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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2020 Free Software Supporter - Issue 148, August 2020

Free Software Supporter - Issue 148, August 2020

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Jul 07, 2020 02:23 PM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 228,241 other activists. That's 338 more than last month!

Join the FSF: Free software in action

From July 11th

It's important to remember that free software is a prerequisite for a modern free society, even during these trying times. If you've been spared the worst of this crisis, now is the time to step up and help the FSF make sure user freedom survives the pandemic response.

Help us reach the goal of 200 new associate members by August 7! Speak up for freedom by using the hashtag #UserFreedom on social media networks and sharing our free software images.


  • Sign this petition for freedom in the classroom
  • Don't let proprietary digital voting disrupt democracy
  • Presenting the expanded Free Software Foundation Bulletin, online!
  • People everywhere are standing up for free software
  • Free software is what unites us
  • Free software in business: Success stories
  • When DRM turns deadly: Repair techs forced to hack ventilators in order to serve patients
  • What has happened and where we've come: A short history of DRM
  • GUADEC is underway
  • With Edge, Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low
  • GCC 10.2 released
  • Free software game developer Perttu Ahola talks about Minetest
  • July GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Hardware/FSDG distributions
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 22 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:

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

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

Sign this petition for freedom in the classroom

From July 21st

New developments in the remote education landscape have only contributed to the worrying trend of treating the school as a testing ground for ubiquitous surveillance and other dystopian practices, and as a vector to force students to use pernicious nonfree programs. Beginning today, we are working to change the remote education landscape with a new petition targeting the serious harm proprietary software poses to students, and at the same time, emphasizing the idea that there is an ethical solution.

We understand that speaking up for yourself about these issues can be difficult, which is why we're offering to put our voice behind yours as the leading organization in the free software movement. When signing the petition, you have the option to let us know if you're a student, parent, teacher, or administrator of a school that requires the use of proprietary software. We'll get in touch with the school's administration on your behalf, and let them know that a global community of activists and everyday people alike have signed a statement in support of free software in education.

Read, sign, and share the petition at

Don't let proprietary digital voting disrupt democracy

From July 15th

A free country has the responsibility to make sure all of its citizens can be heard, and that voting processes are transparent and fair. I am arguing in this post that it is essential that software used in any part of the voting process be published free software. It is unacceptable for such an important democratic system to be placed in the hands of any for-profit, proprietary software corporation that controls the source code, data management, reporting, updates, and testing. No good can come from requiring a court order to be permitted to study the source code of voting software in order to confirm the process is fair and democratic. But additionally, I might surprise the reader by laying out arguments to say that despite supporting the wish to increase access and ease for all eligible voters, the only truly free, ethical, and democratic voting system is actually a system that steers clear from using software.

Presenting the expanded Free Software Foundation Bulletin, online!

From July 28th

Right now, in a rapidly changing and uncertain world, free software has a special role to play. This issue of the biannual Free Software Foundation Bulletin addresses some of the challenges that life during the COVID-19 pandemic poses to software freedom, but it also highlights some of the unique contributions that activists are making to safeguard your rights today. Whether through manufacturing desperately-needed medical supplies, advocating for and supplying free and secure videoconferencing for remote learning, or creating flexible and portable free medical information systems, activists have put in extraordinary effort to ensure that our user freedom is protected along with our safety.

Read the Free Software Foundation Bulletin online!

People everywhere are standing up for free software

From July 23rd

On our newly updated Working Together for Free Software pages, we explore the different reasons why people dedicate their time to free software, and highlight all the different ways that user freedom is important to them.

With each submission that comes in, we realize again just how far the fight for software freedom stretches. Thankfully, there are people all over the globe and in many industries, who are fighting for justice.

Free software is what unites us

From July 16th

We shouldn't forget that free software is an inherently positive story. It celebrates the creativity and skill that come from collaboration, and the freedom that you have if you understand a program or can freely choose to rely on information about it from someone you trust. Having the right to read, modify, contribute to, and share software we use has changed our lives, and countless others. There are so many people who continue to motivate us to fight for free software with their work, so we decided to ask them to share their stories on why they love free software, and what user freedom means to them or their business.

Free software in business: Success stories

From July 30th

This third blog post in the series inspired by interviews with community members will bring some attention to the success that people have had advocating for free software through their occupations. It manifests how appeals to user freedom, and successful free software implementations, are driving forces behind the advancement of businesses all over the world.

When DRM turns deadly: Repair techs forced to hack ventilators in order to serve patients

From July 9th by Jason Koebler

Faced with a global pandemic, hospitals, biomedical technicians, right to repair activists, and refurbishers say that medical device manufacturers are profiteering by putting up artificial barriers to repair, using Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), that drive up the cost of medical care in the United States and put patient lives in danger. They describe difficulty getting parts and software, delays in getting service from "authorized" technicians, and a general sense of frustration as few manufacturers appear ready to loosen their repair restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis.

You can read more about how free software activists are tackling medical equipment shortages in the new issue of the Free Software Foundation Bulletin.

What has happened and where we've come: A short history of DRM

From July 24th

The Free Software Foundation's fight against DRM goes a long way back, with efforts that have resulted in victories, and actions that have weakened the chains of DRM or even broken them. In 2006, the FSF ramped up its anti-DRM activities, under the campaign name Defective by Design. If we are to win the battle against DRM, it is important to have larger numbers on our side. To achieve that, it is fundamental to make people aware of the risk that DRM poses to our privacy and freedom.

In this post, FSF intern Leonardo Vignini explores the lessons we can take from the history of DRM, and the struggle against it.

GUADEC is underway

From July 22nd by the GNOME Project

GUADEC took place entirely online from July 22-28, bringing together users and enthusiasts from all over the world. You can read more about the event at the GUADEC Web site.

With Edge, Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low

From July 2nd by Sean Hollister

Microsoft is getting less and less subtle about taking away users' choices of how their computers work: when the author of this article turned on his computer, he found that the entire screen was taken over by a new app that he'd never installed or asked for. While it behaved in a way he thought was more consistent with a piece of ransomware, it was just Microsoft's new Chromium Edge browser, which also can't be uninstalled.

GCC 10.2 released

From July 23rd by GCC developers

The GNU Project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 10.2.

This release is a bug-fix release, containing fixes for regressions in GCC 10.1 relative to previous releases of GCC.

Free software game developer Perttu Ahola talks about Minetest

From June 30th by Wikinews

Started in October 2010, Minetest was an attempt by Ahola to create a sandbox game similar to Minecraft. Minecraft is a proprietary multi-platform game, which was in alpha version when Ahola challenged himself to create something similar to it from scratch, he told Wikinews.

Minetest is a free "as in freedom" game, which is also gratis for anyone to download and play. It is written in the C++ programming language, and the source code is available on code-hosting site GitHub.

July GNU Emacs news

From July 27th by Sacha Chua

In these issues: a long discussion on opaque objects and Emacs documentation; editing with Emacs; the magit git client; Emacs mode line simplified; and more!

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

LibrePlanet featured resource: Hardware/FSDG distributions

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 Hardware/FSDG distributions, which provides information about FSDG-compliant distributions that support many architectures. 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 July 29, 2020):

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.

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:

  • Belgian Federal Public Service Home Affairs
  • Blue Systems
  • Brett Sears
  • Chase Courtney
  • Christian Sperr
  • Donald and Jill Knuth
  • Mark Harris
  • Minoru Sekine
  • Nikolay Ksenev
  • Mr. Pete Batard
  • Tegonal GmbH

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 (and allowed public appreciation) in the past month:

  • Asher Gordon (GCC)
  • Ferdinand Pieper (Emacs)
  • Harald Joerg (Emacs)
  • Ihor Radchenko (Emacs)
  • Jouke Erik Witteveen (Make)
  • Sean Peter Whitton (Emacs)
  • Shankar Rao (Emacs)
  • William Denton (Emacs)

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:

Para cambiar las preferencias de usuario y recibir los próximos números del Supporter en español, haz click aquí:{contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

Le Free Software Supporter est disponible en français. Pour voir la version française cliquez ici:

Pour modifier vos préférences et recevoir les prochaines publications du Supporter en français, cliquez ici:{contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

O Free Software Supporter está disponível em português. Para ver a versão em português, clique aqui:

Para alterar as preferências do usuário e receber as próximas edições do Supporter em português, clique aqui:{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 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 © 2020 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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