The Free Software Foundation wants your help to end software patents and
boycott Trend Micro. The GNU Project is going to be participating in
Google's Summer of Code again this year. Rumor has it that Microsoft may
be planning a GNU Project killer with its own recursive acronym. For
the fourth time in its history, rms has passed Emacs on to new
maintainers. A new version of GCC is out. The Mozilla Foundation and
GNOME Foundation are in kahoots to bring you new and improved software.
End Software Patents
The Free Software
Foundation has announced a new project called End Software Patents. The goal of
the project is to, well, end software patents. More specifically:
"The ESP project will initially focus on two approaches: 1) assisting
corporations that choose to challenge software patents in the courts and
at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on the basis that
patents for software and designs with no physically innovative step have
no legal validity, and 2) public education aimed at passing laws to
protect software from patent law."
FSF Call to Boycott Trend Micro
The Free Software Foundation and Scriptum Libre has issued a
call to Boycott
Trend Micro because of their attack on users of the ClamAV
anti-virus program. For more details on the boycott, see the FSF
press release or the Scriptum
Libre press release.
Microsoft: UNG's not GNU?
picked up on a rumor that Microsoft may launch a GNU System rival
called UNG, which is said to stand for UNG's not GNU. The only evidence
offered is a portion of an alleged internal
Microsoft email that refers to comments Steve Ballmer might have
made on 23 February. Here's an excerpt from the email:
"The aim of UNG is to write complete GNU-like tools and frameworks that
will be completely compatible with existing GNU software and standards.
These tools will run natively on Vista. This means that software written
for the GNU environment will be able to compile and run on Vista with
little or no modifications. Major software currently running on
GNU/Linux will be able to run natively on Vista."
GNU Project Participation in Google's SoC 2008
The GNU Project has published project proposal guidelines for Google's Summer of Code 2008.
There is also a list of project
New Emacs Maintainers
a small post to emacs-devel, Richard Stallman accounced that he was
handing over development of Emacs to Stefan Monnier and Yidong Chong.
After this news was a bit over-hyped on Reddit and
noted that it wasn't as historical of an event as it seemed. This is
actually the fourth time Emacs development has been passed to someone
else. The first three times Stallman eventually took over again. Still
later he said, "People are writing as if I had announced my final
retirement. This is just a matter of other people maintaining
The latest FSFE
newsletter is out. It reports that, "on the 31st of January
representatives from gpl-violations.org and FSFE's FTF met in Berlin to
discuss the future of licence compliance in the European area." It
also reports on the continued progress of the FSFE's Freedom Task
Force project. There's also a mention of the SELF Open Documentary
"The SELF (Science, Education and Learning in Freedom) project has
announced a SELF Open Documentary Contest where individuals and
companies are invited to "create a documentary about the creation of
free knowledge and education in the digital era".
GNU License News
Palamida's GPLv3 Information site reports the number of projects
known to have made the switch to GPLv3 at 1895 as of this writing (plus
another 290 under LGPLv3).
project will participate in Google SoC 2008 on their own rather than
under the umbrella of the GNU Project. It's hoped that this will allow
them to projects and more exposure than in previous GSoCs. A project
suggestion list is already up.
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 4.3.0 was released
on 5 March, 2008. This is a major release that has been in
development for some time. It contains many new features and improvements
over GCC 4.2.x. There's also the usual bad news that a few processor
architectures have been dropped. The biggest loss is TMS320C3x/C4x
processor support, a very popular DSP used in image processing,
robotics, and other fields. Also gone is support for National
Semiconductor CRX and Morpho MT processors. Making up for those losses are
the addition of ARMv7 and Thumb-2 support as well as support for CRIS
v32 (aka Asix ETRAX FS and ARTPEC-3 CPUs). New ColdFire chips are also
supported in GCC 4.3.0. The biggest addition is probably support for the
Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU) of the Cell Broadband Engine
Architecture (BEA). There are lots of other minor architecture additions
This version of GCC also has many optimizer improvements including
MPFR integration, forward propagation pass on RTL, inliner heuristic is
now aware of stack frame consumption, and compile-time memory savings
thanks to a new internal representation for GIMPLE statements.
GCC 4.3.0 includes experimental support for the upcoming ISO C++
standard, C++0x. There are other improvements and new features in C,
C++, Fortran, and Java language support.
There's way too much cool new stuff to describe it all here, so see
the full GCC 4.3.0
change log for all the details
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 GNOME Foundation announced a new level of collaboration with the
Mozilla Foundation. The Mozilla Foundation will join the GNOME
Foundation advisory board and help set the long-term direction of the
GNOME project. The Mozilla Foundation commits to better integration of
GNOME, Firefox, and XUL. the Mozilla Foundation also granted the GNOME
Foundation $10,000 to be spent on "improvement of the accessibility of
the GNOME desktop environment via the "GNOME Outreach
Program: Accessibility" program." For details see the GNOME
GUADEC 2008 is over but you can see what you missed by looking at the
photos on flickr.
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 Copyright vs Community at Virginia
Tech on 25 March. He'll speak on Free Software in Ethics and in Practice
at the University of Richmond on 27 March. Later that day, he'll repeat
the talk at the Virginia Commonwealth University. For the latest updates
see the FSF upcoming
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