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Updated: 13 hours 57 min ago

Introducing Craig Topham, FSF copyright and licensing associate

Wed, 2019-09-11 14:19

Hello World! My name is Craig Topham, and I’m the latest to have the honor of being a copyright and licensing associate for the Free Software Foundation (FSF). I started work in November, and the delay in assembling my introductory blog post is a testament to how busy I have been. Although my post feels late, it gives me a chance to share my experience here at the FSF, along with sharing a little bit more about myself.

From 2005 to 2017, I worked as a PC/Network Technician for the City of Eugene, Oregon. The role had the inherent reward of allowing me to be a part of something much larger than myself. I was helping local government function. From the mayor and city council all the way to the summer staff that worked the front desk at the recreation department's swimming pools, I was one of many making it all work. It was even a part of my job to support some free software the city used! Sadly, a vast majority of the software that we used was proprietary, but despite the painful duty of supporting nonfree software, the overall experience felt pretty great. As I close that chapter of my life with all the wonderful memories and marks made, I am beset with a wild sense of relief. Like finding a rock in my shoe after twelve years, the alleviation is palatable: I never have to labor to master proprietary software again!

For unknown reasons (which I contemplate often), I did not learn about the free software movement until 2004, despite a lifetime of using computers. Like so many before me, my initial education on the movement came via Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman. What so instantaneously drew me to free software was the simplicity of the four freedoms: run, edit, share, contribute. These freedoms, coupled with the ethical nature of the movement, made it a natural fit for me. It did not take me long to realize that this is what I needed to soothe my “How can I make the world a better place?” angst. Inevitably, I became an FSF associate member on October 28, 2007 because it was (and still is) the easiest way to help out. If you are reading this and you are not a member, I encourage you to change that and help make the world a better place.

Although the four freedoms appear simple, defending them in this complicated world is a different story. The GNU General Public License (GPL) was created as a tool that anyone can use to defend those freedoms. As with any license, questions arise as to best practices and various topics like compatibility with other terms. In order to help others make better use of free software, my team (and our fantastic volunteers) answer licensing questions sent to licensing@fsf.org. There, we are useful to programmers and others seeking to ensure that free software remains free for future generations.

In my role here at the FSF as a copyright and licensing associate, the program I have been most excited about is evaluating products for the “Respects Your Freedom” (RYF) certification program. Enjoyably, this task brings the highest degree of technical calisthenics for my work at the FSF. The RYF certification program encourages the creation and sale of products designed to do as much as possible to empower you, the user, and will provide reassurance that you have the complete control that you deserve over your device. Keep an eye on this program! More than ever, people are becoming wise to the idea that their freedom, privacy, and rights are something that requires active defense, and having the right hardware is the first step.

Among many other job duties, the most engrossing is that of GPL compliance for works on which the FSF holds copyright. Although backed by the force of law, a compliance case should be viewed as a kind of teachable moment, because with every compliance case comes an opportunity to make the free software movement stronger. This strength comes from the addition of another compliant distributor of free software as we continue to labor towards (and ultimately secure) a world that respects the GPL and computer user freedom.

As I mentioned earlier, I find it rewarding to be a part of something larger than myself, and this role puts me on the front lines of an important movement which spans the whole globe. The free software movement is invaluable because humanity is faced with a critical binary choice that will determine the quality of our collective future: when it comes to computers, we either control these machines or we don't. It is that simple, especially since we now live in a world that is inseparably intertwined with this technology. If we don’t control these machines, the challenges of keeping personal privacy, retaining freedom of speech, and having transparency in governments will be nearly impossible to overcome. Free software does not guarantee success to these challenges, but free software is understandably a prerequisite. If the free software movement fails, our prospects would be very dim, and a nightmarish dystopia awaits. Fortunately, from a widely held point of view, the movement has been very successful, but there is obviously still far more work to be done. I am here to do that work.

I'm very grateful to be here, and will strive to be the activist that the FSF and free software users everywhere need and deserve. We will see how it goes; however, I believe that with a talented FSF staff and so many dedicated supporters and volunteers behind us, our bright future is an inevitability.

If you ever want to meet, feel free to stop by our office. We love visitors! If you can’t stop by, you can find a licensing and compliance team member every Friday hosting the Free Software Directory Meeting in the #fsf IRC Channel on freenode.net, from 1200-1500 Eastern Time, or you can reach me at craigt@fsf.org.

Here’s what else you can do to get involved and help make the world a better place:

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Help defend the right to read: stand up against DRM on October 12th

Thu, 2019-09-05 17:45

Defective by Design is calling on you to stand up against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on October 12th, 2019. This year we will be focusing specifically on everyone's right to read, particularly by urging publishers to free students and educators from the unnecessary and cumbersome restrictions that make their access to necessary course materials far more difficult.

For years, products incorporating Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) have been a plague upon the Web, and have gradually infiltrated nearly every aspect of digital society. New developments have reminded all of us that DRM is now more of a threat than ever. Many people were impacted by Microsoft's Orwellian "ebook apocalypse," in which thousands of books were forcibly deleted from ebook readers and smartphones. Recently we have seen DRM extend its sinister influence into education, especially in the form of "digital-first" textbooks that put onerous restrictions on students that forbid them from accessing the course materials they have bought, and the education that they deserve. The "Netflix of textbooks" model practiced by the major textbook publisher Pearson is a Trojan horse for education: requiring a constant Internet connection for "authentication" purposes, severely limiting the number of pages a student can read at one time, and secretly collecting telemetric data on their reading habits.

It is universally agreed that each person has a right to be educated -- so why are major publishers like Pearson placing digital handcuffs on students that make learning more difficult? This year, we will be asking both corporations and everyday people alike to demonstrate their commitment to education. For publishers like Pearson, that means the immediate removal of DRM from any and all of their educational materials. We will also be showing you how easy it is to make contributions to ethical, freely licensed, and DRM-free textbooks by sponsoring both Boston-area and remote hackathons.

DRM poses a serious threat to our collective cultural heritage, and has wide-reaching implications for historical preservation. It also severely limits what can be viewed "legitimately" by those in other nations by putting an arbitrary location-based block on many different kinds of media. In a world where companies like Pearson and Amazon have the ability to make unauthorized books "disappear" from all of their users' devices, it's not hard to imagine how this power could be used for even greater injustices. Will the next ebook apocalypse happen simply because a given book is too critical of its publisher, or the country it's discussing? If works are made exclusive to a digitally restricted platform, who knows what important works will be lost the next time this happens?

For thirteen years, we have used IDAD to mobilize actions that stand up for the freedom of users everywhere. This year, we'll be continuing the fight by bringing in a round of in-person actions, guest bloggers, organizing tips, and a few surprises that you won't want to miss. Follow along with us at the Defective by Design Web site, join the DRM Elimination Crew mailing list, and read about our past actions, such as last year's IDAD, and our protest of the W3C's decision to embed DRM into the core framework of the Internet.

If you're new to the movement and looking for ways to avoid DRM, or just want to learn more, take a look at our Guide to DRM-Free Living. This year, we've updated it with lists of retailers to avoid and ones to support, in addition to giving general tips on how to tell whether a book, video, or piece of music is DRM-encumbered.

As we become ever more reliant on digital methods of accessing our shared cultural history, the question of who controls that access and how they control it becomes a crucial one. In standing up against DRM, you are not only standing up for the rights of students and other readers now, but for those in years to come. Our successes in past years could not have happened without your help. Every voice raised in protest of DRM weakens the hold it has on all of us. Together, we are confident that we can end it once and for all.

How to participate
  • The easiest way to participate is to join us in going a Day Without DRM, and resolve to spend an entire day (or longer!) without Netflix, Hulu, and other restricted services to show your support of the movement. Document your experiences on social media using the tags "#idad" or "#dbd," and let us know at info@defectivebydesign.org if you have a special story you'd like us to share.

  • Even more effective is to join up with others to make your voice louder. We'll be providing activists around the world with support here on how they can stage their own local in-person event, as well as how to join us online while we help improve the free and ethical alternatives to educational materials restricted by DRM.

  • In Boston, we'll be leading the way with our own demonstration on October 12th, 2019 at Pearson Education's corporate offices, followed by an evening hackathon on collaborative, freely licensed educational materials.

  • Follow us on GNU social or Twitter (with caveats) to stay posted on all the events we have planned, in addition to more news items on how you can resist DRM.

  • If you're IRC-inclined, join us in the #dbd channel on the Freenode network for real-time chat and collaboration on DRM-related actions.

  • Join and take part in discussions on the DRM Elimination Crew mailing list, where we'll be sending all of the information about this year's campaign.

  • Are you an organization or project interested in supporting IDAD? We're looking for vendors of DRM-free media, organizations that support the building of a DRM-free world, and those who believe in the mission of DbD to participate by offering sales, writing blog posts, organizing events, and sharing information with your members about IDAD. Please contact us at info@defectivebydesign.org for more information.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 15 new GNU releases in August!

Mon, 2019-08-26 12:51

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

To download: nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html.

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

As always, please feel free to write to us at maintainers@gnu.org with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

May 2019: Photos from Aalborg and Copenhagen

Thu, 2019-08-08 11:35

Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman (RMS) was in Denmark in May 2019.

After a visit to the beach in nearby Slettestrand the day before, RMS went to Aalborg, where he delivered his speech “Free software and your freedom”1 at Aalborg University (AAU), on May 6th.

Photos courtesy of Aalborg University (copyright © 2019, CC BY 4.0).

The next day, he went on to Odense, where he gave his speech “The danger of mass surveillance” at Syddansk Universitet (the University of Southern Denmark, or SDU). Next, he headed on to Copenhagen, where he gave the following three speeches.

On May 8th, he was at the IT-Universitetet i København (IT University of Copenhagen, or ITU) to give his speech “Free Software and your freedom in computing,” to an audience of about three hundred people.

Photos courtesy of ITU Innovators (copyright © 2019, CC BY 4.0).

On May 9th, he was in the Lundbeckfond Auditorium of the Copenhagen Biocenter, at Københavns Universitet (University of Copenhagen, or KU), to give his speech “Computing, freedom, and privacy.”

Photos courtesy of the University of Copenhagen (copyright © 2019, CC BY 4.0).

On May 10th, he gave his speech "Should we have more surveillance than the USSR?" at Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (the Technical University of Denmark, or DTU).

On the day after that, while still in Copenhagen, he visited the Danish-French School, the only school in Denmark to use free software exclusively.

Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible!

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can inform you about future events in and around Aalborg, Odense, Copenhagen.

Please see www.fsf.org/events for a full list of all of RMS's confirmed engagements,
and contact rms-assist@gnu.org if you'd like him to come speak.

1. The recording will soon be posted on our audio-video archive.
Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Fundraiser membership drive comes to an end and we all win!

Wed, 2019-08-07 11:43

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) spring fundraiser has come to an end and we would like to thank you for your help in surpassing our ambitious goal of 200 new members in 28 days, and for all the inspirational words of support we've received over the past weeks. The motivations people give for becoming associate members are gratifying, and these are only a few:

  • I think non-free software is unethical.

  • GNU OS has enabled me to build my companies and remain independent of big capital

  • I thought it was about time that I started supporting the software I've been using for years...

We're extremely thankful for all of the ways you may have contributed. For instance, you may have taken the time to explain the concept of free software to someone new. Perhaps you licensed your program under the GNU GPLv3 or later, or you contributed to free software by giving your spare time writing code. Or you heard our call and left your copy of the Free Software Foundation Bulletin in a public space and shared our images online. Because of your help, we managed to welcome 206 new members to our associate membership program, and new people continue to join daily!

We are only 14 staff here at the FSF, so we rely on our community to keep moving forward in the fight for user freedom. Whether online or offline, the support we get from your financial generosity, positive feedback, and sharing our mission for user freedom is very much appreciated.

We are powered by donors, members, and volunteers like you -- all of the work of the FSF is accomplished with your help.

A warm thank GNU!

Zoe Kooyman
Program Manager

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 16 new GNU releases in July!

Fri, 2019-07-26 13:56

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

To download: nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html.

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

As always, please feel free to write to us at maintainers@gnu.org with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Strengthen free software by telling Congress to reject the STRONGER Patents Act

Thu, 2019-07-25 15:19

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has long been opposed to the ways in which US and international patent law have been misused to allow for so-called "software patents." As these patents are not held over a particular piece of software, but rather any principle that can be used in its design, it is more accurate to describe them as software idea patents. Software idea patents are a grave threat to free software developers because they severely limit the scope of what they can or cannot implement, and also expose them to legal harassment from any group that has enough resources to enforce their unjust claim over a programming idea. Litigation on a software idea patent can spell financial ruin for developers and an abrupt end to any free software project. An upcoming bill in Congress would leave the free software community much more open to these kinds of attacks.

Despite its failure to pass in 2017, a bill with the appropriately Orwellian title of "Support Technology and Research of Our Nation's Growth and Economic Resilience" (STRONGER) Patents Act was reintroduced into Congress on July 10th, 2019. If passed, the Act would make software idea patents much more easily claimed and enforceable against developers in the free software community. Whatever its effects on other types of patents may be, the fact that it will prop up software idea patents is reason enough to reject it. As we have seen before, it is an attempt to patch a broken system. The proposed bill never bothers to question the validity of these patents as a category. To protect our community, it is our duty to inform Congress and legislators that the only remedy for the problem posed by software idea patents is to dismantle them entirely.

The FSF urges all of its supporters to contact their local congresspeople and advise them to vote against the STRONGER Patents Act. No matter where you are in the world, please stand firm in campaigning for the right of free software users and programmers to use, copy, and develop tools for user and community empowerment.

Take action!

If you're not in the US, let us know your country by updating your profile so we can send you more relevant info. In the meantime, please also help us spread the word to your contacts in the US.

Nervous? Try using the following script:

Hello,

I live in CITY/STATE. I am calling to urge you to vote against the "STRONGER" Patents Act, and protect programmers and developers from the threat of software idea patents.

Thank you for your time.

Don't know who to call?

  • To call your congressperson directly, dial (202) 224-3121 and the switchboard will connect you.
  • Alternatively, you can find contact information for both your local senator and House representative online in the Senate and House directories.
Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Fall internships at the FSF! Apply by September 2

Wed, 2019-07-24 12:00

Do you believe that free software is crucial to a free society? Do you want to help people understand why free software matters, and how to use it? Are you interested in diving into software freedom issues like copyleft, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), or surveillance and encryption? Or are you interested in sysadmin work? We may have just the opportunity for you here at the FSF!

These positions are unpaid, educational opportunities, and the FSF will provide any appropriate documentation you might need to receive funding and school credit from outside sources. We also provide lunch expense reimbursement and a monthly transportation pass that will give you free access to local subways and buses (MBTA). We place an emphasis on providing hands-on educational opportunities for interns, in which they work closely with staff mentors on projects that match their skills and interests.

Interns can choose from the following fields of work:

  • The FSF campaigns team is in charge of communicating with and expanding our audience of free software supporters, targeting important opportunities for free software adoption and development, and empowering people to act against specific threats to their freedom. Campaigns team interns might work on expanding and updating our resources on a particular area of the free software world. Or, the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) offers a great opportunity to plan and experience the online and offline elements of a full campaign in close collaboration with our campaigns manager.

  • The FSF licensing and compliance lab works with developers to license their packages under one of the GNU General Public Licenses and to help organizations maintain compliance. They also field all licensing and copyleft inquiries. Licensing team interns might assist with the Respects Your Freedom certification program, or they might work to improve the Free Software Directory or analyze the compatibility of other licenses with the GPL.

  • The FSF tech team maintains and improves the infrastructure for the FSF and the GNU Project. Tech team interns may choose from our current list of projects, or suggest one of their own. We have plenty of opportunities, from updating our video streaming toolkit, to improving our data management systems.

Fall internships start mid to end September and typically run for a period of twelve weeks. We prefer candidates who are able to work in our Boston office, but may consider remote interns. The deadline to apply is September 2.

To apply, send a letter of interest and a resume with two references to hiring@fsf.org. Please send all application materials in free software-friendly formats like .pdf, .odt, and .txt. Use "Fall internship application" as the subject line of your email. Please include links to your writing, design, or coding work if it applies -- personal, professional, or class work is acceptable. URLs are preferred, though email attachments in free formats are acceptable, too. Learn more about our internships, and direct any questions to info@fsf.org.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

June 2019: Photos from Brno

Tue, 2019-07-09 11:39

Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman (RMS) was in Brno, Czech Republic on June 6, 2019, to give two speeches.

In the morning, he took part in the URBIS Smart City Fair, at the Brno Fair Grounds, giving his speech "Computing, freedom, and privacy."1

(Copyright © 2019 Veletrhy Brno, a. s. Photos licensed under CC BY 4.0.)

In the afternoon, at the University Cinema Scala, he gave his speech "The free software movement and the GNU/Linux operating system," to about three hundred people.

(Copyright © 2019 Pavel Loutocký. Photos licensed under CC BY 4.0.)

(Copyright © 2019 Pavel Loutocký. Photos licensed under CC BY 4.0.)

Thank you to everyone who made this visit possible!

If you're in the area, please fill out our contact form, so that we can inform you about future events in and around Brno.

Please see www.fsf.org/events for a full list of all of RMS's confirmed engagements,
and contact rms-assist@gnu.org if you'd like him to come speak.

1. The recording will soon be posted on our audio-video archive.
Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Thank you for advancing free software: Read FSF spring news in the latest Bulletin

Tue, 2019-07-09 00:55

Our Bulletin highlights some important activities and issues in free software over the last six months, including:

It highlights some important activities and issues in free software over the last six months, including:

  • an educational program we launched, together with free software activist Devin Ulibarri, where we used the program Music Blocks to teach Boston area public school youth about coding and free software, and then proceeded to donate ten fully freed laptops to the schools we visited;

  • some ideas on how the free software community can do better to bring visibility to our movement, according to LibrePlanet 2019 conference speaker and free software activist Mary Kate Fain, pulled from her superb LibrePlanet talk “Sparking change: What free software can learn from social justice movements”; and

  • our licensing and compliance manager, Donald Robertson, III, reports on the progress of our Respects Your Freedom program, with further explanation on the parameters needed for the certification of hardware devices that meet FSF's criteria for protecting the rights of users.

Thirty-five volunteers joined FSF staff over the course of three days to get all the Bulletins stuffed in envelopes and mailed out. This was a great opportunity to catch up on free software issues with some of our most dedicated free software enthusiasts here in Boston. We are grateful to have such a strong core of supporters that keep the movement growing, and thanks to your generous contribution, we will be even stronger.

Please be vocal about your support for free software. Read and share the Bulletin articles online using the #ISupportFreeSoftware hashtag, use our fundraiser support images, and talk to your community about why you support the FSF. It makes a difference.

Throughout our spring fundraiser, we have been enjoying both the public posts from supporters using the hashtag on social media, as well as answers to the "What inspired you to join today?" question we ask new members. Here are some of our favorites.

  • We see many excited calls for user freedom and user control:
    • "For freedom!"
    • "Does the software you use grant you the freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others? #FreeSoftware does. Learn more by listening to Richard M. Stallman, on the Making Better podcast. #ISupportFreeSoftware" from @makingbetterpod
    • @mmaug shared: "There are alternatives to Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Twitter. Take control of your privacy, and your computer! #ISupportFreeSoftware #FSF"
    • @globalspectator posted: "Software you don't control seizes control over you. Help @fsf break the chains of proprietary software for a freer future #ISupportFreeSoftware"
  • We receive humbling thank you's from people appreciating our work, naming the LibrePlanet conference, our licensing work, and the GNU Project:

    • "Wanted to for a long time. Also, LibrePlanet!"
    • "Gratitude. And a long lasting debt feeling. Thanks so much!"
    • "As a software developer and GNU/Linux user I want to set a statement and do my part in keeping free software popular"
    • "I use GNU tools, and have since the beginning"
  • And most importantly, we hear from people who have come across our activities and campaign images online, or who were informed about FSF through their on- and offline community and decided to take action -- convincing us that people inspiring each other to join the Free Software Supporter mailing list, or to become an associate member is by far the most powerful way to expand our reach and strengthen our message:

    • "I watched an interview with Richard Stallman"
    • "A friend"
    • "A post in the 'Victorhck in the free world' blog"
    • @opc_5 called for digital liberation through free software: "Software Libre para la liberación digital. #ISupportFreeSoftware"
    • @AugustinPMichel tagged his connections with: "#ISupportFreeSoftware, do you?"

Today, we have one week left in our spring fundraiser, and we are confident we will achieve our membership goal of 200 members in 28 days if we keep at it. With your help, we may engage enough people to also reach 400 donations before the 15th of July. Your support helped get us where we are, in position to succeed. Your generosity and outspokenness fuel our message, increase our reach, and will allow us to continue to advocate on your behalf.

Thank you for your contribution to free software.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 17 new GNU releases in June!

Thu, 2019-06-27 12:08

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

To download: nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html.

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

As always, please feel free to write to us at maintainers@gnu.org with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Emacs T-shirts available now at the GNU Press Shop

Tue, 2019-06-25 15:20

Have you been waiting with bated breath for the opportunity to show your love for Emacs, the text editor that also does everything else, with a nifty T-shirt? Wait no longer. The GNU Press Shop now has Emacs logo T-shirts in unisex sizes S through XXXL. Order one at https://shop.fsf.org/tshirts-hoodies/emacs-logo-t-shirt, and we'll ship it to you sooner than you can say "extensible, customizable, self-documenting, real-time display editor."

All GNU Press Shop purchases support the Free Software Foundation's efforts to free all software, and FSF associate members get a 20% discount off of all purchases.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Drop the journalism charges against Julian Assange

Tue, 2019-06-25 13:50

The US government has persecuted Julian Assange for a decade for Wikileaks' journalism, and now seeks to use his case to label the publishing of leaked secret information as spying.

The Free Software Foundation stands for freedom of publication and due process, because they are necessary to exercise and uphold the software freedom we campaign for. The attack on journalism threatens freedom of publication; the twisting of laws to achieve an unstated aim threatens due process of law. The FSF therefore calls on the United States to drop all present and future charges against Julian Assange relating to Wikileaks activities.

Accusations against Assange that are unrelated to journalism should be pursued or not pursued based on their merits, giving him neither better nor worse treatment on account of his journalism.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Double the movement: Inspire someone to explore free software

Wed, 2019-06-19 17:03

Thank you for being part of our exceptionally generous community. Your interest in our mission is what got us where we are, in position to succeed if we keep at it. While it's incredible to have hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the world, we need to connect with millions if we're to realize a world free of proprietary software. This spring, we have set ourselves goals to reach 200 new members and 400 donations before July 15th, and to achieve them, we need your help. Please take this moment to publicly share your passion for free software. If each free software supporter inspires just one other, we can double our strength.

We tasked free software designer Raghavendra Kamath with creating some inspiring visual images to help us spread our message further. You can find these banners and profile images, including their embed codes, here. Sharing these images online might inspire someone to explore free software, and may give reasons for you to educate your friends and family about why free software matters. Use the hashtag #ISupportFreeSoftware when you share the images online or on your social media.

Here are some more ways to help grow our movement:

  • If you can spare a monthly $10 ($5 for students), your contribution in the form of an Associate Membership is the strongest vote of confidence you can give us. For less than a subscription to a Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)-controlled streaming service, your membership will serve as a testament that our work is used, read, and making its way through the world. In appreciation, we offer Associate Members many benefits.

  • Inspire someone you know to become an Associate Member, or gift a membership to a friend following the instructions in this link.

  • Donate any amount suitable to your household, and have a look at other ways to donate to see if there is a simple action you can take to give your support to the FSF.

  • Start a conversation about free software and why you support the FSF with someone you know.

  • Share your victories and experiences with free software online or in person with your community. Please use the images provided and the hashtag #ISupportFreeSoftware to help stimulate other people to do the same.

Your generosity and outspokenness fuel our message and allow us to continue to advocate on your behalf. Our fourteen hardworking staff use your contributions wisely, earning yet another best possible rating of four stars from Charity Navigator this last year. You can read our financial statements and our annual reports online.

Individual financial contributions and spreading the word like this are forms of activism we need much more of if we're to overcome trillions of proprietary software dollars. We need to grow and diversify if we're to make respect for user freedom the default, rather than a constantly endangered niche. We've shown that with your support we can succeed together against far greater resources -- thank you for sticking with us and giving everything you can to bring about a brighter future.

Read more about our online appeal!

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

A roundup of recent updates to our licensing materials - November 2018 to June 2019

Tue, 2019-06-04 18:27

We recently added two new licenses to our list of Various Licenses and Comments about Them and we updated our comments on Creative Commons 0 (CC0). We cleaned up the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Licensing & Compliance Team page and refreshed the materials on it. What follows is a brief rundown on those changes, and how you can learn more about free software licensing.

Personal Public License Version 3a (PPL)

The PPL is a nonfree license based on the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPL). The PPL takes the language of the GPL, but redefines who is a licensee to exclude "Organizations." That means that non profits, governments, and other organizations are not able to enjoy the four freedoms in any software licensed under the PPL.

Free software does not discriminate based on who the user is, or how the user intends to use the software. The PPL falls into the same trap of those who would restrict military or "commercial" use of software. Such restrictions are antithetical to software freedom, so any license with such a term is necessarily a proprietary software license.

Anti-996 License

We added the Anti-996 License to the nonfree list. The "996" in the name refers to a common labor practice in China requiring workers to work from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, six days a week. The license attempts to ban use of the software by organizations or users that fail to comply with local labor laws or international labor standards. Like the PPL, this restriction on who may use the software renders the license nonfree. Free software never limits the freedom to run the program.

CC0

CC0 is a public domain dedication. If for any reason such dedication is not possible, it has a fallback license meant to ensure virtually the same conditions. But CC0 explicitly does not grant a patent license, making it problematic for use on software. Our entry previously didn't cover this last aspect of the license. We've updated our comments to explain how the patent situation with CC0 works, and to warn users about the issues involved in using software available under the license.

Licensing team updates

As part of our spring cleaning, we made some updates to the overview of our available licensing materials. We welcomed some new team members over the past year, and finally have them included on the FSF Compliance Lab Team page. We made a number of other minor updates, as we're always looking to improve the resources we offer. But if we missed something, or if you would like to see more resources added, let us know by sending us an email at licensing@fsf.org. Here's what else you can do to help:

Thank you to all the FSF associate members and donors who make this important work possible.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets