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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2023 Free Software Supporter -- Issue 180, April 2023

Free Software Supporter -- Issue 180, April 2023

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Apr 03, 2023 11:41 AM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 230,846 other activists. That's 258 more than last month!


  • From Freedom Trail to free boot and free farms: Charting the course at LibrePlanet day two
  • Reporting back from day one of LibrePlanet: Charting the Course
  • Free Software Awards winners announced: Eli Zaretskii, Tad (SkewedZeppelin), GNU Jami
  • Board process update: FSF asks nominees to confirm their interest
  • Right to repair advocate Elizabeth Chamberlain to keynote FSF's LibrePlanet
  • EU: Proposed liability rules will harm free software
  • John Deere's ongoing GPL violations: What's next
  • Signal threatens to pull out of UK
  • New repository format for faster and smaller updates
  • March GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Fight to repair
  • March GNU Spotlight with Amin Bandali: Twelve 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 or Spanish.

From Freedom Trail to free boot and free farms: Charting the course at LibrePlanet day two

From March 20

The second day of LibrePlanet featured many inspiring talks on a wide range of topics from privacy in digital payments and on the web to a live release of the latest version of Trisquel, an FSF endorsed fully-free distribution of GNU/Linux. At the end of the day, we heard from a panel in a session called "It's time to jailbreak the farm." Dr. Elizabeth Chamberlain, director of sustainability at iFixit, gave the evening keynote and spoke, amongst other things, about the threat that Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) presents to one's ability to repair wheelchairs, phones, and other devices. She exposed the unjust practice of tractor manufacturers such as John Deere, whose proprietary "full diagnostic software is only available to dealers."

Reporting back from day one of LibrePlanet: Charting the Course

From March 18

The first day of LibrePlanet sessions, which was held both online and in person, started with an exploration of free licensing trademarks and a report of "Libre software in Africa." The opening keynote, titled "Education and the future of software freedom" was held by researcher and educator Erin Rose Glass of Social Paper. Glass's talk covered the role higher education plays in cultivating passive acceptance of broad forms of digital surveillance and control through popular educational technologies like learning management systems, word-processing software, and test-taking tools, which are all pervasive within contemporary education. She presented the many obstacles teachers and students are facing today, while presenting a mixture of possible solutions. Read the full blog post to learn more about these and other course-charting talks.

Free Software Awards winners announced: Eli Zaretskii, Tad (SkewedZeppelin), GNU Jami

From March 18

The winners in three categories, each recognizing exemplary achievements in the field of free software, are GNU Jami, Eli Zaretskii, and Tad (SkewedZeppelin).

The 2022 Award for Outstanding New Free Software Contributor went to Tad (SkewedZeppelin), chief developer of the DivestOS project. DivestOS is a fork of the nonfree Android mobile operating system that removes many proprietary binaries, and which puts freedom, security, and device longevity as its main concerns. Tad has also contributed to the Replicant distribution of Android, a project fiscally sponsored by the FSF. GNU Jami was this year's winner of the Award for Project of Social Benefit, which is presented to a project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, to intentionally and significantly benefit society. Eli Zaretskii, co-maintainer of GNU Emacs, was this year's winner of the Award for the Advancement of Free Software.

Board process update: FSF asks nominees to confirm their interest

From March 16

The FSF board of directors would like to thank all associate members who answered the call for nominations and nominated candidates to serve on the FSF board of directors. This week marks a next step in the FSF's process to finding new board members. Thanks to our associate members, nominated individuals will receive a questionnaire to accept their nomination.

The next step in the evaluation process will be for the FSF voting members to review the nominees' answers. They will select some nominees as "candidates" to move forward into the board nomination process, possibly in multiple rounds.

Right to repair advocate Elizabeth Chamberlain to keynote FSF's LibrePlanet

From March 2

Elizabeth Chamberlain is director of sustainability at iFixit and a passionate advocate of the right to repair. iFixit sells repair parts and publishes gratis repair guides for electronic devices such as smartphones, tractors, and toasters on their website. With these, iFixit helps thousands of people repair their devices every day instead of throwing them away. In early March, Chamberlain was announced as one of the keynotes for this year's LibrePlanet, now in its fifteenth edition. The event has ended, but publication of videos and slides of all the sessions, including Chamberlain's keynote, are expected to be published in the coming weeks.

EU: Proposed liability rules will harm free software

From March 23 by Free Software Foundation Europe

The EU is currently debating the introduction of liability rules for software, including free software. The relevant proposals are the AI Act, Product Liability Directive (PLD), and Cyber Resilience Act (CRA). As they are written now, all proposals stand to harm free software developers with insurmountable economical burdens. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has proposed a solution that will lead to more security while safeguarding free software and its distribution: Liability should be shifted to those deploying free software instead of those developing free software; and those who significantly benefit financially from this deployment should make sure the software becomes CE-compliant (Conformité Européene-compliant).

John Deere's ongoing GPL violations: What's next

From March 16 by Denver Gingerich

In a recent article by Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), they publicly call on John Deere to: "immediately resolve all of its outstanding GNU General Public License (GPL) violations, across all lines of its farm equipment, by providing complete source code, including 'the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable' that the GPL and other copyleft licenses require, to the farmers and others who are entitled to it, by the licenses that Deere chose to use." As was demonstrated at Australian hacker Sick Code's talk at this year's LibrePlanet, a lot of the code running on John Deere tractors is copyleft free software, which means that John Deere has an obligation under the terms of the license to distribute the source code to its customers.

Signal threatens to pull out of UK

From March 1 by Emma Woollacott

Threatened by the prospect that private encryption communication may be deemed illegal in the UK as early as May of this year, the Signal Technology Foundation has announced it will stand up for encryption even if that means pulling out of the country. The so-called "Online Safety Bill" proposes requirements such as compulsory "client-side scanning" in applications for encrypted communication. In a strongly worded message to the community, Meredith Whittaker, the leader of the nonprofit, said, "Encryption is either broken for everyone, or it works for everyone. There is no way to create a safe backdoor."

Note: While Signal itself has nonfree dependencies, there is a fully free fork of Signal called "Silence" available in F-Droid.

Signal is not the only organization objecting to the online safety bill, which threatens all end-to-end encryption platforms in the UK, and therefore journalists, freedom fighters, and marginalized people. At the time of writing, this bill (link below) has passed through the House of Commons, and is currently at committee stage in the House of Lords.

One action that everyone reading this can take is to educate yourself and others about encryption by reading and sharing our Email Self-Defense guide:

New repository format for faster and smaller updates

From March 1 by Torsten Grote

The developers of the official F-Droid client have released version 1.16, which has some important updates. A client and repository for mobile devices that distributes only free software applications, F-Droid is itself free software and runs on the Android operating system, including free forks of Android such as Replicant.

The latest version has many updates and bug fixes, but one of the most significant updates is how the application updates its repository index, which has grown over the years. Their repository index is in JSON format, and the developers have decided to make use of a new feature to create much smaller JSON files that identify and download changes since the F-Droid app's most recent update. The result is quicker updates of the lists, so that users can see what new software and updates are available more quickly. More technical details are available in the announcement.

March GNU Emacs news

From March 27 by Sacha Chua

In these issues: A link to a video on how to use GNU Calc*, creating manuals and including them into Emacs, "How an uber-geeky text mode in a forty-year-old editor saved my novel," and more!

* Videos such as this can be watched in freedom via Invidious

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, April 7 from 12:00 to 3:00 EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: Fight to Repair

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 Fight to Repair, which provides information about the role of free software in the right to repair movement. 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

March GNU Spotlight with Amin Bandali: Twelve new GNU releases!

Twelve new GNU releases in the last month (as of March 31, 2023):

For a full list with descriptions, please see:

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list:

To download: nearly all GNU software is available most reliably from Optionally, you may find faster download speeds at a mirror located geographically closer to you by choosing from the list of mirrors published at, or you may use to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

This month, we welcome Samuel Thibault as maintainer of GNU Hurd.

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

As always, please feel free to write to me,, 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:

  • Adam Oberbeck
  • Andy Kopra
  • Fredrick Brennan
  • James Wilson
  • Kam VedBrat
  • Morten Lind
  • R. Scott Belford
  • Raffael Stocker
  • Russell Hernandez Ruiz
  • Steven Shiau

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:

  • Simon Pugnet (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 aquí:

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}

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, free software adoption, OpenDocument, and more.

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

Copyright © 2023 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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