FSF Launches their own FSF News
For the first time in years, the FSF is publishing their own news
summaries. Picking up where the Brave GNU World
newsletter left off in 2004, Joshua Gay has started a new FSF
newsletter called Free
Software Supporter. I'm pleased to note that it follows very closely
the layout of our own monthly FSF news, though it leaves out coverage
(so far) of the FSF High Priority software projects and non-US branches
of the FSF. Unlike our own news, the Free Software Supporter is an
official publication of the FSF. The similarity of formats probably
makes further issues of this monthly report redundant. It will probably
be more efficient to post or link to the official report.
BusyBox Developers Win Again
Verizon's lawyers were no match for the GPL. The Software Freedom Law Center
announced that the BusyBox developers will be ending their case against
Verzion for violation of the GPL. Verizon's
contractor, Actiontec, gave in to all the SFLC demands and will
appoint an Open Source compliance officer, publish source code for
BusyBox, attempt to notify existing BusyBox users of their rights
under the GPL, and pay an undisclosed sum to the BusyBox developers.
Verizon used BusyBox in an Actiontec router which was distributed to
FiOS customers without following the terms of the GPL license.
Richard Stallman, Live and Unplugged
Datamation published a review
of the rms talk at Virginia Tech University last month. Nothing new
and amazing but if you haven't been to an rms talk, this article offers
a good three page summary of what they're like. It includes portions of
the post talk Q&A as well as excerpts of an exchange between rms and an
audience member opposed to free software.
FSF.org Reloaded (now in color!)
The FSF has launched a new and
redesigned website. The index page has graphics, images, and looks
like a modern website. They've retained the crude, hand-drawn FSF logo
but perhaps that will receive an update from a graphic designer in the
near future too. The redesign primarily affects the site's index page,
though some of the higher level internal pages have minor updates as
well, usually the addition of an image to the otherwise text-based
Need a Free Software Job?
announced the creation of a free software jobs
directory. While the software is free (as in speech), don't expect the
ads to be free (as in beer) - they'll cost you $250/month/ad starting in
May. The idea is that in addition to offering jobs that help promote
free software, your ad money itself goes to support the FSF. Check it
out, there are already a few jobs posted.
Harald Welte and Groklaw win annual free software awards
Every year at the FSF Annual Associate Members Meeting, two awards are
given. Groklaw received this year's award for Projects of Social
Benefit, while Harald Welte received the award for the Advancement of
Free Software. Groklaw won for provided an "invaluable source of
legal and technical information for software developers, lawyers, law
professors, and historians.". Not surprisingly, Pamela Jones did not
attend in person but someone else accepted the award on her behalf.
Harald Welte won for his combination of work as Linux kernel hacker, his
work on the OpenMoko mobile platform, and the founding of the
gpl-violations.org website which helps "in safeguarding the freedom
of free software users by successfully enforcing the GNU General Public
License in over one hundred cases since the gpl-violations.org project
began in 2004.".
The latest FSFE
newsletter is out. It includes coverage of
Microsoft's "interoperability pledge" which excludes Microsoft's
primary competitors. The FSFE has issued a
call for Microsoft to release interoperability information. There's
a short report on FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium; and an account of the
FSFE vice president participating in the SELF conference in Bulgaria. A
document freedom day is also included. Another short article notes
the good match between free software and the IT needs of churches in
Europe. Finally there's a short account of the rms visit to Berlin,
which was attended by about 200 people.
The annual Free and Open Source conference, better known as FOSS Meet NITC, was held last
month at National Institute of Technology, Calicut, India. At the
meeting, they kicked off a year-long contest, called FOSSdev, designed to promote
contributions to FOSS projects. Another result of FOSS Meet was a report
use of free software in schools. In other FSF-India news this month,
a meeting was planned to discuss putting pressure on BIS to reverse
their OOXML vote. Students are planning a GNU/Linux
installation festival in Bangalore on 26 April.
GNU License News
Information site reports the number of projects known to have made
the switch to GPLv3 at 2121 as of this writing.
With GNU Hurd set up as a separate project under the 2008 Google SoC,
there has been a frenzy of activity on the mailing list as potential
projects are discussed. Among the more interesting ideas being floated
are virtualization using Hurd mechanisms, improving the Hurd translator
concept with namespace-based translator selection, and updating the Hurd
driver glue code layer to allow use of drivers from current versions of
Linux or BSD. See the full list of Hurd
project suggestions for more info.
How you can help: The number of developers working on the Hurd
and GNU Mach continues to be small and they could use your help. Check in
on the #hurd IRC channel or
mailing list. There should be no trouble finding interesting things
to work on.
GNU GCC News
With GCC v4.3.0 out the door, developers are already busy working on
v4.3.1 as scattered reports of regressions filter in. Meanwhile, GCC v4.4.0 is in
Stage 1 development, which is mostly a planning and scheduling
stage. Potential improvements being considered for GCC 4.4.0 including
merging the tuples branch, LTO, incremental compiling improvements,
selective scheduling, and YARA.
How you can help: if you're interested in working on compiler
development, visit the Contributing to GCC to
find out what you can do help with the development of the GNU GCC
Going for the GNU Gold
In GCC-related news, Ian
Taylor of Google released
Gold, the new ELF-only linker written in C++. Gold is now part of the GNU binutils and is designed
to be much, much faster than ld. Early reports indicate it's as much as
3 times faster than ld. The new linker supports both incremental linking
and concurrent linking. Gold only supports GNU/Linux and not windows.
The developer says there is no expectation that Windows support will be
added. While Gold only support x86 and x86_64 targets now, it is
designed for portability and more hardware targets are expected in the
future. However, since the primary focus is on performance, the
developer notes that there is not much incentive to port it to smaller,
embedded platforms where ld already does a satisfactory job.
The third GNOME
Mobile summit will be held in Austin, Texas April 8-10. It is hoped
the meeting will help accelerate the adoption of GNOME on mobile
devices. Previously, work had centered on development of the code itself
but as the code matures, "the next step is a roadmap which will
systematically address the needs of consumers of the GNOME Mobile
platform and ensure that the work is done in the community, and the
creation of a mobile-specific release set of GNOME and GNOME-related
How you can help: GNOME needs your help. In addition to
programmers, the GNOME team also needs people to assist with testing,
translation, accessibility, documentation, website maintenance,
graphics, and marketing. To find out what you can do and how to get
started, visit the Join GNOME
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 will be speaking 17 April on Copyright vs Community at
Saint Michael's College, Cheray Science Hall, room 101, One Winooski
Park, Colchester, Vermont. The next day, he'll be in Burlington, Vermont
speaking on the Free Software Movement. From there it's on to Boca del
Rio, Veracruz, Mexico via videoconference on the 19th where he'll speak
again on Copyright vs Community. He'll be presenting this talk again on
30 April in Cambridge, England. For the latest 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.