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~~~ AFFS Newsletter, May 2005 ~~~

Contents ========

1. BECTA to publish pro-free software report?
2. Campaign against software patents in Brussels
3. Latin America starts latest FSF chapter
4. Schoolforge-UK affiliates with the Open Source Consortium
7. Dates from the diary

Welcome to the May AFFS newsletter. If you have any news you would like to submit for the next newsletter, please email <>.

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BECTA to publish pro-free software report?

Due to the election which has just taken place, there has been a moratorium on political papers being issued: we'll have to wait a little while for the report from the UKPO on their workshop findings, and it seems BECTA - the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency - are also holding something in store for us.

The initial results have already been presented to various groups, and it seems likely that BECTA is going to find that free software has a number of benefits in the school environment that aren't being taken advantage of (yet).

There is likely to be much more to say once BECTA have finished their report, but suffice to say it should be an interesting read.

ZDNet gives a build-up to the paper:,39020390,39196487,00.htm

Campaign against software patents in Brussels

This summer is likely to be crucial in the fight against software patents. For us to have a chance at a good law, we need the European Parliament to repeat their good work of the first reading. Because of this, the pro-software patent companies have unleashed an unbelievable number of lobbyists, trying to press politicians into doing something more in line with the Council.

What is needed more than anything else is lobbyists to visit Brussels to give our side of the debate, particularly UK small/medium sized businesses who have most to lose. If you can give any time at all in the next two months to visit your MEP in person, please let either us or FFII-UK know.

Enter your data and/or make a donation:

Latin America starts latest FSF chapter

A project to create a Latin American sister organisation to the Free Software Foundations around the world (North America, Europe, India) has started, likely to bear fruit within the next couple of years.

Latin America is one of the most progressive regions of the world in terms of public support for free software. Peru looks set to accept a law mandating the use of free software within Government, Venezuela is also to migrate the systems used by the public administration within the next two years. Chile have successfully used free software within schools for a while now, and many other countries in the area can boast similar projects. The "Ututo-e" GNU/Linux distribution also originates from this part of the world, and is one of the few distributions the GNU project feel able to link to due to it's completely free nature.

As the UK begins to take notice of the benefits free software might bring - particularly in schools - we could do worse than learn from those already doing it.

FSF Latin America homepage to-be:

Free Software in Latin America:

Schoolforge-UK affiliates with the Open Source Consortium

Schoolforge-UK, the campaigning and how-to group expounding the use of free software within our schools, have entered into a collaborative agreement with the OSC, a group of UK businesses providing commercial solutions based on free software. Schoolforge-UK members will provide advice and expertise to the OSC's Education Working Group. In the light of the forthcoming BECTA report - expected to discuss commercial support in particular as a shortcoming of free software solutions - this move should start addressing these areas.

Schoolforge-UK is affiliated with the AFFS.


Open Source Consortium:

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Dates from the Diary ====================

  • 4th OSS Watch conference
4 July 2005, Edinburgh
"Building Open Source Communities"
15 & 16 August 2005, Oxford
  • Software Freedom Day
15 September 2005, UK

Do you have an event that is related to free software? E-mail <> and we will publicise it.

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