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FOSDEM 2014 – FSFE, Fellowship and speaking schedule

Just three days left until FOSDEM 2014. For every Fellow and friend of FSFE who is attending, here is some useful information:

As every year, the FSFE has a booth that you will find in building K. This is a good chance to meet other Fellows and staff of the FSFE and to have a chat with each other.

On Saturday afternoon, at 16 hours, there is a general Fellowship meeting in front of the cafeteria in between the main building and building K. Erik will tell you about the European Elections project 2014 and how you can participate. In addition, this is again a good chance to get to know Fellows from all over Europe and discuss various topics.

On Saturday night, starting from 8pm, there is a FSFE social event in a small bar in the center of Brussels. Feel free to join and enjoy an evening together. The address:

Au Vieux Port
21 Quai au Bois a Bruler
1000 Bruxelles

Also, be aware, that many Fellows will speak during FOSDEM. Here are the Fellows that give a presentation during FOSDEM and I am aware of:
(chronological order)

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FSFE First European Coordinators Meeting

Ten days ago, on September 27 to 29, FSFE held its first European Coordinators Meeting (#ECM) in Berlin. Therefore, the FSFE invited Fellowship Coordinators from all over Europe to come for a weekend to exchange knowledge and visions between FSFE staff and the Fellowship. In total, we have been 22 people from 10 different countries which served as a good base for a lot of input. As the main organiser of the weekend, I would like to give you a report and feedback of the weekend.

Group Picture of FSFE's first European Coordinators Meeting

On Friday evening, all attendees were gathering inside FSFE’s new office in Berlin for a warm-up meeting. As the office is pretty small, shortly the room became very crowded with so many people. On the other hand, this was a good way to directly get in first contact with most people, as everybody was just standing next to each other. And, standing in the office, was also a good chance for everyone to directly grab FSFE’s promotion material.

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About ownership, remote control and privacy

Recently, I made a blogpost about the ownership of your own device and how control of technology is directly linked with the freedom of society – as well as with the freedom of each individual. The argument made in that post was, that remote control of technology in the hands of manufacturers put users out of their own control and makes censorship, supervision and control of society more and more easy and – therefore – likely to happen. Image of a router that looks like a camera

Just some weeks later, Edward Snowden leaked documents that show how the NSA was granted access to users data from US internet giants like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and many more. These documents show that remote storage of private data puts users out of control of their privacy. As we will see, the worst still is to come: remote private data storage by a machine that is under remote control.

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Digital and physical restrictions on your own device

Ownership of content and devices

About digital restrictions

Today, May 3rd 2013, is the international day against Digital Restrictions Management, powered by the Free Software Foundation. Usually, the term Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) refers to various restrictions that companies – or any other content provider – impose on digital media and data. These restrictions are there to let providers decide what you can do with your media and data and what not. By this, they keep you out of having true ownership of your data. This data is defective by design – no matter how much money you maybe paid for it. And it brings us into a world where we do not longer “buy” anything but only “license” the use of it. Restrictions like these evolve, just until one day when a licenser may legally decide to suddenly delete everything you have bought – remotely!

This year’s day against DRM focusses on a new and global threat to everything we are used to know about the World Wide Web: the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is discussing an Encrypted Media Extensions proposal (EME), that aims at incorporating support for DRM into HTML5. HTML is in the very heart of the Internet. Establishing DRM into HTML might become a terrific threat to the freedom of the Internet, to Free Software browsers and users freedom in general.
I hope, many people around the world join FSF and FSFE or align with other organisations in their fight against DRM in HTML5. Please, sign the petition and ring the bells as loud as you can to make other people aware of this misleading development.

Now, I would like to use this day to shed light on another issue. Something, that DRM not necessarily relates to, but, is indeed related to it: ownership of your own device.

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#ilovefs everywhere

Today is the day to show your love for Free Software. Here is my message:

I love Free Software because it is in the very heart of a 21st century society that respects the rules of privacy, autonomy, democracy, participation and the freedom of speech.

(Just to list a few of its countless good characteristics)

I would love to see this message going out to the people that decide on our daily lives, our legal and educational framework. By promoting and using Free Software, they have the chance to set up the roots for a truly interconnected and transnational society. Hence, my message today is addressed to all of you in the European Parliament:

European Parliament celebrating #IloveFS

Description: The European Parliament celebrating and promoting Free Software – for a Free Society. Licensed under CC 3.0 BY-SA

The right to install Free Software on any device

Last weekend, the German Pirate Party held its federal party convent to discuss and potentially agree on various amendments to their manifesto. Among them, there was amendment number 551: “Freie Softwareinstallation statt App-Store-Zwang” (German). A proposal, that aims at giving every user the right to install whatever software he likes on any computer-like device – instead of being locked to the vendors app-store.

More precise, the content of this proposal reads like:

Given by law, there is the right for free installation of whatever software you like on any ‘computer-like’ device. For the vendor, it’s legal to sell a locked device – but unlocking the device by the user must be implemented in an easy way by the default operating system. All software that will be installed, must be given the possibility for full access to all interfaces of the device. In addition, warranty may not be declared void after installation of software by the user. This must be true for manufacturers warranty as well as the one from your provider.
‘computer-like’ devices, and therefore affected by this law, are all information-processing devices whose operating system basically allows to install additional software. Not included should be devices for industrial or security purposes as well as devices that can physically harm someone, eg. cars or kitchen inventory.

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My experience with Ubuntu running on a Nexus 7

Last week, together with Torsten @grote Grote, I attended SFScon to give a FreeYourAndroid workshop. Thanks to Patrick @ohnewein Ohnewein and Shaun @shaunschutte Schutte, we had the chance to use two Nexus 7 for every purpose. We decided to install Cyanogenmod on one and Ubuntu on the other.

Installing Ubuntu was my turn and I was looking forward to a “one-click process for installing Ubuntu”. Ubuntu and Canonical might be debatable but I think what they do is a very interesting idea and a first step to spread GNU/Linux operating systems on mobile devices like tablets.

I followed the installation guide from Ubuntus wiki. First surprise was that you need another computer that runs Ubuntu to actually install Ubuntu from there on the Nexus S7. Would be a nice feature, if further developments go for an image that you just need to copy to the tablet and then let run the installation by the tablet itself. For now it would be worth a try and seems like some fun to use a tablet that runs Ubuntu to install Ubuntu on the next tablet. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the chance to try this out.

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Free Society Conference and Nordic summit 2012

Last weekend I was attending FSCONS, where I was giving a FreeYourAndroid-workshop as well as my first talk about FSFE’s FreeYourAndroid campaign. I have never been to FSCONS before and I was quite surprised by its familiar atmosphere. Some special fun came up with the Karaoke event at Saturday night, where in the end nearly the whole FSFE team was amusing itself as well as the rest of the conference.

FSCONS is co-organised by the FSFE, hence it was a great opportunity to meet Fellows from all Northern Europe at this conference. Beside other talks, I enjoyed a lot the talks given by Karsten @karsten Gerloff and Otto @otto Kekäläinen. The first one impressed by giving an easy to follow and free talk with just using a few slides. The latter one came up with very good insights on how big companies try to convince decision makers – and how you succeed best in counterarguing. Just the same day, Otto Kekäläinen also received the Nordic Free Software Award 2012 for his important contributions to Software Freedom.

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