GNU and FSF News for February 2008

Posted 8 Feb 2008 at 22:46 UTC by robogato Share This

Did the Free Software Foundation meet their 2007 pledge drive goal? Will DefectiveByDesign try to stamp out DRM at the Boston Public Library? Does Stallman like the OLPC Project enough to replace his thinkpad with an XO? Will the SAMBA team finally get to see Microsoft's top-secret networking protocols? Where's RMS this month? Is the micro vs monolithic kernel debate back again? The answers to these and other mind-boggling questions that are on everyone's mind can be found in this month's GNU and FSF news summary.

Richard Stallman on the OLPC Project

While RMS was visiting southern India to speak in January, the folks at the OLPC Nepal blog caught up with him and managed to do a hour-long interview. The interview is available as in ogg-vorbis format. In it, Stallman expresses his support for the OLPC project and, in particular, it's use of free BIOS. He says he is even thinking of replacing his old Thinkpad for an OLPC XO. His only complaint is with the use of proprietary code for wireless networking.

450 New Free Software Foundation Members

The FSF reports that the yearly membership drive resulted in 450 new members for 2007. they also note that RMS "gave 90 invited talks to over 8,000 unique individuals around the world" in 2007. is doing well too. Over 25,000 people have signed up on the website and more than 30,000 have signed DefectiveByDesign petitions and letters.

FSF Calls on Libraries to Eliminate DRM

The Free Software Foundation and have organized a event to be held Saturday 9 Feb 2008 at the Boston Public Library to demand the removal of Digitial Restrictions Management (DRM) technology from the library. FSF members will gather outside the library's main entrace and hand out flyers to library patrons. has more information on the Boston event as well as information on organizing an event at your public library.

FSF Europe

The latest FSFE newsletter is out. It says the SAMBA team have finally gained access to Microsoft's protocol specifications. The court ordered Microsoft to make interoperability information available to competitors in 2004 but Microsoft resisted until September 2007 when they were finally overruled by a new court decision. FSFE is supporting a new antitrust case brought by Opera Software against Microsoft for anti-competitive behavior in the browser market. Even though Opera software is proprietary like Microsoft's, the FSFE feels a win in the case will also help free browser software such as Mozilla Firefox. Google has made a contribution to the FSFE Freedom Task Force, a group that provides technical and legal experts to help free software projects with license advice and GPL violation resolution. For the details on these and several other stories, see the FSFE newsletter.

GNU License News

Palamida's GPLv3 Information site reports the number of projects known to have made the switch to GPLv3 at 1674 as of this writing (plus another 151 under LGPLv3).

GNU Grub v1.96 Released

Grub 1.96 is out. This is the seventh prerelease leading up to Grub 2.0. Among the changes in the release are a conversion to the GPLv3 license, Multiboot2 support, NTFS, cpio/tar and Reiserfs filesystem support, ATA/ATAPI support, 64bit CPU detection, ports to Efika, coreboot (a.k.a. LinuxBIOS), and OLPC XO. For more new features and bugfixes see the release announcement.

GNU Hurd

Hurd programmers are planning to meet at FOSDEM 2008. For more information see the Hurd Wiki FOSDEM page.

Slashdot seems to have inadvertantly heated up the old microkernel vs monolithic kernel debate by reposting the 2006 Andy Tanenbaum article. On the upside, the Tanenbaum article mentions the Hurd in a positive light.

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 the bug-hurd mailing list. There should be no trouble finding interesting things to work on.


GCC version 4.2.3 was released on February 1, 2008. This is a bugfix release containing fixes for regression in GCC 4.2.2 relative to previous releases of GCC. The 4.2 branch is open for development again but developers said to expect the 4.3.0 release long before seeing a 4.2.4 maintenance release. Speaking of GCC 4.3.0, the latest status report shows that it's getting very close indeed. Total regression has dropped below 100, resulting in a move to stage 3 status where the branch is open for regression and documentation fixes only. There are only 2 remaining priority 1 regressions. When the P1 regression count reaches zero, a release candidate will be produced. Expect to see the release candidate any day now.

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 compiler.


The phoronix website tells us about Eight Interesting Improvements In GNOME 2.22. Among these interesting improvements are Epiphany's use of Webkit, page transition effects in the Evince Document Viewer, inclusion of the Cheese webcam application, the new Mousetweaks accessibility app, inclusion of the Vinagre VNC client, integration of swfdec-gnome for desktop Flash support, and Youtube and MythTV support in Totem.

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 webpage.

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?

RMS will be will be speaking on the Free Software Movement 18 Feb in Berlin, Germany. Next he'll be in Jena, Germany on 20 and 21 Feb to speak on the Free Software Movement and Copyright vs Community. From there it's on to Stockholm, Sweden for a talk at KTH - Royal Institute of Technology on 26 Feb. 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.

Again thanks for a great summary!, posted 25 Feb 2008 at 18:29 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

I don't think anyone can do as a good job as you...

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