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A primary goal of the Free Software Foundation is a world where everyone can do what they need to do with their computers using only free software. Great progress has been made toward this goal. Free software has reached a point where it is now easily possible to buy an affordable computer with hardware -- including Wi-Fi and accelerated graphics -- that is fully supported by free software (an excellent resource for choosing appropriate hardware is h-node.com.
In September we relaunched the Free Software Directory. We have written a lot about our new plans for the Directory and how you can help us improve and build on more than 6,500 packages already listed there. What we haven't written about is how you can begin to help improve the functionality, design, and user experience of the Directory -- just by editing pages on the Web site!
The sysadmins at the FSF have put great effort into consolidating our server infrastructure over the past 12 months. We have retired more than a dozen servers in the process, and now host most of our infrastructure on three potent machines with many CPU cores, ample RAM, and plenty of disk space. As you may know, we use Xen to virtualize our servers. Virtualization allows us to securely partition our servers into many virtual machines, each dedicated to a limited number of tasks.
PlayFreedom is a new campaign from the Free Software Foundation. You can think of it as the successor to our PlayOgg campaign; our efforts there will be rolled into PlayFreedom.
With the holidays fast approaching, we thought a holiday buyer's guide was appropriate. People often buy expensive electronic gadgets as gifts, but many of these gadgets are bad for your freedom.
Lately I've noticed an uptick in the number of pundits who claim that free software developers have begun to prefer using lax free software licenses that don't have copyleft (like the Apache License) over ones that do (like the GPL) for their projects. They back up this claim by pointing to surveys that show increased adoption of lax licenses in free software projects, or high-profile projects that have recently adopted such licenses. That evidence tells a different story, however, when you better understand its background.
As part of our mission to protect and promote free software, the FSF has for many years taken copyright assignments on many GNU packages. Thousands have contributed to FSF-assigned packages like the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) and GNU Emacs, but the assignment process has always created a slight barrier for new contributors. That is why we were so happy in October when we announced two major changes to how we handle copyright assignments at the FSF.
I often hear criticism of "negative campaigning" in the free software movement. For example, in reply to a blog post I once wrote about an FSF campaign, several people argued against "negative campaigning of any sort, in any realm." Drawing an analogy to political smear campaigns, some members of the free software community have taken the position that negative campaigning in general is not useful and that negativity has no place in our advocacy.
I entered college four years ago, and like most college students, I relied heavily on my laptop, which ran Windows XP. One day, when I turned it on to get some work done, I was greeted with an error message; something failed during the boot process and Windows couldn't load, not even in Safe Mode. I tried to fix the issue by using the repair option on the Windows XP setup disc, but that didn't work either.

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