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You are here: Home Bulletins Bulletins from 2009 Fall 2009 FSF in 2009

FSF in 2009

by root Contributions Published on Dec 18, 2009 03:16 PM
by Peter Brown, Executive Director

The free software movement is one the most successful social movements to emerge in the past 25 years, driven by a worldwide community of ethical programmers dedicated to freedom and sharing. Its impact on our future is growing every day. But the ultimate success of the free software movement depends on teaching our friends, neighbors and work colleagues to recognize the danger of not having software freedom -- a freedom that they have lost, often without recognizing it, to proprietary software.

The FSF is currently working on three fronts to advance the cause of the free software movement. First, in software, we sponsor the GNU project and promote the adoption of fully free GNU/Linux distributions like gNewSense and Trisquel. We identify high priority free software projects that need developer focus and resources to advance the adoption of GNU/Linux systems, and we work to alert the community to threats to free software, such as the seduction by popular but patent-encumbered platforms, or misleading efforts that direct developers to create free software for proprietary platforms.

Second, in licensing, we publish the world's most popular free software licenses, including the GNU General Public License, and provide licensing help and guidance to the free software developer community through our Free Software Licensing and Compliance Lab. At the Lab we collect copyrights from thousands of developers working on the GNU operating system, register those copyrights with the US Copyright Office, and use the copyright system to enforce the terms of our copyleft licenses to guarantee respect for the freedom that our licenses promise, to all recipients.

Third, we campaign to raise awareness of the ethical benefits of free software and against the use of proprietary software. Our campaign against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) at turned acceptance of anti-user technology measures into a public campaign that now makes DRM systems highly unpopular. Our successful campaign against adoption of Windows Vista, and our new campaign against Windows 7, have raised widespread concern about how proprietary software works against the interest of all citizens. Our campaigns to promote free formats such as OpenDocument and PlayOgg have achieved widespread support. And finally, our 20-year campaign against software patents will this year see our legal brief from our End Software Patents campaign gain attention from the US Supreme Court in a landmark ruling expected in May 2010.

Of course, we do all this work in collaboration with free software users and developers like you, who volunteer their time to help a campaign, or who join a GNU project to hack on code, or who become associate members to show their support and fund our efforts. Thank you!

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