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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2021 Free Software Supporter - Issue 155, March 2021

Free Software Supporter - Issue 155, March 2021

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Feb 02, 2021 05:09 PM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 223,778 other activists. That's 696 more than last month!

Guardian Project's Nathan Freitas to keynote LibrePlanet 2021

From February 17th

The LibrePlanet 2021 conference will be held online on March 20 and 21, 2021, with the theme "Empowering Users." Attendance is gratis, and we have an exciting and dynamic schedule planned, which will be announced soon. Please register for the conference today!

Guardian Project director Nathan Freitas was announced as the second keynote speaker. Guardian Project is most known for its Orbot app, which allows the anonymity-preserving proxy Tor to be easily used on mobile phones running Android. Freitas also collaborated with past LibrePlanet keynote speaker Edward Snowden on the Haven app, which is used as an off-grid solution to detect breaches or intrusions into a physical space, protecting those who are at the highest risk of surveillance and personal danger.


  • New changes to Twitter make it even worse for free software users
  • Register to attend the FSF's March 22nd seminar on free software licensing
  • LibrePlanet needs you: Volunteer remotely!
  • Free Software Foundation awarded perfect score from Charity Navigator, plus eighth consecutive four-star rating
  • Celebrate I Love Free Software Day on Feb. 14th by staying connected
  • Thank you for your generous support as we move freedom forward
  • John Deere promised farmers it would make tractors easier to repair; it lied
  • FSFE is hiring a project manager and a part-time technical expert
  • GUADEC 2021 call for participation is now open
  • WhatsApp and the domestication of users
  • VideoLAN celebrates its 20 year anniversary
  • GNU Inetutils-2.0 released
  • New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 24: Xšayāršā
  • Emacs minor mode for d20 tabletop roleplaying games
  • February GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Conference/2021
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 23 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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Want to read this newsletter translated into another language? Scroll to the end to read the Supporter in French, Spanish, or Portuguese.

New changes to Twitter make it even worse for free software users

From February 25th

There are many complicated debates happening right now around Twitter and its role in public discourse. These discussions are important, but we also shouldn't forget a very basic and clear principle -- whatever its policies are about who can and can't post or how, it's of fundamental importance that Twitter should not require users to run nonfree software in order to use the site. Unfortunately, on December 15th, Twitter removed its "legacy" Web interface. As opposed to its much larger and more complex default Web client, the legacy interface did not use proprietary JavaScript (or any JavaScript).

Previously, the FSF could tolerate the use of Twitter because of this legacy interface. While it was active, we referred free software advocates to it, or to third-party free software applications. Twitter's removing access to this interface means that users are forced to use the site's nonfree JavaScript if they don't have a dedicated desktop or mobile client, preventing freedom-respecting browsers like GNU IceCat from posting to the service.

Register to attend the FSF's March 22nd seminar on free software licensing

From February 12th

Registration for the next seminar of free software licensing is now open. While registration is open to the public, this seminar is a special opportunity for legal professionals and law students who can potentially earn Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for participating (approval pending). The CLE seminar will happen the day after the LibrePlanet 2021 conference. Please register at and read more on the events page!

LibrePlanet needs you: Volunteer remotely!

From February 11th

All of our wonderful conference sessions -- and this year's itinerary is especially excellent! -- can happen only with the help of volunteers like you. The volunteer needs for a remote conference are fewer than those for an in-person conference, but volunteer participation is still crucial to our success. There are two main roles we need to fill: room monitors, and IRC/voice chat moderators. We're also hoping that one or more especially dedicated volunteers can do some live translation via transcription. If you're interested in helping out, please message volunteer coordinator Matt Lavallee at

Free Software Foundation awarded perfect score from Charity Navigator, plus eighth consecutive four-star rating

From February 9th

The FSF has been awarded a four-star and 100% rating, the highest possible, from Charity Navigator, the largest independent evaluator of US-based nonprofit charities. The FSF was also selected for Charity Navigator's "Top Ten List" as one of "10 Charities Worth Watching." These designations exemplify the FSF's strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Using objective analysis, Charity Navigator awards only the most fiscally responsible organizations a four-star rating, with metrics including governance, ethical practices, operations in accordance with industry best practices, and openness with donors and stakeholders. This is the eighth year in a row the FSF has received a four-star rating, a record attained by only six percent of the 160,000 charities evaluated by Charity Navigator. The FSF also earned perfect scores on "Financial Health" and "Accountability & Transparency," resulting in the organization's first-ever 100% rating, an accomplishment less than one percent of all charities evaluated by Charity Navigator are able to achieve. This is the second time the FSF has placed in the list of "10 Charities Worth Watching."

Celebrate I Love Free Software Day on Feb. 14th by staying connected

From February 10th

Times are tough in 2021, but free software enthusiasts are a tenacious lot, and while we haven't been able to hug many friends, we haven't lost touch with them, either, thanks to a wonderful plethora of free software communications tools. Given how crucial our families and social networks are to our ability to survive and thrive right now, we're so fortunate to be able to talk to all the people we love, anywhere in the world, without sacrificing our principles or exposing ourselves and our loved ones to the predatory and abusive practices of proprietary software companies. The handcrafted communications tools we use don't come with strings attached – they are a simple and perfect gift, shared with an absolute commitment to generosity and respect.

In order to show our appreciation, we partnered with the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) to celebrate staying connected on I Love Free Software Day, on February 14th. Along with the design of a fun customizable photo frame (which you could also customize further using LibreOffice Draw), they released a podcast episode for the occasion, with recorded messages from free software supporters including FSF campaigns manager Greg Farough.

Thank you for your generous support as we move freedom forward

From February 3rd

When the FSF officially ended our annual associate membership drive on January 18, the freedom train banner progress bar read 487/500 new members. With 500 new members in eight weeks being an ambitious goal, that's already an incredibly strong show of support! But there's more -- because of massive delays with the United States Postal Service due to the pandemic, we are still receiving new member signups that were mailed during the fundraiser. And there are gift memberships that were purchased but don't count until they are redeemed. This means that when all is said and done, we think we did reach our target of 500. This support has put us in a strong position to do our work in 2021, holding the line for your freedom and making new inroads against the proprietary establishment. We are beyond grateful for your generous support and your help in creating awareness about free software.

Whether you've been around for some of the thirty-five years that we've been an organization, or just joined us, we hope that you'll continue to support our efforts for a world where users are in full control of the software that powers all of their devices.

John Deere promised farmers it would make tractors easier to repair; it lied

From February 18th by Jason Koebler and Matthew Gault

In September 2018, a trade group that represents John Deere and a series of other tractor and agricultural equipment manufacturers made a promise intended to stave off increasing pressure from their customers and the Right To Repair movement, and to prevent lawmakers from passing what they said would be onerous repair regulations. They vowed that, starting January 1, 2021, Deere and other tractor manufacturers would make repair tools, software, and diagnostics available to the masses.

It is now three years later. The agreement is supposed to be in effect. No right to repair legislation has been passed. Deere, the dealers, and the manufacturers got what they wanted. And, yet, farmers are still struggling to get anything promised in the agreement.

The FSF supports the Right to Repair, as demonstrated in our recent Fight to Repair video, and have opened a new campaign and a collaborative resource page on this issue.

FSFE is hiring a project manager and a part-time technical expert

From February 10th

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is hiring a "Project Manager" with focus on communications and sustainability. They are looking for a person with a communications background to support them in their running and upcoming projects, including their upcoming digital sustainability campaign. The person will work full-time in their Berlin office.

FSFE is also seeking a person with a strong technical background to support projects with software engineering and expertise. The technical expert will work part-time, either from their Berlin office or remotely.

If your company has a free software related job opening, we're happy to get the word out on our jobs page -- find out how you can post here!

GUADEC 2021 call for participation is now open

From February 22 by GNOME Foundation

The GNOME Foundation is excited to announce that the call for participation for GUADEC 2021 is now open. Proposals can be submitted on the event page: GUADEC, the GNOME community’s largest conference, is taking place between the 21st and 25th of July, and will be held online, with a possibility of having a hybrid conference in Mexico as well if travel turns out to be possible by then.

WhatsApp and the domestication of users

From January 27th by Rohan Kumar

I have never used WhatsApp, and never will. Despite this, I still feel the need to write an article about WhatsApp since it’s the perfect case study to help understand a class of businesses models I call “user domestication.” The domestication of users is high on my list of problems plaguing the human race, and is worth a detailed explanation.

WhatsApp wasn’t the first instant messenger of its kind, and probably won’t be the last. I simply chose to focus on WhatsApp since its recent privacy issues have made it a hot topic.

VideoLAN celebrates its 20 year anniversary

From February 1st by VideoLAN

Congratulations to the VideoLAN (VLC) team on their 20th birthday! VLC is one of the most popular programs under the GPL, and has been used by millions around the world as their media player of choice.

GNU Inetutils-2.0 released

From February 5th by Simon Josefsson

We are pleased to announce the stable release 2.0 of Inetutils! This is the first release in six years.

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 24: Xšayāršā

From February 20th by Stan

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of 0 A.D. Alpha 24: “Xšayāršā” (pronounced: Khsha-ya-ṛsha), the twenty-fourth alpha version of 0 A.D., a free real-time strategy game of ancient warfare -- it has both freely licensed code and freely-licensed artwork. The release is named after Xerxes the Great, ruler of the Achaemenid Empire from 485 to 465 B.C.

Emacs minor mode for d20 tabletop roleplaying games

From February 12th by Sean Whitton

org-d20 is a minor mode for Emacs’ Org-mode for GMs running games whose rules center around rolling d20 dice. It should be useful for Dungeons and Dragons 3rd, 4th and 5th editions, Paizo’s Pathfinder, and d20 System games like d20 Modern. The idea is that you’re already keeping your campaign notes in an Org-mode file. This minor mode does useful things for you while you are visiting that buffer.

February GNU Emacs news

From February 25th by Sacha Chua

In these issues: Spartan Emacs; beginning Emacs Org-mode; My Grading Workflow; how to start using 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, March 5, from 12pm to 3pm EST (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Conference/2021

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 Conference/2021, which provides a participatory space for attendees at the LibrePlanet 2021 conference, which is happening this month! 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: 23 new GNU releases!

23 new GNU releases in the last month (as of February 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:

  • David Bruce
  • Dwight Cass
  • Evan Klitzke
  • Harry Mangalam
  • Jeanne Rasata
  • Ken SENOO
  • Konstantin Münning
  • Tobi Lehman
  • Uday Kale
  • Valerio Poggi

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:

  • Alessio G. Baroni (GCC)
  • Bastian Beranek (Emacs)
  • Douglas Davis (Emacs)
  • E Choroba (Emacs)
  • Koichi Murase (Bash)
  • Matthew Armstrong (Emacs)
  • Max Gautier (glibc)
  • Sebastien Miquel (Emacs)
  • Sergey Belyshev (GCC, Binutils, glibc)

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 © 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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