Skip to content

English Planet

Call for sessions at the FSFE assembly during 32C3

Spontaneous"Free your Android" session during 31C3
Spontaneous”Free your Android” session during 31C3

From December 27-30 2015, there will be the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress (32C3) in the Congress Center of Hamburg where FSFE is happy to host an “assembly”. Such assemblies are community organised spaces inside the congress and the FSFE assembly will offer an information booth, self-organised sessions as well as a sitting corner for all friends of Free Software to come together, meet or simply relax.

To foil the title of this years CCC (“Gated Communities”), we are delighted to offer our community some self-organised sessions at our assembly and we look forward to your contributions. Depending on your session they will either take place directly at our assembly or in a dedicated workshop room. These sessions can be hands-on workshops, inspiring talks, community or developer meetings or any other public activity.
Topics can be anything that is related to Free Software, from your private project to global communities. We welcome technical talks as well as we encourage to give non-technical talks to address philosophical, economical or other thoughts about Free Software. We also like sessions about related subjects with a clear connection to Free Software like privacy, data protection and alike.

If you are interested in hosting a session, please apply no later than
* Sunday, November 22, 18:00 UTC *

by sending an email to me (eal@fsfe.org) with the subject “Session at 32C3” including a short description and/or slides that you like to use so we have a rough idea what your session is about.

If your session is accepted we happily take care of its proper organisation, publicity and everything else that needs to be done. You are then welcome to simply come and give/host your session : )

BTW: You do not need to be a Fellow of FSFE to host a session. Please feel free to share this message with your friends or your favorite mailing list.

New Palmyra

Palmyra was Syrias best known archeological site, influenced by ancient Greek, Roman and Persian arts and culture. Bassel Khartabil, Free Software developer, started with a 3d virtual reconstruction of Palmyra but is put in prison by the current regime of Assad. In recent months, Palmyra became known around the world due to its deconstruction by the Islamic state, ISIS.

Now the #NewPalmyra project was launched to “create a online community platform and data repository dedicated to the capture, preservation, sharing, and creative reuse of data about the ancient city of Palmyra”
.

The idea is to go on with Khartabils work, to give and use the power of the commons: “3D modelers, archaeologists, artists, curators, developers, educators, journalists, researchers, wikimedians and everyone else is invited to participate and the collected data will be released into the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero license at NewPalmyra.org”.

I was lucky to visit Palmyra before the outbreak of the civil war. Now happy to share my pictures and geo locations with NewPalmyra.org via Wikimedia Commons under CC0. Hopefully helps.

Funeral temple No 86, Palmyra

Columns and tombs in Palmyra

Read More →

I(ra)nternet – Internet censorship and sanctions in Iran

This is not an in-depth blog post about the internet censorship in Iran. If you look for that you find better stuff ‘out there’ or maybe start with the dedicated wikipedia page, instead. This is mere a simple story about my own experience, using the internet in Iran.

Recently I was in Iran for educational purposes (the thing other people call vacation). I directly came from Bucharest where I was at FSFE’s General Assembly and where I used Airbnb to find a proper accommodation. For those who do not know: Airbnb is a service that offers private accommodations, provided by local people. To prove reliability of the hosts, it comes with a built-in recommendation system. So I was in Iran now and I wanted to write a recommendation about my host in Bucharest inside Airbnb. But, when I tried to log in, I was facing this:

Airbnb as seen inside Iran

Own translation:

Why can I not use Airbnb from my location?
Airbnb has to keep to the law of the United States, that says that people of distinct countries are not allowed to use our service. That is why our service is not available in Cuba, Syria, Iran and Sudan.

Read More →

European Coordinators Meeting 2015

Last weekend, July 24-26, FSFE invited it’s coordinators all over Europe to the European Coordinators Meeting 2015 (ECM15) in the Unperfekthaus in Essen. Unfortunately, we had a bit less participation then in the previous edition due to some short-time cancellations. Fortunately, this did not spoil the good mood of all those present and we look back on a very exciting and productive coordinators meeting. In this post, find a report of our weekend.

participants of ECM15

Participants of the ECM15

Read More →

How I learned to love the IAU (update)


Ever wondered about the brilliance of the sky you’re looking at night?

Update: Thanks to Michal I realized that it is the International Astronomical Union (IAU) that is the “recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies”. All NASA references have been changed accordingly. However, I still love the NASA for producing and offering royalty-free content.

This week, I encountered something that made me love the International Astronomical Union (IAU): “9882 Stallman”. A main-belt asteroid that is named after Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software movement, the GNU project, the GPL and much more. He, aehm, it was discovered on September 28, 1994.

But #RMS is not the only person who is the name-giving patron of an asteroid. So, I digged a bit deeper and found the IAU as friends and supporters of software freedom. In chronological order of their discovery, I also found “9965 GNU” (Discovered 1992-03-05), “9885 Linux” (Discovered 1994-10-12) and “9793 Torvalds” (Discovered 1996-01-16).

After all, I think this is a nice tribute to Free Software and its importance for the technological infrastructure everybody uses every day – including science, business, society as well as space discovery. And in contrast, I was not able to find any asteroid who is named after non-free software systems or prominent people out of the non-free software world: There is no Apple, no Windows, no Jobs, no Gates, no Ballmer, no Zuckerberg … Now, I love the outer space!
And I hope that other scientific areas also understand the importance of Free Software just as the IAU does.

Ah, maybe I missed some asteroids? In case you find any interesting name in their database that I do not list here, please leave a comment.

update:
there is also “13926 Berners-Lee”. And his asteroid was discovered and named after him already on 2nd Dececember 1986. That’s visionary.

Free Software, local economy and its political realization

Last week, I was invited to talk for the “Concurso Universitario de Software Libre (CUSL)” in Zaragoza, Spain. The objective of this “concurso” is to promote the use and development of Free Software by organising an annual contest among various universities inside Spain. My objective was to get to know the contest and to use this occasion to promote the idea of a Free Software campaign for this years national elections in Spain.

When it comes to Free Software, Spain is different than many countries in Europe.

Read More →

The outcome is unpredictable but your contribution is priceless

Tomorrow is Document Freedom Day and this is the time when I am happy to see people around the world engaging on a local level to highlight the importance of Open Standards. All of them in their very own way and all of them together, spreading the word about document freedom. They do it although no one knows about the particular impact or outcome of their specific local activity to the big story. And no one can measure it. However, this impact can be really big. I know, because recently I was lucky to see such an effect. And today I like to share this story for your inspiration and motivation.

Since two months we have a new participant in our local FSFE group.

Read More →

FSFE’s assembly at Chaos Communication Congress (31C3)

The Chaos Communication Congress has been held for the 31st time (“31C3” in short) in the end of 2014 (December 27 to 30) and FSFE was present for the first time with a so-called assembly. An assembly at the Chaos Communication Congress is much more than a “usual” booth that you might think of from other conferences. It is also a place to join in, to sit down and – in our case – to talk about Free Software. Hence, the FSFE assembly was a booth and a meeting place at the same time – for 4 days, day and night, 24 hours.

Read More →

Internet (un)governance in Turkey

Do you remember the protests around #GeziPark in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 2013? People were heavily using Twitter and other social media to mobilize and organize an opposition against Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. Since then, the Internet is Erdogan’s personal enemy.

If we look at a rough timeline of Erdogan’s recent turkish government decisions on internet policy:

  • February 2014: Turkey passes a new internet law No 5651, to censor the web and for data retention (Guardian, BoingBoing). content:
    • block any website within four hours without first seeking a court ruling
    • store all data on web users’ activities for two years and make it available to the authorities upon request
  • March 2014: Turkish government blocks Youtube and Twitter ahead of national elections. (anmnesty international)
  • April – June 2014: Twitter compiles with court decisions to aid and assist Turkish authorities in ceonsoring political content. (Daily Sabah)
  • May to July 2014: Turkey blocks access to approximately 48.000 websites

… we can see that Internet governance in Turkey equals censorshop. However …

What t f?
#IGF2014’s agenda is about reforming ICANN, privacy, fundamental rights, surveillance and net neutrality. Now, guess, who sends most participants into the discussions and decisions about these important topics? Erdogan’s government and authorities.

If you are interested in more details about Turkish governments attack on the internet, read why Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altiparmak are boycotting the Internet Governance Forum.
Both are speaking at the Internet Ungovernance Forum, instead. It’s first sentence reads:

We’re organizing the Internet Ungovernance Forum on September 4-5, for people who demand that fundamental freedoms, openness, unity and net neutrality remain the building blocks of the Internet.

The Free Software Pact for the European Elections 2014

The French Free Software Association April is running its “Free Software Pact” campaign again for this years European Elections. Aim of this campaign is to enlighten candidates for the European Elections 2014 about Free Software by signing a “Free Software Pact” at the same time. Core demands of this pact are:

[…] I therefore undertake to:

  • Encourage all administrations, all public or local services to prefer Free Software and open standards in their choices, purchases and own developments;
  • Support active policies in favour of Free Software, and oppose any discrimination against it ;
  • Stand up for Free Software authors’ and users’ rights, especially by requiring the modification of any legal text currently weakening those rights, and opposing any legal project that would lead to such consequences.

In the past, April was very successful with this campaign. For the last European Elections, 2009, they have been able to collect 231 signatories out of 10 different countries. Unfortunately, this time there have been some starting problems, that is why time is already running short. The more urgent it is to become active immediately. This blogpost is supposed to help you in becoming active.

Template for re-use

I just started today to contact the list of candidates of the conservative party CDU here in the state of Berlin, Germany. In the following you will find the text that I have been using until now. Maybe it can be helpful for one or the other in phrasing his own text. Anyway, you are free to use this text in a whole, in part or as an inspiration for your own activity.

Dear Sir/Madam [Name]

I am a [ member / engaged / volunteer …] of the Free Software Foundation Europe and I am writing you today because you are running for office in the name the of the [name of party] for the European Elections 2014.

Read More →