FSFLA's GNUsletter - Issue #26

FSFLA's GNUsletter
Issue #26
October/November, 2007

1. News and Events
2. Help wanted

1. News and Events

Oscar Valenzuela spoke at the 2nd Software Development and Testing Forum in Guanajuato, Mexico.
http://www.2forosw.org/ (in Spanish)

Pedro Rezende spoke at V Votobit in Monterrey, Mexico, and at the 2nd Free Software Festival in Brasília.
http://votobit.org.mx/ (in Spanish)
http://www.festivalsoftwarelivre.org (in Portuguese)

Alexandre Oliva spoke at the V Free Software Forum in Rio de Janeiro and at Convención Visión 2007 and at the II ./Freedom and Open Source Day in Lima, Peru, and was virtually present at Minas Gerais' Free Software Meeting in Lavras, Brazil. Thanks to José Monserrat for offering to present "Free Software and The Matrix".
http://www.forumsoftwarelivre.org.br/ (in Portuguese)
http://www.usmp.edu.pe/convencion2007/ (in Spanish)
http://www.usmp.edu.pe/fosd/ (in Spanish)
http://emsl.softwarelivre.org/ (in Portuguese)

FSFLA thanks the various Free Software organizations at CaFeConf 2007 who helped distribute FSFLA's folders and promote the Free Software cause. Hopefully next year there won't be so many last-minute unfortunate surprises impeding a stronger FSFLA presence.
http://www.cafeconf.org/ (in Spanish)

Fernanda Weiden spoke at the I Free Software Forum in Lisboa, Portugal.
http://www.softwarelivre.com.pt/ (in Portuguese)

Alfredo Rezinovski has left his position of board observer at FSFLA.

FSFLA is planning a strong presence at Latinoware, on November 13-14. Pedro Rezende, Alexandre Oliva and our board observers Daniel Yucra, Anahuac de Paula Gil, Felipe Augusto van de Wiel and Richard Stallman will be there. Please show up by our booth to lend us a hand and to talk about FSFLA and Free Software in general.

Richard Stallman will speak a lot in Latin America this month. He's speaking in Mexico on Nov 9-12, then in Brazil on Nov 14-21 in Foz do Iguaçu (Nov 14, Latinoware), Salvador (Nov 16 and 20), Brasília (Nov 19 at SERPRO and Unieuro) and São Paulo (Nov 21 at USP-Butantã), and in Ecuador on Nov 23.
http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/blogs/lxo/2007-11-11-rms-br (in Portuguese)

Alexandre Oliva will speak at S[G]LUD VI, in Bogotá, Colombia, on Dec 3-7.
http://glud.udistrital.edu.co/slud6/ (in Spanish)

A shortened English version of RMS's interview to Computerworld Brazil was published, after the publication of our previous GNUsletter that mentioned the full interview in Portuguese.
http://computerworld.uol.com.br/mercado/2007/09/11/idgnoticia.2007-08-23.1171671836/ (in Portuguese)

Our article about Receita Federal's transgressions regarding the income tax software was published in the 2nd issue of IBDI's magazine.
http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/texto/denuncia-irpf.pt (in Portuguese)

Citizens of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais faced severe limitations to on-line services provided by the electrical power retailer company in that state, CEMIG, when the web site was changed so as to require the use of Internet Explorer. The Free Software community mounted pressure and, after six weeks, the web site started accepting again Free Software browsers that comply with Free Open Standards for the Internet.
http://firefoxneles.nababu.org/?cat=14 (in Portuguese)
http://stoa.usp.br/gnusp/weblog/7655.html (in Portuguese)

Brazilian Receita Federal's purchase of almost 45 thousand copies of Microsoft Office 2007 remains suspended, and TCU, the federal court in charge of overseeing federal government agencies spending, has published a report rejecting Receita Federal's poor excuses for their choice for non-Free Software.
http://listas.softwarelivre.org/pipermail/psl-brasil/2007-October/022106.html (in Portuguese)

2. Help wanted

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups. If you'd prefer to work on another projet, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

The Brazilian bank ABN AMRO Real recently announced it would require its customers to install a non-Free plugin for Internet Explorer in order to gain access to their on-line banking services. The Brazilian Free Software community has mobilized and, so far, has got the bank to enable customers to request, on an individual and temporary basis, the requirement for this plugin to be dropped. The bank claims to be developing a plugin for Mozilla Firefox that should run on GNU/Linux as well, but we must make it clear to the bank that any non-Free Software plugin requirement is ethically and morally unacceptable, and a threat to customers' choice and security. Please ask the bank to disable the plugin requirement for you, and let them know you don't want non-Free Software imposed on you, not even plugins.
http://br-linux.org/linux/banco-real-anuncia-que-vai-exigir-windows-em-seu-home-banking (in Portuguese)
http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/blogs/lxo/2007-11-06-fazendo-mais-que-o-possivel.pt (in Portuguese)

Microsoft keeps on extending its net to capture young, visually-impared or otherwise digitally-excluded minds and turn them into agents to further its unethical monopolies. After the pacts with the Chilean Ministry of Economy and the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment, it has set a pact with the Inter-American Development Bank's Youth Fund and offered advantages for publicly-accessible telecenters in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to switch away from Free Software. Please help us enlighten decision makers to avoid these traps.
http://www.liberaciondigital.org/ (in Spanish)
http://www.fondodejuventud.org/youth2/default.asp (in Spanish and English)
http://www.direitoacomunicacao.org.br/novo/content.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1792 (in Portuguese)
http://www.governo.rj.gov.br/noticias.asp?N=41525 (in Portuguese)

The US House of Representatives has recently approved a "Free Trade" agreement with Peru by which the latter must change its laws to accept software and other kinds of absurd patents, and to criminalize disabling of Digital Restriction Management (DRM) handcuffs even for lawful purposes. Since the Peruvian authorities had already approved the agreement, the US senate is now the only remaining barrier for this disaster. If you are a US citizen, or have any influence over US senators, please help stop this pact. It is terrible for US citizens too. There are similar pacts with Colombia and Panama in imminent danger of approval as well.

This is the last call for signatures for our petition to Receita Federal to enable Brazilian citizens and taxpayers to comply with their tax obligations with convenience and freedom, in technological and juridic safety and without disrespecting laws or personal philosophical beliefs. Please sign it if you haven't done so yet.
http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/anuncio/2007-03-irpf2007 (in Portuguese)
http://www.petitiononline.com/irpf2007/petition.html (in Portuguese)

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Thanks to Dario Soto, Antonio Negro and Adriano Rafael Gomes for the help with the translations.

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA's GNUsletter - Issue #25

FSFLA's GNUsletter
Issue #25
September, 2007

1. Editorial: Sovereignty requires Freedom
2. stdlib: Office Document Format Wars
3. News and Events
4. Help wanted

1. Editorial: Sovereignty requires Freedom

A sovereign state is one that administers its own government, and is not dependent upon, or subject to, another power. A democratic government is supposed to represent its citizens, pursuing and defending their interests. But how could it do so once its sovereignty is constrained by decisions to surrender the freedom of citizens and of the state itself?

When a government uses non-Free Software for the computations of any government activity, it gives the program's developer uncheckable power over that government activity. It is improper for the government to place such helpless trust in anyone. Forbidden from seeing the source code, the government cannot assess whether the software does what it claims to do, no more and no less. Forbidden from making changes to the software, the government depends exclusively on the software vendor for any needed modifications. Forbidden from sharing the software with its citizens, it fails the mandate of transparency needed for a democratic society.

Unable to decode the information stored in proprietary formats, the government leaves its data, as well as citizens' data it keeps, at the mercy of the vendor that invented the format and uses it to maintain and, sometimes, extend the monopoly created by the choice of the non-Free Software. This exclusive dependency very often translates into licensing fees for unnecessary upgrades that trigger further expenses, taking away from the public administration money that could otherwise be used for the original purpose of pursuing and defending the interests of citizens. Furthermore, one such exclusive dependency is often used by monopolists to create other exclusive dependencies, completing a vicious cycle that further extends their power over their victims, as well as the problems that come with this power.

Choosing Free Software, a government is legally entitled and technically unhampered to verify that the software is not programmed to betray it; to fix the software regardless of the vendor's interests, in case errors, problems or new needs arise; to hire its own citizens or companies to perform such services, advancing local economy and technology rather than merely sending royalty fees abroad; to switch from one service provider to another, furthering a free market without concerns about software migration costs, how long a particular version is still going to be available or how long the vendor is going to stay in business.

Choosing software that implements Free Open Standards, the government can be reassured that the information it maintains can always be decoded, even if just to convert it to a different format decades later. And if it's Free Software, it may not even have to develop from scratch the software needed to decode or convert the files decades later, because only Free Software can be modified to perform this task, or even to run on the newer computers available then.

Even more serious than giving up the public administration's freedom is imposing such decisions upon citizens. A government that requires citizens to accept non-Free Software licenses in order to comply with their law-imposed obligations, or to receive government information or services that ought to be offered to all of them, discriminates against those who stand for a free market, for economic and technological development and independence and, above all, for individual freedom.

Even worse is to induce unaware citizens to use non-Free Software. Education, training and digital inclusion efforts must all use Free Software in order to accomplish their goals. It doesn't make sense to induce children, youngsters or digitally-deprived adults to use software that artificially limits how much they can learn. Software that they can't legally take from school to their homes or jobs. Software that undermines the moral value of sharing, one of the most fundamental values of our society. Software that renders them dependent and helpless, the precise opposite of honest education, training and digital inclusion initiatives.

It is no wonder that non-Free Software vendors so often offer incentives for decision makers to make choices that lead to an increased dependency on such vendors, such as adopting their proprietary file formats and their non-Free Software that implements them. Non-Free Software and proprietary standards leave the user at the mercy of the software developers. Being subjugated by a software vendor renders a state dependent on and subject to another power. The freedom afforded through Free Software and Free Open Standards is essential for a state's sovereignty.

Enlightened public administrators must use Free Software for every one of their software needs, not only out of respect for citizens' freedom, but also to ensure their states remain sovereign, such that they can keep on pursuing citizens' best long-term interests. Conscious citizens ought to not only oppose government moves towards non-Free Software and proprietary standards, but also choose Free Software and Free Open Standards themselves.

Please help us raise citizen awareness and enlighten public administrators.

2. stdlib: Office Document Formats Wars

Although the Open Document Format is ISO standard 26300, a Free Open Standard, Microsoft keeps pushing for the standardization of its Office Open XML, ISO draft 29500. In contrast with the earlier unanimous approval of ODF, on Sept 2 OOXML failed both criteria for approval in ISO's fast track procedure: it was rejected by more countries than permitted, and it was approved by fewer JTC1-participant countries than required.

It was a close call on both but, all things considered, this was a major accomplishment for our community: Microsoft's publicly-admitted vote-purchasing and ballot-stuffing offers; the outrageous last-minute upgrade of several countries that voted for Microsoft to a "participant" status; the misinformation spread by Microsoft employees who managed to become heads of the study groups in the standardization bodies of most countries, and then misguided many such countries to submit approval votes that, per ISO's rules, ought to have been submitted as rejections; misinformation as to Microsoft's willingness to participate in the development of the Open Document Format; misinformation as to the purpose of the proposed standard, defended as something that would enable legacy documents to be decoded, but that misses all the information needed for such decoding.

Also, misinformation that limited FSFLA's participation in the process. We've been misguided into believing that Brazil was the only Latin-American country that could vote in the process, so we focused our efforts in this country. When we learned this was wrong, it was far too late. We apologize to the Free Software communities all over Latin America for not having provided our support.

Fortunately, our absence in these efforts was more than made up for by activists all over the world, Latin America included, and we'd like to recognize the efforts of every one of them who fought for this good cause. In spite of all their dedication, many were overpowered by Microsoft's accomplice networks. Fortunately, a few managed to obtain OOXML rejection votes, and these have been enough so far. We wish to highlight FFII's Alberto Barrionuevo's activism and coordination in our region, ODF Alliance's Jomar Silva in Brazil, and the work of our sister FSFs.

We thank all of them for the efforts to avoid the approval of a standard that would inconvenience every user, out of the need for keeping software compatible with both standards in order to exchange files with others, that would only benefit Microsoft, by encouraging the further adoption of its newly-proposed format. A competing standard will benefit no one else, especially a standard that only its proponent company can implement, because of technical incompleteness in the specification and juridic insecurity as to the optional and unspecified portions of the standard.

We have no doubt that, until February, Microsoft will be pushing hard to get more countries to support its format at the ISO Ballot Resolution Meeting, where the raised objections are supposed to be addressed. By then, each country will be invited to issue a new vote. We have to do our part and reach to standardization bodies of our countries and make sure the rejection votes remain so, that countries that didn't voice their opinion or that were misguided fix their votes to a rejection, and that manipulation of standardization bodies don't turn the serious ISO process into a sham.

Please join us at stdlib@fsfla.org, and help us collect information about standardization bodies in Latin America and how to help them keep honest.

3. News and Events

Pedro Rezende attended the ABNT meeting on OOXML standardization on August 22, in Rio de Janeiro. FSFLA thanks Rede Livre and 4[GNU/]Linux for enabling his participation.

Richard Stallman, from our American sister organization, was in Venezuela in mid/late July, and in Peru in August.

Georg Greve and Jonas Öberg, from our European sister organization; G. Nagarjuna, from our Indian sister organization; and Alexandre Oliva spoke at 7mas Jornadas Regionales de Software Libre. We thank Marcelo Zunino, Alfredo Rezinowski, Beraldo Leal, Gustavo Nunes Freire Ribeiro and G. Nagarjuna for helping us at the booth; the conference organizers for the booth; Red Hat Latin America for sponsoring Alexandre's attendance; and all the donors, who contributed more than 2000 pesos.

After Jornadas Regionales, Georg Greve, from FSFE, went on to Chile, where he offered speeches and met government officials.
http://www.gnuchile.cl/index.php?id_page=6&funcpage=shownew&idnew=237 (in Spanish)

The Brazilian [GNU/]LinuxMagazine published Alexandre Oliva's article "Novidades na GPLv3".
http://www.linuxnewmedia.com.br/images/uploads/pdf_aberto/LM33_GPLv3.pdf (in Portuguese)

Blue-GNU interviewed FSFLA, and published other news about our ongoing struggles for Free Open Standards for Office Documents and Free Software adoption in the government and in education.

During the month of August, Octavio Ruiz Cervera and Roberto Salomon accepted our invitations to join the team as board observers. FSFLA welcomes them and thanks them for their support.

Oscar Valenzuela has kindly accepted our invitation to become a member of the FSFLA board, further strenghtening his commitment and ongoing participation, formerly as board observer, in our organization. Welcome aboard, Oscar!

Diário do Nordeste published an interview with Alexandre Oliva on Free Software and Free Open Standards.
http://diariodonordeste.globo.com/materia.asp?codigo=468673 (in Portuguese)

Richard Stallman, from the original FSF, was interviewed by Computerworld Brazil.

For the past several years, Software Freedom Day has been celebrated worldwide in September. Many Latin American sites are organizing meetings on September 15. Check the web site an join the celebration! We highlight below a few sites that requested us to do so.
http://www.espiritolivre.org/dls2007 (in Portuguese)
http://www.softwarelivrevs.org/ (in Portuguese)
http://softwarefreedomday.org/teams/centralandsouthamerica/chile (in Spanish)

Alexandre Oliva is going to speak at the Free Software Forum in Rio de Janeiro on Oct 4; at Convención Visión 2007 in Lima, Peru, on Oct 17-20; at Latinoware in Foz do Iguaçu, Brasil, on Nov 13-14; and at the Free Software International Congress in Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador, on Nov 20-23.
http://www.forumsoftwarelivre.org.br/ (in Portuguese)
http://www.usmp.edu.pe/convencion2007/ (in Spanish)
http://www.latinoware.org/ (in Portuguese)
http://linux.es/archives/90 (in Spanish)

Fernanda G. Weiden is going to speak at the 4th International Congress on Computing Engineering, in Ixtlahuaca, Mexico, on Oct 16-19.
http://www.ceui.com.mx/archivo_news/llll_congreso_internacional_ingenieria.htm (in Spanish)

Richard Stallman is going to speak in Colombia and Costa Rica in mid-October, and in Brazil and Ecuador in November. Find out more at his events web site.

Less than two months after the release of the GNU GPLv3 on June 29, our American sister organization, the Free Software Foundation, published on August 14 the last-call draft for the GNU Affero GPL version 3. It is a slightly modified version of GPLv3, mutually compatible with it, that defends the freedoms of remote users of the software. Please read the draft and submit your comments at the web site.

Since 2003, Cetril has rewarded innovative Free Software developers. In spite of being open to worldwide participation, earlier editions have had very few Latin American submissions. We encourage Free Software developers in Latin America to submit their projects that qualify. More details are available at the web site.

4. Help wanted

The Chilean Ministry of Economy signed a very broad pact with Microsoft, that will severely impact Chile's sovereignty and their citizens' freedom. Please support and join the movement to oppose this move.
http://www.liberaciondigital.org/ (in Spanish)

The Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment signed a pact with Microsoft to train youngsters in the use of Microsoft non-Free Software. Please help us oppose this pact.

Free Software supporters in Brazil, including FSFLA, have managed to postpone a public tender for purchasing of R$ 40 million (US$ 20 million) in Microsoft Office 2007 licenses. Please help us get it canceled.

Please help us verify the translations of GPLv3, of Richard Stallman's essay on reasons to switch to it, and of LGPLv3.

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups. If you'd prefer to work on another project, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Thanks to Dario Soto for part of the translation.

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA's GNUsletter - Issue #24

FSFLA's GNUsletter
Issue #24
July/August, 2007

1. Editorial: FSFLA welcomes GPLv3
2. New board observers
3. stdlib: workgroup on Free Open Standards
4. News and Events
5. Help wanted

1. Editorial: FSFLA welcomes GPLv3

FSFLA celebrates the publication of the third revision of the GNU General Public License, on June 29, and congratulates its sister organization, the original Free Software Foundation, as well as every other participant in its development, for this great achievement.

The GPLv3 is the best license available today for developers who want to make sure the software they write can only be modified and distributed by those who respect, with regard to that code, the users' freedoms that characterize Free Software: the freedoms to (0) run the program for any purpose, (1) study the program and adapt it to one's own needs, (2) distribute the program the way it was received, and (3) improve the program and distribute the modifications.

There is a common misunderstanding that Free Software is limited to the GPL, or only to copyleft licenses, i.e., licenses that require the same permissions to be granted to downstream users in case the software is further distributed, with or without modifications. But Free Software is not limited to such licenses. More permissive licenses, that respect the four freedoms established in the Free Software Definition, without defending any or all of them, are Free Software licenses as well.

In fact, the Free Software Definition was the basis for Bruce Perens' Debian Free Software Guidelines, which in turn served as the basis for the Open-Source Definition. It is therefore no surprise that the president of the Open-Source Initiative expects that they will consider the GPLv3 an open-source license.

In both movements you'll find people who prefer the most permissive licenses, people who prefer the strongest copyleft licenses, and every shade of gray in between. While some prefer to count on others' ethics or economics, rather than on law-supported copyleft, to keep Free Software Free, others are happy enough to do the right thing themselves, and are not concerned if their code is used in programs that disrespect users' freedoms. Thus, controversies surrounding copyleft provisions are not new, and it's no surprise that some of GPLv3's more-explicit requirements of respect for users' freedoms are the topic of heated debates.

For those who have similar preferences, mutual cooperation in software development is easy, for they can settle on the same licensing terms. But even when preferences are quite different, cooperation can still be possible and desirable, as shown by the efforts by both the Apache Foundation and the Free Software Foundation to ensure GPLv3 permitted combination with software under the more permissive Apache License version 2.0.

If your preference is for making sure your code is only used in ways that are Free Software and/or Open Source, for all its users, the GPL can help you get what you want, regardless of whether you're moved by the ethics and morals of our social movement, or by the economics of the Open-Source development model, or a combination thereof.

The GPL has always striven to ensure that the Software remains Free for all its users. The conditions of not imposing any further requirements for the exercise of the freedoms by recipients of the software have always been there, all the way from the version 1. These conditions may be able to block various threats to users' freedoms, regardless of whether the threats stem from copyright laws, patent laws or other laws, or if they're implemented with help from third parties or technological measures. If any of these threats might be used to render the Software non-Free, the goal of the GPL is to protect users from them.

Some of these threats have only surfaced after GPLv2 was published, so it doesn't specifically address them. Although the general principle should still apply, it is up for interpretation, which is higher legal risk than having it clearly stated in the license. GPLv3 thus makes it clear that the new known threats are not permitted.

Switching to GPLv3 is a voluntary decision that the copyright holders of a program can make so as to take advantage of the stronger defenses GPLv3 provides against threats to users' freedoms, such as software patents, technical measures that impose restrictions on the exercise of rights granted through the license, legislation that criminalizes circumvention of technical measures for the exercise of legitimate rights, and delegation to third parties of distribution or of imposition of restrictions upon users, to escape the obligations of the license.

We encourage whoever wishes to count on these stronger protections to upgrade to GPLv3. For those with different wishes, all other Free Software and Open-Source licenses remain available, and cooperation with others who have compatible wishes remains possible.

We encourage Free Software and Open-Source Software developers to keep on working together on software development under terms they can agree on, and invite them to offer their code in terms compatible with the GPLv3, such that it can be used in more programs that comply with both definitions, and that have such compliance defended by the license while at that.

We are very excited that GPLv3 is available, and we invite Free Software and Open-Source Software developers to join us in relicensing programs under the GPLv3, such that new improvements and new uses thereof enjoy the better defenses against attempts to render the Software non-Free and non-Open-Source for other users.

2. New board observers

FSFLA welcomes Adriano Rafael Gomes, Anahuac de Paula Gil, Alfredo Rezinovsky, Andres Ricardo Castelblanco, Christiano Anderson, Daniel Coletti, Daniel Yucra, Eder L. Marques, Elkin Botero, Fabianne Balvedi, Felipe Augusto van de Wiel, Franco Iacomella, Glauber de Oliveira Costa, Gustavo Sverzut Barbieri, Henrique de Andrade, Harold Rivas, Jansen Senna, Marcelo Zunino, Omar Kaminski, Oscar Valenzuela, and Rafael Bonifaz as board observers who kindly agreed to join us over the months of June and July. We thank them for their support!

We still have some outstanding invitations, but more suggestions about potential future members are always welcome.

3. stdlib: workgroup on Free Open Standards

FSFLA wants to work on the promotion of Free Open Standards, i.e., standards that promote interoperability and prevent monopolies and exclusive dependencies.

Urgent action is needed, especially in the front of office document formats.

Join us in the workgroup stdlib@fsfla.org to help us plan actions in this regard.

4. News and Events

Alexandre Oliva spoke at SESOL, in Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil.
http://www.sesol.ufc.br/sesol3/ (in Portuguese)

Pedro Rezende attended the ABNT meetings on OOXML standardization on June 14, in Brasília, and on July 17, in São Paulo, and spoke on OOXML and ODF at BotecoNet shortly after the latter meeting.
http://www.4linux.com.br/boteconet/ (in Portuguese)

Pedro Rezende spoke about Free Culture in the 21st century on June 20 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and on laws and regulations for digital life at ESLIF on July 7 in Brasília.
http://www.institutofatima.edu.br/pos_sl/2eslif/ (in Portuguese)

Alexandre Oliva spoke about DRM for members of the Pro-Free Software Group at University of Campinas on June 28.

The Brazilian magazine ARede quoted us in a short article about some of the new provisions of GPLv3.
http://www.arede.inf.br/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1043&Itemid=85 (in Portuguese)

Richard Stallman, from our American sister organization, was in Venezuela in mid/late July and will be in Peru in August. Find out more at

Georg Greve and Jonas Öberg, from our European sister organization; G. Nagarjuna, from our Indian sister organization; and Alexandre Oliva will be in Argentina in August for Jornadas Regionales de Software Libre. Join us there and support one of the greatest Free Software events in Latin America.

5. Help wanted

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups. If you'd prefer to work on another projet, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

Please help us finish and verify the translations of GPLv3, of Richard Stallman's essay on reasons to switch to it, and of LGPLv3.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Translated by Antonio Negro, Dario Soto, Adriano Rafael Gomes and Jefferson Santos. Thanks!

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA's GNUsletter - Issue #23

FSFLA's GNUsletter
Issue #23
June, 2007

1. Editorial: FSFLA is growing
2. GPLv3 "Last Call" draft
3. In the News
4. Events
5. Help wanted

1. Editorial: FSFLA is growing

After a lengthy public consultation period about its constitution, FSFLA approved the text that is now the basis for the work of members and volunteers. The restructuring time is over and now we're moving towards growth.

The month of May was especially devoted to this growth. FSFLA members, after several months working and interacting with other people in the Latin American community, decided to invite about 25 people, from various countries in Latin America, to join the group as observers of our board.

Observers are invited to participate in board discussions, such that they can not only keep up to date with regards to our activities, but also help us to serve better the Free Software cause in Latin America.

The idea is to expand the team, and also to expand FSFLA's activities, such that the organization achieves broader reach in its activities all over Latin America.

A list with the names will be published as soon as the process is completed. We're still waiting for a response on some of the outstanding invitations.

If you have suggestions of Free Software activists that have devoted efforts to the cause, and that in your opinion should be part of our team, don't refrain from letting us know at info@fsfla.org.

2. GPLv3 "Last Call" draft

On May 31, 2007, the FSF published the fourth and "last call" draft for version 3 of the GNU General Public License.

Please help us scrutinize and translate this draft, such that the final text of GPLv3 as good as we can all make it.

Richard Stallman wrote an essay on the benefits of migration to GPLv3. Please help us translate it.

3. In the News

The news site Linux.com covered our progress in the campaign against Softwares Impostos.

The Brazilian magazine ARede published an article on the release of IRPF2007-Livre, and covered one of our presentations at FISL 8.0.
http://www.arede.inf.br/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=963&Itemid=82 (in Portuguese)
http://www.arede.inf.br/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=961&Itemid=82 (in Portuguese)

The Brazilian newspaper O Globo published some of our recommendations as to 100% Free Software GNU/Linux installable distros.
http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/blogs/lxo/2007-05-07-sem-fronteiras-para-a-liberdade.pt (in Portuguese)

The Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo asked us for ten reasons to dislike Microsoft. In addition to various ways of disrespecting users' freedoms, such as unethical copyright and patent licensing practices, use of DRM and denying access to source code, we listed many others, having to do with abuse of monopoly power and other unethical and often illegal attitudes towards users and competitors. We reproach these attitudes because they're bad for society, not because it's Microsoft. Microsoft doesn't hold a monopoly on any of them, and we dislike them regardless of the perpetrator. If Microsoft dropped them all, it would likely be welcome to our community.
http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/blogs/lxo/pub/microsoft-10.pt (in Portuguese)
http://adadigital.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=170&Itemid=2 (in Portuguese)

4. Events

Alexandre Oliva presented "Free Software and the Matrix" at USP-EACH on May 2 and at ESLAM on May 25, where he also participated in a round table about various legal aspects of Free Software and presented "FSFLA's Coolest/Most Legal Actions."
http://eslam.comunidadesol.org (in Portuguese)

Alexandre Oliva will speak at SESOL, on June 6-9, in Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil. In addition to "Free Software and the Matrix", he will present "Magic Mirror on the Net, What's the Fairest License Yet? A GPLv3 fairness tale" and "Speeding Up Thread-Local Storage Access from Dynamic Libraries".
http://www.sesol.ufc.br/sesol3/ (in Portuguese)

Pedro Rezende will attend the ABNT meeting on OOXML standardization on June 14, in Brasília. ABNT is the Brazilian standardization body.

Pedro Rezende will speak about Free Culture in the 21st century on June 20 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

5. Help wanted

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups. If you'd prefer to work on another projet, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Translated to Spanish by Antonio Negro.

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA's GNUsletter - Issue #22

FSFLA's GNUsletter
Issue #22
May, 2007

1. Editorial: Freedom festivals
2. FSFLA's constitution approved
3. FSFLA joins the international front against DRM
4. FSFLA frees the Lion
5. Events
6. Farewell

1. Freedom festivals (*)

Participating in a Free Software installation festival is entertaining, and for many it is the first step to be part of our large community. It is important that these new participants of the community learn a little more about Free Software, the principles that motivate us and the philosophy that gets us together. And also about the problems that we face.

Free Software is a matter of freedom. It is software that respects your individual freedom and that of the community around you. Free Software is defined by 4 basic freedoms: to use, study, adapt, and distribute the software, with or without modifications. These freedoms are essential for living together in a society based on sharing of the knowledge, the mutual aid and the equality of opportunities. Any software that respects the 4 fundamental freedoms is Free Software. Unlike many people think, Free Software is not software licensed only under the GPL. There are many Free licenses.

When we use Free Software, we accept the participation in this community in equal conditions. It is exactly the opposite of what happens when we accept proprietary software licenses. These proprietary licences curtail your freedoms, and cause our society's basic values of sharing to be seen as something undesirable.

Accepting a license of proprietary software, we are accepting to use a knowledge that "belongs" to somebody who does not want to permit us to learn. Our access to this knowledge is limited precisely to create a form of control over us. These licenses do not respect your freedoms, and also they do not respect the people around you, imposing a division of what can and cannot be known by you and your friends, creating a hierarchy in access to knowledge.

Some of these licenses also explicitly prohibit you from sharing this program to your friends, turning life in society into something egoistic and nearly impossible. Who has never loaned a book or a magazine to a friend?

Ok, you might now be thinking: "but this Free Software thing is getting to be quite complicated!" You have no idea. Besides our declared enemies, there are other dangers harder to pinpoint.

Given the growing amount and quality of Free Software available, we're beginning to see more and more systems that we call hybrid. These systems have the distinguishing feature of putting together both non-Free and Free Software. For example, some GNU/Linux distributions publish proprietary software (including firmware) as part of a system primarily composed of Free Software. They often fail to warn users clearly about this situation. This practice hides some dangers in causing some users to think they are living in freedom while they actually aren't. And it is quite likely that they will only find that out when they need the freedoms, and then it may be too late.

Fortunately, thanks to hard work by Free Software activists, we're on track to eliminate these dangers. Examples are initiatives to create 100% Free GNU/Linux distributions such as gNewSense (Free Ubuntu), BLAG (Free Fedora) and Ututo, an independent, Latin American distribution. Recently, Ubuntu announced it is going to have a 100% Free alternative to its current hybrid forms. We must remember that, once it's installed, it can be hard work to identify and remove the software whose license does not respect our freedom, especially for newbies.

It is always important to remember that living in freedom is not like getting a finished gift. Freedom requires maintenance, and also commitment. Every day the interests in limiting the individual and collective freedoms grow, as a means to control and to profit from this position of control. Therefore deciding to live in freedom is deciding to commit to a day-to-day struggle for not acceptance of the path that may even appear to be easier in the short term, but that in the long run may be too costly. Not only for you, but for all the people. And not only in the software field.

If some (perhaps unfortunately many) people do not realize the danger of accepting a proprietary license in exchange for ensuring some functionality to their systems. These people unintentionally form critical mass that, by giving up part of their freedoms, contributes to weakening the task of defending them. This attitude doesn't aid the understanding of the principles of Free Software by new community members, it debilitates our requests before abusive vendors and, in general, before an industry that's as powerful as it is disregarding of ethics in its development.

By reducing the importance of these freedoms for the sake of practical aspects, it ends up more difficult to emphasize that freedom is something essential. And we all know how essential it is.

FSFLA would like to request everyone who organizes and participates in install fests to ponder on our motivations, and to help us take up this commitment and day-to-day struggle for freedom.

(*) Adapted from the article published in:

2. FSFLA's constitution approved

FSFLA board members approved, during the International Free Software Forum (FISL8.0), FSFLA's new constitution. It's been in effect since April 13, and FSFLA wishes to acknowledge all the people who participated and contributed to the processes of drafting and translating the text. You can read the full Constitution at:

3. FSFLA joins the international front against DRM

FSFLA has become one of the contributing organizations of the platform DRM.info (http://drm.info). Along with FSFLA, also forming the organization are: Electronic Information for Libraries, Consumer Project on Technology, iCommons, among others, in this platform created and maintained by our sister organization Free Software Foundation Europe, with the goal of informing people about the dangers of DRM. To join our anti-drm group, subscribe the mailing list at:

4. FSFLA frees the Lion

On April 25, FSFLA completed the process of liberation of the program IRPF2007, originally distributed by Receita Federal (Brazil). This work enabled the submission of the first income tax electronic declaration in Brazil prepared exclusively with Free Software. More information at our announcement:

5. Events

Alexandre Oliva, Pedro Rezende and Fernanda G Weiden participated in the Free Software International Forum (FISL), offering speeches and running a booth. We wish to thank the FISL organizers for the space, to people who helped at our booth, particularly Ines Weiden, Alessandra Domingues, Eder Marques and Glauber Costa. With help from these people, FSFLA raised about R$6.000,00 (six thousand reais) in donations. Thank you very much!

Alexandre Oliva and Pedro Rezende participated in the Latin-American Free Software Install Fest - FLISoL, in Campinas and Brasília, respectively. FSFLA offered to organizers some written material and also a vídeo/lecture by Alexandre Oliva, both about the fundamentals of our community. The material is available at:

We wish to thank them for the space opened for FSFLA, and also to everyone who made donations during the event. Thank you very much!

On May 2nd, Alexandre Oliva will present the speech "Free Software and the Matrix" at USP-EACH (AKA Eastern campus), in São Paulo.

Alexandre Oliva will participate in ESLAM - Amazon Free Software Meeting, that will take place on May 25-26 in Manaus. He will present the speeches "FSFLA's Coolest Actions" and "Free Software and the Matrix".

FSFLA confirmed formal endorsement for the event Séptimas Jornadas Regionales de Software Libre, to take place on August 7-11 in Córdoba, Argentina.

6. Farewell

Enrique Chaparro is no longer a member of the FSFLA board. We wish to thank him for his contribution and dedication throughout these more than 2 years, and wish him good luck in his projects.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA GNUsletter - Issue #21

FSFLA's GNUsletter
Issue #21
April, 2007

1. GPLv3
2. Constitution
3. "Softwares Impostos"
4. News and events
5. Welcome
6. Help wanted

1. GPLv3

It's taking longer than expected, but it's coming along. For news and updated information on GPLv3, check the GPLv3 development web site or join its announcements mailing list. Watch our translators mailing list to participate in our translation of the third draft, published on March 28, and post your suggestions at the site. If language is a problem, we can help.

2. Constitution

Thanks to Diego Saravia and Beatriz Busaniche for having suggested improvements to our constitution draft.

Our goal is to establish an organization that is as democratic and as open to participation of activists committed to Free Software as possible, while at the same time we try to make sure it remains itself fully committed to the moral principles of Free Software.

If you have further suggestions of improvements for our constitution, please have a look at the draft and send your suggestions to discusion@fsfla.org.

3. "Softwares Impostos"

Our campaign against the imposition of non-Free Software by the government in Brazil keeps on making progress. After some news coverage of our article and letter-writing campaign, we've managed to engage in negotiations with Receita Federal.
http://www.cipsga.org.br/article.php?sid=8351&mode=thread&order=0 (both in Portuguese)

We have thus published a petition that detailed and justified our demands for convenience and freedom, legal and technological safety, and respect for the law and for philosophical beliefs. Brazilian citizens and taxpayers in Brazil are invited to sign it.
http://info.abril.uol.com.br/aberto/infonews/032007/27032007-7.shl (all in Portuguese)

In response to our campaign, Receita Federal has already published the specifications of the file formats of income tax declarations and declaration receipts. Unfortunately, it's still missing the specification of the algorithm that computes a hash value over the declaration, so a program can't be created using this specification alone, and declarations that follow the specification will be incomplete and probably rejected.
http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br/Download/ProgramasPF.htm#Projeto%20IRPF%20-%20Layout%20TXT (in Portuguese)

Shortly after releasing the petition, we've found out that, unless Receita Federal has obtained special permission from copyright holders, it infringes copyright on 10 out of the 12+ (depending on how you count) Free Software packages used in the Sun-Java version of IRPF2007, the program that all taxpayers can and some taxpayers must use to fill in their income tax forms.

Also, based on arguments sustained by Receita Federal and lawyers that we don't need a license to run or distribute their program because the permission is implied, we understand we also have implied permission to decompile the Java program and then study it and to modify it such that it runs on Free Software platforms, and then distribute it to anyone else who might want to run it on such platforms. We can't get the original source code without their help, but since the Java .class files are not obfuscated and they even hold debug information, the decompiled sources are quite usable. And then, since we have implied permission to (0) run the program, (1) study it and adapt it to our needs, (2) redistribute the program the way we received it and (3) distribute our modifications, and we have source code (even if not the original source code), we can publish it as Free Software. Receita Federal itself might as well release the actual source code under a Free Software license.

If you want to help us carry out the effort of Freeing IRPF2007, or otherwise help in discussing, planning and implementing the next steps of our campaign, join us at softwares-impostos@fsfla.org.

4. News and events

Alexandre Oliva spoke at the 3rd Regional Symposium of Digital Inclusion promoted, in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, and at AtualTec III, in Boa Vista, Roraima, Brazil.

FSFLA will be massively present at FISL 8.0, the International Free Software Forum, to be held in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on April 12-14. Pedro A. D. de Rezende, Fernanda G. Weiden, and Alexandre Oliva will speak and share the FSFLA booth with whoever volunteers to help us run it. If you'd like to help us prepare promotional material, to give away or to obtain donations, or to help us run our booth, please let us know at eventos@fsfla.org. Otherwise, show up there anyway to chat, sign the petition against Softwares Impostos by Receita Federal and maybe make a donation.

On April 28, all over Latin America, a multi-site Free Software Installation Festival will take place. Each site sets its own rules as to what software they're going to offer, and unfortunately a number of them choose to install non-Free Software along with Free Software. As a consequence, FSFLA must not support the entire event, but rather only the sites that offer only Free Software to attendants. We urge FLISoL sites to rule out the installation of non-Free Software, and urge participants in all sites to reject the installation of any non-Free Software on their computers. FSFLA is preparing educational material for FLISoL attendants and organizers. If you'd like to help us prepare the material, or take our messages to FLISoL sites, in printed or spoken form, please join us at eventos@fsfla.org.

5. Welcome

Exal de Jesus Garcia Carrillo, Mexican Free Software activist and one of the GNU webmasters, has accepted our invitation to become a board observer, joining Alejandro Forero Cuervo in this position of potential future board members.

Beatriz Busaniche has accepted our invitation to return to a more active role at FSFLA, also as board observer.

Mario Bonilla has also chosen to become a board observer, resigning from his post of board member. We thank him very much for his active participation in the early days of FSFLA, and for making room for new participants, and we're very sorry that his work commitments have prevented him from devoting as much time to FSFLA as he and we would prefer. Thanks, Mario, and success to you!

For the sake of clarity, we quote our constitution draft:

15. The board may invite external observers to take part in the permanent session and other internal communications. Observers can offer their opinions but they don't vote and can't stop consensus, so they can't be held responsible for FSFLA's decisions. In fact, it must not be assumed that observers endorse or agree with such decisions.

6. Help wanted

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups. If you'd prefer to work on another projet, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

You may have noticed the new name of the FSFLA GNUsletter. It's no longer going to be created behind closed doors (thanks to our former member Federico Heinz for suggesting us to improve our processes), but rather on prensa@fsfla.org, where we intend to prepare press releases as well. If you'd like to help, join that list.

We keep on making progress in the transition our web sites to svnwiki, from Drupal and MediaWiki. Thanks to Alejandro Forero Cuervo for having improved svnwiki so much since we started trying it. It's already in heavy use in preparation of announcements, press releases and translations, and we hope to complete the transition in the next few weeks. Can you lend us a hand at sitio@fsfla.org?

After the hard disk crash we experienced a few months ago, in which the contents of the web sites of both our Anti-DRM campaign and FSFE's were lost, we're considering the possibility of joining forces and re-launching a single joint campaign, contributing the material we've created and redirecting our URLs and future efforts to the joint campaign. What do you think? Let us know at anti-drm@fsfla.org.

We can never thank our translation team too much for the superb job they've been doing. We're going to have a lot of their work published throughout this month. Special thanks to Antonio Negro, Leonardo Paredes and Adriano Rafael Gomes for their very active and consistent participation. Keep it up, folks!

This issue of FSFLA GNUsletter was translated by Adriano, Exal and Leonardo.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA News - Issue #20

Issue #20
March, 2007

1. Softwares Impostos by Receita Federal in Brazil
2. The fifth freedom, revisited
3. GPLv3
4. News and events
5. FSFLA.ORG outage
6. Help wanted

1. Softwares Impostos by Receita Federal in Brazil

How would you react to headlines such as "Government agency pushes red meat down vegetarian's throats!" during a (hypothetical?) law-mandated fast? How about "Non-smokers forced to smoke marijuana at public offices", where smoking is forbidden in closed offices and marijuana is a controlled substance? And "Pro-life activist must undergo abortion, says health minister", where abortion is forbidden by law? Make that "must perform abortions, executions or euthanasia", if you will.

This wouldn't amount to mere disrespect for legitimate and thoughtful choices (even if you don't agree with them). It's government agencies breaking the law so as to force citizens to break the law, against citizens' own personal legal choices, and in detriment of the citizens themselves.

Fewer people feel that strongly about rejecting non-Free Software than about the issues above. But should our thoughtful and legitimate choices be disrespected just because we aren't that many?

Last week we launched the latest phase of the campaign against Softwares Impostos in Brazil. Citizens were invited to write letters to Receita Federal, the government agency in charge of federal taxes, requesting that the software they release to the public, and that some taxpayers are required to use, be Free Software, and that specifications of file formats and protocols be published, which citizens have a constitutional right to demand.

Failure to do so, as explains the referenced article, would amount to infringing on citizens' constitutional rights to legal safety, because of the many risks involved in the inauditable electronic submission programs; to abuse of power it doesn't have, to limit citizens' constitutional rights to exercise their philosophical beliefs; to failure to comply with the constitutional principles of publicness (transparency), impersonality, legality and efficiency; and to imposition of compulsory copyright infringement, on taxpayers who choose to or are required to use its programs, which is punishable by law even in the absence of complaint by a public copyright holder.
http://www.fsfla.org/?q=pt/node/143 (in Portuguese)

Given the unsatisfactory response, we've then invited citizens to denounce Receita Federal's lack of respect for the constitution to Ministério da Fazenda, and to take other actions to draw Receita Federal's management towards addressing the problem.

Although we do mention as a problem the choice of platform for the programs released by Receita Federal (MS-Windows and a few implementations of Java), this is not the main focus of this campaign.

In fact, it was possible to run Receita Federal's programs last year on Free Software-only platforms such as wine, a Free Software environment for running MS-Windows applications on Free Software operating systems such as GNU/Linux, FreeBSD and OpenSolaris.

We've also seen claims that people could run the Java programs on e.g. the Kaffe Free Java Virtual Machine, but we know at least some of the programs required classes that are not present in Kaffe's class library (GNU Classpath). Nor in the Java specification, for that matter. It's likely that those who succeeded had non-Free Java libraries installed, and accidentally or intentionally used them to supplement Kaffe's class library. If they had insisted on using only Free Software, they'd have failed to run the programs, like we have.

Others were confused by Sun's announcement last year about Freeing Java, assuming it means Sun's implementation of Java is Free Software already. Alas, it's not. Only part of the code that amounts to a complete Java Virtual Machine was released as Free Software so far. The entire class library is still non-Free. Besides, the code already released as Free Software, and the corresponding yet-to-be-freed class library, are expected to be part of Java version 7, but Java version 6 is yet to be released.

Our goal is rather to ensure that citizens have the ability to comply with their tax obligations in digital freedom, i.e., without using any non-Free Software whatsoever. To this end, unless they're all permitted to use paper forms, they need at the very least the specifications of file formats and protocols, such that they can implement their own applications as Free Software.

Even more useful would be the complete applications that implement these formats and protocols, under a Free Software License, or at least the portions that are copyrighted by Receita Federal itself, such that the Free Software community could fill in whatever missing pieces there were to make them complete Free Software applications, and proceed to port them to Free Software platforms as needed.

Being unable to do any of this, due to lack of specifications, source code and licenses, taxpayers end up required, by illegal rules published by Receita Federal, to use the non-Free Software (that induces copyright infringement) distributed by Receita Federal.

Since this is about software freedom, FSFLA must intervene. Unfortunately, information we have received so far appears to indicate that legal action is going to be unavoidable. So, if you'd like to donate to our legal fund, or to join legal action, please write to info@fsfla.org (private communication) or legales@fsfla.org (archives are publicly-available).

2. The fifth freedom, revisited

Last month's editorial made headlines shortly before our web site went down. The extra traffic we got doesn't seem to be related with the disk failure, but a number of events during February make sense (or not) under the light of the arguments presented there. Reading it first is recommended, otherwise what follows is unlikely to make sense for you.

Fedora and Ubuntu have both revisited their policies about inclusion of non-Free firmware in their distributions, even though no actual policy changes were made at this time. That said, Ubuntu appears to be looking into a 100% Free Software variant, and Fedora has long refrained from exercising the freedom to include the non-Free firmware permitted by its policy, although this may change for release 7.

This unwillingness to include non-Free firmware, and other wise uses of the fifth freedom on Fedora's part, have led to a perfect example of a bad use of the fifth freedom: someone switched from a GNU/Linux distribution that is committed to rejecting most non-Free Software, to one that openly rejects such commitment. And this difference in their stances was cited as one of the major reasons for the switch.

This is not just about the fifth freedom we discussed in last month's editorial (freedom of choice, or freedom to shoot one's own feet), but also about Tom Clancy's (or Noam Chomsky's?) fifth freedom: the freedom to "disregard any law, agreement, or framework of ethical behavior in order to accomplish [one's] mission".

The willingness to do "whatever it takes to accomplish some mission" is what gets so many people to resort to using non-Free Software for certain tasks, when they don't trust, don't know, don't want to know, and don't want to invest in development of, Free Software for those tasks.

It often takes additional effort to do something in freedom. If it weren't so, freedom would probably not be so valuable. The sooner you undertake such efforts, the sooner you make sure you can keep your freedom. If you don't, you may very well find yourself in the future worried about not having it, and regretting not having done what you could, when you could.

3. GPLv3

The third draft of GPLv3 has run late, but it's probably going to be published by or around the time this newsletter goes out. Keep an eye on http://gplv3.fsf.org/, read the drafts as they come out and submit your comments, such that they can be taken into account for the final release. Watch our translators web page for translations of the draft as well.

Don't miss this opportunity to participate in the development of the first major Free Software license created under a Free Software development model!

4. News and events

Conversations are ongoing about establishing a Free Culture Network in Brazil, with FSFLA's presence. The first meeting took place in São Paulo on February 2nd. A set of principles is being worked on, such that, when an open invitation to participate is extended to the general public, the goals are clear for everybody.

Fernanda Weiden spoke on Free Software gender issues at the Free Software World Conference 3.0, in Badajoz, Spain, and she attended FOSDEM, in Brussels, Belgium.

Richard Stallman spoke in Cuba in February, and, according to many news reports all over the world, he's succeeded in convincing the federal government to switch to Free Software. Unfortunately we didn't get information about his speeches before they took place, so we couldn't publish them on our web site.

We invite the Cuban Free Software community to participate in FSFLA and we offer to help however we can. The same goes for all other countries in Latin America, of course!

Alexandre Oliva will participate in a debate about "Proprietary and Free Software" at the 3rd Regional Symposium of Digital Inclusion promoted by CDI Campinas, on March 27 in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, and will speak about Free Software at AtualTec III, promoted by Faculdade Atual da Amazônia, on March 28-30 in Boa Vista, Roraima, Brazil.
http://www.cdicampinas.org.br/simposio/ (in Portuguese)
http://www.faculdadeatual.edu.br/atualtec2007 (in Portuguese)

5. FSFLA.ORG outage

The server that runs our lists and web sites has been down for a big portion of the month of February. So we've extended some periods for comments, see below.

6. Help wanted

We're giving people more time to comment on our draft constitution, because of the outage. We also ask people to check whether any comments they might have sent during the outage period bounced, and to please resend them if appropriate.

We renew our invitation for people to participate in ongoing translations.
http://wiki.fsfla.org/wiki/index.php/Traductores (in Spanish)

Please help us verify the automatic conversion of the Drupal web site contents to svnwiki and keep on testing svnwiki and sending feedback on it to sitio@fsfla.org, with an eye on its potential adoption as the our main web site engine.

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups listed at http://www.fsfla.org/?q=en/node/121. If you'd prefer to work on another workgroup we haven't set up yet, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA News - Issue #19

Issue #19
February, 2007

1. Editorial: The fifth freedom
2. FSFLA Constitution draft
3. Other translations
4. Web site
5. Portuñol in the mailing lists
6. Board observers
7. GPLv3 draft 3
8. News and events
9. Help wanted

1. Editorial: The fifth freedom

As the ideals of Free Software gain wider acceptance, people who resist them tend to rationalize the compromising of their own freedoms on the grounds of freedom of choice, often posed as the fifth freedom. When this freedom is used to justify the acceptance of proprietary drivers [ULP], firmware [FPG], multimedia codecs [FPC] and web-based applications [FSW], it might as well be stated as the freedom to enslave oneself, but this wouldn't do it justice. It's a much bigger problem.

The Free Software movement was created with the goal of enabling users to live their digital lives in freedom. To this end, four freedoms related with software were established [FSD]:

0: the freedom to run the software for any purpose;

1: the freedom to study the software and adapt it to your needs;

2: the freedom to distribute the software the way you received it;

3: the freedom to modify the software and share your modifications.

As long as all the software you run respects your four freedoms and runs on computers you can control, you live in digital freedom.

However, whenever you choose to sacrifice any of these freedoms, you are probably harming not only yourself, but your entire community.

Consider the consequences of buying hardware from a vendor that won't offer Free Software drivers for Free Software operating systems, or won't even share specifications for others to develop Free Software drivers. When you give the vendor money and marketshare, you strengthen its position. But you also divide our community, as some of us will stand firm and reject such hardware, while you give in.

Proprietary firmware poses a very similar problem. There's nothing in the Free Software definition that limits its scope to software that runs on the main processors of a computer. Unfortunately, more and more hardware components require such non-Free Software to be loaded onto them every time the computer boots up. When you purchase such components, you take bargaining power away from our community, and hand it to the vendor.

When an operating system distributor arranges for its system to work seamlessly with components that require non-Free drivers or firmware, many users don't even realize they are being deprived of their freedoms before it's too late. As they perceive that the combination of hardware and operating system "just works", and recommend it to their friends, the hardware and operating system distributors that do not respect their users' freedoms gain further power. Meanwhile, the operating system distributors who remain committed to Free Software often take the blame for their similar system not working out of the box, on such freedom-deprived hardware.

Codecs are more perverse in that they rely not only on copyright and secrecy, but also on patent law, to restrict what users can do, and they're often used to implement DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). On the good side, software patents are not allowed in most countries, which enables reverse-engineering and Free Software implementations of most such formats. These free implementations have been prohibited in the USA, the European Union and some other countries, and that keeps them out of most major Free Software distributions. Accepting DRMed formats and non-Free codecs in order to enjoy artistic and technical works strengthens the proponents of such formats, even when you use only Free Software to do so. Even if you don't pay a fee to enjoy the works, the encoding often involves paying copyright or software patent licensing fees.

Web applications are different in that they take freedom away from the user without any unethical or immoral acts by the software "provider", even when the applications are Free Software. Making private changes is one of the core freedoms we fight for, and it's arguable whether enabling third parties to run software through a web server makes such software no longer private. For sure, users should not expect to be entitled to modify the copy of the software that runs on the server.

It is desirable, however, for users to be entitled to download their own data from the server, and to obtain a copy of the entire program, so as to keep control of their digital lives, by enjoying the freedoms to modify the software locally, and to run it for any purpose. When you use web applications that take your digital freedom away from you, locking you in by means of your data or software functionality, you offer positive feedback to such behavior and strengthen the provider, at the expense of your own data and freedom. We urge users to resist the temptation to use web applications to do their own personal computations.

Trading freedom for short-term convenience is most often a bad deal in the long term. Of course we can and should offer convenience to users [UTU,GNS], but only as long as this doesn't harm our ultimate goal of freedom.

Whenever someone draws a plan that involves sacrificing some freedom now to gain more freedom later, he'd better be sure the goal is achievable. For example, it was necessary to use non-Free Software to bootstrap the GNU Operating System. The sacrifice would unmistakably lead to more freedom, since the non-Free Software was used only to develop its own replacement [LMI].

But what to say of the argument that we need a critical mass of users to become relevant to hardware manufacturers and media distributors, such that they will respect our freedoms, and so we need to sacrifice our freedoms now to lure more users into our camp using proprietary software as the bait [WD2]?

Quite often, supporters of such arguments lose sight of the ultimate goal, aiming at popularity rather than freedom. Although the argument cited above does not lose sight of the goal of freedom, it fails to draw a clear and safe path from critical mass to freedom [BFS].

The flaw in the argument is the assumption that the users lured in with convenience as the bait would give us leverage to obtain more freedom. Why would they? The convenience afforded by non-Free drivers, firmware and codecs would grow our community with people who don't share our values and goals. If these people were not willing to trade convenience for freedom before, why would they stand by our side when we reached critical mass and demanded our freedoms back?

Those who won't take part in rejecting hardware, DRMed works and non-Free Software for the sake of freedom today would probably remain so in the future, unless they learn to appreciate the value of freedom. But if more and more people in the community are willing to sacrifice freedom and not even mention it for the sake of growing the community faster, how are the new users going to learn about freedom? As the voices for freedom get dilluted in a larger but weaker community, freedoms may actually be eroded, as vendors who now respect them, because of the strong voices for freedom, cease to do so as the same voices get lost in the noise.

While it's true that, by giving up freedom, one shoots one's own foot, shrapnel spreads out and hurts our whole community. Instead of trying to rationalize the acceptance of non-Free Software as a good thing, we must keep on doing all we can to teach more Free Software users to appreciate it for the freedom it gives them, because only then will they stand up for freedom with us.

There's no doubt that freedom of choice can be beneficial, but is it not wise to sacrifice other freedoms for some immediate convenience, when you know that this will cause your community to end up without freedom of choice, without convenience, and without the other freedoms. Your choices can enslave yourself and your entire community. Choose wisely.

[ULP] http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/licensing, under Documentation, Firmware and Drivers

[FPG] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Packaging/Guidelines, under Binary Firmware

[FPC] http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070115-8624.html

[FSW] http://wiki.freaks-unidos.net/weblogs/azul/free-software-and-the-web

[FSD] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

[UTU] http://www.ututo.org (in Spanish)

[GNS] http://www.gnewsense.org

[LMI] http://www.linux-mag.com/id/255

[WD2] http://catb.org/~esr/writings/world-domination/world-domination-201.html

[BSF] http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2007-01-12-019-35-OP-SW

2. FSFLA Constitution draft

As promised in the latest newsletter, we've published our draft constitution at http://www.fsfla.org/?q=en/node/134, for public comments. Please send your feedback to discusion@fsfla.org and help us translate it at http://wiki.fsfla.org/wiki/index.php/Constitution.

3. Other translations

We have a number of other ongoing translations at http://wiki.fsfla.org/wiki/index.php/Traductores (mostly in Spanish):

with probably more to come.

4. Web site

Speaking of the Wiki, we're considering a switch from Drupal and MediaWiki to the Latin-American svnwiki. Alejandro Forero Cuervo, the svnwiki development lead, has helped us set it up for testing. You're welcome to experiment with it at http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki.

We thank Alejo, Exal Carrillo and Eder Marques for offering to help us maintain our web site. If you'd like to join them, or just offer comments about svnwiki or our site, send e-mail to sitio@fsfla.org.

5. Portuñol in the mailing lists

You may have noticed that our mailing list software now offers Portuñol as one of the language options, and that's the default language for all of our mailing lists. If you look closely, you'll see it's just the Spanish translation under another name, which is in line with the fact that it appears to be far easier for Portuguese speakers to understand and pretend to write in Spanish than it is for Spanish speakers to do so with Portuguese.

When you participate in our lists, please make an effort to make it easier for other participants to understand you, avoiding Spanish and Portuguese words, constructs and phrases that might be difficult for non-native speakers to understand.

6. Board observers

Niibe Yutaka, from the Free Software Initiative Japan, and G. Nagarjuna, from the Free Software Foundation India, have kindly agreed to become observers of our board, in response to our effort to strengthen our relationship with other FSFes and nearly-FSF organizations such as FSIJ. Niibe-san and Nagarjuna join in this role Richard Stallman, from the original FSF, and Georg Greve, from FSF Europe.

It is also our pleasure to announce that Alejandro Forero Cuervo, a very active Latin American Free Software developer and advocate, original organizer of FLISOL and co-founder of Colibrí, a Colombian Free Software users community, has also honored us by accepting the role of board observer.

7. GPLv3 draft 3

The third draft of GPLv3 is expected to be published around the time this newsletter goes out. Keep an eye on http://gplv3.fsf.org/, read the drafts and submit your comments, such that they can be taken into account for the final release. Watch our translators web page for translations of the draft as well. This is going to be the last draft, and the release won't take long, so don't miss this last opportunity to participate in the first major Free Software license developed under a Free Software development model.

8. News and events

Alexandre Oliva spoke about Free Software and DRM at the National Digital Inclusion Seminar promoted by the National Students Union in Rio de Janeiro on January 30, 2007.

He was invited to the first meeting towards forming the Free Knowledge Network organization in Brazil. The meeting is scheduled to take place in São Paulo in early February, 2007.

We take this opportunity to apologize for the omission, in the Spanish translation of our December/2006 newsletter, of Richard Stallman's speeches in Colombia and Ecuador early that month. It was a translation error that unfortunately went unnoticed for longer than one month. Alexandre Oliva publicly apologizes for his mistake.

9. Help wanted

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups listed at http://www.fsfla.org/?q=en/node/121. If you'd prefer to work on another workgroup we haven't set up yet, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA News - Issue #18

Issue #18
January, 2007

1. Editorial: Balance of 2006, Perspectives for 2007
2. News and Events
3. Help wanted

1. Editorial: Balance of 2006, Perspectives for 2007

Last year was not as great as we'd hoped, but it was a great year nevertheless.

By the end of 2005, we were aiming at establishing ourselves juridically as a foundation in Argentina early in 2006. Unfortunately, it became clear to us that some circumstances would prevent us from operating in other Latin American countries, particularly Brazil, so we had to revisit our plans and our bylaws. We expect to publish soon a draft constitution for public review.

In late 2006, we unfortunately lost 3 valuable members, just when we expected to start reaching out to other Latin-American countries, with the (GNU)^2 initiative. This setback has slowed us down significantly while we redistributed our efforts and started looking for new members.

Our campaign against DRM, Entertained and Controlled, hasn't been launched yet. Even though the workgroup has come up with a great name and a great logo, and offered us the domain names, we need more volunteer work to set up the campaign web site and to create content for it.

Although we had some big setbacks, we've also collected many successes.

We've also been invited more and more often to speak about Free Software at conferences, and we've experienced growing interest in FSFLA's opinions in the news, both inside and outside Latin America. We spoke at most of the International GPLv3 Conference, having successfully organized one of them.

(GNU)^2 is picking up, even if slowly, but we already observe a significant growth in the number of people from several countries interested in participating in FSFLA and helping it grow and become stronger in this new stage of its history.

The campaign against "Softwares Impostos" in Brazil has reportedly been listened to and generated a lot of goodwill for the Free Software cause in various departments in the Brazilian federal government. Although no concrete actions have gone public yet, we expect major developments throughout the next few years in Brazil in this front, and we hope volunteers from other Latin American countries will help us line up similar campaigns in other countries.

We've got our first (informal) participation in a lawsuit in Brazil, when IBDI (Brazilian Institute of Politics and Law on Informatics) was formally accepted as Amicus Curiæ, taking FSFLA's voice to the court. As we establish juridic existence for FSFLA, expected in early 2007, we may get more direct participation in legal actions.

We intend to make progress on our ongoing campaigns, and to start or get involved in others.

We will keep on publishing articles on themes relevant to Free Software: there are two nearly ready, one on DRM, one on GPLv3. We hope to keep on being invited to conferences and publications to spread the word on Free Software, to defend users' and developers' freedoms regarding software, and to have more people on board and on more Latin American countries to pursue our mission.

If you'd like to help us to this end, join our mailing lists, introduce yourself, display consistent commitment, interest and participation, making yourself known to other volunteers, particularly board members, and you may eventually become a workgroup leader, a board observer and, if everything works out fine, a board member.

We thank all those that have supported us, helped us and donated time, effort and money to us.

We have no doubt that 2007 is going to be a great year for Free Software. Nevertheless, there are going to be great challenges, and FSFLA shall live up to them.

Happy GNU Year!

2. News and Events

Alexandre Oliva presented two virtual lectures at UMeet 2006. http://umeet.uninet.edu/umeet2006/english/prog.html has the logs.

He will participate in a panel on Free Software and DRM at SENID (National Digital Inclusion Seminar) as part of UNE's (National Students Union in Brazil) Biennial Conference, from January 28 to February 1st, 2007, in Rio de Janeiro. http://livre.une.org.br/ (in Portuguese) shall soon have the details. The official conference web site unfortunately requires and recommends proprietary software.

Fernanda G. Weiden and Alexandre Oliva published the article "DRM: Defectis Repleta Machina" in the December issue of the on-line magazine ComCiência. The article is being reworked into an official FSFLA statement for the Anti-DRM campaign Entertained and Controlled. http://www.comciencia.br/comciencia/handler.php?section=8&edicao=20&id=216 (in Portuguese)

In the same issue of ComCiência, an interview with Pedro A. D. Rezende covered Internet control, DRM and electronic voting. http://www.comciencia.br/comciencia/handler.php?section=8&tipo=entrevista&edicao=20 (in Portuguese)

FSFLA had a say in a news report about the revision of LPG-AP, a software license created for the Brazilian state of Paraná. http://trends.newsforge.com/trends/06/11/27/1756206.shtml?tid=147&tid=150

We thank the Argentinian magazine "Users Linux" for republishing some of our editorials, even if their magazine title calls the GNU operating system by the wrong name, and Franco Iacomella for having arranged it. We reaffirm the permission for anyone to republish our editorials, newsletters and articles, as per the policy set out in our web site.

3. Help wanted

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups listed at http://www.fsfla.org/?q=en/node/121. If you'd prefer to work on another workgroup we haven't set up yet, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

FSFLA News - Issue #17

Issue #17
December, 2006

1. Editorial: Problems with "Intellectual Property"
2. (GNU)^2 FAQ
3. "Softwares Impostos"
4. Events
5. Participate in FSFLA
6. Farewell

1. Editorial: Problems with "Intellectual Property"

As well explained in [NIP], "Intellectual Property" is a term often used to encompass copyright, patents, trademarks and other laws, but often a subset thereof, since the laws are so different that generalizations don't make sense. When people understand statements made in the context of implicit subsets as legitimate generalizations, confusion ensues.

We dispute and reject this term, because it is not only confusing, it is actually harmful. The presence of the word "Property" in it induces thoughts along the lines of physical objects. Not everyone realizes that it makes little sense to try to extend what applies to physical objects to immaterial creations. Adopting other terms, such as "Improper Privileges", would address one of the points, but it would still be confusing for referring to such disparate concepts. We should thus leave the IP acronym for the Internet Protocol, and refer to copyright, patents and trademarks by their names.

Property over physical objects, land, etc was legitimized by societies because, when someone takes an object away from someone else, this other person is deprived of the object, and is no longer able to use it. This is not so with immaterial works: when you give someone an idea, you don't end up with fewer ideas. When you take a picture of someone, this person does not end up with fewer pictures. When you smile at someone, you often get a smile back. Such is the nature of immaterial creations: once they exist, duplicating them costs nothing, or nearly nothing. This is a fundamental difference from physical objects, and it goes to show how inappropriate the term "Intellectual Property" is.

Just like property, copyright, patents and trademarks were each introduced by society as means to benefit society itself. Copyright, for example, is intended to grow the public domain. Patents were meant to promote the publication of ideas whose inventors might otherwise choose to keep them secret. Trademarks were created to enable consumers to have confidence in products they purchase. Such mechanisms should only be adopted when it is clear that they benefit society.

The private interests that introduced the term "Intellectual Property" attempt to subvert the public interest, by focusing on the means, rather than the purpose, of these mechanisms. They make it seem like the whole point of these laws is not to benefit society, but to enable them to make a profit out of such immaterial creations.

That's how they manage to extend copyright monopolies longer and longer, as if that would somehow grow the public domain larger or faster. That's how they manage to extend patents to fields of endeavour such as software [SwP], in which benefits to society are unclear or inexistent.

FSFLA opposes software patents, just like other FSFs and the League for Programming Freedom [LPF], and we campaign against them, along the lines of the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign [NSP].

We also dispute the current non-obviousness criteria [Obv], since it does not reject patents that bring no benefit whatsoever to society. Consider US patents such as the 1-click patent [1CK], or the web shopping cart patent [WSC], as well as a number of other e-commerce patents [ECm].

Even if software patents were a good thing and these ideas were indeed inventive and non-obvious for someone familiar with the state of the art at the time of the filing, they fail to fulfill the purpose of the patent system, which is to benefit society. Keeping in mind that patents are an incentive for the publication of an invention, one should ponder whether the publication of such an invention is worth granting a 20-year monopoly on its use.

For the inventions cited above, their very use would render the invention obvious. Anyone would be able to figure it out by just watching it at work. Therefore the publication brings no actual benefit to the society. So why should society grant a monopoly on its use? We thus defend a revision of the non-obviousness criteria to ensure it serves the common good.

Copyrights also have their share of problems. Besides the ever-longer copyright monopolies mentioned before, we notice the growing presence of legislation that supports Digital Restrictions Management, trampling over and even criminalizing long-established fair-use rights. Other FSFs have already launched their campaigns against this abuse [DbD, DRM], and FSFLA shall soon launch its own [EyC]. Join us at anti-drm@fsfla.org [LAD].

Per international treaties [Brn, TRI], copyright applies to software, even if through specific law based on copyright, as is the case in Brazil. Source code is indeed a form of expression that serves a technical purpose, like manuals and textbooks; a cultural one, by carrying society's knowledge; and an aesthetic one, bringing delight to people who appreciate it, like other forms of art.

On the other hand, object code is incomprehensible for (most) humans, does not cause the delight experienced through art and, unlike human-made translations, is completely automated, not involving any creative work of authorship. More seriously, when object code goes into the public domain without source code, it fails to serve the purpose of copyright, since the creation of derived works is too limited without the source code.

It would make far more sense to only grant copyright monopoly over object code if its source code could be guaranteed to be available at the time it went into the public domain. This could be achieved by accompanying the object code by the source code, publishing it to the general public, or registering it with copyright authorities.

Although we would obviously appreciate the freedoms associated with Free Software along with source code, this is not what we are arguing for here. This is only about making sure that, at the time software goes into the public domain, all the society can benefit from it, as intended by copyright.

WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) treaties, such as the Berne convention, are optional, such that each country can choose individually whether to sign a treaty or not. WTO (World Trade Organization) treaties, on the other hand, are mandatory, and countries that refuse to abide by them are subject to commercial sanctions.

Given that copyright, patents and trademarks are designed to benefit society, one gets to wonder why the failure to adopt such beneficial measures should be further punished with commercial sanctions.

[NIP] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.xhtml

[SwP] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent

[LPF] http://progfree.org/

[NSP] http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/

[Obv] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inventive_step_and_non-obviousness

[1CK] http://cse.stanford.edu/class/cs201/projects-99-00/software-patents/amazon.html

[WSC] http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm (Enter 6,101,482 in the form)

[ECm] http://www.chillingeffects.org/ecom/

[DbD] http://defectivebydesign.org/

[DRM] http://drm.info/

[EyC] http://entretenidosycontrolados.info/ (in Spanish)

[LAD] http://www.fsfla.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/anti-drm/

[Brn] http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/trtdocs_wo001.html

[TRI] http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/trips_e.htm

2. (GNU)^2 FAQ

The (GNU)^2 announcement in last month's newsletter triggered a number of doubts and questions. After long threads in both gnugnu@fsfla.org and discusion@fsfla.org, we've settled on a FAQ that will hopefully address all of them.

It's now available at http://www.fsfla.org/?q=en/node/126

We restate our invitation for Free Software activists all over Latin America to join this group and help us strengthen and integrate the Free Software communities in Latin America.

3. "Softwares Impostos"

The campaign against proprietary software and standards imposed by the Latin American governments keeps on making progress. It was covered in Rets (Third Sector Magazine), published by RITS (Third Sector Information Network), in Portuguese, at http://arruda.rits.org.br/notitia1/servlet/newstorm.notitia.apresentacao.ServletDeSecao?codigoDaSecao=58&dataDoJornal=1164376840000

The government of the state of São Paulo had published information about automobile taxes for 2007 as MS-Windows programs that, when executed, would install spreadsheets and text files. As a result of protests from activists, including FSFLA members, the files are now available in regular ZIP files containing.rtf and.xls files, that Free Software applications such as OpenOffice.org and Gnumeric can successfully open, even if not all of them are open formats. http://www.fazenda.sp.gov.br/download/ipva.shtm (in Portuguese)

The Brazilian house of representatives runs a TV channel that can be watched over the Internet, but it uses proprietary multimedia formats and requires Microsoft's Windows Media Player. Some activists have managed to watch it on Free Software platforms, but only by sacrificing their freedom installing proprietary decoders. Olival Gomes Barboza Júnior filed a complaint at the web site and got a response indicating the problem is already being worked on. Let's keep them on check! http://www.camara.gov.br/internet/tvcamara/default.asp?selecao=VIVO (in Portuguese)

If you know of other situations in which governments require the use of proprietary software, let us know about your complaint at softwares-impostos@fsfla.org

4. Events

Alexandre Oliva spoke on behalf of FSFLA at the Brazilian finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, in Rio de Janeiro; at the 5th International GPLv3 Conference in Tokyo, Japan; and at the Colóquio de Ciências Exatas da Uninove (Uninove's Exact Sciences Colloquium) in São Paulo.

Sebastián D. Criado, activist in FSFLA's anti-DRM campaign, will speak about DRM and the campaign on December 5, 2006 at Segundas Jornadas Abiertas de Informática (Second Informatics Open Summit) in Rosario, Argentina. http://rosario.sadio.org.ar/jai2/ (in Spanish)

Sebastián is a member of the GNU/Linux User Group Rosario (http://www.lugro.org.ar, in Spanish) and President of Asociación de Nuevas Tecnologías (New Technologies Association, http://www.ant.org.ar, in Spanish). He thanks Beatriz Busaniche and Franco Iacomella, both also active members in the anti-DRM campaign, for the help in preparing the presentation.

Richard Stallman will visit Colombia and Ecuador in early December. Check out the schedule for speeches in the URLs below (all in Spanish):

In Bogotá, Colombia, on December 4-5, 2006: http://www.orfeogpl.org http://www.orfeogpl.org?q=node/5 http://www.orfeogpl.org?q=node/16 http://wiki.superservicios.gov.co/aportes2006

In Guayaquil, Ecuador, on December 6-7, 2006: http://softwarelibre.espol.edu.ec/ http://softwarelibre.espol.edu.ec/index.php?Itemid=44

In Quito, Ecuador, on December 9-12, 2006: http://rmsenecuador.info/ http://rmsenecuador.info/node/20 http://rmsenecuador.info/lunes11 http://rmsenecuador.info/martes12 http://rmsenecuador.info/node/23

5. Participate in FSFLA

FSFLA is constantly seeking for people interested in working in our various workgroups, listed in http://www.fsfla.org/?q=en/node/121.

If you have an idea of a workgroup that FSFLA should set up, please bring it up at the discusion@fsfla.org mailing list.

6. Farewell

After more than a year participating in FSFLA, Juan José Ciarlante, Beatriz Busaniche and Federico Heinz leave the Board because of work-related and personal reasons, to focus on other tasks and projects that demand the attention of each one of them. We wish them success in their activism tasks, and hope to keep on counting on their contributions to FSFLA's mission.

Last update: 2008-02-21 (Rev 2811)

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