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
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
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
GNU GCC News
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,
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
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
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.