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[Fsfe-france] FSF Europe - Chapter France activity report

From: loic
Subject: [Fsfe-france] FSF Europe - Chapter France activity report
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 03:22:24 +0200


        When flying from Paris to Boston I killed time writing this
activity report. It has been reviewed by the people involved. It's 
not a master piece of literature but it should allow you to figure
out where we are and in what spirit we act.

        Disclaimer: Europe wide activities such as fighting against
software patents are not in this report. Only things local to France.

        Take care,

URL: http://france.fsfeurope.org/news/article2001-05-20-01.en.html

FSF Europe - Chapter France activity report

The FSF Europe presence in France started its activity on April 12, a little 
more than a month ago. We worked hard to launch the core activities that will 
allow us to implement the goals of the FSF and the FSF Europe : provide Free 
Software for everything and everyone and protect its existence when it is 
threatened. Building the administrative and informational infrastructure came 
first. It's an endless task but we had to create something to begin with: a 
machine located in France that is integrated to the GNU project and a French 
non profit organization.

Then it was necessary to establish working relationships with the French 
association acting since years for the Free Software movement in France: APRIL. 
Cooperation between organizations requires some amount of magic. After two 
brainstormings, an exhibition, a fiesta and many GNU project related activities 
the magic apparently worked. APRIL members feel they belong to the french 
chapter of FSF Europe (FSF France) and FSF France members feel they belong to 
APRIL. A French association dedicated to Free Software in education (OFSET) 
recently united to FSF Europe and we expect the same symbiosis. The first step 
is always the harder, following a good example is easier.

Cooperation with APRIL and OFSET was not enough: we had to be accepted by the 
GNU project to Do The Right Thing and have a collaborative spirit. Since the 
GNU project project is made of many people and is not an organization as such, 
that was a challenge. However it was simpler than establishing good social 
relationships with organizations. As long as you give and take technical 
resources (software, system administration, web editing) without breaking 
anything, you can become a new GNU ;-) We built a standard to create web sites 
based on XSLT and XHTML in such a way that it can be used on www.gnu.org and 
heavily contributed to savannah.gnu.org. As you all know, contributing to 
something you don't use for yourself often give bad results. We therefore based 
all the infrastructure for France related activities on GNU resources, using 
CVS for sources and HTML, DNS and Savannah on a daily basis. At this point we 
could not do without the GNU project and will therefore always help it grow and 
keep up to date.

I believe we did reasonably well on this delicate subject. A newcomer can 
easily be rejected if he starts to act in a way that existing players do not 
like. Although FSF Europe borrows part of the fame of the FSF from its name, it 
is without any doubt a new player in Europe. Since our greatest strength is to 
be united, being rejected by the Free Software community in France would have 
been a major failure. I see the cooperative attitude and enthusiasm that 
enlights projects common to APRIL, OFSET, FSF Europe and GNU as the major 
achievement of this first month. Of course some people may not be content but 
they did not express themselves until now ;-)

Demonstrating a cooperative attitude cannot be done by talking. It can only be 
done by acting. Only afterwards is it possible to rationalize actions and 
conclude that they were conducted in a cooperative way or not. The rest of this 
document is a dry report of actions impulsed or revived by the FSF Europe in 
France. I do not forget the numerous actors of Free Software who live in France 
(Debian developers at large, TeXmacs author, GNU philosophy translator to 
French and countless others). The FSF Europe is not involved with each of them 
and they did not wait for the FSF Europe to build their own garden in the Free 
Software universe. The FSF Europe is now there, in France, if they need it. But 
I sincerely hope the Free Software movement will always be so lively that the 
FSF Europe will never be able to count its cells.


Translation of the GNU GPL in French.
    Lead by Mélanie who started the work early 2001 when RMS asked her for an 
official translation of the GPL in French. She now receives support from 
APRIL/FSF Europe/CNRS under the coordination of Frédéric. Discussions started 
with Georg & CNRS to launch a similar effort in Germany and other European 
    Volunteers: Mélanie Clément-Fontaine, Benjamin Drieu, Frédéric Couchet, 
Olivier Berger, Sebastien Blondeel, Loïc Dachary, Till Jaeger, Axel Metzger, 
Jan Polcher.
The four freedoms
    One question quiz where people who cite the four fundamental freedoms of 
Free Software are listed on the pages of FSF Europe. After the initial flood 84 
persons are listed. Good and simple concept, entertaining during exhibitions 
and designed to make everyone talk about freedom and philosophy.
    Volunteers: Raphaël Rousseau, Loïc Dachary.
GNU help desk
    Provide help to GNU (or future GNU) with various issues related to 
integration in the GNU project, mailing list handling, customs, getting 
accounts etc. So far 3 developers spontaneously approached us for this purpose. 
We expect to organize meetings in bars so that we can talk about it and create 
a proximity community.
    Volunteers: Loïc Dachary.
Technopole Logiciel Libre
    A place where companies dedicated to Free Software will be helped to grow. 
Mostly financed by the French government we have a good contact with them and 
will help them to integrate the Free Software movement. The goal is that at 
some point the FSF Europe will not have to provide assistance and companies 
created in the Technopole are philosophically and technically integrated in the 
Free Software movement from the beginning of their life.
    Volunteers: Frédéric Couchet, Loïc Dachary
Savannah and Europe
    We got in touch with two projects (PeCoVall, pure/source) who are launching 
an effort similar to Savannah with slight differences. The first contact only 
happened last week but we already had a long talk on how to share efforts and 
resources. That would save a lot of time and energy to everyone while giving a 
much bigger dimension to a cooperatively managed development platform. Be it 
Savannah or known under another name, as long as it's implementing a 
cooperative work methodology and is dedicated to Free Software, that will 
change to world we know in the same way as SourceForge did when it appeared.
    Volunteers: Loïc Dachary, Raphaël Rousseau, Christian Bac.
GNU project

    A SourceForge clone dedicated to the GNU project and all Free Software 
projects. This project started a year ago and the first usable version was 
available around January 2001. The most active developers of Savannah as of now 
are in France and Portugal. The dynamics of Savannah with FSF Europe has a 
great potential.
    APRIL members responded to the need for new hardware. Joining efforts with 
APRIL, FSF Europe was able to provide a brand new set of equipment (2U machine, 
switch, ups) to the GNU project. The machine is being installed this week.
    Volunteers: Loïc Dachary, Jaime Villate, Guillaume Morin, Jeff Bailey, 
Gordon Matzigkeit, Richard M. Stallman.
Events and advocacy

Microsoft FUD
    The Microsoft spokes person did a followup to the declarations of Craig 
Mundie. The FSF Europe replied vigorously.
Unisys studies Free Software
    Unisys was asked to produce a report about Free Software, costs and 
benefits by the European Commission. The study lacks participation of people 
involved in the Free Software movement and the FSF Europe offers help to fix 
Borland Mistake
    Borland wrongfully listed the Free Software Foundation as a partner of the 
Kylix software. The mistake was fixed in three hours time. An interesting 
thread followed on the Borland Free Software policy. It's continuing and more 
people enter the game.
Le Journal du Net
    The FSF Europe interviewed a journalist while being interviewed. Although 
surprising the journalist was pleased by the result. He sent us the text to 
review immediately after publication and fixed all the mistakes we pointed out. 
The Open Source section of the online publication was promised to be changed 
for Logiciel Libre (Free Software) ... today.
Libre et Vie Locale
    Last week FSF Europe and APRIL had a booth and spoke at a conference during 
the Libre et Vie Locale exhibition in Brest. Our presence at this event was 
organized by APRIL, as always.
Libre en Fête
    Four days and three nights to celebrate freedom and Free Software in March 
2002. The FSF Europe will be there, of course. Since this is an APRIL project, 
it uses the GNU technical resources.
    Volunteers: Pascal Desroche, Rodolphe Quiédeville.
Information infrastructure

Web standards
    Imagine, test, debug and use daily a standard to separate web layout from 
content while preserving the constraints of www.gnu.org. After a few weeks of 
usage it works well, is easy enough to understand so that newcomers don't have 
to read the documentation before doing anything and most importantly it's 
intuitive. There is not identified pitfall that should be fixed but is not.
    Volunteers: Jaime Villate, Paul Vischer, Loïc Dachary, Richard M. Stallman
    Follow the GNU system administration guidelines to setup the France machine 
so that it can be accepted as a new GNU machine. It is going to be used as a 
secondary name server for GNU domains. The accounts on the machine are handled 
using a Savannah project dedicated for this purpose which simplifies account 
management a great deal. The volunteers handling accounts on the GNU machines 
started to use a similar method shortly afterwards.
    Volunteers: Rodolphe Quiédeville, Joel N. Weber II, Vincent Archer, 
Frédéric Couchet, Loïc Dachary.
Contact Database
    Sharing the same storage format for contacts database is necessary. There 
is no doubt about that. FSF, FSF Europe and APRIL more or less decided to use 
vCard for the storage format of their contact database. There was a lot of 
discussions on this subject and vCard seems to win the consensus. At present we 
are all trying to find out which tools we would like to use to handle contacts. 
Some like pure ASCII, others use emacs + gnus and a few like web interfaces. 
This is progressing slowly and will have to be solved before the next occasion 
to share contacts (the FSF Awards 2001 organization was painful in that respect.
    A web interface called Newt is being installed on france.fsfeurope.org to 
allow experimenting. That could even be the seed of our secured intranet. One 
thing at a time ;-)
    Volunteers: Bradley M. Kuhn, Florent Duval, Yan Babilliot, Cedric Valignat, 
Loïc Dachary.
SomeNews & LinuxFr.org
    The slashdot equivalent in France, linuxfr.org now responds to the alias 
gnulinuxfr.org :-) More important it replaced the section Open Source of 
SomeNews by a Free Software section.
    The news of FSF Europe in France are displayed in SomeNews. We have the 
agreement to re-use the GNU section of gnulinuxfr.org and planetelibre.org, 
this needs to be done ASAP. We are using RSS 0.91 for news syndication but this 
recently disappeared from the netscape web site and we will either have to 
switch to 1.00 and its RDF mixture or try the IPTC XML format.
    Volunteers: Loïc Dachary, Olivier Berger, Florent Duval.

    Donations from French people to FSF Europe or relayed by FSF Europe to FSF 
reaches a total of 50 000 FF. We did not craft a specific strategy to get more 
donations. Everyone can see what we are doing, we made pretty obvious that we 
are accepting donations. If someone wants to help FSF Europe financially it's 
fairly obvious.
    The tax deductibility status is being worked on but is not in effect at 
present. That may take some time.
    Volunteers: Olivier Berger, Raphaël Rousseau, Frédéric Couchet, Loïc 
Dachary, Noémie, Cyril Bouthors.
Hardware & services donation
    Although we did not make a specific page for this purpose we received 
numerous donation in hardware and services (hosting, counseling etc.). In short 
the assets of FSF Europe in France at present is a server (PIII500, 512Mb RAM, 
30Gb disk), three UPS (APC 1000), a laptop (PII350, 128Mb RAM, 6Gb disk), 
lifelong office hosting by Lolix and lifelong machine hosting by Nevrax.
    Volunteers: Rodolphe Quiedeville, Olivier Lejade, Cyril Bouthors, Raphaël 
Rousseau , Frédéric Coucher, Loïc Dachary, Vincent Archer.

Loic   Dachary         http://www.dachary.org/  address@hidden
24 av Secretan         http://www.senga.org/      address@hidden
75019    Paris         Tel: 33 1 42 45 09 16        address@hidden
        GPG Public Key: http://www.dachary.org/loic/gpg.txt

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