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by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Dec 06, 2011 05:24 PM

Issue 35, February 2011

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 38,061 other activists. That's 635 more than last month!

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  • Tell Sony to stop harassing hackers
  • Windows Phone 7 and Xbox ban GPL software
  • Boycott companies who sign onto the MPEG LA's patent pool
  • Debian "Squeeze" makes key progress toward being a fully free distribution
  • US Department of Justice investigating Novell/CPTN deal further
  • The louder you scream...
  • MPEG LA's attack on VP8 video highlights need for software patent abolition
  • GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Featured GNU Status Report: GNU Radio
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: OpenOffice Extensions
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events
  • Take action with the FSF!

Tell Sony to stop harassing hackers

This month we're focusing our attention on Sony. Sony has been in the news a lot recently: suing developers for figuring out how to run free software on their PlayStation 3 consoles.

Both George Hotz (geohot) and more recently, Graf Chokolo -- operator of the PS3 Hypervisor Reverse Engineering blog have been harassed by Sony, with Graf Chokolo having his home raided on Feb 23rd.

Email Howard Stringer -- -- and tell him that Sony needs to stop this assault on free software developers.

Windows Phone 7 and Xbox ban GPL software

Recently word started getting around that the terms for getting apps on Windows Phone 7, and indie games on the Xbox, have changed. Now, programs submitted to Microsoft cannot have any code licensed under a copyleft license. Even if a single file is licensed under a weaker copyleft license like the LGPL, Microsoft will apparently reject it.

Just like Apple, Microsoft's interests are opposed to phone buyers': they want to maintain control over a computer that you've already bought and paid for. Don't buy into it.

Boycott companies who sign onto the MPEG LA's patent pool

MPEG LA is asking companies to prepare to attack the freely licensed WebM format and its underlying VP8 video codec from Google.

In response, we're asking everyone who values a web free of restrictions and threats like this -- and especially everyone who values the publication of audio and video files on the web -- to sign a pledge that they will join in a targeted boycott of products from the companies who sign onto this patent pool.

Debian "Squeeze" makes key progress toward being a fully free


With their recent "Squeeze" release, Debian took an important step towards being a fully free distribution and ensuring freedom for its users.

They have moved one key category of proprietary software which is included in most other common GNU/Linux distributions -- so-called firmware "blobs" in the kernel Linux -- out of its default package repository and into the nonfree section.

We cheer for the Debian activists who campaigned for this change and achieved it. We hope other distributions will follow this lead, and that they and Debian will take on the remaining challenges to become fully free system distributions.

US Department of Justice investigating Novell/CPTN deal further

A couple of weeks ago, we posted the OSI and FSF's joint position statement to the US Department of Justice about Novell's proposal to sell its patents to the newly-formed CPTN Holdings. Yesterday we learned that the DOJ has sent a "Second Letter" to both companies, asking them to provide more information about the deal.

We're heartened to see that the DOJ is taking this issue seriously.

The louder you scream...

Our Defective By Design team has publish a call for a 3-step action to support DRM-free music services: boycott DRM'd streaming services, use DRM-free ones and send the DRM'd ones messages denouncing DRM.

MPEG LA’s attack on VP8 video highlights need for software patent


Our anti-software patents campaign, End Software Patents, published a statement explaining how threatening software patents can be to innovation and freedom.

The statement comments on the MPEG LA's recent attack on the video format, VP8, freely released by Google in May 2010.

GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry

autogen-5.11.6 guile-2.0.0 recutils-1.3 bash-4.2 guile-ncurses-1.3 sharutils-4.11 bzr-2.3.0 gvpe-2.24 ucommon-4.1.5 ccaudio2-2.0.1 libmicrohttpd-0.9.7 xboard-4.5.1 coreutils-8.10 octave-3.4.0 xnee-3.09 freeipmi-1.0.2 parallel-20110205 glibc-2.13 readline-6.2

To get announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: Nearly all GNU software is available from, or preferably one of its mirrors ( You can use the url to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

This month Jim Meyering adds GNU patch to the ever-growing list of packages he's co-maintaining, this one with Andreas Gruenbacher. Thanks Jim and Andreas.

I'd also like to specially mention the Guile 2.0 release. See for info about the many new features, compiler, and infrastructure.

Several GNU packages are looking for maintainers and other assistance. Please see if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at To submit new packages to GNU, see

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

Featured GNU Status Report: GNU Radio

GNU Radio had a pretty good year in 2010, and we are already on track for an even more productive year in 2011. While we only produced one release in 2010, a large amount of work went into our source repository to improve the quality and stability of the project, and we are on track for a new release soon that incorporates many of these fixes into a new stable release. From here, we have been implementing some major improvements and additions to GNU Radio that will be part of the releases in 2011, so 2010 was an important year for getting us to the next major milestones.

LibrePlanet featured resource: OpenOffice and LibreOffice Extensions

Every month on LibrePlanet, we highlight one resource that is interesting and useful -- often one that could use your help.

For this month, we are highlighting the and LibreOffice Extensions resource, which provides a list of fully free extensions we originally collected for users (because the default list includes nonfree extensions). Now, with the release of LibreOffice, this list has become the default extension library. You are invited to spread and improve this important resource.

Do you have a suggestion for next month's featured resource? Let us know at

Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events

2011-03-01 Free Software and Your Freedom Cambridge, England *

2011-03-02 A Free Digital Society Preston, United Kingdom *

2011-03-05 Copyright vs. Community Sheffield, UK *

2011-03-07 A Free Digital Society London, England *

2011-03-08 Copyright vs. Community Brighton, UK *

2011-03-10 Copyright vs. Community Cergy, France *

2011-03-14 El Movimiento del Software Libre y el Sistema Operativo GNU/Linux Walqa, Spain *

2011-03-16 El software libre y tu libertad Ciudad Real, Spain *

2011-03-19 LibrePlanet 2011 Boston, MA *

2011-03-25 Thank a Developer Day Worldwide *

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, free software adoption, OpenDocument, RIAA and more.


The Free Software Supporter is edited by FSF volunteer Osama Khalid.

Copyright © 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

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