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 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.
DefectiveByDesign.org 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 DefectiveByDesign.org 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. DefectiveByDesign.org
information on the Boston event as well as information on organizing
an event at your public library.
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
GNU License News
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
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
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
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
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
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