Free Software in education survey, UK

Guido Arnold has an entry on his FSFE blog covering the results of a survey in the UK on free software (also called ‘open source’ in the report), which seem generally fairly positive.

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Talk at Science Gallery, Dublin: 12th May

Looks interesting:

Open Minds: James Boyle

Professor James Boyle [...] has been the Chairman of Creative Commons
and is the co-founder of Science Commons.

Science Gallery, Dublin, 12th May starting 18:15.

A discussion on the role of ‘IP’ in various fields. An earlier version of
their page mentioned patents, which would be of interest to IFSO members.

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IFSO letter against EU copyright extension

Dear Mr. Crowley,

Irish Free Software Organisation (IFSO) opposes the extension of copyright
which may be put to a vote in JURI today or tomorrow, and we ask that you do
the same.  Further, we ask for your support in requesting a new first
reading for this proposed directive.

Continue reading

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Tenth birthday of Free Software Foundation Europe!

Free Software Foundation Europe is ten years old this March. FSFE was founded in 2001 as “an organization dedicated to Free Software activities in Europe” and “the official sister organization of the Free Software Foundation in the United States” in Europe.

Please consider joining the FSFE Fellowship to support their work for software freedom in Europe.

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Local Government Computer Services Board moving to Free Software

Reported in the Irish Times for 2011-02-18:

Computer services board drops Microsoft

THE LOCAL Government Computer Service Board, a flagship Microsoft client, is moving to open-source software after nearly 10 years of allegiance.

Assistant director Tim Willoughby is quoted as giving several reasons for the move:

  • Cost: budgets are being cut, and the annual payment for the Software Assurance scheme is too high: ‘We can’t afford it.’
  • No vendor lock-in: ‘We don’t want our data to be stuck in old infrastructure where we have to pay somebody to get it out.’
  • Openness: ‘We want to approach them with open technologies and open standards.’

The article claims: Any new IT projects will use open source software, a process already under way.

The move is described in terms of ‘Open Source’ rather than ‘Free Software’, but this is a very significant announcement, and very welcome. It is particularly encouraging that the freedoms of Free Software play a large part in the arguments made by the LGCSB.

[Original article]

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Free Software Foundation: Call for nominations for the 13th Annual Free Software Awards

The FSF is soliciting nominations for two awards:

  • Award for the Advancement of Free Software
  • Award for Projects of Social Benefit

If you would like to put an individual or project forward for these awards, please do so on or before Wednesday, 16 February 2011. Details in the story on the FSF page.

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FSFE fellows: election for Fellowship seat

Those of you who are fellows of the FSFE (and I would encourage you to join the fellowship if you haven’t already) can this month vote to choose between two candidates for a Fellowship General Assembly seat. Visit the election page to read about the candidates and make your choice, then cast your vote via the link which will have been emailed to you.

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Free Software Foundation appeal

On the FSF website, Benjamin Mako Hill argues that the increasing use of computers to communicate makes the question of software freedom more important. Only with Free Software does the user have complete control over the technology they use, and also over their data. The FSF — IFSO’s ancestor organisation — is looking for new members to support their work towards software freedom. They also encourage existing members to contribute further if they can.

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Free Software happenings in Europe

A couple of things of interest from the January 2011 FSFE newsletter:

Introducing children and teachers to the idea of Free Software, based around the Lego Mindstorms platform. Workshop report.

Progress with the ‘Free Software PDF Readers’ campaign, which aims to stop public institutions advertising non-Free PDF readers.  In many countries, the response has been good.  Ireland’s ‘buglist’.

The European Interoperability Framework document has improved markedly over previous versions from a Free Software point of view, thanks to the work of the FSFE. Press release from the FSFE.

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English is a broken langauge

Usually the ability to use English accords a lot of advantages to it’s users. When it comes to software and in particular free software the usefulness of English fails the software community, of users, developers advocates, in fact everybody.

Free in everyday English has many meanings, however it is usually used in the context of “costless”, as opposed to Freedom. This leaves people with strange ideas about what Free Software is.

Let me give you a one liner which clears up how the word Free applies to Free Software.

Free as in Freedom, the freedom to use, study, run and share software with access to the source code is the definition when you see the word Free being used on this blog.

The right to say this comes with the licences we see attached to Free Software. There are a lot of licences and here is a good refrence for some of them:

The GNU websites list of licences

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