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SFP#12: Enforcement of the GNU GPL with Till Jaeger

22. September 2021 um 01:00

SFP#12: Enforcement of the GNU GPL with Till Jaeger

With our 12th episode of the Software Freedom Podcast we dig into the history and the beginning of enforcing Free Software licences, especially the GNU General Public Licence (GNU GPL). Together with Till Jaeger, who has been working alongside Harald Welte for enforcing the GNU GPL in the first court cases in Germany, we talk about the long way we have come since those early days.

Our guest, Till Jaeger, discusses with our host, Matthias Kirschner, how the decision to go to court and stand up for the rights of copyleft licences came about. Till and Matthias tell an exciting story about those first steps on this new legal ground. They also highlight the short term and long term impacts of the first court decision in favour of Free Software. For example, how more and more information about licensing and especially using a Free Software licence became available and publicly known. But also how workshops, like the FSFE's yearly Legal and Licensing Workshop were created for those interested in using and being compliant to Free Software licences.

Discover together with us the changes that have come from those first steps to the acceptance of Free Software in companies. Till has been involved with Free Software licensing for a long time and provides a deep and well rounded insight into the history of enforcing the GNU GPL. To give this episode a perfect ending, Matthias and Till also talk about some of the most common misunderstandings of Free Software licensing. This is the perfect episode for everyone to get an insight into one of the most important events in the history of enforcing Free Software licences.

Read more:

If you liked this episode and want to support our continuous work for software freedom, please help us with a donation.

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Die digitalpolitischen Interviews zur Bundestagswahl 2021

20. September 2021 um 01:00

Die digitalpolitischen Interviews zur Bundestagswahl 2021

Die Bundestagswahl am 26.09.2021 steht unmittelbar bevor. Digitale Souveränität auch durch den Einsatz von Freier Software stehen im Zentrum unseres Austausches mit den politischen Parteien, den wir auch über die Wahlprüfsteine unserer Organisationen geführt haben. Wir freuen uns, dass wir in einem weiteren Schritt mit Kandidatinnen und Kandidaten aller Parteien mit einer Chance auf eine Regierungsbeteiligung ins persönliche Gespräch gekommen sind und vertieft nachfragen konnten, was sie und ihre Partei tun möchten, um die Digitalisierung in Deutschland auch mit Freier Software voranzubringen.

Es gibt viele ermutigende Signale, dass bei allen befragten Parteien die Bedeutung von Freier Software erkannt und adressiert wird. Am Ende wird es darauf ankommen, dass das konkreten Eingang in die politische Arbeit findet und gerade im öffentlichen Sektor auch souveräne Lösungen eingesetzt werden. Wir danken allen Politikerinnen und Politikern für ihre Unterstützung und freuen uns, nach der Wahl den Dialog fortzusetzen, wenn es darum geht, den Koalitionsvertrag zu verhandeln und die Sacharbeit in Parlament und Regierung aufzunehmen. Wir veröffentlichen ab heute jeden Tag ein Interview, das von Alexander Sander von der FSFE und Karl Krüger von der OSB Alliance geführt wurde.

Nadine Schön, MdB, CDU Stellvertretende Vorsitzende der CDU/CSU-Bundestagsfraktion, zuständig für die Bereiche Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend sowie Digitale Agenda Elvan Korkmaz-Emre, MdB, SPD Mitglied des Ausschuss für Digitale Agenda sowie des Ausschusses für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur Manuel Höferlin, MdB, FDP Vorsitzender Ausschuss Digitale Agenda Anke Domscheit-Berg, MdB, Die Linke Ausschuss Digitale Agenda Margit Stumpp, MdB, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Ausschuss für Kultur und Medien

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Demand for transparent CovPass apps in EU +++ Dutch gain Router Freedom

13. September 2021 um 01:00

Demand for transparent CovPass apps in EU +++ Dutch gain Router Freedom

In our August-September Newsletter, we celebrate the right of using a custom router in the Netherlands. We explain why every app that tackles the spread of Covid-19 has to be Free Software. We share the news of our vibrant community, following up what happened in the summertime and what lies ahead of us.

CovPass apps should be available to all; thus, they should be Free Software

Apps that are necessary for everyone should be available to everyone, without having to install additional and proprietary software stores. This was not the case with the German CovPass app, which provides the EU digital COVID certificate for Corona vaccination on smartphones. It was only available on Apple, Huawai and Google app stores due to proprietary dependencies. Such a practice neglects those who consciously avoid proprietary software and choose to use Free Software. For them, the app was unavailable.

Experts saved the day, and therefore we would like to thank @jugendhacker, @mythsunwind, @rugk, @tzugen, Felix C. Stegerman, and Marcus Hoffmann. Together, they worked selflessly for weeks and developed the CovPass app for F-droid. The experts also removed proprietary Google libraries which were not necessary for the app to function.

This additional work would not have been necessary if the CovPass developers – who are paid with public funds – had not included these unnecessary proprietary libraries from the beginning. Furthermore, the company developing CovPass was unsupportive towards external developers, which increased the difficulty for the volunteers to contribute improvements. Because of this, improvements which would have required little effort by the original developers turned out to be a difficult task for third-party experts. It is a typical problem that can be avoided by releasing as Free Software any software whose development is publicly funded.

The same process happened last year with the German Covid-tracing app: experts voluntarily took over governments' and administrations' tasks to make this app available to everyone. In the case of Covid-related apps, public bodies have failed in Germany. "We urge the government to quickly adapt its practices and make sure everyone can use such apps without any restrictions from the start" says Matthias Kirschner, President of the FSFE. The silver lining in contrast is the example of Switzerland, where the official Covid certificate app was added to F-droid by the Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication (FOITT).

Advocating pays off: Dutch Internet users gain Router Freedom

Router Freedom is now a reality in the Netherlands. All Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must allow end-users to choose and use their own routers and modems within 6 months. Also, it was secured that consumers who set up an alternative router should still enjoy technical support by the ISPs. The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets' (ACM) decision represents a victory for consumers in the Netherlands and a win for net neutrality in Europe.

The new rules passed after a persistent effort of the FSFE to draw attention to the importance of Router Freedom. The FSFE contacted BEREC raising the Router Freedom demand for the first time three years ago, in 2018, resulting in establishing Router Freedom as a standard for European countries. In 2019, the FSFE contacted the Dutch national agency too, to enquire about the situation in the country. Since then, the FSFE's Country Team Netherlands pushed the issue through by organising seminars, talking to stakeholders, going to events, raising the issue on social media, and helping with the elaboration of technical and legal documents.

Now, it is the time to celebrate. ACM's decision is a major win for all end-users in the Netherlands!

Do you want to learn more about the status of Router Freedom in your country? Check our monitoring map! You can contribute with our work by taking part in our end-user survey to help monitoring Router Freedom in your country.

Upcoming events:

On Wednesday 15 September at 20:00 CEST, the Dutch FSFE team will have its monthly meeting. The Dutch team always welcomes new members. If you would like to take part in the meeting, please contact the FSFE Coordinator of the Netherlands, Nico Rikken.

In September's monthly meeting, the FSFE Women group will discuss gender aspects of learning programming. Research papers will be briefly presented and discussed. We welcome new members who identify as females. The date is still to be arranged, so if you are interested in Free Software join our mailing list and get to know us.

What we have done:

  • On July 30th, Max Mehl, Programme Manager of the FSFE, gave an interview in thelocal.de about the disaster warning system of Germany. The topic came to the spotlight after the floods in Germany, but the weaknesses of the warning system were a known issue already. Max argues in favour of warnings sent through cell broadcast instead of apps, because they can reach everyone with a phone and target specific locations. There is also a publicly accessible reprint available.

  • On August 17th, the FSFE Women group met and Loria presented how maps are created in a 2D workadventu.re world.

  • On August 18th, the FSFE Dutch team met to discuss the end of SMS authentication for DigiD, the efforts to introduce Free Software in schools, and other technological developments.

  • On August 22nd at FrOsCon, Alexander Sander, FSFE's Policy Consultant, presented the latest developments in the digitization of administrations and ventured an outlook for the time after the federal elections in Germany.

FSFE information stall on Veganmania, Vienna 2021
  • During the last weekend of August, the FSFE Austria participated in the annual Veganmania summer festival. Next to live music, street food, and DIY workshops, the Viennese FSFE volunteers team organised a booth to explain the basics of Free Software to visitors. The Veganmania festival is visited by thousands of visitors with diverse backgrounds. The supporters noticed an increase in how many people were technically conscious compared to the previous years. Also, newcomers in the field of Free Software were interested to read our guides with technical tips to increase their computer security. Instructions on basic utilities such as email encryption and password managers gained a lot of attention. If you are interested to learn more, you can read the report from the FSFE supporters group in Vienna.

Get active for the Federal election in Germany

On 26 September, a new Bundestag will be elected in Germany. We are engaged around the election and want to ensure with our activities that "Public Money? Public Code!" plays an important role for the next government. Therefore we want to make sure that our "Public Money? Public Code!" demands will be included in the coalition agreement of Germany's next government. To achieve this we need your help and support. You can learn how you can help us in the dedicated activity package [DE].

Contribute to our newsletter

If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, please send them to us. As always, the address is newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you! If you also want to support us and our work, join our community and support us with a donation or a monthly contribution. Thanks to our community and 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 native languages.

Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou

The biggest financial impact the FSFE faces in these times of physical distancing is the cancellation of Free Software conferences, including our own events. To keep the software freedom movement solid and alive, please consider donating a part of your conference budget to Free Software organisations, including the FSFE.

Support FSFE

Öffentliche Einrichtungen versagen: Freiwillige müssen Freizeit opfern, um CovPass-App für alle verfügbar zu machen

30. August 2021 um 01:00

Öffentliche Einrichtungen versagen: Freiwillige müssen Freizeit opfern, um CovPass-App für alle verfügbar zu machen

Nach der erfolgreichen Bereitstellung der deutschen Corona-Warn-App ohne Zugriff auf Google-Dienste auf F-Droid im vergangenen Jahr springen nun erneut Freiwillige ein, um staatliche Aufgaben zu übernehmen und die CovPass-App für alle verfügbar zu machen.

Mit der CovPass-App kann das digitale COVID-Zertifikat der EU für die Corona-Impfung auf Smartphones genutzt werden. Bisher war sie aufgrund von proprietären Abhängigkeiten nur in den App-Stores von Apple, Huawai und Google verfügbar. Das Support-Team der CovPass-App argumentiert zudem, dass die App aus Sicherheitsgründen und um Missbrauch zu verhindern, nicht in anderen App-Stores veröffentlicht werden kann. Diese Argumentation ist nicht nur irreführend und falsch, wie wir bereits bei anderen Corona-Apps gesehen haben, sondern verhindert die Nutzung vieler Corona-Apps für Menschen, die Wert auf Privatsphäre und Softwarefreiheit auf ihren Geräten legen. Eine Gruppe von Freiwilligen hat in den letzten Wochen intensiv daran gearbeitet, diese App für alle verfügbar zu machen und sie heute auf F-Droid, einem App-Store für Freie Software, veröffentlicht.

Zu diesem Zweck haben die Freiwilligen auch proprietäre Google-Bibliotheken entfernt, die für die App nicht notwendig sind. Dieser Mehraufwand hätte vermieden werden können, wenn die mit öffentlichen Geldern bezahlten Entwickler solche unnötigen proprietären Bibliotheken gar nicht erst mit eingebaut hätten. Darüber hinaus war das Unternehmen, das CovPass entwickelt, externen Entwicklern gegenüber wenig entgegenkommend, was es den Freiwilligen erschwerte, Verbesserungen beizusteuern. Eine eigentlich einfache und schnelle Implementierung, die durch die ursprünglichen Entwickler hätte vorgenommen werden können, entpuppte sich so zu einer schwierigen Aufgabe für die Freiwilligen. Ein positives Beispiel ist COVID Certificate, die offizielle App zur Speicherung und Präsentation von Schweizer COVID-Zertifikaten. Sie wird vom Bundesamt für Informatik und Telekommunikation BIT im Auftrag des Bundesamts für Gesundheit entwickelt, und die Entwickler haben selbst dafür gesorgt, dass die App in den Freie Software App Store F-Droid aufgenommen wurde.

Felix C. Stegerman, Softwareentwickler und Teil der Freiwilligengruppe rund um die CovPass-App erklärt: "Ich möchte sicherstellen, dass jeder öffentlich finanzierte Apps nutzen kann, damit wir die Pandemie bekämpfen können. Es ist traurig, dass die Prozesse einiger dieser öffentlich finanzierten Apps externe Verbesserungen erschweren oder gar blockieren, anstatt gemeinsam an Verbesserungen zu arbeiten. Mehr Verwaltungen sollten dem Beispiel der Entwickler der Schweizer COVID-Zertifikats-App folgen."Matthias Kirschner, Präsident der Free Software Foundation Europe äußert sich: "Einmal mehr übernehmen Freiwillige die Aufgaben von Regierungen und Verwaltungen, um Corona-Apps für alle zugänglich zu machen. Die FSFE dankt @jugendhacker, @mythsunwind, @rugk, @tzugen, Felix C. Stegerman und Marcus Hoffmann für ihre entscheidende Arbeit im Kampf gegen die Pandemie. Aber es sollte nicht an Freiwilligen liegen, diese Aufgabe zu erledigen: Wir fordern die Regierung auf, ihre Praktiken schnell zu ändern und sicherzustellen, dass alle die Anwendungen von Anfang an ohne Einschränkungen nutzen kann. Außerdem sollte sichergestellt werden, dass die Lösungen als Freie Software veröffentlicht werden, sodass sie von anderen Institutionen auf der ganzen Welt wiederverwendet und angepasst werden können." Free Your Android

Seit Beginn der Corona-Krise hat die FSFE gefordert, dass alle Apps, die zur Bewältigung der Krise veröffentlicht werden, Freie Software sein müssen. Nur Freie Software bietet genügend Transparenz, um einen vollständigen Datenschutz und eine gesetzeskonforme Nutzung zu gewährleisten; so kann Vertrauen geschaffen werden. Außerdem brauchen globale Probleme globale Lösungen, und nur Freie Software ermöglicht die Entwicklung von globalem Code in einer rechtssicheren kooperativen Umgebung. Jede proprietäre Lösung wird unweigerlich zu unzähligen Insellösungen führen und damit Energie und Zeit verschwenden. Neben der globalen Zusammenarbeit ermöglichen Lizenzen für Freie Software die gemeinsame Nutzung von Code in jeder Rechtsordnung und für jedes Gerät.

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Dutch authority enforces Router Freedom

05. August 2021 um 01:00

Dutch authority enforces Router Freedom

The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has published new rules that will move Router Freedom forward in the Netherlands. Within 6 months ISPs have to comply and offer the option for consumers and companies to connect a modem or router of their own choice. The FSFE acknowledges this decision as a major win for consumer rights.

Router Freedom is the right that consumers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment that the ISP provides. In its publication (.pdf) the Dutch Authority cites the BEREC Guidelines on the Implementation of the Open Internet Regulation as the reason for stating the new rules. These guidelines came about with the persistent effort of the FSFE to draw attention to the importance of and right to Router Freedom. As another motivation the ACM explicitly mentions the "significant" group of users wanting to take control of their personal data and network devices.

The new regulation clarifies which part of the infrastructure falls under the governance of the ISP and for which part the user is free to choose their own solution. Router Freedom also implies a user is still free to choose a modem or router offered by the ISP. It is an important step forward that this practice will be the norm from 27 February 2022 and will be enforced by the Dutch regulator. Although the legal aspects have been defined now in the Netherlands, in practice Router Freedom was already tolerated in the country. Most ISPs indicated that they allow consumers to connect their own preferred devices. One even gives consumers a discount if they use their own router or modem.

The details

An important step forward is the explicit choice by the ACM for the Network Termination Point (NTP). The BEREC Guidelines suggest three possible locations, in short A) at the end of the cable B) after the modem C) after the router or mediabox. The ACM has opted for the NTP to be at the end of the cable, offering the maximum of flexibility to the user. This "passive" termination point avoids users having to accept the operation of a device outside of their control, and allows for Router Freedom.

Schematic overview of the Network Termination Point (NTP)

The new rules contain statements on what service should be provided. ISPs are allowed to publish a list of devices, but cannot limit the support to only that list of devices. ISPs should provide the administrative measures within one working day. ISPs maintain the ability to disconnect a user in case damage is done to the network. For troubleshooting a policy is described by which first the ISP has to check it is not their network that is faulty, after which the user can be requested to use a known working device provided by the ISP to verify it is not the different modem or router that is at fault. In case the custom modem or router is at fault, the ISP is allowed to request a financial compensation for providing the known working device for testing purposes.

Space for improvement

ACM's decision is a major win for all end-users in the Netherlands. The decision provides more clarity on the legal aspects involving the NTP. However, ISPs' commercial practices involving routers and modems still pose barriers against end-users' Router Freedom:

  • Most ISPs currently offer little to no support for users wanting to install their own router;
  • Most ISPs demand you still lease a modem as part of the service and keep it stored;
  • Most ISPs don't offer the same level of service like IPv6 when choosing your own router;
  • Some ISPs offer IPTV (streaming television) solutions that rely on different channels than the internet service and so these mediaboxes will not work in combination with a custom modem. This point is underscored by the ACM as something that they will be reevaluating in the future.

The new rules don't contain statements that will change the situation on these points, so the FSFE will continue to call for a more robust Router Freedom and monitor the situation in the Netherlands.

The Router Freedom initiative

Since 2013, the Free Software Foundation Europe has engaged with Router Freedom, promoting end-users' freedom to choose and use their own terminal equipment - first in Germany as a precedent, and now in many European countries. Join us and learn more about the several ways to get involved.

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20 Years FSFE +++ Finland achieving Router Freedom +++ microFSFE

27. Juli 2021 um 01:00

20 Years FSFE +++ Finland achieving Router Freedom +++ microFSFE

In our July Newsletter, we invite our community to join the celebrations of 20 Years FSFE, we applaud Finland for securing Router Freedom, and we look into Free Software activities for children. We are getting ready for German elections and invite you to help us support Free Software demands for public administration during the election campaign.

FSFE: 20 years of empowering people to control technology

Long before the first smartphone was introduced, it was evident to the FSFE's founders that it is the people who should be in control of technology and not vice versa. In 2001, Free Software experts around Europe created the Free Software Foundation Europe.

20 years is a long time in computing history and although technology is ever-changing, our values have been consistent. The core of our work is, in a nutshell: educating people on the nature of Free Software, highlighting its political implications, and simplifying its legal preconditions. Matthias Kirschner, President of the FSFE since 2015, explains this in his own words in a short video.

Our work throughout the years would not have been possible without the help of our European community. Whether you have translated our news, used your voice to share our message, helped us financially, or participated in one of our public events, you have helped our cause to take a step further.

Would you like to share your thoughts about your time with the FSFE? We are looking forward to hearing from you. Also we would love to see pictures from your activities in the past and share them with the community. Or, if you are feeling creative, you can send us a birthday video, just as the science-fiction author Cory Doctorow did. Do not miss watching it and finding out more on how to share your memories on our birthday page.

Router Freedom achieved in Finland, as the most fair and efficient practice

Finland recognises Router Freedom as a digital right, setting an example for the EU. Net neutrality is ensured by EU Regulation. Net neutrality means that users have the right to use terminal equipment of their choice, such as a phone or modem. For Finland, this is clear. Traficom, the national agency dealing with transportation, communications, and networks, has a noteworthy stance on the issue, protecting the rights of end-users.

We interviewed Klaus Nieminen, Chief Specialist of Traficom. In his view, Router Freedom benefits end-users, fosters competition in the telecommunications terminal equipment markets, and complies with the Open Internet Regulation 2015/2120 of the EU. He shares that there is no technological necessity to justify limiting end-users' rights to choose their own equipment. Traficom arrived at this conclusion after an objective assessment. Finally, he explains that in Finland Router Freedom also applies to new technologies such as 5G.

Listen to our Podcast

This is the first time since the launch of the Software Freedom Podcast that a FSFE staff member gives an interview in our podcast series. Max Mehl, FSFE Programme Manager, has been with the FSFE since 2011 and has worked on numerous campaigns. With this episode Bonnie Mehring and Max Mehl provide a nice and easy entrance to the very complex world of software licensing.

This year the FSFE celebrates its 20th anniversary. Support our work for the next 20 years to come.

microFSFE

Early programmers deserve a spotlight too. From kids to teenagers, the FSFE welcomes early programmers and all beginners in its community.

Teaching Free Software to children

In Kreuzlingen, a city in northern Switzerland, five children had the chance to participate in a 4-day course on Free Software development. The course was free of charge, and it was offered thanks to the creativity and pedagogical skills of FSFE supporter Peter Bittner. The kids had no prior experience using Linux, so the course started with booting GNU/LINUX from a USB stick, and quickly advanced to working in the terminal using Bash commands and coding Python.

'We need our kids to know what school doesn't teach them' says Peter in his blog about this course. 'Pupils are being taught "products" of the technology giants ("Safari", "Word", "Excel", "PowerPoint") instead of information technology concepts (web browser, text processor, spreadsheet, presentations)'.

microfashion

According to scientists, early "nerdiness" can lead to a 10% increase in happiness later in life ; )So do not miss to starting early and get one of our fork T-shirts. They are available for ages 5 to 12, as well as in a bib for babies!

Teenagers

This autumn, the FSFE will launch a new activity for teenagers. Our goal is to share the values of Free Software with young developers. So if you are a young person experimenting with software development, or if you know one, stay tuned.

Upcoming event

  • On Wednesday August 4th, we are organising an online workshop (DE) to prepare the promotion of our 'Public Money? Public Code!' campaign during the last weeks until the German elections. We need your support to spread our message. If you would like to be involved in this process, please register and join our workshop for in-person discussions.

What we have done:

  • On June 23rd, Max Mehl, Programme Manager at the FSFE, presented REUSE in the “Leveraging Open Source Responsibly” session at OW2con’21. In his presentation, he explained how REUSE makes it easier for developers to declare the licensing and copyright situation for their code. The presentation is available on Peertube. This session is part of a long-term effort by OW2 to promote best practices and good citizenship in open source governance.
  • On July 6th and 7th, Bonnie Mehring and Alexander Sander presented our German federal election campaign to the local groups of Nordhessen and Frankfurt. If you are interested in participating in such a workshop check our upcoming event.
  • On July 22nd, Bonnie Mehring presented our 'Public Money? Public Code!' campaign in the FSFE women monthly meeting. Also, they discussed what the plans are with respect to the upcoming election campaign of the federal parliament in Germany 2021. The FSFE women group is open to all women who are interested in Free Software and technology; meetings take place online.
  • On July 24th, translators met online to get to know each other and learn valuable tools for their work, such as the webpreview tool, the translation wiki, and Git. The meeting was hosted by Bonnie Mehring, coordinator of the FSFE translator group team, and Luca Bonissi, who has created the webpreview tool.
  • Alexander Sander, our Policy Consultant, contributed to a report on the use of Free Software in local administrations which was released by the German association for municipal government. The association, 'Kommunale Gemeinschaftsstelle für Verwaltungsmanagement (KGSt)', published the report [DE] titled 'Open Source in Kommunen – Ein Baustein für mehr Digitale Souveränität.'

Legal and Licensing Workshop 2021

On July 14th, the Online Legal and Licensing Workshop 2021 was completed. The FSFE's Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) has been held annually for the FSFE's Legal Network since 2008, and serves as a conference for legal experts in the field of Free Software to debate issues and share best practices surrounding Free Software licenses. Instead of a one-time conference, this year LLW offered online presentations, discussion panels, and workshops continuously from March to July.

We are very happy to have put up an online edition of the LLW, and we are also looking forward to organizing next year's edition of the LLW, to be held hopefully in person, to continue building a robust Free Software legal community.

Get active for the Federal election in Germany

On 26 September, a new Bundestag will be elected in Germany. We are engaged around the election and want to ensure with our activities that "Public Money? Public Code!" plays an important role for the next government. Therefore we want to make sure that our "Public Money? Public Code!" demands will be included in the coalition agreement of Germany's next government. To achieve this we need your help and support. We created an activity package [DE] for you and will also present it during a workshop on 4 August 2021. If you want to participate, register now.

Contribute to our newsletter

If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, please send them to us. As always, the address is newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you! If you also want to support us and our work, join our community and support us with a donation or a monthly contribution. Thanks to our community and 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 native languages.

Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou

The biggest financial impact the FSFE faces in these times of physical distancing is the cancellation of Free Software conferences, including our own events. To keep the software freedom movement solid and alive, please consider donating a part of your conference budget to Free Software organisations, including the FSFE.

Support FSFE

FSFE: 20 Jahre Menschen im selbstbestimmten Umgang mit Technik unterstützen

21. Juli 2021 um 01:00

FSFE: 20 Jahre Menschen im selbstbestimmten Umgang mit Technik unterstützen

Zum zwanzigsten Geburtstag der FSFE betonen wir die Bedeutung von Softwarefreiheit in Europa sowie unsere wichtigen Errungenschaften seit 2001. Wir feiern uns und unsere Gemeinschaft mit einer eigenen Geburtstagsseite voll mit Interviews, Bildern und Videos. Alle sind eingeladen, mit uns zu feiern und ihre persönlichen Geschichten zu teilen.

Schon lange vor der Einführung des ersten Smartphones war den Gründerinnen und Gründern der FSFE klar, dass es die Menschen sind, die in Kontrolle der Technologie sein sollen und nicht umgekehrt. 2001 sind darum Freie-Software-Expertinnen und -Experten aus ganz Europa zusammengekommen und haben die Free Software Foundation Europe gegründet. 20 Jahre später konzentrieren wir unsere Arbeit erfolgreich auf drei Säulen, damit Softwarefreiheit in Europa weiter gedeiht: Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, politische Interessenvertretung und rechtliche Unterstützung.

Einige Highlights der letzten 20 Jahre

2021 blickt die FSFE auf eine erfolgreiche Geschichte mit großen Erfolgen im öffentlichen, rechtlichen und politischen Bereich zurück. Zum Beispiel 2005, als unsere erfolgreiche Kampagne und die Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Organisationen das Europäische Parlament schließlich zur Abstimmung gegen Softwarepatente überzeugt. Oder zwei Jahre später, als der Europäische Gerichtshof sich an den Empfehlungen der FSFE orientiert, und Microsoft zur Veröffentlichung von Interoperabilitätsinformationen verpflichtet hat. In dieser Zeit haben wir auch die dringende Notwendigkeit gesehen, den Entwicklerinnen und Entwicklern Freier Software bei der Klärung der rechtlichen Aspekte ihrer Arbeit zu helfen, zum Beispiel bei der Durchsetzung von Lizenzverstößen. Dies führte dazu, dass die FSFE bereits 2006 begann, mit Rechtsanwälten in Europa für Freie Software zusammen zu arbeiten.

Inzwischen unterhält die FSFE das weltweit größte professionelle Netzwerk zu Rechtsfragen im Zusammenhang mit Freier Software. Die Rechtsexpertinnen und -experten der FSFE in diesem Netzwerk helfen mit konkreter Lizenzberatung. Dazu haben wir 2017 auch die äußerst erfolgreiche Initiative REUSE ins Leben gerufen, um eine Reihe von Empfehlungen zu bieten, welche die Lizenzierung von Freie-Software-Projekten für Entwicklerinnen und Entwickler deutlich vereinfachen. REUSE wurde inzwischen von bekannten Projekten wie der deutsche Corona-Warn-App und von KDE übernommen.

Seit ihrer Gründung engagiert sich die FSFE mittels öffentlicher Kampagnen und hilft Menschen dabei, die Vorteile von Freier Software zu verstehen und von deren Einsatz zu profitieren. 2010 haben wir den ersten "Ich liebe Freie Software"-Tag ins Leben gerufen, der seitdem jedes Jahr am 14. Februar rund um den Globus gefeiert wird. Zwei Jahre später, 2012, haben wir mit der Einführung unserer 'Free Your Android-Kampagne Anwenderinnen und Anwendern geholfen, Freiheit auf ihren Mobiltelefonen zu erreichen. 2017 haben wir die außerordentlich erfolgreiche Kampagne Public Money? Public Code! gestartet, die bereits mehrere öffentliche Verwaltungen zum Wechsel ihrer IT-Strategie bewegen konnte. Der zugehörige offene Brief wurde bisher von über 200 zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen sowie 31.000 Einzelpersonen und mehrere öffentliche Verwaltungen, darunter die Stadt Barcelona und das schwedisches JobTech-Development center unterzeichnet.

FSFE20 Kampagne: Wir geben das Mikrofon an unsere Gemeinschaft

All diese Errungenschaften können natürlich nur einen kleinen Einblick auf die Auswirkungen der FSFE und unserer Aktivitäten in den letzten 20 Jahren geben. Auch zeigen sie nur bedingt, wie all diese Erfolge das Ergebnis unserer großen Gemeinschaft sind, auf die wir uns seit unserer Gründung verlassen können. Um wenigstens einen Teil dieser Gemeinschaft vorzustellen, haben wir dieses Jahr die FSFE20-Kampagne ins Leben gerufen, um das Mikrofon an unsere Community zu übergeben.

Wir haben Menschen kontaktiert, die der FSFE von Anfang an den Weg geebnet haben, zum Beispiel langjährige Unterstützerinnen und Unterstützer sowie ehemalige Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter. In einer Reihe von Interviews diskutieren wir die Fortschritte der FSFE sowie zugehörige technologische Themen. Jede Person, die an der FSFE beteiligt ist, hat einzigartige Erinnerungen, Expertise und Hoffnungen für die Zukunft. Sie sind alle Teil der Geschichte von 20 Jahren FSFE.

Bisher interviewed wurden Georg Greve, Gründungspräsident der FSFE; Reinhard Müller, langjähriger Freiwilliger und ehemaliger Schatzmeister der FSFE; Fernanda Weiden, ehemalige Vizepräsidentin der FSFE und Gründungsmitglied von FSF Lateinamerika; sowie Torsten Grote, Freier-Software-Entwickler und langjähriger Freiwilliger bei der FSFE.

Und das ist erst der Anfang. Wir werden noch einige Interviews mehr durchführen um 20 Jahre FSFE zu beleuchten. Außerdem planen wir für den Herbst eine spezielle Geburstagspublikation, deren Inhalt vollständig von Beiträgen aus unserer Germeinschafterstellt wird. Alles dau und die Interviews finden Sie auf unserer Geburtstag Seite. Neben den Interviews finden Sie auch ein Geburtstags-Video vom Science-Fiction-Autor Cory Doctorow und eines von unserem aktuellen Präsidenten Matthias Kirschner, sowie Informationen dazu, wie Menschen an unseren Feierlichkeiten teilnehmen können.

FSFE20 Geburtstag Seite

Eine Botschaft von unserem Präsidenten Matthias Kirschner

Obwohl sich die Technologien stets ändern, waren unsere Werte in den letzten zwanzig Jahren konstant. Der Kern unserer Arbeit ist zusammengefasst: Menschen über die Natur Freier Software aufklären, die politische Bedeutung Freier Software hevorheben und die Vereinfachung aller rechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen für Freie Software. Matthias Kirschner, seit 2015 Präsident der FSFE, erklärt das in diesem kurzen Video mit seinen eigenen Worten.

Feier mit uns!

Diesen herbst wollen wir eine weitere Geburtstagsseite erstellen, die auschließlich von euch erstelle Beiträge enthält. Jetzt ist die Zeit sich zu beteiligen! Möchtest du deine Gedanken deiner Zeit bei der FSFE teilen? Dafür kannst du unsere Interview Fragen beantworten. Wir freuen uns von dir zu hóren!

Weitere möglichkeiten an unserer Feier teilzunehmen sind das schicken von FSFE Bildern aus der Vergangenheit, ein Geburtstagsvideo erstellen und deine Wünsche dir die Zukunft zu teilen. Finde heraus wie du deine Rückschläge teilen kannst auf unserer Geburtstagsseite. In Wertschätzung an diese Jahrfeier haben wir etwas zum Gedenken erstellt. Zeige deine langjährige Zuneigung zu Freier Software mit einem 'FSFE since 2001' Sticker auf deinem Laptop

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SFP#11: REUSE Booster and our update on REUSE with Max Mehl

02. Juli 2021 um 01:00

SFP#11: REUSE Booster and our update on REUSE with Max Mehl

Max Mehl and Bonnie Mehring talk about the REUSE initiative and the newly launched REUSE Booster programme. This 11th episode of the Software Freedom Podcast is the perfect match for you if you are interested in Free Software licensing and curious about how REUSE and its tools make that easier for developers and users.

For this episode we have invited Max Mehl. This is the first time since the launch of the Software Freedom Podcast that a FSFE staff member joins the podcast. Max Mehl, an FSFE programme manager, has been with the FSFE since 2011 and has worked on numerous campaigns. These include the "I Love Free Software Day", "Free Your Android", "Router Freedom", and the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign, just to name a few. Nowadays, Max Mehl is also the person responsible for the REUSE initiative and one of the REUSE tool's maintainers.

REUSE is a standard for modern licensing of Free Software projects. It is widely adopted and has been implemented by large Free Software communities like KDE. In this episode Bonnie Mehring and Max Mehl talk about REUSE itself and its tools, the development of the REUSE community and the newly launched REUSE Booster programme, which is the perfect opportunity for an easy entrance to adopting the REUSE standard for your software project. With this episode Bonnie Mehring and Max Mehl provide a nice and easy entrance to the very complex world of software licensing.

Read more:

If you liked this episode and want to support our continuous work for software freedom, please help us with a donation.

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How Finland implemented Router Freedom: the regulator's perspective

29. Juni 2021 um 01:00

How Finland implemented Router Freedom: the regulator's perspective

In the context of the telecom reform in the EU, Finland has assured Router Freedom in the country. The FSFE acknowledges this as a major win for end-users' rights. We interviewed Klaus Nieminen, a representative of the Finnish network regulator Traficom, to learn more about this decision.

In the last decade, Finland became renowned for its digital transformation policies, which gave the country the status of having one of the most digitally-oriented populations. In particular, Finland has been praised for its efforts in implementing rules on a legislative level to ensure internet broadband connection for its entire population. The country's internet policies focused on affordability of connection have resulted in Router Freedom. In 2014, Finland established Router Freedom in the country. The law stated that internet service providers (ISPs) should not prevent an end-user from connecting to a public communications network any radio or telecommunications terminal equipment that meets the legal requirements.

In 2020, following the implementation of net neutrality in the country, Traficom, the Finnish national regulatory authority, confirmed Router Freedom. We consider this decision as a major achievement in protecting end-users' rights.

With other EU countries, however, there are still several issues to overcome. As the FSFE has been reporting, the reform of EU telecommunications law with the European Electronic Communications Code (the EECC) has the potential to negatively affect Router Freedom. The transposition of the EECC into national jurisdictions has been complex, imposing challenges for a harmonised approach. In this context, the FSFE asked Traficom how Router Freedom would be regulated after the reform in Finland. Traficom confirmed its commitment to Router Freedom, stating that it will not change the current framework for the ongoing telecom reform. This complies with the demands FSFE has been making to regulators across Europe.

To learn more about this decision and the future of Router Freedom in Finland we interviewed Klaus Nieminen, Traficom's Chief Specialist. We shed light on how regulators should approach Router Freedom from the perspective of end-users' rights, so other countries that are in the process of reforming their telecom law can learn and profit from the Finnish experience and commit themselves to protecting Router Freedom in their jurisdictions.

Klaus Nieminen, Traficom's Chief Specialist.

FSFE: In 2014, Finland introduced Router Freedom as a principle. Will you stick to this principle also in the current reform process? Why does Finland consider Router Freedom important for end-users' rights?

Klaus Nieminen: Router Freedom is a right for end-users. It is also important to enable and foster competition in the telecommunications terminal equipment markets. The Open Internet Regulation (2015/2120 (EU)) states that end-users shall have the right to use terminal equipment of their choice as defined in Commission Directive 2008/63/EC. Providers of internet access services should not impose restrictions on the use of terminal equipment connecting to the network in addition to those imposed by manufacturers or distributors of terminal equipment in accordance with Union law. The rules are stable and we did not see any need to change our position.

Router Freedom is a right for end-users. It is also important to enable and foster competition in the telecommunications terminal equipment markets.

The EU is reforming its telecommunications law with the EECC. Dispositions on the location of the "Network Termination Point" could negatively affect Router Freedom. What is Traficom's approach in regards to Router Freedom and the telecom reform? What is your take on the EU position and are you in touch with other countries on that?

As far as we understand, the use of terminal devices can only be restricted in accordance with the Open Internet Regulation, e.g. when it is necessary for information security or technical compatibility reasons. The end-user's right to choose the terminal device does not apply to those devices which it is, according to an objective assessment, technically necessary to consider part of the telecommunications operator's network. The definition of the fixed network termination point (NTP) location has an impact on whether a piece of equipment at the customer premises is a part of the public network or a part of the terminal equipment and therefore we consider this assessment to be of utmost importance.

Has Traficom detected any "technological necessity" that could potentially limit Router Freedom?

We have studied this question regarding cable modems, and after an objective assessment, Traficom decided that no technological necessity exists to justify limiting end-users' rights to choose their own equipment. In Finland the right to choose terminal equipment has existed for years so it has been more or less traditional that end-users can choose their modem. Therefore I might say that the topic has not been very controversial in our country. We have for example never seen a case where an ISP have argued a CPE router to be part of their network.

Many years ago we had some pre-standard WiMAX networks where the modems needed to be configured for a particular network in a factory and this has been the only case where we have detected a clear technological necessity as only the operator was able to buy a device working in its network.

After an objective assessment, Traficom decided that no technological necessity exists to justify limiting end-users' rights to choose their own equipment. In Finland the right to choose a terminal equipment has existed for years so it has been more or less traditional that end-users can choose their modem.

In your opinion, what could be done to achieve a harmonised approach by identifying "technological necessity" together with other EU members to protect Router Freedom in Europe?

The topic has been discussed by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). BEREC has issued guidelines to provide guidance to national regulatory authorities (NRAs) on common approaches to the identification of the NTP in different network topologies. It has contributed to the harmonisation of defining the location of NTPs in the EU. BEREC also provides a forum for NRAs to exchange views, which has also contributed towards a harmonised approach. Anyway, it is up to the NRAs to assess the technological necessity and take the decision.

Do ISPs respect Router Freedom in Finland? Do you receive complaints from end-users?

ISPs in Finland have been respecting the rules. End-users can choose their terminal equipment including modems and routers.

Traficom has received only a few complaints from end-users during the past two years. After the investigation, it turned out that the rules have been respected. The cases were related to the modem specific security and interoperability issues as some modems aren't fully compatible with the network service provided and the requirements described by ISPs.

On the other hand, we had to remind our ISPs only once, a few years ago, by imposing a decision against their practices. In the decision Traficom concluded that an operator had violated national legislation and the Open Internet Regulation by prohibiting the user from using a cable modem that meets the requirements laid down by law without legal grounds for the prohibition. Moreover, Traficom considered that the operator could not prohibit in advance the connection to its network of equipment other than those devices it has pre-approved. The operator changed its practices to comply with the decision, and after that no further enforcement actions were needed.

Looking into the future, what is your approach to protect Router Freedom regarding new technologies like 5G and FTTH (fibre to the home)?

Operators normally provide a modem for their 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) subscriptions, but as far as we know, it is not mandatory to use those devices. Therefore end-users can use their own modems and routers. Operators provide an ONT for their FTTH subscriptions, but we have not further studied the possibility to replace the ONT with a different device as there have been no complaints or questions regarding this. For mobile 5G subscriptions, end-users can buy their own modems, tablets and handsets.

Operators normally provide a modem for their 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) subscriptions, but as far as we know, it is not mandatory to use those devices. Therefore end-users can use their own modems and routers.

FSFE: Thank you very much!

The Router Freedom initiative

Router Freedom is the right that end-users of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment that the ISP provides. Since 2013, the Free Software Foundation Europe has been successfully engaged with Router Freedom, promoting end-users' freedom to choose and use their own terminal equipment - first in Germany as a precedent, and now in many European countries. Join us and learn more about the several ways to get involved.

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20 Years FSFE: Interview with Torsten Grote

25. Juni 2021 um 01:00

20 Years FSFE: Interview with Torsten Grote

In our fourth birthday publication we are interviewing Torsten Grote, who explored Free Software alternatives on smartphones for the FSFE as early as 2012. We reminisce about the emergence of our Free Your Android campaign and discuss with Torsten which options are available for liberating our phones today.

Torsten Grote, creator of the Free Your Android campaign in the FSFE, conveys the message of 'Free Your Android' in FISL15, the 15th Forum International Software Libre. 2014, Brazil.

Torsten Grote is a Free Software developer and long time volunteer in the FSFE. He started his journey of engagement in the local group in Berlin, later joined the FSFE country team Germany and finally became a GA member in 2009. In the FSFE, Torsten is best known for being the creator of our Free Your Android-campaign, the campaign about regaining control of your Android device and your data.

For many years now, Torsten has lived in Brazil and has worked for different Free Software projects from Tor to Briar to CalyxOS. He is an expert in the field of phone liberation and creator of "Blitzmail" and "Transportr", both available in F-Droid.

For 20 Years FSFE, we interview Torsten Grote about his time with the FSFE, freedom on mobile devices, and upcoming challenges in the field.

Interview with Torsten Grote

FSFE: Do you remember your first contact with the FSFE? What caught your initial attention and how did you get introduced and active?

Torsten Grote: When I was studying computer science in university, I got increasingly interested in the political and ethical aspects of software. Thus, I discovered the FSFE that seemed to have regular meetings in Berlin where I was living. I subscribed to their Berlin mailing list in 2007 and soon received an email about a a meeting with a presentation about the first Free Software mobile phone, the Openmoko. Having heard about the Openmoko before, this got me really excited and motivated me sufficiently to show up at this meeting in person.

Arriving at my first FSFE meeting, I was warmly welcomed by Matthias Kirschner who was coordinating the Berlin group back then and is now the president of FSFE. There were lots of friendly and likeminded people. I enjoyed the meeting a lot, so that I become a regular participant for many years to come.

Through the meetings, but also special activities of the Berlin group, I got more and more involved, joined the German team, and got eventually elected into FSFE's general assembly in 2009.

'Smartphones were just starting to become a thing. The first iPhone came out around the same time as the OpenMoko and the first Android phone a year later.' Torsten Grote and the rest of the FSFE team handing over the Document Freedom Day Award in 2010 to Radio Deutschlandfunk with the theme "rOGG on". The Document Freedom Day was an FSFE campaign, designed and implemented to a great extent by Fernanda Weiden. Fernanda also gave an interview to celebrate and reflect on the FSFE's 20 year progress.

You came up with the 'Free your Android' idea in 2012. What was the status of phone liberation back then? What was the initial spark to create this campaign?

While the Openmoko was a great phone, its development fragmented and eventually stopped. Few phones were actually produced, but I managed to get one.

Smartphones were just starting to become a thing. The first iPhone came out around the same time as the OpenMoko and the first Android phone a year later. Most people had proprietary feature phones and I had hoped that having the Openmoko starting at the same time would give freedom a chance.

After this, we saw many other mobile operating systems with more or less Free Software, such as WebOS, Tizen, Maemo/MeeGo, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS, and many more. However, so far none managed to compete with today's duopoly.

Later, the FSFE moved forward with your idea and pioneered the idea of using Android as a base for a phone using only Free Software. What were the initial efforts, and what were the issues users had to overcome to achieve freedom on mobile devices?

To me it became apparent in 2012 that it would be very hard to compete with Android. It had already a big market share and most importantly, it was mostly Free Software. Since the beginning, people took the source code and made their own modified versions of Android, some becoming popular such as Replicant or LineageOS.

It might have been a risky bet to focus on Android, but it seemed the best chance to bring more Free Software to people and it was important to ensure that it stays free and to work to liberate its non-free bits.

'To me it became apparent in 2012 that it would be very hard to compete with Android. It had already a big market share and most importantly, it was mostly Free Software.'

The biggest challenge still exists today. It is the lower layers of the device, the hardware drivers and the firmware that are still mostly not Free Software.

Another challenge in the early days was installing a different version of Android. Even for technical people this was quite difficult and could render the device unusable. Today, some phones even allow their operating system to be changed with your webbrowser by visiting a website.

DRM, locked devices, proprietary parts in initial flagship cyanogenmod... How did the situation for users who like to put freedom first on their mobile devices evolve since the initial start of the campaign? After all, did the situation improve or worsen?

I'd say the situation improved significantly. There's now more devices to choose from, easier installation and many more apps now available as Free Software.

However, there is also more use-cases like banking, ride-sharing or instant- messages that are sometimes only available via a proprietary app and due to their connection to a specific company they are hard to replace with a general purpose Free Software solution.

'While the Openmoko was a great phone, its development fragmented and eventually stopped. Few phones were actually produced, but I managed to get one.' Torsten Grote holding an Openmoko phone in 2008.

The world of Custom-ROMs is hard to oversee and there are many different developments from more or less known entities being shared in different channels. What is your recommendation for a newbie or where can an interested user best start to learn more about Android alternatives?

If you already have a phone that you want to install an alternative Android version on, then LineageOS is a good start since they support many devices. However, they do so by including the same proprietary drivers and firmware that is already on the device anyway.

If you don't have a device yet, but plan to buy one, I suggest to choose an Android version first and then buy a device that is supported by it. Only Replicant is using 100% Free Software here and thus supports only old devices.

Unfortunately, I am not aware of a single website that presents and recommends various Android ROMs. Since the situation changes frequently, this is hard to maintain. For example, besides those mentioned already, there's now also CalyxOS gaining popularity.

'If you already have a phone that you want to install an alternative Android version on, then LineageOS is a good start since they support many devices.'

You are also creator of two Free Software mobile apps that are offered on f-droid. What role does f-droid play for freedom on Android devices in current setups and what developments do you expect / wish for or see coming regarding distribution of free software on mobile devices?

F-Droid is the distribution channel for Free Software apps. Without it, you would need to find, install and update apps manually. So it is a rather central piece in a free mobile device.

F-Droid is almost as old as Android itself. It has seen many awesome contributors over the years that all helped to make it what it is. But F-Droid has also aged and required substantial work to get modernized. This kind of work is hard to do for volunteer contributors that work without compensation in their free time.

There are now many forks and clones of the F-Droid app that would benefit from having F-Droid libraries, so they could share and maintain most the code together instead of each doing their own thing.

Then there is this whole area of building and updating all apps directly from their source code ideally reproducibile. Here, we sometimes see large delays as this responsibility historically lies with a single person.

My wish for the future would be that F-Droid finds the governance and funding to tackle these big issues to remain a viable alternative to Google Play.

What is your personal highlight with the FSFE or an important thing that you learnt from your work at the FSFE?

My highlight with FSFE were always the in-person meetings, especially those of the general assembly that would meet in a different European country each time. We were discussing Free Software strategy by day and partying together by night. It was impressive to see how we always managed to establish a consensus between all members on organizational questions.

Since many years now Torsten lives in Brazil and works for different Free Software projects from Tor to Briar to CalyxOS.

And what is a story that still makes you laugh or smile when you remember it?

When FSFE started its Free Your Android campaign, I had a big smile over my two ears to see the huge media echo it caused like few FSFE campaigns before. I was glad to see that it had hit a nerve and even the subway news monitors in Berlin had picked it up.

Years later, some F-Droid contributors confessed that they only got involved and spend many years improving F-Droid and adding more apps, because they had been motivated to join this work by the Free Your Android campaign. It is great to see what impact a few motivated people can have if they dedicate themselves to a cause.

FSFE: As a last question, what do you wish the FSFE for the next 20 years?

I wish that FSFE will continue to be a strong and respected NGO with an even bigger staff that will be able to educate the public as well as more and more European politicians about the importance of Free Software, so that we can participate in all aspects of society without having to use proprietary software. Furthermore, I wish that this will lead to all public software spending going exclusively towards Free Software.

FSFE: Thank you very much!

About "20 Years FSFE"

In 2021 the Free Software Foundation Europe turns 20. This means two decades of empowering users to control technology.

Turning 20 is a time when we like to take a breath and to look back on the road we have come, to reflect the milestones we have passed, the successes we have achieved, the stories we have written and the moments that brought us together and that we will always joyfully remember. In 2021 we want to give momentum to the FSFE and even more to our pan-European community, the community that has formed and always will form the shoulders that our movement relies on.

20 Years FSFE is meant to be a celebration of everyone who has accompanied us in the past or still does. Thank you for your place in the structure of the FSFE today and for setting the foundation for the next decades of software freedom to come.

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Niederlande: App für Bürgerbeteiligung bleibt der Öffentlichkeit verwehrt

11. Juni 2021 um 01:00

Niederlande: App für Bürgerbeteiligung bleibt der Öffentlichkeit verwehrt

Das niederländische Repräsentantenhaus (Tweede Kammer) diskutiert in der Öffentlichkeit, so wie es angedacht ist. Da aber nicht alle die Möglichkeit haben, nach Den Haag zu reisen und im Kabinett zu sitzen, hat die Tweede Kammer eine App herausgebracht, mit der man die Debatten via Livestream verfolgen kann. Leider wurde diese App nicht unter einer Freie-Software-Lizenz veröffentlicht. Unser niederländischer Ehrenamtlicher Jos van den Oever wollte sich an den Debatten betiligen, konnte die App aber nicht auf seinem Gerät installieren, und wurde deshalb aktiv.

Im Prinzip ist es eine gute Idee, mit der Entwicklung und dem Einsatz von technischen Lösungen die Transparenz in den Parlamenten zu erhöhen. Allerdings stellt die niederländische Implementierung mit der Debat Direct App das Gegenteil dar, da sie nicht von allen verwendet werden kann. Sie ist lediglich in den App-Stores von Apple, Google und Microsoft erhältlich und steht nicht unter einer Freie-Software-Lizenz. Neben der App gibt es außerdem eine Webapplikation, die eine ähnliche Funktionsweise bietet. Jos wollte darüber an den Debatten teilnehmen und die Webapplikation auf seinem Smartphone mit Firefox OS - einem Freie-Software-Betriebssystem für Smartphones - verwenden, leider ohne Erfolg. Daher versuchte Jos im Januar 2018, den Quellcode der Applikation zu bekommen, um die Lauffähigkeit auf anderen Geräten zu ermöglichen. Dies erwies sich als eine große Herausforderung.

Public Money? Public Code!

Anfrage mittels PSI

Die Anfrage für den Quellcode berief sich auf die niederländische Version der European Public Sector Information (PSI)-Richtlinie (Wet hergebruik overheidsinformatie). Diese Richtlinie erlaubt es, öffentliche Informationen im originalen und wiederverwendbaren Zustand, wie sie in der öffentlichen Institution vorliegen, anzufordern. Es ist anzumerken, dass das Parlament davon befreit ist, nicht öffentliche Inhalte aufgrund einer Informationsfreiheitsanfrage öffentlich verfügbar zu machen. Die PSI-Richtlinie ist daher nur anwendbar, falls die Informationen bereits öffentlich sind. Nichtsdestotrotz bat ein Großteil der niederländischen Abgeordneten die Regierung um den Einsatz und die Veröffentlichung unter einer Freie-Software-Lizenz. Somit hätten alle das Recht zur Verwendung, zum Untersuchen und zum Teilen und Verbessern des Codes. Aber bisher ging das Parlament nicht mit gutem Beispiel voran. Jos' Anfrage wurde nicht entsprochen und der Code blieb der Öffentlichkeit verwehrt. Jos gab nicht auf und brachte den Fall vor Gericht.

Reverse Engineering

Leider widersprach das Gericht und entschied, dass Quellcode kein wiederverwendbarer Teil von Software sei. Allerdings wurde ein Großteil des Quellcodes für die Webapplikation über Source Maps öffentlich gemacht. Jos schrieb ein Skript, das die JavaScript-Dateien der Source-Maps abspeichert und konnte somit einen Großteil der Anwendung rekonstruieren. Hierzu betrieb er auch Reverse Engineering für Dateien, die für die Kompilierung notwendig sind. Trotz aller Möglichkeiten, den Code zu bekommen, steht dieser unter keiner richtigen Lizenz; man kann sich in den Code einarbeiten, ihn aber nicht teilen oder verbessern.

Gerichtsprozess

Jos berief sich auf die gerade entdeckten Source Maps, was eine Anhörung am 17. März 2021 nach sich zog. Jos klagte vor dem höchsten Verwaltungsgericht in den Niederlanden, der Abteilung für Verwaltungsgerichtsbarkeit des Staatsrats. In der Anhörung argumentierte das Parlament, dass die Source Maps keinen Quellcode enthielten, obwohl Jos den extrahierten Quellcode für die Anhörung eingereicht hatte. Am 31. März 2021 entschied der Staatsrat, dass das Parlament den Quellcode nicht veröffentlichen müsse und dieser nicht für die Öffentlichkeit bestimmt sei. Das heißt, dass der Code, obwohl er über die Source Maps einsehbar ist, rechtlich gesehen nicht öffentlich ist. In anderen Worten: Er ist nicht öffentlich, da das Parlament dies so entscheidet.

So seltsam es auch klingen mag: rechtlich gesehen ist die PSI-Richtlinie nicht auf das Parlament anwendbar, daher muss die App nicht öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden. Das Gute an der Entscheidung ist, dass sie nichts Negatives über die Beschaffung des Quellcodes für öffentlich zugängliche Software aussagt.

Die FSFE fordert das niederländische Parlament hiermit auf, Regeln für sich selbst zu erlassen, transparent zu handeln und Quellcode solcher Anwendungen unter einer Freie-Software-Lizenz zu veröffentlichen.

Hier kann man mehr zur Tätigkeit von Jos erfahren (niederländisch): https://broncode.org

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REUSE Booster hilft Freie-Software-Projekten bei Lizenzierung und Urheberrecht

09. Juni 2021 um 01:00

REUSE Booster hilft Freie-Software-Projekten bei Lizenzierung und Copyright

REUSE ist eine Reihe von Best Practices, die die Lizenzierung von Freier Software wesentlich vereinfachen. Es hilft Entwickelnden mit einfachen Leitlinien, ihr Copyright und die Bedingungen für die Wiederverwendung von Code zu deklarieren und stellt Hilfsdokumente und niedrigschwellige Werkzeuge zur Verfügung, um die Arbeit zu erledigen. Mit REUSE Booster geben wir nun direkte Unterstützung dabei für Freie Software-Projekte.

Von Anfang an war es das Ziel von REUSE, einer Initiative unter der Leitung der Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), Lizenzierung und Urheberrecht für Entwickler drastisch zu vereinfachen, insbesondere für solche, die keine juristische Erfahrung und Unterstützung haben. Dieses Ziel wurde bereits erreicht.

REUSE bietet standardisierte Möglichkeiten, alle Dateien eines Projektes mit der jeweiligen Lizenz und dem Copyright zu kennzeichnen. Für Entwickler ist es einfacher als je zuvor, Freie Software zu entwickeln und ihre Bedingungen für die Wiederverwendung von Code klar zu kommunizieren. REUSE bietet ein Tutorial und eine FAQ, sowie das REUSE Helper Tool und eine API, um einst manuelle Prozesse zu automatisieren. Wir arbeiten kontinuierlich daran, all dies zu verbessern. Aber wir gehen noch einen Schritt weiter.

Bühne frei für REUSE Booster

Mit REUSE Booster gehen wir einen Schritt weiter. Wir laden Freie-Software-Projekte ein, sich zu registrieren, um Hilfe von den Rechtsexperten der FSFE zu erhalten. Wie der Name schon sagt, wird dies den Prozess der Umsetzung der Best Practices sowie das allgemeine Verständnis von Lizenzierung und Copyright stark beschleunigen.

Angenommene Projekte werden zu einem Kick-off-Workshop eingeladen, in dem der Prozess und typische Fragen geklärt werden. Anschließend erhält jedes Projekt eine individuelle Auswertung, die mögliche Herausforderungen auf dem Weg zur vollständigen REUSE-Konformität aufzeigt. Sollten unvorhergesehene Probleme auftreten, gibt es direkte Ansprechpartner, die Hilfestellung geben können. Zu guter Letzt werden wir praktische Ratschläge geben, wie man eine beständig gute Kommunikation von Lizenzen und Copyright aufrechterhalten kann.

Die FSFE bietet bereits ähnliche Unterstützung für alle Projekte im Next Generation Internet Zero (NGI0) Projekt. Als Partner des Konsortiums helfen wir den Entwicklern, lizenz- und urheberrechtliche Unklarheiten zu beseitigen und rechtliche Fallstricke zu vermeiden. Darüber hinaus übernehmen viele von ihnen die Best Practices von REUSE, um ihre Lizenzkonformität zu optimieren. Auf dieser praktischen Erfahrung bauen wir nun auf und ermöglichen es anderen Projekten, davon zu profitieren. Ermöglicht wird dies durch REUSE-Sponsoren wie Siemens und die individuelle Unterstützung durch Freiwillige und Unterstützer der FSFE.

Wenn Ihr Freies Software-Projekt Unterstützung erhalten möchte, um REUSE-konform zu werden, registrieren Sie sich bis spätestens 8. Juli 2021. Bitte verbreiten Sie auch die Nachricht und informieren Sie andere Entwicklerinnen und Entwickler über diese Möglichkeit.

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Cory Doctorow +++ Artificial Intelligence +++ New Staffer Fani Partsafyllidou

31. Mai 2021 um 01:00

Cory Doctorow +++ Artificial Intelligence +++ New Staffer Fani Partsafyllidou

In our May Newsletter read about our time traveller Cory Doctorow who sends his wishes for 20 Years FSFE from utopian 2041, Router Freedom developments in Greece, Germany, and Austria as well as AI application benefits under Free Software licenses and as usual our other diverse community activities.

20 Years FSFE: Time traveller Cory Doctorow sends his wishes from utopian 2041!

Prolific Sci-fi author Cory Doctorow envisions the world in 2041 and informs us that humankind was able to solve major world problems thanks to collective work and mutual sharing of knowledge. Doctorow has been a vocal supporter of the FSFE for many years now. In his video he is celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the FSFE in his own fascinating way: Doctorow is travelling in time to greet us and congratulate us on our 40 year anniversary, talking to us from 2041.

His time travel allows him to see the critical importance of the FSFE in the transition to a digital society. In the author’s words ‘In those two decades we have seen massive decentralization of the internet thanks and part to deep reforms to our anti-trust and monopoly law, mandates for interoperability and open APIs’. This is why Doctorow is thanking the FSFE for our next 20 years of fostering freedom and decentralisation.

Rapid developments in Router Freedom in Greece, Germany, and Austria

Rapid developments in Router Freedom are being made in the EU countries as an EU reform of telecommunications law is being transposed into national jurisdictions. The implementation process has been complex and has led to different solutions which may negatively affect Router Freedom. The FSFE has been closely monitoring national legislation on telecommunications and actively taken part in public consultations together with local organisations to support legislative changes in favour of Router Freedom. For example, in Greece, the FSFE and six other organisations supported the preliminary decision of the Greek regulator for incorporating Router Freedom in the national legislation.

The EU is in process of reform of telecom law and it will affect Router Freedom.

The next months will be crucial for Router Freedom in EU countries. There are challenges ahead. Differently from Greece, Germany has moved in a direction to reevaluate the consolidated framework, which can lead to more restrictions to end-users rights. In Austria, the fate of Router Freedom will be decided by the national regulatory agency RTR after the full implementation of the telecom reform.

Achieving accuracy and fairness in Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications using Free Software

Vincent Lequertier published an article stating the reasons why AI applications released under a Free Software license can prevent known pitfalls in AI, making its use both efficient and fair. Three elements of AI should be provided openly: the source code used to train the AI, the datasets, and the trained AI models. Being able to understand how AI works will enable us to correct unfair discrimination generated by AI and give the opportunity for everyone to improve its transparency. Furthermore, releasing AI as Free Software can help fostering innovation in this field.

Vincent also suggested in a blog post on FSFE's Planet that the successful imposition of checklists in crucial sectors can be used as an example of good practice in AI development.

This year the FSFE celebrates its 20th anniversary. Support our work for the next 20 years to come

Internal: Our new staffer Fani Partsafyllidou

We welcome our new staffer Fani Partsafyllidou! Fani holds a Master's Degree in Modern History and Political Science and after working with the European Association of History and Citizenship Educators she joined the FSFE communication team on the first of May. You will read more and more by her in the upcoming months, and -- except this very paragraph -- you are already reading the first newsletter brought to you by Fani.

Upcoming events

Matthias Kirschner, president of the FSFE, and Bonnie Mehring, FSFE Coordinator of Translations, will talk at OpenSUSE Con about Public Money Public Code and the progress of the FSFE after 20 years of collective action. OpenSUSE Con will happen on 18 & 19 of June, the detailed schedule is still to be set.

What we have done

  • In the Next Generation Internet Zero initiative, the FSFE has cooperated with other organisations in Europe to facilitate the use of Free Software licences by developers, by providing educational material as well as guidance. We recently published a report on how the FSFE Helps Free Software Developers Engineer a Better Internet
  • On May 22 the FSFE participated in MERGE-it, a conference organised for Italian communities that work with Open Source and Free Software. Patrick Ohnewein, Financial Officer of the FSFE and the Deputy Coordinator in Italy, gave a talk about Free Software in the Public Administration, and Francesca Indorato, FSFE employee, moderated the session and the discussion.
  • Matthias Kirschner gave an interview (DE) in Co-Vienna where he analysed the concept of Ethical Software and its relation to freedom of speech.
  • On May 6 Alexander Sander, the FSFE's policy consultant, contributed to a session about how to advocate on the EU level for Digital Sustainability
  • On May 5 Alexander Sander hosted a session on "Public Money? Public Code!" during an event of over 50 European civil society organisations who formulated several recommendations to political decision makers in the light of the upcoming federal election in Germany.
  • Alexander also hosted a webinar on May 26 to highlight the benefits of using Free Software in public administration and to explain the process of implementation.
  • Alexander Sander took part in a panel discussion on centralization to standardization with representatives of the German Government and local government associations. Alexander brought the perspective on Open Standards and Free Software to the panel
  • Our Dutch country team organised an online get-together on May 19.

Get active

Our new call for local projects is open until the 25th of July! If you are a supporter of the FSFE and you have a project you have wanted to do for a long time, apply for funding by the FSFE and make it happen. If you are a supporter but you have no project in hand, look for a local group in your vicinity or create one. And if you are not a supporter yet - time to join the FSFE now.

Contribute to our newsletter

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

If you also want to support us and our work, join our community and support us with a donation or a monthly contribution.

Thanks to our community and 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 native languages.

Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou

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20 Years FSFE: Time traveller Cory Doctorow sends his wishes from utopian 2041!

29. Mai 2021 um 01:00

20 Years FSFE: Time traveller Cory Doctorow sends his wishes from utopian 2041!

Prolific Sci-fi author Cory Doctorow envisions the world in 2041 and informs us that we were able to solve major world problems thanks to collective work and sharing of knowledge. Doctorow is thanking the FSFE for our 20 years ahead contribution of fostering freedom and disestablishing monopolies.

Cory Doctorow is a British-Canadian writer, author of several Sci-fi novels, who has been blogging for twenty years now. He was co-editor of the blog boingboing.net and now runs his own blog at Pluralistic. Doctorow is one of the trailblazers in the demands of digital rights and software freedom. He speaks in favour of a less restrictive copyright law; his books are published under Creative Commons licenses. His Sci-fi books often deal with the ownership of technological means in the future.

For over a decade, he has been vocal in supporting the work of the FSFE. This year, he is celebrating the 20 year anniversary of FSFE in his own fascinating way. He greets us and congratulates us on our 40 year anniversary, talking to us from 2041. In the video you will find below you can see how Doctorow fits the FSFE into his vision of 2041.

How does Cory Doctorow envision the future?

In Doctorow's 2041, the world has faced many large scale natural disasters, but paradoxically humanity thrives. The solution was to face these challenges collectively and leave the spirit of competition behind. Doctorow sees the value of cooperation in Free Software, contrasting it to corporation monopolies. In this context, he thanks FSFE for its priceless contribution to a better world during the years 2021-2041.

You can read the full transcript of the video below. Cory Doctorow was also our guest in the very first episode of our Software Freedom Podcast which mainly focuses on Digital Restriction Management.

...since you're here: Brand new FSFE20 sticker

In 2021 the Free Software Foundation Europe turns 20. This means two decades of empowering users to control technology. We want to give momentum to the FSFE and even more to our pan-European community, the community that has formed and always will form the shoulders that our movement relies on. To help you celebrating 20 Years of FSFE with us, we have produced a brand new logo sticker. Get it, shout it, share it!

Show others for how long we are already working for software freedom with the new tag 'FSFE since 2001'.

Transcript of Cory Doctorow's birthday wishes for the FSFE

Hello FSFE, and congratulations from the year 2041 on your forty years of fighting for the digital rights of Europeans and of all people in all places! It has been a couple of crazy decades since I spoke to you last at your twentieth.

In those two decades we have seen massive decentralization of the internet thanks in part to deep reforms to our anti-trust and monopoly law, mandates for interoperability, and open APIs. And of course the changes in our economic system that arose from the great crises that we've endured over the past two decades: floods, fires, famine, refugee crises, all of the pandemics that we've lived through.

And it was only by realizing that we had to cooperate rather than compete, that we had to expose our technical infrastructure to outside scrutiny and to outside improvement if we were going to survive crisis after crisis after crisis, that we were able to finally orient ourselves and our economy and our political project and our technological project towards weathering the storm that we had all seen coming but that no one seemed able to confront.

And after all, that turned out to be the difference, the difference between crisis and a happy ending, between dystopia and utopia. It was not whether the heat that we had sunk into the ocean would melt the poles at will, nor whether the coastal cities would drown - they have. Nor whether the wildfires would rage - they did. But whether, when they arose, when these crises came to us, we confronted them head on, or continued to deny them, continued to pretend that we could lock up technical knowledge behind proprietary walls, that we could lock up control of technological systems in the hands of four or five digital robber barons* who insisted that no government had jurisdiction over them and that they were accountable to no one except their shareholders.

Once we realized that, once we embraced the ethic of collective work for a better future for our species, then we were able to turn the tide - not by averting the crises that were already set in motion, but by addressing them when they arose.

Thank you FSFE for the work that you did on that, and thank you to all the organizations allied with us around the world, who joined to make that reality happen.

Cory Doctorow

*'Robber baron' is a historical term originating in the US which criticizes practices of powerful businessmen that had destructive consequences for the society.

About "20 Years FSFE"

In 2021 the Free Software Foundation Europe turns 20. This means two decades of empowering users to control technology .

Turning 20 is a time when we like to take a breath and to look back on the road we have come, to reflect the milestones we have passed, the successes we have achieved, the stories we have written and the moments that brought us together and that we will always joyfully remember. In 2021 we want to give momentum to the FSFE and even more to our pan-European community, the community that has formed and always will form the shoulders that our movement relies on.

20 Years FSFE is meant to be a celebration of everyone who has accompanied us in the past or still does. Thank you for your place in the structure of the FSFE today and for setting the foundation for the next decades of software freedom to come.

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Call to apply for FSFE support for your local project

26. Mai 2021 um 01:00

Call to apply for FSFE support for your local project

It is no secret that the FSFE's activities are only possible with the priceless help of our contributors and supporters around Europe. In return we support local engagement financially, with our expertise, information material and networks. To help formalize this process, we run our next call for FSFE community projects.

From international campaigns to local information booths, our successful spreading of software freedom is based on many shoulders from active members within our community. This is why ever since the FSFE e.V. has been keen on supporting initiatives and activities from local FSFE groups to single supporters. If you currently look for financial funding for your FSFE activity, we are happy to support you.

To participate in the call you simply fill in your contact data and your project facts (who is doing what, when and how much it potentially will cost) and you will soon receive feedback, approval or a call back on your proposal.

Participate

Deadline for this call will be 25 July 2021.

Please spread the word within your local groups or other FSFE channels you participate, to ensure everyone knows about it.

Support FSFE

FSFE is migrating its IRC presence to Libera Chat

25. Mai 2021 um 01:00

FSFE is migrating its IRC presence to Libera Chat

In response to the recent mass resignation of volunteer staff from Freenode, an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network for Free Software communities, the FSFE is migrating its IRC presence to Libera Chat, a new IRC network with a similar focus founded by former Freenode staff.

The FSFE has been present on Freenode for more than fifteen years, and throughout our tenure we have experienced only dedication, care, and professionalism from the network's volunteer staff. When they feel forced to resign and launch a new network, we follow to continue experiencing the same level of care and dedication.

All existing users of the #fsfe channel on Freenode are invited to join us in #fsfe on Libera Chat. Chatting will be disabled in #fsfe on Freenode and its presence will be maintained solely to point users to #fsfe on Libera Chat. Users with FSFE cloaks on Freenode should e-mail us from their FSFE e-mail address with their Libera Chat account name to have an FSFE cloak assigned on Libera Chat.

We would like to thank Freenode for serving our needs well for more than fifteen years and we hope our tenure with Libera Chat will outlast those fifteen years.

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Dutch Digital Autonomy must be based on Free Software and Open Standards

18. Mai 2021 um 01:00

Dutch Digital Autonomy must be based on Free Software and Open Standards

"The Netherlands is losing grip on internet security, and is therefore in danger of losing control over democracy, the rule of law and the economic innovation system." This warning comes from the Cyber Security Council, a national and independent advisory body of the Dutch government and business community with members from the government, industry and academia.

In the Cyber Security Council's recent advice, they do an urgent call on the Dutch Cabinet to take quick action to prevent that Dutch society and economy becomes too dependent on proprietary technology they can not control.

CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication by TheDigitalArtist

While Cyber threats are increasing, the Netherlands is becoming increasingly dependent on a digital infrastructure that is dominated by just a small number of monopolistic companies. This could have major consequences for the national and economic security of the Netherlands. That is why digital autonomy should be high on the political agenda, according to the Council. Time is running out. If the Netherlands does not intervene, it risks losing its grip on internet security and losing its own technological knowledge, the council states. According to the advisory body, "time is short" thus "action must and can be taken now to ensure strategic autonomy”.

So much for the Cyber Security Council.

Their timing is right on the spot now a new Dutch cabinet is in the making and plans for the upcoming four years are about to be negotiated between coalition partners. But does their advice actually get to the heart of the problem? When reading the Strategic Autonomy and Cybersecurity in the Netherlands report, it is remarkable that proven best practices like Open Standards and Free Software do not play a central role in their solution and advice. If mentioned at all, it is in a side context.

Any open society is based on transparency. Therefore the digital freedom and rights of every citizen must be transparently protected. Digital autonomy is an indispensable condition for this. Autonomy, in turn, must be based on a solid legal framework that enforces Open Standards and Free Software, so that it can support citizens with public services over a public infrastructure in a transparent, secure and private way. It is crucial that national and European politicians are aware of their continuing obligation to implement all legislation that supports this practice.

Educational, health, and democratic institutions are core to our society. They are public assets and should not be part of any “economic market”, since we simply can not afford them to go bankrupt. So, public institutions will always be supported with Public Money, and any software involved inherently should be transparent by being Public Code. This principle is enshrined in the Public Money? Public Code! campaign of the FSFE, which states that software created with taxpayers’ money must be released as Free Software.

Proprietary companies that act in the “economic market” can go bankrupt. So, it is questionable if a Public Government should ever invest Public Money into proprietary market parties unconditionally. If investments are deemed necessary they should at least be done under the explicit condition that return on investment is for Public Benefit only. Again, as digital assets are concerned, Public Code is one of those conditions.

This public point of view is acutely absent in the institutional domain in which the Cyber Security Council acts and advises on. This is a domain that consist of a great number of interdependent organizations, national and super national, large and small, more and less powerful, that seem to keep each other in deadlock. Opening up to a public perspective would be a good first step for the Council to adapt their initial advice for the benefit of the commons.

The FSFE calls on the Dutch government to stand firm and get a grip on their digital security and autonomy by adhering to Open Standards and Free Software, in line with their earlier commitment ​​​​​to use Free Software by Default.

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Telekom-Reform in Österreich: Verbraucher müssen von Routerfreiheit profitieren

06. Mai 2021 um 01:00

Telekom-Reform in Österreich: Verbraucher müssen von Routerfreiheit profitieren

Österreich reformiert sein Telekommunikationsgesetz, um die neuen europäischen Richtlinien zur elektronischen Kommunikation zu implementieren. Die österreichische Regierung hat nun die einmalige Gelegenheit, Routerfreiheit auf gesetzlicher Ebene zu verankern, um Verbraucher und den Markt zu schützen.

Es sollte eine Selbstverständlichkeit sein, dass alle einen Router und ein Modem ihrer Wahl für ihren Internetanschluss frei wählen und nutzen können, so wie man es auch mit Smartphones und anderen Geräten kennt und macht. Diese sogenannte Routerfreiheit ist das Recht, dass Nutzerinnen und Nutzer ein privates Modem und einen Router anstelle der vom Internet-Provider (ISP) gelieferten Geräte wählen und nutzen können. Das Recht, Endgeräte der eigenen Wahl zu verwenden, ist in der EU durch die Netzneutralitätsverordnung garantiert. Im Rahmen einer großen Reform des Telekommunikationssektors in Europa (EECC) werden jedoch neue Regeln eingeführt, die sich negativ auf die Routerfreiheit auswirken können, weil sie die Frage betreffen, ob Router als Endgerät zählen.

Wie andere europäische Länder befindet sich auch Österreich im Prozess der Umsetzung der Telekommunikationssektor-Reform. Die österreichische Regierung hat einen Entwurf für das neue Telekommunikationsgesetz (TKG) vorgelegt, der Bestimmungen enthält, die die Möglichkeit der Verbraucher betreffen, ihr eigenes Gerät für die Verbindung mit dem Internet zu nutzen. Österreich hat mit dieser Reform die einmalige Chance, die Rechte der Verbraucher zu stärken, indem es die Routerfreiheit auf gesetzlicher Ebene garantiert und so einen offenen Markt fördert.

Routerfreiheit und Konsumentenrechte: ein perfektes Zusammenspiel

Router und Modems sind die Torwächter für die meisten Online-Aktivitäten. Verbraucher müssen in der Lage sein, ein Gerät zu wählen, das ihnen die Nutzung von Sicherheits- und Datenschutzeinstellungen ermöglicht, die ihren Anforderungen entsprechen. Die meisten ISPs bieten nur einige wenige Router-Modelle an. Dies birgt Risiken für die Freiheit und Sicherheit ihrer Verbraucher. Wenn beispielsweise größere Probleme oder Sicherheitslücken auftreten, wäre eine enorme Anzahl von Nutzern auf einmal betroffen. Eine fehlende Routerfreiheit gefährdet damit die Privatsphäre und Sicherheit der Verbraucher und ihrer persönlichen Daten.

Auch verringert Routerfreiheit die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass der Router-Markt von nur einem oder wenigen Produkten oder Herstellern dominiert wird. Nur mit Routerfreiheit ist die digitale Souveränität der Verbraucher wirklich gesichert und der Markt bleibt für alle Hersteller offen.

Einige der wichtigsten Vorteile von Routerfreiheit.

Routerfreiheit in Gefahr

FSFE und epicenter.works fordern die österreichische Regierung auf, Routerfreiheit als Standard in der Gesetzesnovelle festzuschreiben. Die IT-Sicherheit, die Privatsphäre und der Datenschutz der Verbraucher dürfen nicht zugunsten der Geschäftspraktiken der ISPs aufgegeben werden. Die Routerfreiheit muss im Reformtext verankert werden.

Wie epicenter.works im Februar 2021 aufzeigte wird gemäß dem Entwurf des neuen österreichischen Telekommunikationsgesetzes die Entscheidung über die Routerfreiheit vollständig an die nationale Regulierungsbehörde (RTR) delegiert, anstatt dieses Recht im Gesetzestext grundsätzlich festzuschreiben. Im Extremfall könnte das zu Regeln führen, die das Recht der Verbraucher, ihre eigenen Geräte zu nutzen, komplett blockieren könnten.

Länder wie Deutschland, Italien und die Niederlande haben in den letzten Jahren Gesetze zur Durchsetzung der Routerfreiheit verabschiedet. In jüngster Zeit hat Griechenland im Rahmen der EU-Telekom-Reform eine Vorentscheidung für Routerfreiheit getroffen, die Regulierungsbehörde schlägt sie als Standard vor.

Wie alle mithelfen können, Routerfreiheit zu schützen

Das Engagement von Verbrauchern ist grundlegend für den Schutz der Routerfreiheit in Österreich und der EU. Die FSFE hat ein Activity Package, für Einzelpersonen und Organisationen vorbereitet, die mit Regulatoren und Entscheidungsträgern ihres Landes in Kontakt treten und sich für Routerfreiheit einsetzen wollen. Außerdem möchten wir mehr über die Erfahrungen der Verbraucher mit Routerfreiheit in Österreich herausfinden, damit wir die Entscheidungsträger auf die Problematik aufmerksam machen können. Helfen Sie mit und nehmen Sie an der Umfrage zur Routerfreiheit teil. Es wird nur ein paar Minuten dauern!

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Router Freedom: Greece one step forward - Germany one backward

05. Mai 2021 um 01:00

Router Freedom: Greece one step forward - Germany one backward

EU member states are updating their legislation and implementing rules on Router Freedom. Greece and Germany have taken the first steps. But while Greece has focused on interests of end-users, Germany has moved in the opposite direction. The next months are crucial for Router Freedom in Europe and local participation is paramount.

Telecommunications law in the EU is passing through complex legislative reforms, involving, among others, supra-national institutions like BEREC, member states' parliaments and national regulatory agencies (NRAs). Since December 2020, EU member states have started legislative processes to implement the European Electronic Communications Code, or EECC (Directive (EU) 2018/1972), a key component of the reform, which sets new standards for Router Freedom.

Greece and Germany were the first EU countries to incorporate the EECC into national legislation. Now, the national regulatory bodies of both countries will have to decide on rules that will impact the status of Router Freedom in their jurisdictions. The FSFE has been following closely the new developments and took part in consultative processes. In addition, we have prepared an activity package to help local communities engaging with their national regulatory bodies.

Learn more about Router Freedom in Europe with the FSFE's activity summary.

Greece: moving in the right direction towards Router Freedom

In the second half of 2020, Greece incorporated the EECC into national legislation, under which the Greek regulatory body was to specify whether end-users have the right to choose and use their own routers. In March 2021, the Greek NRA (EETT) launched a public consultation and presented a preliminary conclusion (Greek) in favour of Router Freedom. According to the regulator, Router Freedom would be fully compatible with Greek legislation, and would not create market restrictions or interoperability issues. EETT has also confirmed that Router Freedom would best ensure end-users' privacy and data protection.

In April 2021, the FSFE took part in the public consultation (Greek) supporting EETT's preliminary conclusion and stressed the arguments in favour of Router Freedom. FSFE's arguments were backed up by the following six organisations in the field of digital rights, consumer protection and business representation, which also submitted corresponding positions on the consultation:

We strongly support EETT's preliminary conclusion in favour of Router Freedom.

Germany: falling short on leveraging end-users' rights

In December 2020, the German Federal Government submitted a proposal for incorporating the EECC into internal legislation, the Telecommunications Modernization Act (TKG-E). Questionably, the massive document, with more than 400 pages, was made available for public consultation of merely four days. The extremely short period prevented stakeholders to properly analysing the rules in detail and providing a more structured feedback. Nevertheless, the FSFE submitted a position (German) criticizing the draft text due to its lack of perspective of end-users' rights.

The proposed law failed to reflect the progress Router Freedom has achieved in the country since 2016. We claimed that Router Freedom had to be retained as the standard due not only to its consistency with the internal legislation but also to the very positive overall experience within the market, supporting end-users' digital sovereignty. In April 2021, the TKG was approved (German) allowing the German NRA to restrict Router Freedom under determined conditions.

Now, in order to comply with the TKG, the German NRA (BNetzA) will have to decide on end-users' ability to use their own equipment. The decision-making process must pass through public consultation. We will closely follow the process with BNetzA to safeguard the positive experience Router Freedom has achieved in the last five years. We strongly believe that the regulator has all the necessary elements available to consolidate Router Freedom in Germany.

How you can help

The next months will be crucial for Router Freedom in Europe. Other countries are starting legislative initiatives which will require an intense collaboration among people, organisations and communities. You can be part of these processes too. With our activity package, you can learn more about the various advantages of Router Freedom and the whole situation in Europe. In addition, we have set up an end-user survey to learn more about the issues end-users are facing with their ISPs in regard to Router Freedom. Your opinion will help us to map the problems existing in Europe and will facilitate our communication with regulatory authorities.

We are looking forward to learn more about your experience with Router Freedom. Take part in our survey; it will take only a few minutes!

In addition, by becoming a FSFE donor, you help make possible our long-term engagement and professional commitment in defending people's rights to control technology.

The Router Freedom initiative

Router Freedom is the right that consumers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment that the ISP provides. Since 2013, the Free Software Foundation Europe has been successfully engaged with Router Freedom, promoting end-users' freedom to choose and use their own terminal equipment - first in Germany as a precedent, and now in many European countries. Join us and learn more about the several ways to get involved.

Support FSFE

NGI0: How the FSFE Helps Free Software Developers Engineer a Better Internet

04. Mai 2021 um 01:00

NGI0: How the FSFE Helps Free Software Developers Engineer a Better Internet

With the FSFE in its 3rd and final year of its involvement in the European Commission's NGI0 Initiative, the feedback of our work in this area has been positive. Today, we give you updates of what the team has been working on with this initiative, and share the feedback from various developers on how we've managed to help them.

What will the Internet of the future look like? The European Commission's (EC) Next Generation Internet Initiative (NGI) envisions an Internet that is accessible, diverse, and respects the fundamental value of privacy. Here at the FSFE, we believe that Free Software is key to accomplish this vision, so that all people, regardless of their background, are able to use the Internet as an effective tool to achieve their full potential.

“NGI0 not only made it possible to pursue our goals by supplying funding. I was approached a number of times by professionals whom I learned to respect for their knowledge and concrete support, ranging from security to usability, internationalisation, licensing and copyrighting and putting what we do in a perspective of inclusiveness and diversity. Their help will go a long way to improve our products and I am sure to seek out other partners to the NGI0 project before we’re done.”

Joop Ringelberg, Perspectives-core Project

To that end, since November 2018 the FSFE has been a partner organisation of Next Generation Internet Zero (NGI0), which is a coalition of thirteen non-profit organizations from all over Europe coordinated by the NLnet Foundation. Coming under the overall NGI umbrella, the purpose of NGI0 is to provide financial grants and technical support to researchers and developers who are working on Free Software solutions that contribute to the establishment of the Next Generation Internet.

FSFE Provides Assistance to Free Software Developers Through NGI0

Free Software is key for the future of the Next Generation Internet.

As part of the technical assistance rendered to NGI0 participating software projects, the FSFE focuses on providing guidance on best practices for communicating the components, licenses, and copyrights associated with software packages. We are happy to share an update on the impact and progress that the FSFE and the project as a whole have had.

“Our Free Software developer needs were understood and met with minimal frictions… With audits, this NGI0 support went further than just allowing us to spend more time working on the project, they taught us how to improve it. The FSFE REUSE team even contributed actual code with a regular merge-request, in a perfect illustration of ‘them’ teaming up with us!”

Simon Descarpentires, Meta-Press.es Project

In order to be effective at internet scale, all 242 NGI0 software projects will be Free Software by end of their involvement in the project. We have made many strides in our efforts to assist these participating software projects with their legal and licensing needs, as well as at convincing them to adopt our REUSE standards as best practices for displaying licensing and copyright information.

To achieve this goal, we have developed a workflow to help projects go through a licensing compliance cycle composed of several phases to identify, process, and resolve any legal query the project could present.

"We are always listening to developers to learn how we can best assist them. While the project certainly had some growing pains in the beginning, feedback from the developers has been incredibly valuable for us to refine our workflow over the course of our involvement in the NGI0 initiative, to make the experience for all participants as fruitful and collaborative as possible.”

Gabriel Ku Wei Bin, FSFE Legal Coordinator

REUSE: Copyright and Licensing Made Easier for Everyone

A significant part of our work in the NGI0 initiative has been to assist participating software projects with adopting our REUSE standards. Code that implements these standards is able to be easily machine read, allowing copyright and licensing information contained therein to be verified automatically without manual intervention. This allows the code to be quickly and safely adopted by individuals, public bodies, and private enterprises of any size.

"The REUSE framework simplifies the declaration and management of different licenses in your own project, and thus clearly enables everybody to reuse Free Software. The addition of REUSE header and software license information to our Neuropil project went smoothly and painlessly. The main work was carried out with a simple merge request over a diverse set of source code files, external libraries and documentation. A big thank you from the team for the FSFE’s contribution!”

Stephan Schwichtenberg, Neuropil Project

Over 2020 and into the first quarter of 2021, we have worked with over 100 NGI0 participating software projects to guide them to implement the REUSE standards on their workflow. This has included working directly with their repositories to better improve how the licensing and copyright information contained in their repositories are displayed, so that any adopters of their work in the future can more easily comply with these license and copyright obligations.

Developing Educational Materials

Together with another NGI0 partner organisation, the Institute for Legal Issues regarding Free and Open Source Software, or ifrOSS, we have included in our website a set of educational FAQs about Free Software legal and licensing issues. These FAQs tackle topics useful to any Free Software developer, such as the basics of copyright, licensing issues with Free Software, and issues with license compatibility. In addition to these quick FAQs, we have also prepared more comprehensive educational PDF documents that explain these topics more in depth.

Providing Guidance on Legal and Licensing Issues

Many participating software projects may also have many legal questions pertaining to the various licenses relevant to their work. While the FSFE assists them with the more basic questions, they can also receive guidance and advice on more complex legal issues from ifrOSS. In the last two years, we have provided guidance with inquiries on a variety of topics, including inquiries related to license implementation and compatibility issues, dependency management, managing external contributions, licensing scanning tools, trademark issues, potential licensing violations and hardware licenses.

"Regarding REUSE, we have learnt a lot. We realise that the idea behind REUSE is simple, clear, and powerful… Nowadays, Free Software projects become more and more complicated, and many components/files of a single project have different license/copyright information. REUSE helps a lot on tracking the status of this information in our project.”

Xianjun Jiao, OpenWifi Project

REUSE and the FSFE's Continuing Commitment to Helping Free Software Developers

Our work with the NGI0 initiative has been a great success for REUSE, as we've managed to help so many developers working on software that will solve a diverse range of problems have a better understanding of Free Software licenses, compliance issues, and how best to prevent these from occurring if they adopt our REUSE standards. Spreading such knowledge and awareness among developers helps to create a more robust and healthy Free Software ecosystem. Indeed, working with REUSE through the NGI0 initiative has been a learning experience for the FSFE ourselves.

"Being involved in NGI0 has been a nurturing experience. On one hand, it has been very interesting to work closely with and learn from projects that are reshaping the future of the internet. On the other, being part of the FSFE team has provided me with the necessary technical and legal skills to feel comfortable to contribute directly to projects' repositories through merge-requests; a task that was completely new for me in the beginning. All the positive feedback from these projects only encourages me to keep up the good work.”

Lina Ceballos, FSFE Legal Trainee

One of the areas where the FSFE is committed to providing guidance for developers is in the legal and licensing sphere. On this front, the FSFE has since 2009 coordinated a network of legal professionals in the field of Free Software, and provided them with a forum for cutting edge legal discussions. It is through the help of this network of experts that we have been able to develop initiatives such as REUSE, which makes it easier for developers to fulfill their Free Software legal and licensing obligations without necessarily having to become experts themselves.

While the NGI0 initiative is expected to come to a close by the end of 2021, the FSFE nevertheless will continue providing guidance to developers. In the upcoming months, we will offer a low-barrier opportunity for Free Software projects to apply for help by our REUSE professionals. As with NGI0, the FSFE will assist developers with making their projects REUSE compliant while clarifying potentially complex copyright and licensing situations. Stay tuned for more!

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Router Freedom Activity Package +++ Fernanda Weiden +++ Spring Sales

29. April 2021 um 01:00

Router Freedom Activity Package +++ Fernanda Weiden +++ Spring Sales

In our April Newsletter read about our Router Freedom Activity Package, our interview with former Vice President Fernanda Weiden, our new Software Freedom Podcast with Elisa Lindinger, our Spring Sales and as usual our other diverse community activities.

FSFE launches the Router Freedom Activity Package

Router Freedom is the right that consumers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment that the ISP provides. In the context of reform of telecommunications law, since June 2020 a new set of rules guides the implementation of Router Freedom in Europe.

Check here the status of Router Freedom in your country

Although the new rules will provide more clarity in several respects concerning end-users' rights, the awareness of Router Freedom is low across Europe. Active participation of local communities in the legislative processes of laws impacting the ability of end-users to choose their network devices is crucial for leveraging the protection of Router Freedom in national jurisdictions.

Therefore, we have prepared an activity package for individuals and organisations who want to communicate with regulators and decision makers of their countries and take a stand for Router Freedom. The package consists of an activity summary, a monitoring map and a wiki page with relevant information for local engagement.

We would love to know more about your experience with Router Freedom, so we can act accordingly. Please participate in our end-user survey. It will take only a few minutes!

20 Years FSFE: Interview with Fernanda Weiden

In our third birthday publication we interview Fernanda "nanda" Weiden who was raised n Porto Alegre, Brasil, where she organised FISL, the largest Free Software conference in Latin America. Later she became a founding member and council member of the Free Software Foundation Latin America, before moving to Europe, where she joined the FSFE as a volunteer. Just a little bit later she was elected Vice President of the Free Software Foundation Europe from 2009-2011.

In these early years of her engangement with the FSFE, Fernanda helped to shape the FSFE's profile and organisation. Her favourite campaign that she was heavily contributing to was the Document Freedom Day, a campaign to highlight the importance of Open Standards and a global day to celebrate them. Fernanda is also co-founder of the "Women in Free Software Project" in Brazil and former member of "Debian Women". Until today Fernanda is part of the FSFE's General Assembly and helps the organisation with her manifold professional skills if needed.

This year the FSFE celebrates its 20th anniversary. Support our work for the next 20 years to come

SFP#10: How to support Free Software and a sustainable digital infrastructure

In our 10th episode of the Software Freedom Podcast we talk with Elisa Lindinger from Superrr Lab. Together we discuss problems faced by Free Software projects and how to tackle them. In a broader frame we discover what would be needed for a more sustainable digital infrastructure and talk about the work Elisa does for this aim.

What have we done? Inside and outside the FSFE

  • With a groundbreaking resolution, Dortmund has committed itself to the use of Free Software. With an overwhelming, cross-faction majority, the city council has paved the way for "Public Money? Public Code!" In the future, software developed or commissioned by the administration will be made available to the general public.
  • Max Mehl, FSFE programme manager, gave a talk on "Digital Sovereignty in Europe - Free Software as the Key" in which he provided an overview of the most important contexts and discussed pragmatic possibilities based on existing examples to put public digital infrastructure on a modern footing.
  • Ralf Hersel, Coordinator of the FSFE local Zurich group, gave a presentation on "Learning like the Pros" during the Open Education Day conference. Learning like the Pros informs about Digital Sovereignty, explains professional approaches and offers concrete suggestions.
  • For the International Transgender Day of Visibility, Carmen Bianca Bakker writes about "What's in a name?"
  • Lucas Lasota, FSFE Deputy Legal Coordinator, will conduct the course "Legal Aspects of Digital Sovereignty" at the Humboldt University of Berlin. The course is dedicated to several elements that compose the terms that are being discussed in public debates, but from the legal perspective.

"Show your support" (aka "Get active")

Although Spring seems a little bit late this year in Northern Europe, we have started the FSFE Spring Sales in which we offer all our coloured T-shirts, magnets, pins, gym sacks and children's shirts at a reduced price for a short period. Be quick, because the offer is only valid while stock lasts. Moreover, sale products that are sold out will no longer be reordered as we will refresh our inventory.

Contribute to our newsletter

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

If you also want to support us and our work, join our community and support us with a donation or a monthly contribution.

Thanks to our community and 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 native languages.

Your editor, Erik Albers

Support us with your donation

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Bundestagswahl 2021: Forderungen für eine digital souveräne Gesellschaft

27. April 2021 um 01:00

Bundestagswahl 2021: Forderungen für eine digital souveräne Gesellschaft

Organisationen der digitalen Zivilgesellschaft stellen für die Bundestagswahl 2021 vier Forderungen für eine digital souveräne Gesellschaft an die Politik. Darunter die Free Software Foundation Europe, die sich dafür einsetzt, dass mit öffentlichen Geldern für öffentliche Verwaltungen entwickelte Software unter einer Freie-Software Lizenz veröffentlicht wird.

Am 1. April 2020 forderten zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen, die sich für eine unabhängige digitale Infrastruktur und freien Zugang zu Wissen einsetzen die Politik auf: Aus der Krise lernen - Digitale Zivilgesellschaft stärken! In einem offenen Brief eröffneten die unterzeichnenden Organisationen zugleich konkrete Handlungsempfehlungen. Geschehen ist seitdem jedoch viel zu wenig. Das vergangene Jahr hat deutlich gemacht, dass Politik und öffentliche Verwaltung mit ihrer eigenen digitalen Transformation überfordert sind und in der Digitalpolitik Schwerpunkte setzen, die nicht den Bedürfnissen der Gesellschaft entsprechen. Von einer digital souveränen Gesellschaft sind wir weit entfernt.

Public Money? Public Code!

Deshalb hat sich unter digitalezivilgesellschaft.org erneut ein breites Spektrum an Organisationen, darunter auch die Free Software Foundation Europe, zusammengefunden, um die Politik mit ihrer Expertise zu unterstützen. Mit vier Forderungen zeigt das Netzwerk, wie Digitalisierung für eine digital souveräne Gesellschaft gelingen kann – und fordert die Parteien im Hinblick auf die Bundestagswahl auf, Digitalisierung für das Gemeinwohl zur zentralen Prämisse zu machen.

Vier Forderungen an die Bundesregierung

  1. Digitale Souveränität: Die Politik muss die digitale Souveränität der Gesellschaft als oberste Maxime in der Digitalpolitik verankern. Statt eines Digitalministeriums brauchen wir für die kommende Legislaturperiode eine Mission, welche digitale Souveränität zum Leitprinzip erhebt und mit Vertretern aus Zivilgesellschaft, Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft zusammen verfasst und evaluiert wird.
  2. Beteiligung und Transparenz: Die Zivilgesellschaft muss endlich die gleichen Möglichkeiten wie Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft erhalten, um ihre Expertise einzubringen. Dies wird durch eine Zivilgesellschaftsquote in politischen Beratungsgremien, Kommunikation und Transparenz zu Abläufen politischer Entscheidungsprozesse, gesetzlich festgelegte Fristen für Konsultationen sowie maschinenlesbare Dokumentation erreicht.
  3. Öffentliches Geld, öffentliches Gut: Öffentlich geförderte Lösungen müssen für alle unter einer freien Lizenz zugänglich sein, damit kein Wissen verloren oder Probleme doppelt gelöst werden. Das betrifft Software: Wir wollen rechtliche Grundlagen, die es erfordern, dass mit öffentlichen Geldern für öffentliche Verwaltungen entwickelte Software unter einer Freien Software Lizenz (auch als Open Source beziechnet) veröffentlicht wird. Wenn es sich um öffentliche Gelder handelt, sollte auch der Code öffentlich sein! (Public Money? Public Code!). Aber auch Daten der öffentlichen Verwaltung (Open Data) sowie freies Wissen und offene Bildungsmaterialien (Open Educational Resources).
  4. Nachhaltige Digitalisierung: Die Digitalisierung kann nur gelingen, wenn der Aufbau von digitaler Infrastruktur wirtschaftlich und sozial ausgestaltet wird. Dazu müssen Diversität in der Digitalisierung sowie der Aufbau und die Wartung von sicherer, dezentraler digitaler Infrastruktur für die Gesellschaft langfristig gefördert werden.

Launch-Event am 5. Mai 2021

Am Launch-Event diskutieren Julia Reda (ehem. Mitglied des EU-Parlaments), Henning Tillmann (Softwareentwickler und Co-Vorstand von D64) und Julia Kloiber (Co-Gründerin Superrr Lab) am 5. Mai 2021 von 18:00 Uhr bis 19:30 Uhr diese vier Forderungen. Moderiert wird die Runde von Katja Jäger (betterplace lab). Anschließend gibt es für alle Teilnehmenden die Möglichkeit, sich in vier Themenräumen zu Lösungen, Maßnahmen und Handlungsaufforderungen auszutauschen. Alexander Sander von der FSFE wird den Themenraum zu "Public Money? Public Code!" moderieren. Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung zum Launch-Event gibt es in Kürze auf digitalezivilgesellschaft.org.

Unterzeichnende Organisationen von digitalezivilgesellschaft.org: Free Software Foundation Europe, Superrr Lab, gut.org, betterplace lab, Social Entrepreneurship Netzwerk Deutschland e.V. (SEND), Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V., Liquid Democracy e.V., iRights.Lab, Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung e.V. (FIfF), Chaos Computer Club, Bundesverband Smart City e.V., mediale pfade, Stiftung Erneuerbare Freiheit, Center for the Cultivation of Technology, neuland21 e.V., Arbeitskreis Digitalisierung der BUNDjugend, Verstehbahnhof, Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement, Wikimedia Deutschland e. V., Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, D64, epicenter.works e.V., Digitale Gesellschaft e.V., Ashoka Deutschland e. V., Progressives Zentrum e. V.

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20 Jahre FSFE: Interview mit Fernanda Weiden

20. April 2021 um 01:00

20 Jahre FSFE: Interview mit Fernanda Weiden

Für unsere dritte Geburtstagspublikation sprechen wir mit Fernanda Weiden - Mitbegründerin der FSF Latin America und ehemalige Vizepräsidentin der FSFE - über die Anfänge Freier Software in Lateinamerika und den heutigen Einsatz Freier Software in großen Unternehmen, sowie über die Unterstützung von Vielfalt in verschiedenen Gemeinschaften.

Fernanda "nanda" Weiden hat eine lange Geschichte des persönlichen Engagements für Freie Software und die FSFE. Eigentlich eine viel zu lange, um in diese Einführung zu passen, aber wir versuchen zumindest, einige ihrer Beiträge zu beleuchten: Aufgewachsen in Porto Alegre, Brasilien, organisierte Fernanda die FISL, die größte Freie-Software-Konferenz in Lateinamerika. Später wurde sie Gründungs- und Ratsmitglied der Free Software Foundation Latin America, bevor sie nach Europa zog, wo sie als Ehrenamtliche zur FSFE kam. Wenig später wurde sie von 2009-2011 zur Vizepräsidentin der Free Software Foundation Europe gewählt.

In den frühen Jahren ihres Engagements für die FSFE half Fernanda, das Profil und die Organisation der FSFE zu formen. Ihre Lieblingskampagne, an der sie maßgeblich beteiligt war, war der Document Freedom Day - eine Kampagne, um die Wichtigkeit von Offenen Standards hervorzuheben. Diese wurden am "Document Freedom Day" gefeiert. Fernanda ist auch Mitbegründerin des "Frauen in Freier Software Projekts" ("Women in Free Software Project") in Brasilien und ehemaliges Mitglied von "Debian Women". Bis heute ist Fernanda Teil der Mitgliederversammlung der FSFE und hilft der Organisation bei Bedarf mit ihren vielfältigen Fähigkeiten.

Anlässlich von "20 Jahren FSFE" interviewten wir Fernanda über ihre Zeit bei den FSF*s, über Aktivitäten bei Veranstaltungen zu Freier Software und deren Einsatz in großen Unternehmen.

Interview mit Fernanda Weiden

FSFE: Du bist in Brasilien aufgewachsen und hast dort die Free Software Foundation Latin America mitbegründet. Kannst du uns ein wenig über deinen Hintergrund erzählen, wie kamst du anfangs zu Freier Software und wie kam es dazu, dass du die FSFLA mitbegründet hast?

Fernanda Weiden: Ich bin in Porto Alegre, der südlichsten Großstadt Brasiliens, aufgewachsen. In der Region leben etwa eine Million Menschen und die Gegend ist stark von der europäischen Einwanderung geprägt. Ich hatte nie wirklich geplant Computeringenieurin zu werden. Als ich das erste Mal an die Universität kam, wollte ich noch Mathematiklehrerin werden. Nach etwa einem Jahr war klar, dass das nichts für mich ist.

Ich fing an mich immer mehr für Computer zu interessieren und eine Menge Leute, die ich kannte, nutzten bereits GNU/Linux. Ich wurde sehr schnell neugierig darauf und lernte, GNU/Linux ohne eine graphische Oberfläche zu benutzen. Das half mir dabei zu verstehen, wie Computer ohne die Magie einer Benutzeroberfläche funktionieren. Ich liebte es.

Nach einer Weile fing ich an mit unterschiedlichen Systemen zu arbeiten. Als RedHat sein Zertifizierungsprogramm namens RedHat Certified Engineer startete, war ich in der ersten Gruppe von Leuten aus Lateinamerika, die den Test machten. Es gab 10 von uns und 6 bestanden den Test. Ich war eine von ihnen und offensichtlich die einzige Frau, was ein Schlaglicht auf meine Arbeit warf und auch ein Schlaglicht auf die Freie-Software-Gemeinschaft für mich. Danach habe ich schnell begonnen, mich zu engagieren.

Die Free Software Foundation Latin America war ein naheliegender Schritt, um die Gemeinschaft zu stärken und auch Entscheidungsträger im öffentlichen Sektor zu unterstützen.

Diese Jahre in Lateinamerika waren politisch betrachtet sehr interessant und viele der Regierungen investierten in Freie Software als eine mögliche Alternative. Es ging dabei darum die Wirtschaft und auch die Unabhängigkeit von Software-Lieferanten - meist aus Europa oder Nordamerika - zu fördern. Die Free Software Foundation Latin America war ein naheliegender Schritt, um die Gemeinschaft zu stärken und auch Entscheidungsträger im öffentlichen Sektor zu unterstützen, damit diese die Themen rund um Freie Software besser zu verstehen lernen. Leider glaube ich nicht, dass die FSFLA ihr damaliges Potenzial ausschöpfen konnte, aber es war trotzdem eine großartige Erfahrung.

Ich war bereits, aufgrund meiner Arbeit im Programmkomitee des Internationalen Forums für Freie Software in Porto Alegre sehr gut mit Leuten aus ganz Lateinamerika und der ganzen Welt vernetzt. Also denke ich, dass ich eine natürliche Wahl war. Eine Frau zu sein hat mir dabei bestimmt auch geholfen. Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen Frauen, die sich in der Gemeinschaft engagieren, war ich Ingenieurin und verstand nicht nur die politische Seite der Themen, sondern auch die technische.

Fernanda G. Weiden auf der Latinoware 2008, Gnome Forum. Foz do Iguaçu, Brasilien. (Bild CC-BY 2.0 Germán Póo-Caamaño)

Damals in Brasilien hast du viel Zeit damit verbracht, ehrenamtlich bei der Organisation der FISL, der größten Konferenz für Freie Software in Lateinamerika, zu helfen. Kannst du uns erzählen, wie die Wahrnehmung von Freier Software zu dieser Zeit in Brasilien war? Warum ist ehrenamtliche Arbeit wichtig und warum ist es wichtig, solche Veranstaltungen mit dem Bezug zu Freier Software zu haben?

Ich würde sagen, Freie Software war in Brasilien auf ihrem Höhepunkt. Die Regierung war interessiert und bereit sich zu bewegen und mit der Gemeinschaft zu kooperieren, um von uns als Gemscheinschaft zu lernen. Dazu kam, dass die Regierung unsere Veranstaltungen auch finanziell unterstütze und uns half, eine solide Basis für die Gemeinschaft aufzubauen. Veranstaltungen sind super wichtig, weil sie dabei helfen, das Bewusstsein zu verbreiten und eine Dynamik entstehen lassen. So können wichtige Schritte auf politischer Ebene unternommen werden. Ich denke auch, dass Veranstaltungen Gelegenheiten bieten, denjenigen das Mikrofon zu geben, die etwas Wichtiges zu sagen haben. Damals war es für uns wichtig, dass wir die Welt wissen lassen, dass es einen anderen Weg für die digitale Transformation gibt. Das wir eine Technologie-Industrie aufbauen, die nicht von den Technologien großer Unternehmen abhängig ist. Freie Software ist ermächtigend für eine Nation der Dritten Welt, weil sie Länder und Industrien vom Rücksitz in den Fahrersitz für ihre eigene Zukunft bringen kann.

Später in deinem Leben zogst du von Brasilien nach Europa, wo du als Ehrenamtliche zur Free Software Foundation Europe kamst und später für zwei Jahre unsere Vizepräsidentin wurdest. Wie war deine Erfahrung als Vizepräsidentin und was hält dich nach nunmehr über 15 Jahren in der FSFE?

Ich zog Ende 2005 nach Europa, nachdem ich ein Jobangebot von Google in Zürich erhalten hatte. Es war die transformativste Erfahrung in meinem Leben. Ich habe verschiedene Kulturen gesehen und gelebt und dazu noch fast 13 Jahre lang in der Big-Tech-Branche gearbeitet. All das hat mich verändert und mir geholfen, mich auf eine Art und Weise weiterzuentwickeln, die ich vorher nicht für möglich gehalten hätte.

Ich bin für immer dankbar für das, was Freie Software in meinem Leben möglich gemacht hat. Es ist mir sehr wichtig, der Gemeinschaft weiterhin etwas zurückzugeben.

Die FSFE war für mich eine Möglichkeit, mit meinen Wurzeln verbunden zu bleiben. Ich hatte Freunde, die ebenfalls engagiert waren, und ich wollte der Gemeinschaft, die mir so viel gegeben hat, weiterhin etwas zurückgeben. Nicht nur an technischem und politischem Wissen, sondern auch an allem anderen was dazugehört. Ich bin für immer dankbar für das, was Freie Software in meinem Leben ermöglicht hat. Es ist mir sehr wichtig, der Gemeinschaft weiterhin etwas zurückzugeben. Auch wenn es manchmal schwer erscheint, weil sich das Leben so sehr verändert hat, die Zeit knapper geworden ist und sich die Prioritäten aus persönlicher Sicht verschoben haben.

Der Document Freedom Day war eine Kampagne der FSFE, bei der es darum ging, das Bewusstsein für die Bedeutung von Offenen Standards zu schärfen. Du warst stark an der Entstehung der Kampagne beteiligt, hast bei der Einrichtung der Website und den allgemeinen Konzepten geholfen. Was hat dir am DFD gefallen und was war deine liebste DFD-Aktivität?

Offene Standards sind für Dokumente lebenswichtig. Wenn man die Informationen in einem Standard aufzeichnet, der nicht offen für alle implementiert werden kann, ist das für mich dasselbe, als ob man die aufgezeichneten Informationen nicht besitzen würde, denn man ist für immer Gefangener dieses Anbieters. Wenn sie das Geschäft aufgeben, tun das auch deine Aufzeichnungen. Ich liebe die Kampagne, weil ich denke, dass sie ein Weg ist, die Wichtigkeit der digitalen Freiheit denjenigen nahezubringen, die vielleicht nicht über Freie Software Bescheid wissen oder sich nicht dafür interessieren. Es ist ein Weg, eine Frage in die Köpfe der Menschen zu pflanzen.

Meine Lieblingsaktivität waren definitiv die Bilder. Wir haben die Leute gebeten, uns Bilder von ihren Veranstaltungen und Feiern zum DFD aus der ganzen Welt zu schicken, und es war großartig zu sehen, wie die Gemeinschaft auf der ganzen Welt zusammenkam, um die Bedeutung von Offenen Standards zu diskutieren.

Ein Bild des FSFE-Teams bei der Übergabe des DFD-Awards 2010 an Radio Deutschlandfunk mit dem Thema "rOGG on"

Du hast für mehrere Jahre in einem großen internationalen Technologieunternehmen gearbeitet. Wie wird die Rolle und Bedeutung von Freier Software und Offenen Standards in großen Unternehmen wahrgenommen und hat sie sich über die Jahre verändert?

Als ich Aktivistin für Freie Software wurde, musste man sich noch über die Plattform streiten, die man für die Erstellung von Software verwendet. Heute ist Freie Software keine Frage mehr. Sie ist an vielen Orten die Norm. Große Firmen spielen eine wichtige Rolle, weil sie Ingenieure anstellen und bezahlen, um weiterhin Software auf dem neuesten Stand der Technik zu produzieren, die dann über Freie-Software-Lizenzen verfügbar ist. Natürlich fließen nicht alle Ingenieurstunden in diese Arbeit, aber es ist definitiv etwas, das beide großen Tech-Firmen, für die ich gearbeitet habe, zu schätzen wussten und auf unterschiedliche Weise dazu beitrugen.

Das Wichtigste ist meiner Meinung nach, dass man es zur Priorität macht, ein integratives Umfeld zu schaffen. [...] Es ist ein positiver Kreislauf: Sobald man anfängt, positive Schritte zu unternehmen, werden immer mehr unterschiedliche Talente kommen, weil sie sich sicher fühlen.

Du bist Mitbegründerin des "Women in Free Software Project" in Brasilien, warst Mitglied von "Debian Women" und hast es geschafft, in deiner technischen Abteilung den höchsten Frauenanteil in einem großen internationalen Unternehmen zu haben. Aus deiner praktischen Erfahrung heraus, was sind deiner Meinung nach die wichtigsten Punkte für Freie-Software-Organisationen, um eine inklusive Umgebung für Frauen und andere traditionell unterrepräsentierte Gruppen in Freier Software zu schaffen?

Das Wichtigste ist meiner Meinung nach, dass wir dem Aufbau eines integrativen Umfelds Priorität einräumen. Das darf kein zweiter Gedanke sein. Wenn man nicht zuallererst darüber nachdenkt, wie ich sicherstellen kann, dass diese Umgebung für alle freundlich ist, verpasst man die Chance, inklusiv zu sein. Viele Unternehmen und Organisationen machen den Fehler zu glauben, dass die eine oder andere Aktivität sie inklusiver für Minderheiten machen würde. Es geht nicht um die eine oder andere Aktivität. Es geht darum, wie du dich jeden Moment deines Tages verhältst und wie viel Mühe du dir gibst, um sicherzustellen, dass du den Stillen zuhörst, offen für andere Meinungen bist und dich durchgehend darum bemühst, deine Pipeline mit vielfältigen Talenten zu füllen, wenn du neue Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter einstellen willst. Es ist ein positiver Kreislauf: Sobald du anfängst, positive Maßnahmen zu ergreifen, werden immer mehr vielfältige Talente kommen, weil sie sich sicher fühlen.

Was ist dein persönliches Highlight mit der FSFE oder eine wichtige Sache, die du durch deine Arbeit bei der FSFE gelernt hast?

Seit den Anfängen der Arbeit bei der FSFE habe ich immer die pragmatische und ausgewogene Art und Weise geschätzt, in der sich mit der Gemeinschaft auseinandergesetzt wird. Die FSFE hat sich immer dazu verpflichtet, einen Dialog zu führen, egal wie unterschiedlich die Positionen der anderen Seite in dem Gespräch waren. Ich denke, dass dies auch im geschäftlichen Umfeld sehr wichtig ist: Man muss jedem zuhören, wenn man effektiv sein will. Die FSFE tut dies auf eine Art und Weise, die freundlich und akzeptierend ist, aber die Kernwerte, für die wir stehen, nicht gefährdet.

Document Freedom Day Feier in Singapur 2018. (Bild CC-BY 4.0 Fedora Community Blog)

Und was ist eine Geschichte, die dich immer noch zum Lachen oder Lächeln bringt, wenn du dich an sie erinnerst?

Leider war ich an dem Tag nicht anwesend, aber ich habe trotzdem viel darüber gelacht, und ich war dabei, als der Song veröffentlicht wurde, und das war sehr lustig. Auf jeden Fall das Schnitzelmonster. Ich werde das Monster allerdings seine eigene Geschichte erzählen lassen.

FSFE: Als letzte Frage, was wünschst du der FSFE für die nächsten 20 Jahre?

Ich wünsche der FSFE, dass sie weiterhin eine Organisation ist, die sich mit den Herausforderungen unserer Zeit weiterentwickelt. Wenn in der Vergangenheit proprietäre Software ein großes Thema war, haben wir jetzt Datenschutzprobleme in der Cloud als großes Thema. Wir haben Software, die in unseren Waschmaschinen und Öfen läuft. Ich wünsche mir auch, dass die FSFE weiterhin die freundliche Umgebung ist, die sie für mich immer war. Wir sehen uns nicht sehr oft persönlich, aber wenn wir es tun, abgesehen von den zusätzlichen grauen Haaren und Falten, fühlt es sich an, als wären wir uns schon immer nahe gewesen. Es ist eine große und weit verzweigte Familie.

FSFE: Herzlichen Dank!

Über "20 Jahre FSFE"

Im Jahr 2021 wird die Free Software Foundation Europe 20 Jahre alt. Das bedeutet zwei Jahrzehnte Ermächtigung der Nutzer zur Kontrolle der Technologie.

20 Jahre alt zu werden ist eine Zeit, in der wir durchatmen und auf den Weg zurückblicken wollen, den wir gekommen sind, um die Meilensteine zu reflektieren, die wir passiert haben, die Erfolge, die wir erreicht haben, die Geschichten, die wir geschrieben haben und die Momente, die uns zusammengebracht haben und an die wir uns immer mit Freude erinnern werden. Im Jahr 2021 wollen wir der FSFE und noch mehr unserer paneuropäischen Gemeinschaft Schwung verleihen, der Gemeinschaft, die die Schultern gebildet hat und immer bilden wird, auf die sich unsere Bewegung stützt.

20 Jahre FSFE soll eine Feier für alle sein, die uns in der Vergangenheit begleitet haben oder es noch tun. Danke, dass Sie Ihr Stück des Puzzles beitragen, das die FSFE formt und den Grundstein für die Arbeit der nächsten Jahrzehnte unserer Bewegung für Softwarefreiheit legt.

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SFP#10: How to support Free Software and a sustainable digital infrastructure

07. April 2021 um 01:00

SFP#10: How to support Free Software and a sustainable digital infrastructure

In our 10th episode of the Software Freedom Podcast we talk with Elisa Lindinger from Superrr Lab. Together we discuss problems faced by Free Software projects and how to tackle them. In a broader frame we discover what would be needed for a more sustainable digital infrastructure and talk about the work Elisa does for this aim.

For this episode Matthias Kirschner and Bonnie Mehring talk with Elisa Lindinger about the survey Roadwork ahead, which evaluates the needs of those working for software freedom and a digital infrastructure for the public. What concrete actions are needed to create sustainable Free Software communities and projects? How could developers spend more time on coding and not so much time on organising events and finances, in short how could community management be better organised? And how could those who do volunteer work for open infrastructure and Free Software receive the support they need? Those are just some of the questions discussed in the podcast. All of those problems are brought into a broader sense of this topic, when we talk about how our digital civil society can be more sustainable. We discuss the four claims Elisa and her team developed and advocate for:

  1. Digital civil society needs to be part of political discussions about digital policy,
  2. New methods are needed of support and funding,
  3. "Public Money? Public Code!" should be a guiding principle for public procurements and Open Data, Open Access and Open Source should be the base for public contracts,
  4. A commitment for long-time support of widely-used software, libraries and protocols is needed to ensure their maintenance.

Together, we discuss what a sustainable digital civil society can look like and what is still needed for this aim to be reached. This episode provides knowledge and insights for all of you who want to support Free Software and create a long-lasting digital society.

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If you liked this episode and want to support our continuous work for software freedom, please help us with a donation.

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