Communicating freely

Archive for the ‘FTF’ Category

Building pan-European networks

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

"So," asks the interested party, "what have you been up to?"

It’s a good question.  One that deserves a clear and sensible answer.  I can provide one, even if to the casual listener it might sound rather far-fetched.

"Oh, I’ve been building pan-European Free Software legal and technical networks."

As you can imagine, this is quite a challenging task.  It’s also extremely rewarding.  Free Software is maturing rapidly. 

In Europe there is a lot of engagement in the development of effective channels of communication.  The stakeholders include lawyers from commercial and non-commercial entities, researchers and technical experts. 

These are interesting years in technology.  Free Software is mainstream and it’s working to provide great solutions. 

My part in this big picture is modest.  I’m just lucky enough be able to observe some of the evolution close at hand.  Perhaps some day it’ll fit into a memoir.

In the meantime, I’m still facilitating the networks and doing my usual job as the FTF Coordinator. You might see me at a conference giving a speech.  You might meet me at a training session.  Whatever.  Drop by and say hi. 

Welcoming Marko to the FTF

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

As already reported in another blog Marko Milenovic is now part of the FSFE team.  I’d like to add to that news and let everyone know that Marko is also helping out at the FTF.

I’m delighted to have Marko on board.  We’ve really been expanding the FTF informal legal and technical networks lately and there’s a lot of exciting stuff happening.  The launch of the FTF consultancy services earlier this month is only the tip of the iceberg.

Zurich tales

Friday, May 18th, 2007

It’s a lovely afternoon here in Z├╝rich.  Birds are singing outside the office, trams are rolling past, and occasionally the coffee machine is clicking as it keeps the pot warm.

This morning I cycled to work.  It’s a lovely feeling to ride beside the river.  Sometimes working in the technology field means that we lose sight of nature.

Hm.  Do we need organic PCs?

Podcast interviews with Simon (Sun) and Tim (Chaos Radio)

Monday, March 5th, 2007

I was at FOSDEM recently and bumped into Simon Phipps from Sun Microsystems.  The last time we spoke was at LUG Radio Live so there was a lot of catching up to do.  

Simon has beaten me into the podcasting world with his new LiveMink show.  He interviewed me about the Freedom Task Force and I’m pretty happy with the result.  We recorded the show sitting on a stairwell in a dusty hallway about four metres from the action-packed FOSDEM hallway and yet (astonishingly) the sound quality is fine.  Kudos to Simon and his nifty microphone.

This was the second podcast I had participated in over the last couple of weeks.  When Tim Pritlove of Chaos Radio was in Zurich we had a chance to record together.  It was the first time I had the opportunity to speak properly with Tim and I have to say I was impressed with how he organises his show.  It was a genuine pleasure to chat.

Ah!  Now, when will I get my own podcast?

Ramblings about Zurich

Friday, December 1st, 2006

This week was a week of discovery.  I discovered that there is a Korean/Japanese store in the centre of Zurich (thanks Georg).  I discovered that Korean udon is not as nice as Japanese udon (sorry guys).  I discovered that Credit Suisse has a great restaurant in their HQ (kudos to Eric for inviting me there).

Perhaps the most important thing I have discovered is that there has been lots of positive karma around the Freedom Task Force project.  It’s really cool to have developers, projects and businesses tell you that they like what you’re doing, and that’s exactly what’s been happening.  It’s nice to know that the FTF is providing something useful.

Hey, would you like to lend a hand?  We’re putting together some educational material to help people engage with Free Software licensing.  You can help out by joining the FTF Discussion mailing list.

Giving a helping hand to projects…

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

I have some really good news. It’s something I have been excited about for a while but I can only share today. It was all hush-hush while we sorted out the details.

Anyway, here it is. Press release snippets:

The Bacula Project has became the first signatory of the Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA), a copyright assignment that allows FSFE to become the legal guardian of projects.

Kern Sibbald, the founder and lead developer of the Bacula network backup solution, assigned his copyright to FSFE. “I wanted to underline the commitment of the Bacula Project to Free Software,” said Kern. “Bacula has always been a community project and we’re just solidifying that for the long-term. I am very thankful that the FSFE is providing this service because it removes an important administrative burden from the project, which allows us to focus on the task of programming.”

“We are delighted to help Bacula accomplish its full potential. The Free Software ecosystem is maturing rapidly these days and the Freedom Task Force with its Fiduciary Licence Agreement, licensing education, licensing advice and enforcement services is an important part in this,” explains FSFE president Georg Greve. He adds: “We very much thank Stichting NLnet for doing their part in making this possible, and hope that others will step up to likewise support this effort.”

Yes, that’s right. The Freedom Task Force is pro-actively helping projects become safer while allowing developers to spend more time coding. I’m really glad we can offer a service like this to the Free Software eco-system and it’s going to be fun welcoming more projects on board.

You can check out the FTF homepage right here:

A lazy afternoon in Switzerland

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

It’s Sunday and in Zurich that means everything is closed. This provides an excellent excuse for me to head away into the hills for a while.

I’m glad to have some ‘down-time’ this weekend. It was a busy week for the Freedom Task Force. We had some really interesting questions about development methods and best practice. During the week I also had a productive meeting with a Swiss company. We talked about how SMEs in Switzerland can be encouraged to adopt Free Software.

Speaking of Free Software, interesting things are happening regarding GPLv3. The fifth GPLv3 conference kicks off on Tuesday in Japan. Georg Greve, FSFE president, and Ciaran O’Riordan, our GPLv3 ninja, are in attendance. You can find out more about the conference here.

Yup, so while those guys are enjoying yakitori and sake I’ll be manning the desk here at FTF HQ. If you want to send me a licensing question or just keep me company you can do so through this address:

Sun, Java and the FTF

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Java is now going under the GNU GPL. This is great news. Java always delivered transportable services in a really cool way, but the underlying system was controlled by one company and that left a question mark over its long-term future. It is to Sun’s great credit that they recognised this and that they recognised that only Free Software could provide a solution.

Everyone is going to gain from Java going GPL. Developers have the assurance that Java is Free and will remain Free forever. Users have the assurance that their platforms are open to adaptation, improvement and are fundamentally substitutable in ways that are only possible with Free Software. Sun has just harnessed the brain-power of thousands of the finest development minds by opening Java to the world. This is now our language. This is our solution.

Free Software has been in the mainstream for a while. Our technology is powering hundreds of millions of devices and Java bolsters this. It’s another support strut in the foundation we’ve built. It’s a foundation that ensures people have access to and control over the systems that they use.

FSFE’s Freedom Task Force (FTF) is part of the growing Free Software eco-system. We’re here to provide a pillar of support with regards Free Software licensing and legal issues. We help people understand the emerging technologies and licenses and we help make sure everyone gets the maximum benefit.

I guess I’m going to have an interesting week. It was looking crazy enough with our formal launch of the FTF this morning, but Sun’s move to make Java Free has really let the cat out of the bag. Free Software licensing and its implications are most certainly the topic of the day.

Well, we’re here to answer questions. That’s why I have a comfortable white desk and a neat IKEA chair in our Zurich office. We want to help you work out what you need to do, what the implications of all this stuff really is, and what benefits have just been placed on the table for everyone.

Let’s chat.

Send me a message

Belgium: +32 2 747 03 57 ext 408
Switzerland: +41 43 500 03 66 ext 408
UK: +44 29 200 08 17 7 ext 408
Germany: +49 700 373 38 76 73 ext 408

Free Software Foundation Europe
Freedom Task Force
Sumatrastrasse 25
8006 Zurich

The Freedom Task Force goes live!

Monday, November 13th, 2006

At the fellowship meeting in Italy we had a special announcement.  It’s time to share that announcement with everyone who couldn’t make it to the meeting themselves.

Today FSFE is launching the Freedom Task Force (FTF).  This is a project that will help solve Free Software legal issues.  The FTF will deliver three things:
License education
Fiduciary services
License enforcement

The FTF is a shield for Free Software.  We’ve assembled legal and technical experts.  We’ve entered into a long-term partnership with  We’ve begun to forge productive relationships with businesses, projects and other key players in the Free Software eco-system.

You can find out more about the FTF here.  If you want to contact us, you can do so here.  Comments, suggestions and questions are welcome, as are requests for assistance.  

This is a very cool time for our community.