Skype fought the GPL and the GPL won. The OLPC XO project abandons free
software just as RMS switches to an XO; RMS not happy. New monthly
newsletters from the FSF and FSFE. GNOME and KDE want to have a joint
development conference in 2009. GNOME and GCC conferences coming up
later this year. Plus all the usual news: more GPL v3 conversions, HURD
news, GNOME news, GCC news, and more.
Skype Takes on the GPL in German Court. GPL Wins
In July of 2007 Harald
Welte of GPL-violations.org
successfully won an injunction against Skype for their violation of the
GPL in the distribution of the WSKP100 VOIP handset. It initially
appeared that Skype might follow the court's ruling but then
they appealed, asserting that the GPL violated German anti-trust
regulations and was invalid. The judge was not impressed with their
argument and hinted that any rulings made would not be in Skype's
quote from Harald's blog:
The lawyer representing Skype still continued to argue for a bit into
that direction, which resulted one of the judges making up an
interesting analogy of something like: "If a publisher wants to publish
a book of an author that wants his book only to be published in a green
envelope, then that might seem odd to you, but still you will have to do
it as long as you want to publish the book and have no other agreement
Eventually the Skype lawyers gave up and accepted the court's original
ruling for full GPL compliance.
RMS Laments OLPC's Decision to switch to Windows
The bizarre changes in the OLPC project have been heavily covered in
the new media. President Walter Bender is out. GNU/Linux is out. The XO
as a path to teaching children about computers by letting them tinker
with the software is out. Instead the XO will be cheap advertising for
MS Windows in the developing world. Nicholas Negroponte accused free
software advocates of being "open source fundamentalists" and said open
source software "hampered usability" and "scared developers".
Ironically, what wasn't covered in the news is that RMS was in the
process of switching to an OLPC XO from the IBM T23 he'd used for years.
He recently posted
to the FSF blog on the issue. Like others in the FOSS community, RMS
is extremely disappointed by the changes. But he believes the OLPC
changes are not final and that the free software community may still be
able to salvage the OLPC project. If you want to help, he suggests
contributing code to Sugar, the free software interface used on the XO.
But he points out that desirable contributions are those that improve
Sugar as an interface for free operating systems. Helping with a port of
Sugar to Windows would not be a helpful or good thing to do.
FSF Official News
2 of the Free Software Supporter is out. This is the official FSF
monthly news summary written by Joshua Gay. I may eventually drop my own
news in favor of syndicating the official newsletter but, in the
meantime, I'll at least summarize their summary here. This month's issue
covers the Free Software Awards to Harald Welte and Groklaw, an amicus
brief filed by the End Software Patents campaign for the rehearing of
the Bilski case, and Karl Berry on GNU projects within the Google Summer
of Code program.
Free Software Foundation Europe
issue of the FSFE Newsletter is out too. In includes info on FSFE
concerns about the ISO's standardisation process, prompted by their
approval of MS-OOXML and a summary of a recent FSFE briefing on
interoperability problems with MS-OOXML. It also notes that Shane
Coughlan, the coordinator of FSFE's Freedom Task Force, delivered the
keynote speech at Chemnitzer Linux-Tagen. Shane is coming to the US soon
to deliver a speech entitled 'Analysing Whether GPLv3 Has Improved
Free Software Licensing' at OSiM USA on Tuesday the 12th of March in San
Francisco. The FSFE has helped co-launch the Open Parliament initiative
designed to create a review of European Parliaments policies regarding
internal software use and file formats for published information.
Reinhard Müller will be giving two speeches on open standards and free
document formats at the Linuxwochen event at the Danube
University Krems and at the Linuxwochen event at the University of
Applied Sciences "Johanneum" in Graz
GNU License News
Information site reports the number of projects known to have made
the switch to GPLv3 at 2285 as of this writing.
There has been continued discussion of the GNU Hurd GSoC projects
this month. One of the subjects covered is the issue
of copyright assignments by the contributors. Sergiu
Ivanov announced the availability of an extension module
that allows retrieving the uptime of the system and the load averages
from Python scripts
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
Plans for GCC 4.4.0 are beginning to firm up with a number of specific
improvements listed on the feature page already including support for
the ISO C++ standard, C++0x. There will also support for two features on
Intel x86 targets; Intel AES and Intel PCLMUL code generation. Potential
improvements being considered for GCC 4.4.0 including merging the tuples
branch, LTO, incremental compiling improvements, selective scheduling,
and YARA. No major merges have occurred yet so they development team has
decided to extend the Stage 1 development period until after the
upcoming GCC summit. The latest GCC
development status report is online. The 2008 GCC Developers' Summit is
planned for 17-19 June at the University of Ottawa in Canada. There are
lots of interesting presentations on the schedule as well
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
The GNOME Foundation, together with the KDE e.V., have
called for co-hosting Akademy and GUADEC together in the summer of 2009.
This would be the main KDE and GNOME conferences together under one roof
for the first time. The idea of the joint conference drew praise from
representatives of Freedesktop.org, X.org, and the Linux Foundation.
Both the official GNOME
announcement and the KDE
e.V. announcement are available on their respective websites. GUADEC
2008 is scheduled for 7-12 July in Istanbul, Turkey. Also upcoming
is the GNOME.Asia Summit
2008 on 17-18 October in Beijing, China.
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 9 May at Salone dei Cinquecento, Palazzo
Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy on the goals and
philosophy of the Free Software Foundation. He will also talk about the
history and status of the GNU operating system. For the latest updates
see the FSF upcoming
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