Free Form: Free Software News for September 29th 2010
Stallman visits European patent officers in Australia
In Brisbane, Australia, representatives of the European Patent Office were making a presentation in lobbying efforts for software patents in Australia. European Patent Officers Ralf Abbing and Eva Hopper were explaining the software patent application process under the European Patent Convention when Richard M. Stallman, of the Free Software Foundation, made a heretofore unannounced visit to the gathering.
Stallman carried a small sign reading "Don't get caught in software patent thickets." He was accompanied by another person. Together, they handed out copies of Stallman's essay "Did You Say 'Intellectual Property'? It's a Seductive Mirage."
While the Australian Advisory Council on Intellectual Property is working on a report on what will be considered patentable in Australia, groups like the European Patent Office speak in defense of software patents. At the same time, Australian citizens, free software enthusiasts, and developers are petitioning their government to prevent software patents from getting a hold in Australia. Ben Sturmfels of Software Freedom Labs, along with the Melbourne Free Software Interest Group, is launching a formal petition to the Australian House of Representatives.
Trisquel 4.0 released
Trisquel, one of the distributions recommended by the Free Software Foundation for its commitment to freedom, decided to celebrate Software Freedom Day by releasing Trisquel 4.0 LTS, "codename[d] 'Taranis'" after the Celtic god of Thunder. The LTS stands for "Long Term Support." This is their second LTS release, and they promise three years of support.
Taranis was based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, but "contains just free software." Netinstall images are available for servers. The standard image contains support for English and Spanish, but they will be releasing a DVD with a larger translation set at some point in the future. Trisquel can be found at http://trisquel.info/en/trisquel-40-lts-taranis-strikes.
Apple doesn't go upstream
In the past, Apple contributed Objective C support to the GNU Compiler Collection, with copyright for the changes assigned to the Free Software Foundation. Recently, however, Apple has made new changes to GCC that it says it will not contribute upstream.
Chief architect of Apple's compiler group, Chris Lattner, said that whatever changes Apple makes to its existing assigned GCC code will continue to be available for upstream. However, no other GCC code of Apple's, including LLVM-GCC, will be contributed. On the matter, Mr. Lattner said on the GCC project mailing list, "Apple does not have an internal process to assign code to the FSF anymore. I would focus on the code that is already assigned to the FSF."
Europeans — stop unfair advertising! Get your government to promote free PDF readers!
The Free Software Foundation Europe is calling on all Europeans to seek out advertisements for proprietary PDF readers on their government's websites, and report them. In addition, FSFE has prepared a petition demanding an end to such advertising practices, and encourages the public to sign it.
When government websites encourage visitors to use Adobe Acrobat Reader and other proprietary software, they needlessly encourage citizens to throw away their freedom — yet free software PDF readers exist for all major operating systems.
The hunt began on September 13th, and will continue until October 17th 2010.