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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2022 Free Software Supporter -- Issue 174, October 2022

Free Software Supporter -- Issue 174, October 2022

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Oct 03, 2022 02:31 PM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 230,313 other activists. That's 462 more than last month!

LibrePlanet 2023: Let's chart the course together! Submit your session by November 2

From September 14

Call for Sessions LP image.

We are proud to announce the fifteenth edition of the Free Software Foundation's conference on ethical technology and user freedom, which will be held in spring 2023, both online and in the Boston area (exact venue to be determined). In these fifteen years, LibrePlanet has always been a community that brings together concerned users of all varieties to carve out the direction of software freedom for today as well as for years to come. The call for sessions is now open and will close on November 2, 2022. Potential talks should examine free software through the lens of the theme "Charting the Course."

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Free Software Awards: Nominate those who have charted a course to freedom by November 30
  • Interview with Martin Dougiamas of Moodle
  • Wrapping up ten years of GNU Guix in Paris
  • Study of electronic monitoring smartphone apps confirms advocates' concerns of privacy harms
  • The ungodly surveillance of anti-porn 'shameware' apps
  • Draft EU AI Act regulations could have a chilling effect on free software
  • Ada & Zangemann ready to pre-order in English
  • Nextcloud works with governments to create MS Office replacement for the EU
  • September GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Lightning talks for LibrePlanet 2023
  • September GNU Spotlight with Amin Bandali: Seventeen 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!

Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by adding our subscriber widget to your Web site.

Miss an issue? You can catch up on back issues at https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter.

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


Free Software Awards: Nominate those who have charted a course to freedom by November 30

From September 21

The dedication and determination of its contributors has helped the free software movement chart a course to a freer digital tomorrow. Whether you realize it or not, simply using free software makes you a part of our collective journey to freedom. On the way to our destination, there are those inspiring individuals and projects who go above and beyond in their dedication to the movement and its principles. Now is your time to show these community members and projects that you appreciate their vital work. The three award categories, which will be presented at LibrePlanet 2023, are "Advancement of Free Software," "Projects of Social Benefit," and "Outstanding New Free Software Contributor." Deadline for nominations is November 30.

Interview with Martin Dougiamas of Moodle

From September 22

After a bit of a hiatus, we are rebooting the interview series the FSF started ten years ago that highlights work by developers who choose GNU licenses. We are happy to have Martin Dougiamas, CEO of Moodle, join us for the first interview after this long break. In this interview, Martin tells us about his experience with remote education growing up in Western Australia and how it has helped inform the direction of Moodle Learning Management System (LMS). Moodle LMS, written in the PHP programming language, is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators, and learners with a single robust, secure, and integrated system to create personalized learning environments. He also shares how the GPLv3 has helped Moodle and its community of educators, developers, and organizations worldwide.

Wrapping up ten years of GNU Guix in Paris

From September 28 by Ludovic Courtès, Tanguy Le Carrour, and Simon Tournier

It has been ten years since the very first commit of what is now called "GNU Guix," which is the name coming from its blending of Guile and Nix. On its tenth year anniversary, everyone involved in the GNU Guix project has a lot to celebrate. Gathering together in Paris, France over three days in September, hackers, users, and enthusiasts conducted dozens of talks, socialized, and even enjoyed a beautiful cake. Videos, photos, SVG artwork, and more are now available online.

Study of electronic monitoring smartphone apps confirms advocates' concerns of privacy harms

From September 23 by Saira Hussain and Will Greenberg

"Electronic monitoring" software is being used more and more often in lieu of ankle monitors, which track a person's location at any given moment. These monitoring measures, used in a probation, parole, or a immigrant, juvenile, and/or pre-trial context, are installed onto a person's phone and often send various personal information to the authorities as well as to the company developing the software itself and proprietors of third party libraries upon which such data collection is being utilized. Researchers, presenting the findings at the 31st USENIX (Unix Users Group) Security Symposium, go into depth about the privacy implications and how users described "a general sense of injustice." One individual who has been forced to install the software says "your money is not worth my freedom!"

The ungodly surveillance of anti-porn 'shameware' apps

From September 22 by Dhruv Mehrotra

It seems that proprietary software companies are continuously finding yet new ways to exploit their users. So-called "shameware" is software designed to be installed onto a user's device and report all online activity directly to another person, whether that be someone's parent, spouse, teacher, or faith leader. This software is designed to spy on its users around-the-clock, and it does so by capturing screenshots, logging software applications used to browse the Internet, and logging URLs of Web pages visited. The software is also part of a broader ecosystem of shaming individuals by those in positions of power, which makes people feel bad about themselves and which scientific experts find lacking in any proof of a "lasting positive effect." WIRED's article provides interviews with users who installed the software under direction of their church leaders as well as various tests that revealed such things as the software's reliance on accessibility APIs, designed specifically to assist users with disabilities, and Facebook's Pixel, which sends sensitive data directly to Facebook, in order to capture ever-more invasive data on the person whose device the non-free shameware is installed.

Draft EU AI Act regulations could have a chilling effect on free software

From September 11 by Katyanna Quach

New rules drafted by the European Union (EU) aimed at regulating artificial intelligence (AI) could prevent developers from releasing free software models, according to The Brookings Institution. The proposed EU AI Act, yet to be signed into law, places burdensome and unnecessary regulations on free software (and source available) developers. Alex Engler of the Brookings Institution aptly notes that such regulation for free software is "broadly unnecessary because, like any other models, they would already be regulated by the AI Act if they are used for any covered applications, such as in hiring or in dangerous products." He also goes on to say that free software general-purpose AI (GPAI) projects "play two key roles in the future of GPAI: first, they disseminate power over the direction of AI away from well-resourced technology companies to a more diverse group of stakeholders. Second, they enable critical research, and thus public knowledge, on the function and limitations of GPAI models."

Ada & Zangemann ready to pre-order in English

From September 8 by Matthias Kirschner

Free Software Foundation Europe's president Matthias Kirschner recently published a book to help introduce children to free software concepts and what software freedom can mean in their lives. Through a delightly narrative, protagonist Ada loves to tinker and repair. And much to the delight of her friends and family, she even discovers some very useful hacks to modify the technology around her to work in new fun and useful ways. Meanwhile, Zangemann, a very wealthy software developer and inventor, tries to control all of the devices that the citizens of his town are using. Now available for digital restrictions management -free (DRM-free) download in English, you may also pre-order physical copies from No Starch Press, which will be shipped from the US starting in December.

Nextcloud works with governments to create MS Office replacement for the EU

From August 26 by Ian Barker

In a promising new development, a number of European governments are working with Nextcloud, which is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3 (AGPLv3), to create a platform to help governments regain their independence from a small number of powerful proprietary software companies by creating a free Microsoft Office 365 replacement intended for use by municipal, state, and federal government organizations within the EU. In addition to achieving overall digital sovereignty, other expected benefits include having a suite of office software that is compliant with privacy standards, easy to use, and decentralized.

September GNU Emacs news

From September 26 by Sacha Chua

In these issues: Diff-mode, Japanese input that "requires minimal dependencies but is still usable," new GNU ELPA and MELPA packages and more!

Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org 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, Instant Relay Chat (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, October 7 from 12:00 to 3:00 EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details of the meeting, including how to connect via IRC, are published on its event page:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Lightning talks for LibrePlanet 2023

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 Lightning talks for LibrePlanet 2023, which provides information about how to submit a lightning talk to next year's LibrePlanet. Check it out, submit a talk if you like, and consider helping us spread the word.

Do you have a suggestion for next month's featured resource? Let us know at campaigns@fsf.org.

September GNU Spotlight with Amin Bandali: Seventeen new GNU releases!

Seventeen new GNU releases in the last month (as of October 3, 2022):

For a full list with descriptions, please see: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/september-gnu-spotlight-with-amin-bandali-seventeen-new-gnu-releases

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

To download: nearly all GNU software is available most reliably from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/. Optionally, you may find faster download speeds at a mirror located geographically closer to you by choosing from the list of mirrors published at https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html, or using https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ 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 https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html.

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

As always, please feel free to write to me, bandali@gnu.org, with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

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:

  • Dylan Zenner
  • James Reade

You can add your name to this list by donating at https://donate.fsf.org/.

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:

  • Arsen Arsenović (GCC)
  • Bruno Claude Pierre Barbier (GNU Emacs)
  • Mikhail Skorzhinskii (GNU Emacs)
  • Santiago Thomas Calandrino (GNU 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: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2022/octubre

Para cambiar las preferencias de usuario y recibir los próximos números del Supporter en español, haz click aquí: https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

Le Free Software Supporter est disponible en français. Pour voir la version française cliquez ici: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2022/octobre

Pour modifier vos préférences et recevoir les prochaines publications du Supporter en français, cliquez ici: https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={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 https://my.fsf.org/join. 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! https://my.fsf.org/join

The FSF is always looking for volunteers (https://www.fsf.org/volunteer). 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 (https://www.fsf.org/campaigns) and take action on software patents, Digital Restrictions Management, free software adoption, OpenDocument, and more.

Do you read and write Portuguese and English? The FSF is looking for translators for Free Software Supporter. Please send an email to campaigns@fsf.org with your interest and a list of your experience and qualifications.


Copyright © 2022 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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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