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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2019 Free Software Supporter - Issue 134, June 2019

Free Software Supporter - Issue 134, June 2019

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on May 06, 2019 03:57 PM
Welcome to the *Free Software Supporter*, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 206,775 other activists. That's 1,322 more than last month!

FSF call for Boston volunteers next week

If you are in the Boston area and want to help the FSF, come to the Spring Fundraiser Envelope Stuff-A-Thon starting Tuesday, June 11 at our office in downtown Boston. For details email And, reminder to update your location information here so we can let you know about other opportunities in your area.


  • Six more devices from ThinkPenguin, Inc. now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom
  • LibrePlanet 2019 videos now live!
  • If regulators won't stop the sale of cell phone users' location data, consumers must
  • Snapchat employees abused data access to spy on users
  • RMS appears on list of this year's top 25 tech influencers
  • GNU Guix 1.0.0 released
  • FSF Latin America releases GNU Linux-libre 5.1-gnu as their sanitized kernel
  • People are clamoring to buy old insulin pumps -- because they can be hacked
  • It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?
  • Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time
  • Conservancy news round-up
  • GCC 9 release series
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Libreplanet conference talk transcriptions
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 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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Six more devices from ThinkPenguin, Inc. now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

From May 16th

The FSF has awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to a batch of six devices from ThinkPenguin, Inc.: the Penguin USB 2.0 External USB Stereo Sound Adapter (TPE-USBSOUND), the USB to Parallel Printer Cable (TPE-USBPARAL), the PCIe eSATA / SATA 6Gbps Controller Card (TPE-PCIESATA), the 5.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express Audio Sound Card (TPE-PCIESNDCRD), the Wireless N PCI Express Dual-Band Mini Half-Height Card (TPE-NHMPCIED2), and the Penguin Wireless N Mini PCIe Card (TPE-NMPCIE). The RYF certification mark means that these products meet the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control over the product, and privacy.

This latest collection of devices makes ThinkPenguin the retailer with the largest catalog of RYF-certified devices. Congratulations to ThinkPenguin, and thank you for your commitment to software freedom!

LibrePlanet 2019 videos now live!

From May 13th

At the LibrePlanet 2019 conference, the FSF recorded 40 speaker sessions -- over 24 hours of video, and they are now online on our GNU MediaGoblin instance. All videos are brought to you in a Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)-free, downloadable, free format.

If regulators won't stop the sale of cell phone users' location data, consumers must

From May 28 by Aaron Mackey

A Motherboard investigation revealed in January how any cellphone users’ real-time location could be obtained for $300. The pervasiveness of the practice, coupled with the extreme invasion of people’s privacy, is alarming.

The reporting showed there is a vibrant market for location data generated by everyone’s cell phones -- information that can be incredibly detailed and provide a window into people’s most sensitive and private activities. The investigation also laid bare that cell phone carriers AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, and the many third parties with access to the companies’ location data, have little interest or incentive to stop.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) expected that once this was exposed, the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) would take action, but months later, nothing has happened. So they're asking for your help: read the link below to learn how to share your story.

Snapchat employees abused data access to spy on users

From May 23rd by Joseph Cox

Several departments inside social media giant Snap have dedicated tools for accessing user data, and multiple employees have abused their privileged access to spy on Snapchat users, Motherboard has learned.

Two former employees said multiple Snap employees abused their access to Snapchat user data several years ago. Those sources, as well as an additional two former employees, a current employee, and a cache of internal company emails obtained by Motherboard, described internal tools that allowed Snap employees at the time to access user data, including in some cases location information, their own saved Snaps and personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses.

RMS appears on list of this year's top 25 tech influencers

From May 11 by Business Insider India

According to a survey of over 30,000 developers, these are the top 25 people who will have the most influence in technology in 2019, and we're not surprised to find Richard Stallman, founder of the FSF and the GNU Project, on the list. But please remember, we advocate free software, not open source!

GNU Guix 1.0.0 released

From May 10 by Ricardo Wurmus

On May 2, the GNU Guix project announced the release of version 1.0 of the Guix software manager. Since the project’s beginnings a little more than seven years ago, nearly 300 volunteers from all over the world have contributed more than 50,000 improvements. Guix now provides a huge collection of bit-reproducible free software packages consisting of close to 10,000 applications and libraries from a wide range of categories, including gaming, music production, video editing, programming, and specialized scientific software.

FSF Latin America releases GNU Linux-libre 5.1-gnu as their sanitized kernel

From May 6 by Alexandre Oliva

The Free Software Foundation Latin America team has released GNU Linux-libre 5.1-gnu as their sanitized kernel. GNU Linux-libre 5.1-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at It hasn't required any deblobbing changes since -rc7-gnu.

People are clamoring to buy old insulin pumps -- because they can be hacked

From April 29th by Sarah Zhang

The ability to jailbreak an old insulin pump enables diabetics to connect it to free software and convert it into a system that effectively replaces the regulatory system of a healthy pancreas. The software in personal medical devices must be free, so that modifications like this do not depend on the use of bugs.

It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?

From May 28 by Geoffrey A. Fowler

On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with.

And all night long, there was some startling behavior by a household name: Yelp. It was receiving a message that included my IP address -- once every five minutes.

Apple's recent ads bragged that “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” My investigation suggests otherwise. (And because you can't probe your iPhone's software, because it's nonfree, you have no way of knowing the extent of this violation.)

Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time

From May 6th by Geoffrey A. Fowler

Would you let a stranger eavesdrop in your home and keep the recordings? For most people, the answer is, "Are you crazy?" Yet that's essentially what Amazon has been doing to millions of us with its assistant Alexa in microphone-equipped Echo speakers. And it's hardly alone: Bugging our homes is Silicon Valley's next frontier.

Amazon's claim that "customers have control" is a blatant lie: you can manually delete past recordings if you know exactly where to look and remember to keep going back, but you cannot actually stop Amazon from making these recordings, if you're bothering to use the Echo at all. They can do as they like with these recordings, and the FBI could collect the whole database every day, or scan it every hour.

Conservancy news round-up

From May 28 by Deb Nicholson

May is for code releases! Check out these videos, blog posts from member projects, code releases and upcoming events.

GCC 9 release series

From May 3 by GCC

The GNU project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 9.1.

This release is a major release, containing new features (as well as many other improvements) relative to GCC 8.x.

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 is welcome!

The next meeting is Friday, June 7, from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Libreplanet conference talk transcriptions

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 conference talk transcriptions, which makes these talks accessible to an even wider segment of our audience. If you're good at transcribing audio, we encourage you to add your own submissions! You can find the full list of videos at, and transcriptions are at

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

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 new GNU releases!

18 new GNU releases in the last month (as of May 28, 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.

This month, we welcome Wolf as co-maintainer of gengetopt.

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:

  • Catalin Francu
  • David Klann
  • Deepak Ponvel Chermakani
  • Emil Volcheck
  • Hideki IGARASHI
  • Mikhail Pomaznoy
  • Minoru Sekine
  • Shon Burton

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

  • Anthony Rossini (Emacs)
  • Bowen Hu (GNU Radio)
  • Joel Rosdahl (Emacs)
  • Matthew Newton (Emacs)
  • Moises Torres Aguilar (Wget)
  • Neil Roberts (Emacs)
  • Serghei Iakovlev (Emacs)
  • Stefan Kangas (Emacs)
  • Sungbin Jo (Emacs)
  • Tejas Joshi (GCC)
  • ThePhD (GCC)

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, 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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