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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2019 Free Software Supporter - Issue 131, March 2019

Free Software Supporter - Issue 131, March 2019

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Feb 04, 2019 12:55 PM
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 203,528 other activists. That's 6,963 more than last month!

LibrePlanet 2019: Coming to Cambridge, MA on March 23-24

From February 21

On March 23rd and 24th, 2019, the free software community will come together at the Stata Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to learn, exchange ideas, catch up with friends, and plan the future of the movement at the LibrePlanet 2019 conference. Registration is open, and we hope you’ll join us!

Hundreds of people from across the globe will join us at LibrePlanet 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to explore this year's theme, "Trailblazing Free Software." With a new and growing generation of free software enthusiasts, we can take this conference as an opportunity to discuss both the present and the future of the free software movement. Using the Four Freedoms as a litmus test for ethical computing, we ask, "How will free software continue to bring to life trailblazing, principled new technologies and new approaches to the world?"

LibrePlanet brings together software developers, activists, policy experts, and computer users to share accomplishments, learn new skills, and address challenges to software freedom. Newcomers are always welcome, and LibrePlanet 2019 will feature programming for all experience levels, including students. Students and FSF members attend gratis!

Not able to attend LibrePlanet 2019? There are lots of other ways to participate -- we will have sessions live-streaming during the conference, and videos of each talk will be made available on our GNU MediaGoblin site. Plus, you can participate in the lively discussions during LibrePlanet via IRC!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Vikings D8 Mainboard and D8 Workstation now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom
  • Dating is a free software issue
  • FSF Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report now available
  • What is the right way to upgrade an installation of Windows?
  • FCC faces off in net neutrality lawsuit against consumer advocates and Internet giants
  • As expected, the EU has advanced the catastrophic Copyright Directive without fixing its terrible defects
  • CopyleftConf was great, you should go next year
  • "Google stole my patent": Stories of the pathology of the patent system
  • Amazon bought a router company you've never heard of: Here is why it's a huge deal
  • Annocheck: Examining the contents of binary files
  • What I learned during my internship with the FSF tech team
  • GCC 8.3 released
  • The Software Freedom Conservancy is hiring: Techie Bookkeeper
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: LibrePlanet: Conference/2019
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 21new GNU releases!
  • GNU Toolchain update: Support GNU Toolchain
  • FSF and free software events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • GNU copyright contributions
  • Take action with the FSF!

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

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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/marzo

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/mars

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/marco

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}

Vikings D8 Mainboard and D8 Workstation now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

From February 7

The FSF awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to two devices from Vikings GmbH, the Vikings D8 Mainboard and the Vikings D8 Workstation. 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 are the fourth and fifth devices from Vikings to receive RYF certification. The Vikings D8 Mainboard is an ASUS KCMA-D8 that comes with Trisquel GNU/Linux. Like the previously certified Vikings D16, it is a powerful mainboard suitable for use as a workstation or server. The Vikings D8 Workstation brings the D8 Mainboard together with a variety of options to provide a robust workstation for users. Both are available for purchase at https://store.vikings.net.

Dating is a free software issue

From February 14

I've been making the argument that everything is a free software issue for a few months now. Back in November, I was lucky enough to speak at Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (SeaGL) and the South Tyrol Free Software Conference (SFSCon), specifically on the issues proprietary technology poses in dating and maintaining romantic relationships.

I've been thinking about this since then -- the issues and infringements on user freedom we face when using technology to meet people, date, and fall in love. I think Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to share just some of these thoughts I've been having.

For Valentine's Day, we also encouraged readers to share an adorable "I Love Free Software" graphic with the hashtag #ilovefs -- it may not be a holiday anymore, but there's never a bad time to express your appreciation for software that respects your freedom!

FSF Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report now available

From February 11

The Annual Report reviews the FSF's activities, accomplishments, and financial picture from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. It is the result of a full external financial audit, along with a focused study of program results. It examines the impact of the FSF's events, programs, and activities, including the annual LibrePlanet conference, the Respects Your Freedom (RYF) hardware certification program, and the fight against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

The FSF publishes its financials and annual report as part of its commitment to transparency. Along with its strong financial health, accountability and transparency are the reasons the FSF is a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity.

What is the right way to upgrade an installation of Windows?

From January 28

In this new article on gnu.org, FSF founder Richard Stallman explains why rather than suggesting an upgrade for any version of Windows, we believe that all Windows users should upgrade to GNU/Linux.

FCC faces off in net neutrality lawsuit against consumer advocates and Internet giants

From February 1 by Dell Cameron

In late January, oral arguments began in the case of Mozilla v. the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a lawsuit brought by a wide range of advocacy groups and trade organizations representing some of the nation’s largest Internet companies, which all seek to vacate the vote to repeal net neutrality pushed through by the Federal Communications Commission in late 2017. The groups opposing the FCC include a hodgepodge of tech companies and consumer advocacy groups, as well as state and local officials -- among them: the Mozilla Corporation; Etsy; Free Press; Public Knowledge; the National Hispanic Media Coalition; the Open Technology Institute; the Center for Democracy & Technology, and others. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have also joined the petitioners.

We support the effort to restore net neutrality as an essential element of freedom to use the Internet for building and distributing free software.

As expected, the EU has advanced the catastrophic Copyright Directive without fixing its terrible defects

From February 23 by Cory Doctorow

The final text of the European Union (EU) Copyright Directive has emerged from the "trilogue" committee (composed of representatives from the EU Parliament, the national governments of EU member-states, and the EU presidency) and it is virtually identical to the compromise struck by the governments of France and Germany.

The most contentious issue in the Directive is Article 13, which makes online communities, services, and platforms liable if their users post any infringing materials, even if these materials are promptly removed. Though Article 13 no longer explicitly calls for automated filters, there is no conceivable way that every word, image, video, audio clip, etc. could be vetted for its copyright status without automated systems. Obviously, this will kill off every service that lacks the hundreds of millions of euros it will cost to build and maintain these filters.

CopyleftConf was great, you should go next year

From February 18 by Ben Cotton

Software licensing doesn’t get enough discussion at conferences as it probably should. And among the talks that do happen, copyleft licenses specifically get only a portion of that. But with major projects like the kernel Linux using copyleft licenses -- and the importance of copyleft principles to free software generally -- the Software Freedom Conservancy decided that a dedicated conference is in order. In this blog post, I discuss some of the highlights of this year's conference.

"Google stole my patent": Stories of the pathology of the patent system

From November 30, 2018

We oppose software patents on many bases, and one of the abuses of the patent system we documented was Google's attempt to monopolize the image/video compression application of ANS, created by Jagiellonian University lecturer Jarek Duda. Duda shared with us the example of a similar attempt made on edu-tech electronics business Chibitronics cofounder Jie Qi, who shared her accounts of how Google and a crowdfunding backer both tried to patent her ideas.

Duda writes, "These stories of a double patent victim show how defenseless academics (and e.g. free software programmers) are against the patent system, which literally promotes stealing from us. One can get much from patenting our work, and there is no risk -- no consequences for being caught on premeditated plagiarism."

Amazon bought a router company you've never heard of: Here is why it's a huge deal

From February 12 by Nicole Nguyen

Eero's router system, recently acquired by Amazon, is designed to cover hard-to-reach Wi-Fi dead zones. Buying a home network infrastructure company might sound like a boring move -- but it’s a powerful attacking piece in Amazon’s quest to own the smart home and, more interestingly, to obtain more data about its customers at the same time. This is yet another step towards tracking and monetizing your every move, including which competing products you use -- but of course, since all of Amazon's software is proprietary, you're not allowed to control what they find out about you.

Annocheck: Examining the contents of binary files

From February 4 by Nick Clifton

The Annobin plugin for GCC stores extra information inside binary files as they are compiled. Examining this information used to be performed by a set of shell scripts, but that has now changed and a new program -- annocheck -- has been written to do the job. The advantage of the program is that it is faster and more flexible than the scripts, and it does not rely upon other utilities to actually peer inside the binaries.

This article is about the annocheck program: how to use it, how it works, and how to extend it. The program’s main purpose is to examine how a binary was built and to check that it has all of the appropriate security hardening features enabled. But that is not its only use. It also has several other modes that perform different kinds of examination of binary files.

What I learned during my internship with the FSF tech team

From February 15 by Hrishikesh Barman

During my internship, I worked with the tech team to research and propose replacements for their network monitoring infrastructure.

A few things did not go quite as planned, but a lot of good things that I did not plan happened along the way. For example, I planned to work on GNU LibreJS, but never could find enough time for it. On the other hand, I gained a lot of system administration experience by reading IRC conversations, and by working on my project. I even got to have a brief conversation with RMS!

My mentors, Ian, Andrew, and Ruben, were extremely helpful and understanding throughout my internship. As someone who previously had not worked with a team, I learned a lot about teamwork. Aside from IRC, we interacted weekly in a conference call via phone, and used the FSF's Etherpad instance for live collaborative editing, to take notes.

GCC 8.3 released

From February 22 by the GCC team

The GNU Project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 8.3. This release is a bug-fix release, containing fixes for regressions in GCC 8.2 relative to previous releases of GCC.

The Software Freedom Conservancy is hiring: Techie Bookkeeper

From February 14 by Software Freedom Conservancy

Software Freedom Conservancy is looking for a new employee to help them with important work that supports their basic operations. They seek a fifth full-time employee who will help them with their day-to-day bookkeeping needs. This is a full time salaried position with benefits (including health insurance and paid time off), working remotely. See the listing below for instructions on how to apply!

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, March 8, from 12pm to 3pm EST (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: LibrePlanet: Conference/2019

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/2019, which provides information about this year's LibrePlanet conference, happening in Cambridge, MA on March 23-24. 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: 21 new GNU releases!

21 new GNU releases in the last month (as of February 26, 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.

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.

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).

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:

  • Antonio Carzaniga
  • ask apache
  • Balta Katei
  • Colin Carr
  • Evan Klitzke
  • James Wilson
  • System76

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

  • Arpit Gupta (GNU Radio)
  • Luis Marsano (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 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, 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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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