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Is there such a thing as anticompetitive public code?

Currently we are working on a brochure for our Public Money? Public Code! campaign, that we like to use as a help for politicians and decision-takers. The brochure shall help to clarify common misunderstandings about Free Software, show positive use-cases and of course the multiple benefits of using Free Software. One of these pages shall counter the claim that private actors cannot compete against Free Software published by the state, financed with public money. Find more information below or directly join the discussion in English or German on the FSFE Mailinglists.

One of the pages in our brochure about Public Money? Public Code! shall be dedicated to the topic “market distortion / anticompetition”. The point is that a main argument against publishing publicly financed software developments under a free licence is said to be “market distortion”. The argument says that private actors cannot compete against “software offered by the state free of charge” and therewith these publications are to be seen anticompetitive. On the other hand we use to argue that in fact Free Software fosters competition because there are a way less dependencies in the Free Software and Open Standards world.

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Free Software Events in Europe in 2018

Recently, I asked our community to share those upcoming events (conferences / global action days / anything) in 2018 that are or should be in interested for the FSFE community. We now did put all these events in the FSFE-wiki-calendar, to help our community to organise activities (like a booth, talks, meet-ups…) around these events. As an overview, I publish the list of all these events so far in this blogpost.

If you know a Free Software and Open Source Software related event in Europe, happening in 2018, that is not yet listed here but that you think is in interest to the FSFE community, please leave it in this pad or contact me directly. All valid events will be imported from here into our wiki calendar.

Valid events do not need to be a conference, they can be install fests or other activities. But to be in interest for our community, they have to be for the general public and happen in Europe.

Events

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FSFE Assembly at 34C3: Wir taten was

In December 2017, the Chaos Communication Congress moved for the first time onto the Messegelände Leipzig. The FSFE came along and as in recent years, our assembly attracted a lot of visitors. Together with EDRi, for the first time we have been setting up a cluster called “Rights & Freedoms” with our own stage for multiple sessions. Although there have been some organisational issues, this Cluster was a big success and during three days, it has been visited by thousands of people.

I am happy to see the FSFE assembly again growing every year and having the possibility to bring our message of Software Freedom to the people at the Chaos Communication Congress. The CCC is Germany’s biggest annual meetup of hackers and political activists and is “considered one of the largest events of this kind, alongside the DEF CON in Las Vegas” (wikipedia).

FSFE assembly by day

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Free Software Assembly Europe at the 34C3 Chaos Communication Congress

This year, the assembly of the Free Software Foundation Europe will be integral part of the Cluster Rights & Freedoms. The cluster is formed together with our friends and other civil society organizations. During 4 days the FSFE will offer a public space for and by our members, friends and supporters to discuss, meet, hack and organise. Find an overview of our sessions and other specialties in this blog post. Always find the latest updates on our dedicated FSFE-assembly-page. Let’s put the hacking back into politics!

Location:

Location of the FSFE Assembly during 34C3 in Saal3 in the CCL.

The Congress Center Leipzig is huge! You will find our assembly in the Cluster Rights & Freedoms. The cluster itself is filling Saal 3 / Hall 3, which is split half/half into the stage area and the assembly area. You find the FSFE assembly in the assembly area.

On the right side you see a supervision of the cluster with the stage on top and the fsfe-assembly on bottom-left.

Saal 3 / Hall 3 is in the CCL-building, which is the “small” building on top-left in this graphic. In a side view, Saal 3 is on top right of the CCL-building.

Our sessions:

Please note that all sessions will happen on the stage in the Rights&Freedoms-Cluster in Saal 3 in the CCL-building (see above to find the location), except the Free Software song sing-along-sessions that will happen directly at the FSFE assembly and the workshops that happen in dedicated workshop-rooms.

Do not forget to check the the 34C3-wiki page for details and the latest updates!

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Report about the FSFE Community Meeting 2017

Two weeks ago we had our first general community meeting as an opportunity for all people engaged inside FSFE to come together, share knowledge, grow projects, hack, discuss and get active. Integral part and topic of the meeting was knowledge sharing of FSFE related tools and processes. Find some notes and pictures in this report.

For the first time, we we merging our annual German speaking team meeting this year with the bi-annual coordinators meeting into one bigger meeting for all active people of the FSFE community. Active people in this context means that invited was any member of any team, be it a local or topical one. All together, we met on the weekend of November 25 and 26 at Endocode, Berlin.

Integral part and topic of the meeting was knowledge sharing of FSFE related tools and processes. For this, we have had several slots in the agenda in that participants had the possibility to self-host a knowledge- or tool-sharing session that they are interested in. Or one in that they are an expert in and they like to share their knowledge. In a next step everyone could mark his own interest in the proposed sessions and based on that we arranged the agenda.

Participants of the FSFE community meeting 2017

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Call for sessions at the FSFE assembly during 34C3

From December 27 to 30, there will be the 34th Chaos Communication Congress happening in Leipzig. As in recent years, the FSFE is happy to host an assembly that includes an information booth, self-organised sessions and a meeting point for all friends of Free Software to come together, share or simply relax. This is our call for participation.

Free Software song sing-along at the FSFE-assembly during 33C3

With the CCC moving from Hamburg to Leipzig, there are not only logistic changes to be done but also some organisational changes. We are still figuring out the details, but in the context of this call, one of the major changes will be the loss of free available rooms to book for self-organised sessions. Instead, assemblies that match with each other are asked to cluster around 1 of several stages and use that as a common stage for self-organized sessions together. To make the most of this situation, the FSFE will for the first time not join the Noisy Square this year but form a new neighbourhood with other freedom fighting NGOs – in particular with our friends from European Digital Rights. However, at this point of time, we do not yet have more information about the concrete or final arrangements.

Crowded room during What makes a secure mobile messenger? by Hannes Hauswedell, one of our sessions during 33C3.

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Still Freeing Software Anyway

Four weeks ago, the FSFE had the pleasure to set up a village at SHA2017, a non-profit hacker-camp in the Netherlands. During five days in our village, we offered a public space to discuss, meet, hack sing-along and find shelter. This blogpost is a rough summary of our activities with links and pictures.

Fortunately, the “Free Software Village Europe” found its place in an exposed spot in the center of the camping place. The village was set up to offer a place to meet and get to know the FSFE but also to sit down and enjoy our infrastructure with power, internet, shadow and hot water for everyone. In addition, our village also offered a place for self-organised sessions like the Free Software Song choir or a FreedomBox install fest.

We have been very happy with the big interest in the FSFE and our activities and we like to thank everybody who made this event possible. Our special thanks go out to all the angels for their priceless contributions, to our neighbours for their helping hands and to the organisation of SHA for offering us our own curated track with talks covering multiple aspects of Free Software.

To get more detailed information about our sessions, please check the FSFE village wiki-page. In the following, find a visual report along some pictures:

FSFE Team:Village
FSFE Team:Village

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Free Software Village Europe at SHA 2017

Tonight, the FSFE team Netherlands will arrive at SHA2017 and set up a village for FSFE. SHA-camp is a non-profit hacker-camp in the the Netherlands, similar to the CCCamps in Germany. During 5 days the FSFE will offer a public space for and by our members, friends and supporters to discuss, meet, hack and organise. Find an overview of our sessions and other specialties in this blog post. Find all details and updates on our dedicated FSFE-village-page. Let’s put the hacking back into politics!

Our curated track:

FSFE assembly on CCCamp15
FSFE village at CCCamp15

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“Join us now” … at SHA2017

Summary: For the good vibe, we are planning another round of Free Software song sing-along-sessions at the FSFE village during SHA-camp in August this year. Thanks to Benjamin Wand we even run a project to bring together a choir that performs on stage and engages the audience to do a public crowdsinging. Read the details in this post, spread the word and join us!
Also read about the other projects and the current status of the FSFE village at the end of this post.

If you have been at the FSFE assembly at 33C3 or the year before, you may have seen or even took part in one of our multiple Free Software Song sing-along-sessions. People gathering at our assembly, bringing instruments, singing together and share their love for Free Software.

“Join us now and share the software. You’ll be free, Hackers!”
Because of this good adoption, we are already planning similar sessions at the FSFE village during SHA-camp in August this year. And we will go one step ahead.

Benjamin Wand was so inspired by our sing-along-sessions during 33C3 to compose a full set of music notation for a choir to sing the Free Software song in four voices. At SHA we like to give it a try and start a project to bring together a choir who performs the Free Software song. We reach out to other assemblies to get a stage and a momentum for this. It’s a 2h workshop and a potential live act. This is your chance: Join us now and sing out your love for Free Software!

In preparation you find Benjamin’s music sheet on imslp and on musescore where you can even listen to it. Please find all the other details and updates on the dedicated project page inside the SHA-wiki.

And now to something completely different

We are still preparing our village at SHA-camp to offer you an exciting and inspiring location, dipped into the mindset of Free Software. Our international team is always up for a short or a long talk and sharing knowledge. We will bring the latest promotion material and offer you the ultimate Free Software challenge.

On day 4, I will speak about How to make use of democratic elections for your own purpose. We also love to self-organize more sessions and reach out to other assemblies to make it happen. If you have some place for us or you are affiliated with the FSFE and like to give a talk/session, then contact us and we might be able to organise it.

In any case, it is worth to check our FSFE village page from time to time for updates.

Eine neues Kampagnentool: Der Digital-o-Mat

Zusammenfassung: Die Koalition Freies Wissen hat das Konzept des Wahl-o-Mat verwendet um einen Digital-o-Mat für die Landtagswahl in Nordrhein-Westfalen zu erstellen: https://www.digital-o-mat.de/. Der Digital-o-Mat basiert auf Freier Software und wird von dieser Koalition auch zur Bundestagswahl 2017 eingesetzt werden.

Der Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) ist es mit ihren Ask Your Candidates-Kampagnen schon immer ein Anliegen gewesen, gerade auch die Wahlkampfzeiten zu nutzen um Kandidierende und Parteien zum Thema Freie Software zu befragen und zu durchleuchten. Letztes Jahr haben wir uns dann anlässlich der Landtagswahlen in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern und Berlin erstmalig mit anderen NGOs zu einer Koalition Freies Wissen zusammengeschlossen, um gemeinsame Wahlprüfsteine zu versenden. Zu der Koalition gehören neben der FSFE das Bündnis Freie Bildung, der Digitale Gesellschaft e.V., Freifunk, die Open Knowledge Foundation DE und Wikimedia DE.

Ein beispielhaftes Ergebnis des Digital-o-Mat
Aus dieser Koalition ist die Idee eines Digital-o-Mat hervorgegangen. Vorbild dafür war der Wahl-o-Mat der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. In insgesamt acht Fragen können interessierte Wähler mit Hilfe des Digital-o-Mat ihre eigenen Präferenzen zu netzpolitischen Themen mit denen der in NRW antretenden Parteien abstimmen. Die Themen decken dabei Bildung, Freifunk, Freie Software und vieles mehr ab. Sobald man selbst die acht Fragen beantwortet hat, bekommt man automatisch ein Ergebnis der eigenen Meinung im Vergleich zu den Parteien präsentiert.

Unter diesem Ergebnis findet man zudem die detaillierteren Positionen der Parteien aufgeschlüsselt. Diese wurden von den Parteien für unseren Digital-o-Mat selbst erstellt.

Aufgeschlüsselte Antworten der Parteien, beispielhaft

Solltest du nicht in Nordrhein-Westfalen wohnen, wirst du dieses Jahr zur Bundestagswahl erneut die Chance haben, den Digital-o-Mat als Wahlhilfe zu verwenden. Aber auch wenn du bei dieser Landtagswahl nicht wählen darfst, hilft der Digital-o-Mat dabei eine grobe Orientierung über die generellen Positionen der Bundesparteien zu aktuellen netzpolitischen Themen zu gewinnen.

Die zu Grunde liegende Software ist Freie Software und kann und darf und soll für andere Wahlen adoptiert, verändert, angepasst und wiederverwendet werden!
Code: GitHub; Lizenz: MIT

Federführend für dieses Projekt zeichnet sich Wikimedia Deutschland. Erstmalig in die Koalition hinzugesellt hat sich zudem der Chaos Computer Club. Das Logo stammt von Elio Qoshi von Ura / Open Source Design.