GNU and FSF News for March 2007

Posted 6 Mar 2007 at 00:44 UTC by robogato Share This

This is a monthly summary of news about the Free Software Foundation and GNU project. This summary has been distilled down from FSF press releases, blogs, email lists, and website news pages. The idea is to provide a concise summary of FSF/GNU news from the past month for those who don't have the time or interest to find and read all the original news sources within that community.

Sun Joins the Free Software Foundation

Sun has become a patron-level member of the FSF, joining companies like IBM, Google, Nokia, Cisco, and Intel in financially supporting the Free Software movement. This interesting news because Sun has changed their position on Free Software numerous times over the years. At one time they condemed the GNU GPL as "intellectual property colonialism" but now are embracing the license. Sun recently released Java under the GNU GPL and there are persistent rumors that OpenSolaris will be released under the GNU GPL once version 3 of the license is released.

Cuba Embraces Free Software

Richard Stallman spoke at the Informatica 2007 conference in Havana, Cuba. An Associated Press report on the conference, describing Cuba's plan to switch from proprietary software to free software, was picked up by many newspapers and websites. The news prompted both a Slashdot article on the event as well as a new episode of the Everybody love (Eric) Raymond comic strip.

Cuba is the latest latin American country to make a nationwide switch away from proprietary software towards free software. Cuba's University of Information Sciences has 1,000 students working on a Cuban Linux distro called Nova, based on Gentoo Linux. The Ministry of Higher Education is said to be working on another Cuban Linux distro. If you read Spanish, you can find out more about Cuba's software libre stragety on the Portal del Software Libre en Cuba

Alfresco Moves moves to GNU GPL

Enterprise CMS Provider Alfresco Software, Inc. recently announced they will relicense their content management software under the GNU General Public License. Because relicensing can be confusing to users, they've provided a FAQ about the process.

FSF Aims for Partnership with Hardware Manufacturers

Inspired by Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman's offer of free driver development to hardware manufacturers, the FSF plans to build on the momentum generated. The FSF has released a paper titled, The road to hardware free from restrictions. The paper details "ways major hardware manufacturers with power in the market can work with the free software community to establish a mutually beneficial relationship." Among the suggestions are the removal of proprietary BIOS in favor of free BIOS such as LinuxBIOS. If you'd like to help convince Dell of the market for machines with free BIOS, visit Dell's IdeaStorm website and vote for the idea, which has already garnered support from over 10,000 users.


The GCC version 4.1.2 release was announced on Feb 14, 2007. This version includes fixes or resolutions for 282 problem reports. A list of successful builds of the GCC 4.1.x series can be found on the build status page.


The GNOME 2.17.92 development release is out and will be the last unstable release before GNOME 2.18.0, scheduled for March of 2007. To find out what's new, see the release notes for the platform, desktop, admin, and bindings. See the GNOME roadmap for general information on what to expect from 2.18.0 and future releases.

A new issue of the GNOME Journal is out this month with articles on cross-platform GTK+ applications development, the Tango Desktop Project which is attempting to provide a consistent GUI experience to free and open source desktops, and Fluendo, a company based around free desktop software.

GUADEC 2007 Call for Papers

The GNOME Users and Developers European Conference (GUADEC) invites you to participate in the 8th annual conference on the 15-21st July 2007 in Birmingham, England.

The deadline for proposals is Monday 12th March. Successful candidates will be selected and notified by the GUADEC organising committee. Unsuccessful candidates will still have an opportunity for their session to be scheduled during the Approach Weekend or After Hours.

[editor's note: if you're working on a paper that would be of interest to Advogato readers, consider posting it here as an article too!]

Gnash News

Gnash is intended as a free replacement for the proprietary Adobe Flash plugin used by most web browsers. The next release of Gnash is expected in April of 2007. With help from ffmpeg and Gstreamer programmers, the new release expected to be capable of playing YouTube videos (the number one complaint against the current version of Gnash). Gnash is now working on the OLPC (One Laptop per Child) as a browser plugin. In addition to desktop web browser support, Gnash has been added to OpenEmbedded and should start showing up in smartphones soon. It's working on the Sharp Zaurus, the Pepper Pad 3, Nokia 770, Nokia E61 smartphone, and other devices too. There's still a lot of work to be done and more developers are needed, so if this sounds interesting, consider volunteering some time to help. Gnash is one of the FSF high priority software projects (see below for the full list).

FSF High Priority Free Software Projects

The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of what they believe are the highest priority projects at any given time. If you're looking for something fun to work on or just want to make the world a better place, this is a good place to start.

"There is a vital need to draw the free software community's attention to the ongoing development work on these particular projects. These projects are important because computer users are continually being seduced into using non-free software, because there is no adequate free replacement. Please support these projects."

Where's RMS This Month?

Richard Stallman will be in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on March 27 to speak about the goals and philosophy of the Free Software Movement, and the status and history of the GNU operating system, which in combination with the kernel Linux is now used by tens of millions of users world-wide. This talk will be accessible to all audiences and the public is encouraged to attend. Location: LeHigh University, Whitaker Lab Auditorium, 5 E. Packer Ave., Bethlehem PA.

GNU General Public License version 3

The new and improved version of the most widely used free software license will not take effect in March 2007 as originally planned. A "last call" draft will be released in March and there will likely be two to three months for further comments and revisions before the final version of the license is released. In response to media inquiries Richard Stallman said, "We were supposed to release the third draft in January, and we have not yet done so. We are almost ready to release it, and we are working on the explanations that need to be released with the draft." In a CNet article, FSF executive directer Peter Brown said no decision had been made about the new final release date.

And a reminder..., posted 6 Mar 2007 at 00:49 UTC by robogato » (Master)

I'm still looking for a volunteer to take over this monthly GNU/FSF news summary. It would only take an hour or so of time each month and would allow me to move on to other needed Advogato work.

Thanks!, posted 6 Mar 2007 at 03:52 UTC by mako » (Master)

Thanks again for this. I hope someone steps up to help you out with this. I can't realistically do it in the next few months but hope to get involved in the future.

LinuxBiOS, posted 6 Mar 2007 at 17:40 UTC by softkid » (Journeyer)

I also hope that some people will have a look at OpenFirware that was recently freed by sun for the OLPC project.

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