Licenses are in the news everywhere this month. The SLFC takes on
Verizon for violating the GPL. The FSF releases the Affero GPL and a
handy new guide to the GPLv3. The FSF, Creative Commons, and the
agree to make
the GDFL compatible with the CC BY-SA. GNOME is the other big newsmaker.
A new GNOME Journal, a D-Bus debugger, GUADEC video, GNOME Foundation
elections, and GNOME news about FOSDEM 2008. All the usual topics are
covered as well.
The latest FSFE
Newsletter covers the end of the battle between the European
Commission and Microsoft, a Free Software information event at an
Austrian school, a discussion of Sustainable-IT in Berlin, the donation
of a Sun T1000 server to the FSFE, and other stories.
GNU License News
The Free Software Foundation has announced the release of the GNU Affero
General Public License. This is basically like the standard GPLv3
with the added provision that users who interact with the software over
a network also have the freedom to receive the source code.
The Free Software Compliance
Lab has released a handy diagram
showing GPLv3 license compatibility. The diagram is part of the new Quick
Guide to GPLv3.
The Free Software Foundation, Wikipedia Foundation, and the Creative
have reached an agreement that would make the current Wikipedia licence,
the GFDL, compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
(CC BY-SA) license. The Wikipedia Foundation has released a resolution
on the license update. There's still a lot
of confusion as to what exactly this means for Wikipedia. Jimmy
Wales has said the existing content would be "migrated" to the CC BY-SA
license and "liberated". Others have suggested this only means the "or
later version" clause in the current GFDL will allow the content to fall
under a new version of the GFDL that is CC BY-SA compatible. Lawrence
Lessig attempts to clear up some of the confusion with a
recent blog post:
...the Wikimedia Foundation Board has agreed with a proposal made by the
Free Software Foundation that will permit Wikipedia (and other such
wikis) to relicense under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
license. That is very different from saying that Wikipedia has
relicensed under a CC license. The decision whether to take advantage of
this freedom granted by the FSF when the FSF grants it will be a
decision the Wikipedia community will have to make. We are very hopeful
that the community will ratify this move to compatible freedoms.
Comments on Lessig's blog suggest this explanation is still less than
clear to many. In any case, making the GDFL and CC BY-SA licenses
compatible sounds like good news.
The Software Freedom Law
Center has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit
against Verizon for violating the GPL. Verizon has been giving FIOS
customers MI424WR wireless routers which incorporate BusyBox, a Free
Software package, without making source code available. The lawsuit was
filed after Verizon failed to respond to other attempts at communication
for over three weeks. This is the fourth lawsuit the SFLC has filed on
behalf of the BusyBox authors.
There has been a lot of activity lately related to producing new
cross-gnu instructions and scripts. The results were added to the GNU
Hurd wiki recently. Following the new
instructions will allow a GNU/Linux user to build and configure a
cross-gcc tool chain and environment for compiling GNU Mach and the
Hurd. The new instructions seem to work pretty well and there were
numerous reports of success on the mailing list.
How you can help: The number of developers working on the Hurd
and GNU Mach contiues to be small and they could use your help. Check in
on the #hurd IRC channel or
mailing list. There should be no trouble finding interesting things
to work on.
GNU GCC News
Since last month, the bug count on the upcoming GCC 4.3.0 release has
dropped from 184 to 154, according to the latest status
report. More patches are in the que to be reviewed but there's
plenty to go around if anyone would like to jump in and help out.
How you can help: if you're interested in working on compiler
development, visit the Contributing to GCC to
find out what you can do help with the development of the GNU GCC
John Palmieri announced a
D-Bus debugger called D-Feet.
Current features include viewing names on the session and system bus,
viewing exported objects, interfaces, methods and signals, viewing the
full command line of services on the bus, and executing methods with
parameters on the bus and seeing their return values. Many more features
Wood announced that after a bit of a delay, videos from
GUADEC 2007 are finally being encoded and made available online.
Video from events in the main hall is not available yet due to audio
problems that have yet to be fully resolved.
There a new issue of the GNOME
Journal out. It includes an interview with Daniel G.
Siegel, the author of the Cheese, a GNOME webcam
application. There's also a review of the book, "Foundations of GTK+
Development". And, finally, you can read about Maryland's Howard County
Library and how they benefitted from a switch to Groovix, an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux
The GNOME Foundation 2007
elections are coming and candidates
have been announced.
There will be a GNOME
Developer Room at FOSDEM,
23-24 Feb 2008 in Brussels. It will be in Room H.1302 on Saturday and
Room H.1301 on Sunday with a seating capacity of about 200.
How you can help: GNOME needs your help. In addition to
programmers, the GNOME team also needs people to assist with testing,
translation, accessibility, documentation, website maintenance,
graphics, and marketing. To find out what you can do and how to get
started, visit the Join GNOME
FSF High Priority Free Software Projects
The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of what they believe
are the highest priority projects at any given time. If you're looking
for something fun to work on or just want to make the world a better
place, this is a good place to start.
"There is a vital need to draw the free software community's
attention to the ongoing development work on these particular projects.
These projects are important because computer users are continually
being seduced into using non-free software, because there is no adequate
free replacement. Please support these projects."
Where's RMS This Month?
The RMS calendar is a bit bare for the month of December with only one
speech listed: a talk about the Free Software Movement in Granada, Spain
on 17 December. His calendar hints that there may be a second speech the
following day in Huelva, Spain but details have not been announced yet.
For the latest updates see the FSF upcoming events page.
This monthly news summary about the Free Software Foundation and GNU
project was distilled down from FSF press releases, blogs, email lists,
and website news pages. The idea is to provide a concise summary of
FSF/GNU news from the past month for those who don't have the time or
interest to find and read all the original news sources within that
community. This is a news summary about the FSF but it is not produced by
or associated with the FSF in any way.
I'm looking for a volunteer to take over writing this news
month. It's a minimal amount of work, taking no more than a few hours per