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by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Dec 06, 2011 05:12 PM

Issue 9, October 2008

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 11522 other activists.

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In this issue

  • Stephen Fry's "Happy Birthday to GNU" now available in over 25 languages
  • Thank you SGI, for freeing the GNU/Linux 3D desktop!
  • "Avoiding Ruinous Compromises" by Richard Stallman
  • FSF reboots its High Priority list with a grant and call for input
  • New staff at the FSF
  • Stop the RIAA and MPAA shadow government
  • Spore and More: Activate against Electronic Arts
  • Ogg on the Rise
  • Software Freedom Day, Sept. 20th, 2008
  • GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF speeches
  • Take action!

Stephen Fry's "Happy Birthday to GNU" now available in over 25 languages

Since its release a month ago, Stephen Fry's film "Happy Birthday to GNU" at has been viewed over a half-million times, and translations including Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Hebrew have been prepared, making the film accessible to the wider free software community.

Commenting on the popularity of the film, FSF campaigns manager and producer of the film Matt Lee added, "Stephen Fry and the FSF have been delighted with the response the film has received so far. The speed with which the translations were done is amazing and we're happy that this has become such an international effort."

Thank you SGI, for freeing the GNU/Linux 3D desktop!

In January of 2008, software code at the heart of GNU/Linux 3D applications was discovered to be non-free—a potential disaster for free software advocates hoping to see advanced graphical acceleration now common on modern operating systems.

By relicensing their contributions as free software, SGI and the FSF have made a huge step towards solving the problems of 3D in a free software desktop, such as gNewSense. The FSF Licensing Compliance Lab is working on tidying up the remaining loose ends that prevent distributions such as gNewSense from including 3D support.

"Avoiding Ruinous Compromises" by Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman writes:

"Twenty-five years ago on September 27, 1983, I announced a plan to create a completely free operating system called GNU -- for 'GNU is not Unix'.

As part of the 25th anniversary of the GNU system, I have written this article on how our community can avoid ruinous compromises.

In addition to avoiding such compromises, there are many ways you can help GNU and free software. One basic way is to join the Free Software Foundation as an Associate Member."

FSF reboots its High Priority list with a grant and call for input

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced a "reboot" of its High Priority Projects list with an accompanying $10,000 grant from Inc. The grant will seed a new fund to promote projects on the list, and the FSF is calling for a community conversation about the biggest challenges computer users face using free "as in freedom" software.

New staff at the FSF

After three years' service, Joshua Ginsberg and Jonas Jacobson have left the Free Software Foundation.

The vacancy left by Joshua has been filled by Peter Olson, who joins Ward Vandewege and Danny Clark in the FSF systems administration team, while Donald Robertson has taken over from Jonas in the role of copyright administrator.

Kelly Hopkins, previously our operations assistant, has taken a new position as maintainer of the Free Software Directory.

Jasimin Huang takes over from Kelly as the new operations assistant.

Stop the RIAA and MPAA shadow government

The RIAA is continuing to try coercion to prop up its illegitimate and unethical business model. First, it is suing attorney Ray Beckerman over the revealing articles on his blog, Recording Industry vs The People. Beckerman has been instrumental in defending people victimized by the RIAA's tactics and has supported the DefectiveByDesign campaign.

Second, along with the MPAA, the RIAA has written and passed a bill misleadingly named PRO-IP through the Congress.

We have one more chance to stop this bill from becoming law. Bush has yet to sign it. Given the fact that his Department of Justice publicly objected to it earlier, Bush may veto it. But we can't count on that -- your calls and e-mails to the White House could make the difference.

Spore and More: Activate against Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (EA) and Amazon have been the targets of a justified online rebellion the last couple weeks. The impetus for the backlash is EA's use of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) technology in its game Spore. As of right now, the game has received 2,226 1-star reviews on Amazon -- more than we've ever seen before -- and they are primarily focused on EA's DRM system.

DefectiveByDesign members have tagged the game with tags like defectivebydesign and drm infected. Add your own tags and reviews today.

Ogg on the Rise

The recent launch of Stephen Fry's film in celebration of GNU's 25th anniversary has been a success on a number of levels — including for, the campaign for free audio and video formats.

In addition, we've stepped up our effort to collect other Ogg resources. Please take a look at our list and make suggestions.

Software Freedom Day, Sept. 20th, 2008

It's Saturday morning and not too terribly early. Sixty free software activists start arriving at Encuentro 5, reviving with coffee and getting ready to celebrate Software Freedom Day in Boston.

One track was dedicated to free software graphics tools. Mairin Duffy lead us off with a "dive right in" overview on how to use GIMP and Inkscape to create all sorts of fabulous looking posters and graphics. Next up was Bassam Kundali, an animation artist, who's been using Blender to make short movies.

Running concurrently, the Plone workshop had a particularly heavy FSF staff presence since we use Plone for our websites. Nate Aune and Aaron Van Derlip covered a good bit of ground, including Plone's high security ratings and how to start building a Plone site from scratch.

GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry

Notable GNU releases for September 2008 include updates for Emacs, Autoconf, IceCat, and the continuing active maintenance of the GNU PDF/PostScript previewer GV. The complete list as usual:

autoconf-2.63 ballandpaddle-0.8.0 ccscript-4.0.1 dfarc-3.2.1 emacs-22.3 emms-3.0 freedink-1.08.20080920 freefont-20080912 global-5.7.2 glpk-4.32 gmp-4.2.4 gnujump-1.0.6 gnutls-2.6.0 gv-3.6.6 gvpe-2.21 icecat-3.0.3-g1 libmicrohttpd-0.4.0pre0 libtool-2.2.6a nano-2.0.9 swbis-0.993 texinfo-4.13a ucommon-2.0.0

See the packages' announcements, web pages ( or the distributions themselves for details. Nearly all are available from, or preferably one of its mirrors (

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

I'd like to give a warm welcome to the new GNU package psychosynth, written by Juan Pedro Bolivar Puente, and to the other newly-dubbed (co-)maintainers this month: Rocky Bernstein (vcdimager), Michael Olson (emms), Eric Blake (coreutils), Padraig Brady (coreutils), and Ralf Wildenhues (automake).

Several GNU packages are looking for maintainers.
Please see if you'd like to help. To submit new packages to GNU, see

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

Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF speeches

John Sullivan:

  • 12th Oct -- Students for Free Culture, Berkeley, CA.

Richard Stallman:

  • 17th Oct -- Free Software in Ethics and in Practice, Chicago, IL.
  • 21st Oct -- The Free Software Movement, Minneapolis, MN.
  • 25th Oct -- The Free Software Movement, Calicut, India.
  • 29th Oct -- El Movimiento del Software Libre, Asunción, Paraguay.

Take Action with the FSF

Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF's work. You can contribute by joining at 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!

The FSF is also always 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.


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.

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