Spring internships at the FSF! Apply by Nov. 29

Do you believe that free software is crucial to a free society? Do you want to help people learn why free software matters, and how to use it? Do you want to dig deep into software freedom issues like copyleft, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), or surveillance and encryption? Or, do you want to learn systems administration, design, or other tasks using only free software?

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is looking for interns to spend the summer contributing to work in one of three areas: campaigns, licensing, or technical.

These positions are unpaid, but the FSF will provide any appropriate documentation you might need to receive funding and school credit from outside sources. We also provide lunch expense reimbursement and a monthly transportation pass that will give you free access to local subways and buses (MBTA). We place an emphasis on providing hands-on educational opportunities for interns, in which they work closely with staff mentors on projects that match their skills and interest.

Interns can choose from the following fields of work:

Spring internships have a flexible beginning, with possible start times as early as January, and typically run for a period of twelve weeks. We prefer candidates who are able to work in our Boston office, but may consider remote interns. The deadline to apply is November 29, 2019.

To apply, send a letter of interest and a resume with two references to hiring@fsf.org. Please send all application materials in free software-friendly formats like .pdf, .odt, and .txt. Use "Spring internship application" as the subject line of your email. Please include links to your writing, design, or coding work if it applies -- personal, professional, or class work is acceptable. URLs are preferred, though email attachments in free formats are acceptable, too. Learn more about our internships, and direct any questions to info@fsf.org.

How we fixed DRM in Portugal (and so can you)

How we fixed DRM in Portugal (and so can you)

After 15 years of trying to solve the DRM problem, the Portuguese Association for Free Software ANSOL and the Association for Free Education AEL finally managed to get what they sought: a fix to the DRM situation in Portugal.

Digital Restrictions Management (originally introduced by the entertainment industry as Digital Rights Management), are technologies that prevent, control, or restrict the use of hardware, software, or other creative works like books, films, music, etc.. They are also known as anti-copy technologies. In 1998 in USA and in 2001 in Europe, these technologies were given legal protection by the lawmakers. Copyright holders convinced the lawmakers that they needed DRM to be protected by the law in order to stop file-sharing without commercial purposes. This legal protection meant that breaking the DRM started to be illegal or a crime. In Portugal, for example, breaking the DRM had a penalty of up to one year in prison, until 2017. Even if you did something legal.

In Europe, we have a set of copyright exceptions to guarantee fundamental rights. These are uses of the work we are allowed to do without having to ask permission to the rightholders and authors. Depending on the law in your country, you can make a private copy, use works or parts of works for education and scientific research, quotations for criticism or review. Libraries and other cultural heritage institutions have a set of exceptions that allow them to make available works to the public and to digitally preserve those works, and the press also has a set of exceptions to guarantee the right to information. These exceptions are described in article 5 of the InfoSoc European Directive.

When lawmakers gave legal protection to DRM, they didn't really protect these exceptions, which meant that while citizens have these rights, they cannot exercise them, since there is no way to exercise most of them without breaking the DRM. For instance, if you bought a music CD and your country has a private copy exception[^1], you can make a digital copy to listen to its music on your mobile phone. But, if the CD has DRM, while you still have the right to make a copy, you cannot exercise it, since there is no way to make a private copy of a DRMed CD without breaking the DRM, which you are not allowed to do.

In Portugal, this is no longer a problem. In the next few paragraphs, we'll tell you about how we decided this situation wasn't acceptable, what did we do about it, and what did we achieve.

Document yourselfWhat is DRM and how does it work?

The first step is to understand what DRM is and how does it work. The science fiction writer Cory Doctorow has an extensive set of talks, articles, and books about the subject. His talk to the Microsoft Research Group in 2004, where he explains why DRM systems don't work and why they are bad for society, for business, and for artists is still, in our opinion, one of the best articles to understand the problem. You can find the text in his book "Content".

Defective by Design, a campaign from Free Software Foundation, and DRM.info from Free Software Foundation Europe are also important resources to get information from. On the International Day Against DRM, FSFE also published its Software Freedom Podcast with Cory Doctorow dedicated to DRM.

Keep in mind that the main goal of this step is for you to be able to explain the DRM problem to people that are not technological savvy. It is also a good idea to think about examples that users can face on a day to day basis and thus are easier to relate to.

Harder than learning all there is to know about DRM and how it works is to make others learn that too. However, only by getting our policy makers learn about it were we able to have them consider that this could be a problem they had to solve.

The arguments used by those in favour of DRM and how to deconstruct them

One important step is to know what arguments those that (apparently) defend DRM use. These arguments also change through time.

A common flaw of a conversation about DRM with rightholders is one where, at first, they say they need DRM to stop illegal copying. When faced with the fact that DRM law has been around for two decades without any impact on file sharing without commercial purposes, or when you explain that DRM puts both locks and keys in the hands of those they don't wish to get the lock open, rightholders start changing their arguments, saying things like that they are aware DRM does not stop those with knowledge to break the locks, but that the intention is to stop the common citizen from sharing the works (at which point you can note that once the DRM is broken, the only thing the "common citizen" needs to do is a search on the Web).

We say "apparently in favour", however, since at some point during this long battle, we got to a point where the arguments were simply "we don't even want legal protection to DRM either", or "we only have this because the European directive demands it".

What does the European Directive say?

The next step is to check what the European Directive say about DRM. You'll want to check articles 6 and 7 of the InfoSoc. There you can find what the law defines as DRM and how Member States have or can transpose to their national law.

Usually, the law does not refer the term DRM, instead it refers "technological measures" or "protection measures".

What does your national law say?

After checking the European Directive, you will need to read the law in your own country to verify how was the directive transposed into national law. In particular, you need to check:

What copyright exceptions has your country? What is the definition of DRM in the law? What happens when an user breaks the DRM? Does the law offer some kind of solution for the cases where the user needs to exercise a copyright exception?

Answering these questions will help you understand what is the case in you country regarding DRM, and after that you can design the best strategy to fix the problem. Although the European Directive imposes some level of harmonisation, the situation can be different from country to country. For example, Poland never implemented these rules.

Test the law

In the case of Portugal, the law considered that breaking DRM was a crime, but it also had an article saying the DRM should not prevent citizens from using the copyright exceptions, like private copying, or using an excerpt of a work for educational purposes, scientific research, etc. This is important because the European Directive, in its article 6.4, mandates Member States to ensure users can benefit from the copyright exceptions, which means that other countries must have some kind of process in place to allow citizens to make copies of DRMed works. Of course, there is also a high probability that solution does not work. It was the case in Portugal.

The Portuguese law said that when DRM prevented a citizen from making use of a copyright exception, the citizen could contact the General Inspection of Cultural Activities (IGAC), a public institution from the Ministry of Culture, and ask for the "means" to make the copy, instead of breaking the DRM himself, because, the law also stated, rightholders had to deposit those "means" in IGAC. In summary: rightholders should deposit the "means" to open the DRM in IGAC, then citizens would ask IGAC for those "means" in order to exercise a legal use, like a private copy. We never knew what the law meant by "means" - it was assumed those would be the keys IGAC would be able to use in order to open the DRM locks.

Knowing how we were supposed to be able to exercise our rights, we decided to test the law: we got a DVD with DRM, contacted IGAC telling them we wanted to make a private copy (which is a copyright exception in Portugal, and thus a legal action), and asked them for the "means" to make that private copy without breaking the DRM (actually, the first request we made was for the means so we could legally watch a DVD with DRM on our GNU/Linux laptop, but IGAC didn't understand the request, so we used the private copy exception, which seems to be easier to understand).

After pointing IGAC to the law and which exact articles were we trying to exercise, they told us they couldn't give us what we asked since they didn't have those "means", as the rightholders had not deposit them, a situation the law didn't foresee (and as such, there was no penalty for rightholders that didn't make such a deposit).

We made sure to get a written statement from IGAC saying they didn't have those "means" (either to that DVD or anything else), which was important for us to use as proof that the law at that moment didn't work.

Raise awareness and educate

Since the beginning, it is important to raise awareness, have people talk about DRM, to show that citizens being prevented from exercising a copyright exception is not acceptable. The problem with DRM is mainly a legal one, not technical. As Doctorow says, "DRM systems are usually broken in minutes, sometimes days. Rarely, months. It's not because the people who think them up are stupid. It's not because the people who break them are smart. It's not because there's a flaw in the algorithms. At the end of the day, all DRM systems share a common vulnerability: they provide their attackers with ciphertext, the cipher and the key. At this point, the secret isn't a secret anymore". Politicians will only fix the law if they know there are citizens voicing their concerns about it. If no one cares about a certain problem, why would they spend time fixing it?

The Public

We made several actions to raise public awareness, too many to list here. Some of the ones we believe helped the most are:

Inspired by the Defective by Design campaign actions, we went to cinemas that were showing movies from pro-DRM majors and distributed flyers, talking about DRM to the people that went to see those movies. One example was the première of the movie "Pirates of Caribbean" in Portugal, back in 2007. You can watch a small video by clicking in the image below and read about it here (in Portuguese). DRM Action Video

We set up the DRM-PT website, where we published content about the problems of DRM, in Portuguese. Besides raising awareness, a blog or a website will be helpful for you to register developments, examples of problems faced by citizens when encountering DRM, and arguments, that you will need to use later on.

Also inspired by Defective by Design, we maintained in the website a list of publishers and companies, including Portuguese ones, that use DRM, recommending people to avoid those companies, brands or products.

We also wrote a bit about how to check if a product has DRM:

Example of a CD with DRM

We also used the website to maintain a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and a press section, where we gathered articles, presentations, and other media about the problems of DRM.

From the start we boycotted pro-DRM companies and, most importantly, talked about it. For example, when we were planning on buying something (CD, DVD, eBook, etc.) and then find out it had DRM, we would write about it on our personal blogs. On the other hand, each time we found something that could but didn't have DRM, we would also talk about the purchase, praising the author, the publisher, and the store.

We used social networks to discuss the problem. When someone asked which eBook e-reader or app should they buy or use, we would advise against those that had or promote DRM, explaining why and pointing to the DRM-PT website. We never encouraged anyone to break DRM, even for legal purposes, explaining instead that what they wanted was lawful, the way to get it was illegal, and that's why we wanted to see the law changed.

We also organised and participated in conferences and other events, taking every opportunity to talk about the DRM problem.

Politicians

Because the main problem with DRM is legal, sooner or later you will have to start talking with politicians - the law makers, to make them aware of the problem and to convince them to change the law.

Again, here is a non-exhaustive list of the things we did to achieve this:

We sent emails to all political parties in the national Parliament explaining the problem, refuting the arguments from those that apparently defend DRM, pointing out the law didn't work, and asking them to consider changing the law. While some won't reply, others will, and, even if they aren't convinced, they are still open to listen to you, giving you another chance to present your arguments.

In events we organised or participated, we always tried to include a talk on DRM and invited politicians from all the political spectrum to talk about the issue. They started to show up. Likewise, when political parties had events on related subjects (like open education or open science) we would go and ask questions at the end, pointing out how DRM harms those activities. Of course, we would also attend and participate in events organized by other institutions.

DRM is an issue that has no political spectrum. Left or right, conservative or liberal, you can argue against DRM with parties positioned anywhere in the political compass. It is important to understand what kind of concerns the politician you are talking to has. Some will be more concerned with competition and the markets, others with education or science, others still with fundamental rights, public domain... But there is an argument for each of these topics: DRM destroys competition and distorts the market, harms the public domain and property rights (even on cars or coffee machines.

Eventually, if things go well, a law proposal will reach the Parliament. This is the time where you can send your contributions and arguments, and if you represent an association you can ask for meetings and to be heard. It is important to be aware that the law proposal isn't the end of the road: by now you created the space to debate the subject, but this is when it is time to have it debated, and you will need to convince a majority in your parliament that the law must be changed.

Before the discussion in the plenary took place, we made small books, with an hole in them, and a physical lock preventing the books from being opened. We sent the locked books and the keys to the members of the parliament. The book itself explained the DRM problem in the law, and the analogy with the item they were just reading. During the plenary discussion, one of the members of the Parliament used the notebook to explain the problem with the DRM:

DRM Law Discussion in Portuguese Parliament It also helps to get leverage from other laws. Between 2011 and 2015, Portuguese Governments tried to change the private copy exception levies, and each of those times we used the opportunity to point out that, because of DRM, citizens weren't even able to exercise the exception. Note that citizens pay to have the private copy exception every time they buy a computer, a mobile phone, or any other device that makes copies or have some kind of storage. If your country has a private copy exception there is a high probability you are also paying an extra in the devices you buy. Persist

First you need to know and care, then you need to get others to know and care. Afterwards, you raise awareness amongst policy makers up to a point where law proposals exist. Even then, there is work to be done. It will not be easy or quick. We had two political parties submitting proposals to change the law, twice. In 2013, both the proposals were rejected. Only in 2017, one of them was approved by the Parliament. But don't give up. If we did it, so can you!

Work within the framework

Legal justification for DRM is enshrined in an European directive, and it doesn't matter what you think about it: Member States need to comply with it. That can even work at your advantage: after all, the directive states that Member States need to ensure users can benefit from the copyright exceptions, for instance. But that also means that you will hear the argument that there is nothing to be done about this, since the directive mandates it. It is important to make sure the proposed change doesn't go against what is in the Directive. The European Directive does not allow Member States to allow their citizens to break DRM, not even for legal purposes. Fortunately, now that Portugal has found a fix, you might be able to point out to it, and propose the adoption of a similar solution.

Note that there is a difference between getting your law makers to accept that there is a problem, and working on a solution, and it will be helpful if you present them with both: "Hey, you have a problem here, and here's a way you can solve it".

The approach we found acceptable was to work the definition of the DRM, excluding copyright exceptions. In bold, the part that was added to the law:

"Article 217º […] the expression “technological measures” means any technology, device or component that, in the normal course of its operation, is designed to prevent or restrict acts, in respect of protected works, that are not exceptions to the copyright, provided in the nº 2 of the article 75º, in the article 81º, in the nº4 of the article 152º and in the nº1 of the article […]"

Making it clear: if a technology prevents a Portuguese citizen from making use of a copyright exception (private copy, education, commentary, critic, scientific research etc.), then that technology is not considered DRM by the law. Not having legal protection, it can be lawfully broken.

On the other hand, if a technology prevents a citizen from making an unlawful use (file-sharing, which is not permitted in Portugal, for example) then that technology is considered DRM by the law and cannot be broken.

So, the same technology can be considered both DRM and not DRM depending on the unlawful or lawful purpose the citizen has.

Make the (apparent) opposition talk

During the discussions in the Portuguese Parliament, we pointed out that the law at that time didn't work since IGAC didn't have the "means" needed. We gave one step further and claimed that, if they didn't want to change the law as we proposed, they had to at least change it to establish a punishment for the rightholders not handing those "means" over, and that the parliament should invite them to speak, and explain why they didn't do it. Both IGAC and the rightholders were called to the Parliament. Both admitted they didn't have the keys, and the rightholders even added they would never get the keys from the companies that made the DRM systems.

Present your alternative

At this point, our feeling was that most members of the parliament knew we were right: the solution the law had didn't and couldn't work. So, they were ready to approve the change in the law. The approved law was proposed by the Left Bloc, with the votes in favour of the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, the Greens Party, and the Persons, animals, and Nature Party and was promulgated by the President of Portugal on 2nd of June of 2017. The law also prohibited DRM in public domain works, in new editions of public domain works, and in works published by public entities or funded by public money.

Start acting at an European Level

If the European Directive made it clear that copyright exceptions were out of the scope of the DRM - after all it was never the intention of the lawmaker to remove fundamental rights - then it would be easier for all the Member States to solve the problem. At the beginning of the discussions regarding the recently approved Copyright Directive we met with the Member of the European Parliament, Ms. Julia Reda, and talked about what we did in Portugal and the possibility to propose an amendment regarding DRM in the directive, which she did. The proposal was to make sure copyright exceptions were out of the scope by adding to the definition of the DRM: and which are not authorised by national or Union law:

“For the purposes of this Directive, the expression "technological measures" means any technology, device or component that, in the normal course of its operation, is designed to prevent or restrict acts, in respect of works or other subject-matter, which are not authorised by the rightholder of any copyright or any right related to copyright as provided for by law or the sui generis right provided for in Chapter III of Directive 96/9/EC, and which are not authorised by national or Union law.”

The amendment was voted in the IMCO Committee (Internal Market and Consumer Protection), but it was rejected by one vote.

Conclusion

Awareness and knowledge are important for you to embrace and get yourself involved in something you want to change. But it is not enough: you need to make sure that those are transmitted, as you need to reach and catch the attention of those who can actually make the change happen. It is a process that involves persistence, but it can be achieved, and there are ways to make it easier. Make sure you have clear examples of what are the problems, and make it clear that even those benefiting from them admit there are problems. But don't present a problem without also presenting a potential solution. This is an experience we are sure we will take a few lessons learned from into future challenges. But this particular topic isn't solved yet. There is now a directive transposition in Portugal that, we believe, makes more sense. It is time to take this one level further, and see other Member States following this steps.

Are you up to it?

This article was written by Paula Simões and Marcos Marado. They can be contacted at paulasimoes[at]gmail[dot]com and marcos.marado[at]ansol[dot]org , and they are available to discuss further about this subject, if you have any questions, or want to fix the DRM problem in your country too.

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Software Freedom Podcast #2 about KDE with Lydia Pintscher

Software Freedom Podcast #2 about KDE with Lydia Pintscher

We are back with the second episode of our Software Freedom Podcast! Once a month, we talk with people who have inspiring ideas about software freedom. In this episode, we talk with Lydia Pintscher from KDE about the development of the KDE community, the different KDE projects and the issues they will be tackling over the next two years.

When we were planning this second episode of the Software Freedom Podcast, we were keen on inviting someone from the Free Software community. We thought that Lydia, as the current Vice President of KDE, would be the perfect person to join us for our second episode. This gives us the chance to introduce to you the wonderful KDE community and all its different projects. In this episode, we talk about how Lydia balances her day job with the volunteer position of vice president of KDE. We also discuss some broader topics like the development of the KDE community and the different projects they are working on, as well as the future outlook of these projects.

Read more:

About KDE Join the KDE community KDE Akademy goals

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Get Active: “Public Money? Public Code!” in the Kassel city parliament

Get Active: “Public Money? Public Code!” in the Kassel city parliament

Our EU-wide campaign "Public Money? Public Code!" has made it to the city parliament in Kassel (Germany). The parliamentary group, consisting of FDP, Freie Wähler (Free Voters) and Pirates, has proposed a motion "Public Money - Public Code as a Principle in Software Procurement". The motion calls on the magistrate to follow the principle of "Public Money, Public Code" when purchasing new software and to focus increasingly on Free Software as well as Open Standards.

The responsible committee on finance, economics and fundamental issues will vote on the motion on 27 November 2019, while a vote in the city parliament will take place later on 9 December 2019. A reason for us to take action: With a letter and our expert brochure we have approached the members of the parliament to convince them to approve the motion. However, there does not seem to be a majority for the motion so far, so we need your help to contact the politicians by e-mail or letter!

The political positions on Free Software in the Kassel city parliament

The coalition of SPD, Greens and Liberale Liste, has written in their coalition agreement that they are in favor of a more transparent and informative digital presence for the city. Thus, according to the coalition partners, the "opportunities for citizens to participate, including by digital means, should be improved".

Those goals could be reached through the use of Free Software in the public infrastructure. Free Software grants the user the rights

to use the software for any purpose; to study the software and to observe how it works; to improve and adapt the software for their own needs and to share the software as well as any added improvements with others to benefit the community.

Therefore, the use of Free Software and thereby the guarantee of these four freedoms would allow more transparency in the digital infrastructure. Through the use of Free Software in the public administration, the government can also give something back to the citizens and, from a long-term perspective, support the local economy by allowing them to participate in the development and improvement of the digital infrastructure. In this way, the "opportunities for citizens to participate, including by digital means,” can be improved.

The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Hessen, also approves of the use of Free Software. They wrote in their basic program: "Free access to the possibilities of the new media also includes the increased use of Free Software. We therefore call for the use of open source systems in educational institutions and in public administration, where it makes sense."

Despite these examples for the commitment of the governing parties in the Kassel city parliament the proposal for “Public Money – Public Code” as a guiding principle has little chance of success so far. Although the Greens are actually in favour of it, Green politician and group leader Boris Mijatovic has denied approval of the proposal. Mijatovic asserts that the Greens are in favor of the motion and the city is active in this topic, but says that the motion was introduced by the "wrong" parliamentarien group, who cannot convince in this topic.

"So far no. Sympathies for the cause are present, and the city is also active in the field. But the motion comes from a group that cannot convince in this point."

The Greens are also not willing to submit an alternative motion - so that it would come from the "correct" parliamentarian group - as they believe that there would be no majority in this legislature for a motion like the proposed one, and that politics is also a question of opportunities. Although the Greens are in the coalition, the coalition cannot get a majority for the use of Free Software. This seems surprising, especially as they cannot at the same time get themselves to vote in favor of the motion.

"I am afraid there is no majority for this in this legislature. It is a pity, but politics is also a question of opportunities."

To get a majority in the Kassel city parliament for the motion to implement “Public Money? Public Code!” as a guiding principle for new software purchase, we need your help.

Convince the coalition factions and parliamentarians to vote for this motion. Write a letter or an e-mail. You can find a template on our wiki page. The contact addresses can be found on the page of the Kassler City Parliament

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New RYF Web site: It's now easier to support companies selling devices that Respect Your Freedom

The Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification program helps to connect users with retailers who respect their rights. Retailers in the program sell devices that come with freedom inside, and promise to always ensure that their users are not directed to proprietary software at any point in the sale or ownership of the device. When we launched the program in 2010, we had no idea how quickly the program would grow.

In 2012, when we announced the first certification, we hosted information about the program and retailers as a simple page on the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Web site. With only one retailer selling one device, this was certainly satisfactory. As the program grew, we added each new device chronologically to that page, highlighting the newest certifications. We are now in a place where eight different retailers have gained nearly fifty certifications, including the recently announced Talos II and Talos II Lite mainboards from Raptor Computing Systems, LLC. With so many devices available, across so many different device categories, it was getting more difficult for users to find what they were looking for in just a plain chronological list.

Thus we are proud to announce we're launching a new, stand-alone Web presence for RYF, capable of facilitating its continued expansion. Users can check out the new site at https://ryf.fsf.org. There, they can browse certifications by vendor and device type, and learn about the most recent certifications. Each device has its own page which directs users to the certification announcement, date of certification, and a link to the retailer site where they can purchase it.

We hope that this update will make it even easier for users to find products they can trust from retailers dedicated to promoting freedom and privacy for everyone. With that said, there is always room for improvement, so we would love to hear your feedback about the new site. Here's what you can do to help:

  • Check out the new site at https://ryf.fsf.org and let us know what you think by sending an email to licensing@fsf.org.

  • Help spread awareness of the RYF program by sharing our RYF flyer with your friends and colleagues.

  • Buy certified products and encourage others to do so.

  • Encourage a retailer to certify a product by directing them to the RYF criteria page.

  • Support this work by donating or joining the FSF as an associate member.

Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite Mainboard now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

Talos II

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, November 7th, 2019 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the Talos II and Talos II Lite mainboards from Raptor Computing Systems, LLC. The RYF certification mark means that these products meet the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control over the product, and privacy.

While these are the first devices from Raptor Computing Systems to receive RYF certification, the FSF has supported their work since 2015, starting with the original Talos crowdfunding effort. Raptor Computing Systems has worked very hard to protect the rights of users.

"From our very first products through our latest offerings, we have always placed a strong emphasis on returning control of computing to the owner of computing devices -- not retaining it for the vendor or the vendor's partners. We hope that with the addition of our modern, powerful, owner-controlled systems to the RYF family, we will help spur on industry adoption of a similar stance from the many silicon vendors required to support modern computing," said Timothy Pearson, Chief Technology Officer, Raptor Computing Systems, LLC.

These two mainboards are the first PowerPC devices to receive certification. Several GNU/Linux distributions endorsed by the FSF are currently working towards offering support for PowerPC platform.

"These certifications represent a new era for the RYF program. Raptor's new boards were designed to respect our rights, and will open up new possibilities for free software users everywhere," said the FSF's executive director, John Sullivan.

The Talos II and Talos II Lite also represent an interesting first in terms of reproducible builds. When two people compile the same code, the resulting object code usually differs slightly because of variables like build timestamps and other differences affecting the object code. Making it so users can independently reproduce exactly the same builds for important free software programs makes it so that anyone can distribute the builds with more certainty that they do not contain hidden malware. For the Talos II, the FSF was able to reproduce the build that is loaded onto the FPGA chip of the board that was tested, and will include the checksum of that build along with the source code we publish.

"We want to congratulate Raptor Engineering on this, and we encourage vendors to ship more reproducible builds, which we will be happy to reproduce as part of the RYF certification," said the FSF's senior system administrator, Ian Kelling.

To learn more about the Respects Your Freedom certification program, including details on the certification of these Raptor Computing Systems devices, please visit https://ryf.fsf.org.

Retailers interested in applying for certification can consult https://ryf.fsf.org/about/criteria.

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 https://fsf.org and https://gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

About Raptor Computing Systems, LLC

Raptor Computing Systems, LLC is focused on developing and marketing user-controlled devices.

Media Contacts

Donald Robertson, III
Licensing and Compliance Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
licensing@fsf.org

Raptor Computing Systems, LLC sales@raptorcs.com

Image of Talos II by Raptor Computing Systems, LLC Copyright 2018 licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

LibrePlanet returns in 2020 to Free the Future! March 14-15, Boston area

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, November 7, 2019 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced that registration is open for the twelfth LibrePlanet conference on free software. The annual technology and social justice conference will be held in the Boston area on March 14 and 15, 2020, with the theme "Free the Future." Session proposals will be accepted through November 20.

The FSF invites activists, hackers, law professionals, artists, students, developers, young people, policymakers, tinkerers, newcomers to free software, and anyone looking for technology that respects their freedom to register to attend, and to submit a proposal for a session for LibrePlanet: "Free the Future."

Submissions to the call for sessions are being accepted through Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at 12:00 EST (17:00 UTC).

LibrePlanet provides an opportunity for community activists, domain experts, and people seeking solutions for themselves to come together in order to discuss current issues in technology and ethics.

"LibrePlanet attendees and speakers will be discussing the hot button issues we've all been reading about every day, and their connection to the free software movement. How do you fight Facebook? How do we make software-driven cars safe? How do we stop algorithms from making terrible, unreviewable decisions? How do we enjoy the convenience of mobile phones and digital home assistants without being constantly under surveillance? What is the future of digital currency? Can we have an Internet that facilitates respectful dialogue?" said FSF's executive director, John Sullivan.

The free software community has continuously demanded that users and developers be permitted to understand, study, and alter the software they use, offering hope and solutions for a free technological future. LibrePlanet speakers will display their unique combination of digital knowledge and educational skills in the two day conference, as well as give more insights into their ethical dedication to envision a future rich with free "as in freedom" software and without network services that mistreat their users. The FSF's LibrePlanet 2020 edition is therefore aptly named "Free the Future."

"For each new technological convenience we gain, it seems that we lose even more in the process. To exchange intangible but vital rights to freedom and privacy for the latest new gadget can make the future of software seem bleak," said Zoë Kooyman, program manager for the FSF. "But there is resistance, and it is within our capabilities to reject this outcome."

Thousands of people have attended LibrePlanet over the years, both in person and remotely. The conference welcomes visitors from up to 15 countries each year, with many more joining online. Hundreds of impressive free software speaker sessions, including keynote talks by Edward Snowden and Cory Doctorow, can be viewed on the conference's MediaGoblin instance, in anticipation of further program announcements.

For those who cannot attend LibrePlanet in person, there are plenty of other ways to participate remotely. The FSF is encouraging free software advocates worldwide to use the tools provided on libreplanet.org to host satellite viewing parties and other events. They also opened applications for scholarships for people around the globe to attend the conference in Boston, and encourage supporters who are able to help others attend by donating to the LibrePlanet travel fund.

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 https://www.fsf.org and https://www.gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

MEDIA CONTACT

Zoë Kooyman
Program Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

LibrePlanet 2020: Free the Future, March 14-15, Boston area, MA

LibrePlanet 2020: Free the Future, March 14-15, Boston area

What: LibrePlanet is an annual conference hosted by the Free Software Foundation for free software enthusiasts and anyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. LibrePlanet brings together software developers, law and policy experts, activists, students, and computer users to learn skills, celebrate free software accomplishments, and face upcoming challenges to software freedom. Newcomers are always welcome, and LibrePlanet 2020 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels. The theme for LibrePlanet 2020 is "Free the Future."

Where: Boston area

When: Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15, 9:00 - 18:00 EDT

Registration: Registration for this event is now open.

Call for Sessions: LibrePlanet is accepting session proposals until November 20th, 12:00 EST.

Contact: For questions, email the FSF campaigns team campaigns@fsf.org

Have a look at our call for sessions blog post to learn more about the event and about the kinds of sessions we are looking for. We are also hosting an information session every Thursday to answer any questions you have about submitting a proposal for LibrePlanet, until submissions close on November 20. To participate in these information sessions, join us in the #libreplanet Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel during these time slots:

  • November 7th: 13:00 - 14:00 EST (18:00 UTC)

  • November 14th: 13:00 - 14:00 EST (18:00 UTC)

We have a limited amount of funding to bring conference participants to LibrePlanet from all around the world. You can apply for a scholarship now! The application deadline is Monday, December 2nd, 2019, at 10:00 EST (15:00 UTC). Scholarship recipients will be notified in mid-December.

If you don't need a scholarship, you can help us to free the future, and welcome the broadest possible audience, by making a contribution to support those who do.

We hope to see you at LibrePlanet!

Register now for LibrePlanet 2020: "Free the Future", in Boston area, MA

LibrePlanet 2020: Free the Future registration now open

Registration has officially opened for LibrePlanet 2020! Mark your calendars: the conference will be held on March 14 and 15, 2020, in the Boston area. Scholarship applications, exhibitor registration, and sponsor opportunities are also open now.

For those of you who haven't been to the LibrePlanet conference before: expect a friendly, social, community-focused event with two days of inspiring talks and workshops from some of the most prominent people in the free software community.

Students and Free Software Foundation (FSF) associate members attend LibrePlanet gratis. Not a member? Join today for $10 per month ($5 for students), or register for LibrePlanet at our non-member rate of $90 for the two day conference.

At LibrePlanet 2019, over a thousand people participated either in person or online in the conference. Free software enthusiasts traveled from fourteen countries to explore the theme "Trailblazing Free Software." You can watch videos from this past March's conference on our MediaGoblin instance.

You can already pre-order this year's full-color LibrePlanet T-shirt on the conference registration form; if you order ahead, you can pick your shirt up at the event. Or, you can order the T-shirt through the FSF Shop, if you would like to have it shipped to you.

Call for Sessions LibrePlanet 2020: "Free the Future"

The call for sessions for LibrePlanet will close on November 20, at 12:00 EST (17:00 UTC), so if you haven't submitted yet, there is still time to be part of the program. This year, LibrePlanet will explore the theme, "Free the Future," and we are looking forward to seeing free software explored through the lens of this year's theme in sessions about software development, copyleft, community, or other related issues.

Have a look at our call for sessions blog post to learn more about the theme and the kinds of sessions we are looking for. We are also hosting an information session every Thursday to answer any questions you have about submitting a proposal for LibrePlanet, until submissions close on November 20. To participate in these information sessions, join us in the #libreplanet Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel during these time slots:

  • November 7th: 13:00 - 14:00 EST (18:00 UTC)

  • November 14th: 13:00 - 14:00 EST (18:00 UTC)

Don't use IRC? Email your questions to campaigns@fsf.org.

Need help traveling to LibrePlanet?

We have a limited amount of funding to bring conference participants to LibrePlanet from all around the world. You can apply for a scholarship now! The application deadline is Monday, December 2nd, 2019, at 10:00 EST (15:00 UTC). Scholarship recipients will be notified in mid-December.

If you don't need a scholarship, you can help us to free the future, and welcome the broadest possible audience, by making a contribution to support those who do.

Support LibrePlanet by becoming an exhibitor or sponsor

LibrePlanet is organized by the FSF, a 501(c)(3) charity. Your contribution allows us to create a truly valuable event for many people all over the globe by making the production of the event possible, and allowing us to livestream the event.

We also offer unique opportunities for businesses and other organizations to connect to a community that is dedicated to free software. Early bird pricing for exhibitors starts now, and will be available until February 15th, 2020. For information on how your company can have a table in our exhibit hall, or to further sponsor the LibrePlanet conference, please email campaigns@fsf.org.

I hope to see you at LibrePlanet!

Flying with SeaGL, blasting GNU Radio, and more from the Working Together for Free Software Fund

Free software is software that you can run, copy, distribute, study, change, and improve as you please. While these freedoms are rights that belong to the individual, they are also intrinsically linked to the concept of community and sharing. It's imperative that we be permitted to use, examine, and alter software as we choose, but we also demand the right to share our improvements with the wider community.

Working Together for Free Software is one of our initiatives that focuses on the broader world of free software: the community, programs, and funding that we’re coalescing to mount the crucial resistance to the abuses of proprietary software. This is a category that covers a lot of people and a lot of work, and the Working Together for Free Software Fund is just one piece of the picture.

This fund enables important, mission-aligned free software projects to utilize the FSF’s nonprofit infrastructure to enhance their fundraising and other capabilities, without the labor and costs of becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on their own. This gives them access to the organizational strengths of the FSF, plus additional capacity and unique benefits.

While all of the projects under the umbrella of the Working Together for Free Software Fund are absolutely worthy of your attention and donations, today we're highlighting just a few projects with some noteworthy announcements. Want to know if your free software project qualifies? Learn more here!

GNU Guix

Guix (pronounced "geeks") promises users and developers three primary qualities: freedom, dependability, and hackability. You can use it either as a package manager compatible with your current GNU/Linux distribution, or you can use it as your distribution. People are happily using Guix for software development, bioinformatics, high-performance computing, research, and more. The Guix project also encompasses the creation of Guix System, which is on our list of endorsed free GNU/Linux distributions.

Thanks to the contributions of nearly 300 volunteers over seven years, version 1.0 of the GNU Guix package manager was released in May 2019. Also, Guix has been helping to lead the way on reproducible builds, which provide large advantages for both security and user freedom -- you can read more about this topic and see videos from LibrePlanet 2018 here. Read about some more of the ways that people are using and modifying Guix here!

Help Guix flourish and grow: donate here

GNU Radio

What can you do with radio in 2019? When the radio software is freedom-respecting, you can do whatever you like! GNU Radio is a free software development toolkit that provides signal processing blocks to implement software radios.

Occasionally, the innovations possible with this system make news: most recently, this June, researchers used GNU Radio to increase the usefulness of the RF tags on rehabilitated orangutans released back into the wild in Borneo. To create a heatmap of orangutan positions, researcher Dirk Gorissen used GNU radio to make a digital signal processing algorithm. You can read more about Gorissen’s research here.

GNU Radio developers and fans have met for several conferences this year: GNU Radio Days in June 2019, and GRCon in September 2019, in Huntsville, Alabama. GNU Radio will also be a big part of the Software Defined Radio devroom at FOSDEM this year, which is currently welcoming submissions.

Turn up the volume on GNU Radio: donate here

SeaGL

As the hometown of the dreaded Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle may not seem like the best free software town – but sometimes the best place to organize is right on the doorsteps of our opposition. Since 2013, the free software community has gathered for the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (SeaGL), a grassroots technical conference dedicated to spreading awareness and knowledge about the GNU/Linux community, free software, and freedom-respecting hardware. FSF staff are frequent participants in the SeaGL festivities, including former campaigns manager Molly de Blanc and current chief technology officer Ruben Rodriguez.

This year’s conference is at Seattle Central College on November 15-16, 2019, and as usual, the FSF will have a table. Come talk about free software with us, learn how you can contribute to the FSF and the GNU Project, and buy some GNU gear! We also are making plans for an FSF meetup during the conference, so stay tuned.

Help SeaGL stay aloft: donate here

GNU Octave

GNU Octave is a scientific programming language with built-in plotting and visualization tools; it's intended as an ethical replacement for the commonly-used MATLAB, which is nonfree. John W. Eaton began work on Octave all the way back in 1988, and is still the primary maintainer; we interviewed him about Octave back in 2012.

The latest version, GNU Octave 5.1.0, was released in March of 2019, and improves compatibility with MATLAB, among other improved functions.

Help GNU Octave scale up: donate here