Free Software Supporter - Issue 86, June 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The International Day Against DRM
- Next year's International Day Against DRM: Are you in?
- RMS' travels from March through May 2015 - Quezón City, Iligan, Yangon, Mandalay, Lyon
- The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews François Marier, creator of Libravatar
- Sysadmin adventures: When weather threatens our work
- Asking Obama to protect encryption, and why that's not enough
- Free Software Foundation announces deputy director search
- LibrePlanet forever! Watch five sessions from 2015 online
- The FSF is hiring: Seeking a Boston-area full-time web developer
- Why doesn't the FSF release GPG-signed copies of its licenses?
- Now available from GNU Press, the NeuG True Random Number Generator
- INTA Committee in the European Parliament Backs ISDS in TTIP
- FSFE is looking for a systems administrator and architect
- Unitary Patent: the Court of Justice opens the door to software patents
- Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
- LibrePlanet featured resource: GPG guide
- GNU Spotlight with Brandon Invergo: Nineteen new GNU releases!
- GNU Toolchain Update
- Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
- Thank GNUs!
- GNU copyright contributions
- Take action with the FSF!
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The International Day Against DRM 2015
On May 6th, people all over the world spoke out against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) with flyering, rallies, jam sessions, and writings. The ninth International Day Against DRM was a landslide of community activism in support of media users' rights.
Protestors at the New York City Apple store were evicted by uncomfortable security guards. Principled cooks in Italy created painfully spicy—but tasty-looking—DRM-themed snacks to illustrate the bait-and-switch deception of DRM-encumbered media. And a solitary activist took on the entire University of Illinois at Chicago campus with nothing but a few hundred flyers and an unflappable attitude.
As the largest anti-DRM event in the world, the International Day Against DRM is an important counterpoint to the pro-DRM message broadcast by powerful media and software companies. The Day is coordinated by Defective by Design, the anti-DRM campaign of the Free Software Foundation. Check out photos from actions around the world:
From May 6th
Kat Walsh, a lawyer with extensive background in the free culture movement, who recently joined the Free Software Foundation's board of directors, shared her thoughts on the worst thing about DRM: most of the time, everything seems to work.
Free Software Foundation board member Benjamin Mako Hill discussed the rise of DRM in subscription streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.
In case you thought we were taking the International Day Against DRM too seriously, Mako lightens things up with a mysterious, locked door in a university building. Is it locked up with DRM? We may never know.
James Hutter, a technology librarian in New York, wrote about the chilling impact of Digital Restrictions Management in libraries.
Today, public libraries everywhere are directly affected by DRM, by the will of book publishers or of authors, in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most common appearance of DRM technology is its frequent integration into published e-books and downloadable audiobooks as a way to prevent them from being copied or shared. The reality is that publishers and authors' use of DRM technology in electronic works is flawed and unethical for a number of reasons—and should be argued against by library advocates throughout the world.
Storm Dragon and Kyle, two blind anti-DRM activists, wrote a post focusing on the problems facing blind readers in the United States, discussing audiobook DRM that ties blind readers to library-owned or prohibitively expensive specialized audiobook players.
Our friends at April published a video on the issue of e-books and DRM. The video, in French, explains why a DRM-locked e-book cannot be compared to a printed book.
And FSFE and other organizations called on lawmakers to safeguard the right to tinker for everyone.
Next year's International Day Against DRM: Are you in?
From May 18th
The 2015 International Day Against DRM was the biggest ever, with fifteen actions from Guatemala to Bangladesh, endorsement from major ebook publishers, and a chorus of support on social media. Community members shared diverse perspectives on DRM in community blog posts and helped bring new people in to our movement. Together we sent a strong message to the DRM and publishing industries: we will not tolerate digital restrictions. We're excited to build on our success for the coming year and make 2016's Day even more powerful.
RMS' travels from March through May 2015 - Quezón City, Iligan, Yangon, Mandalay, Lyon
From June 1st
Here are some photographic excerpts of a few of the trips RMS has taken in the past few months. He traveled to Quezón City, Iligan, Yangon, Mandalay, and Lyon.
The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews François Marier, creator of Libravatar
From June 1st
This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works. In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with François Marier, a free software developer from New Zealand. He is the creator and lead developer of Libravatar. In addition to his passion for decentralization, he contributes to the Debian project and volunteers on the FSF licensing team.
Sysadmin adventures: When weather threatens our work
From June 1st
With summer fast approaching in Boston, I appreciate the FSF office's air conditioning system. It keeps us comfortable in the heat, but during the record-breaking snowfall this winter, the system broke down, and as a result I found myself on an unexpected adventure.
Asking Obama to protect encryption, and why that's not enough
From May 22nd
Last month the FSF added our signature to a coalition letter addressed to Barack Obama, calling on him to reject any proposal to systematically undermine the encryption used to secure digital devices and software made in the US. In addition to civil society organizations like the FSF, the letter was signed by some of the most important cryptologists in the world, including the inventors of many of the key technologies behind modern encryption.
Free Software Foundation announces deputy director search
From May 13th
The Free Software Foundation seeks an experienced, Boston-based deputy director to expand our leadership team. This new position would work closely in support of the executive director to coordinate and amplify the work of an expanding, 12-person staff; represent the FSF to conference, supporter, and donor audiences internationally; and play a key role in improving the FSF's overall effectiveness by driving initiative prioritization, fundraising, resource allocation, hiring, and internal process development.
LibrePlanet forever! Watch five sessions from 2015 online
From May 12th
We're happy to announce that recordings of five sessions from LibrePlanet 2015 are now online. Whether you couldn't make it to the conference and are watching these for the first time, or attended and want to see them again, we hope you enjoy.
The FSF is hiring: Seeking a Boston-area full-time web developer
From May 7th
The Free Software Foundation seeks a Boston-based individual to be its full-time web developer. This position, reporting to the executive director, works closely with our sysadmin team to maintain and improve the FSF's Web presence. The FSF uses several different free software web platforms in the course of its work, both internally and externally. These platforms are critical to work supporting the GNU Project, free software adoption, free media formats, and freedom on the Internet; and to opposing bulk surveillance, Digital Restrictions Management, software patents, and proprietary software.
Why doesn't the FSF release GPG-signed copies of its licenses?
From May 7th
FSF Copyright and Licensing Associate Donald Robertson answers a frequently asked licensing question.
While verified copies of our licenses can be useful, this is unfortunately a project that sounds straightforward at first, but all the corner cases found in the wild muck it up. One relatively frequent request we receive is for the FSF to provide GPG-signed copies of our licenses. GPG is a tool that lets users cryptographically sign or encrypt documents and emails. A GPG-signed document lets anyone who receives it know that they have received the exact same document as the one that was signed. By providing signed documents, users will be able to easily ensure that they have received an unmodified copy of the license along with their software. It's also possible that some system of signing the documents could help projects tracking the use and adoption of various free software licenses. Providing these signed documents is a simple task: run a command and publish the documents. A trivial investment of resources, or at least that is how it appears at first.
Now available from GNU Press, the NeuG True Random Number Generator
From May 1
FSF Senior System Administrator Lisa Maginnis had a chance to add a NeuG, a True Random Number Generator, to the Free Software Foundation network. Here, she explains the device.
The NeuG exclusively uses free software and was developed in Japan by NIIBE Yutaka. A random number generator (RNG) is a device used to generate random numbers for computers. Without getting into a philosophical argument, we humans tend to take the concept of entropy (randomness) for granted. If we wish to produce random data, we simply do so. Computers, on the other hand, do as we tell them to do. They follow a set of instructions provided by a programmer and follow each instruction precisely. So there is no way to ask a computer to give us a random number because we would have to tell the computer in advance what the number is. There are some ways around this. For example, we could use a system's current timestamp as a seed, or starting point, for producing random-seeming numbers by using an algorithm. This approach will create the illusion of entropy, but if someone else knows both the timestamp used for the seed and the algorithm used to generate the random numbers, the sequence of the random number generator can be calculated and predicted.
INTA Committee in the European Parliament Backs ISDS in TTIP
From April, May 28th
On May 28, 2015, the International Trade (INTA) committee of the European Parliament voted a report in favor of a slightly amended Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Despite opposition from 5 committees in the European Parliament, including the powerful legal affairs (JURI) one, the MEPs seemed to find the vague promises from the Commission that TTIP would be lightly modified by changing the organisation of the court, but not the principle of the ISDS itself, sufficient.
FSFE is looking for a systems administrator and architect
From May 27th
The Free Software Foundation Europe was founded in 2001 and has gone through a tremendous growth since then, both in the number of volunteers and staff, and also in the complexity of its technical infrastructure and the number of services they run and offer for both internal and external use. They are currently looking for a system administrator and architect that, for a limited time, can support the FSFE in its work to migrate our services to a new infrastructure.
Unitary Patent: the Court of Justice opens the door to software patents
From April, May 5th
On May 5th, 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union rendered its decisions on the appeals lodged by Spain against the unitary patent. Not surprisingly, the Court followed the conclusions of Advocate General Bot (in French) and approved the entirety of the package, in spite of the dangers it presents.
Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
From May 21st
Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions to version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing. The Free Software Directory has been a great resource to software users over the past decade, but it needs your help staying up-to-date with new and exciting free software projects.
To help, join our weekly IRC meetings on Fridays. Meetings take place in the #fsf channel on irc.gnu.org, and usually include a handful of regulars as well as newcomers. Everyone's welcome.
The next meeting is Friday, June 5th from 2pm to 5pm EDT (18:00 to 21:00 UTC). Details here:
After this meeting, you can check https://www.fsf.org/events to see the rest of this month's weekly meetings as they are scheduled.
LibrePlanet featured resource: GPG guide
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 GPG_guide, which provides information about translating the FSF's guide to GPG encryption. This month is the one year anniversary of the launch of Email Self-Defense. The site is available in eleven languages, but we welcome more translations into other languages. You are invited to adopt, spread and improve this important resource.
Do you have a suggestion for next month's featured resource? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GNU Spotlight with Brandon Invergo: Nineteen new GNU releases!
Nineteen new GNU releases in the last month (as of May 23, 2015):
For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.
To download: nearly all GNU software is available from http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from http://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the url http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.
This month, we welcome Alfred Szmidt as a new co-maintainer of GNU libsigsegv among the many other packages he helps maintain.
A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see http://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at http://www.gnu.org/help/help.html.
If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see http://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.
As always, please feel free to write to us at email@example.com with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.
GNU Toolchain update
From May 18th
The GNU toolchain refers to the part of the GNU system which is used for building programs. These components of GNU are together often on other systems and for compiling programs for other platforms. This month's update includes the release of GDB 7.9.1.
Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
For event details, as well as to sign-up to be notified for future events in your area, please visit https://www.fsf.org/events.
So far, Richard Stallman has the following events this month:
June 18, 2015, 18:00, Genoa, Italy, Software Libero and Internet Freedom
June 27, 2015, 09:30, Ivrea, Italy, The Danger of Software Patents
June 28, 2015, Rennes, France, Free Software: Freedom in Your Computer
We appreciate everyone who donates to the Free Software Foundation, but we'd like to give special recognition to the folks who have donated $500 or more in the last month.
This month, a big Thank GNU to:
- Alice Lippman
- Andrew Helwer
- Alain Schneble
- John Sullivan
- Jim Wright
You can add your name to this list by donating at https://donate.fsf.org.
GNU copyright contributions
Assigning your copyright to the Free Software Foundation helps us defend the GPL and keep software free. The following individuals have assigned their copyright to the FSF in the past month:
- Filip Zelic (GNUstep)
- Lawrence Andrew Velázquez (GCC)
- Albert Holguin (GNU Radio)
- David Michael (GNU GRUB)
- Vasilij Markowitsch Schneidermann (GNU Emacs)
- William Langin West (GNU Emacs)
- Robert Klein (GNU Emacs)
- Arjun Shankar (glibc)
- Ander Juaristi Alamos (GNU Wget)
- Nikolai Weibull (GNU Emacs)
- Fredrik Bergroth (GNU Emacs)
- Daniel Richard (GNU Gawk)
Want to see your name on this list? Contribute to GNU and assign your copyright to the FSF.
Take action with the FSF
Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF's work. You can contribute by joining at https://www.fsf.org/join. 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! https://www.fsf.org/join
The FSF is also always looking for volunteers (https://www.fsf.org/volunteer). 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 (https://www.fsf.org/campaigns) and take action on software patents, DRM, free software adoption, OpenDocument, RIAA, and more.
Copyright © 2015 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.