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