May 2019: Photos from Aalborg and Copenhagen

Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman (RMS) was in Denmark in May 2019.

After a visit to the beach in nearby Slettestrand the day before, RMS went to Aalborg, where he delivered his speech “Free software and your freedom”1 at Aalborg University (AAU), on May 6th.

Photos courtesy of Aalborg University (copyright © 2019, CC BY 4.0).

The next day, he went on to Odense, where he gave his speech “The danger of mass surveillance” at Syddansk Universitet (the University of Southern Denmark, or SDU). Next, he headed on to Copenhagen, where he gave the following three speeches.

On May 8th, he was at the IT-Universitetet i København (IT University of Copenhagen, or ITU) to give his speech “Free Software and your freedom in computing,” to an audience of about three hundred people.

Photos courtesy of ITU Innovators (copyright © 2019, CC BY 4.0).

On May 9th, he was in the Lundbeckfond Auditorium of the Copenhagen Biocenter, at Københavns Universitet (University of Copenhagen, or KU), to give his speech “Computing, freedom, and privacy.”

Photos courtesy of the University of Copenhagen (copyright © 2019, CC BY 4.0).

On May 10th, he gave his speech "Should we have more surveillance than the USSR?" at Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (the Technical University of Denmark, or DTU).

On the day after that, while still in Copenhagen, he visited the Danish-French School, which is the only school in Denmark that we are aware of to use free software exclusively.

Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible!

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can inform you about future events in and around Aalborg, Odense, Copenhagen.

Please see www.fsf.org/events for a full list of all of RMS's confirmed engagements,
and contact rms-assist@gnu.org if you'd like him to come speak.


1. The recording will soon be posted on our audio-video archive.

Conservancy News Round-up July

Plenty of code and free software discussion! This month we again have news from interns who are writing free software, plus lots of upcoming events with staff and several more put on by our member projects.

Fundraiser membership drive comes to an end and we all win!

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) spring fundraiser has come to an end and we would like to thank you for your help in surpassing our ambitious goal of 200 new members in 28 days, and for all the inspirational words of support we've received over the past weeks. The motivations people give for becoming associate members are gratifying, and these are only a few:

  • I think non-free software is unethical.

  • GNU OS has enabled me to build my companies and remain independent of big capital

  • I thought it was about time that I started supporting the software I've been using for years...

We're extremely thankful for all of the ways you may have contributed. For instance, you may have taken the time to explain the concept of free software to someone new. Perhaps you licensed your program under the GNU GPLv3 or later, or you contributed to free software by giving your spare time writing code. Or you heard our call and left your copy of the Free Software Foundation Bulletin in a public space and shared our images online. Because of your help, we managed to welcome 206 new members to our associate membership program, and new people continue to join daily!

We are only 14 staff here at the FSF, so we rely on our community to keep moving forward in the fight for user freedom. Whether online or offline, the support we get from your financial generosity, positive feedback, and sharing our mission for user freedom is very much appreciated.

We are powered by donors, members, and volunteers like you -- all of the work of the FSF is accomplished with your help.

A warm thank GNU!

Zoe Kooyman
Program Manager

REUSE makes copyright and licensing easier than ever

REUSE makes copyright and licensing easier than ever

REUSE helps developers to declare copyright and licensing of their projects. Today, the REUSE project released version 3.0 of their specification. The new edition is accompanied by a helper tool and makes adopting the best practices easier than ever.

The licensing of a software project is critical information. Developers set the terms under which others can reuse their software, from individuals to giant corporations. Authors want to make sure that others adhere to their chosen licenses; potential re-users have to know the license of third-party software before publication; and companies have to ensure license compliance in their products that often build on top of existing projects. The REUSE project, led by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), helps all of these parties.

Output of the REUSE helper tool

REUSE aims to have all copyright and licensing information stored as close to the source files as possible. This is achieved by directly adding this information to the file in a standardised and machine-readable form. If a file does not support that, a .license file or central DEP-5 configuration file can be used instead. This way, developers can be assured that re-users will not oversee copyright holders and their intended license.

Following the best practices is simple:

Choose and provide licenses: Select a Free Software license, find the unique identifier of this license, and store the full license text inside a dedicated LICENSES/ directory. Add copyright and licensing information to each file: Add at least two lines indicating the copyright holder and the license. Confirm REUSE compliance: Use the REUSE tool to check whether all necessary information is present.

Adopters can start with a new tutorial that explains how to make a repository REUSE compliant. To ensure that developers can concentrate on their actual work, we have developed the REUSE helper tool that automates and assists with some of these steps. It can also be included in CI/CD workflows to confirm REUSE compliance continuously.

Our constantly expanding FAQ answers basic questions about licensing, copyright, and more complex use cases. Advanced users and integrators will find the full specification helpful.

And there is more to come: The REUSE initiative will continue its work on making copyright and licensing easier for everyone. Our roadmap includes configurable templates for adding the headers with the helper tool, as well as an API that for example allows projects to display a dynamic badge indicating the REUSE status, or third-party services to integrate REUSE checks.

REUSE is already being used by various software projects like the Linux kernel, and recommended by other license compliance initiatives like OpenChain. We welcome other developers to adopt REUSE and look forward to feedback and collaboration. Please contact us and join the mailing list.

Support FSFE

The Impact of Free Software on competition by Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri

The Impact of Free Software on competition

Do public administrations distort the market through the release of Free Software? An article by Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri about the legal and economic arguments resulting from this question and originally written for our Public Money? Public Code - policy brochure.

Free Software is well established in the IT world. A significant number of companies, from SMEs to global corporations, invest considerable sums in the further development and use of Free Software. Public administrations now also regularly use Free Software. For example, for administration in municipalities, as a decision database for courts, or for the provision of geodata on the Internet1. The reasons for using Free Software in companies and public administrations are manifold, e.g. the openness of the standards used, the independence from suppliers and products, the exchange with the community of users and developers, security, as well as stability and possible cost savings.

The free availability of Free Software creates an ecosystem in which software developers, providers of complementary services (such as maintenance or support), and users are equally involved. Another important advantage of the Free Software model is the accelerated software development by users and developers, once the software code is made available to third parties.

It is debatable whether the release of software under a Free Software licence by the state could violate competition neutrality (i.e., the obligation of the state to treat competitors equally). In some countries the obligation of ensuring competition neutrality of the state’s actions is a constitutional principle. It may also arise from European law, for example from single market policy, or from public procurement or state aid law.

If the state itself enters a market and pursues commercial interests in the process, this is generally unproblematic from a competition neutrality perspective. By contrast, in most cases the consideration of other motives (public interest) leads to a distortion of markets and hence violates competition neutrality. In extreme cases, private activity is even completely displaced by public supply because the community subsid‐ izes its services with the use of state funds from the general budget. Vice versa, it can be argued that the more the state acts as a rational private competitor, the less the risk of distortion of competition.

Permissibility of making Free Software available by the state is dependent on whether, from the point of view of a private market participant, the release of Free Software would also be a viable business model, i.e. whether a private market participant, in a similar situation as the community, would also decide to release the source code under a Free Software licence2.

In addition, a recourse to subsidy law may be helpful. Subsidies include non‐refundable cash benefits, preferential conditions for loans, guarantees, free or discounted services, and benefits in kind. According to EU case law, such benefits exist if a private investor, compared to therelevant public administration, has not taken the same measure in a comparable situation3.

Thus, since there are a number of reasons for private market participants to release their own code free of charge under a Free Software licence, its release by the state is often unproblematic from a competition neutrality perspective.

An exclusive focus on closed source software could violate the principle of competition neutrality

Moreover, an exclusive focus of public administrations on closed source software could also discriminate against the companies involved in the aforementioned Free Software ecosystem and thus also violate the principle of competition neutrality.

Furthermore, in terms of public procurement law, the question arises as to whether cooperation between two or more contracting public authorities is possible within the framework of a joint Free Software project. This is the case under the EU Public Procurement Directive, if there is a contractual basis between the public authorities under which common objectives are pursued, where cooperation is exclusively in the public interest, and where the contracting authorities involved perform less than 20% of the activities covered by the cooperation in the market as a whole. Especially in the case of administration‐specific software, this causes hardly any problems4.

It should be noted, however, that the disclosure of Free Software by a public administration might be problematic from a fair‐trade or administrative law perspective, if the disclosure exceeds the administration’s legally assigned tasks. So, for example, the distribution of general office software by any public administration would not be allowed5.

Nevertheless, in most cases, a government strategy to publish Free Software remains unproblematic, since there are many valid reasons for doing so which would also apply to private market participants.

About this article

This article was first published in the FSFE's "Public Money? Public Code!" - policy brochure. This brochure evaluates the modernisation of public infrastructure with using Free Software from the perspectives of academia, law, business, and government and stars leading experts from various ICT areas. The brochure is released in digital and print, and is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.

Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri is an attorney and, since 2012, partner of the Swiss law firm Ronzani SchlauriAttorneys, which specialises in technology and information law. From 2009 to 2012 he worked as inhouse counsel in the IT and telecoms industry. Simon Schlauri received his doctorate on the subject of electronic signatures and habilitated in network neutrality (telecoms law). He regularly publishes on IT law topics and advises clients on IT law issues, particularly in the areas of open source software and open content.

Footnotes Thomas Poledna / Simon Schlauri / Samuel Schweizer, Gutachten zu den rechtlichen Voraussetzungen der Nutzung von Open Source Software in der öffentlichen Verwaltung, Berlin 2017, p. 23 ss. Poledna/Schlauri/Schweizer, p. 101 ss., 108. Poledna/Schlauri/Schweizer, P. 107 s. Poledna/Schlauri/Schweizer, p. 123 ss. Poledna/Schlauri/Schweizer, p. 85, 158.

Support FSFE

Richard Stallman - "Copyright vs Community" (Moscow, Russia)

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

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.

Location: комната A-202, Московский политехнический университет, Большая Семеновская ул., 38 (вход на территорию, 55.78163° N, 37.70975° E; здание, 55.78137° N, 37.71110° E), Москва, Moscow Oblast, 107023 (room A-202, Moscow Polytech, B. Semyenovskaya St., 38 (entrance to area, 55.78163° N, 37.70975° E; building, 55.78137° N, 37.71110° E), Moscow, Moscow Oblast, Russia, 107023)

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

Event - EmacsConf

EmacsConf is the conference about the joy of Emacs, Emacs Lisp, and memorizing key sequences.

See event page for more information.

Location: virtual (online)

Please subscribe to our online newsletter, the Free Software Supporter, so that we can contact you about future events.

Richard Stallman - "Free software and your freedom" (TechTrain, Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Richard Stallman will be speaking at TechTrain (2019-08-24–25). His speech will be nontechnical and the public is encouraged to attend.

The Free Software Movement campaigns for computer users' freedom to cooperate and control their own computing. The Free Software Movement developed the GNU operating system, typically used together with the kernel Linux, specifically to make these freedoms possible.

Location: павильон H, КВЦ «Экспофорум», Петербургское шоссе 64к1 лит. А, Санкт-Петербург (Pavillion H, Saint Petersburg ExpoForum, Peterburgskoye Shosse 64k1, building A, Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Note: Anonymous registration (in cash and without the need to run nonfree software) will be possible, at the venue, on the day of the event.

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

Richard Stallman - "Copyright vs Community" (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

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 by Richard Stallman will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Location: Россия, Санкт-Петербург, 10 линия 33 (10 line VO 33, Saint Petersburg, Russia - Phoenix learning center)

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

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 16 new GNU releases in July!

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

To download: nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html.

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

As always, please feel free to write to us at maintainers@gnu.org with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.