[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Fsfe-uk] FSFE Newsletter

From: Free Software Foundation Europe
Subject: [Fsfe-uk] FSFE Newsletter
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 22:06:25 +0100

Happy new year everyone.  The last month of 2007 was pretty exciting, with the 
biggest news being the release of interoperability information by Microsoft in 
connection with the European antitrust case.  The SAMBA project has arranged 
full access to specifications necessary for communication competitive 
alternatives to Microsoft's proprietary products.  Of course, this does not 
mean that Microsoft's monopolistic behaviour has been resolved.  A new 
antitrust case may be undertaken after complaints by Opera Software that 
Microsoft has willfully distorted the web browser marketplace.  It's
also important to note that this does not in any way solve the problem
with patents on software.  Such patents are still being granted by the
European Patent Office (EPO) in violation of current law, and the FSFE is
encouraging the European Commission to take actions to permanently abolish
patents on software, both in theory and practice.

In other news, Google has committed to supporting FSFE's Freedom Task Force in 
helping people understand Free Software licences. Free Software events in 
Scandinavia and the Balkans showed the continued spread of Free Software 
technology and values across Europe, and concerns about information control 
and retention have been voiced in Germany.  It looks like we are going to have 
a very busy 2008!  You can be part of it by contributing time and energy to 
FSFE's activities, by telling people about Free Software and by using some 
of the great free solutions out there.  Check out 
http://www.fsfeurope.org/contribute/ for some information on getting started.

                                                    - Shane, Zuerich Office

1. MS vs EU - Microsoft Releases Interoperability Information To SAMBA
2. FSFE Supports New Antitrust Case
3. Google Contributes To The FTF
4. Free Software Story In Berlin
5. FScons
6. Privatsphaere.org Meeting On Privacy 
7. STACS Session In Belgrade
8. Serbian Ministry For Information Society Undertakes Localisation Efforts

1. MS vs EU - Microsoft Releases Interoperability Information To SAMBA

In 2004 the European Commission found Microsoft guilty of monopoly abuse 
in the IT marketplace and demanded that complete interoperability information 
be made available to competitors. Microsoft objected to this decision and was 
overruled in September 2007 by the European Court of First Instance (CFI). 
The CFI found Microsoft guilty of deliberate obstruction of interoperability 
and upheld the obligation for Microsoft to share its protocol information.

The Samba Team has decided to make use of Micrsoft's obligation under the 
European judgements. Through the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation (PFIF),
network interoperability information has been requested and a one-time access 
fee of 10.000 EUR is being paid to give Samba team full access to important 

"This case is over and interoperability won. The European Court made clear that 
interoperability information should not be kept secret and the agreement shows 
that Microsoft saw no way to continue its obstruction of interoperability in 
this area. This establishes a standard which everyone will have to meet from 
now on," summarizes Georg Greve, president of FSFE. 


2. FSFE Supports New Antitrust Case

Opera Software has formally complained about Microsoft's anti-competitive 
behaviour in the web browser marketplace and there is the possibility of a new 
antitrust case on this issue being launched by the European Commission.  FSFE 
has sent a letter to the European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes offering
its support for any investigation undertaken on the basis of the complaint.

"Although Opera Software does not produce Free Software, we largely share their 
assessment and concerns regarding the present situation in the Internet browser 
market", FSFE president Georg Greve writes in the letter and continues: "Some of
the most successful browsers in the concerned market are Free Software or 
contain large portions of Free Software. This includes, Mozilla Firefox and 
Konqueror, a browser made by KDE. Those products are highly innovative and 
widely recognized as more secure than the dominant application. They faithfully 
implement major international Open Standards relevant to browser technology."


3. Google Contributes To The FTF

FSFE's Freedom Task Force provides Free Software licence education, 
training and consultancy.  We do stuff like managing a pan-European 
network of legal experts and working with gpl-violations.org to resolve 
licensing issues.  Basically, the FTF helps to build infrastructure 
that encourages Free Software adoption and fair use.

Recently Google made a contribution to help the FTF deliver training
courses, attend conferences and translate documentation into more
languages.  Like all NGOs we have limited resources and Google's
assistance makes a significant difference.  We would like to thank Chris and
the rest of the team at the Googleplex for believing in what we do and
for making it possible for us to continue this work.


4. Free Software Story In Berlin

On the 13th of December the Berlin Fellowship group held a local meeting.
Amongst the up to 20 people in the room from Berlin, there were also
visitors from outside Berlin: Georg Greve (FSFE's President) and
Bernhard Reiter (FSFE's German Coordinator).  During tea, gingerbread,
and other sweeties (plus beer) it was talked about the beginning of
FSFE, how the participants came to Free Software, and other nice, funny,
interesting stories, which fitted nicely into the pre Christmas mood.

 Picture: http://www.fsfe.org/en/fellows/mk/weblog/teatime_in_berlin

5. FScons

In December close to 200 participants attended FSCONS (Free Software
Conference in Scandinavia). During the two days the participants could
listen to presentation ranging from Free Software licensing to Free 
Software in embedded devices. FSCONS was arranged by FSFE, and will
become an annual event to gather people from the nordic countries.


6. Privatsphaere.org Meeting On Privacy 

"The citizens should control the government instead the government controlling
the citizens!" was a spontaneous outcry of those attending an event called 
privatsphaere.org - a joint initiative of UUGRN.org, the "Laboratory for 
Dependable Distributed Systems University of Mannheim" and FSFE. 
After six presentations tackling the European data retention directive, the 
German "online searching" and the electronic health card from different 
perspectives, about 80 people in the audience agreed that the building of 
"data mountains" will not prevent terrorism in Europe but will cause 
additional problems to the society as whole. One visitor asked: "Where are 
all the local journalists, counsels, tax consultants and medical doctors? 
They should have joined this great event!" Three speakers repeatedly 
recommended the usage of Free Software to help ensure some minimum privacy, 
and FSFE pointed out that people should be careful with regards committing 
personal information to archives.

7. STACS Session In Belgrade

On the 4th of December, FSFE hosted a STACS project session in Belgrade. Civil 
society representatives both the local area and the EU participated in 
and discussions, brainstormed interesting projects intended for future 


8. Serbian Ministry For Information Society Undertakes Localisation Efforts

According to the official website of Serbian Ministry for telecommunication and 
information society, the ministry will invest in Free Software localisation in 
Serbia to provides solutions to the public and business sector. Fedora and 
Ubuntu GNU/Linux distributions will be localised along with GNOME, KDE, Mozilla 
products (Firefox and Thunderbird) and OpenOffice.org.  The work will be 
undertaken in cooperation with Serbian universities. Initial contacts with 
localisation teams and Free Software 
community are currently being made.

Get active with FSFE:

You can find a list of all FSFE newsletters on

Copyright (C) FSFE.  Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire 
article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved. 

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]