Free Software Supporter – Newsletter – Issue 77


This is a copy paste of the newsletter I have received from FSF. Copied here for reference for myself and the people who may visit this blog.
 
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation’s monthly news digest and action update — being read by you and 82,437 other activists. That’s 848 more than last month!

 View this issue online here: https://fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2014/august

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El Free Software Supporter está disponible en español. Para ver la versión en español haz click aqui: https://fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2014/agosto

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Pour modifier vos préférences et recevoir les prochaines publications du Supporter en français, cliquez ici: https://crm.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?gid=34&reset=1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Richard Stallman’s TEDx video: “Introduction to Free Software and the Liberation of Cyberspace”
  • GNU hackers discover HACIENDA government surveillance and give us a way to fight back
  • US cell phone unlocking law: a temporary fix to only part of the problem
  • Watch: “JavaScript: If you love it, set it free”
  • Replace your proprietary BIOS with Libreboot
  • FSF at CommonBound conference on economic equality
  • Introducing Micah, summer intern for the Licensing Team
  • Free Software on the final frontier: GNU Radio controls the ISEE-3 Spacecraft
  • Recap of Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: August 1
  • GNU MediaGoblin 0.7.0: Time Traveler’s Delight
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Laptops comparison
  • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 26 new GNU releases!
  • GNU Toolchain update
  • Richard Stallman’s speaking schedule
  • Other FSF and free software events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • Take action with the FSF

Richard Stallman’s TEDx video: “Introduction to Free Software and the Liberation of Cyberspace”

From July 31st

Are you in search of an easy way to explain to others what free software is and why it matters? Or are you perhaps wondering why you yourself should be concerned about computer-user freedom? If your answer is yes, then this TEDx talk by RMS is what you’re looking for!

GNU hackers discover HACIENDA government surveillance and give us a way to fight back

From August 20th

GNU community members and collaborators have discovered threatening details about a five-country government surveillance program codenamed HACIENDA. The good news? Those same hackers have already worked out a free software countermeasure to thwart the program.

Press release:

US cell phone unlocking law: a temporary fix to only part of the problem

From August 21st

Every three years, the Library of Congress is charged with carving out exemptions from the DMCA’s (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) anti-circumvention provisions. While the current law allows users to have someone unlock their phone for them, it does not permit so-called “bulk unlocking,” where someone buys multiple phones and unlocks them for resale. And it doesn’t address the root issue, which is that users must be able to fully modify all the software on any of their phones or computers.

Watch: “JavaScript: If you love it, set it free”

From August 27th

 

FSF executive director John Sullivan spoke at this year’s FOSDEM, a volunteer-organized conference held in Belgium that highlights the development of free software.

Replace your proprietary BIOS with Libreboot

 

From August 4th

 

With the launch of the Libreboot project, users now have an easy-to-install, 100% free software replacement for proprietary BIOS/boot programs.

FSF at CommonBound conference on economic equality

 

From July 31st

 

FSF campaigns manager Zak Rogoff reports on his attendence at CommonBound, a Boston conference for those working towards a more equitable and sustainable economy.

Introducing Micah, summer intern for the Licensing Team

 

From August 5th

 

Micah-Shalom Kesselman recently started working at the FSF as one of this summer’s licensing interns. In this post, he writes about his interest in free software and what his goals are for his internship.

Free Software on the final frontier: GNU Radio controls the ISEE-3 Spacecraft

 

From August 8th

 

Equipped with free GNU Radio software, a group of citizen scientists has contacted, controlled, and is attempting to recapture a 1970s-era satellite and bring it back into an orbit close to Earth.

Recap of Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: August 1

 

From August 1st

GNU MediaGoblin 0.7.0: Time Traveler’s Delight

 

By Chris Webber, from August 26th

 

The GNU MediaGoblin project has released version 0.7.0 of their media management software. The release features preliminary federation and a new theme.

Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

 

From August 29th

 

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions to version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing. The Free Software Directory has been a great resource to software users over the past decade, but it needs your help staying up-to-date with new and exciting free software projects.

 

To help, join our weekly IRC meetings on Fridays. Meetings take place in the #fsf channel on irc.gnu.org, and usually include a handful of regulars as well as newcomers. Everyone’s welcome.

 

The next meeting is Friday, September 5 from 2pm to 5pm EDT (18:00 to 21:00 UTC).

 

Details here:

After this meeting, you can check https://www.fsf.org/events to see the rest of September’s weekly meetings as they are scheduled.

LibrePlanet featured resource: Laptops comparison

 

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 highlighting our Laptops Comparison page, which provides information about free softare support on laptops. You are invited to adopt, spread and improve this important resource. Try adding your laptop or importing the current information into h-node.

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

GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 26 new GNU releases!

To get announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu. Nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors (https://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.

 

This month, we welcome Raman Gopalan as a new co-maintainer of GNU gengen (with its author Lorenzo Bettini), Marcel Schaible as the new maintainer of GNU gperf, and Sergey Poznyakoff adds yet another new package, direvent, to his long list. I’d also like to specially thank Assaf Gordon (the author and maintainer of GNU datamash, new last month) for a significant amount of effort with all aspects of Savannah; new Savannah volunteers are always needed, and welcome. Thanks to all.

 

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you’d like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html. To submit new packages to the GNU operating system, see https://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.

GNU Toolchain update

 

From August 24th

 

The GNU toolchain refers to the part of the GNU system which is used for building programs. These components of GNU are together often on other systems and for compiling programs for other platforms.

This month features improvements to GCC.

Richard Stallman’s speaking schedule

 

For event details, as well as to sign-up to be notified for future events in your area, please visit https://www.fsf.org/events.

 

So far, Richard Stallman has the following events in September:

Other FSF and free software events

Thank GNUs!

 

We appreciate everyone who donates to the Free Software Foundation, but we’d like to give special recognition to the folks who have donated $500 or more in the last month.

This month, a big Thank GNU to:

  • Andrea Tasso
  • Ritchie Thai
  • Badley Geoscience Limited
  • Michael Albert
  • The US Charitable Gift Trust in honor of Daniel G and Lynn B.
  • Grimes
  • Rick and Betsy Bronson
  • Alexander Steinhoff
  • Association for Computing Machinery
  • Dominik Kellner
  • Mirko Luedde
  • Iljaszenko Charitable Fund
  • Alain Brenzikofer
  • Matthew Hillyard
  • Dutt-Keshavacharya
  • Krishna Kunchithapadam
  • David Fifield
  • Stephen Ippolito
  • Aaron Gotwalt

You can add your name to this list by donating at https://donate.fsf.org.

Take action with the FSF

 

Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF’s work. You can contribute by joining at https://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! https://www.fsf.org/jf?referrer=2442

 

The FSF is also always looking for volunteers (https://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 (https://www.fsf.org/campaigns) and take action on software patents, DRM, free software adoption, OpenDocument, RIAA, and more.

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Copyright © 2014 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

 

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.

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Imagination Unlimited – Summer camp’13


I got this title over a discussion with my wife. That discussion was about our small daughter who started telling stories out of her imagination.  In all stories she will be one character and others will be the new animals and plants she came across. Occasionally her father becomes a hero fighting with the deadly animals and saves her. But recently she herself started the fights and just needs few ladoos before the fight.  I thought this title would be suitable for the blog which talks about the recently concluded free software summer camp.  Without the unlimited imaginations of several people it couldn’t have become such a huge success.  Success is not just a self praise but something real. While going through the blogs of many students, we could feel the warmth of the camp being conveyed in every word they write.

summer_2

Even though the climate experts may not agree with the name of the camp, Summer camp 2013, as per the VTU semester plan we have named camp as Summer camp. Free software movement, Karnataka has conducted its second camp of the year in JVIT, near Bidadi in Bangalore. It was a 9 days residential camp for inculcating the values of free software and orient the participants towards IT industry using free software technologies.  153 students from about 25 engineering colleges across Karnataka has participated in the camp. About 35 volunteers from different GLUGs were also working day and night to make it successful. Five of our executive members were present all days in the camp taking  leave from their regular work. Camp  was inaugurated by FSMI general secretary Kiran Chandra. Inauguration ceremony was chaired by former MLA and the college chairman Mr. Lingappa.

summer_1

It was a fun filled 9 days and every moment was enjoyed by everyone. Thanks to Karthik Bhat and team who have made it lively through out. Students were grouped under different volunteers and there were 16 of them. This defensibility allowed them to come out of their college boundaries and mingle with students from various other colleges. Lot of team activities were there in every evening which has built a group consciousness to succeed as a team rather than just individuals. This is one of the qualities IT industry is also keen about. Even when the agile card is being played very well in the teams, industry leaders very well know the need of grooming the team-first mentality in the members.

summer_9

Almost all the organizers felt that student volunteers are maturing themselves to take bigger responsibilities.  So we got some more time to interact with the students and concentrate on organization oriented discussions. We had dedicated time to meet every college teams and tried to get the feedback.  Every student was convinced about the need of GLUG in their college to take forward more free software activities in their campus.  We do see the potential to grow to more districts in Karnataka while acknowledging the fact that there is a need for more bandwidth. I am sure more future free software evangelists will be born in such camps and summer camp proves such a thought. Last winter camp in January 2013 was attended by 130 students and 20 volunteers. This time the number has increased to 150 participants and 35 volunteers. Many summer camp volunteers were winter-camp participants.  And executive committee was least loaded on the execution front and we could concentrate on the organization building aspects. It includes one on one interactions, screening of documentaries, discussion over documentary, skits, college meetings, etc.

summer_8

What makes FSMK different from other free software or open source groups? We are a movement. A movement succeeds only when people from all quarters of life are participating in it and taking it forward. We clearly understand that free software movement is not just for the hackers and this need to be taken to the common man. Engineering colleges and students of this country should connect with the need of our society. To sensitize the participants in this direction we have screened “Nero’s Guests” documentary which talks about the farmer suicides in Vidharbha. There was a group discussion after that and many students were really convinced about the need to intervene in their capacity. There was a bookstall showcasing many scientific and socially relevant titles. Many students were attracted towards the bookstall after the session by Raghavendra about surveillance and freedom in the internet space. We sold around Rs. 2500/- worth books through the stall operated by the community center.

summer_10

Sarath, Vignesh, Raghuram, Shijil, Karthik Bhat, Hari, Jeeva, Rakesh P, Anupama and Indra deserves a special mention for the success of this camp. We have listed down the names of all 35 volunteers here. Each fo them were crucial to the success of the camp. Good thing was that all were clear about what is their role and what is expected out of each.  Another reason the camp became successful is because of the support we have received from the college management. Vice principal of the college, Dr. Swarnajyothi, has put lot of efforts to make this camp happen and successful.  While  conducting such camps the major hurdle we have faced is on the timing of labs. This time our students were able to use the labs till 10 pm. Volunteers are trained for the next day sessions after that in the same labs. This would not have been possible without the support and flexibility offered by the college.

summer_3

I was proud to present the community center kids before the 200 plus audience including the participants, volunteers, organizers and the college management.  I was a bit emotional (yes.. of-course because of happiness) after I saw a standing ovation from the audience for the community center team.  Community centers are unique experiments by FSMK. Students from 8th standard to degree courses, house wives, small laborers, self employed people, etc are coming there and learning various subjects. Mainly the classes are oriented towards “how to use computer”. All classes are happening on free software. Most of them are now comfortable with using Ubuntu/Debian, Libre office, Shell commands, GIMP, etc. Topics do not stop with computer applications. General science, Mathematics, Social studies, Politics, etc also takes center stage frequently. Mine was an attempt to showcase it and to stress the need for engineering college students to participate in this alternative learning process which enables many.

summer_12

This camp will be a turning point in the free software movement history if following points are also achieved.

0. Participants themselves completely switch to free software.

1. Participants from every college work towards building an active FSMK unit in their campus

2. Ensure participation from different branches and semesters in this platform.

3. Conduct at-least two technical and ideological sessions as part of the unit activity in a month

4. Take initiative to take free software to the common public. This could be by setting up a community center or helping a school in your neighborhood  to switch to free software.

5. Take free software to non-engineering colleges as well.

6. Learn about different initiatives of FSMK and work towards achieving the common goals. This could be about localization, academicians chapter, FSMK news letter, etc.summer_4

summer_5

summer_6

summer_7

There is scope of activism for everyone in Free Software Movement.  Starting from common man till professionals and not only software engineers. We already have successful implementations of free software in schools(IT @ School in Kerala), which saves lot of money on proprietary softwares which in-turn can be utilized to buy more hardware. The cybercafes in our neighborhoods need to liberated from the illegal ( so called pirated) softwares. The wide spread computerization need to be switched to free softwares as early as possible, not just for saving money  but to protect ourselves from so many eagle eyes.

summer_11

We would love to see free software and its ideologies in its true spirit is spreading across the state and the entire country.  To bring down digital divide, to remove illiteracy in general and build computer literacy in particular, even in our villages, this movement can do a lot.  And college students of our country should play a major role in it. In addition to that we have to thicken the color codes of free software contribution in the world map.  At the same time the fight against imperialist surveillance and invasions need to be fought tooth and nail.  It is important for us to get equipped ourselves and protect the freedom and dignity of ourselves and our fellow men and women.