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Updated: 1 day 8 hours ago

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: November 17th starting at 12:00 p.m. EST/17:00 UTC

Mon, 2017-11-13 14:33

Participate in supporting the Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world for over a decade now, it has the potential to be a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

It was 47 years ago on November 17th that Douglas Engelbart received the first patent on the computer mouse. This advent in the realm of human interface devices (HID) would open the world of computers to many new people. To this day though, a battle rages in terms of the mouse's general use: the classic battle of window managers between the mouse-less Awesome and mouse-centric Mutter. This week, the Directory theme for entries is mice as input devices, and we will be discussing HIDs in general.

If you are eager to help, and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today! There are also weekly Directory Meeting pages that everyone is welcome to contribute to before, during, and after each meeting.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

You can now register as a DMCA agent without using nonfree JavaScript

Mon, 2017-11-13 12:42

Users shouldn't be forced to use nonfree software when interacting with their own government. Every user has the right to control their own computing, and the government shouldn't be forcing you to download and install proprietary software just to take advantage of its services. But when it comes to registering as an agent under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States, that's exactly what the government expects you to do.

Users are likely familiar with the DMCA's more draconian aspects, namely the creation of legal penalties for circumventing Digital Restrictions Management. The Free Software Foundation's Defective by Design campaign is fighting to end that nightmare and repeal that part of the law. But like many laws, it's crammed full of a wide variety of provisions, the anti-circumvention rules being only one of them.

Another piece of the law creates what are known as the safe harbor provisions. These rules set out some steps that maintainers of Web sites can take to avoid liability when a user of their site uploads potentially infringing copyrighted materials. The main provision here is that if a copyright holder finds their work on your site without their permission, they can submit a take down notice to an agent registered for your site. This agent can then remove the work, thus avoiding liability for the potentially infringing distribution. Without this safe harbor, the site maintainer could potentially be sued.

While this safe harbor rule can lead to abuse, with improper take downs, it also allows maintainers of Web sites to permit their users to share works. If the rule wasn't in place, it would be too dangerous to accept such uploads without reviewing each work -- something most Web sites can't afford to do. The Free Software Foundation takes advantage of the safe harbor provisions to ensure that we can continue to share software created and uploaded by free software developers, or to share information like that found in the Free Software Directory, or to help people organize locally via LibrePlanet.org.

As mentioned before, though, taking advantage of the safe harbor provisions requires having an agent to accept the notices. This is where the problem arises. The U.S. Copyright Office is now requiring Web site maintainers to re-register using https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/ by December 31st of 2017. This site, like many others that the Copyright Office requires use of, is lousy with nonfree JavaScript. Unlike the server software you may interact with when visiting any Web site, JavaScript is actually downloaded and run on your machine. Like any proprietary software, it does not serve the user, and cannot be trusted. Users must avoid nonfree JavaScript just as they would avoid any piece of proprietary software. But if they want to continue to enjoy safe harbor provisions, they must allow this intrusion onto their computer.

The Free Software Foundation reached out to the Copyright Office with these issues, and we still hope to work out a solution with them for the long term. But with the deadline coming up, we had to fix it ourselves. We collaborated with a volunteer to develop a workaround that allows you to register using only free software. The fix requires installing two freely licensed add-ons, Register DMCA claim contacts w/o bad Javascript and Automatically reveal hidden HTML elements. These add-ons, when used with GNU LibreJS, allow anyone who needs to register as a DMCA agent to do so without loading the harmful nonfree JavaScript.

There are still a few quirks that are being hammered out. Currently you have to add alternate names by uploading a document rather than filling in a text field. The only document type that they will accept is Excel, a proprietary format, but users can create documents in that format using LibreOffice. It's not a perfect solution, but it does enable users to actually complete the entire registration process using only free software. We will also be talking with the Copyright Office about supporting better formats. That is one of the beautiful things about free software: when people see a problem and have control over their own tools, they have the power to come together and make things right.

Users have a right to control their own computing. Governments everywhere should ensure that participating in any program they provide does not require the use of nonfree software. But where governments are slow to react, we all have to work together to route around the threat of proprietary software. Here's what you can do to help:

  • Spread the word to any Web site maintainers you know that they can register using free software.
  • Use the add-ons to register for your own sites, and let us know you did by emailing us at licensing@fsf.org.
  • Help improve GNU LibreJS.
  • Support the work of the Free Software Foundation by donating or becoming a member.
Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: November 10th starting at 12:00 p.m. EST/17:00 UTC

Tue, 2017-11-07 12:03

Participate in supporting the Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world for over a decade now, it has the potential to be a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

November 10th, 1834, a ship set sail from Valparaiso, Chile. This ship was named the H.M.S. Beagle, and on it was a very special passenger, Charles Darwin. This trip would serve as a solidifying moment for Darwin in the formation of his theories. With this event in mind, the Directory theme this week is focused on evolution. Whether it's the email client known as Evolution, or Genetic Algorithm Utility Library (GAUL), which utilizes evolutionary models to to assist in the development of code requiring genetic algorithms, we will be looking at evolution in many different forms

If you are eager to help, and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today! There are also weekly Directory Meeting pages that everyone is welcome to contribute to before, during, and after each meeting.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

How we are addressing a mistake we made while running defectivebydesign.org

Fri, 2017-11-03 16:17

On Wednesday, October 25th, we received an email letting us know that an old Drupal database backup file was publicly accessible on defectivebydesign.org, a site operated by the Free Software Foundation. This backup file contained contact information and other details that should not have been public, submitted from 2007-2012.

Within minutes of receiving the report, we removed the file and started auditing defectivebydesign.org and the rest of our sites. The file did not contain any passwords or password hashes, financial information, mailing addresses, or information about users who interacted with the site without ever logging in.

On Friday, October 27th, once we were reasonably confident we understood the scope of the problem and had fixed the most urgent issues, we sent a notification email to every address that was in the database backup file. We explained what had happened, took responsibility, and apologized.

If you did not receive such an email, then your address was not in the exposed file.

The file included (from both real and spambot users' profiles):

  • ~28,000 email addresses;
  • contact names;
  • some IP addresses associated with comments on posts;
  • ~120 phone numbers;
  • some information users shared about whether they participated in a particular campaign action (like a call-in), and
  • timestamps of users submitting data.

While some of this information was intended by users to be public, some of it definitely was not.

I and the rest of the FSF staff are deeply sorry for this mistake. We know how important privacy is to our supporters; we fight on your behalf every day against restrictive and invasive technologies that threaten it. We also don't believe in covering up our mistakes, so we wanted to let everyone affected know as soon as possible, and then share our mistake and what we learned from it here, publicly.

Even though we are a small team, under pressure to move fast against extremely large forces, this kind of mistake is absolutely unacceptable. We have made many improvements in our security practices since 2012, and in light of this failure will be taking a deeper look at what else we need to do.

I'd also like to share some of the technical details about what happened, because in just a few minutes of searching, we found others who are making the same mistake we did.

A backup of defectivebydesign.org's Drupal database was made with the backup-migrate module in 2012, likely to assist migration of the site to a new host. We failed to delete or move that file.

In 2014, or some time before then, the directory name of our Drupal installation was manually changed as part of an upgrade. However we didn't update the part of our Apache configuration that enabled .htaccess files for specific directories. Drupal's .htaccess file normally hides files by disallowing directory indexes. The site appeared to work normally despite the disabled .htaccess file because our main Apache configuration contained functionality normally performed by that file. We also mistakenly didn't have another .htaccess file to fully disable access to the backup. As a result, the backup file was left exposed.

The documentation for backup_migrate has a "VERY IMPORTANT SECURITY NOTE" indicating that "Backup and Migrate attempts to protect backup files using a .htaccess file," which we failed to mind.

We currently don't use this module, and instead backup the site as part of our global backup procedures. We are reviewing and improving several other policies and procedures to both avoid making similar mistakes again, and to detect them should they be made. This includes, for example, deleting personal data from sites where we no longer use it or need it, and accelerating our progress toward full coverage by our centralized server configuration management system.

Thank you all for your support and trust. Our technical team can also use more hands on some of their work to help expedite improvements; if you have expertise in systems administration and are interested in volunteering some time to help, please let us know at sysadmin@gnu.org.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Seventeen new GNU releases in the month of October

Wed, 2017-11-01 10:28

(as of October 24, 2017):

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

Richard Stallman on the radio: listen to his interview on “Take the Lead” on November 3

Wed, 2017-11-01 09:45

Richard Stallman's conversation with radio host Dr. Diane Hamilton will air on her show “Take the Lead” on November 3, 2017, at 10:00 EDT, on twelve AM/FM stations across the United States, including:

  • Tampa, Florida: AM 1630, FM 92.1
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: AM 1520, FM 107.1
  • Macon, Georgia: AM 810, FM 87.9
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania: AM 1640, FM 102.1
  • Boulder, Colorado: FM 100.7
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: FM 104.1
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: FM 107.3
  • Long Beach, California: FM 101.5
  • The Villages, Florida: FM 97.7
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado: FM 87.9
  • Jacksonville, Florida: FM 90.3

You can also listen to the interview online here.

Dr. Diane Hamilton's Leadership Radio Show features in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, speakers, and other influential individuals, including Steve Forbes of Forbes Media and Craig Newmark of Craiglist.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

October 2017: RMS photos from Romania

Tue, 2017-10-31 13:15

Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman (RMS) was in Romania this month, to deliver the keynote speech at the Fundația Ceata-organized Coliberator 2017 conference (2017-10-07-08), at the Biblioteca Centrală a Universității Politehnica din București, in Bucharest, on October 7th, to about 140 people. While there, he also spoke to students at a GNU/Linux Install Fest.

(Photo under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of Fundația Ceata.)

To coincide with the conference, the foundation's partners organized satellite events. In Iași, on October 9th, at the Universitatea Tehnică "Gh. Asachi" din Iași, RMS met with Tranzit's diverse community of activists, artists, political science students, and software developers.

(Photo under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of Florin Bobu.)

And in Timișoara, about 450 people packed the auditorium of the Universitatea Politehnica Timișoara, in an event co-organized by the Computer Science Department, to hear him give his speech “Free Software and Your Freedom”:

(Photos under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of Titus Bălan.)

Thank you to Tiberiu-Constantin Turbureanu and to everyone else who made this appearance possible!

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can inform you about future events in and around Bucharest, Iași, and Timișoara. 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.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Florian Rival of GDevelop

Mon, 2017-10-30 14:32

My name is Florian Rival, I'm a software engineer working in Paris. I'm working on various projects, ranging from large scale Web apps to innovative mobile apps, and I'm also creating games in my spare time. GDevelop is a piece of game creator software allowing anyone to create games. The editor is built to be intuitive and used by beginners or advanced game makers. In particular, no programming skills are required: all the game logic can be made using a visual event system that is easy to learn and expressive enough to build any game you can imagine.

Why did you start GDevelop?

I've always been fond of software that allows people to create things without having to spend a lot of time learning advanced programming. When I was young, I used a game-making software similar to GDevelop, and this is what got me into programming later. Since then, I've always been eager to provide the same kind of software to allow anyone to create games. I'm also quite fond of video games, so making software to create video games is a natural fit for me!

How are people using it?

Most people are making their first step in game creation and programming using GDevelop, mostly to have fun and see how it works. A few people are able to create advanced games, and I'm quite proud when I discover a really enjoyable game made with GDevelop.

What features do you think really sets GDevelop apart from other game development systems?

It is feature-rich, which allows for a multitude of uses. The event system is a way to create the game rules and logic without having to learn how to use traditional programming language. It's easier to get started with events as you search in a list of all available actions and conditions that you can use, and apply them on the objects of your game. And it's still powerful enough to re-create the same things that you can do with programming -- so that no user of GDevelop is forced to switch to a programming language when the game is becoming a bit complex.

Why did you choose the GPLv3 as GDevelop's license?

I've spent a huge amount of time designing the editor, and I wanted to be sure that anybody improving and developing the editor will make their contribution available to anyone else with the same license.

How can users (technical or otherwise) help contribute to GDevelop?

First, developers can help in designing or improving the editor or the game engine (written in C++ and Javascript) on https://github.com/4ian/GD. I'm developing a new, improved editor, and any developer knowing a bit of JavaScript should be able to quickly set it up and contribute! The best way for other users is simply to download GDevelop and get involved in the community. In particular, we need a lot of tutorials to help beginners to get started and build advanced games! We already have some tutorials, but more are better.

What's the next big thing for GDevelop?

The editor is being re-written so that it's built on new Web technologies, enabling it to be fully cross-platform (GNU/Linux, macOS, Windows) and even used directly from a Web browser in the near future. It's a good way for me to think again about the whole interface and to simplify it. I'd like to build an ecosystem around GDevelop, this should help even more people to try game creation and see how easy it can be once you've learned a few concepts, and we have a road map.

*Enjoy this interview? Check out our previous entry in this series, featuring David Rosca of QupZilla.

The logo and screenshots are used with permission of Florian Rival.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

LibrePlanet 2018 Call for Sessions deadline extended. Send us your proposal!

Mon, 2017-10-30 14:10

You now have until November 9th, 2017 at 10:00 EST (15:00 UTC) to send us your idea for a great LibrePlanet session!

Even if you don't want to give a talk, general registration and exhibitor applications are now open, and we will start accepting volunteer applications soon.

LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts and everyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For the past nine years, LibrePlanet has brought together free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who are at the beginning of their free software journeys. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.

Need help preparing your talk proposal?

If you need advice or encouragement as your prepare your talk proposal, we're here to help! Join #libreplanet on Freenode IRC Thursday, November 2nd from 18:00 - 19:00 (EDT) for LibrePlanet Call for Sessions office hours with Deb Nicholson. If you do not have an IRC client, you can log onto Freenode IRC here, and connect to the channel #libreplanet, or email campaigns@fsf.org with your questions. Please note that LibrePlanet's Safe Space Policy applies to the #libreplanet IRC channel.

Need help attending LibrePlanet?

The Free Software Foundation is able to offer a limited amount of funding to bring conference participants and speakers to LibrePlanet from all around the world. You can apply for a scholarship through Thursday, November 30th, 2017 at 10:00 EST (15:00 UTC). Scholarship recipients will be notified by early January.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Last chance to nominate for 2017 Free Software Awards

Thu, 2017-10-26 11:15

Nominations for the 20th annual Free Software Awards opened at LibrePlanet 2017, right after the most recent Free Software Awards were presented -- and your opportunity to submit nominations ends on November 5th, 2017, at 23:59 UTC. For details, see instructions below.

If you admire a free software contributor or project and want the world to see how great they are, nominate them today. Your nominations will be reviewed by our awards committee and the winners will be announced at LibrePlanet 2018.

Award for the Advancement of Free Software

The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is presented annually by FSF president Richard Stallman 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.

Last year, Alexandre Oliva was recognized with the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his passionate free software advocacy and his role as maintainer of GNU Linux-libre, the fully free version of the kernel Linux. Other previous honorees include Lawrence Lessig, Yukihiro Matsumoto, and Werner Koch.

Award for Projects of Social Benefit

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to a 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.

We look to recognize projects or teams that encourage people to cooperate in freedom to accomplish tasks of great social benefit, and those that apply free software ideas and lessons outside the free software community. A long-term commitment to one's project (or the potential for a long-term commitment) is crucial to this end.

This award stresses the use of free software in the service of humanity. We have deliberately chosen this broad criterion so that many different areas of activity can be considered. However, one area that is not included is that of free software itself. Projects with a primary goal of promoting or advancing free software are not eligible for this award (we honor individuals working on those projects with our annual Award for the Advancement of Free Software).

We will consider any project or team that uses free software or its philosophy to address a goal important to society. To qualify, a project must use free software, produce free documentation, or use the idea of free software as defined in the Free Software Definition. Projects that promote or depend on the use of nonfree software are not eligible for this award. Commercial projects are not excluded, but commercial success is not our scale for judging projects.

Last year, SecureDrop, an anonymous whistleblowing platform used by major news organizations and maintained by Freedom of the Press Foundation, received the award. Past recipients include Wikipedia, Groklaw, and the GNOME Foundation's Outreach Program for Women (now known as Outreachy).

Eligibility

In the case of both awards, previous winners are not eligible for nomination, but renomination of other previous nominees is encouraged. Only individuals are eligible for nomination for the Advancement of Free Software Award (not projects), and only projects can be nominated for the Social Benefit Award (not individuals). For a list of previous winners, please visit https://www.fsf.org/awards/fs-award. Current FSF staff and board members, as well as award committee members, are not eligible.

Winners will be decided by a committee, which includes several previous winners.

Instructions

After reviewing the eligibility rules above, please click on the links below to submit your nominations. All nominations need to be submitted before Sunday, November 5th, 2017 at 23:59 UTC.

Attend the Free Software Awards at LibrePlanet 2018

Want to be in the room when the winners are announced? Registration is already open for the LibrePlanet conference, March 24-25, 2018, in Cambridge. You can meet the award winners and take part in a program devoted to the world of free software. Remember: Free Software Foundation members attend LibrePlanet gratis!

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: October 27th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

Thu, 2017-10-26 11:06

Participate in supporting the Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world for over a decade now, it has the potential to be a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

This week we're back to work on adding new entries to the Directory. The backlog of unapproved packages continues to dwindle, but we want to get it all the way down to zero, and keep adding more. Each new package helps to make the Directory a better resource for finding any sort of software that you may need. The Directory is one of our most visited resources, so keeping it growing ensures there's lots for all those users to see.

If you are eager to help, and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today! There are also weekly Directory Meeting pages that everyone is welcome to contribute to before, during, and after each meeting.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

"Intelligent tracking prevention": New Safari privacy measure still doesn't measure up to GNU IceCat

Tue, 2017-10-24 10:50

In September, Apple included a new privacy feature in its Safari Web browser as part of its latest iOS and macOS updates. Called "intelligent tracking prevention," it keeps certain Web sites from tracking users around the Web, effectively blocking the ads that follow wherever you browse.

Safari is not free software, so while Apple has taken a step in the right direction by trying to help computer users avoid being tracked by advertisers, it's not enough (and it doesn't negate the fact that there are many other reasons to avoid Apple). And although being able to avoid third-party cookies is the best anti-tracking measure a Web browser can offer, Safari and other widely used browsers, including Chrome, Chromium, Mozilla, and Internet Explorer, all still allow them. (Riseup offers a useful browser privacy scorecard that evaluates some of the most popular Web browsers.)

Fortunately, there is a better option for privacy-respecting Web browsing: GNU IceCat.

GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser, and when it comes to protecting your privacy as you browse the Web, it is a better choice for you than Safari because:

  • First, GNU IceCat is free software, as is Firefox. Safari is not. Because anybody can inspect the code of a free software package, none of the package's activities are kept secret -- if free software was spying on you, then you -- or anyone -- could discover that by looking at the code.

  • GNU IceCat includes GNU LibreJS, which addresses the problem of proprietary JavaScript by easily identifying it, allowing users to avoid it.

  • GNU IceCat also includes the HTTPS Everywhere extension, which encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure.

  • And it includes SpyBlock, based on Adblock Plus, which blocks privacy trackers while browsing, and blocks all third-party requests when in private browsing mode.

  • IceCat also prevents the leaking of private information through referers. Referer logging tells the Web server what page linked you to your current request. No widely used browsers aside from IceCat address this issue, and even some lesser-known, privacy-oriented browsers let this information slip through.

  • Finally, GNU IceCat includes fingerprinting countermeasures. A fingerprint is information collected about your computer in order to identify it, even when cookies are turned off.

If you haven't tried out GNU IceCat, go for it! You only have greater privacy -- and freedom -- to gain. You can also contribute to the IceCat manual, making it easier for others to start using this browser.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: October 20th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

Tue, 2017-10-17 13:24

Help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. Every Friday we meet on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers. When a user comes to the Directory, they know that everything in it is free software, has only free dependencies, and runs on a free OS. With almost 16,000 entries, it is a massive repository of information about free software.

While the Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world for many years now, it has the potential to be a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help! And since it's a MediaWiki instance, it's easy for anyone to edit and contribute to the Directory.

Back in 1930, radio plays were all the rage. And on October 20th of that year, NBC radio began airing The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. So freestyling off of Holmes, the theme of the Directory meeting this week is search software. We are painting the category with a broad brush. Search software for the desktop that indexes your files is fair game, and the door is open to Web site indexing and other pattern recognition software. The goal this week is to find as many new programs as possible that fit this bill. Come this Friday: the game is afoot!

If you are eager to help, and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today! There are also weekly Directory Meeting pages that everyone is welcome to contribute to before, during, and after each meeting.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Eclipse Public License version 2.0 added to license list

Tue, 2017-10-17 11:51

We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 (EPL).

In terms of GPL compatibility, the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 is essentially equivalent to version 1.0. The only change is that it explicitly offers the option of designating the GNU GPL version 2 or later as a "secondary license" for a certain piece of code.

If an initial contributor releases a specific piece of code and designates GNU GPL version 2 or later as a secondary license, that provides explicit compatibility with those GPL versions for that code. (Doing so is roughly equivalent, for users, to releasing that piece of code under a dual license, EPL | GPL.) However, the EPL2 without this designation remains incompatible with the GPL.

To keep up-to-date on newly-added licenses, as well as current topics and activities in free software, please sign up for our monthly newsletter, the Free Software Supporter.

You can also help support the Compliance Lab's work in reviewing licenses and more by donating to the Free Software Foundation or becoming an associate member.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

We want you to submit a LibrePlanet talk -- here's how to get help

Tue, 2017-10-17 11:00

The LibrePlanet call for sessions closes November 2nd--only two weeks away--and we want to hear from you!

Speaking at a conference, and even submitting a proposal, can be intimidating or hard. Luckily, some great, experienced speakers are volunteering their time by holding CFS Office Hours.

Whether you want to propose a talk and want feedback on your idea, proposal wording, talk title, or just advice on how to deal with nerves, there are three office hours slots scheduled over the next few weeks.

Join #libreplanet on Freenode IRC on any of the following dates:

If you do not have an IRC client, you can log onto Freenode IRC here, and connect to the channel #libreplanet.

In addition to submitting to the CFS, you can register for LibrePlanet and apply for a travel scholarship to help you get there.

If you can't make an office hours meeting, feel free to email campaigns@fsf.org with questions.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Friday the 13th Free Software Directory IRC meetup: October 13th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

Thu, 2017-10-12 13:46

Participate in supporting the Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world for over a decade now, it has the potential to be a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

This spooky week we'll be focusing on updating older entries. If an entry isn't kept up to date, it can become a zombie, bringing the overall quality of the Directory down. So we'll be focusing on resurrecting these old entries this Friday. Bring a good luck charm and a friend and help make the Directory even better!

If you are eager to help, and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today! There are also weekly Directory Meeting pages that everyone is welcome to contribute to before, during, and after each meeting.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Update on Artifex v. Hancom GNU GPL compliance case

Wed, 2017-10-11 11:30

A new ruling was issued on September 25th in the ongoing GNU General Public License (GPL) compliance case of Artifex v. Hancom. The case involves a piece of software licensed under the GPL version 3 or later, called Ghostscript. It is a project from Artifex for handling PostScript, PDFs, and printers (GNU Ghostscript is a separate version of the project, and is not involved or implicated in the case). As we wrote previously:

In its suit, Artifex claimed two counts based on Hancom's inclusion of Ghostscript: (1) a violation of copyright; and (2) a breach of contract based on the GPL. ... While a violation of a free license giving rise to a copyright violation is now old hat, whether violation of a license like the GPL could be treated as a breach of contract has been long a topic of discussion among licensing geeks.

In the previous ruling, the judge in the case had denied a motion to dismiss those claims, allowing the case to proceed. We've now reached the next step in the suit, involving a motion for summary judgment on the contract claim, which was also denied. In a motion to dismiss, the court assumes the truth of the allegations involved and rules on whether such allegations actually present a valid legal claim. In summary judgment, the court is asked to look at the undisputed facts and determine whether the outcome is so obvious that the matter need not go through a full trial. Such motions are routine, but making it past summary judgment does mean that the issue of recovery under contract theory is still alive in this case.

Hancom here made several arguments against the contract claim, but one is of particular interest. Hancom argued that if any contract claim is allowed, damages should only be considered prior to the date of their initial violation. They argued that since the violation terminated their license, the contract also ended at that point. The judge noted that:

the language of the GPL suggests that Defendant’s obligations persisted beyond termination of its rights to propagate software using Ghostscript ... because the source code or offer of the source code is required each time a “covered work” is conveyed, each time Defendant distributed a product using Ghostscript there was arguably an ensuing obligation to provide or offer to provide the source code.

The judge also found that there was insufficient evidence at this point to rule on this issue, so we can't read too much into it. But the judge's thoughts on how conditions of the GPL persist after a violation is an important clue on how this issue could develop as the case proceeds. Although the GPL does not need to be upheld as a contract in order to protect user freedom -- it has worked successfully as a copyright license for decades -- procedural rulings like this are just more evidence that claims about it not standing up in court or being easy to defeat are baseless fear-mongering.

With summary judgment denied, the case will move forward, and will be very interesting to watch. To keep up to date on this case and more:

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Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: October 6th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

Thu, 2017-10-05 09:47

Participate in supporting the Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world for over a decade now, it has the potential to be a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

This week we're back to adding new packages to the Directory. We'll also be checking in on the import project, which will allow for the automated creation of entries from repositories based on their previously vetted licenses, and which could grow the Directory by a massive amount. The more the merrier! That goes for software packages, but also for friends joining us for the weekly meeting. Hope to see you all there.

If you are eager to help, and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today! There are also weekly Directory Meeting pages that everyone is welcome to contribute to before, during, and after each meeting.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Fifteen new GNU releases in the month of August

Wed, 2017-10-04 15:09

(as of August 24, 2017):

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

Twenty-two new GNU releases in the month of September

Wed, 2017-10-04 14:12

(as of September 25, 2017)

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