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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2020 Free Software Supporter - Issue 146, June 2020

Free Software Supporter - Issue 146, June 2020

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on May 05, 2020 12:45 PM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 227,711 other activists. That's 315 more than last month!

FSF gives freedom-respecting videoconferencing to all associate members

From May 28th

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is now offering all FSF associate members free "as in freedom" videoconferencing via an exclusive FSF Jitsi Meet instance as an additional associate member benefit. In order to be able to provide a sustainable and reliable service, we are offering the ability to create conversations on the server exclusively to associate members. Members can create a channel using their member credentials, but then any person or group can participate in the conversation. Nonmembers can be invited, but cannot start a channel.

Information about how to use the FSF videoconferencing instance for associate members

This is just one of many efforts we've made in the past months to push back against increased societal pressure to use nonfree software to communicate with collaborators, friends, and loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, and after.


  • Don’t miss your chance to win fabulous prizes: Get your friends to join the FSF!
  • Remote education does not require giving up rights to freedom and privacy
  • A roundup of recent updates to our licensing materials: November 2019 to April 2020
  • Microsoft Build: Same old recycled stuff, no upcycling
  • A new way to enjoy LibrePlanet 2020 sessions: Podcast format
  • FSFE nudges emergency ventilator project towards a free software license
  • Apple whistleblower goes public over "lack of action"
  • Introducing Amin Bandali, intern with the FSF tech team
  • Patent case against GNOME resolved (and more GNOME news)
  • MediaGoblin 0.10.0 released
  • Introducing Inkscape 1.0
  • This free software collective is taking Malayalam computing to the next level
  • GCC 10.1 released
  • SeaGL going virtual due to COVID-19 aka novel coronavirus
  • HOPE 2020 will be an online event: Call for sessions open
  • May GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Activism Guide
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 12 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:

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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.

Don’t miss your chance to win fabulous prizes: Get your friends to join the FSF!

From May 26th

The LibrePlanet 2020 Virtual Raffle has been extended to June 7th! In order for you to qualify to win a prize, new members have to sign up using your referral link. You will find your personal referrer link on the dashboard after logging in at To see the prize list, and find out how many referrers you need for each prize, check out our original announcement of the raffle at

Remote education does not require giving up rights to freedom and privacy

From May 14th

The increased use of proprietary test-administering software and other proprietary educational software is a dangerous development, both because of the software's proprietary nature, and because of its inherent purpose of exposing a student's, or in some cases a family's, data to the proctor. In schemes like these, the user ends up sacrificing both personal information and biometric data. Because the software is proprietary, there's no possibility of understanding how it works -- besides leaking personal data, it could also create security concerns or deliver bad quality tests (and results). Requiring students to cede control over their entire computer to a test proctoring company is fundamentally unjust. Worse, we cannot be sure that any of these nonfree software dependencies and their accompanying surveillance techniques will be rolled back after social distancing guidelines are no longer enforced.

It is important that decisions made in the education sector are first and foremost ethically motivated. Here at the FSF, we have started a free communications working group. Initiatives include a remote communication email list, as well as a collaborative resource page for documenting and sharing free communication tools to help spread awareness of the ethical choices that can be made. We have also been assisting educational professionals in offering their classes online using only free software. And we have been reading many stories about activism in education from the larger community, and want to share those with you. They have inspired and motivated us. We need more people like this around the world to be vocal and critical about infringements on user freedom in the area of remote learning.

A roundup of recent updates to our licensing materials: November 2019 to April 2020

From May 7th

We recently added a new license to our our list of Various Licenses and Comments about Them, as well as a few other minor updates to that page. We also revamped our materials on seminars on free software licensing and GPL compliance. What follows is a brief rundown of those changes.

Microsoft Build: Same old recycled stuff, no upcycling

From May 21st

Often, a proprietary software company's silence can speak as loudly as their latest campaign against a computer user's right to freedom. This is the case with Microsoft's developer-centric "Build" event. While Microsoft announced a few more welcome additions to its free software output, it missed the opportunity to demonstrate a real commitment to user freedom by upcycling its recently abandoned Windows 7 operating system under a free software license.

A new way to enjoy LibrePlanet 2020 sessions: Podcast format

From May 8th

Looking for some audio entertainment to get you through a slow afternoon, or to accompany you on a walk through the park? LibrePlanet 2020: Free the Future sessions are now available as audio files! We have uploaded them in conjunction with an RSS feed you can import into your favorite podcasting app or RSS reader, enabling you to discover new talks and catch all of the ones that you might have missed using a free podcast app like AntennaPod via Android, or gPodder, if you are on your desktop computer.

FSFE nudges emergency ventilator project towards a free software license

From May 14th by Nico Rikken

After a nudge by the FSFE, the Dutch OpenAIR initiative has provided licenses on their material to support reuse.

In the Netherlands, the OperationAIR initiative was started to cope with COVID-19 by developing an easily producible emergency ventilator for which parts could mainly be sourced locally. This project was started on March 16 by Professor Jaap Harlaar and students of the Department of BioMechanical Engineering of Delft Technical University in order to ensure enough ventilator capacity for treating COVID-19 patients. The team intended their design to be publicly available for reuse. All documentation, technical design, and source code was published in a coherent fashion on their Web site.

Apple whistleblower goes public over "lack of action"

From May 20th by Alex Hern

A former Apple contractor who helped blow the whistle on the company’s program to listen to users’ Siri recordings has decided to go public, in protest at the lack of action taken as a result of the disclosures.

In a letter announcing his decision, sent to all European data protection regulators, Thomas le Bonniec said: “It is worrying that Apple (and undoubtedly not just Apple) keeps ignoring and violating fundamental rights and continues their massive collection of data."

“I am extremely concerned that big tech companies are basically wiretapping entire populations despite European citizens being told the EU has one of the strongest data protection laws in the world. Passing a law is not good enough: it needs to be enforced upon privacy offenders.”

Continual, flagrant privacy violations are far from the only reason to avoid Apple products: read more about how Apple routinely tramples user rights at

Introducing Amin Bandali, intern with the FSF tech team

From May 29th

Hi there, I'm Amin Bandali, often just bandali on the interwebs. I wear a few different hats around GNU as a maintainer, Web master, and Savannah hacker, and I'm very excited to be extending that to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) as an intern with the FSF tech team for spring 2020.

Patent case against GNOME resolved (and more GNOME news)

From May 20th by the GNOME Foundation

The GNOME Foundation, Rothschild Patent Imaging, and Leigh M. Rothschild are pleased to announce that the patent dispute between Rothschild Patent Imaging and GNOME has been settled.

In this walk-away settlement, GNOME receives a release and covenant not to be sued for any patent held by Rothschild Patent Imaging. Further, both Rothschild Patent Imaging and Leigh Rothschild are granting a release and covenant to any software that is released under an existing Open Source Initiative approved license (and subsequent versions thereof), including for the entire Rothschild portfolio of patents, to the extent such software forms a material part of the infringement allegation.

Neil McGovern, executive director for the GNOME Foundation said “I’m exceptionally pleased that we have concluded this case. This will allow us to refocus our attention on creating a free software desktop, and will ensure certainty for all [free] software in [the] future.”

It's been a big few months for GNOME, and there are several exciting initiatives afoot, including funding for a new campaign in Africa. GNOME also welcomed their Google Summer of Code students, including Free Software Award winner Clarissa Borges.

MediaGoblin 0.10.0 released

From May 1st by Ben Sturmfels

We’re pleased to announce the release of MediaGoblin 0.10.0! It’s been a while between releases for MediaGoblin, but work has continued steadily. Highlights of this release include a new plugin for displaying video subtitles and support for transcoding and displaying video in multiple resolutions. There have also been a large number of smaller improvements and bug fixes which are listed in the release notes.

After enabling the new subtitles plugin, you can upload and edit captions for your videos. Multiple subtitle tracks are supported, such as for different languages. This feature was added by Saksham Agrawal during Google Summer of Code 2016 and mentored by Boris Bobrov. The feature has been available for some time on the master branch, but it definitely deserves a mention for this release.

Introducing Inkscape 1.0

From May 4th by the Inkscape team

After a little over three years in development, the team is excited to launch the long awaited Inkscape 1.0 into the world. This volunteer-built free software vector editor is used and recommended by the FSF.

Built with the power of a team of volunteers, Inkscape represents the work of many hearts and hands from around the world, ensuring that it remains available free for everyone to download and enjoy. In fact, translations for over 20 out of all 88 languages were updated for version 1.0, making the software more accessible to people from all over the world.

A major milestone was achieved in enabling Inkscape to use a more recent version of the software used to build the editor's user interface (namely GTK+3). Users with HiDPI (high resolution) screens can thank teamwork that took place during the 2018 Boston Hackfest for setting the updated-GTK wheels in motion.

This free software collective is taking Malayalam computing to the next level

From May 6th by Azmia Riaz

Swathanthra Malayalam Computing (SMC) is a free software collective in India that was created with the intention of enabling the use of Malayalam script in computers and mobile devices. Set up in 2002 by Byju Muthukadan, a graduate of NIT Calicut, it espouses the ideology of the FSF. The idea is not to simply make software free of cost, but also to uphold the freedom behind how the language is incorporated into technological devices. And SMC wants the community of Malayalam speakers involved in the solution. (Malayalam is one of 22 scheduled languages of India, spoken by nearly 2.88% of Indians; it is also spoken by linguistic minorities in neighboring states.)

GCC 10.1 released

From May 7th by GCC

The GNU Project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 10.1.

This is a major release, containing new features (as well as many other improvements) relative to GCC 9.x.

GCC is one of the oldest programs in the GNU operating system, having released its first version more than 33 years ago.

SeaGL going virtual due to COVID-19 aka novel coronavirus

From June 1st by SeaGL organizers

We have made the exciting decision to take SeaGL entirely virtual. We are happy to follow in the footsteps of other terrific open source conferences who also want to keep our communities together during this time. The coronavirus has outlasted early predictions, so we are taking steps to ensure the longevity of SeaGL as a community in the event that we are still (or again) under shelter-in-place orders or need to avoid gatherings. The conference will be held online on November 13-14, 2020.

HOPE 2020 will be an online event: Call for sessions open

From May 19th by HOPE organizers

The 2020 Hackers On Planet Earth conference (HOPE) will take place online from July 25 through August 2, 2020. Hackers from around the world will convene virtually for nine days of online presentations, workshops, collaboration, and entertainment.

Health risks in 2020 make large gatherings and travel impractical for attendees. Simultaneously, there is tremendous need for the creativity and skill that hackers offer. HOPE 2020 will showcase the efforts hackers are making to seek solutions to today's biggest challenges.

Shifting to an entirely online format means HOPE attendees from around the world will convene from wherever they are to experience the same types of great presentations and workshops that HOPE is known for. This is a different way of doing things, and the HOPE community will be there to help presenters do a good job.

Check out the link below to find out how to submit a talk!

May GNU Emacs news

From May 25th by Sacha Chua

In these issues: the state of Emacs Lisp on Guile; GNU Emacs raison d'etre; analyzing data science code with R and 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, June 5, from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Activism Guide

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 the Activism Guide, which is a how-to guide for software freedom, digital rights, and free culture activism. 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: 12 new GNU releases!

12 new GNU releases in the last month (as of May 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

  • July 22-28, 2020, online, GUADEC 2020
  • October 18-20, 2020, Raleigh, NC, ATO
  • November 13-14, 2020, online, SeaGL

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:

  • Dario Armani
  • David Klann
  • Ken SENOO
  • Ron Hume

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:

  • Bryan Wyatt (GDB, GCC, Binutils)
  • Dima Akater (Emacs)
  • James Thomas (Emacs)
  • John Ravi (GCC)
  • Juan Luis Rizos Garcia (Gnuastro)
  • Kevin Foley (Emacs)
  • Michael Builov (Gawk)
  • Michael Weghorn (GDB)
  • Naoya Yamashita (Emacs)
  • Nicolas Bértolo (Emacs)
  • Roland Coeurjoly (Emacs)
  • Stephen Casner (Binutils)
  • Yoosuk Sim (GCC)
  • Yuuki Harano (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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