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Austria goes against Router Freedom

30. November 2023 um 23:00

Austria goes against Router Freedom

The Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications, RTR, has decided not to regulate the network operators with regard to Router Freedom, allowing ISPs to impose their equipment to consumers. For RTR, routers configured in “bridge mode” is synonymous with terminal equipment freedom. The FSFE laments this decision as a missed opportunity for Net Neutrality in the country.

The Austrian regulator RTR has decided to not formally determine the position of the NTP. It means that end-users cannot freely use their modems for internet connection.

In 2016, the Net Neutrality regulation established, for the first time in Europe, freedom of terminal equipment for internet connection. It means, in theory, consumers would be able to choose and use their own routers and modems independently from those provided by the internet service providers (ISPs). However, the practical realisation of this right has followed not a linear process, but has been marked by several difficulties, including the 2018 reform of EU telecom law, the implementation of technical rules, and the resistance from national regulators to interfere in the activities of operators. While several countries such as Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium have decided on the full regulatory protection of Router Freedom, other EU members have followed other paths, preferring to exclude fiber networks (as Greece and Italy) or deciding completely against freedom of terminal equipment, as in Latvia, Denmark and now Austria.

Consumer protection falls short.

In November 2023, the Austrian telecom regulator RTR has published a decision on the evaluation of Router Freedom and the position of the network termination point (NTP), a demarcation of the limits of the public and private networks. The regulator has concluded to not regulate Router Freedom due to some alleged factors, including the limited usage by end-users of private routers and the enhanced operational costs for network operators. RTR has also claimed that the mere fact that Austrian providers already offer for end-users the possibility to connect their own router to the ISP’s modem in “bridge mode” would signify freedom of terminal equipment. This , as we explain below, is a contradiction in itself. Of particular concern is RTR’s statement affirming that there is currently insufficient evidence of significant restrictions on Router Freedom for a relevant proportion of users (page 3).

A lost opportunity for Net Neutrality

RTR’s position fails to capture the notion of Router Freedom as a fundamental aspect of Net Neutrality, as it has a profound impact on how end-users access the Internet. Router Freedom is the hardware component of Net Neutrality, and its protection should be understood not only from the market perspective, but should embrace its nature as an essential element of the Open Internet.

Formally defining the position of the NTP at Point A would officially include the modem and router under the end-user premises, and the public network would initiate from the plug on the wall. That would signify complete freedom of terminal equipment. RTR’s decision instead only guarantees that end-users can connect their routers to ISPs’ modems in “bridge mode”. Since operators can still impose their modems inside end-users’ premises, it cannot be considered compliant with Router Freedom.

Early on in 2021, when Austria was in the process of implementing the reform of the telecom sector, the FSFE, together with, has urged the Austrian government to safeguard Router Freedom in the new adopted legislation. We have warned back then that in case the decision on Router Freedom would be delegated to the national regulatory agency (RTR) this could lead to solutions against consumer rights and interests.

In 2022,we engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from industry and policy makers to demonstrate why Router Freedom is important for market competition, device innovation, and sustainability. We urged at the time RTR to seize the opportunity to establish Router Freedom in Austria by defining the NTP in a position favourable to consumer interests.

In May 2023, we sent to RTR our report on the Router Freedom survey, demonstrating how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) still hamper consumer freedom of choice, exercise lock-in over internet equipment and promote proprietary devices, negatively affecting consumer welfare, security, privacy and data protection. Although more than 13% of the participants were Austrians, the regulator has not provided feedback on this.

The vast majority of participants of our survey agreed that Router Freedom is important for freedom of choice, privacy, security and fair competition. More than a market or tech issue, Router Freedom is a policy demand.

Besides, while other member states regulators have conducted open consultations and produced comprehensive reports and detailed studies regarding Router Freedom, RTR has not provided any relevant data, nor conducted consultation procedures where civil society stakeholders were broadly involved. This lack of transparency negatively affects the monitoring on Open Internet in the country.

The FSFE laments how RTR was not able to find a balance among business, investments considerations, and consumer protection, preferring to align themselves with telecom operators instead of taking a step towards Net Neutrality and Open Internet.

Aiming at the future: there will be room for improvement

As affirmed by RTR, the present decision has not a definitive character, and the regulator will re-evaluate this framework in the future. No deadlines nor a time schedule were informed, though. Although we regret the long period such regulatory decisions normally take place, there will be still room for improvement, and we will continue to closely monitor the situation in Austria.

Zooming out, as an example, in a study conducted on behalf of the European Commission, Router Freedom was considered one of the priorities for the proper implementation of Net Neutrality in Europe. Regulators have to take uttermost account of this freedom when designing their policies for the telecommunications sector. Besides, emerging issues regarding devices, optical fiber networks and satellite connections are still under intense debate on different levels at the EU and member states. Aspects of sustainability of the telecom sector are also been discussed. All those elements have been monitored by the FSFE, and Router Freedom will be an important element for policy making.

Router Freedom enables the right to repair and promotes fair competition. Free Software in a router can greatly extend the device’s lifespan and increase energy management. These advantages can lead to major wins in future policy making.

The Router Freedom initiative

Router Freedom is the right that customers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) are able to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment provided by the operator. Since 2013, the Free Software Foundation Europe has been successfully engaged with Router Freedom, promoting end-users’ freedom in many European countries. Join us and learn more about the several ways to get involved. Please consider becoming a FSFE donor; you help make possible our long-term engagement and professional commitment in defending people’s rights to control technology.

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SFP#22: All about "Public Money? Public Code!" with Johannes Näder

29. November 2023 um 23:00

SFP#22: All about "Public Money? Public Code!" with Johannes Näder

In our 22nd Software Freedom Podcast episode, we talk with Johannes Näder, Senior Policy Project Manager at the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), about "Public Money? Public Code!".

The "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative advocates for public bodies to switch to Free Software instead of spending tons of money on proprietary software. The reasons for "Public Money? Public Code!", how the initiative has evolved over the years, and how the FSFE defines its role as a watchdog within the initiative are discussed with Johannes in this episode.

Johannes has been involved with Free Software since the 1990s. In November 2022, he turned his passion for Free Software into his daily bread and started working for the Free Software Foundation Europe. He is, among other responsibilities, the current coordinator of the FSFE’s "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative.

If you have not heard of this initiative yet, or if you don’t know how best to get involved, check out our new Software Freedom Podcast episode and learn all about "Public Money? Public Code!".

Show notes

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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Startschuss für 2024 Youth Hacking 4 Freedom

15. November 2023 um 23:00

Startschuss für 2024 Youth Hacking 4 Freedom

Die Anmeldung für Youth Hacking 4 Freedom 2024, kurz YH4F, der Programmierwettbewerb für Jugendliche aus ganz Europa, ist hiermit eröffnet. Dieser Wettbewerb bietet Teenagern die Möglichkeit ihr eigenes Projekt zu programmieren, gleich ob allein oder im Team, neue Freundschaften quer durch Europa hinweg zu schließen und bis zu 4.096 € zu gewinnen!

Nach zwei erfolgreichen Ausgaben freut sich die Free Software Foundation Europe nun die dritte Runde von Youth Hacking 4 Freedom auszurichten. Diese startet am 7. Dezember 2023 mit einer Online-Veranstaltung um die Fragen der Teilnehmenden zu beantworten, bevor die Programmierphase im Januar 2024 beginnt.

Mehr als 10.000 € werden an die sechs Gewinner*innen der Ausgabe 2024 vergeben.

  • Davon gehen 4096 € an den ersten Platz
  • 2048 € an den zweiten Platz
  • 1024 € sowohl an den dritten Platz wie auch die Sonderpreise

Darüber hinaus werden wir uns auch bei allen weiteren Teilnehmenden für ihr Engagement erkenntlich zeigen.

Das Ziel dieses Wettbewerbs ist es junge technikbegeisterte Menschen aus ganz Europa zusammenzubringen, ganz unabhängig von ihrem aktuellen Kenntnisstand. Alle Teilnehmenden, welche zur Anmeldung zwischen 14 und 18 Jahre alt sein müssen, haben über sechs Monate die Möglichkeit an ihrem eigenen Freien Software-Projekt zu arbeiten. Dies ist sowohl alleine wie auch im Team möglich.

Nach einer initialen Anmeldung beginnt YH4F am 7. Dezember 2023 mit einer Online-Veranstaltung zur Erläuterung des Wettbewerbs. Dieses Kick-Off-Event ist eine großartige Gelegenheit für alle; auch jene, welche Zweifel am Mitmachen haben, sich über den Wettbewerb zu informieren und einen ersten Eindruck zu bekommen. Während des Events werden Fragen beantwortet und es wird nochmal im Detail erklärt wie YH4F 2024 funktioniert. Dabei ist es dem Team hinter YH4F wichtig, dass jede*r unabhängig von den eigenen Programmierkenntnissen herzlich eingeladen ist teilzunehmen.

Nachdem die Programmierphase am 1. Januar 2024 beginnt, stehen sechs Monate, bis zum 30. Juni 2024, zum Arbeiten am Projekt zur Verfügung. Eine späte Anmeldung ist bis zum Ende möglich, ebenso wie die Änderung der ursprünglichen Projektidee, jedoch bleibt die Deadline beim 30. Juni 2024.

Während dieser sechs Monate haben die Teilnehmenden auch die Möglichkeit andere Jugendliche aus ganz Europa kennenzulernen und Freundschaften zu schließen. Optional gibt es während der ganzen Programmierzeit monatliche Online-Treffen. Diese Treffen helfen dabei die Jugendlichen durch die 6 Monate zu begleiten, Fragen zu beantworten und natürlich auch sich gegenseitig auszutauschen. Dabei werden nicht nur Tipps für erfolgreiche Freie Software-Projekt von ehemaligen Teilnehmenden geben, sondern auch Ratschläge von unseren erfahrenen Jury-Mitgliedern welche Koryphäen in ihren verschiedenen Gebieten sind.

Im Juli und August 2024 wird die YH4F Jury, bestehend aus internationalen, technischen Experten, die Projekte begutachten. Die Gewinner*innen werden im September 2024 benachrichtigt und offiziell während der Preisverleihung in Brüssel im Oktober 2024 bekannt gegeben.

Eröffnungsveranstaltung – 7. Dezember 2023

Bei der Online-Eröffnungsveranstaltung am 7. Dezember 2023 werden die Organisatoren von YH4F ausführlich erklären was von den Teilnehmenden erwartet wird und gerne all ihre Fragen beantworten. Darüber hinaus besteht die Möglichkeit Fragen an Teilnehmenden vergangener Ausgaben zu stellen, die von ihren Erfahrungen bei diesem Wettbewerb berichten werden.

Schauen Sie auf vorbei um sich anzumelden und weitere Information zur Eröffnungsveranstaltung wie auch zum Wettbewerb im allgemeinen zu finden. Bei Fragen können Sie uns jederzeit unter kontaktieren.

Sponsor 2024 Youth Hacking 4 Freedom

Der vorherige Wettbewerb im Jahr 2023 war dank der großzügigen Unterstützung von Reinhard Wiesemann und der Linuxhotel GmbH möglich.

Wenn Sie den kommenden Wettbewerb 2024 oder zukünftige Ausgaben von YH4F unterstützen möchten, kontaktieren Sie uns bitte unter

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Deutscher Bundestag nimmt Offenen Brief zu Upcycling Android entgegen

14. November 2023 um 23:00

Deutscher Bundestag nimmt Offenen Brief zu Upcycling Android entgegen

Am 14. November übergab die Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) den Offenen Brief „Das Recht, jede Software auf jedem Gerät zu installieren“ an Tabea Rößner, Vorsitzende des Ausschusses für Digitales im Deutschen Bundestag. Der Brief zielt darauf ab, eine nachhaltigere Nutzung von elektronischen Produkten und Geräten in der Europäischen Union zu ermöglichen.

CC-BY-SA Elias Tetzlaff

Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, stellt der Offene Brief vier zentrale Forderungen auf:

  1. Alle haben das Recht auf die freie Wahl von Betriebssystemen und Software, die auf ihren Geräten ausgeführt wird.
  2. Alle haben das Recht auf die freie Wahl von Online-Diensteanbietern für all ihre Geräte.
  3. Geräte sind interoperabel und mit offenen Standards kompatibel.
  4. Der Quellcode von Treibern, Tools und Schnittstellen wird unter einer freien Lizenz veröffentlicht.

Der von mehr als 3000 Einzelpersonen und 147 Organisationen unterzeichnete Offene Brief an die Gesetzgeber der Europäischen Union wurde am 14. November von einer Delegation der FSFE an die Vorsitzende des Digitalausschusses im Deutschen Bundestag übergeben.

Tabea Rößner, Vorsitzende des Digitalausschusses, kommentierte den offenen Brief: „So viele Geräte landen schon nach zwei oder drei Jahren auf dem Schrottplatz. Dabei sind die Geräte noch in Ordnung und sie könnten mit neuer Software langlebig gestaltet werden. Vor allem mit Freier Software können wir ihnen ein neues Leben einhauchen. Es wäre ein echter Nachhaltigkeitseffekt, wenn wir das Recht hätten, auf jedem Gerät jede Software zu installieren. Deswegen ist diese Initiative absolut unterstützenswert."

Rößner kündigte an, den Offenen Brief an Steffi Lemke, Bundesministerin für Umwelt, Naturschutz, nukleare Sicherheit und Verbraucherschutz, zu übergeben.

"„Der Offene Brief ist Teil unserer Upcycling-Android-Kampagne, mit der wir das Bewusstsein dafür schärfen wollen, wie Freie Software dazu beitragen kann, die Nachhaltigkeit unserer digitalen Geräte zu verbessern. Neben dem Offenen Brief hat die Initiative Workshops angeboten, politische Empfehlungen entwickelt und viel öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit für die Forderung erhalten, allen Nutzern die Installation jeder Software auf jedem Gerät zu erlauben. Außerdem ist das Upcycling unserer Geräte ein wichtiger Schritt, um unseren kurzfristigen, linearen Konsum von elektronischen Geräten zugunsten einer Kreislaufwirtschaft zu überdenken“, erklärt Johannes Näder, Senior Policy Project Manager der FSFE.

Über Upcycling Android

Diese FSFE-Initiative wurde im November 2021 unter dem Namen „Upcycling Android“ ins Leben gerufen und hat Menschen dabei geholfen, ihre Telefone mit Freie-Software-Betriebssystemen zu flashen. Dies fördert nicht nur das Recht aller Nutzer, jede Software auf jedem Gerät zu installieren, sondern ermöglicht auch eine nachhaltigere Nutzung von elektronischen Produkten.

Auch nach dem offiziellen Ende des Projekts kann das Upcycling-Android-Material von allen verwendet werden, die die Nutzung Freier Software weiter fördern und gleichzeitig die Software-Obsoleszenz überwinden wollen.

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SFSCON 2023 +++ YH4F winners +++ REUSE goes to Space

13. November 2023 um 23:00

SFSCON 2023 +++ YH4F winners +++ REUSE goes to space

Our yearly report, Software Freedom in Europe 2023, is out. At the YH4F award ceremony, we learned about the awesome projects from this edition's winners, our team went to Bolzano to SFSCON, and we are happy to find out how the REUSE specification keeps on helping developers, such as the ones at the German Aerospace Center. Find these and other stories in our November issue!

Table of contents

  1. Software Freedom in Europe 2023
  2. Find out about our YH4F second edition winners!
  3. REUSE goes to space!
  4. Fediverse Symposium: Recordings are now online
  5. Meeting of the General Assembly
  6. From our Community
  7. FSFE Code of Conduct
  8. Quote of the Month
  9. Contribute to our Newsletter

Software Freedom in Europe 2023

Our yearly report is out! In 2023, Software Freedom has been back on stage, while we have boosted our activities for the coming generations with our children’s book and the coding competition for young Europeans. We have also continued to bring our demands to lawmakers, helped projects to become REUSE compliant, and shared many great moments with our community.

Read our report!

Find out about our YH4F second edition winners!

A real-time plotter for micro-controllers, a classroom quiz platform, a radio tool, a device that provides bags to pick up your dog’s poo, a game engine to help non-programmers develop their ideas, and a program to search for a file on your computer by its hash. These are the six projects that won the 2023 edition of Youth Hacking 4 Freedom.

REUSE goes to space!

The German Aerospace Center has adopted the REUSE specification in some of its projects. We have talked to Tobias Schlauch, research software engineer at the DLR, about the role of Free Software for research, innovation, and the importance of a clear understanding and displaying of the legal information of software projects. He highlights the special contributions that REUSE has to offer for software development but also for research.

Fediverse Symposium: Recordings are now online

More than 70 people came together, in Cologne on 22 September, to get an insight into the Fediverse and to discuss the importance of decentralised social networks for our society. If you were not able to join our Fediverse Symposium or want to re-watch the talks, we now have the German-language recordings on our PeerTube instance for you!

SFSCON: What a great experience!

Last Friday and Saturday, the FSFE team participated in SFSCON23. We had a great time and we really loved both the environment and the ideas that were circulating. It was also a great chance to meet the Italian Free Software community, with volunteers and friends we haven’t seen in a long time.

The European SFS Award was awarded during SFSCON to Frank Karlitscheck, founder of Nextcloud, a remote collaboration tool for teams under the GNU AGPL. This is the first time that the SFS Award has been extended to the European level, and FSFE joins its organiser Linux User Group Bolzano (LUGBZ) in this recognition.

Stay tuned on our channels to know more about what happened during SFSCON!

From our Community

A lot of things happened in our Planet in recent weeks! Check out the experience of our Vienna local group with an FSFE booth at the 25th anniversary of the Veganmania or the post about Ada, and Promote Digital Maturity by reading books to others.

In October many Italian communities gathered to celebrate Linux Day! From Palermo to Milan, enthusiasts as well as newcomers from various Italian cities met to explore topics related to Linux and Free Software, and of course to hear more readings of ‘Ada & Zangemann’! If you want to get involved or just stay informed about the activities organised by the Italian FSFE community, the Italian FSFE Team would love to welcome you.

Meeting of the General Assembly

The members of the Free Software Foundation Europe held their General Assembly on 21 and 22 October at Linuxhotel in Essen. This annual meeting is held to discuss the course for the overall direction of the organization. Among other things the current Executive Council was re-elected: Matthias Kirschner as President, Heiki Lõhmus as Vice President, and Patrick Ohnewein as Financial Officer.

And some last big news! You can now watch -and share- our “What is Free Software” video in Albanian and Finnish! You can find them in our What is Free Software playlist. Thanks to our supporters for making this happen!

FSFE Code of Conduct

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and its community aim to offer a friendly and peaceful environment for every participant at the FSFE's events, online and offline.

Therefore, we are committed to ensuring welcoming and respectful environments for our staff, volunteers, and participants, and we will uphold our Code of Conduct. Misbehaviour can lead to exclusion from our events and/or our technical infrastructure.

If you have been in a situation in which the spirit of the Code of Conduct was breached, please be in touch with our central CARE team.

Quote of the Month

“Four decades of the free software movement have put us today in the position to widely deploy software that gives people rights with respect to the critical technology they rely on. The next 40 years is critical. I'm confident the diversity of voices and organizations working together will make it possible to achieve the hard work and vision of the movement's ideals, democratizing our technology and instituting ethical software for all of our essential infrastructure.”

Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy (from her testimony for the GNU 40th anniversary)

Contribute to our Newsletter

We would love to hear from you. If you have any thoughts, pictures, or news to share, please send them to us at You can also support us, contribute to our work, and join our community. We would like to thank our community and all the volunteers, supporters, and donors who make our work possible, with a special mention to our translators who make it possible for you to read this newsletter in your mother tongue.

Your editor, Ana Galán

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Belgium commits to Router Freedom

12. November 2023 um 23:00

Belgium commits to Router Freedom

The Belgian telecom regulator BIPT formally introduced Router Freedom. The decision encompasses all network types including fiber (FTTx) and the decision sets a deadline of twelve months for becoming compliant. The FSFE acknowledges this decision as a major win for consumer rights, and will monitor further implementation.

The Belgian regulator BIPT recognised Router Freedom as a key element for Internet connection

Router Freedom is the right that customers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) are able to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment provided by the operator. This freedom has direct impact on consumer welfare, device security, and sustainability in the telecom sector. In a decision published on October 2023, the Belgian telecom regulator BIPT formally introduced Router Freedom nation wide, applying this right to all network types, including fiber (FTTx).

In a comprehensive analysis, the regulator confirmed its previous proposal to set the position of the Network Termination Point (NTP) at Point A, meaning that end-users will be able to use routers and modems of their choice. The regulator rebuked the arguments of telecom operators who claim that Router Freedom would have a negative impact on the interoperability and security of the network.

The decision of the BIPT explicitly recognised Router Freedom for fiber networks in the EU. Although other regulators have considered this freedom in general terms for all network types, operators have been pushing for exceptions for fiber in order to push their own optical terminal equipment (ONT) onto consumers. The BIPT dismissed the exception of fiber networks, arguing in favour of the same definition of the NTP for all topologies. ISPs will have twelve months to come infrastructure to come into compliance.

“Since the location of the network connection point at A most promotes innovation and competition in the terminal equipment market, it is appropriate to set the NTP at point A. […] This means that modems and routers are part of the terminal equipment and can therefore be freely selected for broadband and VoIP services”. (translated from Belgian) Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT).

Community support was paramount

TThe BIPT recognised the demands of the FSFE and quoted us in several parts of their analysis, referring inclusively to our monitoring map. A network of supporters, volunteers, and supporting organisations in Belgium empowered the expert contribution of the FSFE to the regulatory process. We relied on the support of the FSFE Benelux team, who proactively monitored and supported communication with the regulator. Besides that, our partners in Italy helped us provide prompt repsonses when the regulator required further input regarding the certification procedures for router interoperability in Italy.

Practical implementation requires proper monitoring

As we point out in our recently published comprehensive survey on Router Freedom, even in countries where Router Freedom is regulated, end-users suffer several hurdles to use their own equipment. Operators contractually prohibit the use of private equipment or impose disproportional disadvantages to users with private routers. The operators often do not inform end-users about access credentials device compatibility with the network and customers often do not receive the same level of service compared to customers who use the operators’ routers.

The FSFE will closely follow up on the implementation and further monitor future developments. We urge the BIPT to do the same and strictly intervene in non-compliant cases.

Further material

  • The FSFE position to public consultation of the BIPT (EN) (NL)
  • The BIPT decision on the position of the NTP (NL)

The Router Freedom initiative

Router Freedom is the right that customers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) are able to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment provided by the operator. Since 2013, the Free Software Foundation Europe has been successfully engaged with Router Freedom, promoting end-users’ freedom in many European countries. Join us and learn more about the several ways to get involved. Please consider becoming a FSFE donor; you help make possible our long-term engagement and professional commitment in defending people’s rights to control technology.

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Interoperable Europe Act: an ambition that turned out to be watered-down

12. November 2023 um 23:00

Interoperable Europe Act: an ambition that turned out to be watered-down

Decision makers are meeting to agree on the final text of the Interoperable Europe Act (IEA). There is a concerning wording related to giving priority to Free Software when implementing interoperable solutions and confusing criteria to do so. Overall, what could have been a very ambitious initiative turned out to be another regulation with ambiguous and problematic wording.

The FSFE has received exclusive access to the the final agreement of the IEA which will be agreed on tonight, on 13 November. We welcome that there is a clear definition of Free Software licenses, as well as the intention to monitor the development of Free Software interoperable solutions in the public sector.

There is, nonetheless, an especially concerning wording in the text when it comes to the sharing and reusing of interoperability solutions (Art4(5a)). The draft text suggests that public administrations should prioritise Free Software when deciding on the implementation of interoperability solutions. However, the way the final text looks is problematic for two reasons:

The wording "solutions that do not carry restrictive licensing terms, such as open source solutions" implies that there are other solutions that do not carry restrictive licensing terms apart from open source licenses. If so, which ones would those be? This is indeed not clear in the text and this leads to legal uncertainty.

Since this specific wording can become extremely misleading, it is particularly important to highlight this problematic loophole. To serve as an example, we have the well-known fact that FRAND licensing terms - that in theory stand for "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" terms - in practice are incompatible with most of Free Software. In the past, we have already criticised the stance of the Commission on such licensing and we have also pointed out that in fact FRAND licences cannot be considered fair, reasonable nor non-discriminatory.

Furthermore, the European Commission has watered down the already ambiguous wording of this article by limiting the situations in which public administrations shall prioritise Free Software interoperable solutions by adding the following criteria: "when equivalent in functionalities, total cost, user-centricity, cybersecurity or other relevant objective criteria".

This wording undermines a regulation that aims to make the sharing and reuse of solutions a more common practice among public administrations. By adding this criteria to allow public administrations to actually refuse to use Free Software solutions, the Commission is going in the opposite direction of the "Free Software first" approach that this legislation needs.

Wording as "other relevant objective criteria" brings back, once again, the constant problematic tendency of the Commission to limit Free Software and its adoption by adding ambiguous and unclear wording. It also shows a lack of ambition which could have led it to become a real game changer.

By adopting this position, the European Commission is also falling short of its own ambitions, already defined in documents such as the Open Source Strategy and the ’Decision on the open source licensing and reuse of Commission software’. Therefore, it is deeply concerning that the European Commission is now pushing back by turning on the opposite direction.

Last but not least, unfortunately, the chance for other stakeholders to be part of the governance structure, specifically on the Board, has been removed from the final text, being currently only up to the Chair to decide if an expert can join the Board as an observer.

That is why the role of the Free Software community is crucial to monitor the implementation of the IEA, while highlighting the importance of Free Software for achieving interoperability in the European digital public services.

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Frank Karlitschek erhält den europäischen SFS-Preis auf der SFSCON23

09. November 2023 um 23:00

Frank Karlitschek erhält den europäischen SFS-Preis auf der SFSCON23

Der Gründer von Nextcloud wurde auf der SFSCON mit dem europäischen SFS-Award ausgezeichnet. Diese Auszeichnung, die erstmals gemeinsam von der Linux User Group Bozen und der Free Software Foundation Europe vergeben wurde, ging an "einen unermüdlichen Verfechter der digitalen Freiheit als universelles Recht".

"Er ist nicht nur ein begabter Technologe, sondern auch ein unermüdlicher Verfechter digitaler Freiheiten als universelle Rechte". Mit diesen Worten wurde Nextcloud-Gründer Frank Karlitschek heute, am 10. November, auf der SFSCON 2023 mit dem europäischen SFS-Award ausgezeichnet. Es ist das erste Mal, dass der bekannte SFS-Award auf die europäische Ebene ausgeweitet wird, eine Kooperation der Initiatoren dieser Auszeichnung, der Linux User Group Bozen (LUGBZ) und der Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

Vor mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten gründete Frank Karlitschek die Community-Website, dann und schließlich, um Freie Software zu verbessern. Im Jahr 2010 legte der Stuttgarter Entwickler Freier Software mit dem Projekt ownCloud den Grundstein für eine Plattform, auf der Menschen ihre Daten sicher und unabhängig speichern können. Dies führte zum Start von Nextcloud im Jahr 2016.

Heute ist Nextcloud ein Freie-Software-Kollaborationstool, das von Millionen Menschen weltweit genutzt wird und das einige der größten Technologieunternehmen der Welt als Konkurrenten fürchten", wie Matthias Kirschner, Präsident der FSFE, bei der Preisverleihung betonte. Kirschner merkte weiter an, dass Karlitschek "selbst in Situationen, in denen er persönlich oder mit seiner Firmahätte finanziell profitieren können, sich entschieden hat, seinen Prinzipien zu folgen und sicherzustellen, dass es auch für andere in unserer Gemeinschaft faire Wettbewerbsbedingungen gibt.".

"Er [Karlitschek] folgte seinen Idealen und seiner festen Überzeugung, dass Nutzer das Recht haben sollten, ihre Software zu nutzen, zu verstehen, zu teilen und zu verbessern – und schuf eine umfassende, benutzerfreundliche und sichere Kollaborationsplattform", fügte Rafael Barbieri, LUGBZ-Mitglied, hinzu.

In seiner Dankesrede sagte Karlitschek, er könne den Preis nur im Namen der Nextcloud-Community entgegennehmen, die diese Anerkennung wirklich verdiene.

Der europäische SFS-Award

Der erste SFS-Award wurde 2004 auf der SFSCON an Hugo Leiter für die Einführung von Libre Office in allen Gemeinden Südtirols verliehen. Zwanzig Jahre später, zu Beginn der SFSCON im NOI-Techpark, wurde der Preis zum ersten Mal auf europäischer Ebene verliehen. Die Free Software Foundation Europe hat sich mit dem Initiator des Preises, der LUGBZ, zusammengetan, um gemeinsam Entwickler Freier Software zu ehren, die herausragende Beiträge zur Verbreitung und Förderung Freier Software in Europa geleistet haben.

2023 Laudatio

Rafael: It’s an honour for me (on behalf of the Board of Linux User Group Bozen-Bolzano-Bulsan) to present the first European SFS Award, continuing a twenty year old tradition, since the first SFS Award was assigned in 2004 to Hugo Leiter, for introducing Libre Office in all municipalities of South Tyrol. Traditionally the AWARD has always been given to someone who greatly contributed to the culture of Free Software in South Tyrol, and this tradition will continue, but as SFSCON this year we extended the narrative to the essential European level. LUGBZ, promoting digital sustainability in South Tyrol, joined forces with an important European association active in the sphere of Free Software, namely the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). Let me introduce the president: Matthias Kirchner.

Matthias: Thank you Raphael! As the FSFE we have now participated many years at the SFSCON, and saw how the LUGBZ was awarding great Free Software contributors from Italy – so we were happy when we have been approached to join forces and award European Free Software contributors together with the LUGBZ.

Raphael: As in previous years, we received many nominations for potential winners. It was not easy for us to choose a winner, since many of the suggested candidates made enormous contribution to Free Software.

Matthias: The deciding factor for us this year was to choose a European who lives the values of software freedom, a person who has dedicated decades of work to software freedom and brought it to the next level, a true visionary and pioneer of software freedom.

Raphael: In 2001, over two decades ago, he started, later, as well as to improve Free Software, and supported many initiatives in our field, including serving as Vice President of KDE e.V.

In 2010 at Akademy he laid the foundations for a platform that enabled millions of people to store their data securely and self-determined on servers. He promoted Open Standards, and inspired people to join the movement for software freedom.

With the development of a remote collaboration tool for teams, which is developed under the freedom protecting GNU AGPL license, he followed his ideals and his strong believe that users should have the rights to use, understand, share, and improve their software – and created a comprehensive, user-friendly and secure collaboration platform.

Matthias: His tireless commitment to software freedom has resulted in a Free Software product which some of the biggest technology companies around the world fear as a competitor.

Even in situations where he could have personally or with his company benefited financially, he decided to follow his principles and ensure that there is a fair level playing field for others in our community as well.

Raphael: He is not only a gifted technologist, but also a champion of the idea of digital freedom as a universal right. With his work he lives the ideals of transparency, privacy, and individual control over digital information, but he also laid the foundation for a diverse and engaged community.

Matthias: His dedication, his vision, and his strong principles enriched and inspired many in our community. We are deeply grateful for his contributions and look forward to a future he helps shape.

For these reasons, we hereby award Frank Karlitschek, the founder of Nextcloud, the European SFS Award 2023.

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Join us at SFSCON 2023!

07. November 2023 um 23:00

Join us at SFSCON 2023!

We cannot wait to be in Bolzano for the South Tyrol Free Software Conference (SFSCON) on 10 and 11 November. This two-day conference brings together Free Software advocates, decision makers and the general public at the gateway to the Dolomites. Our team will be there with talks, side events and a booth. We are ready to talk to you, so just drop by and say hello!

SFSCON is full of insightful talks, side events such as a hackathon and the European Free Software prize and a lot of interesting people to meet. Check out what we have prepared for these two days and do not forget to check out the entire SFSCON 23 schedule to find out about the rest of the talks.😉

Ada Readings

The first day will start and close with respective readings of the book ‘Ada & Zangemann - A Tale of Software, Skateboards, and Raspberry Ice Cream’. The one in the morning will be a close event in Italian for school children so we encourage you to come to the one in the evening.

CLOSING with a Tale of Software, Skateboards, and Raspberry Ice Cream 10 November – 18:00h Seminar 1 Before you take some time to relax and enjoy this story, read in English by its author Matthias Kirschner, we still have a whole day ahead of us. Just remember that you can get your own copy of this book in English, German and... for the first time, in Italian! You can buy it at our stand (and it makes a great gift).

The book 'Ada & Zangemann' will be available to buy for the first time in Italian at SFSCON.

Our talks!

Sharing the power of appreciation: Celebrating ‘♥ I Love Free Software Day ♥’ 10 November - 13:20h Seminar 3 Like Ada, we think Free Software is great and its contributors are really cool. That is why every year we celebrate the “I Love Free Software Day”, to thank them for their daily work. Want to take part in the 2024 celebration? Bonnie Mehring will explain more about this event at her talk.

Free Software and AI in Europe 10 November - 14:00h Seminar 4 Politics and Free Software are interconnected. If you want to get a better understanding of the current hot topics related to Free Software being discussed in the European Union. In this talk, Alexander Sander will present the latest developments in EU legislation and activities on AI and what role Free Software plays in this.

Why Do We Need A Next Generation Internet? 10 November - 14:20h Seminar 4 The future of Internet is also a political topic. Gabriel Ku Wei Bin, FSFE Legal Project Manager, will explore why the current state of the internet should should be re-imagined , what can be done and how an EU initiative want to achieve it, creating a platform for future generations.

Interoperable Europe Act: A real game changer? 10 November - 14:40h Seminar 4 Another of our policy experts d Lina Ceballos will take a closer look a the IEA, shedding light on why this law is important for the Free Software community.

Let’s monitor implementation of Free Software Policies! 10 November - 15:20h Seminar 4 Also in the same seminar room and speaking of policy.... publicly funded software developed for the public sector should be made publicly available under a Free Software licence, right? And with tools like TEDective, this can be monitored. Want to know more? Johannes Näder will discuss how we as civil society can identify and deal with the lack of implementation of Free Software policies.

Windows and Office “tax” refund 10 November – 15:00h Seminar 2 Another demand of the Free Software community, as well as other civil society members and associations, are asking about the right to install any software on any device. Listen to FSFE volunteer Luca Bonissi going through his personal experience about the refund of pre-installed software, mainly in laptops.

Can we sustain Software Freedom in the mobile world? 10 November – 15:40h Seminar 3 But what about mobile phones? Can we achieve the same level of freedom and choice on smartphones? Nicole Faerber will discuss this topic during her session.

The ZOOOM project track

The ZOOOM Initiative is a project financed by the European Commission to raise awareness of the importance of management of rights and obligations related to Free Software, Open Data, and Open Hardware, in ecosystems of constant innovation. The ZOOOM Track at SFSCON aims to disseminate the findings of the ZOOOM project and show the intersection between legal and business aspects in IP management and value creation/capture in innovation ecosystems based on open-source software (and beyond). While on the first day the track will focus on different presentations explaining this Horizon Europe project, the second day a workshop will be held to examine the ZOOOM toolkit, which provides valuable tools and material regarding open licence innovation around the topic of Open Data, Software and Hardware.

The ZOOOM Framework: Legal aspects of FOSS and beyond 10 November - 17:00h Seminar 2 As partner of the ZOOOM project, FSFE team members Niharika Singhal will give an overview of the Free Software licensing compliance practices, including initiatives such as REUSE for streamlining copyright and license information for software projects.

The future of Free Software in Italy 11 November - 09:20h Seminar 4 The second day of the conference will start with a side event for the Italian community, so SFSCON participants so Free Software advocates who want to join online, where participants will discuss the future of Free Software in Italy, moderated by Marta Andreoli, FSFE Deputy Coordinator Italy. Interested? Remember to register ahead!.

Free Software and Open Science 11 November - 10:20h Seminar 2 The Open Science movement shares Free Software values and it offers a huge opportunity for Free Software in research and academia. FSFE volunteer Christian Busse, will present an overview on how the core concepts of Free Software and the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) principles intersect, what this means for managing code as research output and recent initiatives on the European level that will provide support for these issues.

The Future of Connectivity, Open Internet and Human Rights 11 November - 12:20h Seminar 2 We are becoming more and more dependent on the Internet for our work, education, communication, personal relations and entertainment. It’s time to resolve monopolies and re-establish democratic control over the technology we most depend upon. Lucas Lasota, FSFE will present the challenges end-users are facing to get more control over their devices and how Free Software is key for a consumer re-employment.

And even more!

At the end of the second day, Bonnie Mehring will present the Youth Hacking 4 Freedom competition at the hackathon closing event. This competition, which will be held for the third time in 2024, is aimed at European teenagers who love coding, whether they are beginners or advanced, and who want to develop their own project and have the chance to win cash prizes while networking with other teenagers.

Besides, during these two days you can come to our booth to get free stickers, information about our campaigns and initiatives and get some nice swag! Moreover, we will have free home made ice cream to give away to anyone who subscribes to our newsletter.

Use SFSCON sharepic generator to get your personal image! Generate your unique picture here:

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FSFE beim Chaos Communication Congress

05. November 2023 um 23:00

FSFE beim Chaos Communication Congress

Die FSFE nimmt wieder am Chaos Communication Congress teil! Triff uns Ende Dezember im Gemeinschaftsbereich von "Bits & Bäume" und lass das Jahr mit Spaß und Chaos enden! Obendrauf gibt es noch interessante Vorträge! Die Anmeldefrist für die Einreichung der Vorträge endet am 11. November, also beeil dich!

Unter dem Motto "Unlocked" findet die 37. Ausgabe des Chaos Communication Congress wieder als Präsenzveranstaltung am gewohnten Ort in Hamburg statt. Als eine der grössten Veranstaltungen dieser Art bietet der alljährliche Congress ungefähr 16.000 Hacker*innen die Gelegenheit, sich zu treffen, zu vernetzen und ihre Lieblingsthemen in Gesprächsrunden, Workshops und Zusammenkünften zu diskutieren. Beim 37C3 ist für alle etwas dabei, also komm und werde Teil des diesjährigen Congress!

Dieses Jahr spielt die Free Software Foundation Europe eine aktive Rolle beim 37C3 als Teil des Gemeinschaftsbereichs von "Bits & Bäume". Gemeinsam werden wir einen Raum bieten für Fans von Freier Software, für Chaos-people und für alle, die in Kontakt kommen wollen und sich über Freie Software austauschen möchten.

enn dir Nachhaltigkeit am Herzen liegt, komm vorbei und lass dir erklären wie Freie Software zu einer "grüneren" Gesellschaft beiträgt. Wir freuen uns ausserdem, dieses Jahr den neuen Themenstrang "Nachhaltigkeit & Klimagerechtigkeit" ankündigen zu können. Zusammen mit Freifunk, Fiff und vielen anderen ist die FSFE Teil des verantwortlichen Content Teams. Wir freuen uns auf deine Beiträge zum Thema Freie Software und Nachhaltigkeit beim 37C3! Die Einreichungsfirst des "Call for Participation" endet am 11. November.

An unserem Stand gibt es aber noch einiges mehr zu entdecken über Freie Software und die Aktivitäten der FSFE. Zum Beispiel Live-Gesang, jeden Abend um 19:00 Uhr. Was wir singen? Den berühmten Free Software Song. Wir können es kaum erwarten, ihn mit dir zu singen!

Lass uns beim 37C3 der Freien Software eine Bühne bieten und komm zum FSFE-Stand und zu unseren Gesprächsrunden und Workshops!

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REUSE goes to space!

01. November 2023 um 23:00

REUSE goes to space!

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has adopted the REUSE specification in some of its projects. We have talked to Tobias Schlauch, research software engineer at the DLR, about the role of Free Software for research and innovation, and the importance of clear understanding and displaying of the legal information of software projects. He highlights the special contributions that REUSE has to offer for software development but also for research.

The REUSE initiative, started by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), makes licensing easy for humans and machines alike. With REUSE, we solve a fundamental issue that Free Software licensing has at the very source: what license is a file licensed under, and who owns the copyright? A set of best practices and the helper tool make the task of adding this legal information in every single file of the project a simple practice.

The number of projects implementing REUSE in their workflows is steadily increasing. This is the case for some projects of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V - DLR), which are now REUSE compliant. To learn more about the state of Free Software at the DLR, the implementation of the FSFE’s REUSE, and how research and software freedom intertwine, we interviewed Tobias Schlauch.

Tobias is a research software engineer at the Institute for Software Technology at DLR since 2005. He currently serves as the representative of the DLR Software Engineering Initiative. In this position, he organises the DLR research software community and coordinates the DLR-wide application of software engineering methods, processes, and tools.

FSFE: Welcome Tobias, and thank you for taking the time to let us know more about the work carried out by DLR, especially when it comes to Free Software and a proper licensing and copyright displaying of such projects. Let’s start from the beginning: why is software a core activity of the research carried out by DLR?

Tobias Schlauch: DLR is a large research organization in Germany with more than 10,000 employees which are organized in 54 research institutes and facilities. Aeronautics, space, energy, transport, and digitalisation are currently its main research domains. Software development plays an important role in all of them and is a driver of innovation.

Overall, you can find a wide variety of developed software at DLR in terms of application domain and required maturity level. For example, software is developed to help investigating specific phenomena such as simulation of air flow around flight configurations. Another typical use case is the processing, analysis and visualization of scientific data. Moreover, there are also teams developing software for critical space missions such as control software of satellites.

FSFE: What role does Free Software play within the research ecosystem at DLR? And what do you think are the benefits that Free Software offers to such a community?

Tobias Schlauch: Free Software is an important basis for DLR’s software development efforts. There is likely no software project which does not rely on at least one Free Software library or uses a Free Software tool to aid in the process of software development. Thus, Free Software helps us to rapidly try out new things because we do not have to develop them from scratch. Besides these more efficiency-related aspects, publishing Free Software in the research domain helps to exchange knowledge inside a research community and between different research communities. In this way, Free Software can be a driver for innovation in research.

"Free Software is an important basis for DLR’s software development efforts. There is likely no software project which does not rely on at least one Free Software library or uses a Free Software tool to aid in the process of software development".

FSFE: In research, reusability is at the heart of the scientific process, yet it is still one of the challenges in software development research. Why do you think this is an issue at the moment, and what kind of measures is DLR taking to tackle it? How can a tool like REUSE help with these efforts?

Tobias Schlauch: The use and reuse of software in research has its specific challenges. Generally, a core aspect of research is that you can validate and build upon the results of other research groups. For example, you want to be able to take the “ingredients” described in a scientific paper, such as data sets and software, and get to the same results as the authors of the paper. This kind of validation and reproduction of scientific results is a core aspect of research. However, reproducibility has become more and more challenging with the rise of computational research and has led to the so-called reproducibility crisis. For example, still too often it is not clear which concrete software version has been used to achieve a specific result or, even worse, the used data sets and software are not available at all.

The movement towards Open Science tries to address this problem by establishing principles and practices to make research products such as software openly available. In this context, the FAIR principles provide guidance how to share research products to enable reuse and reproducibility. Initially, the Open Science community focused a lot on data but nowadays also software has been more and more established as a research product. Thus, there is also an interpretation of the FAIR principles for software.

An important aspect of code reuse is that you have a clear understanding about the licenses under which code is provided. In this context, REUSE makes a unique contribution by providing a practical standard for documenting such information in a code repository while not reinventing the wheel. In particular, REUSE addresses the problem of multiple licenses and different copyright holders as it allows to precisely express such information on a per-file level. Finally, REUSE offers really good tool support which helps during the initial documentation phase and the further development by offering a linting functionality.

At DLR, we need to transfer these Open Science related practices into the DLR context. This requires DLR-specific policies and support activities to effectively enable our researchers to publish research openly. The DLR software engineering initiative provides this practical support in context of software development. I.e., we foster the establishment of required tool infrastructure, offer guidelines, training and consulting. For example, in context of software publication, we offer a help desk which DLR researchers can approach to ask questions with regard to Free Software and software licenses. In addition, we also provide Free Software guidelines to answer common questions with regard to these topics.

FSFE: The DLR project - CosmoScout VR - has recently implemented the REUSE specification. How did they arrive at that decision?

Tobias Schlauch: I approached them with the idea and I did not have to be too convincing. They already recognized the point that one single license for the whole repository does not feel right. REUSE allows them to be precise and to make sure that they do not accidentally miss an important aspect.

FSFE: Do you see the potential of more DLR projects joining CosmoScout VR in becoming REUSE compliant?

Tobias Schlauch: Yes, I think so. Actually, there are already much more compliant code repositories out there. But they do not necessarily use the current REUSE badge feature. For example, we also provide our learning materials in Git repositories which we made REUSE compliant. In addition, in the DLR institute I work for, the Institute for Software Technology, we currently rebuild our software publication process and REUSE is to become a standard tool in it. However, I think that there is more room for adoption of REUSE on the wider DLR level.

“An approach such as REUSE makes it much easier to follow an established good practice… I do not have to think where to put a specific information such as the license files as REUSE gives me clear advice. In addition, REUSE helps me to check whether I accidentally missed something. Such tools are really, really important because they bring a standard into practice.”

FSFE: One of your efforts within DLR has been educating and guiding the DLR research software development community on how to properly declare licensing and copyright information for their work. What would you say to someone working in this field to encourage them to use Free Software?

Tobias Schlauch: I think that many researchers at DLR are already aware of Free Software and their benefits. However, another part of our educational efforts is to ensure that they are using them the “right” way. Thus, license compliance is an important aspect here which also starts with raising awareness. For example, by providing researchers small rules of thumb such as “Make sure that the code you want to reuse has a clear license.” or “Make the license a decision criterion when selecting a Free Software library”. In addition, we also encourage our researchers to publish their own developments as Free Software or, even better, contribute to existing Free Software projects. In this area, there is still room for improvement but we try to encourage them by pointing out the benefits of open collaboration such as improved visibility, sustainability, and quality of published software. Finally, when making your developed research software available as Free Software, you also ensure that your work is still available to you and the wider research community after your contracts end and you head over to another research organization.

FSFE: Are tools like REUSE key to educate and guide the rest of the research software development community?

Tobias Schlauch: Yes, I think so. An approach such as REUSE makes it much easier to follow an established good practice. For example, I do not have to think where to put a specific information such as the license files as REUSE gives me clear advice. In addition, REUSE helps me to check whether I accidentally missed something. Such tools are really, really important because they bring a standard into practice.

FSFE: Indeed, DLR is not only adopting REUSE but also has included it as a reference within its Free Software guidelines. Is the DLR aiming to including REUSE into its licensing policy as well? How do you think this would benefit DLR and the research ecosystem as a whole?

Tobias Schlauch: Yes, I think that REUSE has a good chance to be included in our DLR policies with regard to software publication. There are different activities planned, for example, in context of the adoption of the Model Policy on Sustainable Software at the Helmholtz Centers at DLR. In close relation to this, we might already earlier update the DLR Software Engineering Guidelines and make REUSE the default way on how to document license and copyright information. The effect in the wider research community will take some time but I think that we can reach a point where we finally have a clearer picture of the license situation when reusing software.

FSFE: If you could improve/change something to bring the Free Software ecosystem and the research community closer together, what would that be?

Tobias Schlauch: I would like to remove the fear of researchers publishing their code as Free Software and to encourage them to contribute to existing Free Software projects more often.

FSFE: Once again thank you very much, Tobias, for your insights and for all the efforts you are leading within the DLR and the research community.

Thanks to all our volunteers, contributors, and supporters!

It is always a great opportunity to thank our volunteers and external contributors to REUSE for their great work in continuing improving the tool and documentation but also for keeping up an ongoing and fruitful discussion regarding its specification.

The contribution of all our supporters also allows our continuing work on REUSE as well as on all our activities. You can join them by becoming a supporter; tell your friends how they can support our work with a small donation. Your support enables our work!

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Fediverse-Symposium: Aufzeichnungen jetzt online verfügbar

24. Oktober 2023 um 23:00

Fediverse-Symposium: Aufzeichnungen jetzt online verfügbar p { line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.1in; background: transparent }a:link { color: #000080; text-decoration: underline }

Am 22.09.2023 trafen sich mehr als 70 Menschen in Köln, um einen Einblick ins Fediverse zu bekommen und die gesellschaftliche Bedeutung dezentraler sozialer Netzwerke zu sprechen. Für alle, die beim Fediverse-Symposium nicht dabei sein konnten oder die Vorträge erneut ansehen wollen, sind die Mitschnitte jetzt auf unserer PeerTube-Instanz online!

Wir, FSFE, haben das Fediverse-Symposium "Die Welt nach Facebook, Twitter und YouTube. Eine neue Generation des Internets?" gemeinsam mit der Landeszentrale für politische Bildung NRW und der Volkshochschule Köln organisiert. Es war eine der ersten Tagungen zum Fediverse in Deutschland, die sich an Multiplikatoren der politischen Bildung, Lehrer, Vertreter öffentlicher Institutionen und Bildungseinrichtungen sowie an alle Interessierten richtete.

Im ersten Teil des Symposiums gaben mehrere langjährige Fediverse-Power-User einen Überblick über dezentrale soziale Netzwerke, verfügbare föderierte Dienste, ihre Bedeutung für demokratische Gesellschaften sowie ihre Stärken und Schwächen. Es folgte ein praktischer Einblick aus der Perspektive eines Moderators einer Fediverse-Instanz, bevor die Gäste die Gelegenheit hatten, an mehreren Workshops zur praktischen Nutzung von Fediverse-Diensten, zum Betrieb eigener Instanzen und zur Wissensvermittlung über dezentrale soziale Netzwerke im Bildungskontext teilzunehmen.

Sehen Sie sich die Beiträge jetzt an!

Als Keynote-Sprecherin ordnete die Publizistin Katharina Nocun die als Fediverse bekannten dezentralen sozialen Netzwerke in den größeren gesellschaftlichen Kontext ein und nahm dabei Bezug auf die aktuelle Situation rund um die zentralisierten "walled gardens" und die von ihnen ausgehenden Gefahren für die demokratische Öffentlichkeit.

“Keynote: Die Infrastruktur der offenen Gesellschaft im digitalen Zeitalter - Katharina Nocun (Publizistin)”

Einen Überblick über das Konzept des Fediverse, die verschiedenen Dienste und das zugrundeliegende ActivityPub-Protokoll konnten die Teilnehmenden im Input des Friendica-Entwicklers und FSFE-Mitarbeiters Tobias Diekershoff gewinnen. Hier ist die Präsentation zu finden.

““Input: Was ist das Fediverse? Überblick und Abgrenzung - Tobias Diekershoff (Friendica-Entwickler)”

Stephanie Henkel brachte in das Symposium eine konstruktiv-kritische Perspektive auf das Fediverse ein. Sie sprach über die Fragen und Entscheidungen, die beim Eintritt ins Fediverse auftreten, über das Spannungsverhältnis von Meinungsfreiheit und dem Bedürfnis nach geschützten Räumen, über Moderation und sowie über das Wachstum des Fediverse - nicht, ohne auch Lösungsvorschläge anzudeuten. Ihre Präsentation findet sich hier.

“Input: Potenziale und Probleme zentralisierter und dezentraler Dienste - Stephanie Henkel (Moderatorin bei”

Sascha Förster gab einen erfrischenden Praxiseinblick in die Herausforderungen, die sich bei der Gründung und im alltäglichen Betrieb einer Fediverse-Instanz stellen - unter anderem mit einigen Beispielen, die die Bedeutung von Regeln, Moderation und Backups unterstreichen. Hier der Link zu seiner Präsentation.

“Input:"Praxisinput: Aus dem Alltag eines Fediverse-Admins - Sascha Foerster ("

Die Workshops wurden aus technischen und datenschutzrechlichen Gründen nicht aufgezeichnet. Eine Zusammenfassung der Workshopergebnisse teilten die Workshopleitenden aber mit dem Publikum.

“Input:"Zusammenfassung der Workshops (Björn Friedrich, Katharina Nocun, Tobias Diekershoff, padeluun, moderation: Friederike von Franqué)"

Materialien aus den Workshops stehen ebenfalls zum Download bereit:

Das Abschlusspodium versammelte alle Referentinnen und Referenten noch einmal auf der Bühne, im Gespräch mit der Moderatorin Friederike von Franqué (Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.). Die Diskussion drehte sich um Zukunftsperspektiven für das Fediverse, unter anderem die Frage, wie Institutionen und Vereine auf ihrem Weg ins Fediverse unterstützt werden können und zu welchem Zeitpunkt ein klarer Bruch mit den zentralisierten Plattformdiensten nötig ist.

“Abschlusspodium: Wie sieht die Zukunft des Fediverse aus? - Björn Friedrich, Katharina Nocun, padeluun, Sascha Foerster, Stephanie Henkel, Tobias Diekershoff, moderation: Friederike von Franqué"

Wir danken allen Teilnehmenden des Symposiums, vor allem unseren Referentinnen und Referenten und der Moderatorin Friederike von Franqué, und ebenfalls der Landeszentrale NRW und der VHS Köln für die Ermöglichung dieser Veranstaltung durch Fördermittel, Räumlichkeiten und ihre Beiträge zur konzeptionellen Planung.

Ihre Spende hilft uns, Softwarefreiheit in ganz Europa voranzubringen!

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Ganz besonders bedanken wir uns bei allen, die durch ihre Spenden dazu beitragen, dass wir solche und ähnliche Veranstaltungen durchführen und dadurch Freie Software voranbringen können - beispielsweise durch unsere Fedivgov-Kampagne, mit der wir öffentliche Einrichtungen zum Schritt ins Fediverse ermutigen.

Wenn Sie unsere Arbeit für Softwarefreiheit unterstützen möchten, ziehen Sie bitte eine regelmäßige oder einmalige Spende an die FSFE in Betracht. Es sind Ihre Spenden, die unsere Arbeit möglich machen.

Über die FSFE

Die Free Software Foundation Europe ist ein gemeinnütziger Verein, der Menschen im selbstbestimmten Umgang mit Technik unterstützt. Software beeinflusst sämtliche Bereiche unseres Lebens. Es ist wichtig, dass diese Technik uns hilft, statt uns einzuschränken. Freie Software gibt allen das Recht, Programme für jeden Zweck zu verwenden, zu verstehen, zu verbreiten und zu verbessern. Diese Freiheiten stärken andere Grundrechte wie die Redefreiheit, die Pressefreiheit und das Recht auf Privatsphäre.

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Software Freedom in Europe 2023

19. Oktober 2023 um 23:00

Software Freedom in Europe 2023

In 2023, Software Freedom has been back on stage, while we have boosted our activities for the coming generations with our children's book and the coding competition for young Europeans. We have also continued to bring our demands to lawmakers, helped projects to become REUSE compliant and we have shared many great moments with our community.

40 Years of Software Freedom! The 40th anniversary of the launch of the GNU Project, which marked the beginning of the software freedom movement, has led us to look back at all that we have achieved over the past four decades, but also at the challenges that lie ahead in the years to come.

Since the 1980s, technology has become an increasingly important part of our lives: we use devices at home to make our daily tasks easier, most of us use a laptop at work, we use technology in our leisure time (playing, travelling...). And this year, Artificial Intelligence has jumped in in a lot of our debates, as it has become a hot topic in the public sphere.

Our movement has become global and broad encompassing small local companies, large global corporations, civil society organisations and thousands of professionals. We are all working towards a world where the four freedoms are guaranteed: users are free to use software , to adapt it to their needs, and are able to understand it, and to share it. These rights support other fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and privacy.

However, just like 40 years ago, we still need trustworthy systems that put the end user in control. Recent technological developments show that this is more important than ever: in the era of the Artificial Intelligence we need remember to put people's rights first. In a world that communicates through social media, we need decentralised and federated networks that are not controlled by an autocratic individual. In a time in which we are surrounded by devices, we need not only to be able to use them, but also to understand them and to improve them, adapting them to our necessities and needs.

In this scenario, we need to empower new generations. They are the first generation, many of whom have had 24/7 access to the internet, connected devices and social media networks since birth. As a result, their comfort level with technology is quite high. However, in order to build a democratic, transparent and trustworthy society that relies more and more on our technological developments, our children also need to understand, tinker and experiment with technology.

The history of humanity has been written through creativity, diversity and collaboration. Tinkering, first with our hands and now additionally with computer technology, has helped us to evolve, to learn from our mistakes and from the experience and knowledge of others. Let's give our current and future generations the right to do the same. Let's give them the power to shape our technology and make it their own. Why show them that there is only vanilla when we have endless flavours?

Our Software Freedom in Europe 2023 report covers the FSFE's activities from November 2022 to August 2023. We hope it gives you a better understanding of our daily work and that you enjoy reading it!

Table of contents

  1. Ada & Zangemann: a story that travels the world
  2. Youth Hacking 4 Freedom: A coding competition
  3. Public Money, Public Code!: simple, right?
  4. Liability, Interoperability and Free Software in the EU
  5. Legal Support: helping projects and individuals
    1. REUSE: making licensing easier
    2. Legal Education Day 2022
    3. Legal support, research, innovation and standardization: participation in EU projects
    4. Legal Network and LLW 23
  6. TEDective: making European public procurement data explorable
  7. Device Neutrality: taking control of devices
    1. Router Freedom: a EU demand
    2. Upcycling Android: free your device and “become greener”
  8. Our work on public awareness
    1. I Love Free Software Day: Meet & Connect
    2. Software Freedom Podcast: giving a voice to our community
    3. Free Software and Federated social networks
    4. ‘What is Free Software’ Video
    5. Back to the stages, the booths, and “the hugs”!
  9. Join the movement

Ada & Zangemann: a story that travels the world

“I loved the book; I found the theme very important and interesting, and the message delighted me (first the resourcefulness of Ada, then the demonstration which unites the whole city, and finally the Parliament which learns from its mistakes). This book is exactly what I want to pass on to my children!”

Canelle A., 18-year-old student translator in a Parisian high school

The illustrated book 'Ada & Zangemann - A Tale of Software, Skateboards, and Raspberry Ice Cream' by the FSFE, tells the story of the famous inventor Zangemann and the girl Ada, a curious tinkerer. Ada begins to experiment with hardware and software, and in the process realises how crucial it is for her and others to control technology.

The book is currently available in German and now also in English. However, thanks to many volunteers, Ada & Zangemann is also being translated into other languages such as French, Italian, Danish or Valencian. These community translations and and other resources can be found in the book's git repository.

"The youth at the Elizabeth Peabody House enjoyed the reading of Ada & Zangemann. It was a fun and engaging read; vivid illustrations, colors, and details on each page kept them excited for what came next. The youth could relate to Ada, as they are full of great, creative ideas; that they hope to bring to life too"

Matthew Caughey, Executive Director, The Elizabeth Peabody House

Over the past few months, the story of Ada & Zangemann has also been spread through readings. More than 900 people have already attended in one of these events in Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the USA. Started by the author, Matthias Kirschner, the readings are currently being carried out by other FSFE staff and volunteers! For example, Bonnie Mehring read it at CCCamp, Dario Presutti read it in Italy to celebrate the Software Freedom Day and the volunteer Isabel Dross-Fromm read it, with the help of her child, at FrOSCon.

Ada also went overseas to LibrePlanet, the FSF's annual conference, and we found out that she made it to rural Rajasthan, and to a hospital school in the Middle East, where impaired children from that region realised a small detail that most readers may have missed: Ada & Zangemann is also about inclusivity. In the book there is a girl with a 3D printed leg. Did you notice it?

"I read this book to my 6-year old child who was drawn by the beautiful illustrations and couldn’t wait to hear the story. It’s been the start of a much-needed conversation on out-of-the-box thinking, digital freedom, and contesting power in the age of surveillance."

Claire Fernandez, Executive Director, European Digital Rights (EDRi)

Moreover Matthias Kirschner was invited to participate in different podcasts, to talk about the book and Free Software:

Youth Hacking 4 Freedom: A coding competition

Two years ago the FSFE launched the first round of the Youth Hacking 4 Freedom (YH4F) coding contest. YH4F is an initiative aiming to raise awareness for Free Software among the younger generation. The competition encourages teenagers to tinker and experiment with technology. It gives participants the opportunity to discuss and network with important people in the field of computer science and Free Software. The winners are rewarded with a trip to Brussels and a cash prize, which could be an investment for their own project. Have a look at Bonnie Mehring’s talk about the YH4F competition at the Augsburger Linux-Infotag 2023 (in German).

After the successful conclusion of the first round in 2022, the FSFE organised the second round, which launched at the beginning of this year.

First edition: The winners of the first edition had the chance to spend a joyful time in Brussels, where the awards ceremony took place. The weekend was summarised in a short video and this year we have published interviews with the participants to learn more about their backgrounds and the projects they developed.

Watch the video of the two day trip to Brussels where the winners met, explored the city, and received their awards. For subtitles, watch it in our Peertube instance

Second edition: the winners of the 2023 edition were announced at the Awards Ceremony, held in Brussels in mid-October. Over the coming months, we will be publishing interviews with the participants about their projects. So stay tuned!

‘Public Money? Public Code!: simple, right?

Software made with public money should be released as Free Software. Simple and clear, right? Over the past few months, we have continued our activities to raise awareness of this initiative and to explain why it is important.

Free Software in German municipalities: In January, we hosted an online event on Free Software in Dortmund, Germany, with the participation of the local government and more than 160 other community representatives. Under the title "Municipalities need Free Software" the participants were informed about the developments leading to a newly founded OSPO in Dortmund, about "Public Money? Public Code!", Free Software as the key to digital sovereignty, and new perspectives for municipalities that want to use Free Software. The event, that was recorded, was organised in cooperation with Do-FOSS and OK.NRW.

As a result of the event, the FSFE invited all participants and others from municipal administrations to join our new mailing list on Free Software in German municipalities, which currently has more than 200 subscribers.

A German “Sovereign Workplace” for public administrations: The current German government is working on a sovereign workplace, a Free Software office and collaboration suite for the public sector, as one of the projects to fulfil the goals of the coalition agreement. However, a closer look at the project raises questions such as: Where is the source code? Who is responsible for it? What happens to the public money involved? We asked the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI) and publicly analysed the answers, criticising the German state-owned enterprise Dataport for open-washing its pseudo-sovereign product dPhoenixSuite.

If you are interested in this topic, check out Johannes Näder's talk about it at FrOSCon: “Free Software for German administrations? Mysteries around the Souvereign Workplace” (in German).

Midterm evaluation of the German government: In addition, the FSFE, together with an alliance of civil society, scientific institutions and the Free Software industry, published a call to the German government to implement a sustainable digital policy and to provide the necessary funds in the federal budget. We draw a negative mid-term balance for the digital policy of the German government and demand a change towards Free Software and Public Money? Public Code!

PMPC in Italy: Six Public Money, Public Code! events were held in Italy, in six different cities: from the extreme north to the extreme south: Trento, Bologna, Caltanissetta, Milan, Bolzano, and Empoli. The events were run entirely by volunteers.

Public Awareness: In this context, we got an article on Free Software to control technology published (pages 11-12[18-21]) (pdf) in “Access OpenTech" for the CrossCulture Programme (CCP) by ifa. You can also listen (in German) to Johannes Näder explaining in the eGovernment-Podcast our initiative Public Money? Public Code! initiative and why Free Software is important for administrations and their digital sovereignty. One episode of our Software Freedom Podcast also covers this topic with Petter Joelson, the director of Digidem Lab, discussing citizen participation and the Decidm tool.

Do not forget to support the Public Money, Public Code! initiative by signing the Open Letter, sharing your picture on your social networks and talking about to your local authorities.

Liability, Interoperability and Free Software in the EU

Political decisions and policies have a major impact on Free Software, its ecosystems and its communities. The FSFE has long-standing experience of working with policy makers and public bodies in Europe, from local administrations to high level decision makers. The FSFE aims to strength the rights of Free Software users and developers, and works to abolish barriers to the adoption of Free Software.

In the coming months, we expect the following legislation to be adopted in the EU: Liability Act, AI Act, CRA and Interoperability Act.

Liability / AI Act: The EU is debating the introduction of liability rules for software, including Free Software. The relevant proposals are the AI Act, the Product Liability Directive (PLD), and the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA). As currently proposed, all of these proposals would harm the Free Software ecosystem and hence society and the economy. Therefore, we first proposed changes to the AI Act to safeguard Free Software developers, and also presented a similar position on the proposed liability rules in the CRA and PLD during a hearing in the European Parliament. In light of the CRA, we propose a solution that will lead to more security while safeguarding the Free Software ecosystem:

  1. Liability should be shifted to those deploying Free Software instead of those developing Free Software and
  2. Those who significantly financially benefit from this deployment should make sure the software becomes CE-compliant.

Interoperable Europe Act: With the proposed Interoperable Europe Act, the EU aims to create a dedicated legal framework for interoperability that will enhance cross-border digital public services across the Union. During the past year, the FSFE has been advocating for a more inclusive governance structure in this legislation, where different stakeholders, including the Free Software community, can be part of the Interoperable Europe Board. A proper monitoring workflow and evaluation process together with a dedicated budget are also part of our demands.

The EU Parliament has followed some of our demands by taking a step forward towards a more inclusive board while introducing clearer indicators and statistics to monitor the progress of the Act. On the other hand, the Council is moving in the opposite direction by hindering the inclusion of relevant stakeholders in the governance structure. A final agreement between the three EU institutions is expected to be reached by the end of this year, and the FSFE calls on the European Parliament to maintain its position and not allow any backsliding.

You can get a deeper understanding of the Interoperable European Act by listening to Lina Ceballos explaining why Free Software should be considered and safeguarded in such EU legislation in an episode of our Software Freedom Podcast.

EU Declaration of Digital Rights: Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission have reached a consensus on the Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles. Although it is intended to serve as a reference point for Europe's digital transformation, it instead dives into murky waters, causing ambiguity. Its wording is unclear and it overlooks existing good proposals. The EU Parliament's proposal had a clear reference to Free Software as a way to ensure transparency in the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence, as well as the importance of Open Standards. Unfortunately, this wording was not retained during the inter-institutional negotiations, and the final text ended up being rather unclear.

The FSFE has also been working on the protection of open standards. While Alexander Sander participated as a panellist in the Open Standards and Industrial Use of Open Source workshop, part of the SWForum, a few months ago we responded to the EC Intellectual Property Consultation on a new framework for standard-essential patents.

Furthermore, the FSFE’s co-founder and programmer Bernhard E. Reiter explained why Free Software supporters should join the protest against the EU Chat control, that deprives citizens of the privacy of digital correspondence. And related to AI, this year our volunteer Vincent Lequertier published several interesting articles on ethics, Free Software, and AI in Planet FSFE.

Legal Support: helping projects and individuals

At the Free Software Foundation Europe we help answer licensing questions, provide technical support to make licensing easier (among others, with REUSE), provide legal education materials on Free Software, such as the videos from the Legal Education Day, and organise an annual conference for the FSFE's legal network, the Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW). We are also part of several EU-funded projects, helping with legal concepts and issues.

REUSE: making licensing easier

The FSFE's REUSE project aims to make licensing easy for people and machines alike. It solves one of the most common Free Software licensing problems: what kind of licence a file is licensed under, and who owns the copyright. REUSE provides simple recommendations in three steps to help users, developers, and legal professionals.

In 2023 we release the REUSE tools 1.0 and are currently working on improving our RESUE 3.0 specification. This specification defines a standardized method for declaring copyright and licensing for software projects. The goal of the specification is to have unambiguous, human- and machine-readable copyright and licensing information for each individual file in a project. Ideally this information is embedded into every file, so that the information is preserved when the file is copied and reused by third parties.

Several projects have adopted REUSE, being GNU Health one of them. Since then, users and re-users of GNU Health have been able to have a clear overview of the copyright notices and licence terms thanks to the standardised way of displaying them by following the REUSE specification.

At the end of 2022, and during this present year, we have presented the REUSE initiative at diverse conferences throughout Europe, such as SFSCON or FOSDEM. Our talk at the Weizenbaum Conference 2022 “Practicing Sovereignty – Interventions for Open Digital Futures” resulted in an academic article (page 66-71) (pdf) explaining how REUSE specifications facilitate and improve management policies for the digital commons by improving data and metadata communication for individuals, communities, governments, and businesses.

Legal Education Day 2022

The FSFE organised a Legal Education Day as part of the South Tyrol Free Software Conference (SFSCON), which featured talks on legal topics relating to Free Software, as well as a workshop to facilitate a better understanding of these legal framework and compliances. Throughout the day, we explained basic legal concepts such as copyright law, licensing, and their practical applications into Free Software projects with the REUSE specification.

As part of the conference, our talks at the Legal Education Day were also filmed, and we have added these videos to our legal FAQs page, where you can watch them at your own pace or include them in other places.

Legal support, research, innovation and standardization: participation in EU projects

The ZOOOM Project: Since late 2022, the FSFE has been a part of the ZOOOM Initiative, a project financed by the European Commission. The primary goal of ZOOOM is to raise awareness among the academic, business, industry, and innovation communities of the importance of rights and obligations related to Free Software, Open Data, and Open Hardware.

To accomplish this goal, the ZOOOM Initiative will develop a series of reports, white papers, training materials, and web portals to promote a solid understanding of licensing requirements and business needs aiming to reach the three key groups of actors in innovation ecosystems: namely knowledge generators, innovation support organisations, and key stakeholders.

As one out of ten organisations comprising the consortium that makes up the ZOOOM Initiative, the FSFE is responsible for the promotion of our REUSE specification as well as producing educational materials on the fundamental legal concepts of Free Software and licensing.

Our work on ZOOOM has been progressing well, and we have contributed with chapters to the various papers explaining the basics of Free Software, including elementary Free Software legal and licensing issues. In particular, we have also compiled a chapter on Free Software licensing issues related specifically to Artificial Intelligence (AI).

We will keep you updated on when we will publicly share these materials as we are currently awaiting their final publication, so stay tuned!

Next Generation Internet Zero: Since 2018, the FSFE has been involved in the Next Generation Internet Zero (NGI0) initiative as a consortium member. Funded by the European Commission, the NGI0 initiative hopes to support the development of the internet into a platform that is accessible and diverse, and that respects fundamental rights, including values such as privacy, which is also referred to as the Next Generation Internet. At the FSFE, we believe that Free Software is key to accomplish this goal, so that all users are able to use the internet as an effective tool to achieve their full potential.

NGI0 projects provide financial grants and technical support to researchers and developers who are working on Free Software solutions that contribute to the establishment of the vision of the Next Generation Internet.

After completing our previous NGI0 projects in 2022, we have for the past year been working on our current NGI0 projects: NGI0 Entrust, NGI0 Core, and NGI0 Review.

As we’ve always done with our previous NGI0 projects, we have been assisting the software projects receiving grants from these various NGI0 projects with their legal and licensing needs, as well as helping them in their transitions when adopting our REUSE specification.

We continued our work with NGI0 this year by helping many developers working on Free Software solutions solve a diverse range of problems, as well as helping them have a better understanding of Free Software licenses, compliance issues, and how they can avoid some of these pitfalls by adopting our REUSE specification.

Legal Network and LLW 23

In 2023, the FSFE successfully organised our first Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) as an in-person event again, after a 3-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The LLW is organised every year by the FSFE to allow legal experts in the FSFE’s Legal Network to discuss legal issues and best practices surrounding Free Software licenses. This event has become one of the foremost gathering of lawyers, technologists, and thought leaders on Free Software legal and licensing topics. This event is usually an important opportunity that the FSFE provides to the legal community to share knowledge and updates on the topics that they are working on, in order to foster a better license compliance ecosystem by spreading best practices in the legal sphere. Additionally, the LLW provides a forum for legal professionals to better understand one another, which reduces overall friction in the sector. This year’s LLW was held in April in Gothenburg, Sweden. Over the course of three days, our 100 guests discussed software licensing issues relating to AI, process issues in license curation at the Open Source Initiative (OSI), and updates on legal cases involving Free Software licenses.

The last weeks of 2022 also left us some good news! Copyleft-licensed chess engine won legal case against proprietary counterpart.

TEDective: making European public procurement data explorable

TEDective is making European public procurement data explorable for non-experts. Using open data this Free Software program empowers citizens by making EU tendering data accessible to anyone who wants to consult and use it. For example, it will allow a journalist to find out how much money the government spends on Microsoft licenses and products, but also to compare that spending with other regions in similar cases or even in comparison with other countries.

‘TEDective’ won last year the first prize in ‘transparency in public procurement’ challenge in the EU Datathon.

Developed with the help of our volunteer Michael Weimann, and released as a REUSE-compliant project under a Free Software (also known as Open Source) license, TEDective improves access to the data published by Tenders Electronic Daily (TED), by fulfilling all of the following requirements for the provision of TED data: it is available free of charge for both commercial and non-commercial use; it is up-to-date (updated at least monthly), cleaned and both buyers and suppliers are adequately deduplicated; and it can be downloaded in bulk, making it available as an Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) to enable interoperability. Besides, it will be designed, developed, maintained and monitored transparently and in close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders and user groups.

Over the next few months, we will be working to develop this tool further and we are looking for contributors who would like to get involved or fund the project. Get in touch via if you are interested!

Device Neutrality: taking control of devices

We started the Device Neutrality initiative to raise awareness about the increasing loss of end-user control over technology. In our increasingly technology-dependent societies, Device Neutrality aims to put control back in the hands of end users, allowing them to bypass gatekeepers and use Free Software on their devices in a non-discriminatory way.

2022 ended with the important step of the adoption of the Digital Markets Act by the European Parliament. This legislation introduces the principle of Device Neutrality, although it does not set open standards as the default for defining interoperability.

In 2023 we have continued our efforts to bring Device Neutrality into the European legislation. We have also deepened this concept with in a podcast episode and worked on the creation of a dedicated landing page on this topic, which will be online soon, and of course, we have continued to try to achieve Router Freedom in Europe and with our Upcycling Android campaign.

Router Freedom: a EU demand

Router Freedom is the right of customers of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to choose and use a private router instead of a router that the ISP forces them to use. But some Internet service providers in Europe dishonour this principle by dictating which device their customers have to use in order to connect to the Internet, or by discriminating against the owners of alternative devices. This undermining of our basic freedom of choice is strongly opposed by the Free Software Foundation Europe and many other organisations, projects, and individuals. Router Freedom is not merely a topic for experts. It affects us all.

Upcyling Android: free your device and “become greener”

“Upcycling Android" is the name of an initiative that the FSFE has been running for the last few years and that was officially ended in March 2023. Launched in November 2021, Upcycling Android initiative helps people to flash their phones with Free Software operating systems and promotes the right for every user to install any software on any device. Moreover, upcycling our devices is an important step to rethinking our short-term, linear consumption of electronic devices in favour of a circular economy.

The initiative held workshops, developed policy recommendations, and received a lot of attention:

  • Workshops: A total of 12 workshops were organised by the FSFE, consisting of a short introduction, a joint flashing of phones with a question and answer session, followed by individual flashing of phones, and ending with tips and tricks for further using Free Software on mobile phones with F-Droid and microG.

    Some of the workshops were held at international conferences (Bolzano), others in public spaces and libraries (Bonn, Berlin), in a university environment (HAW Hamburg), in a local hackerspace (Frankfurt, Berlin) or a repair café (Korschenbroich-Herrenshoff), and even at the Federal Environment Agency.

    An online “Train the Trainers” workshop was also held to teach people about how to organise their own workshops.

  • Information and background material: Throughout the campaign, the FSFE has created various resources (posters, infographics, stickers, flyers, brochures, video...), published under Creative Commons licences and in digital form on the initiative's website. Thus, even after the project has ended, this material can be freely used by others who want to continue promoting the use of Free Software, while overcoming software obsolescence and extending the life of our hardware.

    In addition, technical documentation, including videos showing how to flash different terminals, has been created to enable the workshops offered to be reproduced independently during and after the end of the project.

  • Open Letter: to European Union legislators on "The universal right to install any software on any device". As part of this initiative, this Open Letter sets out four key demands to enable a more sustainable use of electronic products and devices in the European Union. It has already been signed by more than 150 civil society organisations, many of them not previously involved in Free Software, from different sectors, as well as more than 3000 individuals. In particular, the signatory organisations ensure further virality of the campaign within their own target groups.

  • Outreach: Throughout the initiative, outreach was done through press releases, news articles, social media posts using the hashtag #UpcyclingAndroid, podcasts and various presentations at various international conferences. The materials we produced helped us reach different audiences, and our volunteers and civil society organisations also picked up on our messages. Thank you for spreading the word.

    The book ‘Shaping Digital Transformation for a sustainable society’, published this year, is a collection of 28 papers from the second Bits & Trees conference on digitalisation and sustainability. In a chapter entitled 'Making the telecom sector more sustainable with Free Software', Lucas Lasota and Erik Albers explain how Free Software is key to a more sustainable telecom sector by giving end-users more control over devices, especially with regard to artificial obsolescence of software and hardware.

This initiative has officially ended, but there is still work to be done. You can continue to demonstrate the benefits of unlocking your devices by organising a workshop, signing the Open Letter... All the documentation, information and materials are there. And remember, rooting your device does not void its warranty.

Our work on public awareness

I Love Free Software Day: Meet & Connect

Once again, the FSFE has celebrated our devotion to Free Software on the annual "I Love Free Software Day" on 14 February 2023.

This year, we celebrated it with Free Software enthusiasts through various events across Europe (Berlin, Madrid, Thessaloniki, Potteries, Zurich, Frankfurt, Barcelona, online in Italy). For the first time, the FSFE's women's group participated by organising a meeting. Besides the FSFE, many other organisations and individuals joined us to publicly show their love for Free Software and their appreciation for all the wonderful contributors without whom Free Software would not be possible. ❤️ Thank you!

Apart from all the events and activities on the day itself, we also have new postcards and stickers. Many Free Software projects have received a hand-written thank-you postcard, thanking them for their continued and wonderful work for software freedom.

And we are already working on next years’ celebration so save the date: 'I Love Free Software Day 2024: start software freedom' will take place on 14 February 2024.

Software Freedom Podcast

The FSFE’s Software Freedom Podcast has continued throughout the year, with 6 new episodes.

This year, the podcast covered topics such as European politics, Device Neutrality, the importance of Free Software in medical devices, cryptography and privacy and Free Software in France.

Listen to all the Software Freedom Podcast episodes

Free Software and Federated social networks

The FSFE is active on Peertube and Mastodon. We created our own Peertube instance,, to share our videos on a Free Software platform and we currently have about 776 subscribers. Remember to subscribe if you want to be informed about our latest videos.

Our presence on Mastodon has also grown, and we currently have more than 12,700 followers! It is also great to see how more and more people and organisations are joining these and other decentralised social networks.

FediGov: The FSFE Swiss local group launched, with GNU/, an initiative to encourage public institutions to use federated Free Software solutions to communicate with their people. FediGov is the name of this campaign, which also encourages people to ask their governments to adopt ethical communication.

Fediverse Education Day: The FSFE, the Centre for Civic Education of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Adult Education Centre Cologne organised a public symposium on the Fediverse, its functionalities, its potentials and ways to use it for public institutions and administrations. More than 70 guests attended the event and we will publish the videos of the presentations soon.

‘What is Free Software’ Video

We continued to spread the word with our 'What is Free Software' video. The video was released last year so we focused on spreading the word about it and translating it into more languages. Thanks to our translators and a fundraising campaign, we now have the video currently in several European languages: Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish:

Watch and share our 'What is Free Software' video. In our playlist our Peertube channel you can find it in all the translated languages:

Back to the stages, the booths, and “the hugs”!

The last few months of 2022 have brought us back to the stage after years of online conferences. We couldn't be happier to see old friends and meet new ones in person. Our team took part in a wide variety of conferences, giving talks and running stands.

Our “season” started with SFSCON in Bolzano, where we enjoyed not only a fruitful conference with our second Legal Education Day, the first Italian community meeting, and many interesting talks, but also some fun and networking time, such as our well-known Pizza Evening.

At the beginning of February, we travelled to Brussels for FOSDEM! We were really pleased to see so many of you there! Our booth was really busy with people wanting to know a bit more about us, participants who heard our colleagues talked and wanted more information, and lots of old friends just stopping by to say hello. Check out our talks at FOSDEM 2023 and the videos from the Legal & Policy Devroom, which we co-hosted together with Software Freedom Conservancy.

The spring found us attending foss-north, where we co-organised a track on political, social, and legal issues around Free Software

Map showing the different events that we have around Europe

None of these events would have been possible without the help of our community! The backbone of the Free Software Foundation Europe's work is its active network of Free Software advocates and volunteers who help promote and spread the benefits of Free Software across Europe. Their contribution and dedication allows us to continue our campaigns, lend a hand to our team during our events, and help set up a booth.

Our local groups have been meeting throughout these months: some have returned to face-to-face meetings, others have continued with online meetings, and others are mixing it up, and we even have new communication channels... Each option is good to engage in fruitful discussions, to deepen some concepts and ideas, to meet others with the same interests and even to get active in developing new activities.

Our team of translators has done an extraordinary job. In the last twelve months, we have added 340 new translations to our website! And we have around 318 new pages in English!

This year we also started online coordinators' meetings. The aim of these meetings is to discuss different topics with our coordinators and to learn from each other's experiences. The meetings are also a tool to network with coordinators from other countries.

But this year we also wanted to spend time with our volunteers in a more relaxed environment and thank you in person for all your contributions. The Linux Hotel hosted us for a summer meeting weekend where we shared information about our current activities and campaigns, learned from the experience and knowledge of our volunteers, and had a really good time!

As an e.V. association, the General Assembly of the FSFE met for its annual meeting at the end of last October.

Join the movement

Become a supporter: Your support and contribution for the promotion of Free Software are important for securing our continuous work, ensuring our independence, strengthening our democratic society, promoting and implementing concrete steps towards software freedom, and making it easier to use and develop Free Software.

Advocating for freedom costs money and we depend on people like you to support us. Thanks to all our supporters and special kudos to our donors. We guarantee that all support is used to foster software freedom in Europe a little more each day, step by step, bit by bit for the next decades.

With your help we can keep on defending software freedom. Thank you for your trust, your support, and your ideas to continue bringing Free Software to our society!

Support FSFE

Find out our YH4F second edition winners!

16. Oktober 2023 um 23:00

Find out our YH4F second edition winners!

A real-time plotter for microcontrollers; a classroom quiz platform; a radio tool; a device that provides bags to pick up your dog's poo; a game engine to help non-programmers develop their ideas; and a program to search for a file on your computer by its hash. These are the six projects that won the 2023 edition of Youth Hacking 4 Freedom.

If you are into coding, whatever your level is, you want to meet other Europeans teenagers, you want to develop a project, and you want to win a cash prize, Youth Hacking 4 Freedom is for you! This coding contest for young Europeans, organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe, has just closed its second edition with the Award Ceremony weekend in Brussels where the six winners had the chance to present their projects in front of their families, jury members, and -after this weekend- new friends.

The winners' journey began almost a year ago, when they signed up to take part in the 2023 edition, which kicked off with six months of coding. The goal? To present a Free Software project that they had developed or improved. During this time, they met online regularly and received advice not only from experts but also from their peers. Afterwards a broad group of technology experts, the YH4F jury, got to evaluate the project.

After a tough judging process due to the high quality of the projects submitted, the six winners, who will receive cash prizes ranging from €4,096 to €1,024 each, are the following:

  1. Ultimate Hacker Award: Davide Rorato for ArduPlot
  2. Elite Hacker Award: Marlon Wolff for ClassQuiz
  3. Awesome Award: Simon Sommer for OpenRadio
  4. Best Maker Award: Oriol Villegas Martin for DogBag4City
  5. Best Freedom Project Award: Marius Angermann for Artix Engine
  6. Best Power User Tool Award: Matthias Kaak for hashfindutils

"Like last year, we were really impressed by the projects submitted, and even more so considering that we had a lot of submissions from really young teenagers. The jury had a hard time evaluating the projects, which not only includes considering if the idea can be useful for the community but also how the process was and its code quality. After this successful edition, and a really joyful weekend with the winners, their families and the jury, we cannot wait to announce the new edition soon", stated Alexander Sander, FSFE policy consultant and YH4F project manager.

Check out 2022 YH4F projects, winners and a video about the 2022 Award Ceremony weekend.

2023 Youth Hacking 4 Freedom winners’ projects

Get a good understanding of your data with this plotter displaying it in different graphs

“I participated in the first edition and I didn’t win, so this year I tried again”.

Davide, Ultimate Hacker Award winner

ArduPlot is a real-time plotter for microcontrollers that uses a custom protocol to send data to be displayed in different graphs. Normally it acts as a traditional serial console, but when a specially formatted packet is received, it is parsed and converted into different visualisations, such as heat maps or line graphs. This allows the microcontroller to choose how best to display the data it has access to. It can also specify whether or not the data should be aggregated into the same graph, giving the user more flexibility.

An interactive quiz platforms for the classroom

“I wanted to create a privacy friendly version of Kahoot! so students do not get tracked while using it, which I think it is really important!"

Marlon, Elite Hacker winner

ClassQuiz serves as an alternative to Kahoot!, offering an interactive quiz platform for educators and presenters to create and host quizzes. Participants can compete by answering questions on their own devices, similar to the Kahoot! experience, while maintaining their privacy, which is especially important for an application intended to be used at schools.

Listen to any radio stream from around the world! Clock alarm included ;)

"This is my first big project that I have worked on alone. I had never done anything like this before and it was also a good opportunity to meet people and see other people's ideas!"

Simon, Awesome Hacker winner

OpenRadio is a Desktop app combining Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), internet radio and alarm into one single app. It is written in Python and Gtk3 is used for the GUI. The code is licensed under GPL-3. Unfortunately it can’t bring you breakfast in the morning.

Get a free bag for your dog’s poo, exactly when you need it!

"My IT teacher told me about this contest and as I had an idea I went ahead! As a participant, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain”.

Oriol, Best Maker winner

DogBag4City is an intelligent device that provides dog owners with small bags to collect their dogs' excrement. The user has a key that releases a bag at no cost to the user. No more “I forgot my bag" excuse!.

Make your game idea a reality without coding!

"My father found out about the contest by reading news on the internet and encouraged me to participate. I wanted to understand how a game engine works, so I decided to try to start one myself".

Marius, Best Freedom Project winner

Artix Engine is a user-friendly 2D game engine written in Python, designed to empower non-programmers in bringing their game ideas to life. Through a visual programming system, it enables users to visually define game logic.

Need to find a file? Do it using its hash!

"I thought it could be fun for me to participate so I submitted a project".

Matthias, Best Power User Tool winner

hashfindutils is a program to efficiently search on your computer for a file whose hash you somehow already know. It helps you, for example, to know if you have already downloaded a file or to find duplicates and delete duplicated ones.

2023 Youth Hacking 4 Freedom: the competition

The second award edition started in January 2023 with almost 70 registered young people from all over Europe who spent six months working on their own projects. Throughout the process, they had the opportunity to discuss their progress and solve their doubts in a monthly online meeting with experts and their peers. They also had a dedicated Matrix room where they could share progress, problems, and success and the FSFE team was available to answer their questions.

Once the projects had been submitted, the jury, made up of a wide range of experts in different technical areas, evaluated the projects. They did this first in an individual round and then, after choosing the final projects, through an online interview with the participants, who had to present their projects and answer the experts’ questions.

Finally, the six winners came to Brussels for the award ceremony, where they and one of their relatives enjoyed an invited weekend, which was possible thanks to the financial support of our donor Reinhard Wiesemann and the Linuxhotel. The weekend was full of activities and fun with the other winners and jury members, culminating in the award ceremony where the names of the winners were announced and the winners had the opportunity to present their projects.

YH4F 2024

If you want to join YH4F 2024 edition you can already sign up by registering here. The coding period is expected to be from 01.01.2024 to 30.06.2024. Details for the next edition will be shared soon.

Sponsorship 2024

We are looking for Sponsors for our YH4F 2024 edition. We will share information on sponsorship levels soon. Meanwhile, you can check out our media kit

If you are interested, please send an email to with “YH4F sponsorship” in the subject.

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Joint Statement by Free Software Foundation Europe and Software Freedom Conservancy Regarding Eben Moglen and Software Freedom Law Center

10. Oktober 2023 um 23:00

Joint Statement by Free Software Foundation Europe and Software Freedom Conservancy Regarding Eben Moglen and Software Freedom Law Center

Both Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) are committed to defending and expanding software freedom and the rights of people to use, understand, share and improve their software.

As part of this work, both FSFE and SFC strive to create a software freedom community that is egalitarian, fair, kind, and welcoming to everyone. Sadly, though, we are also aware that toxic behavior, bullying, and other violations of Codes of Conduct do occur throughout our community. As such, both organizations make substantial efforts to protect our volunteers and staff from bad behavior.

Historically, both FSFE and SFC collaborated and coordinated with a third organization – Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), and specifically with SFLC's founder/President/Executive Director, Eben Moglen. However, some time ago, both our organizations ended our collaborations and affiliations with SFLC. Furthermore, both FSFE and SFC now have internal policies to avoid any situations where our employees or volunteers might work directly with him.

We arrived at these decisions through our organizational processes. After years of reported abusive behavior by Moglen toward members of the staff and volunteers of both organizations, each organization independently made a categorical rule that we would avoid Eben Moglen and not invite him to our events and fora. (Examples of reports of his behavior – towards SFC staff (page 8), FSFE staff (page 51), and others (page 28) – have been (with reluctance) documented publicly in the proceedings of the ongoing trademark cancellation petition that SFLC filed against SFC in the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board).

Today, we share — with the community at large — our policy to not work with Moglen or SFLC. We have chosen to speak publicly on this matter because we feel we have an obligation to warn volunteers and activists in software freedom that this pattern of reported behavior exists. Of course, everyone should read the publicly available source materials and make their own decisions regarding these matters. While we are loathe to publicly speak of these unfortunate events, the decades of ongoing reports of abusive behavior — and the risk that behavior creates for unknowing members of the Free Software community — ultimately requires that we no longer remain quiet on this issue.

Abusive behavior is a distraction from the mission of any activist organization. We urge everyone to separate themselves as best they can from such behavior (and from those who tolerate and/or employ it), and focus on the important work of increasing software freedom.

Support FSFE

GNU wird 40 +++ Routerfreiheit, Fediverse & Ada

03. Oktober 2023 um 23:00

GNU wird 40 +++ Routerfreiheit, Fediverse & Ada

Wir haben Oktober, und vor kurzem das 40. Jubiläum des GNU-Projekts gefeiert, mit dem die Bewegung der Freien Software begann. Sowohl in der EU als auch auf nationalen Ebenen hat nach der Sommerpause die politische Saison begonnen. Vielen Dank für die Spenden für die Übersetzung unseres Videos: "What is Free Software" in weitere Sprachen… und wir hatten unsere erste Ada-Lesung auf Italienisch!


  1. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 40. Jahrestag der Softwarefreiheit!
  2. Routerfreiheit: Deutsche Telekommunikationsgesellschaften möchten Ausnahme für Glasfaser
  3. Souveräner Arbeitsplatz OpenDesk: Deutsches Innenministerium antwortet
  4. EU: Digitale Souveränität & Interoperabilität. Welche Rolle spielt Freie Software?
  5. Fediverse Symposium & FediGov
  6. Software Freedom Day: Ada geht nach Italien - Eis und Inklusion inklusive!
  7. Die Niederlande: Wichtige Punkte für die Wahl
  8. Was ist #FreieSoftware Video - Danke für eine erfolgreiche Kampagne!
  9. Aktiv werden! Ada Lovelace Tag
  10. Save the date! SFScon
  11. Zitat des Monats
  12. Beteiligen Sie sich an unserem Newsletter

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 40. Jahrestag der Softwarefreiheit!

Seit nun schon vier Dekaden arbeitet die Bewegung der Freien Software daran, Nutzer:innen zur Kontrolle über Technologie zu ermächtigen und fördert das gesellschaftliche Verständnis dafür, wie Freie Software zu Freiheit, Transparenz und Selbstbestimmung beiträgt.

Am 27. September hat die Gemeinschaft der Freien Software mit einem Hackertreffen in Biel/Bienne in der Schweiz das vierzigste Jubiläum der Vorstellung des GNU Projektes gefeiert, das Treffen brachte viele Vorreiter unserer Bewegung aus den vergangenen Dekaden zusammen.

Routerfreiheit: Deutsche Telekommunikationsgesellschaften möchten Ausnahme für Glasfaser

Deutsche Netzwerkunternehmen haben bei der Bundesnetzagentur, der nationalen Regulierungsbehörde darum gebeten, ein Verfahren zum Ausschluss von Routerwahlfreiheit für Glasfasernetzwerke anzustrengen. In einer Anhörung widerlegt die FSFE sämtliche Argumente der Telekommunikationsgesellschaften und ruft die Regulierungsbehörde dazu auf, Verbraucherrechte zu wahren.

Souveräner Arbeitsplatz OpenDesk: Deutsches Innenministerium antwortet

Das deutsche Bundesinnenministerium (BMI) und der öffentliche IT-Serviceprovider Dataport arbeiten an Verwaltungs-Arbeitsumgebungen, um digitale Souveränität zu ermöglichen. Aber sind die beiden Produkte Freie Software? Wie hängen sie zusammen? Wir haben beim BMI nachgefragt und veröffentlichen die Antworten.

EU: Digitale Souveränität & Interoperabilität. Welche Rolle spielt Freie Software?

Als EU-Kommissionspräsidentin Ursula von der Leyen beim G20 Treffen über öffentliche digitale Infrastrukturen sprach, brachte sie es auf den Punkt:"Der Trick ist, öffentliche Infrastrukturen aufzubauen, die interoperabel, offen für alle und vertrauenswürdig sind". Was bedeutet das im Einzelnen? Was ist dafür erforderlich, um eine solche zugängliche Infrastruktur zu erreichen, die bei der Förderung von Innovation helfen kann und Zusammenarbeit auf globaler Ebene ermöglicht? Welche Rolle spielt Freie Software bei einem solchen Ansatz?

Fediverse Symposium & FediGov

Am 22. September nahmen mehr als 70 Fediverseexpert:innen, Aktivist:innen, Vertreter:innen von Bildungs- und öffentlichen Institutionen und Einzelpersonen an unserem Fediverse Symposium teil, um über dezentralisierte soziale Netzwerke und die Zukunft des Internets zu diskutieren.

Das Fediverse Symposium wurde von der FSFE zusammen mit der Landeszentrale für politische Bildung von Nordrhein-Westfalen (LpB NRW) und der Volkshochschule Köln (VHS Köln) ausgerichtet. Wir werden die Aufzeichnung der Veranstaltung demnächst veröffentlichen. In der Zwischenzeit schauen Sie doch mal auf unsere FediGov Kampagne und folgen uns auf Mastodon und PeerTube!

Doch es gibt noch mehr großartige Neuigkeiten zu unserer FediGov Kampagne! Das Bundeskanzleramt der Schweiz hat eine Mastodoninstanz als Pilotprojekt eröffnet, der Sie unter folgen können. Lesen Sie mehr darüber (auf deutsch).

Auch der #fediversefachtag im VHS Forum in #koeln war ein wichtiger Impuls für ein freies Internet zur richtigen Zeit. Vielen Dank für das großartige Engagement der Organisator:innen! Dies ist ein wundervoller Impuls für uns in Sachen #mediaeducation. –

Software Freedom Day: Ada geht nach Italien - Eis und Inklusion inklusive!

In Italien haben wir den Software Freedom Day mit der ersten Lesung von Adas Geschichte auf Italienisch gefeiert. Die Lesung wurde gemeinsam mit der Linuxnutzergruppe Bergamo organisiert und fand in Nembro statt. Danach gab es einen Workshop für die Kinder und alle konnten dank eines unserer Ehrenamtlichen hausgemachtes Eis geniessen!

Ist Ihnen aufgefallen, dass einer der Charaktere im Buch eine Beinprothese hat? (Ich bin sicher, dass Sie gerade nachschauen - das habe ich auch 😉-). Einige Kinder in einem Krankenhaus im Nahen Osten bemerkten es und waren sehr glücklich darüber. Ein weiteres Beispiel dafür, wie wichtig Inklusion in der Technik ist… und in Illustrationen.

Unsere Regionalgruppe in Berlin hat den Software Freedom Day auch mit einem Treffen gefeiert. Wie es war? Lesen Sie es hier (auf deutsch).

Die Niederlande: Wichtige Punkte für die Wahl

Die Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) ist der Ermächtigung von Nutzer:innen verpflichtet, um sie bei der Kontrolle von Technologie und dem Schutz von digitalen Bürgerrechten und Transparenz zu unterstützen. Dies tut sie, durch ihr Werben für Freie Software, auch bekannt als quelloffene Software. Ausserdem begünstigt Freie Software Innovationen und stärkt die Herstellerunabhängigkeit. Digitale Souveränität ist nur mit Freier Software möglich.

Was ist #FreieSoftware Video - Danke für eine erfolgreiche Kampagne!

Danke!! Ihre Unterstützung für diese Initiative hat es uns ermöglicht, dieses Video in mehr Sprachen zu übersetzen. Dank Ihrer Spende haben wir das Video aktuell auf Albanisch, Dänisch, Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch, Griechisch, Italienisch, Niederländisch, Polnisch, Portugiesisch, Schwedisch und Spanisch übersetzen können. Sie finden sie alle hier.

Unsere Kampagne ist gerade zu Ende gegangen aber wenn Sie uns noch helfen möchten, das Video in weitere Sprachen zu übersetzen, können Sie uns immer noch mit einer Spende unterstützen:

Werden Sie aktiv am Ada Lovelace Tag

Der Ada Lovelace Tag ist ein internationaler Feiertag, der den Leistungen von Frauen in MINT gewidmet ist und jedes Jahr am zweiten Dienstag im Oktober stattfindet. Eine perfekte Art, dies zu feiern ist eine Lesung von ‘Ada & Zangemann’! Wir veranstalten eine in einer Schule in Berlin, wenn Sie mitfeiern möchten, werden Sie aktiv und organisieren ebenfalls eine (und lassen Sie es uns wissen).

"Ich mag 'Ada & Zangemann' sehr. Auf der FrOSCon 2023 hatte ich kurzfristig die Gelegenheit eine Lesung zu geben. Ich wählte ein interaktives Format, bei dem das Publikum beim Lesen half. Es war eine wundervolle, kollaborative Erfahrung. Die Folien sind großartig und es gibt eine für jedes Bild im Buch, was es für das Verständnis kinderleicht macht. Meine Tochter begleitete mich auf der Bühne und sie hatte ebenfalls viel Spaß! Für den Fall, dass Sie auch darüber nachdenken eine Lesung zu veranstalten: Schnappen Sie sich das Buch, laden Sie die Folien herunter - es ist wirklich einfach und ganz sicher eine lohnende Erfahrung." Isabel Drost-Fromm, Mitglied der Apache Software Foundation, Mitbegründerin und Vorstandsmitglied der InnerSource Commons Foundation

Dieser Tag bietet natürlich auch eine perfekte Gelegenheit, das Buch zu kaufen und es einem Mädchen aus dem Bekanntenkreis zu schenken, um sie zu einem Studium und Beruf in einem MINT-Fach zu ermuntern!

Save the date! SFScon

Wir wärmen uns für die SFScon auf! Die South Tyrol Free Software Conference in Bozen findet dieses Jahr von 10.-11. November statt. Wir werden dort mit einem Stand und mehreren Vorträgen vertreten sein, wenn Sie einen Besuch dort planen, kommen Sie vorbei und sagen Hallo!

Die europäische SFS Award Zeremonie findet am ersten Tag der SFSCON Konferenz statt. Nominieren Sie die Beiträge zur Freien Software für den European SFS Award 2023! Helfen Sie uns, großartige Beiträge zur Freien Software zu finden, indem Sie uns mitteilen, wer diesen Preis bekommen sollte!

Bis es mit der SFScon soweit ist, haben wir noch weitere Veranstaltungen! Im Oktober haben wir zum Beispiel die Preisverleihung der zweiten Ausgabe des YH4F oder sind mit einem Stand bei einer weiteren Veganmania in Wien vertreten, die dieses Jahr das 25. Jubiläum feiert. (Lesen Sie, wie es diesen Sommer dort war).Bleiben Sie auf dem Laufenden auf!

Zitat des Monats

“Vor 40 Jahren tat sich eine Gruppe von Hackern zusammen, um etwas zu tun, was unmöglich schien -- ein gänzlich freies Betriebssystem zu schreiben, das Nutzer:innen die volle Kontrolle über ihre Rechner gab. Sie bewiesen, dass es möglich war, indem sie es machten. Alle, die sich bezüglich des aktuellen Stands der modernen Informationstechnologie hoffnungslos fühlen -- mobile Überwachungsgeräte in unseren Taschen, Black-Box KI, die das Gefüge unserer Gesellschaft bedroht, Streamingdienste und Verlagsgesellschaften, die versuchen, alle menschliche Kultur und alles Wissen für sich zu beanspruchen, indem sie die digitalen Distributionsplattformen kontrollieren -- sollten sich das Beispiel und die Ursprünge von GNU vor Augen halten, um zu verstehen, dass wir tatsächlich da heraus kommen *können* , wenn wir uns gegenseitig unterstützen und alles in unserer Macht Stehende tun, um zurückzuweisen was uns aufgezwungen wird.“ John Sullivan, Alliterative Advising LLC, früherer Geschäftsführer der Free Software Foundation

Lesen Sie noch mehr Zitate zum 40. Jubiläum von GNU

Beteiligen Sie sich an unserem Newsletter

Wir freuen uns, von Ihnen zu hören. Wenn Sie Gedanken, Bilder oder Neuigkeiten mit uns teilen möchten, senden Sie sie uns bitte an Sie können uns auch mit einer Spende unterstützen, zu unserer Arbeit beitragen und sich an unserer Gemeinschft beteiligen. Wir möchten unserer Gemeinschaft und allen Ehrenamtlichen, Unterstützer:innen und Spender:innen danken, die unsere Arbeit ermöglichen, mit einer besonderen Erwähnung unserer Übersetzer:innen, die es Ihnen ermöglichen, diesen Newsletter in Ihrer Muttersprache zu lesen.

Ihre Herausgeberin Ana Galán

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Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 40. Geburtstag, Freie Software!

25. September 2023 um 23:00

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 40. Geburtstag, Freie Software!

Seit vier Jahrzehnten arbeitet die Freie SoftwareBewegung daran, Nutzer die Kontrolle über Technologie zu ermöglichen und das gesellschaftliche Verständnis dafür zu stärken, wie Freie Software zu Freiheit, Transparenz und Selbstbestimmung beiträgt.

Schon gewusst? Die schnellsten Supercomputer laufen mit Freier Software

Vor vier Jahrzehnten begann die Digitalisierung, unser Leben zu verändern: in den frühen Achtzigern passten Computer nicht in die Hosentasche, sondern füllten noch ganze Räume, und die CD hatte gerade erst angefangen Musik-Kassetten zu verdrängen. 1982 kürte das Time Magazine den Computer zur „Person des Jahres“. Aber schon damals gab es Menschen, die es als notwendig erachteten, dass die Nutzer die Kontrolle über diese Technologie haben sollten. Aus diesem Grund stellte Richard M. Stallman 1983 das GNU- Projekt vor. Das Ziel: ein Betriebssystem zu schaffen, das ausschliesslich auf Freier Software basiert. Zwei Jahre später wurde die Free Software Foundation gegründet, eine Schwesterorganisation der Free Software Foundation Europe und die rechtliche Basis des GNU-Projekts.


Damit war die Bewegung für Freie Software geboren! Sie ist inzwischen zu einer weltweiten Massenbewegung angewachsen: kleine lokale Unternehmen, globale Konzerne, zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen, staatliche Institutionen und Tausende von Fachleuten arbeiten gemeinsam leidenschaftlich für eine Welt, in der die vier Freiheiten garantiert sind, welche das Wort 'Frei' in Freier Software definieren: Nutzer müssen die Möglichkeit haben, Software und den dazu gehörigen Code vollumfänglich studieren zu können, Nutzer dürfen Software für ihre Zwecke verwenden und dabei, falls nötig, an Ihre eigenen Bedürfnisse anpassen und ausserdem muss Software mit anderen Nutzer geteilt werden können. Diese Rechte der Freien Software Bewegung stärken im Zusammenspiel Grundrechte wie Redefreiheit, Pressefreiheit und das Recht auf Privatsphäre.

Freie Software ermöglicht Teilhabe und Interaktion von vielen verschiedenen Interessensgruppen an gesellschaftlich relevanten Themen und Problemen. Freie Software leistet somit auch einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Demokratieentwicklung. . Mit Freier Software können Menschen auf ihre jeweils spezifischen Situationen eingehen und Lösungen entwickeln die Vertrauen wecken. Die dabei verwendete Technologie dient der Gesellschaft, anstatt sie zu kontrollieren.

Software-Freiheit und die GNU GPL

1992 waren alle wesentlichen Komponenten des GNU Betriebssystems vorhanden, bis auf dem Betriebssystemkern, auch Kernel genannt. Als der Linux-Kernel im selben Jahr unter der GNU GPL Lizenz wiederveröffentlicht wurde, bildeten GNU/Linuxzusammen ein vollständiges Freies Betriebssystem.

Dieses Betriebssystem wird für Millionen von Servern, Computer und andere Informationstechnologien verwendet und bildet somit die Basis des Internets, wie wir es heute kennen. Von den technischen Errungenschaften einmal abgesehen ist GNU mit der GNU General Public License (GPL)auch Vorreiter des „copyleft“- Konzepts.

Copyleft gewährt den Nutzerinnen die vier Freiheiten von Freier Software, unter der Bedingung, dass diese Freiheiten auch bei Weitergabe der Software oder davon abgeleiteter Werke bestehen bleiben.

Konkret bedeutet eine copyleft-Lizenz, dass die abgeleitete Software grundsätzlich unter der selben Lizenz veröffentlicht werden muss, wie das davor bearbeitete Original. Das stellt sicher, dass Nutzerinnen von Software, die dem copyleft unterliegt, die vier Freiheiten geniessen, und dass ihnen diese auch nicht genommen werden können: Verwenden, Verstehen, Verteilen und Verbessern.

Es ist auch erlaubt Freie Software zu verkaufen und ein Geschäftsmodell darauf aufzubauen, solange die Käufer nach dem Erwerb nicht an der Ausübung der vier Rechte eingeschränkt werden. Freie Software kann auch auf andere Weise kommerzialisiert werden, z.B. durch den Verkauf von Support, Dienstleistungen oder Zertifizierungen. (L(Mehr über Freie Software-Lizenzen erfahreng).

Software hat sich mittlerweile zu einer unersetzlichen Ressource unserer Gesellschaft entwickelt, doch wir haben nicht die volle Kontrolle darüber. Gerätehersteller, Händler und Internetplattformen haben die Freiheit von Software eingeschränkt indem sie die Kontrolle über Endgeräte ausüben und so die individuelle Autonomie, das Wohl der Verbraucher und die digitale Souveränität bedrohen. Die Endnutzerinnen müssen ihre Geräte mithilfe von Freier Software (wieder) in ihren Besitz bringen. Vierzig Jahre nach dem Startschuss haben GNU und Freie Software nicht an Relevanz verloren.

Geräteneutralität kann den Endnutzerinnen die Kontrolle über ihre Geräte zurückerobern, und für einen fairen Wettbewerb auf den digitalen Märkten ist Freie Software unabdingbar, um so die Endnutzerinnen vor Lock-in Effekten zu schützen und sie dabei unetrstützen die Hoheit über die Verwenung ihrer Daten zu erlangen.

Jubiläumsfeier und Hackertreffen

Das GNU-Projekt feiert mit einem Hackertreffen zum 40. Geburtstag am 27. September im Volkshaus in Biel/Bienne, Schweiz. Die Veranstaltung wird von GNUnet e.V. organisiert und steht allen offen, die mitfeiern, mitarbeiten oder mehr über Freie Software erfahren wollen.

In Boston organisiert die Free Software Foundation, einer der Sponsorinnen von GNU, einen Hack Day für Familien, Studentinnen und alle, die mit GNU Geburtstag feiern möchten. Dieser wird am 1. Oktober in den Büros der FSF in Boston (USA) stattfinden.

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Happy 40th Anniversary of Software Freedom!

25. September 2023 um 23:00

Happy 40th Anniversary of Software Freedom!

For four decades the Free Software community has been working to empower users to control technology and to help our society understand how Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency and self-determination.

Did you know that the most powerful supercomputers run with Free Software?

Four decades ago, technology began to shape our lives: it was the early 1980s, computers did not yet fit into our pockets but filled large rooms. and we started to swap from tapes and floppies to CDs to listen to music. In 1982, the Time magazine named the computer "Person of the Year". At that point, some people already started pointing out the need to give users control over this technology. So in 1983 the GNU Project was announced by Richard M. Stallman. The goal: to create an operating system consisting entirely of Free Software to allow people to use, understand, adapt, and share software. Two years later the FSF, a sister organisation of the FSFE, was founded as the legal backbone for the GNU project.

That was the beginning of the software freedom movement! Today it is a global and broad movement that includes small local companies, large global corporations, civil society organisations and thousands of professionals. All are working towards a world where the four freedoms are guaranteed: users are free to use software and adapt it to their needs, and are able to understand and share it. These rights support other fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and privacy.

It is a movement that nowadays safeguards democracy. Free Software contributes to the interaction and participation of interested stakeholders and our society. In general, it empowers people to use software to create solutions to their problems, it contributes to creating trustworthy systems, and it enables technology that serves us instead of technology that controls us.

Software Freedom and the GNU GPL

In 1992, the essential components of the GNU operating system were complete, except for one, the kernel. When in 1992 the Linux kernel was re-released under the GNU GPL, the combination of GNU and Linux formed a complete free operating system. This combination is the GNU/Linux system.

Usually combined with the kernel Linux, GNU forms the backbone of the Internet and powers millions of servers, desktops, and embedded computing devices. Aside from its technical advancements, GNU pioneered the concept of “copyleft,” which is best exemplified by the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Copyleft gives permission for a user to enjoy the four freedoms of Free Software, under the condition that those freedoms remain intact in further distribution of the software or derivative works. In practical terms, a copyleft license would generally mean that the derivative has to be licensed under the same license as the original work. As a result, this ensures that users of copylefted Free Software benefit from the four rights to use, understand, share, and improve it, and those rights cannot be withheld from the users. This does not exclude Free Software from being sold, so long as the buyers are not restricted from exercising those four rights after their purchase. Free Software can also be commercialized in other ways, such as by selling support, services, or certification. (Learn more about Free Software Licensing).

Forty years later, GNU and Free Software are even more relevant. Software has become an indispensable resource for our societies, but users do not have full control over it. Device manufacturers, vendors, and Internet platforms have restricted software freedom by exercising control over end-user devices, threatening individual autonomy, consumer welfare, and digital sovereignty. End users must take ownership of their devices with Free Software.

Device Neutrality can restore end-user control over devices, and fair competition in digital markets requires ensuring software freedom for devices, protecting end-users from lock- in, and promoting end-user control over data.

Celebration and Hacker Meeting

The GNU Project is celebrating with a 40th anniversary hacker meeting on 27 September at the Volkshaus in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Organized by GNUnet e.V, the event is open to all who want to celebrate, work on, or learn about Free Software.

In Boston, the Free Software Foundation, which sponsors GNU, is organizing a hack day for families, students, and anyone interested in celebrating GNU’s anniversary. It will be held at the FSF’s offices in Boston (USA), on October 1.

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EU: Digital sovereignty & Interoperability. What about the role of Free Software?

19. September 2023 um 23:00

EU: Digital sovereignty & Interoperability. What about the role of Free Software?

Speaking about Digital Public Infrastructures last week, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pointed out that "the trick is to build public digital infrastructure that is interoperable, open to all and trusted". What exactly does this mean? What is required to achieve such an accessible digital infrastructure that can help foster innovation and allow cooperation on a global scale? What role does Free Software play in such ambition?

At the G20 summit 2023 in New Delhi, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called the attention of the world to recognise the importance of building a digital public infrastructure that is open to everybody, that is interoperable and that connects us with one another. However, in order to understand what is behind this statement, it is important to take a look at how the values of openness, digital sovereignty and interoperability have guided the latest EU digital policies.

Over the last years, the EU has witnessed the emergence of an EU discourse that highlights the need to strengthen the EU digital sovereignty. Since the beginning of her candidature, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has pledged “technological sovereignty” as one of her key priorities in the ongoing digital strategy of Europe(pdf). This has guided the EU in its ambition to reduce dependencies on technology and to assure that such technology empowers people (pdf).

With a common vision of the EU in 2030 – the 2030 Digital compass has started to move Europe forward towards more digital sovereignty “in an interconnected world by building and deploying technological capabilities in a way that empowers people and businesses to seize the potential of the digital transformation, and helps build a healthier and greener society".

Digital sovereignty and Free Software

In an era of increasing digitalisation, the core values of openness, accessibility, and trustworthiness must lead the way. A crucial aspect of the modernisation of our digital infrastructure is to ensure digital sovereignty.

As stated by the European Commission in its Communication “Shaping Europe Digital Future”(pdf): “European technological Sovereignty starts from ensuring the integrity and resilience of our data infrastructure, networks and communications. It requires creating the right conditions for Europe to develop and deploy its own key capacities, thereby reducing our dependency on other parts of the globe for the most crucial technologies. Europe's ability to define its own rules and values in the digital age will be reinforced by such capacities.”

In this regard, Free Software serves as an enhancer for governments and public institutions to build and maintain their digital systems without vendor lock-in, ensuring long-term control, cost-efficiency, and digital sovereignty. Moreover, it fosters innovation by allowing collaborative contributions resulting in robust and secure software that can be customized to meet specific public needs. By embracing Free Software, potential vulnerabilities in such digital public infrastructure can be easier identified and fixed while it promotes equitable access to technology, and reinforces the fundamental democratic principles of accountability and citizen engagement.

This promotes a self-reliant approach to technology, empowering the EU to shape its digital future in alignment with its values, regulations, and strategic interests, while fostering a more competitive and technologically independent European digital landscape.

As EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn has clearly stated “digitalisation cannot be seen in isolation” and “the force of good” - Free Software - has also the potential to ensure the proper use of public money, promote freedom of choice while guiding the EU and the world in the efforts of achieving a sovereign digital infrastructure.

Interoperability and Free Software

Interoperability has also played an important role in the digital efforts of an EU more interconnected, open and sovereign. In order to be able to have information systems and devices that work seamlessly together, a critical infrastructure is needed, and Free Software together with Open Standards play a fundamental role in these efforts.

With projects such as “FOSSA” and “FOSSA2” with the goal to increase the security and integrity of the Free Software used by European Institutions, “ISA”and “ISA2” aiming to strengthening interoperability across borders and sectors, as well as the latest EU Open Source Strategy and the further “Commission decision on the Open Source licensing and reuse of Commission software”, Europe has slowly and ambitiously laying the foundation for a digitalisation that realises the role of Free Software. However, ahead, there is still a long way to effectively bring such efforts into practice, so that this can be translated into solutions to real-life problems.

As EU Commission President von der Leyen has highlighted during her statement at the G20 summit, the success of the COVID19 digital certificate in the EU is a clear and practical example of what it is needed to tackle a global crisis in the most efficient way: Free Software. Free Software allowed a secure and transparent solution and also laid the groundwork for the interoperability that was needed in such global crisis by showing how collaboration can thrive a global solution.

EU about to take a landmark decision

With the current Interoperable Europe Act, the EU has already noted upon the need to create a dedicated legal framework that can pave the way of an interoperable digital landscape and is about to take a step ahead towards a more sovereign and interoperable Europe. Once finalised, the proper implementation of this Act within member states is of paramount importance to attain its full potential in fostering a unified and harmonised digital environment across the European Union as well as to amend the shortcomings that the final text might have when it comes to realising the potential that Free Software has to offer for a more interoperable Europe.

Ahead, there is the opportunity to assure a proper implementation of this and other digital policies which will help to more clearly define what Europe means with digital sovereignty and interoperability. It is time to underlying the fundamental role that Free Software and its community can play in the digitalisation of Europe.


The EU has started to recognise the important role that Free Software can play in the ambitious efforts of a more sovereign and interoperable digital infrastructure in Europe. It has started to come clear that Free Software can be a cornerstone of the EU's digital policies aimed at enhancing digital sovereignty and interoperability. By embracing Free Software, the EU can assert greater control over its digital infrastructure, promote interoperability, spend taxpayers money efficiently, improve security and privacy, foster innovation, and collaborate with partners globally, ultimately leading to a more self-reliant and digitally resilient European Union.

Yet a decisive period ahead is the implementation in Member States of the some of these digital policies that have come as a result of the ongoing digital agenda and which will be decisive to ensure that Europe achieves a sovereign and interoperable digital landscape.

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Sovereign workspace openDesk: German Ministry of the Interior provides answers

20. September 2023 um 23:00

Sovereign workspace openDesk: German Ministry of the Interior provides answers

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and the public IT service provider Dataport are working on administrative workspaces to enable digital sovereignty. But are both products Free Software? How are they related? We asked the BMI and publish the answers here.

In June, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) sent a catalogue of questions to the BMI about its “Sovereign Workspace” project. Our questions covered the relationship between the BMI workspace and Dataport's dPhoenixSuite, the funding of both projects, and the availability of their respective source code.

New developments: openDesk code available, dPhoenixSuite still proprietary

Some weeks later, the BMI released the first source code of its workspace suite as Free Software on openCoDE, the code repository for public administration. According to extensive documentation, the release is an alpha version, with the first operational release planned for later this year. The documentation states that the suite will be released entirely under Free Software licences and will include modules such as Univention Corporate Server, Collabora Online, Nextcloud, OpenProject, XWiki, Jitsi and the Matrix client Element. Extensibility through new and alternative modules is planned. The suite was renamed "openDesk" a few weeks ago. As of 2024, the coordination and management of openDesk will be completely handed over to the Centre for Digital Sovereignty (ZenDiS GmbH). ZenDiS was founded at the end of 2022 to bundle the German government's digital sovereignty initiatives, and is fully state-owned.

In contrast, Dataport has not yet released the source code for its workspace suite. The dPhoenixSuite contains numerous Free Software components and is advertised as "open source", "based on open source" and "digitally sovereign". This gives the false impression that dPhoenixSuite is Free Software. Dataport has not yet taken any steps to correct this impression or to actually make the suite available as Free Software.

BMI: Dataport collaborates intensively on openDesk

Meanwhile, [FSFE has received the BMI's response to our questions](LINK TO ANSWERS PDF). The answers clarify that Dataport plays an important role in the development of openDesk, especially in the architectural design and operational development of the product, and receives public funding from the BMI for this. For 2023 alone, the BMI has earmarked 21.6 million euros for openDesk. However, it remains unclear what proportion of this funding is passed on to Dataport. There is also a lack of transparency about how much of the funding will actually go to the companies driving the development and integration of the modules used in openDesk.

According to the BMI, there are overlaps between openDesk and the older dPhoenixSuite, which has mainly influenced the architecture of openDesk. However, the Ministry emphasises the independence of its openDesk suite: "The Sovereign Workspace is building its own architecture. [...] The Sovereign Workspace is an independent project. […] To what extent Dataport aligns its dPhoenixSuite with it is up to Dataport". The BMI does not disclose to what extent dPhoenix code has been incorporated into openDesk. The Ministry states that it did not influence Dataport to make the dPhoenixSuite available as Free Software.

The full BMI response can be found here.

Dataport must take a stand

So far, when asked about the dPhoenixSuite code, Dataport has referred to the source code of the included modules and to the BMI's openDesk project. The BMI's answers make it clear once again: Despite some similarities and organisational entanglements, dPhoenixSuite and openDesk are two different products. Dataport can no longer shift the responsibility for releasing its own source code onto the BMI, but must take a stand: if the dPhoenixSuite is to be a digitally sovereign workspace for public administrations, then Dataport should finally make the complete dPhoenix code available under a Free Software licence, ideally compliant with the openDesk reference implementation and not as a competing product.

However, BMI's response also contains a reference to possible proprietary components of the dPhoenixSuite. If Dataport continues with its proprietary strategy, and if the suite does contain proprietary code, it should no longer be advertised with the misleading terms "digitally sovereign" and "open source". In this case, Dataport should also correct the previous misleading communication by stating on its website that the suite is not Free Software to avoid any impression of open-washing.

openDesk needs transparency and efficiency

Regarding the openDesk workspace, its funding and its links to the dPhoenixSuite, the BMI's answers only partially provide the necessary transparency. However, the publication of the openDesk code and its open development on openCoDE are important steps in the right direction. The documentation and announcements about the future of the openDesk project also give reason for cautious optimism that a fully-fledged Free Software workspace for administrations might soon be available.

In the future, the BMI and ZenDiS should not only manage the development of openDesk transparently, but also make the governance of the project transparent and understandable to the public – a prerequisite for openDesk to gain trust and acceptance in public administrations.

Transparency is also the only way to ensure that public funds for openDesk are used efficiently and actually contribute to the development of Free Software. The FSFE has recently called on the German government to increase funding for Free Software instead of cutting it, as is currently planned in the 2024 budget. Since openDesk is a major digital sovereignty project of this legislative period, there should be more budget for it, and that money should be used for actual Free Software development, feature implementation, maintenance, and integration of the modules. The BMI must finally make the organisational development of ZenDiS a priority and thereby secure Free Software projects for public administration in the long term.

The FSFE will continue to monitor developments around openDesk and the dPhoenixSuite. If you have any relevant information, you're welcome to share it with us.

Free Software and "Public Money? Public Code!”

Free Software gives everyone the right to use, study, share, and improve applications for any purpose. These freedoms ensure that similar applications do not have to be programmed from scratch every time and, thanks to transparent processes, others do not have to reinvent the wheel. In large projects, expertise and costs can be shared and applications paid for by the general public are available to all. This promotes innovation and saves taxpayers money in the medium to long term. Dependencies on vendors are minimised and security issues can be fixed more easily. The Free Software Foundation Europe, together with over 200 organisations and administrations, is therefore calling for “Public Money? Public Code!” - If it is public money, it should be public code as well. More information on the initiative is available on the “Public Money? Public Code!” website.

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Souveräner Arbeitsplatz openDesk: Bundesministerium des Inneren gibt Auskunft

20. September 2023 um 23:00

Souveräner Arbeitsplatz openDesk: Bundesministerium des Inneren gibt Auskunft

Das deutsche Bundesministerium des Inneren und für Heimat (BMI) und der öffentliche IT-Dienstleister Dataport arbeiten an Verwaltungs-Arbeitsumgebungen, die digitale Souveränität ermöglichen sollen. Doch sind beide Produkte Freie Software? Wie hängen sie zusammen? Wir haben beim BMI nachgefragt und veröffentlichen hier die Antworten.

Im Juni hatte die Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) dem BMI einen Fragenkatalog zu dessen „Souveränem Arbeitsplatz“ übersendet. Unsere Fragen thematisierten das Verhältnis des BMI-Arbeitsplatzes zur dPhoenixSuite der norddeutschen Anstalt öffentlichen Rechts Dataport, die Finanzierung beider Projekte und die Verfügbarkeit der jeweiligen Quellcodes.

Neue Entwicklungen: openDesk-Code verfügbar, dPhoenixSuite nach wie vor proprietär

Einige Wochen später veröffentlichte das BMI den ersten Quellcode seiner Arbeitsplatz-Suite als Freie Software auf openCoDE, dem Code-Repository der öffentlichen Verwaltung. Der umfangreichen Dokumentation zufolge handelt es sich bei der Veröffentlichung um eine Alpha-Version, während das erste einsatzfähige Release noch in diesem Jahr geplant ist. In der Dokumentation wird angekündigt, dass die Suite vollständig unter Freie-Software-Lizenzen stehen soll. Als Module werden unter anderem Univention Corporate Server, Collabora Online, Nextcloud, OpenProject, XWiki, Jitsi und den Matrix-Client Element zum Einsatz kommen. Die Erweiterbarkeit durch neue und alternative Module ist geplant. Seit wenigen Wochen firmiert die Suite unter dem Namen „openDesk“. Ab 2024 sollen die Koordination und Steuerung von openDesk vollständig an das Zentrum für Digitale Souveränität (ZenDiS GmbH) übergeben werden. Das ZenDiS war Ende 2022 in Alleineignerschaft der Bundesregierung gegründet worden, um die Initiativen der Bundesregierung für digitale Souveränität zu bündeln.

Anders als das BMI hat Dataport den Quellcode seiner Arbeitsplatz-Suite bis heute nicht veröffentlicht. Die dPhoenixSuite enthält zahlreiche Freie-Software-Komponenten und wird als „Open Source“, „basierend auf Open Source“ und „digital souverän“ beworben. So entsteht der falsche Eindruck, es handele sich bei der dPhoenixSuite um Freie Software. Dataport hat bisher nichts getan, um diesen Eindruck zu korrigieren oder um die Suite tatsächlich als Freie Software verfügbar zu machen.

BMI: Dataport arbeitet intensiv an openDesk mit

Mittlerweile liegt der FSFE das Antwortschreiben des BMI vor. Darin wird deutlich, dass Dataport bei der Entwicklung von openDesk eine wichtige Rolle zukommt, vor allem beim Architekturdesign und bei der operativen Entwicklung des Produkts, und dafür öffentliche Gelder des BMI erhält. Allein im Jahr 2023 sind BMI-Haushaltsmittel von 21,6 Mio. Euro für openDesk eingeplant. Welcher Anteil davon an Dataport weitergereicht wird, bleibt aber unklar. Intransparent ist auch, welcher Teil der Mittel tatsächlich bei den Unternehmen ankommt, die die Entwicklung und Integration der verwendeten Module vorantreiben.

Dem BMI zufolge gibt es Überschneidungen zwischen openDesk und der älteren dPhoenixSuite, die vor allem die Architektur von openDesk beeinflusst habe. Doch betont das Ministerium die Eigenständigkeit seiner openDesk-Suite: „Der Souveräne Arbeitsplatz baut eine eigene Architektur auf. […] Der Souveräne Arbeitsplatz ist ein eigenständiges Projekt. […] Inwieweit sich Dataport mit der dPhoenixSuite daran orientiert, obliegt Dataport.“ In welchem Ausmaß dPhoenix-Code in openDesk eingeflossen ist, legt das BMI nicht offen. Nach eigener Aussage hat das Ministerium keinen Einfluss auf Dataport genommen, um die dPhoenixSuite ebenfalls als Freie Software verfügbar zu machen.

Das vollständige Antwortschreiben des BMI ist hier zu finden.

Dataport muss Farbe bekennen

Bisher verwies Dataport bei Nachfragen zum dPhoenixSuite-Code einerseits auf den Quellcode der enthaltenen Module und andererseits auf das openDesk-Projekt des BMI und dessen geplanter Veröffentlichung auf openCoDE. Die Antworten des BMI verdeutlichen einmal mehr: Trotz einiger Gemeinsamkeiten und organisatorischer Verflechtungen sind die dPhoenixSuite und openDesk zwei unterschiedliche Produkte. Dataport kann nicht länger dem BMI die Verantwortung für die Veröffentlichung des eigenen Quellcodes zuschieben, sondern muss Farbe bekennen: Soll die dPhoenixSuite tatsächlich ein digital souveräner Arbeitsplatz für öffentliche Verwaltungen sein? Dann sollte Dataport den vollständigen dPhoenix-Code endlich unter eine Freie-Software-Lizenz stellen und zugänglich machen – idealerweise compliant zur openDesk-Referenzimplementierung und nicht als Konkurrenzprodukt.

Im Antwortschreiben des BMI findet sich allerdings ein Hinweis auf proprietäre Komponenten der dPhoenixSuite. Falls Dataport an seiner proprietären Strategie festhält und falls die Suite tatsächlich proprietären Code enthält, sollte sie nicht länger mit den irreführenden Begriffen „digital souverän“ und „Open Source“ beworben werden. In diesem Fall sollte Dataport seine vorherige irreführende Kommunikation korrigieren und auf seiner Webseite klarstellen, dass die Suite nicht Freie Software ist, um jeden Eindruck von Open-Washing zu vermeiden.

openDesk braucht Transparenz und Effizienz

Rund um den Arbeitsplatz openDesk, seine Finanzierung und seine Verbindungen zur dPhoenixSuite sorgen die BMI-Antworten nur teilweise für die nötige Transparenz. Die Veröffentlichung des openDesk-Codes und seine offene Entwicklung auf openCoDE sind aber wichtige Schritte in die richtige Richtung. Auch die dortigen Ankündigungen zur Zukunft des Projekts geben Anlass zu vorsichtigem Optimismus hinsichtlich der zeitnahen Verfügbarkeit eines vollwertigen Freie-Software-Arbeitsplatzes für Verwaltungen.

Das BMI und ZenDiS sollten nun nicht nur die Entwicklung von openDesk, sondern auch die Governance des Projektes transparent und für die Öffentlichkeit nachvollziehbar gestalten – eine Voraussetzung dafür, dass openDesk in öffentlichen Behörden auf Vertrauen und Akzeptanz trifft. Transparenz ist auch der einzige Weg um sicherzustellen, dass öffentliche Gelder für openDesk effizient eingesetzt werden und tatsächlich in die Entwicklung Freier Software fließen.

Die FSFE hat kürzlich die deutsche Regierung aufgefordert, die Mittel für Freie Software zu erhöhen, anstatt sie zu kürzen, wie es derzeit im Haushalt 2024 vorgesehen ist. Da openDesk ein wichtiges Projekt im Bereich digitaler Souveränität in dieser Legislaturperiode ist, muss das Budget dafür erhöht werden, und dieses Geld sollte für die tatsächliche Entwicklung Freier Software, die Implementierung von Funktionen, die Maintenance und die Integration der Module verwendet werden. Das BMI muss den organisatorischen Aufbau des ZenDiS endlich zur Priorität machen und dadurch Freie-Software-Projekte für die öffentliche Verwaltung langfristig absichern.

Die FSFE wird die Entwicklungen rund um openDesk und die dPhoenixSuite weiter beobachten. Wer dazu mit relevanten Informationen beizutragen vermag, kann diese gerne mit uns teilen.

Freie Software und „Public Money? Public Code!”

Freie Software gibt allen das Recht, Programme für jeden Zweck zu verwenden, zu verstehen, zu verbreiten und zu verbessern. Durch diese Freiheiten müssen ähnliche Programme nicht komplett neu programmiert werden und dank transparenter Prozesse muss das Rad nicht ständig neu erfunden werden. Bei großen Projekten können Expertise und Kosten geteilt werden und von der Allgemeinheit bezahlte Anwendungen stehen allen zur Verfügung. So wird Innovation gefördert und mittel- bis langfristig Steuergeld gespart. Abhängigkeiten von einzelnen Anbieterinnen werden minimiert und Sicherheitslücken können leichter geschlossen werden. Die Free Software Foundation Europe fordert daher mit über 200 Organisation und Verwaltungen „Public Money? Public Code!“ - Wenn es sich um öffentliche Gelder handelt, sollte auch der Code öffentlich sein!. Mehr Informationen zur Initiative sind auf der „Public Money? Public Code!” website zu finden.

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Router Freedom: German telcos want to exclude fiber

14. September 2023 um 23:00

Router Freedom: German telcos want to exclude fiber

German network operators have requested the national regulator Bundesnetzagentur to start procedures to exclude Router Freedom from fiber networks. In a consultation, the FSFE picks apart all the telcos’ arguments and calls on the regulator to respect consumer rights.

The German telecommunications regulator Bundesnetzagentur, has opened procedures to analyse a request made by fiber network operators requesting to exclude Router Freedom from fiber networks. The request contains the fiber operators’ arguments, including security of the network, cost of support, quality of service and interoperability issues.

In the public consultation (in German) the FSFE has called on the regulator to dismiss the request since it goes against the German law and the EU regulatory framework of net neutrality, which has clearly set rules safeguarding freedom of terminal equipment for end-users. Although the network operators have tried to pose fiber networks as a special case, we have demonstrated that there is no objective technological necessity to abolish Router Freedom. On the contrary, Router Freedom represents also for fiber freedom of choice, security, consumer welfare, fair competition and sustainability.

The FSFE’s arguments were also supported by empirical data collected in the comprehensive Router Freedom survey, where more than 1.600 participants have stated their problems with ISPs hampering their rights to use their own routers and modems.

Router Freedom is key for a neutral, fair and secure Internet access

"German fiber networks are pushing the boundaries against Router Freedom. However, telcos were not able to prove the necessity to revisit the law, making their request void. We call on the Bundesnetzagentur to consider end-users rights and interests and safeguard Router Freedom in fiber networks".

- Alexander Sander, FSFE’s Senior Policy Consultant.

You can download the FSFE’s consultation paper here (in German)

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Ada goes to Italy - ice cream included!

06. September 2023 um 23:00

Ada goes to Italy - ice cream included!

Join the first reading of the book 'Ada & Zangemann' in Italian! Celebrate with us the Software Freedom Day 16 September listening to the story of Ada while eating homemade ice cream.

Together with the Bergamo Linux User Group, the FSFE is celebrating the Software Freedom Day with the Italian Free Software community. On September 16th, we will be celebrating this occasion with the first Italian reading of the book ‘Ada & Zangemann – A tale of software, skateboards, and raspberry ice cream’, a reading for people from 6 to 106 years old. Moreover, there will be a workshop afterwards for the little ones and free home-made ice cream, courtesy of a FSFE volunteer.

Event date

Date: 16.09.2023

Time: 14:45 - 18:00

Location: Biblioteca Centro Cultura Tullio Carrara, Piazza Italia, 24027 Nembro, Italy


14:45 – 16:15 - Reading of the book

From 16:15 onwards - Workshop for kids

Ada & Zangeman – A tale of software, skateboards, and raspberry ice cream

The illustrated book 'Ada & Zangemann - a tale of software, skateboards, and raspberry ice cream', written by Matthias Kirschner and illustrated by Sandra Brandstätter, tells the story of the famous inventor Zangemann and the girl Ada, a curious tinkerer. Ada begins to experiment with hardware and software, and in the process realises how crucial it is for her and others to control technology.

"Ada & Zangemann proves that the argument for software and hardware freedom is simple: We should be able to do what we want with our stuff... Electronics freedom means more learning and less waste, as Ada shows. Kids and adults alike will be entertained by this book, charmed by its illustrations, and inspired by Ada’s engineering spirit and impassioned activism."

- Elizabeth Chamberlain, Director of Sustainability, iFixit

"Ada & Zangemann is not only a utopian and charming story about Free Software and computers, but it is one about self-empowerment and also about joy in technology... it may well be an eye-opener for adults, too."

- Dr. Constanze Kurz, Spokesperson, Chaos Computer Club (CCC)

The book is currently available by the following publishers:

  • in English by No Starch Press can be ordered from your preferred book store world-wide with the ISBN 978-1-718-50320-5.
  • in German by O'Reilly Germany / Dpunkt Verlag (affiliate link - the FSFE gets 12%) and can be ordered from your preferred book store with the ISBN 978-3-96009-190-5.

The book is published under a Creative Commons By Share Alike licence, and we are working on making the story of Ada available in other languages. As this process takes time and a lot of work, it would be great if you could fill in this short survey to check which languages you are interested in, so that we can better prioritise.

The book is also a great gift for our loved ones, as well as a donation to libraries and schools to arouse more people's interest in tinkering with hardware and software, and encourage them to shape their own technology!

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The Netherlands: Important points for the election

05. September 2023 um 23:00

The Netherlands: Important points for the election

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is committed to empower users to control technolgy to digital civil rights, transparency and control over technology. It does this by promoting Free Software (also known as Open Source Software). In addition, Free Software promotes innovation and prevents vendor lock-in. Digital sovereignty is only possible with Free Software.

Our society is becoming increasingly digital, so it is crucial that public values are also safeguarded in the digital domain. The upcoming elections and term of office are an opportunity to take important steps on current themes such as artificial intelligence (AI) and digital commons.

FSFE asks parties to work on the following action points:

  • Strengthen the 'open, unless' policy that requires government to choose Free Software by default This is crucial for transparency and digital sovereignty, so embed this policy in legislation. Support governments in selecting and developing Free Software with a central expertise center. Identify government tasks where control and explainability is necessary and ensure this by applying the principle of ‘Public Money? Public Code!’.
  • Encourage wise reuse of software by investing in digital commons to make sure others can benefit from the improvements. Support the adaptation and development of these joint Free Software solutions with knowledge and financial resources. Use the European knowledge network and the space of European digitization funds for this.
  • Improve the oversight and transparency of algorithms in government use. The further filling of the national algorithm register is a first step in this respect. In addition, increase transparency by publishing the training data and source code of those algorithms under a Free license, as we have argued before.
  • Pupils and parents should not be forced to use proprietry software that often even spies on them. Place additional requirements on IT solutions for knowledge and educational institutions to help them maintain sovereignty in a digital world. Support institutions in the use of Free Software to prevent vendor-lock in and to promote independent digital skills.
  • Stop wasting energy and strategically important raw materials by extending the life of electronics. Make sure that the end of support does not mean the end of the service life. To this end, empower consumers and businesses to repair hardware and replace software with Free Software that they control themselves. This call has been supported by the signatories of our open letter 'The universal right to install any software on any device'.

The FSFE is happy to elaborate on these points.

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