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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2011 September


by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Dec 06, 2011 05:26 PM

Issue 42, September 2011

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 47,511 other activists. That's 1647 more than last month!

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  • FSF re-launches its Free Software Directory, with over 6500 programs listed
  • XKCD: Sharing
  • EU: A presentation about the unitary patent
  • Petition the White House to end software patents
  • Amazon Kindle extinguishes the fire of learning
  • Keep the pressure on Barnes and Noble
  • Help fix the wireless firmware problem on the Openmoko GTA04
  • Dyne:bolic GNU/Linux hits version 3!
  • Is Android really free software?
  • FSF speaks against patent and DRM provisions at Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators' meeting
  • Over 1,000 sign This American Life petition for Ogg Vorbis
  • New FSF membership benefit: Digital Credit Union eligibility
  • FSF speaks against patent and DRM provisions
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Support free distributions with BitTorrent
  • GNU spotlight with Karl Berry
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events
  • Take action with the FSF!

FSF re-launches its Free Software Directory, with over 6500 programs listed

The FSF has re-launched the Free Software Directory as a wiki system based on Mediawiki.

Because each entry is individually checked and tested, users know that any program they come across in the Directory will be free software with free documentation and without proprietary software requirements. Programs that run on proprietary operating systems like Mac and Windows are listed, but only if they also run fully on GNU/Linux. The new version of the Directory will continue to provide users these same assurances, but it has been rebuilt so that members of the free software community can become familiar with the criteria and then work together to curate and grow the catalog.

Big thanks go to Josh Gay and Peter Olson at the FSF for their work in getting this launched.

XKCD: Sharing

If you haven't seen Sharing by xkcd, it's worth a look.

In the strip, some friends discover a tree with a USB port sticking out of it. Upon connecting a computer to it, they discover an ebook -- Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, as a DRM'd Amazon Kindle file. The book cannot be opened and sharing is not allowed.

EU: A presentation about the unitary patent

The battles seen in the US over software patents could spread to the UK and the rest of Europe if the unitary patent is allowed to come into force.

The folks at have made a video to explain the dangers of this proposal:

For further information, see

Petition the White House to end software patents

Sign the petition to "Direct the Patent Office to Cease Issuing Software Patents".

Amazon Kindle extinguishes the fire of learning

Amazon came out with their newest line of Kindle ebook readers this week, including the appropriately named "Kindle Fire".

To quote their TV commercial:

"The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all."

This device does not kindle that fire -- it extinguishes it, with more of the same digital restrictions.

Keep the pressure on Barnes and Noble

A few weeks ago, we asked you to reach out to Barnes & Noble about their Nook eBook reader.

Many of you did, and while Barnes & Noble have yet to formally respond, we can continue to put pressure on them.

If we continue to put pressure on B&N, we can use the increased pressure from Amazon's Kindle Fire as a reason to make the Nook a device for everyone, not just large book publishers.

Help fix the wireless firmware problem on the Openmoko GTA04

Occasionally, we post tasks that we'd like to draw specific attention to. Here is one such task: help fix the wireless firmware problem on the Openmoko GTA04 and move us closer to a phone we can recommend.

The Openmoko GTA04 is currently at the prototyping stage. For us to be able to recommend it, a piece of nonfree software that is loaded to allow access to wireless network hotspots needs to be replaced.

Dyne:bolic GNU/Linux hits version 3!

A new version of the fully free GNU/Linux distribution Dyne:bolic is now available! Dyne:bolic is a user-friendly, multimedia-oriented, deb-based system.

The new version introduced optimization for old hardware, docking, nesting, good introductory documentation, the modules mechanism and more possibilities to customize and to cluster machines on the same network in various ways.

Is Android really free software?

In this Guardian-published article, FSF president and founder Richard Stallman writes about how free Android really is and explains the difference between Android and GNU/Linux systems.

Google's smartphone code is often described as 'open' or 'free' – but when examined by the Free Software Foundation, it starts to look like something different

FSF speaks against patent and DRM provisions at Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators' meeting

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a free trade agreement currently under negotiation that could require member countries to enact strict copyright and patent legislation that hurts free software users and developers. Our license compliance engineer Brett Smith talked about the FSF's opposition to these terms with negotiators last weekend; in this blog post, he shares his perspective on the event.

Over 1,000 sign This American Life petition for Ogg Vorbis

In late July, This American Life aired an episode titled “When Patents Attack!” that reported on some of the problems that software patents cause developers and businesses. We just delivered the first batch of signatures to the show, thanking them and asking them to be part of the software patent solution by using a free format. If you haven't signed yet, you still can!

New FSF membership benefit: Digital Credit Union eligibility

Free Software Foundation members living in the US are now eligible to join the Digital Federal Credit Union for their banking!

Credit unions are cooperative and often nonprofit financial institutions which provide the same services as banks, but because they are member-owned, there can be dramatic differences from banks in the cost of borrowing money and use of their services.

LibrePlanet featured resource: Help support free distributions using BitTorrent

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, which provides a comprehensive listing of free software only distributions. BitTorrent works by splitting up a large file into hundreds and thousands of smaller files, which are downloaded equally from all the people who are sharing, or seeding, the file. You can do your bit to help get these distributions to the maximum number of people by seeding their installer CD images.

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

GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry

archimedes-1.5.0 glpk-4.47 libextractor-python-0.6 autoconf-archive-2011.09.17 gnubatch-1.4 libmicrohttpd-0.9.14 bzr-2.4.1 gnuchess-6.0.1 mediagoblin-0.0.5 coreutils-8.13 gnuhealth.1.3.3 nettle-2.4 diffutils-3.2 gnunet-0.9.0pre3 solfege-3.20.3 fdisk-1.3.0a gnunet-gtk-0.9.0pre3 source-highlight-3.1.5 freeipmi-1.0.6 gnutls-2.12.11 wdiff-1.0.1 gdb-7.3.1 gnutls-3.0.3 wget-1.13.4 gengetopt-2.22.5 gsegrafix-1.0.6 zile-2.4.1 global-6.0 icecat-6.0.2

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 I'd like to specially mention the first release of MediaGoblin as a GNU package,, aiming to support decentralized services for media hosting.

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

Finally, I regret to report that Brendan Kehoe, a long-time GNU contributor and supporter, passed away earlier this year He will be greatly missed.

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

Richard Stallman's speaking schedule

2011-10-01 Free as in Freedom Scranton, PA *

2011-10-12 Free Software for a Free Society Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland *

2011-10-18 A Free Digital Society Zurich, Switzerland *

2011-10-19 What Makes Digital Inclusion Good or Bad? Paris, France *

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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