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1,125 public sector websites no longer advertise proprietary PDF readers

FSFE logoAfter six years of activity, the Free Software Foundation Europe’s (FSFE) PDFreaders campaign is coming to a close this month as one of the FSFE’s most successful campaigns.

PDF iconThe campaign began in 2009 with the aim of removing advertisements for proprietary PDF reader software from public institutions’ websites. To start it all off, volunteers submitted 2104 “bugs”, or instances of proprietary PDF software being directly promoted by the public sector and the FSFE listed them online. Since then, hundreds of free software activists have taken action by writing to the relevant public institutions and calling for changes to their websites. The FSFE received a lot of positive feedback from the institutions concerned, thanking the FSFE for its letters. To date, 1,125 out of the 2,104 websites (53%) contacted have edited their sites to remove links to proprietary PDF readers or to add links to free software PDF readers.

In addition to writing letters, the FSFE also collected signatures for a petition calling for an end to advertisements for proprietary software products on government websites. This petition was signed by 90 organisations, 63 businesses and 2,731 individuals.

Furthermore, the FSFE campaigned for change at both national and international levels.

“This success would not have been possible without the help and hard work from our volunteers and the support from our donors. Thank you! While many public and private websites still promote proprietary readers, the level of awareness has changed significantly during our campaign and now it should be much easier for you to approach the remaining web-site administrators. Also most internet users today already use free software when they open a PDF file in their browser -a huge difference from 2009!” says campaign founder Hannes Hauswedell. “Of course work still remains and we invite you to keep on reminding (public) administrators to use open standards and not recommend proprietary software. And with your support, we too, will continue to fight for a web that respects its users’ privacy and freedom!”