Skip to content, sitemap or skip to search.

Personal tools
Join now
You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2019 Free Software Supporter - Issue 140, December 2019

Free Software Supporter - Issue 140, December 2019

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Nov 12, 2019 10:36 AM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 216,727 other activists. That's 1,270 more than last month!

fall 2019 fundraiser premiums

Strengthen the free software movement -- join the FSF today!

From November 18th

No movement has ever succeeded without strength in numbers, which is why we are looking to add 600 advocates to this cause by December 31st. Becoming an FSF associate member is easy. If you can spare a monthly $10 ($5 for students), your member dues amplify your voice in the fight for your user rights, and help the FSF fight to protect freedom for everyone. In appreciation, we offer associate members many benefits. If you have already been an FSF member and your membership has expired, please take this moment to renew.

For this year-end fundraiser, we even have some exclusive gifts for all associate members who join us, or renew, as well as some extra motivation for those who can give a bit more than the base membership. Already a member? Get your friends and family to join in order to get the premiums and name you as the reason why they joined: with three referrals, you get the thermos, with five, you get the backpack, and with ten referrals, you can get all three gifts!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Ethical Tech Giving Guide: Freedom is the gift that keeps on giving
  • LibrePlanet returns in 2020 to Free the Future! March 14-15, Boston area
  • New RYF Web site: It's now easier to support companies selling devices that Respect Your Freedom
  • Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite Mainboard now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom
  • Flying with SeaGL, blasting GNU Radio, and more from the Working Together for Free Software Fund
  • The FSF's EmacsConf 2019 satellite was an M-x success!
  • FSF contract opportunity: Bookkeeper
  • US federal court rules suspicionless searches of travelers' phones and laptops unconstitutional
  • Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) cancels Netflix from older "smart" TVs and Roku media players
  • GNU Radio first steps: An FM receiver
  • School apps violate children's privacy by tracking when they go to the bathroom (and everything else that they do)
  • Amazon Ring watched your kids trick or treat and then bragged about it
  • The team that powers VLC
  • The story of Janayugom: The first newspaper in the world to use 100% free software for news publishing
  • How we fixed DRM in Portugal (and so can you)
  • Best Buy is leaving "smart home" users in the cold
  • Uber to allow audio recording of rides, aiming to launch feature in US
  • GUADEC 2020 and 2021 announcements
  • GCC 7.5 released
  • November GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Group: Hardware/research/e-readers
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 17 new GNU releases!
  • FSF and other free software events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • GNU copyright contributions
  • Translations of the Free Software Supporter
  • Take action with the FSF!

View this issue online here: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2019/december

Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by adding our subscriber widget to your Web site.

Miss an issue? You can catch up on back issues at https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter.

Want to read this newsletter translated into another language? Scroll to the end to read the Supporter in French, Spanish, or Portuguese.


Ethical Tech Giving Guide: Freedom is the gift that keeps on giving

From November 27th

Every year, we publish our Ethical Tech Giving Guide, as a way to help free software supporters choose gifts that won't burden the people they care about with proprietary software or venomous Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). Devices may come and go, but introducing another person to software freedom is the start of a lifelong journey. And, who wants to be responsible for burdening our loved ones with devices that abuse their freedom or spy on them? Our Giving Guide helps you give gifts you can feel good about instead!

LibrePlanet returns in 2020 to Free the Future! March 14-15, Boston area

From November 7th

The annual technology and social justice conference will be held in the Boston area on March 14 and 15, 2020, with the theme "Free the Future." The FSF invites activists, hackers, law professionals, artists, students, developers, young people, policymakers, tinkerers, newcomers to free software, and anyone looking for technology that respects their freedom to register to attend!

New RYF Web site: It's now easier to support companies selling devices that Respect Your Freedom

From November 7th

We are proud to announce that we're launching a new, stand-alone Web presence for our Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification program, capable of facilitating its continued expansion. Users can check out the new site at https://ryf.fsf.org. There, they can browse certifications by vendor and device type, and learn about the most recent certifications. Each device has its own page which directs users to the certification announcement, date of certification, and a link to the retailer site where they can purchase it.

Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite Mainboard now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

From November 7th

The FSF has awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the Talos II and Talos II Lite mainboards from Raptor Computing Systems, LLC. The RYF certification mark means that these products meet the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control over the product, and privacy. These two mainboards are the first PowerPC devices to receive certification. Several GNU/Linux distributions endorsed by the FSF are currently working towards offering support for the PowerPC platform.

Flying with SeaGL, blasting GNU Radio, and more from the Working Together for Free Software Fund

From November 4th

Working Together for Free Software is one of our initiatives that focuses on the broader world of free software: the community, programs, and funding that we’re coalescing to mount the crucial resistance to the abuses of proprietary software. This is a category that covers a lot of people and a lot of work, and the Working Together for Free Software Fund is just one piece of the picture.

While all of the projects under the umbrella of the Working Together for Free Software Fund are absolutely worthy of your attention and donations, today we're highlighting just a few projects with some noteworthy announcements. Want to know if your free software project qualifies? Learn more here!

The FSF's EmacsConf 2019 satellite was an M-x success!

From November 22nd

Together with Boston locals and more than 400 remote participants, the FSF hosted a successful satellite to this year's EmacsConf, which was held largely online on November 2nd. Don't worry if you missed it: you can see 31 out of the 32 total talks on video!

FSF contract opportunity: Bookkeeper

From November 25th

The contractor will work closely with our business operations manager and the rest of the operations team to ensure that the organization's day-to-day financial functions run smoothly. We are looking for a hands-on and detail-oriented professional who is comfortable working both independently and with multiple teams as needed. Ideal candidates will be proactive and highly adaptable, with an aptitude for learning new tools and paying close attention to minutiae despite dense financial material. Applicants should have at least three years of experience with nonprofit bookkeeping and finance. Familiarity with tools we use is a plus, such as SQL Ledger, CiviCRM, LibreOffice, and Request Tracker.

US federal court rules suspicionless searches of travelers' phones and laptops unconstitutional

From November 12th by EFF

In a major victory for privacy rights at the border, a federal court in Boston ruled that suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other US ports of entry are unconstitutional. Congratulations to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on their victory in the fight for digital freedom!

Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) cancels Netflix from older "smart" TVs and Roku media players

From November 11th by Hilbert Hagedoorn

In November, Samsung issued a warning that owners of particular 2010/2011 models of "smart" TVs would no longer be able to use Netflix, starting in December 2019. This also applies to a number of Roku media players, as well as some Panasonic televisions. Apparently, the problem is that the DRM protocol in these earlier televisions has been superseded and can't be upgraded. So now, thanks to DRM, these TVs aren't just defective by design: they're also obsolete by design.

GNU Radio first steps: An FM receiver

From November 17th by Jan Hrach

Per the request of a poster on Hacker News: in this walkthrough, you can learn how to use GNU Radio with the GUI tool Companion, with an SDR, to capture a portion of spectrum containing public FM broadcasting and decode it to audio! The writer did this live at InstallFest 2016, but this is the first time they've given the instructions entirely in English. If you try it out, please let us know how it went at campaigns@fsf.org!

US school apps violate children's privacy by tracking when they go to the bathroom (and everything else that they do)

From October 29th by Heather Kelly

When Christian Chase wants to take a bathroom break at his high school, he can’t just raise his hand. Instead, the 17-year-old senior makes a special request on his school-issued Chromebook computer. A teacher approves it pending any red flags in the system, such as another student he should avoid out in the hall at the same time, then logs him back in on his return. If he were out of class for more than a set amount of time, the application would summon an administrator to check on him.

Classroom management software is growing more and more invasive and impossible for children or parents to limit or reasonably consent to. Anywhere from 200 to 600 applications might be used in a single district, creating a bewildering maze of privacy agreements, school policies, and federal privacy regulations. We encourage concerned parents and kids to band together and demand that all nonfree software be banished from their schools, and replaced by learning software that respects their children's freedom (and doesn't concern itself with their bathroom habits).

Amazon Ring watched your kids trick or treat and then bragged about it

From November 1st by Rachel Kraus

"Where were you at 6pm last night? If you were trick-or-treating, you were part of the millions of people out ringing doorbells this Halloween!" The morning after Halloween, Ring shared videos from Ring users, which featured masked and unmasked children and adults engaging in Halloween antics. Some were funny moments of pranks and cuteness, while others featured misbehavior like pumpkin theft.

The videos are pretty innocent, but it's tremendously creepy that Ring decided to use video captured on Halloween as a public relations stunt to show that, uh, Ring is always watching. Mashable asked Ring whether the people featured in the videos gave their consent to be used in a publicity stunt. Ring did not immediately respond, and since the Mashable story has not been updated nearly a month later, they apparently still have not deigned to answer these concerns.

The team that powers VLC

From November 1st by Chris Stokel-Walker

This article provides a look behind the curtain at one of the most popular free software projects: VideoLAN Client, or VLC media player. This customizable, high-powered media player was released in 2001 under a GNU General Public License, and has been downloaded 3 billion times since 2005!

The story of Janayugom: The first newspaper in the world to use 100% free software for news publishing

From November 11th, by Alpha Fork Technologies

Janayugom is a Malayalam (a South-Indian language spoken in Kerala) daily newspaper with nearly 100,000 subscribers and 14 bureaus in Kerala. Previously, Janayugom used to depend upon an outdated version of a proprietary software program (Adobe PageMaker) for their layout and production related works. When they realized that the modern software recommended to them for an upgrade was going to betoo expensive, the solution led them to free software instead.

How we fixed DRM in Portugal (and so can you)

From November 13th by Paula Simões and Marcos Marado

After 15 years of trying to solve the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) problem, the Portuguese Association for Free Software (ANSOL) and the Association for Free Education (AEL) finally managed to get what they sought: a fix to the DRM situation in Portugal.

Best Buy is leaving "smart home" users in the cold

From September 6th by Nick Statt

When you depend on connection to a company's servers to run the software that controls your devices, you give them control over those devices... including the abillity to decide arbitrarily that those devices will no longer work. In September, Best Buy quietly announced that the mobile app platform for controlling their Insignia brand of "smart home" devices was shutting down, so while most basic functions will still work, the ones controlled through the app are kaput.

Uber to allow audio recording of rides, aiming to launch feature in US

From November 20th by Associated Press

Yes, this feature will allow you to opt into recording all trips or select trips, which is nice, and yes, the recordings will be encrypted. However, as with all proprietary software, this feature, touted as a potential way to make riding with Uber safer, is still out of your control: you can't listen to the recordings, and because they'll be stored on Uber's servers, you don't get to decide who listens to them or how they'll be used (and, what happens if their server is compromised?). Nice try, Uber, but no thanks!

GUADEC 2020 and 2021 announcements

From November 25th by GNOME Project

The GNOME Foundation is excited to announce that GUADEC 2020, the annual GNOME conference, will take place between the 22nd - 28th of July in Zacatecas, Mexico. In 2021, GUADEC will be returning to Europe, taking place in Riga, Latvia.

GCC 7.5 released

From November 14th by GCC

The GNU Project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 7.5. This release is a bug-fix release, containing fixes for regressions in GCC 7.4 relative to previous releases of GCC.

November GNU Emacs news

From November 25 by Sacha Chua

In these issues: EmacsConf 2019 videos, configuration options to copy, configuring Emacs from scratch, a proposal to rename windows to "panes," and more!

Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

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.freenode.org, 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, December 6th, from 12pm to 3pm EST (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Group: Hardware/research/e-readers

Every month on the LibrePlanet wiki, we highlight one resource that is interesting and useful -- often one that could use your help.

For this month, we are highlighting Group: Hardware/research/e-readers, which provides information about the quest to determine which existing ebook readers could become Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certified without too much work. 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 campaigns@fsf.org.

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 17 new GNU releases!

17 new GNU releases in the last month (as of November 25, 2019):

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

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

This month, we welcome Mark Weaver as maintainer of GNUzilla.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://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 https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

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

FSF and other 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:

  • Camille Akmut
  • Elliot Rosenberger
  • Felix March Tantoso
  • Hideki IGARASHI
  • Jean-Louis Abraham
  • Matteo Frigo
  • Michael Lewis
  • René Genz
  • Roland Pesch
  • Rich Haase
  • Trevor Spiteri
  • Zack Grannan

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 GNU GPL and keep software free. The following individuals have assigned their copyright to the FSF (and allowed public appreciation) in the past month:

  • Archit Pandey (Wget)
  • Axis Communications AB (findutils)
  • David Odell (Diffutils)
  • Davide Gerhard (GNU Radio)
  • Grant Cox (GNU Radio)
  • Keith Bershatsky (Emacs)
  • Raffael Stocker (Emacs)
  • Thomas Rummel (GDB)
  • Takehiro Sekine (GNU Radio)
  • Yuichiro Kaneko (Bison)

Want to see your name on this list? Contribute to GNU and assign your copyright to the FSF.

Translations of the Free Software Supporter

El Free Software Supporter está disponible en español. Para ver la versión en español haz click aqui: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2019/diciembre

Para cambiar las preferencias de usuario y recibir los próximos números del Supporter en español, haz click aquí: https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

Le Free Software Supporter est disponible en français. Pour voir la version française cliquez ici: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2019/decembre

Pour modifier vos préférences et recevoir les prochaines publications du Supporter en français, cliquez ici: https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

O Free Software Supporter está disponível em português. Para ver a versão em português, clique aqui: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2019/dezembro

Para alterar as preferências do usuário e receber as próximas edições do Supporter em português, clique aqui: https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

Take action with the FSF!

Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF's work. You can contribute by joining at https://my.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://my.fsf.org/join

The FSF is 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 campaigns section (https://www.fsf.org/campaigns) and take action on software patents, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), free software adoption, OpenDocument, and more.

Copyright © 2019 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/.

Document Actions

The FSF is a charity with a worldwide mission to advance software freedom — learn about our history and work.

fsf.org is powered by:

 

Send your feedback on our translations and new translations of pages to campaigns@fsf.org.