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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2018 Free Software Supporter - Issue 125, September 2018

Free Software Supporter - Issue 125, September 2018

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Aug 01, 2018 05:04 PM
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 192,853 other activists. That's 986 more than last month!

International Day Against DRM 2018 is coming September 18th!

International Day Against DRM (IDAD) is coming up! In two weeks, on September 18th, 2018, we'll be celebrating what the world could look like without Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). We need your help to make sure the message gets all the attention it needs. We've been working hard preparing for IDAD 2018, and hope you will join us for this year's actions. Read this blog to find out how you can let the world know why you resist DRM!


  • Sign up for the FSF's next seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics
  • Apple App Store anniversary marks ten years of proprietary appsploitation
  • Respects Your Freedom certification program continues to grow
  • Stop US Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh to protect free software!
  • FSF job opportunity: Business operations manager
  • Who's afraid of Spectre and Meltdown?
  • Handshake provides a leg up: Conservancy has been gifted $200,000
  • Your phone is listening and it's not paranoia
  • Experts criticize West Virginia’s plan for smartphone voting
  • A new pacemaker hack puts malware directly on the device
  • Google employees protest secret work on censored search engine for China
  • Five tips for helping children think critically about privacy
  • Ring-KDE 3.0.0 has been released
  • Announcing GNU Linux-libre 4.18-gnu
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: LibrePlanet Artists
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 13 new GNU releases!
  • GNU Toolchain update: Support GNU Toolchain
  • Upcoming FSF and free software events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • Take action with the FSF!

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Sign up for the FSF's next seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics

From August 27

Registration is now open for the Free Software Foundation's seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics, which is being held on Thursday, September 27th, 2018, at the UC Berkeley School of Law. As stewards of the GNU family of licenses, we provide a wide variety of resources for helping developers and lawyers alike to improve their understanding of software freedom. In addition to published resources, we also routinely provide in-person instruction in the form of continuing legal education seminars. Register for the seminar here!

Apple App Store anniversary marks ten years of proprietary appsploitation

From July 31

It's been ten years since Apple opened the App Store. This created a whole new industry through which third party app creators and Apple itself found new ways to threaten user freedom with technical tricks and legal loopholes. Since the beginning, we at the Free Software Foundation have recognized the threats posed by the iPhone and have reported on Apple on and DefectiveByDesign, while free software supporters around the world have been taking action.

Instead of allowing Apple to invade your privacy and violate your freedom, we urge free software supporters to buy better devices, get better software, contribute to projects like Replicant and F-Droid, and spread the word about how Apple harms consumers.

Respects Your Freedom certification program continues to grow

From August 2

We recently had some exciting news for our Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification program. Our program helps users to find hardware that they can trust to come with freedom inside. When a retailer receives certification on a device, it means users know they will receive hardware that meets with our strict standards on free software and documentation. The Zerocat Chipflasher and Minifree Libreboot X200 Tablet are now both certified to Respect Your Freedom.

Stop US Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh to protect free software!

From August 7

United States Supreme Court judges serve from the time they are appointed until they die or choose to retire -- it's a lifetime appointment. One judge recently stepped down, and Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the empty seat. He comes with a firm stance against net neutrality. We need you to contact your congressional representatives, asking them to vote against Kavanaugh's bid for the Supreme Court of the United States.

FSF job opportunity: Business operations manager

From August 9

The FSF seeks a motivated and talented Boston-based individual to be our full-time Business Operations Manager. This position, reporting to the executive director, works as part of our operations team to ensure the organization's financial, human resources, and administrative functions run smoothly and in compliance with all legal and policy requirements.

Who's afraid of Spectre and Meltdown?

From July 31 by Alexandre Oliva

Freedom doesn't magically repel each and every threat, but freedom and control of our software give us the opportunity to protect ourselves and each other. That is, software freedom does not protect you from remote NetSpectre attacks, but if all the software running on computers under your control is free software, you can scan its source code for remotely-exploitable gadgets, modify them so that they are no longer exploitable, and be assured that none remain hiding in binary blobs, because such blobs do not belong in free software.

Handshake provides a leg up: Conservancy has been gifted $200,000

From August 22 by Software Freedom Conservancy

Handshake has recently awarded funds to many critical free software projects. In particular Conservancy has been gifted $200K for our ongoing work to support software freedom by providing a fiscal home for smaller projects, enforcing the GNU GPL and undertaking strategic efforts to grow and improve free software. Outreachy, the organization offering biannual, paid internships for under-represented people to work in free software (itself a member project of Conservancy) has also been awarded $100,000 from these funds.

Your phone is listening and it's not paranoia

From June 4 by Sam Nichols

You know how Facebook seems to have an uncanny knack for serving you ads based on conversations you've had in person? It's not paranoia: third party applications on your phone have access to snippets of what you're saying. The researcher cited in this article says there's "no official understanding" of what triggers your phone to record your conversations, but we know that someone at Facebook knows the answer to this puzzle: they just don't have to tell you, and neither do any of the other companies that use this technology.

Experts criticize West Virginia’s plan for smartphone voting

From August 7 by Timothy B. Lee

The state of West Virginia is planning to allow overseas voting via smartphone in the 2018 election, and election security experts aren't happy about it. The problem with using the app "Voatz" to cast your ballot is precisely the problem with all nonfree software: you have no way to tell if your vote has been compromised or tampered with, because you have no control over how your phone works.

A new pacemaker hack puts malware directly on the device

From August 9 by Lily Hay Newman

For nearly two years, researchers Billy Rios of the security firm Whitescope and Jonathan Butts of QED Secure Solutions have gone back and forth with pacemaker manufacturer Medtronic, which makes Carelink 2090 pacemaker programmers and other relevant equipment that the researchers say contain potentially life-threatening vulnerabilities. There are so many reasons that this story is so alarming, and one of them is that because the software delivery network is proprietary, it would have been illegal for the researchers to actually break in to confirm their suspicions. Companies like Medtronics expect patients to trust that the electronic devices implanted directly into your body are safe -- but neither you nor people who professionally investigate product safety are allowed to actually determine whether this is true.

Google employees protest secret work on censored search engine for China

From August 16 by Kate Conger and Daisuke Wakabayashi

Hundreds of Google employees, upset at the company’s decision to secretly build a censored version of its search engine for China, have signed a letter demanding more transparency to understand the ethical consequences of their work. The refusal of tech workers to create technology that violates human rights is a hopeful sign for the future, and we hope that future actions in this "tech won't build it" movement spread awareness that ALL nonfree software violates people's fundamental rights.

Five tips for helping children think critically about privacy

From August 12 by Danica Sergison

These are great tips for helping kids understand how the connected world works, and frankly they're also good tips to help adults consider what you're sharing and who's looking at it as well. In any case, whether your child is already engaging with the Internet or not, there's no way that their life won't be affected by potential privacy risks, so it's a good idea to start early in teaching them how to navigate these issues.

Ring-KDE 3.0.0 has been released

From August 9 by Emmanuel Lepage

Ring-KDE 3.0.0 is a GNU client. GNU Ring is a secure and distributed communication platform based on open standards. It enables industry-standard technologies to work together, and provides audio calls, video conferences, chat, screen sharing, and peer-to-peer file transfer between you and your friends. Additionally, its use of open standards allows you to bridge to various other systems like the main phone network or SIP compatible devices. When joining the GNU Ring, no servers or centralized accounts are needed. Unless you enable an optional blockchain-based way to reserve your username against takeover, nothing leaves your device. All your data is kept under your control. Ring-KDE provides a simple wizard to help you create credentials or import your personal information from other devices.

Announcing GNU Linux-libre 4.18-gnu

From August 12 by Alexandre Oliva

GNU Linux-libre 4.18-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at It didn't require any deblobbing changes since -rc6-gnu. Binaries are expected to show up over the next few days. Two new drivers had blob requests and were cleaned up (psp-dev crypto and icn8505 touchscreen), one was removed (atom isp), and there were plenty of needed adjustments.

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, September 7, 2018, from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: LibrePlanet Artists

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 LibrePlanet Artists, which provides information about the network of graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, videographers, animators, and audio engineers with a strong commitment to creating free artwork made entirely with free software. 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: 13 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: 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).

Upcoming 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:

  • Balta Katei
  • Daniel Church
  • Eric Brown
  • ExtraHop Networks
  • Håkon A. Hjortland
  • Huan Truong, in honor of Minh Quang Duong
  • John Poduska
  • Jonathan Howell
  • Judicaël Courant
  • Marinos Yannikos
  • Ralph Hockens

You can add your name to this list by donating at

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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