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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2018 Free Software Supporter - Issue 120, April 2018

Free Software Supporter - Issue 120, April 2018

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Mar 01, 2018 12:24 PM
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 186,600 other activists. That's 979 more than last month!

LibrePlanet 2018 a smashing success -- thanks to you!

From March 28

It's always hard to know how to sum up LibrePlanet -- our annual conference is an inspiring, information-filled weekend celebrating everything about free software. LibrePlanet energizes us so much and helps drive our work over the rest of the year. Meeting our supporters, hearing about your work and what you've built, and seeing your dedication to free software serves as a visceral reminder of how free software and proprietary software affect our daily lives and our overarching societal narrative. It reminds us why we do the work we do, and how, even when it feels like we're losing, there's the support and drive necessary for long-term success. Watch videos from the conference here!

Public Lab and Karen Sandler are 2017 Free Software Awards winners

From March 24

At a ceremony held during the 2018 LibrePlanet conference, FSF president Richard M. Stallman presented the Award for Projects of Social Benefit and the Award for the Advancement of Free Software. Public Lab, a community and nonprofit organization with the goal of democratizing science to address environmental issues, won the Award for Projects of Social Benefit, and Karen Sandler, executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, won the Award for the Advancement of Free Software.


  • Two new entries for the GNU Licenses FAQ
  • Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you
  • Cory Doctorow: Let’s get better at demanding better from tech
  • Private Internet Access frees some of their software
  • Chelsea Manning: "Software developers should have a code of ethics"
  • US border seizures of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) circumvention devices surges
  • Who controls feedstock used in 3D printers?
  • New Tor alpha release:
  • Six more big Internet companies join the legal fight against the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rollback
  • Washington becomes first state to pass law protecting net neutrality
  • Slack's bait and switch
  • GNOME 3.28 released
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Hardware/e-readers
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 19 new GNU releases!
  • GNU Toolchain update
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • GNU copyright contributions
  • Take action with the FSF!

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Two new entries for the GNU Licenses FAQ

From March 13

We recently made some new additions to our resource Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses (FAQ). The FAQ is one of our most robust articles, covering common questions for using and understanding GNU licenses. We are always looking to improve our materials, so this week we've made some fresh updates.

Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you

From March 28 by Dylan Curran

You're probably already aware of the extraordinary amount of information that Facebook and Google harvest from their users, and why we don't want anything to do with Facebook, but this is a great article to share with friends and family who you're trying to pry away from these platforms.

Cory Doctorow: Let’s get better at demanding better from tech

From March 5 by Cory Doctorow

To hear Facebook tell it, staying in touch with your friends is impossible, unless you give in to continuous, covert surveillance of everything you do online. Ask Apple and they’ll tell you that having a functional phone is inseparable from allowing a distant, multibillion-dollar corporation decide who can repair it and whose software you’re allowed to use. Ask Google and they’ll tell you that providing a critical search-interface to the Web can’t be done without (again) spying on everything you do. But the science fiction writer gets to ask contrafactuals: how can we maintain our social lives or search the Web without spying? What kinds of devices would let us communicate on the go without taking away our rights?

Private Internet Access frees some of their software

From March 15 by Christel Dahlskjaer

Starting this March, Private Internet Access is freeing their software, and over the next six months they will be releasing the source code for all of their client-side applications, as well as libraries and extensions. We're thrilled to see them taking these steps to support free software, rare in the VPN provider world!

Chelsea Manning: "Software developers should have a code of ethics"

From March 13 by Adi Robertson

In a conversation with Sally Singer of Vogue, Manning talked about her work on predictive analysis in the US Army, and discussed what she fears are the dangers of developing technology without careful consideration of social consequences. “We as technologists and as developers, especially those of us that work on systems that affect millions of people -- and yes, I’m talking about the Twitter algorithms, the Google algorithms, as well as predictive policing -- we need to be aware of the consequences of what we’re making,” she said. “Like doctors have a code of ethics, software developers should have a code of ethics.”

US border seizures of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) circumvention devices surges

From March 9 by Ernesto

New data released by the US Department of Homeland Security shows that US Customs and Border Protection seized significantly more DMCA circumvention devices in 2017. The seizures, which includes mod chips for gaming consoles, increased 324% compared to the year before, although the actual number remains fairly low. In the United States, citizens are generally prohibited from tampering with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and other technological protection measures. This means that Blu-ray rippers are not allowed, nor are mod chips for gaming consoles, and some pirate streaming boxes could fall into this category as well.

Who controls feedstock used in 3D printers?

From March 2 by Ilene Wolff

Should the US Copyright Office oversee whether 3D printer operators can use feedstock not approved by their machine’s maker to turn out medical devices or airplane parts, or is that the role of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), respectively? We maintain that none of these agencies should regulate feedstock, and we submitted a comment to this effect during the DMCA exemption process. This is one of many battlegrounds against DRM, where we're fighting to keep 3D printer manufacturers from locking down our printers.

New Tor alpha release:

From March 3 by nickm

In addition to today's stable releases, there's a new alpha release available for download. If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for from the usual place on the Web site. Packages for relays should be available over the coming days. Remember, this is an alpha release: you should only run this if you'd like to find and report more bugs than usual.

Six more big Internet companies join the legal fight against the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rollback

From March 5 by Dell Cameron

Foursquare, Etsy, Expa, Shutterstock, Kickstarter, and Automattic, which owns, said they would challenge the FCC’s new order overturning net neutrality protections in court. Under a nonprofit called the Coalition for Internet Openness, the companies said they filed a petition with the Court of Appeals for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday, requesting the court review the FCC’s decision.

Washington becomes first state to pass law protecting net neutrality

From March 6 by Chris Boyette and Madison Park

Washington state has a new law to protect net neutrality at a time when the feds are getting rid of it. In a bipartisan effort, the state's legislators passed House Bill 2282. which was signed into law Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee. "Washington will be the first state in the nation to preserve the open internet," Inslee said at the bill signing.

Slack's bait and switch

From March 12 by Opkode

Slack has finally decided to close down their IRC and XMPP gateways. True to form, you can only read their announcement if you already have a Slack account and are logged in to a workspace.

GNOME 3.28 released

From March 14 by GNOME Project

GNOME Version 3.28 contains six months of work and new features by the GNOME community and comes with many improvements and new features. One major new feature for this release is automatic downloading of operating systems in Boxes, which takes the work out of creating and running virtual machines -- just pick the operating system that you want to create a virtual machine of, and Boxes will now download and install it for you.

Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

Tens of thousands of people visit 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, and usually include a handful of regulars as well as newcomers. Freenode is accessible from any IRC client -- Everyone's welcome!

The next meeting is Friday, April 6, from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Hardware/e-readers

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 Hardware/e-readers, which provides information about the pros and the cons of liberating an existing e-reader versus making one. You are invited to adopt, spread and improve this important resource -- this page got a lot of updates in the last month, so there's a lot to comment on!

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

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 19 new GNU releases!

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list:

To download: nearly all GNU software is available from, or preferably one of its mirrors from You can use the URL to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, 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

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see

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

GNU Toolchain update

From March 26 by Nick Clifton

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.

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

So far, Richard Stallman has the following events this month:

Other FSF and free software events

Thank GNUs!

We appreciate everyone who donates to the Free Software Foundation, and 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:

  • Ben Abrams
  • Ed Price
  • Kyohei Moriyama
  • Nathan Boy
  • Nicholas Grove
  • René Genz
  • Sam Halliday
  • Steve Sprang
  • Valerio Poggi

You can add your name to this list by donating at

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:

  • Andres Sarnari (Emacs)
  • Andrey Smirnov (Emacs)
  • Andriy Gelman (GNU Radio)
  • Jelle Licht (Emacs)
  • Mathias Laurin (GNU Smalltalk)
  • Rishi Khan (GNU config) (GCC) (Newlib)

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 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 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 campaigns section ( and take action on software patents, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), free software adoption, OpenDocument, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and more.

Copyright © 2018 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

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