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Free Software Supporter

The Free Software Supporter will keep you up-to-date each month on news from the free software movement. It is edited by FSF volunteer and member Osama Khalid. If you have suggestions for news items that should be included, please send them to us at campaigns@fsf.org.

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Syndicated 2012-04-02 15:38:05 from Free Software Foundation

28 Mar 2012 (updated 2 Apr 2012 at 17:09 UTC) »

2011 Free Software Awards announced

The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is given annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.

Yukihiro Matsumoto and Richard Stallman.

This year, it was given to Yukihiro Matsumoto (aka Matz), the creator of the Ruby programming language. Matz has worked on GNU, Ruby, and other free software for over 20 years. He accepted the award in person and spoke at the conference on his early experiences with free software, especially the influence of GNU Emacs on Ruby.

Yukihiro Matsumoto joins a distinguished list of previous winners:

  • 2010 Rob Savoye
  • 2009 John Gilmore
  • 2008 Wietse Venema
  • 2007 Harald Welte
  • 2006 Ted Ts'o
  • 2005 Andrew Tridgell
  • 2004 Theo de Raadt
  • 2003 Alan Cox
  • 2002 Lawrence Lessig
  • 2001 Guido van Rossum
  • 2000 Brian Paul
  • 1999 Miguel de Icaza
  • 1998 Larry Wall

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life. This award stresses the use of free software in the service of humanity.

Luis Falcon and Richard Stallman.

This year, the award went to GNU Health, a free software project that works with health professionals around the world to improve the lives of the underprivileged. GNU Health has been adopted as the Health and Hospital Information System of choice by the United Nations University. Luis Falcon, the president of GNU Solidario (the organization behind GNU Health), was present to accept the award on behalf of the project.

GNU Health joins an impressive list of previous winners:

  • 2010 Tor
  • 2009 Internet Archive
  • 2008 Creative Commons
  • 2007 Groklaw
  • 2006 Sahana Disaster Management System
  • 2005 Wikipedia

This year's award committee was: Suresh Ramasubramanian, Peter H. Salus, Wietse Venema, Raj Mathur, Hong Feng, Andrew Tridgell, Jonas Oberg, Vernor Vinge, Richard Stallman, Fernanda G. Weiden, Harald Welte, and Rob Savoye.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Media Contacts

John Sullivan
Executive Director
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

High resolution press photos

Photos under CC BY 3.0 Attribution by Jason X Self.


Syndicated 2012-03-28 22:23:50 (Updated 2012-04-02 17:09:11) from Free Software Foundation

Happy Document Freedom Day!

Document Freedom Day (DFD) is a global day for document liberation that is celebrated on the last Wednesday of every March since 2008, and which is organized and funded by the Free Software Foundation Europe.

If you'd like to join us and others around in the world in celebrating DFD we have a few suggestions for you:

Promote the OpenDocument format (ODF)
Learn about OpenDocument format (ODF) and why we must reject proprietary formats.
Display a Document Freedom Day banner
Consider putting a banner (or other artwork) on your blog or website for a few days.
Reject email attachments in proprietary formats!
If somebody emails you a proprietary formatted document (such as files created by Microsoft Office or Apple iWork), politely reject these files and request that the person send you a file in a free document format.
Install LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org and free software extensions
If you have already installed LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org on your own computer, consider helping a family, friend, or co-worker to install it on their own computer. Then, once you have done that, check out the LibrePlanet group that is maintaining a list of Free Extensions for OpenOffice.org & LibreOffice!
ODF 1.2 is a major milestone
Lastly, congratulations are in order to the Open Document Format Technical Committee for their achievement of having ODF Version 1.2 accepted as an OASIS standard on March 17th of this year. The latest version of ODF is a major milestone which not only incorporates suggested improvements from the public, but also adds important features such as spreadsheet formula specification (based on OpenFormula), RDF-based metadata, and several accessibility-related improvements.

Syndicated 2012-03-28 19:39:26 from Free Software Foundation

Happy Birthday GCC!

GCC was first released in 1987, and was one of the first components identified by GNU Project founder Richard Stallman in his September 27th, 1983, message to the net.unix-wizards group on Usenet.

To begin with, GNU will be a kernel plus all the utilities needed to write and run C programs: editor, shell, C compiler, linker, assembler, and a few other things. After this we will add a text formatter, a YACC, an Empire game, a spreadsheet, and hundreds of other things. We hope to supply, eventually, everything useful that normally comes with a Unix system, and anything else useful, including on-line and hardcopy documentation.

Today we celebrate twenty-five years of GNU and the GNU Compiler Collection with an announcement by the GCC release managers:

When Richard Stallman announced the first public release of GCC in 1987, few could have imagined the broad impact that it has had. It has prototyped many language features that later were adopted as part of their respective standards -- everything from "long long" type to transactional memory. It deployed an architecture-neutral automatic vectorization facility, OpenMP, and Polyhedral loop nest optimization. It has provided the toolchain infrastructure for the GNU/Linux ecosystem used everywhere from Google and Facebook to financial markets and stock exchanges. We salute and thank the hundreds of developers who have contributed over the years to make GCC one of the most long-lasting and successful free software projects in the history of this industry.

As a special present we have prepared the release of GCC 4.7.0 which continues the series of free software high-quality industry-standard compilers.

GCC 4.7.0 is a major release, containing substantial new functionality not available in GCC 4.6.x or previous GCC releases.

GCC 4.7 features support for software transactional memory on selected architectures. The C++ compiler supports a bigger subset of the new ISO C++11 standard such as support for atomics and the C++11 memory model, non-static data member initializers, user-defined literals, alias-declarations, delegating constructors, explicit override and extended friend syntax. The C compiler adds support for more features from the new ISO C11 standard. GCC now supports version 3.1 of the OpenMP specification for C, C++ and Fortran.

The link-time optimization (LTO) framework has seen improvements with regards to scalability, stability and resource needs. Inlining and interprocedural constant propagation have been improved.

GCC 4.7 now supports various new GNU extensions to the DWARF debugging information format, like entry value and call site information, a typed DWARF stack and a more compact macro representation.

Extending the widest support for hardware architectures in the industry, GCC 4.7 gains support for Adapteva's Epiphany processor, National Semiconductor's CR16, and TI's C6X as well as Tilera's TILE-Gx and TILEPro families of processors. The x86 family support has been extended by the Intel Haswell and AMD Piledriver architectures. ARM has gained support for the Cortex-A7 family.

GCC 4.7 can be downloaded from ftp.gnu.org.

Syndicated 2012-03-22 15:59:19 from Free Software Foundation

Free Technology Academy 2012 courses

The Free Technology Academy expects to run two course modules for users and systems administrators who want to get started with GNU/Linux systems. A discount on Free Technology Academy courses is available for FSF associate members.

  • Basic GNU/Linux — this module covers the basics of the Free Software philosophy while teaching you how to use and modify GNU/Linux to suit your needs and how to find your way in this new world.
  • GNU/Linux — this module focuses on the administration of GNU/Linux systems. Participants will learn how to install, configure and optimise a GNU/Linux operating system and the most common services.

All FTA courses are completed online, and work with free software systems. Find out more on these courses and how to enroll.

Syndicated 2012-03-12 20:33:51 from Free Software Foundation

FSF associate membership

Join with over 3,000 active members in 48 countries, representing a diverse membership of computer users, artists, software engineers, hackers, students, and activists.

When you donate as an associate member, you are part of an informed society working together to make a better world: respectful of individual freedom, social solidarity, personal privacy, and democracy — built on free software.

The Free Software Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your member donation is tax-deductible in the US.

“I've long been a supporter of the ideas of the FSF and the whole free software movement. Today, I wanted to make a tangible contribution to the FSF, as well as openly declaring my support for the key advocate and defender of software freedom.”

— Cathal McGinley, joined 2007, member #5886

Why donate as an associate member?

  • As a software developer, free software lets you build and improve on the work of others, as part of a social community — built on the principles of sharing.
  • As an artist, you can do things with free software that proprietary software does not allow. All free software allows you to use it for any purpose.
  • As a user, free software removes you from the power struggle of proprietary software, where you are able to help yourself and are not dependent on a single developer or company to help you.
  • As a student, you can study and modify the software you use, learning from and enhancing the tools that you use for education.

Syndicated 2012-03-06 16:52:09 from Free Software Foundation

Help GNU/Linux distributions be committed to freedom

Ways to help. See a complete list of free GNU/Linux distributions that could use your help. To learn more about what makes for a free GNU/Linux distribution, see our Guidelines for Free System Distributions. You can also help by working to move other popular distributions that don't currently meet the criteria toward being fully free.

Syndicated 2012-03-02 20:51:51 from Free Software Foundation

Replacement for OpenDWG libraries

Ways to help. The GNU package LibreDWG is a free C library to handle DWG files. It aims to be a free replacement for the OpenDWG libraries. (DWG is the native file format for AutoCAD.)

Syndicated 2012-03-02 20:51:51 from Free Software Foundation

Reversible Debugging in GDB

Ways to help. See this general information about GDB's current support for reversible debugging, and this list of additional tasks (at the end of the page). If you have further questions please contact campaigns@fsf.org.

Syndicated 2012-03-02 20:51:51 from Free Software Foundation

Free software drivers for network routers

Ways to help. We need your help in developing free software drivers and other low-level software to run network routers. One way to do this is to contact the device manufacturer and ask them to release their specifications and/or code as free software. If you know of routers that do not require the use of proprietary software please let us know by contacting hardware@fsf.org. Projects seeking funding in this area should consider applying for a grant from the NLnet Foundation.

Syndicated 2012-03-02 20:51:51 from Free Software Foundation

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