Free Software Supporter - Issue 128, December 2018

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Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) monthly news digest and action update — being read by you and 194,939 other activists. That’s 731 more than last month!

Give today to propel the free software movement to new frontiers

From November 15

As 2018 comes to a close, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is preparing to explore new frontiers in software freedom — with your help. This has been a year of significant challenges for the free software movement, but also incredible opportunities. Our recent large donations will enable us to fund and initiate more projects than ever, but we need the consistent support of ongoing and new Associate Members to see these efforts through. Join and/or donate today to help us take our movement to the next level!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Give the gift of freedom this year!
  • Help the FSF tech team build the future of free software
  • Richard Stallman: Talking to the mailman
  • Recent licensing updates
  • FSF job opportunity: Web developer
  • CPAP machines are becoming a privacy and DRM battleground
  • Molly de Blanc: Free software superstar
  • New free software swag from the GNU store
  • Introducing Jake Glass, FSF campaigns and licensing intern
  • Alyssa Rosenzweig’s summer internship wrap-up
  • The completion of David’s internship work on the Free Software Directory
  • Reproducible Builds joins Conservancy
  • Conservancy adds Dr. Laura Fortunato and Bdale Garbee to its board of directors
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: ReverseEngineering
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 new GNU releases!
  • GNU Toolchain update: Support GNU Toolchain
  • Richard Stallman’s speaking schedule
  • Thank GNUs!
  • GNU copyright contributions
  • Take action with the FSF!

View this issue online here: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2018/december

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El Free Software Supporter está disponible en español. Para ver la versión en español haz click aqui:https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2018/diciembre

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Le Free Software Supporter est disponible en français. Pour voir la version française cliquez ici: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2018/decembre

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O Free Software Supporter está disponível em Português. Para ver a versão em Português, clique aqui:https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2018/dezembro

Para alterar as preferências do usuário e receber as próximas edições do Supporter em Português, clique aqui:https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

Give the gift of freedom this year!

From November 21

So many coveted gifts are loaded with digital gremlins that can take all of the fun out of the holidays, using proprietary software to sneak in surveillance, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and other malware in along with the functions we actually want these items to serve. Every year, the FSF offers you an easy solution: our Ethical Tech Giving Guide! The Giving Guide is loaded with tech you can feel good about giving your loved ones, including some great selections from our Respects Your Freedom certification program — and it also highlights some dangerous devices that are better left on the shelf.

Help the FSF tech team build the future of free software

From November 28

Our small, three-person tech team supports FSF and GNU infrastructure, and we work hard to improve the services we provide. All of this infrastructure runs on free software and is self-hosted: for example, we use CiviCRM to manage events, campaigns, mailing lists, and our database of members; our new member forum is powered by Discourse; and we used tools like HUBAngl and GNU MediaGoblin to stream, record, and publish 30+ hours of video from LibrePlanet 2018. All of this work demonstrates that a nonprofit can be best-in-class in its operations and at its mission without giving up its freedom to Service as a Software Substitute or proprietary software.

Richard Stallman: Talking to the mailman

From September-October 2018 by Rob Lucas

FSF founder Richard Stallman (RMS) sat down with Rob Lucas from the New Left Review to discuss the history of free software and the GNU Project, how proprietary software abuses users, the political implications and global impact of free software, and much more.

Recent licensing updates

From November 8

We recently published a number of updates to our licensing materials. While we generally post individual announcements for these types of important changes, there were so many in such a short span that we needed to combine them all in one place. We recently added two licenses to our list of Various Licenses and Comments about Them, updated our article on License Compatibility and Relicensing, and added a new entry to the Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses. What follows is a brief rundown on those changes, and how you can learn more about free software licensing.

FSF job opportunity: Web developer

From November 9

The FSF seeks a motivated and talented Boston-based individual to be our full-time Web developer. This position, reporting to the executive director, works closely with our sysadmin team and chief technology officer to maintain and improve the FSF’s Web presence. The FSF uses several different free software Web platforms in the course of our work, both internally and externally. These platforms are critical to work supporting the GNU Project, free software adoption, free media formats, and freedom on the Internet; and to opposing bulk surveillance, Digital Restrictions Management, software patents, and proprietary software. We are looking for someone who is comfortable with keeping these systems up-to-date and working, as well as customizing them when necessary. Please see the link below for details on how to apply.

CPAP machines are becoming a privacy and DRM battleground

From November 15 by Jason Koebler and from November 21 by Marshall Allen

Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly illness, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines can save lives. However, like any Internet-connected device run via proprietary software, they’re susceptible to the control of forces that may not have the patients’ best interests at heart. According to one recent report, patients found that they could only get the results they needed by utilizing software that circumvents the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on the device. In the meantime, other patients have found that their CPAP machines are spying on them: tracking when they’re using the machine and sending the information not just to their doctors, but also to the manufacturer and the health insurance company, who may refuse to fund the machine if the patients do not use the machine exactly as directed.

Molly de Blanc: Free software superstar

From November 27 by Deb Nicholson

FSF campaigns manager Molly de Blanc has been working in free software for four years, and involved for ten years — plus she is the driving force behind the individual super-donor part of Conservancy’s year-end donation match. Molly and several other outstanding individuals are joining Private Internet Access and a big anonymous donor in offering a total of $90,000 in matching funds to the Conservancy for their continued work to provide both a “back-office” for free software and a clear voice in favor of community-driven licensing and governance practices.

New free software swag from the GNU Press Shop

Treat yourself or a freedom-loving friend to the All Things Emacs bundle, which includes the new Emacs manual, an Emacs Quick Reference Card, an Emacs “Auto-Fill Mode” mug, and plenty of stickers! And don’t forget to shout your free software pride with our new BASH logo and Emacs sink icon stickers.

Introducing Jake Glass, FSF campaigns and licensing intern

From November 13

Hello software freedom supporters! I am Jake Glass, and I will be interning for both the campaigns and the licensing teams this fall/winter. I like to quickly describe my internship as copywriting and copyrights! I’m excited to explore the legal and ethical questions concerning computing while building my writing and analytical skills through a organization contributing to global good.

Alyssa Rosenzweig’s summer internship wrap-up

From November 5

As you already know if you read my introductory blog post, over the summer, I interned with the Free Software Foundation tech team. A free software enthusiast, I joined the FSF in order to grow my appreciation, to work on interesting free software projects for which I normally would not have the opportunity, and to meet other free software supporters. My dreams were exceeded!

The completion of David’s internship work on the Free Software Directory

From November 8

One of the main projects of my internship has been importing information about free software extensions for Mozilla-based browsers on the Free Software Directory based on data from addons.mozilla.org. I call this project FreeAMO (AMO stands for addons.mozilla.org) and it exists as part of the directory package on Savannah. After many weeks of work, it generates usable directory entries. I learned a great deal from my internship and from working with the FSF staff: Ian Kelling, Andrew Engelbrecht, and Donald Robertson. After taking some time off, I hope to continue contributing to the Directory.

Reproducible Builds joins Conservancy

From November 8 by Software Freedom Conservancy

Reproducible Builds is a set of software development practices that create an independently-verifiable path from the source code to the binary code used by computers. This ensures that the builds you are installing are exactly the ones you were expecting, which is critical for freedom, security, and compatibility, and exposes injections of backdoors introduced by compromising build servers or coercing developers to do so via political or violent means. The Reproducible Builds project, which began as a project within the Debian community, joins Conservancy’s other adjacent work around this distribution, such as the Debian Copyright Aggregation Project.

Conservancy adds Dr. Laura Fortunato and Bdale Garbee to its board of directors

From November 1 by Software Freedom Conservancy

As the Conservancy continues to grow, it makes sense to draw on a wider field of expertise to inform their work. Tony Sebro, former Conservancy staff member and now Deputy General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation, joined their board at the beginning of the year. This month, Conservancy brought on two brand new board members, one an academic with interests in reproducibility and open research, the other a longtime free software activist and expert. Dr. Laura Fortunato is associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at the University of Oxford, where she researches the evolution of human social and cultural behavior, working at the interface of anthropology and biology. Bdale Garbee, who will also be a keynote speaker at LibrePlanet 2019, has been a Debian developer since 1994, and has worked to further free software in many capacities, both technical and strategic.

Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions to version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing. The Free Software Directory has been a great resource to software users over the past decade, but it needs your help staying up-to-date with new and exciting free software projects.

To help, join our weekly IRC meetings on Fridays. Meetings take place in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org, and usually include a handful of regulars as well as newcomers. Freenode is accessible from any IRC client — Everyone’s welcome!

The next meeting is Friday, December 7, from 12pm to 3pm EST (17:00 to 20:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: ReverseEngineering

Every month on LibrePlanet, we highlight one resource that is interesting and useful — often one that could use your help.

For this month, we are highlighting ReverseEngineering, which provides information about prioritizing which hardware should be reverse-engineered in order to free it, and gathers information about items currently being worked on. You are invited to adopt, spread and improve this important resource.

Do you have a suggestion for next month’s featured resource? Let us know at campaigns@fsf.org.

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 new GNU releases!

(as of November 27, 2018):

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

To download: nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors fromhttps://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

This month, we welcome Adam Bilbrough as the new maintainer of mcron.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you’d like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html.

If you have a working or partly working program that you’d like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, seehttps://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

As always, please feel free to write to us at maintainers@gnu.org with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

GNU Toolchain update: Support GNU Toolchain

Donate to support the GNU Toolchain, a collection of foundational freely licensed software development tools including the GNU C Compiler collection (GCC), the GNU C Library (glibc), and the GNU Debugger (GDB).

Richard Stallman’s speaking schedule

For event details, as well as to sign-up to be notified for future events in your area, please visit https://www.fsf.org/events.

So far, Richard Stallman has the following event this month:

Thank GNUs!

We appreciate everyone who donates to the Free Software Foundation, and we’d like to give special recognition to the folks who have donated $500 or more in the last month.

This month, a big Thank GNU to:

  • Aaron Grothe
  • Adam Lewis
  • Alessandro Vesely
  • Alex Diaz Garcia
  • Alison Chaiken
  • Andrew Khosravian
  • Charles Birk
  • Christopher Marusich
  • Elyse Grasso
  • Etienne Grossmann
  • Julio Claudio Matus Ramirez
  • Matteo Frigo
  • Michael Lalumiere
  • Michael Lewis
  • Plamen Ivanov
  • Puduvankunnil Udayakumar
  • René Genz
  • Rob Vens
  • Roland Pesch
  • Thomas Hahn

You can add your name to this list by donating at https://donate.fsf.org/.

GNU copyright contributions

Assigning your copyright to the Free Software Foundation helps us defend the GPL and keep software free. The following individuals have assigned their copyright to the FSF in the past month:

  • Daming Yang (glibc)
  • Fran Burstall (Emacs)
  • Fredrik Noring (Binutils) (GCC) (glibc)
  • Magnus Nyberg (Emacs)
  • Miha Pečnik (GnuCOBOL)
  • Mike Gulick (GDB) (GCC)
  • Nathaniel Nicandro (Emacs)
  • Oliver Delzeith (GNU sed)
  • Tobias Gerdin (Emacs)

Want to see your name on this list? Contribute to GNU and assign your copyright to the FSF.

Take action with the FSF!

Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF’s work. You can contribute by joining at https://my.fsf.org/join. If you’re already a member, you can help refer new members (and earn some rewards) by adding a line with your member number to your email signature like:

I’m an FSF member — Help us support software freedom! https://my.fsf.org/join

The FSF is always looking for volunteers (https://www.fsf.org/volunteer). From rabble-rousing to hacking, from issue coordination to envelope stuffing — there’s something here for everybody to do. Also, head over to our campaigns section (https://www.fsf.org/campaigns) and take action on software patents, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), free software adoption, OpenDocument, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and more.

Copyright © 2018 Free Software Foundation, Inc
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