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08 February 2011, 11:15

Free software user group for the European Parliament

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A free software user group, the European Parliament Free Software User Group (EPFSUG) has been started under the initiative of Indrek Tarand, Estonian Green Party MEP, journalist and TV personality. The user group is open to all parliament members and staff. Its aim is to "work together with everybody who believes in, promotes and holds dear citizens' freedom in the information society" and to focus on the technical aspects of helping those interested in using Free software within the European Parliament.

Erik Josefsson, who advises the European Greens on internet policies, says that at least part of the motivation for EPFSUG springs from dissatisfaction with the European Parliament's current, completely proprietary, desktop infrastructure. The proprietary mail solution and web browser do not allow MEPs and their assistants efficient remote access to their email. In exasperation, Josefsson set up his own free software based mail server which interfaces with the European Parliament proprietary mail server, and offers him "a professional access to the email". He says "At the moment, I run this server only for myself. But maybe we can discuss how to expand it to be used by others working at the European Parliament."

The first EPFSUG meeting is scheduled for 19 April.

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