Preview: what FSFE did in 2014 [update]

The year is almost over, and it’s reporting season. Here’s a sneak peek at list of things we achieved in 2014. A full report will follow shortly.

We want to keep doing these things, and more, in 2015. To continue operating at our current level in 2015, we will need €420,000. We have already secured €230,000 from our Fellows, donations, and merchandise sales. We need another €190,000 to finance our work next year. If you like what you see here, please consider joining the Fellowship or making a donation!

Public procurement [update]

We pushed hard for the European Commission to improve the way it acquires software, in order to open up opportunities for Free Software and Open Standards. Using the EU’s “freedom of information” mechanism, alongside parliamentary questions from MEP Amelia Andersdotter, we got the Commission to release documents about the way its contracts with Microsoft and other providers of non-free software are structured. We also obtained a document outlining the EC’s desktop software strategy for the coming years. This effort has opened the doors to several meetings with high-level IT decision makers in the Commission and the Parliament, and has enabled us to start a constructive conversation with them about what steps to take next. The Commission has asked us to provide input to the next version of its “open source strategy”

Free Software Pact / Ask Your Candidates

For the European elections in May 2014, we organised the Free Software Pact campaign together with the French Free Software association April. We invited candidates in those elections to sign the pact, asking them to commit to using their European Parliament mandate to promote Free Software. 33 of the pact’s signatories are currently serving as Members of the European Parliament. We will repeat this effort for other elections. Preparations are currently under way for Switzerland’s 2015 elections. With more resources available, we could put more time into following up with signatories, and using the contact we’ve built through the campaign to let them know what they should do in order to improve the situation for Free Software.

Compulsory Routers

In 2013 and 2014, we have followed developments on the issue of compulsory routers. We have published position papers, and documented the arguments and the process in both German and English. We supported other organisations with arguments and technical expertise, such as the Federation of German Consumer Organisations. Germany’s ministry of economics is currently working on a draft law to enable free router choice for consumers, and prohibit compulsory routers.

Information materials

We are currently sending out ten information packs per month on average. People can order these free of charge through our website. Both our introductory Free Software leaflet and our F-Droid leaflet are available in five languages. We recently added a flyer on “email self defense” in German and English; demand for this has been so great that we have already done three print runs of this.  Volunteers distributed this flyer at the premiere screenings of the movie “Citizenfour”.

Public relations for Free Software

We continously work to push the Free Software across Europe, in local languages wherever possible. During the past year, our monthly newsletter was translated into six languages on average.

Device sovereignty

On “trusted computing” and “SecureBoot”:  In 2014, we discussed this issue with Germany’s Federal Information Security Office, and with the ministries of economics and interior. At the EU level, we initiated conversations about alternatives such as CoreBoot. We are pushing to ensure that consumers have the possibility to install alternative operating systems on the devices they buy and own. Our goal is to use the progress we have made in Germany to create progress in other european countries, and finally put device owners in full control of their hard- and software.


We explained Free Software in talks, workshops, panel discussions, radio shows and several times on TV. In addition to the usual IT conferences and events, we expanded our reach to cover street festivals in Munich and Düsseldorf (Germany). This new outreach angle worked well, and we want to be present at many other such events this year.

Free Software Legal Issues

FSFE facilitates the world’s largest network of legal experts on Free Software, with currently more than 360 members (up from 320 last year). Participating experts come from a wide range of backgrounds, from corporate legal departments to lawyers in private practice, and engineers with legal skills. The network serves to develop and spread best practices around Free Software, and increase acceptance. Several participants have called the network’s annual meeting, the Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop, the best event of its kind in the world.

Document Freedom Day

Working with volunteers from around the world, our Document Freedom Day campaign explained and promoted Open Standards at 51 events in 21 countries around the world.

Help keep us going!

If you’ve made it all the way down here, you probably really are interested in the work we do at FSFE. So let me just point you to the Join the Fellowship and Donate pages again.

Thank you for any support you can provide!