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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2021 Free Software Supporter - Issue 158, June 2021

Free Software Supporter - Issue 158, June 2021

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on May 07, 2021 10:45 AM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 225,562 other activists. That's 467 more than last month!

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.


  • Watch and share talks from LibrePlanet 2021: Empowering Users
  • Community meeting on the future of our IRC presence
  • Concluding my FSF internship, and the BTCPay extension
  • Libreboot 20210522 released!
  • Amazon’s Ring is the largest civilian surveillance network the US has ever seen
  • Welcome to Inkscape 1.1!
  • GNU Radio Conference 2021 in-person announcement
  • Dutch digital autonomy must be based on free software
  • GUADEC 2021 call for participation: BoFs, workshops, and lightning talks
  • GCC 8.5 released
  • May GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Free JavaScript Action Team
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: Eleven 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.

Watch and share talks from LibrePlanet 2021: Empowering Users

From May 5th

We're sorry for the delay in publishing the videos from LibrePlanet 2021 -- we faced some unexpected challenges immediately after the event. But they're here now! We're incredibly proud of the two-day, all-online conference, which was a showcase for the efforts of the free software community, with talks ranging from technical how-tos to personal reflections on activism. We’re proud to be able to share those accomplishments and insights with you through the videos of the LibrePlanet 2021 conference talks released last month on our GNU MediaGoblin and PeerTube pages.

Community meeting on the future of our IRC presence

From May 25th

In response to current events concerning the Freenode Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network, the FSF held a community meeting on the future of both the FSF and GNU's official IRC channels. The FSF is taking community input into account, and will report on next steps soon.

Concluding my FSF internship, and the BTCPay extension

From May 7th by Kofi Oghenerukevwe (Rukky)

My internship with the Free Software Foundation has come to an end, and it’s been an amazing experience. I was able to build, test, and publish a CiviCRM extension that will help the FSF receive Bitcoin and Litecoin payments on their platform by integrating with a self-hosted BTCPay Server. I am very grateful to the FSF tech team -- Ian, Andrew, Ruben, and Michael -- for supporting me and encouraging me to go as far as I did with the extension.

Libreboot 20210522 released!

From May 22nd by Leah Rowe

Libreboot is free (as in freedom) boot firmware, which initializes the hardware (e.g. memory controller, CPU, peripherals) in your computer so that software can run. Libreboot then starts a bootloader to load your operating system. It replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware typically found on a computer. Libreboot is compatible with specifical computer models that use the Intel/AMD x86 architecture. Libreboot works well with GNU+Linux and BSD operating systems.

The last Libreboot release, version 20160907, was released on September 7th in 2016. This new release, Libreboot 20210522, is being released today on May 22nd, 2021. This is a testing release, so expect there to be some bugs. Every effort has been made to ensure reliability on all boards, however.

Amazon’s Ring is the largest civilian surveillance network the US has ever seen

From May 18th by Lauren Bridges

Ring video doorbells, Amazon’s signature home security product, pose a serious threat to a free and democratic society. Not only is Ring’s surveillance network spreading rapidly, it is extending the reach of law enforcement into private property and expanding the surveillance of everyday life. What’s more, once Ring users agree to release video content to law enforcement, there is no way to revoke access and few limitations on how that content can be used or stored, or with whom it can be shared.

Ring is effectively building the largest corporate-owned, civilian-installed surveillance network that the US has ever seen. An estimated 400,000 Ring devices were sold in December 2019 alone, and that was before the across-the-board boom in online retail sales during the pandemic. Amazon is cagey about how many Ring cameras are active at any one point in time, but estimates drawn from Amazon’s sales data place yearly sales in the hundreds of millions. The always-on video surveillance network extends even further when you consider the millions of users on Ring’s affiliated crime reporting app, Neighbors, which allows people to upload video from Ring and non-Ring devices.

As with any number of similar devices, the proprietary software on the camera and the associated proprietary app mean that users can't verify or control what these devices are doing. This makes them very much the opposite of "security" devices.

Welcome to Inkscape 1.1!

From May 24th by Inkscape

Among the highlights in Inkscape 1.1 are a Welcome dialog, a Command Palette, a revamped Dialog Docking System, and searchable preference options, along with new formats for exporting your work.

Here at the Inkscape project, we're proud to have contributors from around the world who invest their time, energy and skills towards coding, debugging, translating, documenting and promoting the program.

Built mostly with the power of a team of volunteers, this free software vector editor represents the work of many hearts and hands from around the world, who ensure that Inkscape remains available free for everyone to download and enjoy. Big thanks go to the 2020 cohort of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) students (and their mentors) who worked hard to deliver some of the features and bug fixes in 1.1.

GNU Radio Conference 2021 in-person announcement

From May 26th by GNU Radio Conference organizers

We are excited to announce that GNU Radio Conference 2021 (GRCon21) will be running as an in-person event in Charlotte, North Carolina, alongside a virtual component. Taking into account the current status of COVID-19 in the US and our survey results, we have determined that we can safely hold an in-person event. Attendance will be reduced, and all GRCons going forward will continue to have a virtual component including live streaming and virtual workshops. In addition, this year we will also welcome virtual pre-recorded talks with live Q&A (similar to GRCon20) for those who can’t travel, or who prefer not to.

Dutch digital autonomy must be based on free software

From May 18th by Rijk Ravestein

"The Netherlands is losing grip on Internet security, and is therefore in danger of losing control over democracy, the rule of law, and the economic innovation system." This warning comes from the Cyber Security Council, a national and independent advisory body of the Dutch government and business community, with members from the government, industry, and academia. In the Cyber Security Council's recent advice, they urge the Dutch Cabinet to take quick action to prevent Dutch society and economy from becoming too dependent on proprietary technology they cannot control.

GUADEC 2021 call for participation: BoFs, workshops, and lightning talks

From May 6th by the GNOME Project

We are happy to announce that we have officially opened the call for workshops, BoFs and lightning talks. These sessions are a great way to share your thoughts with others, discuss various topics, receive feedback and help specific projects move forward. Bofs and Workshops can be either one or two hours long, and lightning talks are ten minutes. Each session is self-organized, and it is up to the hosts and participants to decide if the session is to be loosely oriented around a set of topics, or have a well-defined agenda. Lightning talks will be scheduled by the organizing team. All requests are due by June 6th.

GCC 8.5 released

From May 14th by GCC developers

The GNU Project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 8.5.

This release is a bug-fix release, containing fixes for regressions in GCC 8.4 relative to previous releases of GCC.

May GNU Emacs news

From May 27th by Sacha Chua

In these issues: why I fell in love with GNU Emacs; moving text around in Emacs; eye-candy for package loading time; checkboxes in org-mode headings; 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 4th, from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Free JavaScript Action Team

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 Free JavaScript Action Team page, which provides information about how you can get involved in the fight against proprietary JavaScript. 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: Eleven new GNU releases!

11 new GNU releases in the last month (as of May 25, 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:

  • Dario Armani
  • David Klann
  • Irene and Richard Van Slyke
  • Jason Compton
  • John Gilmore
  • Michael Reed
  • Nicholas Smith
  • 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:

  • Alyssa Ross (Emacs, glibc)
  • Iñigo Serna (Emacs)
  • Jens C. Jensen (Emacs)
  • Juan Manuel Macias Chain (Emacs)
  • Junya Takahashi (Emacs)
  • Kota Nara (Emacs)
  • Natáli Danilo Anzanello (Gnuastro)
  • Omar Antolin Camarena (Emacs)
  • Pedro Bruel (Emacs)
  • Per Weijnitz (Emacs)
  • Shingo Tanaka (Emacs)
  • Valeriy Litkovskyy (Emacs)

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

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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 © 2021 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

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