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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2021 Free Software Supporter - Issue 160, August 2021

Free Software Supporter - Issue 160, August 2021

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Jul 14, 2021 01:23 PM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 225,774 other activists.

FSF-funded call for white papers on philosophical and legal questions around Copilot

From July 28th

Microsoft's GitHub recently announced a new service known as Copilot. This service uses machine learning to help suggest code snippets to developers as they write software. While the FSF discourages use of GitHub, this new service still raises many, many questions that are relevant to the free software community. To get the answers we urgently need, and to identify the best opportunities for defending user freedom in this space, the FSF is announcing a funded call for white papers to address Copilot, copyright, machine learning, and free software.


  • The journey begins with a single step: Climb the freedom ladder
  • Step by step encryption with the updated Email Self-Defense guide
  • New! Contributor's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide
  • Freedom moving forward: An overview of the FSF's history
  • FSF job opportunity: Operations assistant
  • Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net
  • Hot new summer items from GNU Press!
  • Apply to be the FSF's next executive director
  • The US FTC votes unanimously to enforce Right to Repair
  • FSFE: 20 years of empowering people to control technology
  • GNU Binutils 2.37 has been released
  • The cracked version of Resident Evil Village runs better, testing confirms
  • What will happen to my music library when Spotify dies?
  • July GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Hardware/Laptops Comparison/Libreboot Laptops comparison
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 15 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!

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

The journey begins with a single step: Climb the freedom ladder

From July 8th

Our goal for the new freedom ladder campaign is to provide a clear set of steps to help support individuals in making the step-by-step improvements that they can. By supporting them in taking a step at a time, we're confident that we can help bring more people to a fully free setup than ever before. We need your support to help others begin climbing!

Step by step encryption with the updated Email Self-Defense guide

From July 13th

In this world of constant bulk surveillance, free software and the four freedoms are a prerequisite for privacy. Because bulk surveillance is so pervasive, free software alone is not enough to ensure safe communications and secure data. The FSF wants to give you the tools to increase your level of personal privacy. In order to do that, we use a free (as in freedom) program called GnuPG to encrypt our email communication, and we have created the Email Self-Defense guide to help you learn how to do it, too.

The guide used to lay out the steps to encryption using a program called Enigmail, an add-on to many popular desktop mail clients that is now no longer supported upstream. In this updated version, we went through the steps of creating a PGP (which stands for Pretty Good Privacy) key with the GnuPG (more commonly known as GPG) program in the command line on GNU/Linux, and the nonfree operating systems macOS and Microsoft Windows. It then takes you through integrating your key into your email client, and through testing it with our friendly encryption robot Edward.

New! Contributor's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide

From July 9th

We're happy to announce the publication of our Contributor's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide. The guide is meant to help contributors to FSF copyrighted packages better understand our copyright assignment program.

Freedom moving forward: An overview of the FSF's history

From July 20th

Our thirty-fifth birthday as an organization gave us the opportunity to think about the FSF's development over the years. More than thirty-five years of history is hard to bring together in a few sentences, so much so that even staff at the FSF sometimes have to do serious research into the exact dates that milestones occurred. This being the case, we realized it was high time to create an overview listing key points in the history of the FSF and GNU.

That's why we launched the FSF history timeline page, which shows a clear overview of milestones for the organization, like when the GPLv3 was published, or when the first LibrePlanet conference took place.

FSF job opportunity: Operations assistant

From July 28th

The FSF seeks a motivated and organized Boston-based individual to be our full-time operations assistant. Reporting to the executive director, this position works on the operations team to ensure that all administrative, office, and retail functions of the FSF run smoothly and efficiently, preserving our 4-star Charity Navigator rating and boosting all areas of our work.

The operations assistant is responsible for handling phone calls, managing office operations, leading the GNU Press shop, and being a friendly face for visitors to our office at the center of Boston's Downtown Crossing. Please read the full listing to learn more about full job responsibilities and how to apply.

Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net

From July 21st

The FSF learned with sadness about the death of Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net. We express our condolences to his family, and to his friends and colleagues.

Hot new summer items from GNU Press!

From July 6th

The FSF's summer fundraiser happened this month, and that means there are new items in the GNU Press Shop! Check out the new coral gnu head T-shirt, the software freedom advice orb, and more. We've also just released the new nineteenth edition of the GNU Emacs Manual, for Emacs version 27.2. Don't forget: FSF associate members get 20% off FSF merchandise, among many other splendid benefits!

Apply to be the FSF's next executive director

From May 25th

The FSF seeks a principled, compassionate, and capable leader to be its new executive director. This position can be remote or based in our Boston office.

The FSF is committed to the notion that users are entitled to control their computing, individually and collectively, and therefore to control the software that does that computing. The executive director will work closely with the president, board of directors, and all Foundation staff to achieve this goal. Please read the full job listing for qualifications and instructions for applying for this position.

The US FTC votes unanimously to enforce Right to Repair

From July 21st by Lauren Goode

During an open commission meeting in July, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously to enforce laws around the Right to Repair. The FTC’s endorsement of the rules is not a surprise outcome; the issue of Right to Repair has been a remarkably bipartisan one, and the FTC itself issued a lengthy report in May that blasted manufacturers for restricting repairs. But the 5 to 0 vote signals the commission’s commitment to enforce both federal antitrust laws and a key law around consumer warranties -- the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act -- when it comes to personal device repairs.

Fight to Repair is our campaign to support Right to Repair initiatives around the world. Learn more about how you can participate at our Fight to Repair campaigns page!

FSFE: 20 years of empowering people to control technology

From July 21st by Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)

Long before the first smartphone was introduced, it was evident to the FSFE's founders that users should be in control of our technology, rather than vice versa. In 2001, free software experts around Europe therefore created the Free Software Foundation Europe. Twenty years later, they successfully concentrate their daily work on three main pillars to help software freedom thrive in Europe: public awareness, policy advocacy, and legal support. Congratulations to FSFE on this milestone!

GNU Binutils 2.37 has been released

From July 18th by Nick Clifton

We are pleased to announce that version 2.37 of the GNU Binutils project sources have been released and are now available for download. This release contains numerous bug fixes, and also a ton of new features.

The cracked version of Resident Evil Village runs better, testing confirms

From July 14th by Tyler Wilde

Tech reporters at Digital Foundry confirmed a claim that a cracked version of Resident Evil Village, which bypasses Capcom's Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), runs better than the Steam version. The cracked version does not deliver an overall frame rate increase, but certain moments, the time it takes to render a frame suddenly spikes in the retail version, causing a noticeable pause, or a stutter. Digital Foundry shows that this stuttering does not happen at all in the cracked version, suggesting that DRM processes are occasionally interfering with Resident Evil Village's ability to render new frames.

This is only one of many reasons why we call products with DRM Defective By Design, and the issue isn't just about performance: DRM is an injustice to users. Don't let its evil take up residence in your computer!

What will happen to my music library when Spotify dies?

From July 19th by Joe Pinsker

If your entire collection is on a streaming service, good luck accessing it in ten or twenty years: “You’re screwed,” said Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, after I asked him if I could count on having my music library decades from now.

If you care about building a music library you can listen to for years to come, don't use Spotify, and buck against the trend of exploitative and DRM-laden streaming services.

July GNU Emacs news

From July 26th by Sacha Chua

In these issues: upcoming events; Let's Write Some Emacs Lisp; load a random Emacs theme on startup; beginning 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. Libera.Chat is accessible from any IRC client -- Everyone's welcome!

The next meeting is Friday, August 6th, from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Hardware/Laptops Comparison/Libreboot Laptops comparison

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/Laptops Comparison/Libreboot Laptops comparison, which documents the differences relevant to someone planning to purchase a computer that is compatible with Libreboot. 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: 15 new GNU releases!

15 new GNU releases in the last month (as of July 26, 2021):

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

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:

  • Antoine
  • Blue Systems
  • Brett Sears
  • Charles Shapiro
  • David Harding
  • David and Heather Willson
  • Dean Ujihara
  • Hideki IGARASHI
  • Michael Kaelbling
  • Minoru Sekine
  • Raphael Celis
  • René Genz
  • Stanley Zisk

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:

  • Enze Li (GDB, Binutils)
  • Frederic Cambus (GDB, Binutils)
  • Jacob Bachmeyer (config)

Want to see your name on this list? Contribute to GNU and assign your copyright to the FSF.

Translations of the Free Software Supporter

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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 associate 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 © 2021 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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