Issue 30, September 2010
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 33,188 other activists.
Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by adding our subscriber widget to your web site.
Miss an issue? You can catch up on back issues at http://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter.
Multilingual? Send translations of the Supporter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Interested in free video formats? We need your help!
- The FSF and Project Harmony
- What to do when a company asks for your copyright
- Report your government's advertisement of non-free software
- Intel's HDMInsult
- DRM In (and Out) of Schools
- Look who's using free software...
- FSF responds to Oracle v. Google
- Over 450 letters sent to the USPTO proposing guidelines to end software patents
- ESP responds to USPTO consultation
- The LibrePlanet community celebrates Software Freedom Day
- LibrePlanet featured resource: List of free software innovations
- ACTA Action: Call on Obama to end the secrecy, reject the treaty
- Videos of GNU Hackers Meeting in the Hague available
- Free Form: Free Software News
- GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
- Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events
- Take action with the FSF!
Interested in free video formats? We need your help!
We're looking for volunteers willing to commit an average of a few hours per week as reliable technical consultants helping people transcode their videos to free formats like WebM and Ogg Theora.
If you're familiar with free software video tools and formats, it's a great opportunity to help make sure videos about free software are available in high-quality free formats, and to help spread the use of those formats by teaching new people how to use them!
Email us at email@example.com with your contact info and a little about your related experience.
The FSF and Project Harmony
Brett Smith talks about the FSF's attendance at Project Harmony, which aims to create a modular system of contribution agreements. The FSF has attended Project Harmony meetings to follow developments and give advice; we hope that the agreements will support the users' freedom, but we can't be sure they will. In particular, we're concerned that some of the variations might allow the copyright holder to make all the code proprietary in the future.
What to do when a company asks for your copyright
Richard Stallman shares his recommendations on contribution agreements for free software projects, urging people to read those agreements closely.
He discusses what happens when a "contribution of code could turn out to be, in effect, a donation to proprietary software." He goes on to suggest options for developers who find themselves in situations where it looks like a company wants to use their free contributions as something else.
Report your government's advertisement of non-free software
The Free Software Foundation Europe has started a campaign to hunt proprietary PDF software advertisements in governmental websites. The hunt began on September 13th, and will continue until October 17th 2010.
The FSFE and its volunteers will contact these governmental websites and help them maintain their visitors' freedom by linking to free software PDF readers that already exist for all major operating systems.
The FSFE has also prepared a petition demanding an end to such advertising practices, and encourages the public to sign it.
Recently, a master key for the DRM scheme in the HD connector, HDMI, was discovered and Intel is threatening legal actions against people who use that key to remove the restrictions on their HD videos.
In addition to that, Intel has introduced DRM'd processors which have some included-but-locked features and they will ask users to pay more and use proprietary software to unlock their processors This is the same kind of mess Microsoft tried to do with Windows NT 4 and is doing again with Windows 7 -- we call this an antifeature.
You can take action by not buying these malicious devices and contacting Intel to let them know that you won't be buying them. Don't forget to CC or BCC us on your email.
DRM In (and Out) of School
Schools across the world are giving Kindles and iPads to incoming students. Defective By Design intern Molly de Blanc has written an essay on what is wrong with these DRM'd devices and how it negatively affects students.
Look who's using free software...
We've added two new resources to our "Working Together for Free Software" campaign: "Meet the Free Software Community" and "Look who's using Free Software."
FSF responds to Oracle v. Google
Oracle has filed suit against Google claiming that Android infringes some of its Java-related patents. We believe that nobody deserves to be the victim of software patent aggression, and that Oracle is wrong to use its patents to attack Android.
We are collecting information about this suit on the End Software Patents wiki which can be helpful for parties that Oracle might sue. we also ask you to email Oracle CEO and to respectfully ask him why Oracle is attacking free software with software patents given his previous anti-software-patent statements.
Over 450 letters sent to the USPTO proposing guidelines to end software patents
Last week, we put out an action item asking people to write to the USPTO, and explain to them why software should not be eligible for patents under their forthcoming post-Bilski guidance. To answer the call, you all sent in more than 450 letters, offering the USPTO all kinds of legal and practical reasons why they should stop issuing software patents. This is a tremendous response, and we're very grateful to you all for participating. Thank you very much!
ESP responds to USPTO consultation
In addition to the supporter-submitted messages, our anti-software- patent campaign, End Software Patents, has sent a message to the USPTO after analyzing the court decision.
The message, which was published on the campaign website, focuses on three key points: "Limiting tests for 'processes/methods' apply also to 'machines'", "Machines must be particular to pass the machine-or-transformation test" and "Concepts which can be reduced to math are algorithms".
The LibrePlanet community celebrates Software Freedom Day
Saturday, September 18th, was Software Freedom Day. The FSF celebrated the event online with the LibrePlanet community, encouraging activists participating in other events around the world to connect with each other on the LibrePlanet wiki in a way that will make their work continue throughout the year.
You can find lots of interesting projects on the wiki to contribute to, including finding a LibrePlanet group in your area, creating your own profile to let other people know what areas of free software you are interested in, and creating pages for your the free software programs and issues you're most passionate about.
LibrePlanet featured resource: List of free software innovations
We are going to highlight one resource every month on LibrePlanet that is interesting and useful and can use your help.
For this month, we are highlighting the new "List of free software innovations" page. A list of innovations that were made in an environment of free software can be very helpful to show the advancement software freedom has made, and it can be an easy-to-use reference to argue in favor of free software.
If you can recall some innovations related to free software, please cite them in the "List of free software innovations".
ACTA Action: Call on Obama to end the secrecy, reject the treaty
We delivered over 4,000 of your signatures on our ACTA petition to negotiators meeting in Washington, D.C.
The US government still hasn't gotten the message. President Obama and his administration are blocking release of the full text of ACTA. They don't want the public to know what the negotiators are up to, because they know we wouldn't stand for it.
Videos of GNU Hackers Meeting in the Hague available
Videos of the talks from the GNU Hackers Meeting in the Hague are now available. This meeting took place on 24-25 July at "Revelation Hackspace", prior to the GNOME GUADEC conference, and featured a workshop on GNUnet, a framework for free secure networking and decentralized applications.
Free Form: Free Software News
FSF Campaigns intern Molly de Blanc briefly captures a week in free software. Richard Stallman visited representatives of the European Patent Office giving a presentation in Australia concerning software patents. Trisquel released their newest LTS version, codename: Taranis. The chief architect of Apple's compiler group answered a question about the upstream potential of their work on the GNU Compiler Collection.
GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry
autoconf-2.68 icecat-3.6.9 autogen-5.11.1 libmicrohttpd-0.9.1 bzr-2.2.1 libtasn1-2.8 ed-1.5 libtool-2.4 freefont-20100919 m4-1.4.15 freeipmi-0.8.10 mailutils-2.2 gdb-7.2 parallel-20100922 gengen-1.4.2 solfege-3.18.0 global-5.9.2 swbis-1.6 gnu-ghostscript-8.71.1 ucommon-4.0.1 grep-2.7 xorriso-0.6.2 guile-ncurses-0.9 websocket4j-1.3
To get announcements of most new GNU packages, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu. Nearly all GNU software is available from http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors (http://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html). You can use the url http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.
This month we welcome Marek Sapota as maintainer of the new package websocket4j, and Luke Leighton as maintainer of the new package pythonwebkit.
Several GNU packages are looking for maintainers and other assistance. Please see http://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at http://www.gnu.org/help/help.html. To submit new packages to GNU, see http://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.
As always, please feel free to write to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.
Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
2010-10-01 | Copyright vs. Community Hobart, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101001-cvc-hobart
2010-10-05 | The Danger of Software Patents Canberra, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101005-dsp-canberra
2010-10-06 | Free Software in Ethics and in Practice Canberra, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101006-fs-canberra
2010-10-11 | Free Software in Ethics and in Practice Sydney, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101011-fs-sydney
2010-10-12 | Copyright vs. Community Wollongong, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101012-cvc-wollongong
2010-10-12 | Free Software in Ethics and in Practice Wollongong, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101012-fs-wollongong
2010-10-14 | Free Software in Ethics and in Practice Darwin, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101014-fs-darwin
2010-10-19 | Free Software in Ethics and in Practice Perth, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101019-fs-perth
2010-10-21 | Free Software in Ethics and in Practice Adelaide, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101021-fs-adelaide-2
2010-10-21 | Copyright vs. Community Adelaide, Australia * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101021-cvc-adelaide-1
Other free software events
2010-11-05 | GNU get-together at FSCONS 2010 Goethenburg, Sweden * http://www.fsf.org/events/20101105-gnu-get-together-at-fscons
Take action with the FSF
Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF's work. You can contribute by joining at http://www.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! http://www.fsf.org/jf?referrer=2442
The FSF is also always looking for volunteers (http://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 campaign section (http://www.fsf.org/campaigns) and take action on software patents, DRM, free software adoption, OpenDocument, RIAA and more.
The Free Software Supporter is edited by FSF volunteer Osama Khalid.
Copyright © 2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.