Welcome to the new year and another monthly installment of news about the
Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project. This month we have news
from the FSF Europe, the latest numbers on GPLv3 conversions, the annual
Gfortran report from the GCC folks, a GLib development release, Stallman
commenting on the GNOME's alleged support of OOXML, GNU Hurd news, and more.
The latest FSFE
Newsletter is out and includes articles on FSFE participation in
open standards discussions at the second Internet Governance Forum was
hosted by the Brazilian government in Rio de Janeiro; on a recent STACS
session organized in London to increase CSO awareness of Free Software;
and on the Trophees du Libre - the world's largest Free
Software award event. There is also information about OpenMoko and Free
Software mobile phones, software patent discussions, and an interview
with Werner Koch, creator of GnuPG.
GNU License News
Palamida's GPLv3 Information site reports the number of projects
known to have made the switch to GPLv3 at 1431 as of this writing (plus
another 141 under LGPLv3).
Shakthi Kannan has been working on a high-level system architecture
diagram of the main components in GNU Mach and the Hurd. After several
iterations of accepting corrections and other suggestions on the
bug-hurd list, he came up with a diagram that was generally agreed to be
reasonably close (PNG
Carl Fredrik Hammar has been posting his latest thoughts about
libchannel in a series of emails on the bug-hurd list. His first email,
of libchannel's design, identifies some of the problems with the
current libchannel implementation and suggests possible solutions. His
second email, New
Channel Concept, goes into more detail about his new channel concept
and the idea of channel hubs.
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
The Gfortran maintainers have published their annual report for
2008. The report highlights increased conformance with the Fortran
95 standard as well as the addition of new Fortran 2003/8 features.
There is also a call for new developers as two long time Gfortran team
members, Steve Kargl and Bud Davis, have moved on. The report also
include 2007 commit stats and a list of the 12 most significant
achievements for Gfortran during 2007.
The latest GCC 4.3.0 status
report shows that open regressions have dropped to 134. When that
number drops below 100, the project goes into regression-only mode and a
release will follow soon afterwards. As the 4.3.0 release approaches a
Stage 1 branch will be opened for 4.4.0.
In other GCC news, does anyone know what happened to Planet GCC? Moved to
another domain name perhaps?
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
A recent ITWire article
talks to Richard Stallman about the relation of GNOME to the Free
Software Foundation and the GNU Project. In particular the question of
whether or not GNOME is officially supporting Microsoft's OOXML format
instead of the ISO accepted Open Document Format. Stallman explains that
unlike other GNU projects, GNOME does not "follow GNU policies the way a
normal GNU package does. That's Miguel's doing." RMS was also asked if,
given the principled stand against OOXML by KDE, the GNU Project would
consider adopting it in place of GNOME. Stallman's reply: "That would be
a very drastic thing to do." The topics of Mono and Moonlight are also
2.15.0 has been released. This is the first development release
leading up to GLib 2.16. This release introduces GIO, a VFS API that
will replace GnomeVFS. Also new is GTest, a new test framework.
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 only RMS appearance on the calendar for this month is 31 January
at the Benson Memorial center, Santa Clara, California. The talk will be
on Copyright vs Community and is open to the public, however advance
registration is required. 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 summary
each month. It's a minimal amount of work, taking no more than a few
hours per month.
I'm a member of the GCC steering committee and have been dealing with
RMS for many years.
Planet GCC was on Dan Berlin's personal machine, and it and a number of
other projects are no longer there. Unfortunately we can't host
something like Planet GCC on any official gnu.org machine (like
gcc.gnu.org) because of the FSF's extremely restrictive policies (no
links, direct or indirect, to anything that promotes proprietary
software in any way). There's a place for purism, and I'm glad RMS
sticks to his guns , but it's not appropriate as a censoring mechanism
for individual blogs.
As for GNU vs. Gnome, unfortunately for "GNU policies" you have to read
"RMS's personal whims". Only one person gets to say what GNU policies
are, and when it's one guy in his mid-50s with rather skewed views about
user interfaces, it is wise of the Gnome project to limit RMS's
influence when he goes beyond the core principles of software freedom to
address technical preferences, or positions on tactical issues (like
whether or not to be involved with OOXML).
Involvement by the free software community in the standardization
process can help force more information out of Microsoft and produce a
better standard. Microsoft won't disappear tomorrow; if GNU/Linux can't
interact with Microsoft file formats and protocols it will get frozen out.
As Eben Moglen has politely and repeatedly said, RMS needs to start
thinking about passing the torch to the next generation. He tries to
decide too many things personally, and don't be fooled by his use of the
second person plural. When he says "we", he means "I". There needs to
be a larger group of people committed to software freedom who run the
show, but who show greater flexibility about things that aren't critical.
And can the Hurd already. 18+ years is long enough; the FSF should not
spend any more cycles on it. It was an interesting idea. Not all ideas
pan out. Maturity requires cutting one's losses. Interested
individuals can still hack on it if they want, but the FSF shouldn't
expend any more resources on it.