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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2020 Free Software Supporter - Issue 142, February 2020

Free Software Supporter - Issue 142, February 2020

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Jan 02, 2020 01:41 PM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 225,142 other activists. That's 6,259 more than last month!

Tell Microsoft to upcycle Windows 7. Set it free!

From January 24th

Microsoft has taken a few steps in the right direction, such as releasing some small but important components of Windows as free software. We want them to accelerate these changes. We need Microsoft to prove to the world that their "love" of free software isn't just an ad campaign, and that they aren't just reaping the benefits of free software in order to exploit users by pushing them into relying on Service as a Software Substitute.

They can do this by releasing Windows 7 under a free software license. The history of free software has shown us that software doesn't have to expire, and can even be written to last fifty years. And now that this version of their operating system has reached its "end-of-life," they have no good reason not to.

Our petition has shot past the goal of 7,777 signers, but we encourage you to add your voice as well! Keep an eye on our Web site and social media accounts to see what we'll be doing next.

Sign the petition here by February 5!


  • First LibrePlanet 2020 keynote announcement, plus new location!
  • Bring the planet to LibrePlanet by sponsoring an attendee
  • LibrePlanet 2020 needs you: Volunteer today!
  • It is time to end the DMCA anti-circumvention exemptions process and put a stop to DRM
  • Spring the mouse trap: Don't fall for Disney+
  • Boston CiviCRM meetup looking for new organizer
  • GNU Guile 3.0.0 released
  • GNU Linux-libre 5.5 now available; required more deblobbing than usual
  • Ring doorbell app packed with third-party trackers
  • Reddit thread: I recently had a full head MRI. Using free software, I was able to pluck my brain out and turn it into a desk light.
  • EA to brick Tetris phone app
  • January GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: LibrePlanet:Conference/2020
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 16 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.

First LibrePlanet 2020 keynote announcement, plus new location!

From January 15th

The first keynote for LibrePlanet 2020 has been announced! Internet Hall of Famer Brewster Kahle is renowned as the founder of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the cultural history of the Web.

More keynote speakers will be announced shortly, but in the meantime: LibrePlanet has a new location, at Boston's Back Bay Events Center! We've taken the grand tour and couldn't be happier about our choice of location. We're confident that the Events Center will be a great host for the technology and social justice conference we've all come to know and love. It's just the right place for us (and the movement) to take our next steps in freeing the future. The Back Bay Events Center is close to public transportation and the FSF headquarters.

For more LibrePlanet 2020 updates, keep a close eye on the conference Web site, And although we're always happy to see walk-ins, we highly encourage you to register for LibrePlanet today!

Bring the planet to LibrePlanet by sponsoring an attendee

From January 8th

The FSF is proud of the fact that the LibrePlanet audience and speakers come from a diverse range of backgrounds, countries, and cultures. We believe that anyone who wants to attend or speak at the conference should not be held back by financial burdens, so if you have a few dollars to spare, why not make a donation to help a few more people attend LibrePlanet? You'll be supporting a robust, diverse free software community by helping to reduce the financial barrier for those who need the help.

LibrePlanet 2020 needs you: Volunteer today!

From January 28th

LibrePlanet is coming up on March 14-15, and we need YOU to make the world's premier gathering of free software enthusiasts a success. Volunteers are needed for several different tasks at LibrePlanet, from an audio/visual crew to point cameras and adjust microphones, to room monitors to introduce speakers, to a set-up and clean-up crew to make our conference appear and disappear at the Event Center, and more! You can volunteer for as much or as little time as you like, whether you choose to help out for an hour or two, or the entirety of both days. Either way, we'll provide you with a VERY handsome LibrePlanet 2020 shirt in your size, in addition to free admission to the entire conference and lunch and our eternal gratitude.

If you're interested in joining the volunteer team, contact our volunteer captain Matt Lavallee at let him know your T-shirt size, and what training session you can attend.

It is time to end the DMCA anti-circumvention exemptions process and put a stop to DRM

From January 22nd

We call once again for the end of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions, and the absurd exemptions process that comes with it. Users have the right to control their own computing, and the right to share the tools we create with others. The DMCA violates those rights.

We shouldn't have to fight for what is already morally ours. But fight we will, and we won't stop no matter how many hurdles they throw in front of us. We can't stop until all users have their rights restored.

Spring the mouse trap: Don't fall for Disney+

From January 28th

Like the witch with her cauldron, Disney executives were concocting something evil when they were brewing up Disney+. It needed just the right amount of poison to be palatable: not enough to where it would turn everyone away, but not so little that users would be able to actually take a screenshot of the film that they are watching. Maleficent is more than just a character in a Disney film; it's an apt descriptor for the behavior of Disney itself when it comes to their attack on culture through Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

Boston CiviCRM meetup looking for new organizer

From January 23rd

The FSF's CiviCRM meetup in Boston is looking for community members who are interested in taking over and reviving this meetup. At one point, this meetup had about twelve people every month, but in the last two or three years it has gone down to one to three. We know there are people in the Boston area working at nonprofits, and who are using or considering using CiviCRM as an important part of their work. We would love for them to get together, but we don't have the time to organize the meetup anymore.

GNU Guile 3.0.0 released

From January 16th by Andy Wingo

We are ecstatic and relieved to announce the release of GNU Guile 3.0.0. This is the first release in the new stable 3.0 release series. See the release announcement for full details and a download link.

GNU Linux-libre 5.5 now available; required more deblobbing than usual

From January 27th by Michael Larabel

Fresh off the Linux 5.5 release, the Free Software Foundation Latin America crew has debuted their GNU Linux-libre 5.5 downstream that continues to be focused on deblobbing the kernel of drivers requiring proprietary firmware and stripping out other code/functionality that is contingent upon nonfree software bits, and removing the ability to load closed-source kernel modules.

Ring doorbell app packed with third-party trackers

From January 27th by Bill Budington

Ring isn't just a product that allows users to surveil their neighbors. The company also uses it to surveil its customers. An investigation by the EFF of the Ring doorbell app for Android found it to be packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.

The danger in sending even small bits of information is that analytics and tracking companies are able to combine these bits together to form a unique picture of the user’s device. This cohesive whole represents a fingerprint that follows the user as they interact with other apps and use their device, in essence providing trackers the ability to spy on what a user is doing in their digital lives and when they are doing it. All this takes place without meaningful user notification or consent and, in most cases, no way to mitigate the damage done.

There's nothing surprising about any of this news, but it's just another reason to warn your friends and family not to use these products!

Reddit thread: I recently had a full head MRI. Using free software, I was able to pluck my brain out and turn it into a desk light.

From January 24th by User_browser_

Nifty free software project: this Reddit poster used a series of free software programs to create a model of their own brain, and created a ghoulishly delightful 3D model that now works as a desk lamp! Let us know if you try to duplicate their results -- we would love to hear about any ways that our supporters are using free software creatively.

(We offer as the link below because it doesn't require you to run proprietary JavaScript.)

EA to brick Tetris phone app

From January 23rd by Rob Beschizza

A popular, official Tetris app is going to get bricked this April. Users of Tetris Blitz fired up the game yesterday to be given a smarmy "it's time to say goodbye" message from the publisher. Users loved this version of the game because you could play it one-handed, but in the era of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), just because you paid for something doesn't mean you own it.

January GNU Emacs news

From January 27th by Sacha Chua

In these issues: Emacs starter kits without third party packages; a gentle introduction to Emacs configuration; Horizon theme for Emacs; getting started with live coding in Python inside Emacs; 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, February 7th, from 12pm to 3pm EST (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: LibrePlanet:Conference/2020

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 LibrePlanet:Conference/2020, which provides information about the upcoming LibrePlanet conference, happening here in Boston on March 14-15! This page is here to help you facilitate meetups with other free software supporters at the conference, including themed dinners. 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: 16 new GNU releases!

16 new GNU releases in the last month (as of January 26, 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:

  • Adam Lewis
  • Alex Boulette
  • Alexandre BLANC
  • Alison Chaiken
  • Andrew Tosh
  • Arcanite Solutions
  • Brewster Kahle
  • Brian Strand
  • Catena Cyber
  • Conan Chiles
  • Dominic Walden
  • Georges Sancosme
  • Guillaume REMBERT
  • Guus Sliepen
  • Harry Mangalam
  • Inouye Satoru
  • Jason Heise
  • Jean-Francois Blavier
  • Jerome Quinn
  • John McFarland
  • John Owen
  • Julia Kreger
  • Kevin McCarthy
  • Leslie Hawthorn
  • Li-Cheng Tai
  • Lincoln Clarete
  • Luke Shumaker
  • Marcus Pemer
  • Mario Habdija
  • Mark Harris
  • Martin Jansche
  • Masaru KIMURA
  • Michael Cornelius
  • Michael HENDERSON
  • Michael Mauger
  • Mikhail Pomaznoy
  • Nathan Pooley
  • Orlando Wingbrant
  • Pablo Otero
  • Paul Allen
  • Peter Kunze
  • Philipp Weis
  • Puduvankunnil Udayakumar
  • Richard Harlow
  • Stefan Maric
  • Steve Wickert
  • Terence O'Gorman
  • Thomas Saglio
  • Tim Wilson
  • Tony Chidester
  • William Bolella
  • Yidong Chong

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:

  • Jean-Christophe Helary (Texinfo)
  • Justin Timmons (Emacs)
  • Klaus Weiss (Emacs)
  • Ladislav Michl (GNUstep)
  • May Shao (glibc)
  • Michael Piscopo (GNU Radio)
  • Valerii Zapodovnikov (GNU Radio)
  • Vincent Imbimbo (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:

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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