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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2008 September


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

Issue 8, September 2008

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 10447 other activists.

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In this issue

  • Software Freedom Day
  • Happy Birthday to GNU!
  • GNU Planet
  • gNewSense 2.1 released
  • Spring 2008 Bulletin available online
  • Submit your nominations for the 2008 Free Software Awards
  • On the savannah, where the gnu roam...
  • DRM down under
  • Free Hexen and Heretic!
  • Malaysian Government Dept switches to OpenDocument
  • GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
  • Take action!

Software Freedom Day is September 20th

Please visit to see what's going on in your area, or if you're in the Boston area, join staff from the Free Software Foundation in Chinatown for a day of fun and freedom.

We'll even feed you.


Happy Birthday to GNU

The GNU operating system is turning 25 this year, and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has kicked off its month-long celebration of the anniversary by releasing "Happy Birthday to GNU," a short film featuring the English humorist, actor, novelist and filmmaker Stephen Fry. In the five-minute film, Fry compares the free software operating system to "good science" and contrasts it with the "kind of tyranny" imposed by the proprietary software.

"Stephen has generously donated his time to the cause of free software. His ability to communicate a technological and philosophical movement in terms of the basic principles of sharing and user freedom -- ideas that everyone can understand -- will introduce a new and broader audience to the benefits of free software," said Matt Lee, an FSF campaigns manager and writer/producer of the film.

You can view the film online, and download a copy (and share it!) at:


GNU Planet

You can keep up to date with all your favorite GNU projects, via their individual RSS news feeds, but if you'd prefer to see a wider view, be sure to check out the new GNU Planet.

Based on the Planet software, Planet sites typically collect the various weblogs of individuals from a particular project or community. In this case GNU Planet aggregates the news feeds of the over 300 GNU software projects. And as GNU heads into its next 25 years, GNU Planet will provide more transparency to the work of the GNU project, and make it easier for non-geeks to see what's going on.


gNewSense 2.1 released, new homepage

gNewSense, the free-as-in-freedom distribution of GNU/Linux recommended by Stephen Fry in the film, Happy Birthday to GNU, has released version 2.1. In this version, updates released since the 2.0 release have been incorporated.

The release has been marked with a new homepage for the project, which aims to make the website easier for new users visiting the site from the Fry video.


Spring 2008 Bulletin available online

The Sprint 2008 bulletin from the Free Software Foundation is now online. The printed bulletin is sent to all FSF Associate Members twice a year

In this issue, find out about the GNU 25th anniversary, The Wikipedia naming controversy, efforts to move to using hardware which supports free software, information about our new jobs site, plus an update on our End Software Patents campaign, plus an interview with the author of GNUnited Nations, Yavor Doganov.


Submit your nominations for the 2008 Free Software Awards

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project announce the requests for nominations for the 11th annual Free Software Awards.

The FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software is presented annually by FSF President Richard Stallman to a person who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.

Nominations are also open for the 2008 Award for Projects of Social Benefit. The Social Benefit award recognizes a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society through collaboration to accomplish an important social task.

On the savannah, where the gnu roam...

There are many services that will host your project's source code, mailing lists and bug trackers. While very few of these services charge for their services, most of them are built on proprietary software. Worse, some of them have started adding adverts for proprietary software in their mailing lists, or refusing projects with certain free software licenses.

So, what's the alternative? One real alternative that exists today is Savannah. Savannah is a community project, providing code hosting for your free software project, and Savannah is free software and has no advertising, so your project will not be associated with proprietary software at all.


DRM down under

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is Australia's Federal Government-funded public broadcaster, and has responsibilities under the ABC Act 1983 to provide services to the Australian people.

The new ABC Shop has recently launched, with downloads of TV programs made available -- but only to Windows users willing to install Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) software on their computers.

Free Hexen and Heretic!

After several years of trying, members of the Doom community have succeeded in getting the source code to Heretic and its sequel, Hexen to be re-released as free software under the GNU General Public License. Now these games, like Doom, can be freely ported to other platforms.

Doom has already been ported to the Neo FreeRunner.

Thanks to everyone in the community for their on-going efforts to see these games released as free software, and thanks to Raven Software for finally doing the right thing.

Malaysian Government Dept switches to OpenDocument

The OpenDocument format (ODF) is a format for electronic office documents, such as spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word-processing documents. The OpenDocument format is supported by free software applications such as, AbiWord and KOffice.

The Malaysian Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) has announced that the agency will be migrating to office suite as well as adopt the OpenDocument Format (ODF).


GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry

Notable GNU releases for August 2008 include the new package gnuspool, an advanced printer spooling system, comparable to CUPS but with several unique features. It was offered to GNU by its original author and maintainer, John Collins.

Another notable release is the first version of GNU FreeDink, a portable and enhanced version of the Dink Smallwood game engine.

The complete list: ballandpaddle-0.7.1 ccrtp-1.6.2 commoncpp2-1.6.3 ed-1.0 freedink-1.08.20080828 gcc-4.3.2 glpk-4.30 gmp-4.2.3 gnujump-1.0.5 gnuradio-3.1.3 gnurobots-1.2.0 gnuspool-1.0 hyperbole-5.0.3 libidn-1.10 libsigsegv-2.6 libtasn1-1.3 moe-1.0 nano-2.1.4 octave-3.0.2 screen-4.0.3 sipwitch-0.3.2 smalltalk-3.0.4 swbis-0.986 teseq-1.0.0 ucommon-1.9.9 which-2.20 zile-2.2.61

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 (

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

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.

To ensure you're getting all our campaigns updates, please make sure you're subscribed to the following mailing lists and RSS feeds:


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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