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Free Software Foundation Europe
||March 10, 2001
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE, or
FSF Europe) was founded in 2001 as an official European sister
organization of the U.S.-based Free Software Foundation (FSF)
to take care of all aspects of free software in Europe. FSF and FSFE are
financially and legally separate entities.
FSFE believes that access to and control of software determines
who may participate in a digital society. Therefore, the freedoms
to use, copy, modify and redistribute software, as described in The Free Software
Definition, are necessary for equal participation in the
The focus of FSFE's work is political, legal, and social with
the aim of promoting Free Software and the ethical, philosophical,
social, political and commercial values that it implements. In particular,
- is actively promoting Free Software politically as Europe-based
global competence center in dialog with politicians and press.
- follows and seeks to influence legal and political activities
that are contrary to the goals and values of Free Software.
- provides a contact point and orientational help on all issues
regarding Free Software.
- works closely together with lawyers active in the Free Software
area in Universities and practices in order to follow and influence
the legal discourse. Also it cooperates with lawyers throughout
Europe to maximise the legal security of Free Software.
- supports, coordinates and develops projects in the Free
Software area, especially the GNU Project. It also provides computer
resources to Free Software developers to enable them to continue
- helps companies to develop business models based on Free
Software or fit existing models to it; it encourages companies in
their evolution to Free Software. To make it easier for companies
based on Free Software to be commercially successful, the FSF
Europe also seeks to broaden the market for Free Software.
- helps coordinating and networking other initiatives in the Free
FSFE representatives at the OpenRheinRuhr
- Software patents in
- According to the FSFE, software patents for Europe are
currently being pushed forward actively by a lobby gathering around
the European patent office and the Business Software Alliance
(BSA), which represents the interests of the largest U.S. companies.
Software patents are considered by the FSFE to be a menace to
society and economy and FSF Europe is actively involved in the
resistance to such plans.
Union v. Microsoft
- In 2001 the European Union, through the DG Competition of the
European Commission (lead by Prof. Mario Monti), started investigating
Microsoft's dominant position in the desktop operating systems. The
Free Software Foundation Europe was invited by the EC to represent
the stance of the Free Software movement. In 2004 FSFE participated
in an appeal to defend again free competition and freedom of choice
- World Intellectual
- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of
16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organisations.
Its role is to administer 23 international treaties dealing with
different aspects of limited monopolies on knowledge. As an
observer to WIPO and together with a global coalition of other
players with similar goals, FSFE is working towards reshaping it as
a "World Intellectual Wealth Organisation."
- Freedom Task Force
- The legal project of FSFE. "The Freedom Task Force is a legal
infrastructure project that helps individuals, projects and
businesses understand Free Software and the opportunities that it
presents. The FTF is primarily focused on Free Software licensing
issues and managing FSFE's legal affairs. Our goal is to educate
people in the proper use of Free Software."
Each month, FSFE publish a newsletter, in English, French, German, Italian, and
of their activities that can be mentioned in public.
From FSFE's published "Self-Conception": "The people of the Free
Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), see ourselves as Europeans from
different cultures with the shared goal of co-operation across
cultures and of developing a common culture of co-operation from a
regional to a global level. We form a non-profit non-governmental
organisation and network that itself is part of a global network of
people with common goals and visions. We are not representative for
anyone but ourselves and our work. Our common work and dedication
to freedom in all aspects of digital society is what defines us."
Internally, the FSFE has a consensus-oriented, team structure in
which participation is determined by each persons willingness to
participate and do work. A democratic and representative-democratic
model functions as a fallback for when the consensus-based approach
either reaps no results or a quick decision is needed.
The FSFE has a modular legal structure with a central "Hub"
organisation and the possibility of local legal bodies, called
"Chapters". The Hub is a charitable association ("e.V.") which is,
by happenstance, registered in Germany.
As well as being in regular contact with the other FSFs (FSF, FSFI, FSFLA), FSFE has
a structure of organisations which are "official associates". These
are mostly national-level free software groups.
Associate organisations are independent of the FSF Europe and
entirely autonomous. They are completely self-run and -managed in
all aspects (such as membership, statutes, finances and so on).
Being associate means being formally allied and having immediate
access to the FSF Europe. So associates are usually involved in the
internal communication and consideration process. They also work
together for campaigns and events such as tradeshows.
Associate organisations are:
- Association For Free
- A membership organisation which promotes and defends Free
Software in the UK.
Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL)
- A Portuguese non-profit association dedicated to the promotion,
development, research and study of Computing Freedom and its
social, political philosophical, cultural, technical and scientific
for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII)
- A non-profit association under German law that promotes a
sustainable development of public information goods based on
copyright, free competition and open standards.
- Verein zur Förderung Freier Informationen und Software
- The ffis e.V. is a German non-profit association of Free
Software enthusiasts that supports the development and
establishment of free information and Free Software with various
events and projects.
- Free Software Initiative
- A Japanese non-profit association to further Free
- Organisation for Free Software in Education and Teaching
- a not for profit French international association under the law
of 1901. It has been set up in response to the slow development of
free educational software for the GNU system. It will promote all
possible forms of development and localisations needed by the world
wide education system.
- Fundación Vía Libre
- Argentinian Foundation for Free Software
- Wilhelm Tux
- Campaign for Free Software. Swiss non-profit for Free
- Irish Free Software
- Founded by Free Software supporters working on the EU
Software Patents directive, IFSO's aim is to promote Free
Software in Ireland, and to fight against laws that would harm Free
Software - both from the Irish government and from the European
- Free Software Network Serbia
- Free software organization from Serbia.
These people are working for and with the FSF Europe on a
regular basis, so they have been given permanent responsibilities
and authorities for certain areas. Some of them are members of the
association, some are not. Up do date list is on FSFE's about the team
- Alex Antener : Swiss team
- Gareth Bowker : UK member of the association
- Shane M. Coughlan: Senior Advisor to the Freedom Task Force (weblog)
- Volker Dormeyer : German team - Tradeshows &
- Alexander Finkenberger : German team
- Karsten Gerloff : President
- Georg C.
F. Greve : Founding President (homepage, blog /RSS)
- Christian Holz : Executive Director
- Michael Kallas : German team, booth
- Rainer Kersten : German office
- Matthias Kirschner : German Chancellor, Fellowship
Coordinator (blog, homepage)
- Mathias Klang: Sweden (blog)
Koch : German member of the association
- Pablo Machón : Spanish team
- Marko Milenovic: Serbia
- Reinhard Müller : Austrian Team, member of the
- Jonas Öberg - Team member (homepage, blog)
- Patrick Ohnewein : Italian team
- Giacomo Poderi : Italian team
- Xavier Reina : Spanish team
- Bernhard Reiter : German Vice-Chancellor
- Marcus Rejås: Sweden (blog)
- Cristian Rigamonti : Italian team - Webmaster and
- Henrik Sandklef : Swedish member of the association (blog)
- Björn Schießle: Germany
- Myriam Schweingruber : Switzerland
- Fred Thiele : Germany, translations
- Fabrizio Veutro : Italy
- Ivan Jelic : Serbian team
- Recai Oktaş : Turkish team
- Fernanda G. Weiden : Vice