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“Show Europe” and other specialties at the first FSFE summit

With just eight days left, the FSFE summit is very close. This week, we finalized the schedule and herewith I like to point out some specialties of our program and recall the initial idea behind the summit.
FSFE summit header
Let’s go back to the beginning of our thoughts: Initially, the idea of organizing a FSFE summit was to organize for the first time a main event that brings together FSFE members, friends and supporters from all over Europe. It should be free to attend, open to topics and nice to be at. Then, like a coincidence, just some weeks later we were invited to join the QtCon and since then we have been more than happy for this generous offer.
Being part of the QtCon for the FSFE is kind of symbolically as well. It is our chance to be part of a setting in that the FSFE summit is an integral part of a bigger event. An event, that includes four other communities and, with KDE and VLC, two prominent Free Software solutions. Such a setting feels in a way like the offline-realization of how the FSFE feels about its general and political role: an organisation that is deeply embedded inside the Free Software movement.

Show Europe

As a political organisation, we understand our role as servant and voice of the Free Software movement. In this understanding, at the summit, we look forward to offering other (national) Free Software related organisations to present themselves and their work in our “Show Europe” – no matter what European country or other legal jurisdiction you work in.
The “Show Europe” shall be a session to help the European Free Software movement to see connections, to strengthen ties, to collaborate and to see that we speak with many voices and languages but with the same message. As a special feature, to not distract our participants from this unique event, we explicitly do not let host other sessions during the Show Europe.
Happening: Sunday, September 4th, 13 – 14 hours, Room A3

Community sessions

Since the very first planning of the summit, we wanted to give our widespread community the possibility to connect, to share and to organise their very own activities and interests. Already during our Call for Participation, we reserved a decent amount of slots for our community members. And as we expect Friday to be uneasy for a lot of volunteers and community members to participate, we now set up the whole community program on Saturday and Sunday only.
Looking at the range of sessions, it turns out that most of our community sessions aim at teaching and growing teams or working groups inside the FSFE and its Fellowship. Means that we have various teams presenting themselves and how to participate. Hence, if you are looking to engage for FSFE, the summit is the event for you. It definitely gives you the best and most clearly overview of how to get active.
However, and beyond internal mobilization, we also have community sessions that aim at teaching general skills like advocacy or PR. Finally, Open Hardware seems to be another hot topic in our community.

15 years of FSFE

FSFE_15_Sticker_en_thumbAs the FSFE summit will be the event in history so far, that gathers the most of our members, friends and supporters at the same time in the same location, we like to use this momentum of this community gathering to officially celebrate 15 years of FSFE. There will be a dedicated session during the second day of the summit, run by Jonas Öberg, Executive Director of FSFE. Like during our “Show Europe”, there will be no other event in the summit happening during this unique event.
After that, you are invited to directly join us in walking to the c-base, Berlin’s most famous hackerspace, to keep celebrating 15 years of FSFE. For this event, bring a good and chatty mood and your best friends. The only agenda point that is going to happen in here will be the awarding of some of FSFE’s countless and unpayable local heroes. All the rest is party!

Last hints

FSFE summit: Call for Volunteers

The FSFE summit, as part of the QtCon, is in need of volunteers. Make your mark and be part of the QtCon-team to facilitate the overall conference experience for everyone. There are interesting positions available and after all you will receive a t-shirt and it is said to receive some good karma.

qtcon-volunteer-overviewVolunteering is easy: You simply need to sign up inside QtCon’s volunteer-portal to self-select your contribution. There are various tasks available:

  • Booth staff
  • Registration
  • Runner
  • Session Chair/Moderator
  • Video Operator

If you are unsure, what to expect behind a task, you get some more description, when you click on a task.

qtcon-volunteer-personal-viewAfter signing up, you can fill your account with some details and self-select the tasks you like to help us with. The system will count each commitment, so other volunteers can easily see where there is still need for contribution and which tasks are already taken. Also, you can have an overview of the tasks that you have assigned to you.

In the time of writing, most tasks still lack a lot of volunteers. Please consider contributing and make it yourself an extraordinary experience by becoming part of the QtCon team.

FSFE summit: Call for Participation – Poster Session

wanted-poster-session-1200 QtCon is the event that brings together five different communities in one place to share and collaborate and the FSFE summit will be one part of it. In the same spirit, we are happy to announce the possibility for other projects or organisations, to present themselves during QtCon in a so called “poster session”. We are looking for personal, smaller and/or non-commercial projects that are Free Software or related and in the spirit of openness and freedom.

On Friday evening, September 2nd, beginning around dinner time, we offer and set up a dedicated space close to the dining area, where chosen projects are invited to present themselves or a contemporary project. This is your chance to reach out for new audiences, contributors or donors. Unfortunately, due to space limitations, we can only offer this opportunity for up to ten different “posters”. If you like to be one of them, please apply by writing to team@qtcon.org and use the tag [poster].

Please be aware that space is limited: Each presenter will just have space to hang up one poster/banner or to put one roll-up with a maximum size of A0 paper size (841 × 1189 mm, upright). Additionally, there will be one standing table in front of each poster, that can be used to put some leaflets or other printouts. Each poster/project is only allowed to be presented by one person.

Deadline to apply is August 24.

Disclaimer: This is a copy of our announcement on qtcon.org

FSFE summit: Registration open

This week is a good week: The registration to the FSFE summit is open! Also you find a first final schedule of our external speakers and all the background information about the idea, the setting and the venue. Please be a bit more patient about our community schedule that is still in process to be finalized.

FSFE summit header

With this blogpost I also like to take the chance to thank the amazing team behind the summit that invested the last weeks of their online-time, coffee-breaks and even their daydreams to offer you an event that is worth for you to come and worth to be the official 15 years of FSFE celebration: pan-European, by the community, old stagers and newcomers, in the heart of Berlin, each day another theme, all talks about technology, freedom and society, social events in the evening, the possibility to meet, share and organise …
and all of this organised in full day schedules, full day catering and also full breaks to network with included entrance to the conferences of Qt Contributors, VideoLAN developers, KDAB and KDE Academy as well …

Special thanks go to Cellini Bedi, who does an awesome job in taking care of our speakers and helping them with their presentation and accommodation. Our translators (of whom I am unsure if they like to be referenced, so I let it be) who translated our summit pages into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Albanian. And on this occasion – although the community schedule is not yet published – I can already whistle-blow that there will be a dedicated community sessions for FSFE translators and newcomers at the summit, run by André Ockers. And last but not least Elio Qoshi from ura design who made our beautiful logo and the banner on our summit pages (and header image of this blogpost).

register-now-button-250px

I guess there is no need to clone all the information that you can find on our summit pages. Just a personal tip: Be quick to register and get your ticket, because space is physically limited. If you are a community member, also take your time to read through the registration guide, to make sure you pay the entrance fee that fits you most.

Finally, please help to spread the word:

EU consultation: Which Free Software program shall receive a European Union’s financed audit?

If you like to know your software, look into the code
If you like to know your software, look into the code

tl;dr: the The European Union runs a public survey about which Free Software program should receive a financed security audit. Take part!

2014, in reaction to the so-called “heartbleed” bug in OpenSSL, the Parliamentarians Max Andersson and Julia Reda initiated the pilot project “Governance and quality of software code – Auditing of free and open source software”. Which is now managed and realised by the European Commission’s Directorate General of Informatics (DIGIT) as the „Free and Open Source Software Auditing“ (EU-FOSSA) project. FOSSA is aiming at improving the security of those Free Software programs that are in use by the European Commission and the Parliament. To achieve this goal, the FOSSA project has three parts:

  • Comparative study of the European institutions’ and free and open source communities’ software development practices and a feasibility study on how to perform a code review of free and open source projects for European institutions.
  • Definition of a unified methodology to obtain complete inventory of free and open source software and technical specifications used within the European Parliament and the European Commission and the actual collection of data.
  • Sample code review of selected free and open source software and/or library, particularly targeting critical software, whose exploitation could lead to a severe disruption of public or European services and/or to unauthorized access.

In addition, FOSSA states that the “project will help improving the security of open source software in use in the European institutions. Equally important, the EU-FOSSA project is about contributing back to the open source communities. Initially, one million dollar have been assigned to FOSSA.

Choose your favorite
Choose your favorite
After its first publication of a comparative study about the development methods and security concerns in 14 open source communities with those of 14 software projects in the European Commission and European Parliament, it is time now for the first code review. On this occasion, the EU started a public survey about which software should be the first to be audited by FOSSA. There is a choice among 18 programs given, but it is also possible to propose another one.

It is to expect that such an audit gives important prominence towards existing and new users of the selected Free Software program. Additionally, in such an audit is a lot of work included. If this is done externally, means that existing developers can better spent their time in improving and further developing the program itself. Finally, every active participant in the survey shows to the Parliament the importance and public reception of FOSSA. And more participation might help in the final evaluation, so that this pilot project might hopefully become institutionalised. Hence, please take part! (just takes 1-4 minutes, no account needed)

This is a translation of my article in netzpolitik.org (German)

FSFE summit: some updates and introducing our committee

Things are getting more and more concrete
Things are getting more and more concrete
The settings of the first ever FSFE summit are getting more and more concrete and I like to share the recent steps we made to shed some light on what kind of event we are heading towards. This post will update information about our Call for Participation, our logo and introduce our summit committee. Expect to read more in-depth posts about the venue, the program and its organisation in upcoming blogposts.

What happened so far?

We have been running our Call for Participation for the FSFE summit until May 29 with an overwhelming quality and quantity of submissions. Thanks to all of you who took part or helped to spread the word. It seems like this is the right time for a FSFE summit.

Since the end of our call, in the first week of June, we have installed our summit committee (see below) and have been really excited in reading through the amount of submissions. On the other hand, however, we were also having really a hard time of having to choose and reject so many talks that we would like to hear. Believe me, I made my very best to get as many speaker-slots as possible from the overall QtCon organisation for our FSFE summit. Unfortunately, we still need to reject proposals. And by the way: If you did submit a talk, you will get a confirmation or rejection this week or the next one.

Last week we had an organisators meetup with everyone involved from KDAB, VLC, Qt, KDE and FSFE to bring together and divide all needs and demands of our particular communities under one roof. At this point, my big gratitudes to all of us involved and in particular to Jesper K. Pedersen and Frances Tait from KDAB to offer such a collaborative and respectful environment for all our communities.

Update on the summit’s logo

FSFE summitIn the meantime, our engaging designer Elio Qoshi – in consultance with Open Source Design – came up with a new version of our logo for the FSFE summit. The new version is more balanced and looks more like a modern style. This is highly appreciated, thank you very much Elio.

The Summit Committee

In our Call for Participation, among calling for talks, sessions and workshops, we have been including a call for volunteers to join our “program committee”. The idea behind: we do not only like to run a conference for our community – but also by our community! Obviously, such a demand involves multiple aspects. One of them is to give our community a chance to decide on the program.

To still keep capable of making decisions, we limited the amount of committee members to ten. Sorry for those that have been rejected but our choices have been based on a formula between professional experience (to reflect quality of talks) and/or FSFE contributions (to reflect the affiliation to our community) and/or country of origin (to reflect our European community). Additionally, part of the committee is composed by FSFE staff. This is our president Matthias Kirschner, our executive director Jonas Öberg, our enthusiastic intern Cellini Bedi and myself, head of summit organisation.

Finally, the summit committee is composed by additional six volunteers, two of them being our Fellowship representatives Mirko Boehm and Nicolas Dietrich. Together we form a team of ten people from five European countries. Thanks to all of you for taking your time and helping to shape the first FSFE summit.

After a successful start and given our mutual interest in extending this staff – community experience, we decided to keep the summit committee running during the whole time of organising the conference. Having such a board for further advise in upcoming decisions shall help to shape a summit in the sense and the name of our community.

There is no Open Science without the use of open standards and Free Software

99% of science is more than the final publication
99% of science happens before its final publication
Recently, the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation decided unanimously that by 2020, all results and scientific publications of publicly and publicly-private funded research must be freely available. This shall be ensured by the mandatory use of Open Access licenses that guarantee free access to publications. In addition “the data must be made accessible, unless there are well-founded reasons for not doing so, for example intellectual property rights or security or privacy issues”.

This important decision is long overdue and a good step towards opening up scientific results. And to give back to the public what they indirectly paid before with their tax money. However, this EU minister’s decision misses the opportunity to declare and understand software as a part of the research. Means to also include the free availability of the software used for publicly funded research. Indeed, there is not a single word in the press release to cover any informatics, software, “computer aided research” or anything alike. Everything that the ministers seem to care about is the final paper that is published as an article.

But we are in year 2016 and it is time to understand that software is information and knowledge – just as any article is.

Software as integral part of modern research

Software is an integral part of nearly all modern research. Beginning from metering, calculations, demonstrations to following stages of statistics, writings, publications … nearly all steps involved in a research project are in need and covered by the use of software.

What does it help the information society if a scientific paper is published in Open Access but all the steps involved towards creating this publication are built by investments in intransparent, closed and proprietary software solutions and data formats? Especially as the creation of a paper often involves many years of investigation and millions of Euros of fundings.

What does it help the science community, if the software that was used to achieve a result is not transparent? Software is really not without fail: miscalculated prison sentences, hardware scanners that randomly alter written numbers or professional software abuse to cheat on emissions by car manufacturers … – How can a researcher really believe in any result of a software that no one is able to look into and prove it to work correctly?

If the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation really aim at opening up scientific knowledge but keep software out of their scope, they do a very selective choice and only open up the very final stage of any research process. Articles are only able to list outcomes and results of a research process. Not including the software to be freely accessible means no one can see, reproduce or test the process itself or the mathematical methods that have been used to achieve these results.

Most researchers would love to have the software free as well

To understand a result you often need to analyze all parts of it
To understand a result you often need to analyze all parts of it
The EU ministers decision also seems not to be in line with what a majority in the scientific world is waiting for. Because having the software and data that is used for research freely accessible is definitely in interest of many researchers.

As an example, at the end of 2015, I was lucky to have been invited to shape the outcome of the JPI Climate symposium “Designing Comprehensive Open Knowledge Policies to Face Climate Change”. JPI Climate is a collaboration between 17 European countries to coordinate jointly their climate research and fund new transnational research initiatives. Given this transnational, European background, JPI Climate was setting up common Open Knowledge Policies. These shall help to find sustainable ways of archiving and ease the exchange of data and results – which in turn shall boost innovation in climate research. Naturally, JPI Climate was calling their members to publish under Open Access. But in contrast to the EU ministers, the JPI Climate does understand that all the way of the research process until the publication of the final article is just as important as the publication itself:

the symposium’s results confirm that access and availability issues are just one issue within the “openness” approach of “Open Knowledge”/“Open Science”; therefore, comprehensive policies (i.e. tackling the whole research cycle) should encompass measures related to “reuse and re-distribution” of data, information and knowledge and “universal participation” when designing, creating, disseminating and evaluating such data, information and knowledge.

Hence, participants on the common symposium agreed that

4. Research data, metadata, software, methods, etc. funded by public bodies should be open/public. Open licensing for data and software avoids collusion with legal restrictions at national or international level.

[…]

6. Open software/formats (independent from vendors) should be mandatory for data repositories and Data Management Plans (DMPs). Research Funding Organisations should take the lead and foster changes of business models when dealing with data

[…]

In addition to research results and data, open source software (used in the research process) should be mandatory and published under a free license.

Open Science needs Free Software

Obviously, the science community is large steps further than the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation. Many researchers all over Europe already seek for the mandatory use of Free Software in research process and the publication of software whose development was publicly funded. If EU ministers really like to realize their now proclaimed vision that “knowledge should be freely shared”, they should listen to their community and keep to their advise.

It is time to understand that software itself is knowledge and an integral part to create more (scientific) knowledge. And it is time for the European Union to note: There is no Open Science without the use of open standards and Free Software!

FSFE summit: Why we extend the deadline (Now May 29)

(download large file)
(download large file) [1]

tl;dr: The deadline of the Call for Participation for the first FSFE European summit is extended to May 29.

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” (multiple sources [2]) And if you organize a large conference for the first time, you have to do a lot of tough predictions. How many people will attend? Who are the interested speakers? What is your community going to organize? A lot of questions whose answers sometimes depend on or influence each other. For example, if a lot of people attend, speakers get interested in talking. Or if the community organises interesting opportunities to share and learn, more people are likely to attend and so forth.

This leaves you with a hard time for fundraising. Because when you do your summit for the first time, you have nothing to show. The only thing you have is prediction but donors like to see numbers and names. That is why the QtCon-team decided for a short deadline in the first place. We needed to get some feedback to back our predictions.

Fortunately, we received hugh interest by the community and a number of very interesting submissions so far. This convinces us, that we are on a good way and that we will manage to raise enough funds for the project once the Agends is set. On the other hand, we received messages of people who like to submit a proposal but feel that the deadline is too short to prepare it properly.

Now that we feel strenghtened and backed by our community we like to give more people the chance to take part in the first FSFE European summit and decided to extend the deadline of our Call for Participation until May 29.

FSFEsummit 2016

Picture / Logo: http://polr.me/vfc – Hashtag: #FSFEsummit

[1] CC-BY-SA 2.0 by Erik Albers, based on CC-BY-SA 2.0 by Eva Rinaldi
[2] The origin seems to come from a Danish proverb and circulated from there.

Call for Participation: FSFE European summit

Enlightening Europe
Enlightening Europe
Imagine a European Union that builds its IT infrastructure on Free Software. Imagine European Member States that exchange information in Open Standards and share their software. Imagine municipalities and city councils that benefit from decentralized and collaborative software under free licenses. Imagine no European is any longer forced to use non-Free Software.

This is the introduction of the Call for Participation of the first FSFE European Summit

Come and be part of an event where local activists gather to change Europe and its politics into using, creating and sharing free technology.

If you like to inspire, sent your submission until May 17

Save the date: September 2 – 4, 2016 – BCC Berlin, Germany
Hashtag: #FSFEsummit – Picture / Logo: http://polr.me/vfc