There's a new GNU PDF Project in the works to support the upcoming ISO
standard PDF implementation and they need your help. The FSF Europe has
posted a new RMS video. Conversion of software to the new GPLv3 license
continues at a steady pace. The SFLC files a history-making legal
complaint against a GPLv2 violator and resolves a GPLv2 dispute between
the BSD and Linux communities. Unofficial Gnash Flash binaries for
Windows are available. GNU Hurd gets IPv6 support and a new pfinet
maintainer. RMS will be speaking Columbia, Costa Rica, Japan, and the US
this month. Oh, and did I mention that new and improved versions of
GTK+ have been released.?
The GNU PDF Project
The Free Software Foundation is calling for volunteers to assist with
the new GNU PDF Project
that will attempt to create a lightweight set libraries implementing the
coming ISO standardized version of PDF, ISO 32000 (aka PDF 1.7). The new
libraries will also have support for PDF/A-1, ISO 19005-1:2005,
Extensible Metadata Platform, XMP, and XML Forms Architecture v2.4
(XFA). The GNU PDF Project libraries and programs are an official part
of the GNU Project and will become part of the GNU System. The project
started by looking at the available free software support for any these
technologies including things like Ghostscript, xpdf, poppler, and
MuPDF+Fitz but all of these packages have either technical or legal
issues. The project has already published a roadmap and
started writing code. If you're a C programmer and would like to find
out how you can help, join the development
mailing list or visit the Savannah GNU PDF Project
The FSF Europe has posted Ogg video of Richard Stallman's 16 May 2007
speech titled, "Free Software and Beyond: Human Rights in the Use of
Software and Other Published Works" (Ogg
video torrent seed). The talk was given in cinema Draken in
Palamida's GPLv3 Information
site showed 734 GPLv3 packages this month, up from 534
last month. The total seems to be climbing at about 200 per month. But
the latest GPL news is not the steady conversion to GPLv3. The big news
is the GPLv2 lawsuit. The Software Freedom Law Center
filed a copyright
infringement complaint (PDF format) against Monsoon Multimedia because
they failed to abide by requirements of the GPLv2 license on BusyBox code when they incorporated
that code into their own software, which was then distributed without
making the source code available to recipients. What makes this
significant is that it is the first ever GPL violation lawsuit filed in
the US. Monsoon quickly issued a press
release saying they wanted to settle. In the past, violators of the
GPL have been let off easy provided they agreed to comply with the
license, however, Monsoon may not be so lucky. The SFLC said in a
statement to LinuxDevices.com, "simply coming into compliance now is not
sufficient to settle the matter because that would mean anyone can
violate the license until caught, because the only punishment would be
to come into compliance. I can't discuss the details of what additional
things are being sought by our clients, but hopefully we'll be able to
shed light on that if/when we do reach an agreement".
The SFLC has also been working to resolve a GPL-related dispute that
arose between the BSD community and the Linux kernel developers over the
Atheros wireless driver code. The code was originally released under a
permissive license. Some of this code was incorporated into a GPL'd
Atheros driver for Linux. The trouble arose when the BSD camp wanted to
incorporate the improvements and changes from the GPL'd Linux version of
the code back into their codebase. This wasn't possible because the GPL
adds protections of freedom that aren't provided by the BSD
license and cannot be removed, making the code unusable to the BSD
community. The SFLC did a
audit of the code and resolved the situation by getting all the
contributors of the Linux code to agree to relicense their code under
the permissive license used in the original codebase. The SFLC has also
now developed a set of guidelines
for using permissive-licensed code in GPL projects. Interestingly
one of the things they discourage is the common use of "dual licensing"
code under two conflicting licenses.
While the primary purpose of Gnash is to provide Flash support to the
GNU System, GNU/Linux, and other free operatings system, it
may also be possible to use it on proprietary Windows systems. In fact, an
Windows binary of Gnash has been built and released by Dossy Shiobara.
Stefan Siegl posted about his work in adding
IPv6 support to pfinet. By the time you read this, IPv6 support
should be committed to CVS. Stefan will also be taking over as
maintainer of the Hurd pfinet translator. Carl Fredrik Hammar worked on
the Hurd as part of a 2007 Google Summer of Code project. Carl worked on
an experimental implementation of libchannel, a framework that, among
other things, provides an efficient way of stacking translators. He posted
a report about the results of the work on one of the Hurd mailing
lists. Vikram Vincent has volunteered to begin the task of rewriting the
GNU Mach device driver glue code layer that allows GNU Mach to use Linux
device drivers. The current version of GNU Mach can only use Linux 2.0.x
device drivers. The plan is to update the glue code to allow the use of
Linux 2.6 device drivers. This would greatly expand the hardware support
for the Hurd. The number of developers working on the Hurd and GNU Mach
contiues to be fairly small, so if you'd like to help out, check in on
the #hurd IRC channel or the
mailing list. There should be no trouble finding interesting things
to work on.
GNU GCC News
The GCC team is still working
towards a 4.3.0 release which will include a lot of nifty new features.
If you're interested in working on compilers, visit the Contributing to GCC to
find out how you can help.
The big GNOME News this month is the release of GNOME 2.20. The GNOME 2.20 Release
Notes is the best introduction to all the new features and it
includes lots of screen shots. One of the many interesting new features
that I expect to find useful is the intelligent battery profiling in
Power Manager that learns about your battery over time to produce better
estimate of the remaining run time. It can warn you when you're battery
is no longer storing as much power as it should. It also knows which
batteries have been recalled by the manufacurer. You can also read the
review of GNOME 2.20. This version of GNOME also relies on a new
v2.12 release of the underlying GTK+ toolkit, which boasts an impressive
assortment of new
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?
RMS will be in Bogoto, Columbia on 10 October, speaking about the
goals and philosophy of the Free Software movement. On the 12th and 13th
of October, he'll be San Jose, Costa Rica talking about software patents
and how they obstruct software development (at the first talk) and about
the history and status of the GNU Operating System (at the second talk).
On 17 October, it's back to the US for a talk at Yale University in New
Haven, CT. On 26 October, he'll be in Nagoya, Japan talking about
Copyright and the problems of using the term "intellectual property".
From there it's on to Tokyo Japan for another talk on 29 October. For
details and updates see the FSF upcoming events page.
This monthly news summary about the Free Software
Foundation and GNU project was 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. This is a news summary about the FSF but it is
not produced by or associated with the FSF in any way.
I'm looking for a volunteer to take over writing this
news summary each month. It's a minimal amount of work, taking no more
than a few hours per month.