FAQ - frequently asked questions about EPFSUG and Free Software.

This page is continuously updated with answers to frequently asked questions about EPFSUG and Free Software which have been put on our mailing lists or this pad: http://pad.epfsug.eu/p/epfsug--faq

Q: How do I contact EPFSUG?

A: You can send an email to epfsug@epfsug.eu. Please note that when you send this mail, it will become public and archived here.

Q: What is "the admin group" (or the infrastructure admin group "iag") of EPFSUG?

A: EPFSUG had its server in Germany with the hosting company Hetzner Online but it has been moved. The server is maintained by Joris, Dimitrios, Jonatan, Katrien and Stef, and for that purpose the admin group has a mailing list iag@epfsug.eu. Please feel free to mail to them if you have a problem related to the infrastructure.

Q: Who made this website and the "animal farm" banner on the top of the homepage? And what is that star spiral thing on status.net?

A: The animal farm is mashup of logos from a number of Free Software projects and products and you can find the original here (cc-by-sa licensed). The website is powered by Drupal and designed and maintained by Katrien, Joris and Dimitrios. Siri made Edge the Hedgehog and, finally, the spiral star thing comes from Debian.

Q: What's this Free Software thing all about???

A: Lots of answers here: http://www.fsf.org/working-together

Q: Are there any public institutions in Europe which contribute to Free Software projects?

A: Yes, in Sweden and France public institutions have made contributions to Free Software projects, for example the Trustedbird project which develops new features for the Thunderbird email client and The eGovernment Delegation which is helping with DocuWiki development. Further, The Open Source Observatory and Repository for European public administrations (OSOR) hosts a number of projects aimed at, and developed by, public adminstration throughouth Europe.

Q:Is Free software gratis/zero-cost?

A: No, free software is libre - but "free" of course also means gratis in English. The difference is free (libre) as in free speech, not as in free beer (gratis). Free Software provides four basic freedoms of usage, studying of the source, modification of the source, and sharing of the source. Nowhere in these four basic rules is a requirement of all this being gratis (zero-cost).

Q: Who will pay for and organise support for free software?

A: There is little inherent difference between the closed and Free software worlds; both are ecosystems of needs fulfilled by software. Most software is paid for by those with a need for it. Most installation and customization is paid for by those with a need for it. It should be in the interest of every country to build their own free software community, foster their SMEs.

Q: What are the benefits for organization which being dependent on one specific vendors offering?

A: The usage of free software allows to change vendors much more easily, as any other service provider has access to the source and can build up expertise. The usage of open standards allows to replace the software easily with another compliant implementation. Free Software and Open Standards reduce the costs of breaking vendor-lockin by magnitudes, increasing competition on the market, reducing costs and improving the service.

Q: How is it possible that you can use your @europarl mail address on your mailing lists?

A: The infrastructure admin group (IAG) has been working on a solution for some time and finally came up with a hack to introduce rewrite rules in EXIM for @europarl mail adresses so that they work like all others and are still allowed to pass the EP mail filters.