Older blog entries for mattl (starting at number 665)

Posters

                 

Download Stallman design pack version 1.0

Made a poster for a Stallman event using free software? Email your SVG or other source files to info@fsf.org for inclusion here.

Posters can be modified using Inkscape, and SVG sources are provided.

Poster designs (and cartoon RMS) under Creative Commons License, thanks to Lojoco for Stallman cartoon.

Richard Stallman photograph under Creative Commons License

Syndicated 2012-02-03 21:43:15 from Free Software Foundation

1 Feb 2012 (updated 3 Feb 2012 at 20:40 UTC) »

Stop ACTA in Europe, February 11th

Last week we told you of the ongoing move in Europe against ACTA — now coordinated protests are taking place across Europe on February 11th, and here's how you can get involved.

Read 'Signed, not sealed' and contact your country's Members of the European Parliment

Get involved!

If you're not in Europe, please help spread the word to people who are. Defeating it in Europe is the first step to ending it once and for all.

For a refresher on why ACTA threatens free software, see http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/acta and the impact of ACTA on medicines.

Thank you for speaking up against ACTA,

Matt, Josh and John

Syndicated 2012-02-01 17:05:55 (Updated 2012-02-03 20:40:54) from Free Software Foundation

Free Software Supporter, Issue 46, January 2012

Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by adding our subscriber widget to your web site.

Miss an issue? You can catch up on back issues at http://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter.

Multilingual? Send translations of the Supporter to campaigns@fsf.org.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Stop ACTA in Europe
  • GNU Project renews focus on free software in education
  • The Mozilla Public License version 2.0 is out--and GPL-compatible!
  • Apple's ebook sales restrictions: the newest reason to use free software
  • BLACKOUT
  • Measures governments can use to promote free software
  • Stallman's Law
  • Learn more about who we are and what we do
  • And now for some completely different ways to give to the FSF
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Group:GNU Generation
  • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry
  • LibrePlanet sign-up reminder
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule
  • Other FSF and GNU events
  • Take action with the FSF!

Stop ACTA in Europe

We've been hearing a lot lately about SOPA and PIPA in the United States. In the meantime, ACTA has been creeping along under the radar, and last week it was signed in Japan by the EU and its member states.

But it's not over yet! Read about how you can help defeat ACTA:

For a refresher on why ACTA threatens free software, see:

GNU Project renews focus on free software in education

The newly formed GNU Education Team is being led by Dora Scilipoti, an Italian free software activist and teacher. Under her leadership, the Team has developed a list of specific goals to guide their work:

  • Present cases of educational institutions around the world who are successfully using and teaching free software.
  • Show examples of how free programs are being used by educational institutions to improve the learning and teaching processes.
  • Publish articles on the various aspects involved in the use of free software by educational institutions.
  • Maintain a dialogue with teachers, students and administrators of educational institutions to listen to their difficulties and provide support.
  • Keep in contact with other groups around the world committed to the promotion of free software in education.

The new effort is based at http://www.gnu.org/education.

Dora writes:

We invite people who share our goals and our views to join us. We need help to spot special cases of schools and free programs, write reports, talk to schools, edit and convert audio visual materials to free formats, do graphic design, and more. Our contact address is education@gnu.org.

Learn more about the GNU Education relaunch:

Press release:

Blog post:

The Mozilla Public License version 2.0 is out--and GPL-compatible!

The Mozilla Public License (MPL) version 2.0 is a major update to Mozilla's flagship license, which covers most of the Foundation's own free software projects, as well as others'. The FSF was engaged throughout this process, especially on questions about compatibility with GNU licenses.

Apple's ebook sales restrictions: the newest reason to use free software

Last week, Apple announced ebook authoring software called iBooks Author. As you would expect from Apple, the software is completely proprietary--but the license includes some terms that are so restrictive, they shock even Apple's fans. Fortunately, there is free software to do the same job.

BLACKOUT

The FSF is proud to have participated in the January 18th protest against SOPA by blacking out all of our public web sites, including fsf.org, gnu.org, DefectiveByDesign.org, and directory.fsf.org. We thank everyone who joined us and supported us during this effort! We will continue to participate in the amazing coalition of organizations working to protect the Internet.

Measures governments can use to promote free software

This new article published by Richard Stallman suggests policies for a strong and firm effort to promote free software within the state, and to lead the rest of the country towards software freedom. Adoption of the measures outlined in the article would help a country recover control over its computing, and lead the country's citizens, businesses and organizations toward control over theirs.

Stallman's Law

"While corporations dominate society and write the laws, each advance in technology is an opening for them to further restrict its users."

Learn more about who we are and what we do

This year we decided to use our annual fundraiser as an opportunity to share with the world a more detailed look at the work we do here at the FSF. So we wrote a four part series, We want to do more for you.

Part 1 of the series provides an overview of some of what we accomplish with a staff of "ten dedicated and effective individuals, working with a global network of volunteers and supporters of the free software movement."

Part 2 shares with you the heroics of staff member Jeanne Rasata who in addition to helping to coordinate and plan Richard Stallman's grueling travel and speaking schedule, also acts as front-line of communication for nearly all email sent to the FSF, as well as being the virtual front-desk for questions and requests from FSF associate members.

Part 3 provides a glimpse into the work of our campaigns team of Matt Lee and Josh Gay, who carry out our advocacy campaigns, as well as a large share of our public relations, fundraising, web development, and graphic design at the FSF.

Part 4 reveals the surprising discovery that the FSF's licensing and compliance engineer, Brett Smith, is in fact a GPL Ninja!

And now for some completely different ways to give to the FSF

Campaigns manager Matt Lee reviews some of the more unusual ways you can give to the FSF. Learn how you can make micro-donations, transfer bitcoin, give us your used car (or brand new one!), and more!

LibrePlanet featured resource: Group:GNU Generation

Every month on LibrePlanet, we highlight one resource that is interesting and useful -- often one that could use your help.

For this month, we are featuring the Group GNU Generation, an ongoing community and competition to involve pre-university and high school students (approximately age 13-18) in free software. This is a great project that is in need of a little rejuvination. Get involved today!

Do you have a suggestion for next month's featured resource? Let us know at campaigns@fsf.org.

GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry

autogen-5.14 gnutls-2.12.16 parallel-20120122 coreutils-8.15 gnutls-3.0.12 recutils-1.5 cppi-1.16 goptical-1.0 sipwitch-1.2.1 ddrescue-1.15 help2man-1.40.5 source-highlight-3.1.6 ed-1.6 inetutils-1.9.1 stow-2.1.3 freeipmi-1.1.1 libidn-1.24 tramp-2.2.4 gdb-7.4 libmicrohttpd-0.9.18 ucommon-5.2.0 global-6.2 mediagoblin-0.2.0 gnu-ghostscript-9.04.1 octave-3.6.0

To get announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu. Nearly all GNU software is available from http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors (http://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html). You can use the url http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

In addition to the usual releases, a new installment of the Lilypond Report has been published: http://news.lilynet.net/?The-LilyPond-Report-23. It includes release news, an interview, Prelude #1 in Scheme, and more.

Several GNU packages are looking for maintainers and other assistance. Please see http://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at http://www.gnu.org/help/help.html. To submit new packages to GNU, see http://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

As always, please feel free to write to me, karl@gnu.org, with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

LibrePlanet sign-up reminder

March 24th-25th, 2012 -- Boston, MA, USA -- LibrePlanet

Richard Stallman's speaking schedule

For detailed information for each of the events below, see: * http://www.fsf.org/events/rms-speeches.html

  • Jan 31, 2012 04:00 PM -- Ghaziabad, India -- Event Free Software and Your Freedom
  • Feb 01, 2012 11:30 PM -- Delhi, India -- Event Free Software and Your Freedom
  • Feb 02, 2012 03:00 PM -- Kolkata, India -- Event A Free Digital Society
  • Feb 03, 2012 05:00 PM -- Guwahati, India -- Event The Free Software Movement
  • Feb 04, 2012 11:00 AM -- Guwahati, India -- Event Copyright vs. Community
  • Feb 06, 2012 01:00 PM -- Chennai, India -- Event Free Software, Freedom, and Education
  • Feb 07, 2012 11:15 AM -- Tiruchengode, India -- Event The Free Software Movement
  • Feb 07, 2012 06:00 PM -- Coimbatore, India -- Event Free Software in Ethics and in Practice
  • Feb 11, 2012 11:00 AM -- Mandi, India -- Event Copyright vs. Community
  • Feb 21, 2012 06:00 PM -- Avignon, France -- Event For a Free Digital Society
  • Feb 28, 2012 02:00 PM -- Braga, Portugal -- Event Copyright vs. Community
  • Feb 29, 2012 02:00 PM -- Lisbon, Portugal -- Event Free Software and Your Freedom

Other FSF and GNU events

"Is copyleft being framed?" -- John Sullivan February 4th, 2012 -- Brussels, Belgium -- FOSDEM

"Libre.fm and GNU.FM, supporting artists with free software" -- Mike Sheldon

Take action with the FSF

Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF's work. You can contribute by joining at http://www.fsf.org/join. If you're already a member, you can help refer new members (and earn some rewards) by adding a line with your member number to your email signature like:

I'm an FSF member -- Help us support software freedom! http://www.fsf.org/jf?referrer=2442

The FSF is also always looking for volunteers (http://www.fsf.org/volunteer). From rabble-rousing to hacking, from issue coordination to envelope stuffing -- there's something here for everybody to do. Also, head over to our campaign section (http://www.fsf.org/campaigns) and take action on software patents, DRM, free software adoption, OpenDocument, RIAA and more.

#

The Free Software Supporter is edited by FSF volunteer Osama Khalid.

Copyright © 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Syndicated 2012-02-01 04:07:02 from Free Software Foundation

GNU spotlight with Karl Berry (January 2012)

In addition to the usual releases, a new installment of the Lilypond Report has been published. It includes release news, an interview, Prelude #1 in Scheme, and more.

To get announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list. Nearly all GNU software is available from ftp.gnu.org, or preferably one of its mirrors. You can use the URL ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

Several GNU packages are looking for maintainers and other assistance. There's also a general page on how to help GNU, and information on how to submit new packages to GNU.

As always, please feel free to write to me, karl@gnu.org, with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

Syndicated 2012-02-01 04:06:57 from Free Software Foundation

GNU Project renews focus on free software in education

The new effort is based at http://www.gnu.org/education.

The newly formed GNU Education Team is being led by Dora Scilipoti, an Italian free software activist and teacher. Under her leadership, the Team has developed a list of specific goals to guide their work:

  • Present cases of educational institutions around the world who are successfully using and teaching free software.

  • Show examples of how free programs are being used by educational institutions to improve the learning and teaching processes.

  • Publish articles on the various aspects involved in the use of free software by educational institutions.

  • Maintain a dialogue with teachers, students and administrators of educational institutions to listen to their difficulties and provide support.

  • Keep in contact with other groups around the world committed to the promotion of free software in education.

GNU and its host organization, the Free Software Foundation (FSF), emphasize that free software principles are a prerequisite for any educational environment that uses computers:

Educational institutions of all levels should use and teach free software because it is the only software that allows them to accomplish their essential missions: to disseminate human knowledge and to prepare students to be good members of their community. The source code and the methods of free software are part of human knowledge. On the contrary, proprietary software is secret, restricted knowledge, which is the opposite of the mission of educational institutions. Free software supports education, proprietary software forbids education.

In an article at http://fsf.org/blogs/community/gnu-education-website-relaunch, Scilipoti adds insights about the project's organizing philosophy, current contributors, and progress so far. Of her basic motivation for being involved, she says, "As a free software advocate and a teacher, I always felt that the GNU Project needed to address the subject specifically and in depth, for it is in the education field that its ethical principles find the most fertile ground for achieving the goal of building a better society."

In her article, Scilipoti also highlights some of the free software success stories from around the world, especially Kerala, India, where the government has migrated over 2,600 of its public schools to free software.

While the Education Team has already compiled a collection of useful materials, they are also looking for more volunteer contributors. People who want to help, or who have information about instructive examples of existing use of free software in schools, should contact education@gnu.org.

"Education really is one of the most fundamental areas we need to focus on to achieve real social change," said Free Software Foundation executive director John Sullivan. "We need to be acknowledging and assisting schools that are doing the right thing, and helping those who aren't yet on board understand why those giveaway Microsoft Office, iPad, and Kindle deals aren't so great for classrooms after all. We're very thankful to all of the Team members for stepping up to meet this challenge. I hope others will be inspired by their work and join the effort."

The Education Team has also been working closely with GNU's Translation Team to make the new materials available in as many languages as possible. People interested in helping with the translation component of the project should see the information at http://www.gnu.org/server/standards/README.translations.html.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About Free Software and Open Source

The free software movement's goal is freedom for computer users. Some, especially corporations, advocate a different viewpoint, known as "open source," which cites only practical goals such as making software powerful and reliable, focuses on development models, and avoids discussion of ethics and freedom. These two viewpoints are different at the deepest level. For more explanation, see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html.

About the GNU Operating System and Linux

Richard Stallman announced in September 1983 the plan to develop a free software Unix-like operating system called GNU. GNU is the only operating system developed specifically for the sake of users' freedom. See http://www.gnu.org/gnu/the-gnu-project.html.

In 1992, the essential components of GNU were complete, except for one, the kernel. When in 1992 the kernel Linux was re-released under the GNU GPL, making it free software, the combination of GNU and Linux formed a complete free operating system, which made it possible for the first time to run a PC without non-free software. This combination is the GNU/Linux system. For more explanation, see http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html.

Media Contacts

John Sullivan
Executive Director
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

###

Syndicated 2012-01-30 16:48:43 from Free Software Foundation

30 Jan 2012 (updated 30 Jan 2012 at 17:37 UTC) »

The GNU Education Project

The gnu.org website has been enriched with a completely renewed section on education, at http://www.gnu.org/education.

It all began in December 2008 at the "Free Software Free Society" International Conference held in Trivandrum, India. During an informal conversation with Richard Stallman and attendees at the event, the topic of the role of free software in education was brought up and I was asked to take up the task of working on the education section of the Web site. As a free software advocate and a teacher, I always felt that the GNU Project needed to address the subject specifically and in depth, for it is in the education field that its ethical principles find the most fertile ground for achieving the goal of building a better society.

I joined gnu.org with a desire to do more than maintain the pages or add schools and free educational programs to the existing lists. I wanted to build a section structured so as to provide detailed descriptions of schools that have chosen to include exclusively free software in their curricula, and of free educational programs and resources employed in schools. I also saw the need to provide room for articles that would shed more light on the subject. The articles within the section would have to be arranged in a clear scheme so as to make it easy for visitors to find information.

"Case Studies" is the place where we currently present cases of schools that are successfully using and teaching free software. We talk about their experience, the problems they encountered and how they solved them, their motivations, the benefits they gained, and their involvement in and contributions to free software. We do not attempt to build an exhaustive database of schools committed to free software — that is already being done on other Web sites. Instead, in this initial stage we focus on schools whose motivations for the use of free software are on the ethical side rather than centered solely on the technical or economic advantages. We found a few cases, one of which is a school in Argentina: an elementary teacher with limited technical skills managed to get her school to migrate all computers to GNU/Linux by showing decision makers at the school that the use of nonfree software was in contrast with the moral values promoted by the institution.

These cases are part of the data we gather during our observation work. They serve as material for thought in our search for a method to be presented as an educational model that will highlight the impact of free software on society and will be effective to bring its values into the education field.

We also intend to talk to schools that may not have completely grasped the importance and the implications of teaching free software and its ethical principles. We want to support and encourage them in all possible ways.

"Educational Resources" contains educational free software as well as other resources such as free (as in freedom) printed or digital educational materials, and institutions that offer degree courses on the various aspects of free software. As with schools, our aim is not to build exhaustive listings, but to highlight instructive examples.

For educational free software, we report on specific programs that show how software freedom benefits the educational process, with an emphasis on the ethical implications of the use of technology. We base our work on the philosophical grounds of the GNU Project.

A good example of a free program that we present is the case of Tux Paint, used by a school in India to teach students as young as eleven how to put into practice the four freedoms, including freedom 1 — the freedom to study and modify the program. This case alone debunks the myth that being a developer is a requirement to exercise software freedom; it provides evidence that software freedom lives not in the realm of abstract theories but can be exercised by all users, including children.

In the "Education Projects" subsection we mention other groups around the world who are working in the education field and share the principles of the GNU Project. Among others, we mention the Free Software Foundation Europe Education Project and IT@School, the Indian project from the government of Kerala that migrated more than 2,600 public schools to free software.

The section also contains a FAQ page, where we answer the most common issues and questions that we receive; the Education Team page, in which we present in detail our goals, our motivations, and our positions; and a Table of Contents for easy reference.

On the main page, under the title "In Depth", there is a growing list of links to articles that we publish which go deeper into the subject.

By no means do we consider our work finished. On the contrary, it is a starting point. What we have done constitutes a solid foundation for further work. We remain in close contact with people from India since the work being done there in the education field is significant — probably the most successful case in the world of free software implementation on a large scale in schools is found in the state of Kerala. There is also important progress in Latin America and in some regions of Spain; we plan to work on those cases soon.

Many people ask us why we think it is important that educational institutions use and teach free software. They wonder: "What does free software have to do with education?" It is important to note that one of the key concepts at the root of the free software movement is that knowledge is a resource to be shared in freedom so that it can be spread for the benefit of all. Similarly, the whole educational process is based on the sharing and dissemination of knowledge; it is not possible to educate where sharing is forbidden. As Richard Stallman explains:

The source code and the methods of free software are part of human knowledge. The mission of every school is to disseminate human knowledge. Proprietary software is not part of human knowledge. It's secret, restricted knowledge, which schools are not allowed to disseminate. (From a speech at the University of Pavia, Italy, in September 2007, when receiving an honorary degree in Engineering.)

So we would reverse the question: why would a school want to dishonor its duty by bringing nonfree software to the classroom?

The education section thus tends to emphasize the political importance of using and teaching free software and its positive impact on society, a point of view which is shared by all members of the Education Team:

Matteo Gamba is an Italian student of Mathematics at the University of Turin. He came in contact with free software at high school during an awareness program carried out by NGO Hipatia. With other fellow students at the school, he founded the group GURI to promote the principles of the GNU Project and fight against the growing practice of treating knowledge as property.

Matteo is an active member of Hipatia and currently working to elaborate an educational method to transmit the social and ethical values of free software to students. He says, "We need to elaborate a new educational paradigm to get across to the students the social and ethical values of free software."

Matias Croce is an Argentine student of Information Technology Engineering at the National Technological University in the Province of Mendoza. He first knew about free software at his Faculty and became involved by joining local free software groups. He later participated in the foundation of a project based at the Faculty to promote free software. The group organizes events in Mendoza, such as the FSD and FLISoL, the largest free software event in Latin America. Matias contributed the final structure of the new section and the layout of its pages.

Leonardo Favario, an Italian student of Information Technology Engineering, and Raghavendra Selvan, a lecturer in Bangalore who teaches Digital Image Processing using GNU Octave, helps with editing our videos.

I myself am of Italian descent born in Argentina and currently based in Italy. I hold a BA in Education and a BA in Translation from the Faculty of Languages of the National University of Córdoba, Argentina. I also completed part of a course of study in Fine Arts at the same university.

I had heard about the existence of a free operating system long ago, but had never paid much attention to it due to my lack of interest in pure technical matters. It was only in 2006, after watching the video of a speech by Richard Stallman, that I understood there is actually much more than just technical issues at the root of the free software movement. I became aware of the importance of spreading the word about software freedom and joined AsSoLi and the Italian GNU Translators Team with that purpose in mind. With a background in the Humanities and Arts, my interest is focused almost exclusively on the philosophical and political aspects of free software.

We invite people who share our goals and our views to join us. We need help in spotting special cases of schools and free programs, write reports, talk to schools, edit and convert audio visual materials to free formats, do graphic design, and more. Our contact address is education@gnu.org.

Syndicated 2012-01-30 16:14:32 (Updated 2012-01-30 17:37:24) from Free Software Foundation

And now for some completely different ways to give to the FSF

Of course, the most obvious way to give money to the FSF is to become an associate member -- associate members are individuals who make scheduled financial contributions to support our work. In return, they get some benefits, and we get to keep doing what we do.

But that's not the only way people give money to the FSF!

  • You probably already know about online donations made with a credit or debit card, but did you know the FSF also accepts payments via PayPal? Not only that, but did you know we even worked with PayPal a couple of years ago to change their conditions, to remove proprietary software? You can even become an associate member, using PayPal, and pay us each month from your regular bank account.

  • Don't forget, many employers offer donation matching schemes -- you might be missing out on a way to increase, and in many cases double, your contribution, just through your employer.

  • If you use credit cards, you might like to consider signing up for a card that sponsors the FSF -- we get $50 when you do, as well as 0.3% of all the retail transactions you make with the card. Of course, credit cards are not a decision to make lightly, since they can involve loss of privacy and increased debt, so think carefully before getting one.

  • Along those lines, if you have a VISA card you can donate via the VISA Giving Program.

  • Do you have a car you no longer use, because it's trapped under a mountain of snow, or that you just don't use anymore now that you've switched to GNU/Linux because you're no longer driving to the electronics store to get viruses taken off your computer? We'll take it! We've partnered up with a company that'll take your old car at no cost to you -- and when they sell it, you'll get a tax receipt for the value.

  • Did you get any unwanted presents for Christmas this year? Do you really need to hang on to that "ULTRA R@RE!!!" VHS copy of Dunston Checks In? If now is a good time to clear some junk from your life, why not sell it on eBay? If you sell your item via eBay Giving Works you can donate a percentage (from 5% to 100%) of your eBay sale direct to the FSF! To get things going, you can buy something from this box of OpenMoko FreeRunner spares we found in a closet at the office. I'm going to try and convince people in the FSF office to sell some of their own unwanted gifts too.

  • Do you ever wish the FSF could be at more events around the world? Well, you can donate your unwanted frequent flyer miles to us! This is actually a little complicated, and unfortunately not tax-deductible, but contact us and our resident frequent flyer expert (that's John Sullivan) will figure out the rest.

  • Associate members get a 20% discount on FSF merchandise and free entry to the LibrePlanet 2012 conference in March. If you're not a member yet, you're missing out on all the extra goodies you can buy... don't have every one of our books, every t-shirt and every sticker? I hope you'll also get yourself a stuffed gnu toy or two, a couple of signed art prints, some buttons, a keychain, a pin for your shirt collar, one of our hooded sweatshirts and a selection of our finest reference cards. Instant geek cred can be yours at http://shop.fsf.org/!

  • Popmoney and Flattr are new ways to give us a little (or a lot) of money quickly.

  • If BitCoin's your thing, 1PC9aZC4hNX2rmmrt7uHTfYAS3hRbph4UN will be of use to you. Note that since we are using a single address for receiving all contributions, we are not providing full anonymity. Further, we support the idea of people being able to donate anonymously, but we can't speak to the security or soundness of Bitcoin in the long-term.

  • If you work in the kind of place where bringing all your GNU Press books and shirts to work is a fun thing to do, maybe you work at a place that should be featured on our list of Corporate Patrons, too?

  • If you're already working for one of our Corporate Patrons, you probably have job openings at your company. You should prod your HR department to list them on our job board, the only Web site that lists exclusively free software jobs. We know this can be a great resource, and we just need a little more help to get it going.

  • Finally, many companies have donation schemes via their local United Way offices -- if yours does, you can donate to the FSF!

We've added many new ways to give money recently, but we're sure there are other ways we haven't even considered yet. If you have an idea, let us know at donate@fsf.org.

Thanks for your support!

Syndicated 2012-01-26 22:36:55 from Free Software Foundation

Part 4: Brett Smith wants to do more for you!

← Read previous appeals — Become an associate member for just $120 or $10/month at my.fsf.org/.

The GNU General Public License (GPL) is one of the main tools the FSF provides to help protect computer user freedom. Every programmer can use the GPL as the license for software they write. When they do, they guarantee all the software's users permission to use, share, and change the program as they see fit.

In xkcd comic 225, two ninjas, conspiring to stop the GPL at its source, break through Richard Stallman's ceiling and awaken him in the night. As you would expect, Stallman jumps alert, drawing a katana with a shing and revealing himself as a true GPL ninja. (Of course, the real-life Stallman is too peaceful to threaten someone with even a butter knife, but you get the metaphor.)

"This isn't Unix — I know this."

I must confess, when I first saw in our office archives the katana someone sent as a gift to Stallman after reading that comic, I didn't think much of it. But over time, I saw some oddities in and around the office that made me start to think there might be something more to it. For example, I noticed that GPL violation reports (about people distributing GPL software but claiming users don't have the rights guaranteed to them) submitted to us over the past few years, some about rather large corporations, have quietly been resolved. For reasons unknown to me, corporations would simply fix the issues and start following the GPL, without anything coming into the public light.

This alone isn't anything that should seem unusual. After all, Brett Smith has been the FSF's license compliance engineer for several years now. Surely he's just a regular guy from Kentucky, experienced at his job, and not some sort of secret agent. Right?

Wrong.

Brett Smith is a GPL ninja

It took me a while to figure it out, but once I examined the evidence in front of me, I realized it was the only logical conclusion.

The first hint is the sheer volume of Brett's output. This past year alone, he answered hundreds of complex licensing questions from the public, wrote some widely read and timely posts for the FSF's blogs, coded up Python scripts during breaks, and dashed across the country to give input to policy makers. Despite the pressure he worked under, he managed to do it all in a timely fashion and with the kind of poise that makes you think, "I bet this kid is cool enough to beat a lie detector test."

Even when he's not working, hearing about Brett's hobbies reinforces the idea he's some sort of free software samurai warrior. He hacks on personal projects like dtrx, an all-purpose archive extraction tool. He knows some Japanese and has taken a couple of long trips to Japan. Lately he's been getting into amateur radio -- he's already got a call sign (KB1WJE).

Proprietary software companies love to talk about how they hire "ninjas." Well, don't worry, we've got ninjas too.

But we are six short of having seven samurai

Despite Brett's skills, the battle to defend freedom and the GPL is a job too big and too important to be left to a single ninja. And there is a lot more that Brett wants to do. He could take even more license violation reports head on, or publish more educational material to teach the way of the GPL ninja to a new generation.

Plus Brett has racked up more vacation time than anyone I know, and he would love to take another long vacation to Japan one of these days.

You don't have to take just my word for all of this. Here's what a couple of our colleagues at other freedom-friendly organizations have to say:

Brett has brought a very professional, constructive approach to working with me on the license. Without his dedication and patience the new GPL compatibility approach would not have succeeded.

-- Luis Villa, on the Mozilla Public License 2.0

This year we managed to announce the acceptability of CC0 for usage with software and its compatibility with the GPL. Licensing issues are complex, and this probably couldn't have happened if we hadn't been able to take advantage of the excellent knowledge and skills of Brett Smith.

-- Christopher Allan Webber, on Creative Commons' CC0 Public Domain Dedication

Here is how you can help Brett do more:

Sincerely,
Josh, Brett, Donald, Jasimin, Jeanne, John, Martin, Matt, Peter, Richard, and Ward

Syndicated 2012-01-20 23:23:14 from Free Software Foundation

GNU spotlight with Karl Berry (December 2011)

To get announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list. Nearly all GNU software is available from ftp.gnu.org, or preferably one of its mirrors. You can use the URL ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

Several GNU packages are looking for maintainers and other assistance. There's also a general page on how to help GNU, and information on how to submit new packages to GNU.

As always, please feel free to write to me, karl@gnu.org, with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

Syndicated 2012-01-05 17:32:50 from Free Software Foundation

19 Dec 2011 (updated 20 Dec 2011 at 21:37 UTC) »

Free Software Foundation

We want to do more for you -- an appeal from the FSF

Syndicated 2011-12-19 21:13:51 (Updated 2011-12-20 21:37:49) from Free Software Foundation

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