent of singular commercial interests, that are known to stifle innovation. Free Software provides the unique opportunity to invest into common assets and benefit from everyone else's contributions, while staying in control of what gets deployed, and when. Local service providers operating in healthy competition boost the local economy and ensure best use of tax payers' money.

We also note that the trend moves away from client-side operation to more centralised infrastructures, which operating-system-independent use across multiple devices and users' browsers of choice. It may turn out best for LiMux to adjust its focus, while the vendor-neutral strategy must prevail.

The modified motion, as passed on 15 February

The following conclusion was reached (overruling the opposition by Die Grünen - rosa liste, BAYERNPARTEI Stadtratsfraktion, Freiheitsrechte, Transparenz und Bürgerbeteiligung, ÖDP, DIE LINKE, LKR und BIA):

The motion filed before the plenum by SPD and CSU shall have its section 6b (new) extended, as shown between the *** markers:

"The administration shall without delay propose a strategy how to unify the city's client-side IT architecture by 2020-12-31, building on a yet-to-be-developed 'Windows-Basis-Client'. Baseline functionality (word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, PDF reading, e-mail client and Web browser) needs to be provided by commonly-used, standard products, which must guarantee maximal compatibility with existing internal and external processes, as well as other software infrastructure (such as SAP).

*** The strategy must be clear on which applications on LiMux-Basis will no longer be needed. The city council is to be informed on the extent that this requires write-offs of prior investments. Furthermore, a rough budget to illustrate the costs associated with the unification is to be presented. The city council will then make a final decision. ***

Throughout the transition, the various departments are free to deploy the new, unified solution building on the 'Windows-Basis-Client', or continue using their existing, multi-tier (Window/LiMux) solution, depending on technical status.

Strategic goal must remain that administrative tools shall be usable independently of the client-side operating system (e.g. web apps, virtualisation, remote desktop services)."

The original decision is only available in German and can be found here, augmenting the original motion.

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European Commission responds to the FSFE's information request for Horizon 2020

jeu, 16/02/2017 - 18:00
European Commission responds to the FSFE's information request for Horizon 2020

The European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation responds to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request about the use, development and release of software under Horizon 2020 - submitted by the FSFE on January 9, 2017.

With this FOI request, the FSFE directly aimed at shedding light on how much money is spent on the use and purchase of proprietary software licences through the Horizon 2020 funding for the beneficiary projects. Respectively, it intended to figure if and what kind of data is collected, apropos of Free Software licences. The FOI request followed the publication of the FSFE's position paper for the endorsement of Free Software and Open Standards in Horizon 2020 and all publicly-funded research.

However, the response by the Commission revealed that no information is being collected on how the EU funds are being spent, when it comes to the software used and developed by the beneficiary projects within Horizon 2020:

"[...] we checked if the requested information existed and the competent Commission services informed us that the European Commission does not systematically collect information about open source software used or developed under Horizon 2020 grants, as this is not a reporting requirement in the Horizon 2020 legal basis. Consequently we are not in a position to provide you the information that you are looking for. The same applies to data concerning Horizon 2020 projects paying licence fees for software or developing software on their own."

Breaking down the EC's reply

The EC is justifying the lack of information with the argument that "it is not legally mandatory" to collect data concerning the use and acquisition of software licences.

According to the Article 14(1) of the Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 establishing Horizon 2020, particular attention in the framework shall be paid to the development and application of key enabling and industrial technologies as well as future and emerging technologies; and shall contribute to the Digital Agenda for Europe initiative. Regarding this particular point, the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 shall assess the efficiency and use of resources, with particular attention to cross-cutting issues and other elements referred in the Article 14(1). Software is no doubt falling under all of the points that Horizon 2020 is supposed to focus on when it comes to both industrial and emerging technologies, as well as part of the Digital Agenda for Europe. The absence of monitoring the use of resources Horizon 2020 projects are allocating to the use and development of software in Research and Innovation will not allow to assess the efficiency and use of resources of Horizon 2020 in its Interim evaluation.

Indeed, in the first Annual Monitoring Report 2014 which focuses on the implementation of the first year of the programme, information regarding the share of EU financial contribution to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Research and Innovation was missing. According to the second report for 2015, however, preliminary data show that over one fifth of the EU funding in Horizon 2020 contributes to ICT Research and Innovation.

What "no information" means for Free Software and Open Science

The absence of data about the use of software within Horizon 2020 beneficiary projects makes almost impossible the accurate estimation of the amount of both proprietary and Free Software, being used or developed under Horizon 2020 grants.

Taking into consideration the fact that nowadays, scientists irrespective of their field of study depend on software in order to successfully conduct their research, it is indisputable that almost every beneficiary project spends a considerable amount of the hand-out grant in the purchase of software licences. The fact that the EC does not collect data on the spending of public money for software licences disregards an essential part of the modern research.

Consequently, without relevant data, Horizon 2020 monitoring and evaluation processes cannot draw safe conclusions. Critical factors, such as the re-use of software being developed with Horizon 2020 funding, or the costs for re-purchasing the same licences cannot be scrutinized and therefore, cannot lead decision-makers to optimised funding solutions. Albeit, the most significant complication is the fact that the EC is not in position to prove with a degree of certainty that Open Access and subsequently Open Science, two of the Horizon 2020 most fundamental principles, are implemented in practice. As already argued in the FSFE's recent position paper, Open Science can neither be achieved nor be sustainable in long-term without Free Software being its chief constituent.

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European Free Software Policy Meeting 2017

lun, 13/02/2017 - 18:00
European Free Software Policy Meeting 2017

Building on the experience from last year's successful pre-FOSDEM meeting, the Free Software Foundation Europe and OpenForum Europe recently continued the tradition of bringing together active Free Software groups a day before the FOSDEM event, in order to discuss public policy related actions at both the EU and the national levels. This year, the meeting focused on encouraging exchanges of views between individual citizens and decision-makers, by providing practical first-hand information on topics relating to Free Software in public policy.

The session started with Sebastian Raible (parliamentary assistant to Julia Reda (a Member of the European Parliament)), who gave a presentation about Free Software developments from the perspective of the European Parliament. He explained the progress of the Free and Open Source Software Audit (or FOSSA) programme, which was extended for another three years at the end of 2016, and explained that one of the main changes to the programme is that now it includes a new “bug bounty” incentive scheme, rewarding the discovery and reporting of new software bugs. Participants highlighted their concerns over the methodology of FOSSA, and the need to focus on its aim, namely, support for the security of the Free Software projects.

Next, Pierre Damas (Head of Sector, Digital Services at the Directorate General of Information Technologies of the European Commission) shared with the group some of the Commission's plans for updating its Open Source Software Strategy, identifying the key barriers and motivations for adopting it in practice. According to Pierre Damas, although within the Commission Free Software is technically now treated equally with its proprietary counterparts, there remains a lack of political will to back up the mainstream adoption of Free Software technologies within the EU institutions. According to him, the next step for the updated Open Source Strategy in the Commission is the "digital transformation" of areas such as "cloud", big data, and the "Internet of Things".

Jaana Sahk-Labi (from the Estonian Permanent Representation to the EU) presented Estonia's national framework for supporting the implementation of Free Software. Estonia is considered to be the leader in e-Government at the EU level, and is planning to highlight e-Government topics during its presidency of the Council of the EU, in the second half of 2017. One of the main challenges for the Estonian government in the upcoming presidency will be the right approach for future-proofing "no legacy" policies that continue after the term of Estonia's presidency has come to an end. Consequently, Estonia is preaching for a digital revolution in the EU institutions.

Laurent Joubert (from the French government) presented the Open Source Contribution Policy Template which has been drafted by numerous representatives from governments, non-governmental organisations, companies, international organisations and academic sector as a part of the Open Government Partnership. The aim of this template is to provide an easily shareable and ready-to-use template for governments – as well as other public administrations - to set up a policy for code contributions made by civil servants, which have to be open by default. The ultimate goal of such a policy is to facilitate, share and reuse the code developed by and for public administrations.

The speakers' presentations were followed by a round table discussion, engaging the participants in considering the possibility creating a dashboard, which would serve as a tool for advocacy groups to assess best practices and policies for supporting Free Software and Open Standards (OS) in Member States. Part of the discussion was dedicated to finding ways to evaluate the existing national or regional policies which support Free Software. A couple of identified indicators of "openness" were: the level of Free Software usage; and the fact of using global analytics of online procedures. In addition, certain other criteria will also need to be taken into account: transparency of how Free Software is adopted in the public sector; the implementation of the policy in practice; and product maturity. The participants agreed to start working on listing the parameters which would describe "best behaviour" on the part of government, with a view to developing concrete steps or actions to support governments to achieve this.

The meeting was a stepping-stone, paving the way for a bigger collaboration on how to promote public policies supporting Free Software across Europe. We hope to continue the collaboration and to coordinate our actions in order to collectively make a difference on the policy level.

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Berlin sends a message for "I love Free Software" day

lun, 13/02/2017 - 18:00
Berlin sends a message for "I love Free Software" day

In celebration of the "I love Free Software" day on February 14, the Berlin Reichtag has been illuminated with the message "Give Free Software A Chance" last weekend. On numerous buildings and symbolic places in Berlin other messages have been projected. "Build Free Software - Not Walls" could have been read on the Berlin Wall, and the Federal Ministry of Finances has been decorated by the slogan "Public Money, Public Code". Thereby, activists draw attention to the importance of larger appreciation of Free Software.

FSFE representatives also delivered an open letter together with a rose to all members of German parliament in which they demand a higher political support of Free Software and the a higher recognition of voluntary Free Software development.

Matthias Kirschner, FSFE's president, comments: "Free Software enables everyone to use, study, share, and improve programs for any purpose. These rights help support other fundamental rights like freedom of speech, freedom of press and privacy. Therefore, we ask politics and administration to put publicly financed software under a free license. Software funded by public money should be a common good and available to all people so that the whole society can benefit from it."

The "I love Free Software" day is being celebrated on every Valentine's Day and is dedicated to the countless voluntary contributors of Free Software.

Further information:

Pictures of the activity under a free license Letter to the members of German parliament (German) About "I love Free Software" day

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I love Free Software Day 2017

mer, 08/02/2017 - 18:00
I love Free Software Day 2017

It's time to say "thank you" on 14th of February, the "I love Free Software" Day 2017. The Free Software Foundation Europe asks all Free Software users to use the traditional day of love to think of the hardworking people contributing to the Free Software we all depend on. As every year there are many ways for people to participate in this campaign.

In the Free Software society we exchange a lot of criticism. We write bug reports, tell others how they can improve the software, ask them for new features, and generally are not shy about criticising others. There is nothing wrong about that. It helps us to constantly improve. But sometimes we forget to show the hardworking people behind the software our appreciation.

Show your love for Free Software

As the traditional day to show one's appreciation to people, Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to thank the contributors of the various Free Software you love: developers, translators, designers, testers, or documentation writers, of huge softwares or smaller projects. All of them work on the Free Software ecosystem which we can enjoy every day.

Have a look at how you can participate this year on our campaign page. You can also read how we celebrated last year and see how people declare their love for Free Software. If everybody contributes a small part we can enjoy a beautiful "I love Free Software" day together!

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FSFE Newsletter - February 2017

mar, 31/01/2017 - 18:00
FSFE Newsletter - February 2017 Why Open Science matters and the FSFE's position on Horizon 2020

"Open Science" is an emerging movement that asks to transfer the four freedoms that we practice in Free Software into science. Although it is still emerging, Open Science receives more and more strategic importance for decision-makers. In the eyes of financial ministers of the European Union, Open Science produces and uses a lot of Open Data, which in turn has the potential for big economic benefits. The "European Cloud Initiative", for example, is part of the European Commission's strategy for Open Science, intended for building a "competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe". It aims at strengthening Europe's position in data-driven innovation and is thus considered to become an important part of the European Digital Single Market. Or, as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development puts it: "Encouraging the sharing and re-use of research data could generate more value for public money".

With this in mind, the FSFE targets Free Software to be part of this emerging field of European Open Science from the beginning. As all research, data processing and archiving nowadays heavily depends on software, it is a chance to jump on the bandwagon and define Free Software as a precondition of Open Science. As one course of action, we wrote a position paper for the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available.

The FSFE's position paper explains how Free Software and Open Standards are fundamental to Open Science and we therefore ask for all publicly-funded research in Europe to mandatorily use and develop Free Software and Open Standards. With the "European Cloud Initiative" in mind, we explicitly ask that "Data and software repositories and Data Management Plans (DMPs) must employ Free Software in order to ensure unfettered access to their contents and long term preservation".

Help us now to grow bigger and make a difference in 2017 https://fsfe.org/join

What else have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE To underpin the demands of the position paper we wrote for the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 (see above), we filed a Freedom of Information request to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation to ask about the use, development and release of (Free) software under Horizon2020. We will keep you updated about any response. We published our annual report with insights about our policy work, campaigns and events in 2016 as well as a preview for 2017. In August 2016, the FSFE joined the Advisory Board of The Document Foundation. Now, The Document Foundation opens up the LibreOffice Certification for Migrations and Trainings to members of not-for-profit organisations on their Advisory Board, including the FSFE. We published a report of the first ever FSFE summit that happened in September 2016. The report includes reflections, impressions, pictures and the full schedule with links to the abstract, slides and video recordings of each talk, if available. If you missed the summit, this report is your chance to catch up on it. The FSFE's assembly during the 33rd edition of the Chaos Communication Congress (33C3) was a big success thanks to our highly motivated team behind the booth and the high quality of 21 sessions in three days that have been realized by our session hosts. Read Erik's report and see the pictures for more insights. Like every year, FSFE staff and many team members will be at FOSDEM and we have a big booth in the K building. If you come to FOSDEM take the chance to meet the FSFE or individual members. "Barcelona Free Software" is a local group in Barcelona and an open space for coders and users who love Free Software. Following a team decision at the end of 2016, Barcelona Free Software now is an associated organisation of the FSFE. Would you like to work with us in the FSFE or you know somehow who would like to? In 2017, we are looking for new student interns to join our team and who like to get to know a world full of Free Software. Get active

February 14 is "I love Free Software day", the day to say thank you to all the people behind Free Software. Use this day to show your love for your favorite Free Software and check out our campaign page in advance to get some ideas and inspiration: http://www.ilovefs.org

Good Free Software News

The Paris Declaration on Open Government, introduced during the OGP Paris Summit last December, aims at establishing cooperation between countries and civil societies throughout 2017. The Declaration is composed of 21 collective action items with the accomplishment of open public procurement and formation of effective Free Software policies listed among them.

Help us to improve our newsletter

Do you think we have missed some news, or you'd like specific news to appear in the next newsletter? Please share this and any other feedback by writing to newsletter@fsfe.org

Thanks to all the volunteers, Fellows and corporate donors who enable our work,

your editors Erik Albers, Olga Gkotsopoulou and Fernando Sanjurjo, FSFE

Help us now to grow bigger and make a difference in 2017 https://fsfe.org/join

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Report of FSFE's assembly during the Chaos Communication Congress

jeu, 26/01/2017 - 18:00
The Chaos Communication Congress is Germany’s biggest annual meetup of hackers and political activists. This year has been the 33rd edition ("33C3") and FSFE has been present with an assembly, a booth and 21 sessions about Free Software. Read a visual report of our activities along some pictures by Erik Albers.

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2017 internship positions as student interns

mar, 17/01/2017 - 18:00
2017 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 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.

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-2017. 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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The FSFE files FOI request for Horizon 2020

lun, 09/01/2017 - 18:00
The FSFE files FOI request for Horizon 2020

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) files Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the European Commission (EC) Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, asking for information related to the use, development and release of software under Horizon 2020, the biggest EU reseacrh funding programme.

Software is a cardinal part of almost every research project in Horizon 2020 and most of it is acquired or developed with public or public-private funding. We are interested to figure out what percentage of the funding is spent on proprietary licences and what percentage of software developed within Horizon 2020 is released under Free Software licences. Our aim is to aggregate this data and draw conclusions about the situation of software in publicly funded research.

Taking into account the main points raised in our Position paper for the endorsement of Free Software and Open Standards in Horizon 2020 and all publicly-funded research and in accordance with the suggestions stated in it, the FSFE asks from the Commission the following questions:

Do you monitor and/or collect data about the usage of IT and software in Horizon 2020 projects, and specifically if projects use or develop Free Software (also known as 'open source') ?

How many projects, both in numbers and in percentage of the overall amount of research projects, are funded by Horizon 2020 to pay licence fees for software? What are the top most paid licence fees for software amongst Horizon2020 projects?

How much money was spent by Horizon 2020 during its most recent "phase" on proprietary software licences? How much is this in comparison to the overall funds of Horizon 2020?

How many projects in numbers and in percentage of the overall amount of research projects funded by Horizon2020 develop software on their own? What percentage of this software is kept proprietary and how much is published under a licence approved by Free Software Foundation/Open Source Initiative? Which are the most used Free Software/Open Source licences in this regard?

What to do while waiting for the EC to answer?

A few days ago, the FSFE published and submitted to the European Commission its Position paper for the endorsement of Free Software and Open Standards in Horizon 2020 and all publicly-funded research, as part of the public consultation on the midterm evaluation of Horizon 2020.

You can help us spread the word by reading and sharing our position paper or participating in the EC consultation on Horizon 2020. This way you make sure that your voice demanding Free Software and Open Standards in science is heard! You can take a look on how to do that at the relevant wiki page.

The consultation is open for everyone and runs until 15.01.2017.

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FSFE Annual Report 2016

dim, 08/01/2017 - 18:00
FSFE Annual Report 2016

It has been a busy year for the FSFE. Upholding the principles of Free Software and protecting citizens' from being exploited are ongoing challenges we tackled from a variety of angles. We (and by "we", we mean the staff and volunteers at the FSFE) pored over hundreds of pages of policies and legislations, looking for loopholes through which Free Software could be attacked.

We travelled to events all over Europe, often carrying with us dozens of heavy boxes of merchandising, to explain what Free Software is all about as speakers and attendees. We have organised our own events too including our first international summit.

MEP Julia Reda speaks at the FSFE Summit

And we have dreamt up and executed campaigns to spread awareness of the threats to Free Software and users' freedoms. This has entailed mobilising dozens of staff members and volunteers, contacting the media, and designing and ordering T-shirts, squishy stress balls/hearts, and balloons, lots of balloons.

What follows are just a few of the highlights from 2016.

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Policies and Legislation Campaings Events Strengthening the Free Software Network Coming up in 2017 TL;DR Policies and Legislation

We have been carefully monitoring policies and legislation in Europe and intervened when citizens' rights were in peril. We have formulated several proposals to EU institutions and EU member states containing concrete steps to solve the issues with the EU Radio Directive.

This Directive threatens software freedom with its ambiguous phrasing that all but forbids users from installing unapproved software (read "Free operating systems") on radio-enabled devices. These devices include all modern laptops, wireless routers and every single smartphone in existence. Over 40 European organisations and enterprises support our concerns and demands.Max Mehl and Polina Malaja will be doing follow-up on this with along with our volunteers and other organisations to make sure you can still install Free Software on those devices.

Another threat to Free Software is the EC's stance on the Digital Single Market strategy. We have patiently explained several times why FRAND licensing, the licensing favoured by the Commission in its "ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market", is incompatible with Free Software and why a more liberal model should be used. This is still an ongoing battle.

Staying with the EC, we tried to help out on the "Free and Open Source Security Audit" (FOSSA) project, commissioned jointly by the European Parliament. The project should have helped evaluate the suitability of the Free Software used in public administrations. A professional audit of Free Software tools and frameworks would seem a good thing at first glance, an excellent way to test run software and improve it when bugs and vulnerabilities pop up. At the very least it would help protect citizens' data stored on public servers.

However, after reading the results, it was not clear the time and money invested into the study had been well-spent. The conclusions were sometimes vague and some parts directly wrong. Despite our best efforts, the company employed to do the survey did not seem to know much about Free Software at all.

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That said, the EC and MEPs in charge of the project, were always open to our comments and able to push for improvements, although they were bound to a contract with consultants who were not too knowledgeable about Free Software matters. Viewed as a pilot, it helped everybody see where the pitfalls were. With a bigger budget and the lessons learnt, the EU is planning to follow our advice and improve the project in future iterations.

We even put the law to the test, and our colleague Max Mehl, the FSFE coordinator for Germany, sent out "alternative" routers to testers so they could try them with their Internet provider. We published the results on our Wiki to help others who are thinking of changing their devices.

Campaigns

I Love Free Software Postcard

But not all our campaigns have been so serious. We have also carried out a campaigns to raise awareness about Free Software amongst the general public, and here "light-hearted" is literally the keyword. We launched our 6th "I love FS" campaign on Valentine's day. During this campaign, we encouraged all our friends to make a display of love towards Free Software by telling the world, online with posts to social media, or offline, with public demonstrations of FS love.

Online, we got tweets and blog posts from users, volunteers and sympathizers explaining what they loved most about their favourite Free Software project. Offline, we had at least one cake baked by the WikiMedia Foundation, gifs of people squeezing our #ilovefs stress heart, and pictures of people from all over Europe waving our "<3 Free Software" balloons.

In a similar vein, we wanted to help the general media, local newspapers, radios and TV stations, to know more about Free Software. To this end we started our "Meet a Free Software Hero" campaign. Part of our larger 15th Anniversary celebration campaign, we encouraged volunteers and media outlets to get in touch with each other so that the "heroes" could explain what software freedom was all about, and bust a few myths at the same time.

Thanks to the campaign, we managed to increase our profile with the media and it has now become much more usual for journalists to get in touch with us to comment on stories. This gives us more visibility and influence to affect changes in favour of Free Software.

Events

Another way of reaching a wider audience was through events. Apart from participating in Free Software-specific conferences like FOSDEM, LinuxCon and different Linuxtage (we took the FSFE booth to all of these), we also participated in the Wear Fair and more. This event is Austria's largest textile fair for sustainable clothing and lifestyle, and covers from organic food, to DIY electronic repairs. The themes of sustainability, individual personal freedom and alternative economic models helped our Foundation fit right in and we sold plenty of T-shirts, bags and baby vests. We also collected contact information of people interested in our cause.

But we are prouder of the two big events we organised ourselves. In April we held our annual Legal and Licensing Workshop. This Workshop is set up by and for members of the FSFE's Legal Network. Legal experts from all sectors of the industry got together to discuss licenses, compliance and what constitutes derivative work for three days in balmy Barcelona.

Speakers included Harald Welte of gpl-violations.org fame; Miriam Ballhausen from JBB; and Eben Moglen, chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center.

Our Legal Coordinator Polina Malaja together with our trainee Olga Gkotsopoulou are already busy planning next years conference which we expect to be at least as successful as 2016's.

Similarly exciting was our first ever FSFE Summit held in Berlin in September, in which, Erik Albers, our community builder, commandeered a veritable army of volunteers and interns to make sure that everything run smoothly.

Part celebration of FSFE's 15th anniversary, and everything we have achieved over the years; part event to talk about the non-technical aspects of Free Software, we covered the topics of Free Software in business, the public sector and as a force for social advancement in more than 50 talks. We also had our 15th birthday party.

Speakers included, among many others, the two prior presidents and the one current president of the FSFE, that is, Georg Greve, Karsten Gerloff, and Matthias Kirschner; Sonia Montegiove and Italo Vignoli, the architects behind the migration to LibreOffice of the Italian Armed Forces; and Roberto di Cosmo, co-founder along with Stefano "Zach" Zacchiroli of SoftwareHeritage.org.

Julia Reda, MEP for the Pirate Party, closed the event with a keynote on copyright reform and made the case for Free Software on machines critical in modern democracies. She explained, for example, why using inauditable proprietary software on voting machines was unacceptable.

Booth at the FSFE Summit

Strengthening the Free Software Network

Which brings us to the subject of how we used events to make the network of Free Software organisations stronger. The Software Heritage mentioned above, for example, collects programs, applications and snippets of code distributed under free license from several sources. It aims to preserve an encyclopedia of free code for posterity. It was clear from the start that the FSFE and SH had a lot in common, so we supported the initiative early on, helping them get coverage in the media and offering them a platform to spread the word about what they do.

We also strengthened our ties with the Document Foundation by joining its Advisory Board. At the same time, The Document Foundation became an associated organisation of the FSFE. This means that we will be offering advice, support and suggestions on one of the most successful Free Software projects out there: LibreOffice and all its ecosystem. With the Document Foundation as an associated organisation, we created official channels for the exchange of ideas, coordinate efforts, motivate each other, and find opportunities to work together on specific projects.

Another thing we did was to hand over the running of the FSFE's Document Freedom Day to Document Freedom Foundation. The DFD already organises the Software Freedom Day (SFD) campaign, the Education Freedom Day, and the Hardware Freedom Day. It seemed logical that they also organise the Document Freedom Day. Like that they widened the range of events of related events they offer, and it allows us to concentrate on core Free Software topics.

FSFE Booth at 33C3

Coming up in 2017

But there is still a lot of work to do and 2017 is shaping up to be an interesting year. Although we have managed to get the ban on compulsory routers into law, we expect that ISPs will fight back, so we will have to be on guard for that. The threat of FRAND licensing and software patents is never far off and we will have to continue advising lawmakers on why these are dangerous for Free Software and the European software industry in general.Katharina Nucon, policy coordinator of the German Pirate Party, will be helping us with this campaign.

Most of our efforts, however, will most likely be spent pushing for getting more public institutions to publish their software under a free license. We want public money to pay for public code, and only public code. Software used by public institutions is acquired, deployed and/or developed with taxpayers' money. Making it available under a Free license to all citizens is just the right thing to do. Furthermore, we hope we will raise awareness amongst politicians of the importance of using Free Software when they see its advantages.

There are several important national and regional elections scheduled throughout Europe in 2017. Politicians are supposedly more receptive during campaigns, so we will do our best to make candidates and parties commit to Free Software and openness in their administrations.

We need governments to commit to improving policies that favour Free Software across the board. It is not admissible any more that the administration pilfer taxpayers money on proprietary software.

We need policies that help the European IT sector become much more competitive and sustainable. There is no better way to achieve this than incentivising the use and development of Free Software and Open Standards.

Finally we need better policies to help promote Free Software amongst the general public. Every European citizen must be allowed to regain control over the technology they use once and for all.

TL;DR

This has been a long report, but if you need a summary, here goes:

Free Software improves everybody's life and the world. It is clear that everybody have been handed the short end of the IT stick for too long. SMEs need a level playing ground to prosper and create employment. Private citizens and business owners must be allowed to own and control the devices they pay for. Governments must be at the service of the people, as must the software they pay for with people's taxes. Free Software, Free Hardware and Open Standards solve all of the above.

All of these things should be self-evident, but apparently are not. That is why we at the FSFE do what we do. Throughout this report we have mentioned some of the people that work to turn these things into reality. However, and it may sound cliché, but it doesn't make it less true, without the continued support from you, the volunteer, the fellow, the occasional donor, and the moral supporter, none of our staff would be able to do anything. We rely heavily on you, your activities and your donations to stay independent and fight for your rights when they are threatened, regardless as to where the threat comes from.

Please help us make next year's report is as long as this one, and do consider joining the FSFE.

Best Regards, Jonas Oberg (Executive Director) and Matthias Kirschner (President)

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