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A message from Richard M. Stallman

by Richard Stallman Contributions Published on Dec 30, 2018 09:08 PM
This year, I'm happy to report, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) received two large donations, each nominally a million dollars.

The donation from the Pineapple Fund arrived in the form of Bitcoin and had gone down to around $860,000 by the time we could convert it all to dollars. Around half of the donation from Handshake is earmarked for specific software projects; some of that will go to improving Replicant, the free Android fork, but that half won't help fund the FSF's general operations.

We will need to add part of these donations to our reserves, which are meant to enable us to keep operating in the case of a possible downturn. That still leaves enough to expand our staff by two or three positions. We will be able to do some of the work that always needed doing but that we could not undertake.

We have added a position to the tech team so that they can upgrade the support platforms for GNU packages -- repositories, Web pages, translation, testing -- and publish about how we run the FSF without nonfree software.

We intend also to add another person to the Licensing and Compliance team, which certifies distributions and products and enforces the GNU General Public License. Because of the success of Respects Your Freedom, we have a long backlog of products to evaluate. Expanding the team will increase our ability to help people purchase hardware that runs entirely on free software.

We will also fund development of free JavaScript code to make certain Web sites function in the free world. Making sites depend on sending users nonfree JavaScript code has become fashionable, so that organizations and even governments do it without even thinking about it. The option to communicate with Web sites without running nonfree software is a crucial part of freedom for users of the World Wide Web. We will also continue improving the GNU LibreJS extension, and making GNU IceCat protect against JavaScript spyware techniques.

This year's surprise one-time donations make it possible for us to hire additional staff and do more work, but we can't coast very long on them alone; we will need to continue paying the staff to keep doing the work. Most of our income, these donations aside, comes from individual donors giving less than $200 a year. To carry on with this work, we need your support.

The increased operations, as we are planning them now, will still not do all that needs to be done to win freedom in computing. You can enable us to continue -- and to undertake the other work that we are still not doing -- by joining the Free Software Foundation or donating now. Even better, do both!

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