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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2021 Free Software Supporter - Issue 161, September 2021

Free Software Supporter - Issue 161, September 2021

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Aug 04, 2021 12:14 PM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 226,270 other activists. That's 496 more than last month!


  • FSF copyright handling: A basis for distribution, licensing and enforcement
  • The threat of software patents persists
  • Meeting every Friday: Help us update the Free Software Directory
  • GNU Health emergency response in Haiti
  • Dutch authority enforces Router Freedom
  • Designing ebooks with free software
  • Contributing to Emacs
  • Code Blau GmbH now acting as external auditor for GNU Taler
  • “…Anyone???”
  • August GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: End Software Patents
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 13 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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FSF copyright handling: A basis for distribution, licensing and enforcement

From August 30th

Part of the FSF's core mission is to advance policies that will promote the progress of free software and freedom. Because copyright handling has been a topic of concern lately, we are taking this opportunity to explain the four purposes behind FSF copyright handling, as well as examine the impact of potential alternatives.

For some GNU packages, the ones that are FSF-copyrighted, we ask contributors for two kinds of legal papers: copyright assignments, and employer copyright disclaimers. We drew up these policies working with lawyers in the 1980s, and they make possible our steady and continuing enforcement of the GNU General Public License (GPL). These papers serve four different but related legal purposes, all of which help ensure that the GNU Project's goals of freedom for the community are met.

The threat of software patents persists

From August 4th by Panos Alevropoulos

At the FSF we have reported extensively on many issues concerning user freedom. In this article, we will reintroduce a problem that has plagued the free software community for many years: the problem of software patents. In the past, we had several successful campaigns against them, and people have mistakenly assumed that the threat has gone away. It has not. Patents have steadily been dominating the software sector, and the situation is bound to get worse.

Meeting every Friday: Help us update the Free Software Directory

From August 20th

Volunteers are an essential part of the FSF's work, and we’re so grateful for every minute that so many of you have put in to endorse and expand free software. If you’ve been looking for another opportunity to chip in, here’s an easy way to make a difference: every Friday, we host an IRC meeting to improve and add to the Free Software Directory!

GNU Health emergency response in Haiti

From August 15th by Luis Falcon

This month, yet another devastating earthquake hit the southern area of Haiti. Immediately upon hearing about the earthquake, we contacted our representative in Haiti, engineer Michel Pierre Augustin, and started an emergency humanitarian response in coordination with our team in the country.

Pierre Michel Augustin has been working on the localization of GNU Health, and by the end of 2021, we will have the GNU Health node fully operational in Limbé. The Haiti GNU Health office will provide training and support to the local and regional health professionals and institutions.

Dutch authority enforces Router Freedom

From August 5th by Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)

Router Freedom is the right that customers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment that the ISP provides. The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has published new rules that will move Router Freedom forward in the Netherlands. Within six months, ISPs have to comply and offer the option for customers and companies to connect a modem or router of their own choice. The FSFE acknowledges this decision as a major win for people's rights.

Designing ebooks with free software

From August 19th by Bruce Byfield

Facilitating ebook freedom is a high priority for the FSF, so we're delighted to share the news that Bruce Byfield has published Designing Ebooks with Free Software, under a Creative Commons Attribution / Share Alike 3.0 or greater license, and available as a download in EPUB, MOBI, and ODT format from Hard copy editions are also available for purchase.

“Ebooks are an important part of publishing, especially for self-publication,” says Byfield, “but many writers are daunted by the task of creating them to publishers’ specifications. Designing Ebooks shows how ebooks can be created using LibreOffice and Calibre, and edited for precision, if necessary, using CSS style sheets."

Contributing to GNU Emacs

From August 17th by Colin Woodbury

I recently contributed a new Emacs Lisp function to the "Files" API of upstream Emacs. Being more than just a typo fix, this threw me into the deep end of their entire development process. This article explains their mailing-list-based workflow from start to finish in the age of GitHub and pull requests. It was actually pretty smooth!

Code Blau GmbH now acting as external auditor for GNU Taler

From August 19th by GNU Taler Project

We received a grant from NLnet Foundation with the goal to qualify Code Blau GmbH to act as an external auditor for GNU Taler. To do this, we created a guide that describes how to deploy a Taler auditor and then practiced the steps using the existing Taler exchange deployment at BFH. Code Blau wrote a report detailing all the steps taken. Finally, we have created a draft of the kind of business agreement that Code Blau would enter with banks operating the Taler payment system. We thank CodeBlau for their work, and NLnet and the European Commission's Horizon 2020 NGI initiative for funding this work.


From August 24th by Karen Sandler

We often talk about how frustrating it is to obtain source code that is supposed to be available under copyleft licenses. We not only try to get source code for our own devices, but we also are inundated with requests from developers all over the world who seek source code to modify their technology in ways they should have a right to do. By the time someone sends a complaint to us, asking for our help, they've already tried and failed to ask the company to do the right thing. Usually they are simply ignored by the company but sometimes companies introduce all kinds of weird procedures in the hopes that if they make it just difficult enough that the requestors will go away.

The following story, in which Naomi Wu, a well-known Chinese maker and hacker, goes directly to a company's office in search of source code, makes us wonder: how much could we accomplish if companies did what they were supposed to do? What would it look like if companies were true partners in compliance and encouraged their customers to tinker with their devices? How many people try to make source requests and give up when it's difficult? If we've been able to accomplish so much with copyleft, even in the face of corporate stonewalling, imagine what we could do if we could skip all of these tedious steps and get straight to collaborating.

August GNU Emacs news

From August 30th by Sacha Chua

In these issues: remapping commands; EmacsConf 2021 Call for Proposals; navigating the Emacs calendar; a look at some basic spelling options in 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 Libera.Chat, 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, September 3rd, from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: End Software Patents

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 End Software Patents, which is a campaign to abolish software patents, globally. 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: 13 new GNU releases!

13 new GNU releases in the last month (as of August 29, 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:

  • Judicaël Courant
  • Jorge Arias
  • Web analytics (GPL)
  • Mr. Pete Batard
  • Richard Haase
  • Robert Read
  • Tegonal GmbH
  • WILLIAM Hill Jr.

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:

  • Abhiseck Paira (Emacs)
  • Andras Simonyi (Emacs)
  • André Alexandre da Costa Gomes (Emacs)
  • Jeffrey Marius (Wget)
  • Karthik Chikmagalur (Emacs)
  • Logan Perkins (Emacs)
  • Sepideh Eskandarlou (Gnuastro)

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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