LibrePlanet Conference 2009!
Our annual meeting has now officially morphed into the
LibrePlanet event. The date is set. March 21st and 22nd -- that's
right, two whole days! LibrePlanet will be at the Harvard Science
Center in Cambridge, MA -- right in Harvard Square on the MBTA's red
LibrePlanet will cover a range of free software activism topics, with
an Open Space style effort to make progress on engineering for Free
Network Services and the High Priority Software Projects.
FSF files suit against Cisco for GPL violations
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced that it has filed a
copyright infringement lawsuit against Cisco. The FSF's complaint
alleges that in the course of distributing various products under
the Linksys brand, Cisco has violated the licenses of many programs
on which the FSF holds copyright, including GCC, binutils, and the
GNU C Library. In doing so, Cisco has denied its users their right
to share and modify the software.
"Our licenses are designed to ensure that everyone who uses the
software can change it," said Richard Stallman, president and founder
of the FSF. "In order to exercise that right, people need the source
code, and that's why our licenses require distributors to provide
it. We are enforcing our licenses to protect the rights that everyone
should have with all software: to use it, share it, and modify it as
they see fit."
BadVista: We hardly knew ye
"The fact that Microsoft has repeatedly extended XP cutoff deadlines
and is releasing a public beta of Windows 7 today is proof of Vista's
On December 15, 2006, the FSF launched its BadVista.org campaign to
advocate for the freedom of computer users, opposing adoption of
Microsoft Windows Vista and promoting free -- as in freedom --
software alternatives. Two years later, the campaign has 7,000
registered activists, the name Vista is synonymous in the public eye
with failure, and we are declaring victory.
GCC libraries get updated license exception
A new license exception will allow the entire GCC codebase to be
upgraded to GPLv3, and enable the development of a plugin framework
for GCC. The Free Software Foundation (FSF), together with the GCC
Steering Committee and the Software Freedom Law Center, has announced
the release of a new GCC Runtime Library Exception.
The new exception is built on top of GPLv3, so the libraries can be
upgraded to the latest version of the license. It also paves the way
for GCC to add a plugin architecture, by adding new protections
against extending GCC with proprietary software.
The text of the exception is available. The FSF has also published a
rationale document and FAQ to help users understand the exception
An open response to Chris Frey regarding GFDL 1.3
Dear Mr. Frey,
Your letter about our recent change to the GFDL, which lets operators
of some GFDL-covered wiki sites relicense their contents under
Creative Commons BY-SA license, raises the important questions of
whether this change and the way we made it were proper, and what they
imply in regard to trusting the FSF's stewardship of our licenses in
Updating the Free Software Definition
Recently, we made some changes to the Free Software Definition to help
clarify a few points that had been confusing for people in the
Because this definition is the benchmark we use to decide whether or
not a license is free, we want it to be as easy as possible for people
to understand, and over the years we've regularly made changes to the
text that do that.
In order to help people understand the purpose of these changes, we
also added a History section to the document, with a brief summary of
every substantial change made since 2001.
More background about the Cisco case
Back in 2003, we learned that the Linksys WRT54G, a popular wireless
router, used a GNU/Linux system in its firmware, but customers weren't
receiving all the source code they were entitled to under our
licenses. You might remember that case--a lot of developers were
interested in it and it was discussed in several different forums.
Despite our best efforts, Cisco seems unwilling to take the steps that
are necessary to come into compliance and stay in compliance. We asked
them to notify customers about previous violations and inform them
about how they can now obtain complete source code; they have refused
to do this, along with the other reasonable demands we have made to
consider this case settled.
The bootable membership cards are (finally) here!
Take a look! The new ultra slim credit card-sized FSF membership USB
cards have arrived. Loaded with gNewSense Live!, they were shipped out
to members at the beginning of January.
3D graphics are 100% free software
A few months ago, SGI released a new version of the SGI Free License
B. With that change, a lot of code used to provide 3D graphics on
GNU/Linux systems was now free software. To make sure that all the
code was free software, however, a few developers who worked on code
released under a related license, the GLX Public License, needed to
grant us permission to release their work under the new terms.
Last month, we got great news from the X.org project that they've
obtained that permission from all the necessary developers. With that
done, all of the code for 3D graphics originally released under one of
SGI's licenses is now free software. Pretty soon you'll see this code
in free system distributions like gNewSense.
Freedom Walk: A walk to claim, ensure and preserve freedom
Free software had remained a technological and an economic issue in
the state of Kerala and it had been very successful in being so. A
team of four people decided to take the fundamental principle of the
freedom behind free software and take this message of freedom to the
masses in Kerala. They decided to project free software as an
empowering agent to change the lives of people and in solving social,
environmental and technological issues. They wanted to take free
software and the freedom behind it to the common man in Kerala.
New FSF microblogging communities
Several of us at the FSF have been using and enjoying the free
software "microblogging" service identi.ca. Users of the service swap
short messages, conveniently using either the web interface, text
messaging, or Jabber/XMPP.
identi.ca distributes the source code used to power the site under the
Affero GNU General Public License, and is following the free network
service principles that the autonomo.us working group has been
You can join FSF groups for campaigns and projects:
PlayOgg: Theora 1.0 is released!
The Xiph.org Foundation has announced the release of Theora 1.0. As a
patent- and royalty-free video codec, Theora is an excellent choice
for artists, producers and developers who want to help make a world in
which everyone can safely and easily use free software. Theora has
been standardized since 2004 but this mature and stable release is an
Upcoming releases of Mozilla Firefox will support Theora natively with
the new HTML5 video tag, which means that all of the other free
software web browsers derived from the Firefox code base, like
Iceweasel and GNU IceCat, will be able to do the same.
Congratulations to Xiph.org on the release! It's great to see it
getting easier and easier for people to Play Ogg.
35 days against DRM
Starting on Black Friday and over the following 35 days leading up to
the end of 2008, we asked for your help in promoting a consumer
boycott of Digital Restrictions Management.
Each day we be published your stories -- about a product, company,
service, executive or politician that has has inflicted the nightmare
of Digital Restrictions Management on you and our society, reminding
us all why this holiday season we needed an all-out boycott.
Thanks to everyone who sent in ideas and suggestions.
Apple iTunes goes DRM-free on music
As you've no doubt heard, Apple, the last major retailer of
DRM-encumbered music announced, live at MacWorld, that all iTunes
music will be going DRM-free. Today, some 8 million songs and music
videos are already available DRM-free, via iTunes Plus.
Of course, what this really makes clear is that this was never about
the record companies withholding DRM-free music from Apple, but rather
that Apple was unwilling to concede a tiered pricing structure to the
recording companies. So to all those who kept sending us messages
about how Apple were the wrong target, I hope now you will see that
Apple really were forced into this concession.
Microsoft defends DRM. Badly.
While others are waking up to the problems with DRM and moving away
from it, Microsoft is embracing and defending it.
Do they think we forgot about MSN Music already?
GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry
Here is the complete list of GNU software releases since the last
anubis-4.1.1 autogen-5.9.7 automake-1.10.2 bash-3.2.48
ccaudio2-1.0.0 ccrtp-1.7.0 ccscript-4.0.3 commoncpp2-1.7.0 ddrescue-1.9
fdisk-1.1 ferret-0.7 freedink-1.08.20090109 freefont-ttf-20090104
global-5.7.4 glpk-4.35 gnubik-2.3 gnun-0.1 gnutls-2.6.3
groff-1.20.1 gsl-1.12 guile-1.8.6 hello-2.4
inetutils-1.6 libjit-0.1.2 libmicrohttpd-0.4.0pre1 libtasn1-1.7
libzrtpcpp-1.4.1 mailutils-2.0 maverik-6.4 moe-1.0 radius-1.6.1
sipwitch-0.3.8 solfege-3.12.0 source-highlight-2.11.1
swbis-1.2 tar-1.21 ucommon-2.0.2 zile-2.3.0
See the packages' announcements, web pages
(http://www.gnu.org/software/PKGNAME) or the distributions themselves
for details. Nearly all are available from http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or
preferably one of its mirrors (http://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html).
To get announcements of most new GNU packages, subscribe to the info-gnu
mailing list (http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu),
publicly archived (http://lists.gnu.org/pipermail/info-gnu).
I'd like to give a warm welcome to the newly-dubbed (co-)maintainers
Andras Pal (pexec), Yavor Doganov (gnun), Ben Elliston (dejagnu), Sergey
Poznyakoff (gdbm, rush), Ludovic Courtes (guile), and Christian Brunello
Several GNU packages are looking for maintainers and other assistance.
Please see http://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint
like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at
To submit new packages to GNU, see
As always, please feel free to write to me, email@example.com,
GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.
Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events
2009-02-05 | Copyright vs. Community
Edmonton, Canada. Law Centre.
McLennan Ross Hall (Room 231/237), University of Alberta.
2009-02-06 | Free Software in Ethics and in Practice
Vancouver, BC, Canada. Room 101/102/201, George F. Curtis Law
Building, 1822 East Mall.
2009-02-06 | Copyright vs. Community
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Maritime Labour Centre,
1880 Triumph Street.
2009-02-07 | The Free Software Movement
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Hall 2 of the Woodward
Instructional Resources Center, University of British Columbia.
2009-02-19 | The Free Software Movement
Bergen, Norway. Auditorium 1, Dragefjellet, University of Bergen
(number 44 on the map at
2009-02-23 | Copyright vs. Community - Free Software and Beyond
Oslo, Norway. Department of Informatics, University of
Oslo. Detailed location to be announced.
2009-03-12 | El Peligro de las Patentes de Software
Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Hotel AC Palau de Bellavista, Pujada
Polvorins, 1, Girona.
2009-03-19 | Copyright vs. Community: supporting artists while
respecting freedom and society
Boston, MA. C. Walsh Theatre, 55 Temple St., Suffolk University.
2009-03-21 and 2009-03-22 | LibrePlanet conference, Cambridge,
Catch up with all the latest events from the FSF and GNU at:
Take Action with the FSF
Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF's
work. You can contribute by joining at http://www.fsf.org/join. If
you're already a member, you can help refer new members by adding a line
with your member number to your email
I'm an FSF member -- Help us support software freedom!
The FSF is also always looking for volunteers
From rabble-rousing to hacking, from
issue coordination to envelope stuffing -- there's something here for
everybody to do. Also, head over to our campaign section
and take action on software patents,
DRM, Vista, Opendocument, RIAA and more.
Copyright © 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted
worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice is