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Read and share online: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2021/september
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!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- FSF copyright handling: A basis for distribution, licensing and
- 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
- 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!
View this issue online here: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2021/september
Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by
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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.
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
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
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
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
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
https://www.designingebooks.com/. 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
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 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 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: 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
FSF and other free software events
- September 20-24, Charlotte, North Carolina, GNU Radio Conference
- October 17-19, Raleigh, North Carolina, ATO
- November 5-6, Seattle, Washington, SeaGL 2021
- November 27-28, online, EmacsConf
2021, EmacsConf Call for
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
- Matomo.org 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.
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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!
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, 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