Skip to content, sitemap or skip to search.

Personal tools
Join now
You are here: Home FSF News Why I'm rejecting your email attachment

Why I'm rejecting your email attachment

by John Sullivan Contributions Published on Mar 30, 2010 06:05 PM
Why I'm rejecting your email attachment: for freedom and the good of the web!

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Wednesday, March 31, 2010 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today launched a campaign calling on all computer users to start politely rejecting email attachments sent in secret and proprietary formats: for freedom and the good of the web!

The campaign is in support of Document Freedom Day and the OpenDocument format. OpenDocument is an ISO standard that allows anyone to create software that supports it, without fear of patent claims or licensing issues. Documents, spreadsheets and presentations sent in Microsoft Word or Excel native formats, or documents created in Apple's iWorks, are proprietary and incompatible with freedom and an accessible web.

"If we are serious about gaining freedom and accessibility for all users of technology and the web, we must demand an end to proprietary document formats. The best way to get started is for each of us to take responsibility and begin rejecting their use. OpenDocument is available now, as is free software such as that allows anyone to create OpenDocument files at no cost. If we can convince the 300 Million users who have already downloaded to reject proprietary formats, we could quickly secure a victory. Let's do this for freedom and the good of the web," said FSF executive director Peter Brown.

The campaign highlights ways in which emails that include attachments in secret or proprietary formats can be politely rejected, and the issue explained to the sender. Users can respond individually, or email administrators can configure their systems to automatically reject such messages.

FSF campaigns manager Matt Lee added, "For governments, businesses, archivists and others, it's critical that documents be stored in a way that guarantees they can be read for years to come. This hasn't been a problem for printed matter, but proprietary digital file formats are secretive by nature and get changed every few years, putting at risk future access to needed documents. We must ensure that documents we store on our computers and that are made available on the web are accessible regardless of what computer you use."

The FSF is providing graphics that supporters can use to promote the campaign at

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at and, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Media Contacts

Peter Brown
Executive Director
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

Related content
Document Actions

The FSF is a charity with a worldwide mission to advance software freedom — learn about our history and work. is powered by:


Send your feedback on our translations and new translations of pages to