Richard Stallman - "Copyright vs Community in the age of computer networks" (Nicosia, Cyprus)

Richard Stallman will be speaking at the Unconference (2019-05-30–06-01).

Copyright developed in the age of the printing press, and was designed to fit with the system of centralized copying imposed by the printing press. But the copyright system does not fit well with computer networks, and only draconian punishments can enforce it.
The global corporations that profit from copyright are lobbying for draconian punishments, and to increase their copyright powers, while suppressing public access to technology. But if we seriously hope to serve the only legitimate purpose of copyright–to promote progress, for the benefit of the public–then we must make changes in the other direction.

This speech will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Location: University of Nicosia, Cyprus

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Nicosia.

Three conclusions to draw from Google denying Huawei access to software

Three conclusions to draw from Google denying Huawei access to software

Google denies the Chinese IT giant Huawei access to Google's proprietary components of the Android mobile operating system which threatens IT security. This highlights the importance Free Software has for technology users, public bodies, and businesses. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) presents three essential lessons from this case.

Following the U.S. administration's decision to effectively ban American companies from doing trade with the Chinese company Huawei, Google suspended all business with the company. This affects all software which is not covered under Free Software licences. In practice, Huawei's upcoming and potentially also current phones will no longer get support and updates for the Android operating system. They will also not have access to the proprietary Google apps and services like Gmail and Google Play. Although proprietary software should be avoided in the first place, especially the latter will put future Huawei user at risk because without access to the default app store on most stock Android phones they will miss important security updates for the apps installed through it.

Google offers only a base version of Android under a Free Software licence but bundles it together with proprietary apps and services. The non-free components of most stock Android devices have numerous downsides for users, as the FSFE has documented since 2012. Now, the current case demonstrates that even tech giants like Huawei face similar dependencies and vendor lock-in effects as any individual users if they rely on proprietary software.

Three Conclusions

The following lessons can be drawn from this case:

The FSFE urges users to use Free Software operating systems and applications on their computing devices. With proprietary software, they are on the receiving end only and vendors may deny them access to crucial security updates if the vendor or a government changes its strategy. Free Software enables control of technology, and the more important that technology becomes in our daily lives, the more relevant Free Software becomes for users. For Android, the FSFE helps users to regain more control with its Free Your Android initiative. Governments and especially the European Union should invest more resources in Free Software to gain independence from large enterprises and other states. The current case highlights the lack of influence the EU has on outside technology providers. Instead of waiting for a future European IT monopolist to enter the stage, the EU and its members states should invest in Free Software development and focus on supporting local Free Software organisations as well as businesses. This would effectively foster the inner-European market and enable independence for European citizens and the EU economy. This step is essential for avoiding exposing European infrastructure to shutdowns controlled by external factors. The FSFE urges companies to use as much Free Software as possible in their supply chains. Proprietary software makes a company dependent on its vendor and this vendor's government. The current case shows that the US was able to force Google to stop delivery of its proprietary products – but could not stop delivery of the Free Software components of Android. Had Huawei invested more resources in Free Software apps and services, the US strategy would not have hit them as hard. Although the current events are linked to the scrutiny the Chinese company is under right now, it is obvious that this could happen to any other company based in any other country as well.

The earlier allegations against Huawei already showed that code for all critical infrastructure should be published under a Free Software licence. The latest episode of the Huawei affair illustrates that the same applies to apps and services. Just days before the European Elections, this should be a wake-up call for the next constituent Parliament to ask the European Commission for European directives that foster independence of European technical infrastructure and that build on Free Software, starting with the demand to release publicly funded software as public code.

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Six more devices from ThinkPenguin, Inc. now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

This is ThinkPenguin's second batch of devices to receive RYF certification this spring. The FSF announced certification of seven other devices from ThinkPenguin on March 21st. This latest collection of devices makes ThinkPenguin the retailer with the largest catalog of RYF-certified devices.

"It's unfortunate that so many of even the simplest devices out there have surprise proprietary software requirements. RYF is an antidote for that. It connects ethical shoppers concerned about their freedom with companies offering options respecting that freedom," said the FSF's executive director, John Sullivan.

Today's certifications expands the availability of RYF-certified peripheral devices. The Penguin USB 2.0 External USB Stereo Sound Adapter and the 5.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express Audio Sound Card help users get the most of their computers in terms of sound quality. For wireless connectivity, ThinkPenguin offers the Wireless N PCI Express Dual-Band Mini Half-Height Card and Penguin Wireless N Mini PCIe Card. For users with an older printer, the USB to Parallel Printer Cable can let them continue to use it with their more current hardware. Finally, the PCIe eSATA / SATA 6Gbps Controller Card help users to connect to external eSATA devices as well as internal SATA.

"I've spent the last 14 years working on projects aimed at making free software adoption easy for everyone, but the single greatest obstacle over the past 20 years has not been software. It's been hardware. The RYF program helps solve this problem by linking users to trustworthy sources where they can get hardware guaranteed to work on GNU/Linux, and be properly supported using free software," said Christopher Waid, founder and CEO of ThinkPenguin.

While ThinkPenguin has consistently sought certification since the inception of the RYF program -- gaining their first certification in 2013, and adding several more over the years since -- the pace at which they are gaining certifications now eclipses all past efforts.

"ThinkPenguin continues to impress with the rapid expansion of their catalog of RYF-certified devices. Adding 14 new devices in a little over a month shows their dedication to the RYF certification program and the protection of users it represents," said the FSF's licensing and compliance manager, Donald Robertson, III.

To learn more about the Respects Your Freedom certification program, including details on the certification of these ThinkPenguin devices, please visit

Retailers interested in applying for certification can consult

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at and, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at

About ThinkPenguin, Inc.

Started by Christopher Waid, founder and CEO, ThinkPenguin, Inc., is a consumer-driven company with a mission to bring free software to the masses. At the core of the company is a catalog of computers and accessories with broad support for GNU/Linux. The company provides technical support for end-users and works with the community, distributions, and upstream projects to make GNU/Linux all that it can be.

Media Contacts

Donald Robertson, III
Licensing and Compliance Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

ThinkPenguin, Inc.
+1 (888) 39 THINK (84465) x703

FSFE Newsletter - May 2019

FSFE Newsletter May 2019

This newsletter edition gives special attention to the upcoming EU Elections. We are telling the story of the Spanish Pica Pica Hacklab who successfully used our "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign to influence the Parliament of Asturias. Pica Pica's story takes us to the upcoming EU Elections that will bring in new MEPs into the European Parliament and so we provide advice and tips on how you can get active in promoting Free Software to them. As always, you will also read about the events the FSFE is going to be part of this month, as well as a retrospective of what has happened in the past month.

EU Elections 2019 and Free Software

"The Parliament of Asturias commits itself to the international Public Money? Public Code! campaign" - this is a quote from the first demand in a recent proposal brought in by the Parliament of Asturias towards its government and it marks the happy end of continuous lobbying efforts from Oviedo's local hackerspace "Pica Pica Hacklab".

Pica Pica Hacklab team in front of the Parliament of Asturias after the Parliament's decision to support Public Money? Public Code!

This was already the second attempt of Pica Pica to lobby the Parliament of Asturias and demand the use of Free Software within public administrations. However, in contrast to their first attempt in 2015, this time Pica Pica had "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign materials at hand and used them extensively, together with their self-developed social hacking skills, to convince the politicians.

Pica Pica's success story is highly motivating for local activists and so we interviewed Iyán Méndez Veiga, member of Pica Pica, to highlight key elements of their activities, the usage of our campaign material and their lobbying. Read how Pica Pica successfully emphasised different benefits of Free Software depending on the agenda of the political party they were talking to respectively, how they turned emails into face-to-face meetings and how they finally landed even more meetings with officials from different parties by simply walking through the Parliament's building.

Pica Pica's story is not only motivating but it also clearly shows how local engagement by a small single group can influence even the highest political levels. Still, it is one story out of many, happening continuously in many parts of Europe. Be it a group of people or individuals: every talk, explanation or sometimes even the mere handing out of a well-formulated and informative leaflet can make the difference and convince a decision-maker to care about Free Software.

That brings us to this year's EU Elections of the European Parliament taking place next week throughout Europe, from May 23rd to 26th. Let us follow the recent example of Pica Pica and make sure that as many candidates as possible are aware of Free Software and its benefits, and convince them to join us in empowering users to control technology.

This is even more important now, as forecasts predict that half of the Members in the current European Parliament will not be back in the next term. That means that there will be new members appearing on the scene that do not yet know about Free Software.

Help let them know about the benefits of technologies that respect users freedom. Help us establish new contacts with advocates for Free Software in the next European Parliament's term. Seek out the candidates in your region and get in contact with them. Use our "Public Money?Public Code!" campaign as a source for arguments. Find more general hints and tips in our wiki.

And then get out there and vote for the candidate that convinced you most concerning the topics and values that matter to you!

The European Parliament during a plenary session in Strasbourg. (Picture by Diliff, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Vote for freedom and join our community:

Do not miss: upcoming events with the FSFE From May 17th to 19th the Maker Fair Berlin will take place and the local FSFE group Berlin will be present with an information booth. On May 18th the FSFE's Policy Manager Alexander Sander will be present at the Albanian Open Source conference OSCAL to promote the FSFE's "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign to the local community. On May 21st Erik Albers, FSFE's Communication and Programme Manager, will talk at the Magdeburger Developer Days about the sustainability of software and how to preserve software resources for future generations. From May 24th to 26th the FSFE will host its own web-a-thon in Frankfurt (Main) to have a fruitful collective work on improving the FSFE's homepage together. You can find all details on the corresponding wiki-page. On May 29th, the FSFE's legal intern Lucas Lasota will present FOSS legal trends at the Libre Graphics Meetings in Saarbrücken, Germany. On June 8th, the FSFE's Project Manager Galia Mancheva will present the Public Money? Public Code! campaign to the Bulgarian tech community at TuxCon in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. On June 13th, the FSFE's President Matthias Kirschner will give a keynote about Free Software in our society at OW2con in Paris, France. On June 25th, the FSFE's Policy and Project Managers Alexander Sander and Galia Mancheva will talk about the Public Money?Public Code! campaign and the updated Copyright Directive at Libertybits in Sofia, Bulgaria Save the Date:

This year we are running the FSFE community meeting on November 15th and 16th in cooperation with the SFSCon in Bolzano, Italy. The FSFE country team Italy will use this occasion to prepare and run a dedicated FSFE track during the conference and the conference day will be followed by a dedicated community day. The general Call for Participation of the SFSCon is already up and running, while the one for the FSFE track in particular will be published soon. If you are interested in the publication of the call, follow our news (RSS feed)

What have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE On 27 April, Max Mehl, the FSFE's Programme Manager, gave a keynote at Grazer Linuxtage about Free Software and why security and openness are not contradictory. If you are curious about what he said, you can watch the keynote video. On April 27th, there was an FSFE's info-booth at the the local FLISoL event in A Coruña, Spain and on 11 May, the FSFE was present with a booth at T-Dose in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Alexander Sander, the FSFE's Policy Manager talked about the importance of supporting the Public Money? Public Code! campaign on May 3rd at the LWW2019 in Vienna, where the FSFE also hosted an infobooth. FSFE booth at Linuxwochen Wien Carmen Bianca Bakker writes about elitists and laypeople and uses this distinction for a comparison between the development of the Game of Thrones script with her own development and history from Spacemacs to Emacs to VSCodium and more. Syncthing is a Free Software sync-solution on F-Droid. Andrea Scarpino explains the customizations he has done to use it for simple but automated phone backup with Syncthing Matija Šuklje sums up different way and methods he used to archive and organise his bookmarks in the last years. Get Active

As already brought up in the beginning of the Newsletter, the European Parliament's Elections are ahead and forecasts predict that many new members will be part of the next term. If you want Free Software to catch on with these Parliamentary freshmen, then you can seek out the candidates in your region and get in contact with them. We prepared a short list of actions you can take and other tips in our wiki.

Contribute to our newsletter

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

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

Your editors,

Erik Albers and Galia Mancheva

Vote for freedom and join our community:

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Free Software in Munich - FSFE thanks cabaret artist Christine Prayon

Free Software in Munich - FSFE thanks cabaret artist Christine Prayon

Yesterday, political satirist Christine Prayon was awarded the 10,000 Euro Dieter Hildebrandt Prize of the City of Munich for demanding political or decidedly socio-critical political satire. Prayon is donating the prize money to the Free Software Foundation Europe.

The jury states, among other things, that the award recipient Prayon "[...] does not simply accuse - she unmasks, and we are her witnesses". Prayon herself used her thank-you speech to put the finger on one of Munich's sore spots: Prayon describes the former genius, progressive process of making Munich independent of the providers of proprietary software and letting the complete administration run on a free system. Prayon then criticised the switch back to proprietary systems.

The migration of workstations back to proprietary software will cost Munich almost 50 million Euros over the next six years. A further 37 million Euros will have to be invested in implementation projects. The Free Software Foundation Europe already criticised the migration-project in the past. The migration will not solve existing organisational IT problems in the day-to-day administrative business. At the same time new dependencies on manufacturers of proprietary software will arise and license fees will be paid to the proprietary manufacturers instead of using these funds in tax payers' best interest for the further development of the software and the cooperation with other administrations. The systems become less transparent and no longer comprehensible for citizens. Further information on the migration plans of the City of Munich can be found here.

Munich is thus turning against the trend: in other administrations, Free Software is being used with overwhelming success. Since the French government decided to start using more Free Software back in 2012, between 0.6% and 5.4% more companies using Free Software have been created in France every year; between 6.6% and 14% more people find employment in the IT sector every year. In Barcelona, 70% of the budget for the development of new software is used to create Free Software. Contracts have so far been awarded to 3,000 companies, 60% of them SMEs, mostly from the region. In collaborative projects, more and more cities are working on common software solutions and jointly develop them, saving costs and sharing risks.

The Free Software Foundation Europe has launched the campaign "Public Money? Public Code!" to convince other administrations to switch to Free Software and support them in their migration. As part of the campaign, we published the specialist publication "Public Money Public Code - Modernising Public Infrastructure with Free Software". The brochure aims to answer questions from decision-makers about the benefits of using and developing Free Software for the public administration.

More information about the campaign and its supporters can be found on our campaign website at, and the brochure can be found here.

The Free Software Foundation Europe would like to take this opportunity to thank Christine Prayon for her commitment to Free Software and her generous donation.

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Public Money, Public Code: Munich one step back - others two steps forward.

Public Money, Public Code: Munich one step back - others two steps forward.

More than two years ago, Munich abandoned their strategy of developing an independent IT infrastructure built with Free Software and the free operating system GNU/Linux and went back to depending on proprietary software. We followed this process closely and like to give an update today about what has happened since then in Munich and in Europe in general. Did we manage to gain more independence and control over our IT or did dependencies on monopolies increase over the past two years?


The LiMux project was started 13 years ago when the city of Munich needed to replace their no longer supported Windows NT4 workstations. In that period, 15.000 workstations were migrated to vendor-neutral Free Software solutions and Open-Standard-based file formats supported by local IT companies. This initiative not only was an example of a successful move to more independence, but also served as a role model of how to strengthen the local IT industry.

Picture by Marco Verch, CC-BY 2.0

But then things took a turn for the worse. In 2014, the SPD entered a coalition agreement with the CSU and Dieter Reiter (SPD) was elected new mayor of Munich. The new coalition started to question the LiMux strategy as soon as their term started, and asked Accenture, a Microsoft partner located in the same building as Microsoft, to analyse Munich's IT infrastructure. The report can be found here (German). It is worth noting that, despite their close connection with Microsoft, in their report, analysts identify primarily organisational issues at the root of the problems troubling LiMux's uptake, but no significant technical issues.

Nevertheless, the coalition filed a surprise motion with minimal lead time before the city council, with the goal to end LiMux once and for all.

Back then we, together with other independent parties, came to the conclusion that LiMux suffered from organisational problems, including lack of clear structures and responsibilities, something the Accenture report confirmed. These where independent from the software used on client machines, and switching operating systems alone would not solve them.

Where we are today

Munich is still in the transition back to proprietary software. This whole process will cost the citizens of Munich nearly 90 million Euros in the next six years. Meanwhile, looking at other cities in Germany and all over Europe, we see that many regions push for more independence. Free Software in public administrations is not a short‐term trend. The last few years have seen significant changes in the attitudes of public administrations towards IT procurement, increasingly favouring a strategic, long‐term‐oriented approach.

Free Software solutions are helping governments address different challenges, from democratic governance to natural disaster prevention. Some projects are not only deployed but also developed internationally. Popular projects, such as Consul, GNU Health, X-Road, and CKAN, highlight the potential of Free Software for cooperation across borders. In Germany, the Government decided to run their own, Free Software Cloud Solution, called Bundescloud. 300,000 people in ministries and other federal institutions will use this federal cloud. The Government of France decided to build a country wide messaging platform based on Free Software and many more exciting projects are happening all over Europe in an effort to increase IT independence of public administrations. But Munich, once a spearhead in this modernization effort, is now backpedalling on what the city achieved and, instead of institutionalizing it, they are giving up on the experience and knowledge they acquired with their new software.

To support these activities and in order to convince more administrations to migrate to Free Software, the Free Software Foundation Europe runs the well received "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign. The initiative asks legislators to establish the rule that publicly financed software developed for the public sector must be made publicly available under a Free Software license. If it is public money, it should be public code as well.

Our Brochure summarises the FSFE's long-term expertise with additional knowledge from leading experts in various ICT areas. It helps readers understand Free Software and its benefits for a modern digital public infrastructure. Please help us spread the word about the campaign and share our videos (available in many languages) and - if you haven't already - sign our open letter.

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How the Parliament of Asturias decided to sign the open letter demanding "Public Money? Public Code!" - an interview with Iyán Méndez Veiga

How the Parliament of Asturias decided to sign the open letter demanding "Public Money? Public Code!" - an interview with Iyán Méndez Veiga

"The Parliament of Asturias commits itself to the international "Public Money, Public Code" campaign" - this is a quote from the first demand in a recent proposal brought by the Parliament of Asturias to its government. It is also the happy end of continuous lobbying efforts from Oviedo's local hackerspace "Pica Pica Hacklab", using the FSFE's campaign material mixed with their self-developed brand of social hacking. Meanwhile, the Parliament of Asturias backed up its words with deeds and officially signed the open letter of our "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign - being the very first Parliament to do so. To shed light on this successful story and inspire local groups around the world, we conducted an interview with Iyán Méndez Veiga, member of Pica Pica Hacklab.

FSFE: You are a member of Pica Pica HackLab in Oviedo, Asturias. A hackerspace that refers to itself as "a collective of Eco Hackers". Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit what Pica Pica HackLab is and what you are doing?

Iyán Méndez Veiga: I am doing my masters-study in physics at the University of Ulm, Germany, but I am initially from Oviedo where I joined Pica Pica Hacklab five years ago. Pica Pica is a small organisation and we are focussing on spreading the word about the use and benefits of Free Software in our region. The whole project started ten years ago when the original members of Pica Pica noticed the lack of activities related to Free Software in our region and so they decided to do something. Just some weeks later, Pica Pica already organised its first workshop about Free Software.

Calling ourselves "eco hackers" is to emphasise that we also do some activities that are not usually related to hacker spaces or hacker labs. For example we are fighting against planned obsolescence. On our website you can find tutorials how to use your toner till its end and not until the printer claims you have to change it. Also we have workshops about technology and birds, using Free Software to live-record the sound of birds and later use the audio to identify them. Later this year we will also try to publish something similar about bats because we have been using Free Software to record bat sounds and recognise them. So Pica Pica mixes technology and environmental studies, and we like that mix.

Some of the Pica Pica Hacklab members at a regular meetup in 2016. (Picture by Iyán Méndez Veiga, CC-BY 4.0)

Currently Pica Pica has six active members. That seem like a small group, but a lot of people usually come to our introduction workshops. Also there is a lot of fluctuation. Meaning some people come, they are active for a while but then they go again. In the past, for example, a medical student preparing the MIR exam in Oviedo joined us. He was very interested in Free Software and he even gave a talk about hacking some medical devices. We always have our door open.

Do you think there is a good Free Software scene or culture in Asturias or in Oviedo in particular? I mean a hackerspace normally does not grow from nowhere.

I would say it is a not a big thing in Asturias. But we are trying to spread it more and more. So, although most communication happens via email, we try to meet as often as we can. Then, once a year, we have this big workshop about the introduction to Free Software which is split in two sessions. The first part is about the idea behind the Free Software movement and the second part is hands-on installing Free Software. But we do a lot of other activities, as well. For example, when it was the 30th birthday of FSF, we organised a party and we also did it with the 20th birthday of KDE. And we hosted the first FLISOL event in Europe in our city back in 2010 and we have been doing so for the last 10 years.

Thank you very much for this introduction, now let's talk about your latest success: you convinced the Asturian parliament to write a proposal to the government to support the FSFE's "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign. How did you first become aware of the campaign?

Well, we received an email from FSFE which came just in time because we were already working on a similar proposal to our government some years before the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign. The first time we tried to convince the Parliament was in 2015, during the previous regional elections. We wrote a similar document back then and when we saw the European "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign coming up, we used the moment to merge the two initiatives and give it a second try. Then, after some preparation, we started to contact the politicians of the Parliament in Asturias in March 2018. That means, it took us almost one year of work until they finally voted "Yes" which happened in February 2019.

The proposal of the Parliament has three main items and the very first one is that the Parliament of Asturias supports the international "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative. So I would say, indeed, that the campaign's material served us a very good basis to get the Parliament's proposal.

The proposal of the Parliament has three main items and the very first one is that the Parliament of Asturias supports the international "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative.

Why did you choose the Parliament and not the government or a ministry to influence with your agenda?

Some years ago Pica Pica HackLab tried to contact the President of Asturias, Javier Fernandez. Back then, in 2013, they created a committee of experts to give technological advise after the financial crisis. Alexis, first member of Pica Pica, wrote a letter to highlight that the committee was highly represented by Microsoft Ibérica (María Garaña, former president of Microsoft Ibérica was part of that comittee) and that this was probably not the best choice in the interest of our region. Obviously, there was a conflict of interest between what Asturias needed and wanted and what Microsoft wanted. So we wrote this letter to the President of Asturias and we were totally ignored. And we realised that it does not work very well to directly communicate with the government. In our experience, it is easier to contact the political parties that have representation in the parliament. And that is what we did this time.

Actually everything was going better when we had these face-to-face meetings. So as soon as we realised this, we started to do some kind of "social hacking"

How does this work in practice? Does it mean a lot of individual meetings with individual members from different parties or is there something like a public hour per week where you can talk with them?

It was a long process because when you start you do not yet have any good ways of contact like their phone numbers. So, everything was done via email at first. And then, as soon as we got some dialogue started, we sped things up and asked for meetings. Actually everything was going better when we had these face-to-face meetings. So, as soon as we realised this, we started doing some kind of "social hacking": the problem is that you cannot go to the Parliament of Asturias without an invitation. But once you have an invitation for a meeting with some of the politicians via email and you are inside the building, you can move freely. So we used the chance to knock on doors, office by office of politicians who did not yet reply or invite us, and this was a great chance to speak with these politicians directly and face-to-face even with a pending invitation.

Do you have a rough estimation of how many times you were going to the parliament?

I do not know exactly the number of meetings but I would say there were two important meetings. One with the first proposal with two or three political parties that were already going to vote yes. They agreed with the text of the initiative but the rest was not so sure. In these meetings we were actually trying to emphasise different aspects of "Public Money? Public Code!" depending on the direction the policial party is more aligned with. The idea behind this was that they are totally different parties but we want them all to vote in favour of the same thing. So we emphasised different benefits of Free Software to the different parties. For example the PP (conservative traditional party) was more interested in tax savings. But with the PSOE (labour party), which is also the governing party now, we tried to highlight the sharing aspect, so you can collaborate with other regions. If you develop something in one region, then you can share it later with the other regions. You do not have to invest again and again or to reinvent the wheel. Then we theorised that in the last elections it was a new party in our region that is more focused on transparency. We tried to convince them by highlighting that Free Software is the only kind of software that you can audit and that argument worked really well.

The idea behind was that they are totally different parties but we want them all to vote the same thing. So we tried to emphasise different benefits of Free Software to the different parties.

That means depending on the party's own directions and programs, you will use their own arguments for your causes?

Yes. The FSFE's campaign mentions four main advantages of using Free Software within public administrations. We used all four of them but with each party we emphasised one more than the others. That worked really well to convince them.

Did you also directly use the campaign's material like showing them the webpage or the video? Was the material useful for your purposes?

Yes. Actually the campaign's website is directly mentioned in the final proposal, in the very first item. So the web page was a big help for us. About the video I do not exactly know if it was shown but I would have done it because it is really effective.

Pica Pica Hacklab team in front of the Parliament of Asturias after the Parliament's decision to support Public Money? Public Code! (Picture by Marcos Suárez, CC-BY 4.0)

Which party was the first one to be convinced?

The parties that were more closely cooperating from the very beginning and were answering all the emails were Izquierda Unida and Podemos. Very early on, Izquierda Unida said that they were going to vote yes and they told us publicly that they were going to do that. So there was no mystery about their vote. It was different for Ciudadanos, PP and PSOE. I think Ciudadanos, by the end of the meetings, they were probably going to vote yes and they mentioned that they were going to vote yes. So we were quite sure about that, but regarding PSOE and PP we had no idea until the final vote.

Those are the biggest parties, so you needed them or at least one of them to succeed. Since you knew the small parties are going to vote in favour you further concentrated your efforts on the big ones?

Yes, of course. We sent a lot of emails to them before the voting, but they never replied... It was good to get the yes from Izquierda Unida and Podemos. But without the the PP or PSOE we would not have succeeded. And so, on the election day we were all watching the parliamentary session with tension.

And then you were successful, congratulations! Can you briefly explain what it is that the Parliament actually voted on and what it means?

I do not know how to legally translate this proposal. I would say something like non-binding motion or proposal or something like that. So there is the first item, it does not involve the government because it is says: "the Parliament of Asturias supports the European campaign of 'Public Money? Public Code!'". Meanwhile they followed their accepted proposal and are officially listed as signatories of the open letter of the campaign.

Then, the other two items are more related to the government. It basically takes the message from the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign and although it is not mandatory, it asks the government to use Free Software in public administrations. So it is not a law, it is not binding, but it is an intention.

I think for the first time, a lot of politicians understood what Free Software is.

Is there a legal obligation for the government to reply to it?

I am not a legal expert, but I would say no. I think what was more useful about this is that, I think for the first time, a lot of politicians understood what Free Software is. At least now they know the movement, they know the concept, they know the issues with proprietary software. And our representatives in the parliament are now aware of that.

But also it serves as a very good basis for us. We are not naive and we know that this proposal is not like the last step but more like the first one. But we can use it for the ones that will come next. For example, we are in elections period and our idea is to ask the parties somehow to reflect this motion passed on their proposals for the next government. Then, once we have the new government by the end of next month, we will start working again with the Parliament and remind them of this decision. And if it is not PSOE again who is governing we can directly speak with the governing party and remind them that they agreed on fostering Free Software and ask them what are the things they are going to do regarding points two and three of the proposal. And if they do nothing, we will be there to let them know that we do not forget and we want them to do something about it.

We know that this proposal is not like the last step but more like the first one. But we can use it for the ones that will come next.

Do you think the elections will change something in the current government in Asturias?

To be honest, I do not know which party will win. The current governing party is the only party which voted no. So concerning Free Software any new party is supposed to be better. But we know that it is one thing to vote yes when you are in the opposition and often it is totally different when you are governing and you have to do something about it. So let us wait to see what happens.

We wish you good luck with this and thank you very much for this very interesting interview!

Interviewer: Erik Albers

With our Public Money? Public Code! campaign, the FSFE demands that publicly financed software developed for the public sector shall be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence. In order to help understand our call and its benefits, we run a series of interviews that highlight good examples and use-cases as best practices.

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LibrePlanet 2019 videos now live!

At the LibrePlanet 2019 conference, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) recorded 40 speaker sessions -- over 24 hours of video, and they are now online on our GNU MediaGoblin instance.

The FSF team put their heads together and selected a few of our favorites from the entire 2019 Libreplanet program for you to start with -- brought to you in a Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)-free, downloadable, free format.

  • In their talk, entitled "Sharing global opportunities for new developers in the Wikipedia community," Srishti Sethi gave us some valuable insights into how you can get involved in the Wikipedia community.

  • Amanda Sopkin's talk, "The secret battle of encryption algorithms," delved into the history of encryption, with lots of fun factoids about how encryption methods were invented, used and foiled.

  • Martha Esperilla and Stefanía Acevedo joined us from Hackerspace Rancho Electrónico, sharing their work in building community around their work, including CoAA TV, an online audiovisual archive.

  • In "GPL enforcement and customer benefits: Evidence from OpenWRT," Do Yoon Kim explained to us how his research shows that free software wireless routers are valued higher and sell better.

  • Mary Kate Fain asked us "What free software can learn from successful social movements," and answered this question by sharing experiences as a grassroots organizer and as a free software activist.

  • Free Software Award winners OpenStreetMap and Deb Nicholson both shared their work talking about "OpenStreetMap" mapping developments, and the free software community challenges we face in "Free software/utopia," respectively.

These are just a few of the interesting and varied subjects discussed at the LibrePlanet 2019 conference. Please have a look at the entire collection of 2019 videos and photos for hours of viewing pleasure. And if you really can't get enough, you can scroll down to the archives, where you can revisit the 2018 videos and photos, and much more.

All the LibrePlanet 2019 videos were created using free software, with high resolution USB Web cameras and USB audio mixing desks, whose drivers are supported by Trisquel. We want to thank everyone who participated in LibrePlanet 2019, plus our sponsor, Red Hat, and you too, for your continued support of free software, the FSF, and LibrePlanet.

We look forward to welcoming you again in 2020!

Choosing a GPLv3-termination Backport to GPLv2

About four years ago, Conservancy (in collaboration with the Free Software Foundation) published the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL enforcement. Our goal was to conduct our enforcement ethically and respectfully, treating today's violators as tomorrow's contributors. Accordingly, the Principles advocate a holistic approach to GPL enforcement that truly seeks to gain GPL compliance to advance software freedom. We were excited that there was substantial interest in codifying these long standing ad-hoc Principles into a widely adopted and published consensus. In this blog post, we analyze two different efforts to “backport” the GPLv3 termination provisions to GPLv2.

GNU Guix 1.0.0 released

guix logo

On May 2, the GNU Guix project announced the release of version 1.0 of the Guix software manager. Since the project’s beginnings a little more than seven years ago, nearly 300 volunteers from all over the world have contributed more than 50,000 improvements. Guix now provides a huge collection of bit-reproducible free software packages consisting of close to 10,000 applications and libraries from a wide range of categories, including gaming, music production, video editing, programming, and specialized scientific software.

What distinguishes Guix from other free software distributions is that it is designed with reproducibility in mind. It builds packages in controlled environments to ensure that the results are bit for bit the same no matter when or where packages are built. This means that users can easily deploy the very same software environment or even the very same operating system, at different points in time or on different machines. Reproducibility provides strong assurances that are of fundamental value for security, for the use of software in computational science, and for user freedom.

guix scope

While Guix offers package management features such as transactional upgrades, safe roll-backs, and per-user profiles, package management is just one special case of its general facilities for reproducible, declarative software environment management. Guix bends the notion of a traditional package manager by extending these features to building systems: lightweight containers, Docker images, virtual machine images or bare-metal operating systems -- Guix specifies a flexible, programmable configuration framework for reproducible software deployment at every level. With Guix’s simple, well-documented extension to the general purpose language Scheme, users and developers alike can easily declare custom packages and package variants, compose and inspect arbitrarily complex software environments, and generate full operating systems with minimal effort -- Guix is designed to be hackable!

Whether you’re a software developer, a user, or a free software enthusiast, we hope GNU Guix will provide you with the tools to deploy and manage software with confidence and ease, qualities that are not usually associated with software deployment. The Guix community would love to hear from you!

The FSF supports the work of GNU Guix through its Working Together for Free Software fund. Make a contribution here!