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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2019 Free Software Supporter - Issue 130, February 2019

Free Software Supporter - Issue 130, February 2019

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Jan 04, 2019 02:37 PM
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 196,565 other activists. That's 1,170 more than last month!


  • The FSF is 5,000 members strong -- thanks to you
  • Licensing and Compliance Lab: The most frequently asked Frequently Asked Questions
  • Registration and schedule for Copyleft Conf
  • The fight over Europe’s Internet just got even messier
  • In January, the EU starts running bug bounties on free software
  • NSA to release a free reverse engineering tool
  • Google proposes changes to Chromium browser that will break content-blocking extensions
  • GNU Ring changes name to GNU Jami
  • UK health service prescribes nonfree "app therapy" for children
  • It's now clear that none of the supposed benefits of killing net neutrality were real
  • GNOME Project: 2018 year-end summary
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Guix/Wishlist
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 22 new GNU releases!
  • GNU Toolchain update: Support GNU Toolchain
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • GNU copyright contributions
  • Take action with the FSF!

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The FSF is 5,000 members strong -- thanks to you

From January 15

In the first week of January, we closed the Free Software Foundation's end of the year fundraiser and associate membership drive, and we'd like to thank you for your generosity and support. Because of you, we've raised $441,802 and had 488 new associate members join -- surpassing our goal of 400 new members, and pushing our total membership over 5,000. Thank you for donating, joining, and spreading the word.

Not a member yet? Build on the momentum and join the movement for free software at

Licensing and Compliance Lab: The most frequently asked Frequently Asked Questions

From January 25 by Jake Glass

The FSF Licensing and Compliance Lab is committed to helping free software developers around the world with their questions sent to Our primary goal is to support what we believe is the best legal tool we have for protecting the rights of users, copyleft. The Lab works toward that goal by offering licensing education, running certification programs like Respects Your Freedom, providing license compliance and enforcement for the GNU Project, and fielding licensing questions from the free software community.

In the course of this work, we often refer back to questions in the comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses (FAQ). The FAQ is quite long, with over 150 questions. Looking at the Licensing and Compliance Lab's email referrals to the FAQ can help us gauge the questions that are the most frequent, or perhaps the most confusing. We'd like to share some of the insights we've gathered in our work to make our licensing resources as effective as possible.

Registration and schedule for Copyleft Conf

From January 10 by Software Freedom Conservancy

Conservancy is very excited to share the schedule for the first-ever Copyleft Conf with you! Copyleft Conf is a one-day event, taking place on February 4 in downtown Brussels, Belgium. FSF campaigns manager Molly de Blanc will be delivering the keynote speech, "The margins of software freedom," and FSF executive director John Sullivan will be delivering the speech "<script src="trap.js"></script>." We hope we'll see you there!

The fight over Europe’s Internet just got even messier

From January 23 by James Vincent

The European Union’s (EU) Copyright Directive has led a tortured life, even by the standards of EU law. This bundle of legislation, intended to comprehensively update copyright for the Internet age, was hotly debated in Parliament and public all last year. But as of the beginning of this month, it seemed to be edging its way toward a final vote. That is until six countries switched sides during negotiations, booting the proposed directive back into legislative limbo yet again.

The sticking point continues to be the appalling Articles 11 and 13, also known as the "link tax" and "upload filter." Article 11 gives publishers the right to charge a fee when platforms like Google or Facebook show snippets of their articles, while Article 13 makes these platforms directly liable for user-uploaded media that infringes copyright. As we noted back in June 2018, Article 13 would make it impossible for developers to build off of one another's code, which would be a blow to the collaborative development of free software and would push against the basic freedoms of free software.

In January, the EU starts running bug bounties on free software

From December 27 by Julia Reda

In 2014, security vulnerabilities were found in important free software projects, including the encryption library OpenSSL. This type of software is called a library because it provides standard functions to a huge number of other software programs. And they subsequently suffered from the issue. Since OpenSSL is also very important for the encryption of Internet traffic, it is also highly relevant to the protection of your personal communication, or your payment details when you’re shopping online. The issue made lots of people realize how important free software is for the integrity and reliability of the Internet and other infrastructure. That is why my colleague Max Andersson and I started the free software audit project: FOSSA.

In 2017, the project added the carrying out of bug bounties on important free software projects to the list of measures we wanted to put in place to increase security. In January, the European Commission is launching 14 out of a total of 15 bug bounties on free software projects that EU institutions rely on. A bug bounty is a prize for people who actively search for security issues. The amount of the bounty depends on the severity of the issue uncovered and the relative importance of the software.

You can contribute by analyzing the software, and by submitting any bugs or vulnerabilities you find to the involved bug bounty platforms. Check out the full article for a full list of projects that need your help!

NSA to release a free reverse engineering tool

From January 5 by Catalin Cimpanu

The US National Security Agency (NSA) will release a free reverse engineering tool at the upcoming RSA security conference that will be held at the start of March, in San Francisco. The software's name is GHIDRA and in technical terms, is a disassembler, a piece of software that breaks down executable files into assembly code that can then be analyzed by humans.

GHIDRA can also analyze binaries for all major operating systems, such as Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux, Android, and iOS, and a modular architecture allows users to add packages in case they need extra features. US government workers to whom ZDNet has spoken said the tool is well-known and liked, and generally used by operators in defensive roles, who normally analyze malware found on government networks.

Google proposes changes to Chromium browser that will break content-blocking extensions

From January 22 by Beau Hamilton

"Google engineers have proposed changes to the Chromium browser that will break content-blocking extensions, including various ad blockers," reports The Register. "The drafted changes will also limit the capabilities available to extension developers, ostensibly for the sake of speed and safety. Chromium forms the central core of Google Chrome, and, soon, Microsoft Edge."

This is yet another step towards making browsers serve businesses that use Web sites to snoop and manipulate, rather than serving users. One consequence is that it will be impossible to use anything like GNU LibreJS, the Web browser plugin that protects your freedom by blocking nonfree JavaScript, in the modified Chromium. As we understand it, Chromium has never had a sufficient extension interface to implement LibreJS, but we hoped it would be improved. Now we know it won't be.

GNU Ring changes name to GNU Jami

From January 4 by the Jami team

On December 2018, GNU Ring changed its name to GNU Jami. GNU Jami is a universal and distributed communication platform, implemented as free software, which respects the freedoms and privacy of users. Its core features -- decentralized architecture and end-to-end-encryption -- and commitments to freedom and privacy remain the same.

GNU Jami aims to address a high priority software goal of the FSF, responding to the challenges of privacy on the Internet. Developed by Savoir-faire Linux, Jami takes advantage of an active development community thanks to the support of Google Summer of Code developers, as well as research partnerships with Polytechnique Montréal and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Visit GNU Jami at the Free Software Directory at or on Savannah at

UK health service prescribes nonfree "app therapy" for children

From January 23 by Denis Campbell

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety, but having it administered through a nonfree app -- and to children, at that! -- is an extremely bad idea. The UK National Health Service (NHS) will be prescribing "app therapy" to children as young as age five in 2019, delivered via mobile phones, tablets, or computers. This may give kids some relief for their mental health issues, but it will also create a tremendous pool of easily-harvested information about their day-to-day emotional state, and neither children nor parents will be able to ascertain how it works or how their information is used. This is a tremendous injustice.

It's now clear that none of the supposed benefits of killing net neutrality were real

From January 24 by Karl Bode

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and telecommunications sector repeatedly tried to claim that killing net neutrality would boost broadband industry investment, spark job creation, and drive broadband into underserved areas at an unprecedented rate. It's not as though the loss of freedom to use the Internet exactly as users wish would have been worth it, but it's worth noting how thoroughly untrue these claims were, as network investment is down, layoffs abound, and networks are falling apart.

GNOME Project: 2018 year-end summary

From January 1 by GNOME Project

With 2018 having ended, the GNOME Project now enters another exciting year full of software releases, events, and computing excellence. Looking back at the past year, 2018 brought us two large GNOME releases, versions 3.28 and 3.30, which delivered improvements across the board, particularly with performance, usability, and overall polish. Continuing its long-held tradition, the GNOME Foundation successfully hosted another iteration of its main conference, GUADEC, in Almería, Spain. On the technical side of things, significant developments were made to better support Rust for use in the GNOME platform, GJS (GNOME’s JavaScript Engine) was upgraded to support Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey 52, and GNOME made the important decision to move to GitLab.

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, February 1, from 12pm to 3pm EST (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Guix/Wishlist

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 Guix/Wishlist, which provides information about software that users of GNU Guix would like to see packaged. 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: 22 new GNU releases!

22 new GNU releases in the last month (as of January 27, 2019):

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).

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:

  • Alexandre BLANC
  • Clark Everetts
  • Conan Chiles
  • Dario Armani
  • Dean Ellis
  • Donald Craig
  • Georges Sancosme
  • Inouye Satoru
  • Luiz Paternostro
  • Maria Miertoiu
  • Mark Wielaard
  • Matthias Herrmann
  • meissa GmbH
  • Paul Allen
  • Richard Harlow
  • Robert Dionne
  • Stefan Maric

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:

  • Andrew Elie Attali (Emacs)
  • Andrew Luo (GCC)
  • Dennis Lambe Jr. (Diffutils)
  • Edward Kigwana (GNU Radio)
  • Harald Anlauf (GCC)
  • Mak Kolybabi (Emacs)
  • Qiu Ji (GCC)
  • Scott Worley (Coreutils)
  • Valentin Sergeevich Ignatev (Emacs)
  • Win Treese (Emacs)

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 © 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

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