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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2018 Free Software Supporter - Issue 119, March 2018

Free Software Supporter - Issue 119, March 2018

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Feb 01, 2018 04:50 PM
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 185,621 other activists. That's 804 more than last month!

Help us translate the Free Software Supporter into Spanish!

Are you a fluent Spanish speaker, and passionate about free software? Join our FSF Spanish translators list! These dedicated volunteers translate the Supporter into Spanish every month, making sure that a broader audience can access the latest news about free software. You can subscribe to the list at


  • LibrePlanet 2018 is on the way: check out the talks and register!
  • Inside the FSF: Our FY2016 Annual Report is here
  • OneMoreVote is needed to save net neutrality
  • Thank you, Linux Conf Australia!
  • Join GNU Guix through Outreachy or Google Summer of Code (GSoC)
  • John Perry Barlow, Internet pioneer, 1947-2018
  • EFF vs IoT DRM, OMG!
  • The catalog of missing devices
  • Eric Lundgren, "e-waste" recycling innovator, faces prison for trying to extend life span of PCs
  • Sorry, Federal Communication Commission (FCC): Charter will lower investment after net neutrality repeal
  • Facebook funded most of the experts who vetted Messenger Kids
  • China's dystopian tech could be contagious
  • dtrace for linux: Oracle does the right thing
  • Data and dating: Who else wants your love?
  • HomePod is the ultimate Apple product -- in a bad way
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Free Javascript Action Team
  • GNU spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 25 new GNU releases!
  • GNU Toolchain update: Support GNU Toolchain
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
  • Thank GNUs!
  • GNU copyright contributions
  • Take action with the FSF!

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LibrePlanet 2018 is on the way: check out the talks and register!

From February 20

On March 24th and 25th, 2018, the free software community will come together at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to learn, exchange ideas, catch up with friends, and plan the future of the movement. Will you join us?

Inside the FSF: Our FY2016 Annual Report is here

From February 28

Because we deeply value transparency and accountability, we are publishing our latest Annual Report, which covers the 2016 fiscal year of October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. The report is the result of a full external financial audit, along with a focused study of program results. It offers a look at the Foundation's activities, accomplishments, and financial picture. You will also read about the impact of our programs and FY2016's major events.

OneMoreVote is needed to save net neutrality

From February 22

Protecting net neutrality in the United States is one of the most important issues facing digital rights activists and advocates here and abroad. After the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) shamefully revoked the common carrier classification of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), members of Congress finally took notice and started working on a Congressional Review Act (CRA), which would allow them to overturn a policy decision. At the time of this writing, 50 Senators were pledged and one more was needed; on February 27, we were part of an Internet-wide push to get one more Senator on board.

Thank you, Linux Conf Australia!

From February 8

LCA is Australasia's grassroots free software conference, organized by Linux Australia. Even though GNU wasn't recognized in the name of the event (which we would love to see!), the spirit of software freedom was felt in sessions covering topics from F-Droid to Australian Computing Academy's programs to teach free software languages to students. You can see FSF talks in the links below: "A division of labor in free software," by Molly de Blanc, and "Freedom embedded: devices that respect users and communities," by John Sullivan.

Join GNU Guix through Outreachy or Google Summer of Code (GSoC)

From February 19

We are happy to announce that for the first time this year, GNU Guix offers a three-month internship through Outreachy, the inclusion program for groups traditionally underrepresented in free software and tech. Interns may choose to work on improving the user experience for the Guix package command-line tool, or enhancing Guile tools for the Guix package manager. Eligible persons should apply by March 22nd.

John Perry Barlow, Internet pioneer, 1947-2018

From February 7 by Cindy Cohn

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) founder, visionary, and our ongoing inspiration, John Perry Barlow, passed away quietly in his sleep this morning. It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow’s vision and leadership. He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance.


From February 7 by Cory Doctorow

Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) bans any act that weakens or bypasses Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). We don't know which designs and products will be successful in the market, but we're dead certain that banning people from talking about flaws in existing designs and trying to fix those flaws will make all the Internet of Things' problems worse. This is why the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other allies to free software are trying to liberate your smart speakers, and suing the US government over the constitutionality of DMCA 1201.

The catalog of missing devices

From February 5 by the EFF

There’s a whole catalog of devices that are missing from our world. Things we’d pay money for — things you could earn money with — don’t exist thanks to the chilling effects of an obscure copyright law: Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA 1201). That law makes selling a device that bypasses access controls on copyrighted works illegal, with criminal penalties of five years in prison (for a first offense!), and potential civil penalties in the millions.

Eric Lundgren, "e-waste" recycling innovator, faces prison for trying to extend life span of PCs

From February 15 by Tom Jackman

Prosecutors said that Lundgren ripped off Microsoft by manufacturing 28,000 counterfeit discs with the company’s Windows operating system on them. He was convicted of conspiracy and copyright infringement, which brought a 15-month prison sentence and a $50,000 fine. But he says this was no profit-making scheme. By his account, he just wanted to make it easier to extend the usefulness of secondhand computers -- keeping more of them out of the trash.

Sorry, Federal Communication Commission (FCC): Charter will lower investment after net neutrality repeal

From February 8 by Jon Brodkin

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his staff have repeatedly claimed that broadband investment falls because of net neutrality rules, and rises when net neutrality rules are repealed. This argument is what drove the FCC's public defense of its decision to eliminate popular rules that prevent ISPs from blocking, throttling, or speeding up Internet traffic in exchange for payment. But Charter raised its capital investment in 2017 while the net neutrality rules were in place. And with the repeal soon to take effect, Charter says it is preparing for a "meaningful decline" in spending on building and upgrading broadband networks.

Facebook funded most of the experts who vetted Messenger Kids

From February 14 by Nitasha Tiku

When Facebook launched Messenger Kids, an app for preteens and children as young as 6, the company stressed that it had worked closely with leading experts in order to safeguard younger users. What Facebook didn’t say is that many of those experts had received funding from Facebook.

China's dystopian tech could be contagious

From February 14 by Adam Greenfield

The Chinese government has become convinced that a far greater degree of social control is both necessary and possible. It now has access to a set of tools for managing the complexity of contemporary life: known by the anodyne name “social credit,” this system is designed to reach into every corner of existence both online and off. It monitors each individual’s consumer behavior, conduct on social networks, and real-world infractions like speeding tickets or quarrels with neighbors. Then it integrates them into a single, algorithmically determined “sincerity” score.

dtrace for linux: Oracle does the right thing

From February 14 by Mark J. Wielaard

Dtrace dropped the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) and switched to the GNU General Public License version 2.0 (or any later version)! Dtrace is a whole system observability tool combining tracing, profiling and probing/debugging techniques. It was previously under the CDDL, a free yet unfortunately GPL-incompatible license. With the license switch, Dtrace module sources can now be integrated into the main kernel Linux tree. Resolving this incompatibility is a great development for the package.

Data and dating: Who else wants your love?

From February 16 by the Tactical Technology Collective

The data you give away when using dating apps might seem like a small price to pay for the possibility of meeting someone new. But are you aware of what’s happening in the background? The systems by which data is collected, analyzed, sold, traded and reused might be more complicated than you think.

HomePod is the ultimate Apple product -- in a bad way

From February 12 by Adam Clark Estes

It’s not like I’m surprised that Apple’s new audio hardware is firmly rooted within the walled garden that the company has been building for decades now. I just can’t believe there is a human who is so committed to the Apple ecosystem that they would spend perhaps thousands of dollars to outfit the rooms of their house with HomePods, only to be stuck shoveling more money at Apple so that they can actually play music with those speakers.

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, March 2, from 12pm to 3pm EST (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Free Javascript Action Team

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 Free Javascript Action Team, which provides information about the FSF campaign to get important Web sites working without proprietary JavaScript. 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

GNU spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 25 new GNU releases!

25 new GNU releases in the last month (as of February 23, 2018):

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.

This month, we welcome Nathon Nichols as maintainer of GNU LibreJS, and Roel Jansen and Ricardo Wurmus as maintainers of the new GNU GWL.

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: Support GNU Toolchain

Donate to support the GNU Toolchain, a collection of foundational freely licensed software development tools including the GNU C Compiler collection (GCC), the GNU C Library (glibc), and the GNU Debugger (GDB).

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:

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:

  • Balta Katei
  • Evan Klitzke
  • FSp
  • James Wilson
  • Kevin Forsythe
  • Luiz Paternostro
  • Nikhil Prabhakar
  • Norman Richards

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:

  • Akash Jaywant Rawal (Wget)
  • Andres Sarnari (Emacs)
  • Andriy Gelman (GNU Radio)
  • Arun I (GNU Guile)
  • Dmitry Safronov (Emacs)
  • Jiading Guo (Wget)
  • Kristian Maier (GNU Radio)
  • Lukasz Jedrzejewski (Emacs)
  • Oscar Blanco (Emacs)
  • Ruslan Bukin (GCC) (GNU Binutils) (GDB)

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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