Issue 7, August 2008
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 8,620 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 email@example.com.
In this issue
- Why free software and Apple's iPhone don't mix
- Play Ogg!
- Pizza Party for friends of the FSF in San Francisco
- Portland associate membership meeting recap
- Give Apple the iPhone Challenge
- Help defeat Microsoft's OOXML format!
- Atheros releases free software wireless driver
- Yahoo Music -- the bad dream of DRM continues
- GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
- Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
- Take action!
Why free software and Apple's iPhone don't mix
This is the second in a series of articles detailing threats Apple's iPhone poses to free software and user freedom.
For many years, we have been suffering from Microsoft's PC monopoly; a platform that has allowed Microsoft to inflict untold harm on computer users and the computing industry. The free software community has been working for many years to give people an opportunity to escape to GNU/Linux from Windows, but the iPhone would allow no such escape route. We will be treating this new proprietary platform as another threat to user and developer freedom, in the same way that we have worked to counter the threats posed by every other proprietary operating system, from Microsoft Windows in all its forms, to Apple's OS X and other proprietary Unix variants.
Are you fed up with seeing new gadgets that only use incompatible and restrictive audio and video formats? Did you know that it's not a lack of technological know-how that causes this, but software patents and other legal restrictions?
Increasingly proprietary software companies like Microsoft, Apple and Adobe are pushing video and audio formats that restrict access and restrict software developers, but there is an alternative that can be played on all computers without restriction — Ogg.
Pizza Party for friends of the FSF in San Francisco
The Free Software Foundation is hosting a pizza party for FSF members and free software supporters in San Francisco on August 5th between 6:30PM and 9:00PM. Richard Stallman will be attending.
Portland associate membership meeting recap
Fifty FSF members and free software activists gathered at a haunted pizza palace in downtown Portland. After we got a chance to catch up with each other or meet for the first time, we settled down to hear what's happening at the FSF.
Joshua Gay, one of the FSF's campaigns managers, talked about some of the campaign actions we've been working on lately.
Give Apple the iPhone Challenge
Defective by Design organized people around the world to make appointments at their local Apple Store "Genius Bar" to ask questions in person about why Apple has flip-flopped on DRM with release of its iPhone.
Help defeat Microsoft's OOXML format!
The OOXML fight continues: here's one way you can help.
The fight against the adoption of OOXML as an ISO standard is continuing in many countries. In the UK the UK Unix & Open Systems User Group (UKUUG) unsuccessfully sought a judicial review of the British Standards Institute's decision to vote yes. UKUUG are now seeking to appeal against that rejection of a review and you can help them.
Atheros releases free software wireless driver
Atheros Communications has announced the release of free software wireless drivers for ath9k. The ath9k driver requires no proprietary binary blobs and works on several chipsets and over a dozen wireless devices.
"This increased support of wireless drivers by Atheros is a major step toward our vision of a laptop that runs only free software and that boots on top of a free BIOS," says Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF.
Yahoo Music -- the bad dream of DRM continues
Yahoo! has announced that its music store will be going offline at the end of September, taking with it the authorization keys for any music purchased. This appears to be something of a trend lately, with Microsoft announcing similar plans, only to go back on its original plans a few days later.
While CNET is now reporting that customers will be offered refunds or DRM-free downloads, the issue of the dangers posed by Digital Restrictions Management should not be forgotten.
GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry
Notable GNU releases for July 2008 include icecat, the GNU web browser based on Firefox 3; it includes privacy features and other fixes, as well as completely supporting free software. Precompiled binaries for GNU/Linux are available. See http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/.
The complete list: GNUnet-0.8.0a aeneas-1.2 archimedes-0.8.0 aspell6-mn-0.06-2 aspell6-pt_BR-20080707-0 cgicc-3.2.7 clisp-2.46 gnunet-gtk-0.8.0a gnusound-0.7.5 guile-clutter-0.8.0 icecat-3.0.1-g1 libextractor-0.5.20c libsrcinst-2.5 mifluz-0.24.0 plotutils-2.5.1 shtool-2.0.8 sipwitch-0.2.6 source-highlight-2.10 sourceinstall-2.5 sovix-0.0.1.5 tramp-2.1.14 ucommon-1.9.5 zile-2.2.60
See the packages' announcements, web pages (http://www.gnu.org/software/PKGNAME) or the distributions themselves for details. Nearly all are available from http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of the mirrors: http://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html.
To get announcements of most new GNU packages, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list (http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu), which is publicly archived (http://lists.gnu.org/pipermail/info-gnu).
Several GNU packages are looking for maintainers.
Please see http://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint.
Finally, I'd like to give a warm thanks to the other newly-dubbed GNU maintainers this month: Giuseppe Scrivano (myserver), Micah Cowan (teseq and screen), and Sergey Poznyakoff (dico). They all already maintain other GNU packages, so double thanks.
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 and other FSF speeches
- Copyright vs. Community, August 8th -- Auckland, New Zealand
Copyright vs. Community, August 13th -- Wellington, New Zealand
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, Vista, OpenDocument, RIAA and more.
To ensure you're getting all our campaigns updates, please make sure you're subscribed to the following mailing lists and RSS feeds:
- info-fsf -- http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-fsf
- badvista -- http://badvista.fsf.org/mailman/listinfo/getready
- play ogg -- http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/advocate
- stop drm -- http://defectivebydesign.org/user/register/
- FSF blogs -- http://www.fsf.org/blogs/RSS
Copyright © 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.