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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2008 March


by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Dec 06, 2011 05:09 PM

Welcome to the all new Free Software Supporter! -- the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update.

Each month we will highlight some of the important work being done by the FSF, and give an update on recent happenings in the GNU project and the campaign for software freedom.

Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by adding our subscriber widget to your website.

The FSF's home page gets a new look

Check out the new redesigned, site! As we welcome a larger audience to the work of the Free Software Foundation, we will be developing our website and resources to foster understanding of the importance of software freedom.

Thanks to Matt Lee for the design work, and the creative support of Hillary Rettig and Joshua Ginsberg.

End Software Patents campaign launches

On February 28th, the FSF-backed End Software Patents campaign was launched. The FSF has created an action alert mailing list so that you can join us in actions as we try to do our part in the coalition to make the campaign a success.

By attacking software patenting in the US we can reduce the pressure on other countries adopting the same bad practices.

Director of End Software Patents Ben Klemens writes, "Change is happening now. The appeals court of the Federal Circuit has agreed to reconsider the scope of what is patentable, and the ESP project will be on hand with amicus briefs and public information. ESP will provide an overview of how courts self-expanded their jurisdiction to include software despite the protests of practitioners such as Bill Gates or Adobe Microsystems, of the economic damage done, how the story is evolving today, and how you can help restore the software market to a world run by innovators, not judges."

Join us in our first action -- Write to the US presidential candidates and tell them if they want your vote, they need to take a stand against software patents.

"Tackling the Big Issues" at the FSF Annual Associate Member Meeting, Saturday, March 15

Join us at this years associate members meeting. If you can't make it in person, join us on IRC ( in #fsf) and we will try to relay your questions to the FSF staff and board of directors. Also, we will be posting video coverage of the event afterward.

There will be speeches from FSF board members Mako Hill and Henri Poole and the director of the FSF-backed End Software Patents campaign Ben Klemens. FSF president Richard Stallman will be chairing the members forum session - addressing the 2008 theme, "Tackling the Big Issues."
They will look at the projects that will demand the Free Software Foundation's attention in 2008: from software patents to freedom for web services, from advancing free software adoption to the changing relations with the entertainment industry brought about by this year's Hollywood writers strike. Read more

FSF to host summit on freedom for web services

Preceding the associate members meeting, on March 16, 2008, FSF board members Mako Hill and Henri Poole will gather a small group of free software activists, thinkers, and scholars to identify the important questions that web services raise for free software and to start probing answers.

Mako Hill writes "The FSF is committed to protecting computer users' freedom, and always has been. Last year saw the release of the GNU AGPL, a license that requires service providers to provide the source for applications that users interact with over a network. While this is a helpful option for developers concerned about this use case, it doesn't guarantee users' freedom, and so the FSF plans to begin talking very directly about how web services affect us all. This summit will help us establish goals for a campaign to address the issue more comprehensively, and begin taking action."

Read more in the press release.

March upon the Boston Public Library

On February 9th, took action at one of the nation's three largest libraries: the Boston Public Library. Our demand was for them to eliminate Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and to take a formal stance opposing it. DRM has no place in our publicly funded institutions. You can find photos and a summary of our action at our blog.

Boycott Trend Micro!

Join us and the Foundation in raising awareness for the boycott of all products and services sold by Trend Micro. The proprietary software company Trend Micro has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Barracuda Networks. They claim that Barracuda is violating their patent by distributing the free software antivirus program ClamAV. Read more.

GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry - Assistant Chief GNUisance

One long-languishing project Richard Stallman (rms) and I have been working on is contacting all GNU maintainers to identify and revive packages that have become moribund. Thanks to all the new volunteers for old packages who have come forward as a result; the most recent are: Bradley Smith (gnurobots) Chris Bryant (vmslib) Denver Gingerich (wdiff) Ian Beckwith (gnuit) Julia Longtin (gift) Klaus Treichel ( Micah Cowan (wget) Steve White (freefont) Tony Abou-Assaleh (grep) -- with my apologies to any active new maintainers that I missed.

Thanks also to the maintainers (some new, some long-time contributors) of recently dubbed GNU packages -- Aubrey Jaffer (scm and wb), Martin Pool (bazaar), Remco Bras (rpge), and Sam Steingold & Bruno Haible (libffcall).

Lastly, we thank Stefan Monnier and Chong Yidong for taking over the reigns for Richard Stallman as maintainer of GNU Emacs.

The web pages for these and all GNU packages are at For those who are curious, there are about 500 GNU packages in all, with about 400 official maintainers.

Here, in alphabetical order, are some of the notable GNU releases so far in 2008 (not an exhaustive list). I won't try to describe them; see the software web pages or the distributions themselves. Nearly all are available from, or preferably one of the mirrors.

a2ps-4.14 auctex-11.85 automake-1.10.1 classpath-0.97
clisp-2.44 coreutils-6.10 ddrescue-1.7 erc-5.3
findutils-4.2.33 gcc-4.2.3 gengen-1.2 gengetopt-2.22
glpk-4.26 gnuit-4.9.2 gnutls-2.2.2 guile-1.8.4
icecat- jacal-1b9 less-418 libextractor-0.5.19
libidn-1.5 libosip2-3.1.0 libtool-1.5.26 mcron-1.0.4
scm-5e5 slib-3b1 smalltalk-3.0.1 solfege-3.10.2
unrtf-0.20.5 wb-2a2 wget-1.11 which-2.19

To get email announcements of most new GNU packages, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list, which is publicly archived.

By the way, except for a few packages with special circumstances, these new releases use GPLv3 or LGPLv3. For a high-level overview (written by rms) of the new licenses released last year, here.

Please feel free to write me with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

Upcoming talks and events

3/14 New York, NY -- "The World in Your Library: International Users and International Librarians Enriching the Academic Experience." Info.

3/15 Cambridge, MA -- 2008 Free Software Foundation Associate Members Meeting. Sign-up now! Or join us on in #fsf to ask questions to the FSF staff and the board as well as follow along with a log of the event.

3/16 Cambridge, MA -- Summit on Freedom for Network Services. Info.

Richard Stallman's speaking schedule

3/25 Blacksburg, VA -- "Copyright vs. Community." Info

3/27 Richmond, VA -- "Free Software in Ethics and in Practice." Info. (From 16:00 to 18:00).

3-27 Richmond, VA -- "Free Software in Ethics and in Practice." Info. (From 19:00 to 21:00).

4-06 Barcelona, Spain -- "Copyright vs. Community." Info.

4-19 Boca del Rio, Veracruz, Mexico -- "Copyright vs. Community." Info.

Take Action with the FSF

The FSF is looking for volunteers, 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 and take action on software patents, DRM, Vista, Opendocument, RIAA and more.

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