Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's
(FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and
203,528 other activists. That's 6,963 more than last month!
LibrePlanet 2019: Coming to Cambridge, MA on March 23-24
From February 21
On March 23rd and 24th, 2019, the free software community will come
together at the Stata Center at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) to learn, exchange ideas, catch up with friends, and
plan the future of the movement at the LibrePlanet 2019
conference. Registration is
open, and we hope you’ll
Hundreds of people from across the globe will join us at LibrePlanet
2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to
explore this year's theme, "Trailblazing Free Software." With a new
and growing generation of free software enthusiasts, we can take this
conference as an opportunity to discuss both the present and the
future of the free software movement. Using the Four
Freedoms as a litmus
test for ethical computing, we ask, "How will free software continue
to bring to life trailblazing, principled new technologies and new
approaches to the world?"
LibrePlanet brings together software developers, activists, policy
experts, and computer users to share accomplishments, learn new
skills, and address challenges to software freedom. Newcomers are
always welcome, and LibrePlanet 2019 will feature programming for all
experience levels, including students. Students and FSF members attend
Not able to attend LibrePlanet 2019? There are lots of other ways to
participate -- we will have sessions live-streaming during the
conference, and videos of each talk will be made available on our
GNU MediaGoblin site. Plus, you can
participate in the lively discussions during LibrePlanet via IRC!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Vikings D8 Mainboard and D8 Workstation now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom
- Dating is a free software issue
- FSF Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report now available
- What is the right way to upgrade an installation of Windows?
- FCC faces off in net neutrality lawsuit against consumer advocates and Internet giants
- As expected, the EU has advanced the catastrophic Copyright Directive without fixing its terrible defects
- CopyleftConf was great, you should go next year
- "Google stole my patent": Stories of the pathology of the patent system
- Amazon bought a router company you've never heard of: Here is why it's a huge deal
- Annocheck: Examining the contents of binary files
- What I learned during my internship with the FSF tech team
- GCC 8.3 released
- The Software Freedom Conservancy is hiring: Techie Bookkeeper
- Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
- LibrePlanet featured resource: LibrePlanet: Conference/2019
- GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 21 new GNU releases!
- GNU Toolchain update: Support GNU Toolchain
- FSF and free software events
- Thank GNUs!
- GNU copyright contributions
- Take action with the FSF!
View this issue online here: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2019/march
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
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:
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:
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:
Vikings D8 Mainboard and D8 Workstation now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom
From February 7
The FSF awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF)
to two devices from Vikings GmbH, the Vikings D8 Mainboard and the
Vikings D8 Workstation. The RYF certification mark means that these
products meet the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control
over the product, and privacy.
These are the fourth and fifth devices from
Vikings to receive RYF
Vikings D8 Mainboard is an ASUS KCMA-D8 that comes with Trisquel
GNU/Linux. Like the previously certified
it is a powerful mainboard suitable for use as a workstation or
server. The Vikings D8 Workstation brings the D8 Mainboard together
with a variety of options to provide a robust workstation for
users. Both are available for purchase at https://store.vikings.net.
Dating is a free software issue
From February 14
I've been making the argument that everything is a free software issue
for a few months now. Back in November, I was lucky enough to speak at
Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (SeaGL) and the South Tyrol Free Software
Conference (SFSCon), specifically on the issues proprietary technology
poses in dating and maintaining romantic relationships.
I've been thinking about this since then -- the issues and
infringements on user freedom we face when using technology to meet
people, date, and fall in love. I think Valentine's Day is the perfect
opportunity to share just some of these thoughts I've been having.
For Valentine's Day, we also encouraged readers to share an adorable
"I Love Free Software" graphic with the hashtag #ilovefs -- it may not
be a holiday anymore, but there's never a bad time to express your
appreciation for software that respects your freedom!
FSF Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report now available
From February 11
The Annual Report reviews the FSF's activities, accomplishments, and
financial picture from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. It is
the result of a full external financial audit, along with a focused
study of program results. It examines the impact of the FSF's events,
programs, and activities, including the annual LibrePlanet conference,
the Respects Your Freedom (RYF) hardware certification program, and
the fight against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).
The FSF publishes its financials and annual report as part of its
commitment to transparency. Along with its strong financial health,
accountability and transparency are the reasons the FSF is a Charity
Navigator Four Star
What is the right way to upgrade an installation of Windows?
From January 28
In this new article on gnu.org, FSF founder Richard Stallman explains
why rather than suggesting an upgrade for any version of Windows, we
believe that all Windows users should upgrade to
FCC faces off in net neutrality lawsuit against consumer advocates and Internet giants
From February 1 by Dell Cameron
In late January, oral arguments began in the case of Mozilla
v. the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a lawsuit brought by a
wide range of advocacy groups and trade organizations representing
some of the nation’s largest Internet companies, which all seek to
vacate the vote to repeal net neutrality pushed through by the Federal
Communications Commission in late 2017. The groups opposing the FCC
include a hodgepodge of tech companies and consumer advocacy groups,
as well as state and local officials -- among them: the Mozilla
Corporation; Etsy; Free Press; Public Knowledge; the National Hispanic
Media Coalition; the Open Technology Institute; the Center for
Democracy & Technology, and others. Twenty-two states and the District
of Columbia have also joined the petitioners.
We support the effort to restore net
as an essential element of freedom to use the Internet for building and distributing free software.
As expected, the EU has advanced the catastrophic Copyright Directive without fixing its terrible defects
From February 23 by Cory Doctorow
The final text of the European Union (EU) Copyright Directive has
emerged from the "trilogue" committee (composed of representatives
from the EU Parliament, the national governments of EU member-states,
and the EU presidency) and it is virtually identical to the compromise
struck by the governments of France and Germany.
The most contentious issue in the Directive is Article 13, which
makes online communities, services, and platforms liable if their
users post any infringing materials, even if these materials are
promptly removed. Though Article 13 no longer explicitly calls for
automated filters, there is no conceivable way that every word,
image, video, audio clip, etc. could be vetted for its copyright
status without automated systems. Obviously, this will kill off every
service that lacks the hundreds of millions of euros it will cost to
build and maintain these filters.
CopyleftConf was great, you should go next year
From February 18 by Ben Cotton
Software licensing doesn’t get enough discussion at conferences as it
probably should. And among the talks that do happen, copyleft licenses
specifically get only a portion of that. But with major projects like
the kernel Linux using copyleft licenses -- and the importance of
copyleft principles to free software generally -- the Software Freedom
Conservancy decided that a dedicated conference is in order. In this
blog post, I discuss some of the highlights of this year's conference.
"Google stole my patent": Stories of the pathology of the patent system
From November 30, 2018
We oppose software patents on many
bases, and one of the abuses of the patent system we documented was
Google's attempt to
the image/video compression application of ANS, created by
Jagiellonian University lecturer Jarek Duda. Duda shared with us the
example of a similar attempt made on edu-tech electronics business
Chibitronics cofounder Jie Qi, who shared her accounts of how Google
and a crowdfunding backer both tried to patent her ideas.
Duda writes, "These stories of a double patent victim show how
defenseless academics (and e.g. free software programmers) are against
the patent system, which literally promotes stealing from us. One can
get much from patenting our work, and there is no risk -- no
consequences for being caught on premeditated plagiarism."
Amazon bought a router company you've never heard of: Here is why it's a huge deal
From February 12 by Nicole Nguyen
Eero's router system, recently acquired by Amazon, is designed to
cover hard-to-reach Wi-Fi dead zones. Buying a home network
infrastructure company might sound like a boring move -- but it’s a
powerful attacking piece in Amazon’s quest to own the smart home and,
more interestingly, to obtain more data about its customers at the
same time. This is yet another step towards tracking and monetizing
your every move, including which competing products you use -- but of
course, since all of Amazon's software is proprietary, you're not
allowed to control what they find out about you.
Annocheck: Examining the contents of binary files
From February 4 by Nick Clifton
The Annobin plugin for GCC stores extra information inside binary
files as they are compiled. Examining this information used to be
performed by a set of shell scripts, but that has now changed and a
new program -- annocheck -- has been written to do the job. The
advantage of the program is that it is faster and more flexible than
the scripts, and it does not rely upon other utilities to actually
peer inside the binaries.
This article is about the annocheck program: how to use it, how it
works, and how to extend it. The program’s main purpose is to examine
how a binary was built and to check that it has all of the appropriate
security hardening features enabled. But that is not its only use. It
also has several other modes that perform different kinds of
examination of binary files.
What I learned during my internship with the FSF tech team
From February 15 by Hrishikesh Barman
During my internship, I worked with the tech team to research and
propose replacements for their network monitoring infrastructure.
A few things did not go quite as planned, but a lot of good things
that I did not plan happened along the way. For example, I planned to
work on GNU LibreJS, but never could find enough time for it. On the
other hand, I gained a lot of system administration experience by
reading IRC conversations, and by working on my project. I even got to
have a brief conversation with RMS!
My mentors, Ian, Andrew, and Ruben, were extremely helpful and
understanding throughout my internship. As someone who previously had
not worked with a team, I learned a lot about teamwork. Aside from
IRC, we interacted weekly in a conference call via phone, and used the
FSF's Etherpad instance for live collaborative editing, to take notes.
GCC 8.3 released
From February 22 by the GCC team
The GNU Project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the
release of GCC 8.3. This release is a bug-fix release, containing
fixes for regressions in GCC 8.2 relative to previous releases of GCC.
The Software Freedom Conservancy is hiring: Techie Bookkeeper
From February 14 by Software Freedom Conservancy
Software Freedom Conservancy is looking for a new employee to help
them with important work that supports their basic operations. They
seek a fifth full-time employee who will help them with their
day-to-day bookkeeping needs. This is a full time salaried position
with benefits (including health insurance and paid time off), working
remotely. See the listing below for instructions on how to apply!
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, 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 irc.freenode.org, 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 8, from 12pm to 3pm EST (16:00 to
19:00 UTC). Details here:
LibrePlanet featured resource: LibrePlanet: Conference/2019
Every month on LibrePlanet, we highlight one resource that is
interesting and useful -- often one that could use your help.
For this month, we are highlighting LibrePlanet: Conference/2019,
which provides information about this year's LibrePlanet conference,
happening in Cambridge, MA on March 23-24. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 21 new GNU releases!
21 new GNU releases in the last month (as of February 26, 2019):
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 from
https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from
https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL
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
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 us at email@example.com
with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.
GNU Toolchain update: Support GNU Toolchain
Donate to support the GNU Toolchain, a collection of foundational
freely licensed software development tools including the GNU C
Compiler collection (GCC), the GNU C Library
(glibc), and the GNU
FSF and free software events
- March 9, 2019, SCALE, Pasadena, CA, USA, John Sullivan, " 'Just don't buy it': Consumer choices in free software activism"
- March 23-24, 2019, LibrePlanet 2019, Cambridge, MA, USA
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:
- Antonio Carzaniga
- ask apache
- Balta Katei
- Colin Carr
- Evan Klitzke
- James Wilson
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 GPL and keep software free. The following individuals have
assigned their copyright to the FSF in the past month:
- Arpit Gupta (GNU Radio)
- Luis Marsano (Emacs)
Want to see your name on this list? Contribute to GNU and assign your
copyright to the FSF.
Take action with the FSF!
Contributions from thousands of individual 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
I'm an FSF member -- Help us support software freedom!
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 (DRM), free software adoption,
OpenDocument, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and
Copyright © 2019 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