Announcing keynote speakers for LibrePlanet -- and don't miss your chance to give a talk

Today, we are proud to announce all four keynote speakers who will appear at the LibrePlanet 2019 conference, which takes place in the Boston area, March 23-24, 2019. They are: Debian Project contributor Bdale Garbee, free software activist Micky Metts, physician Tarek Loubani, and FSF founder and president Richard Stallman, all of whom are trailblazers of free software in their own right.

REGISTER FOR THE LIBREPLANET 2019 CONFERENCE HERE!

Bdale Garbee

Bdale Garbee has contributed to the free software community since 1979. He was an early participant in the Debian Project, helped port Debian GNU/Linux to five architectures, served as the Debian Project Leader, then chairman of the Debian Technical Committee for nearly a decade, and remains active in the Debian community. For a decade, Bdale served as president of Software in the Public Interest. He also served on the board of directors of the Linux Foundation, representing individual affiliates and the developer community. Bdale currently serves on the boards of the Freedombox Foundation, the Linux Professional Institute, and Aleph Objects. He is also a member of the Evaluations Committee at the Software Freedom Conservancy. In 2008, Bdale became the first individual recipient of a Lutece d'Or award from the Federation Nationale de l'Industrie du Logiciel Libre in France.

Micky Metts

Micky Metts is an owner of Agaric, a worker-owned technology cooperative. She is an activist hacker, industry organizer, public speaker, connector, advisor, and visionary. Micky is a member of the MayFirst People Link Leadership Committee, and is a liaison between the Solidarity Economy Network (SEN) and the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), with an intention to bring communities together. Micky is also a founding member of a cohort that is building a new Boston public high school based in cooperative learning: BoCoLab. She is a member of the Free Software Foundation and of Drupal.org, a community based in free software. She is a published author contributing to the book Ours to Hack and to Own, one of the top technology books of 2017 in Wired magazine.

Tarek Loubani

Dr. Tarek Loubani is an emergency physician who works at the London Health Sciences Centre in Canada and at Al Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip. He is a fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation, where he focuses on free software medical devices. His organization, the Glia Project, develops free/libre medical device designs for 3D printing, in an effort to help medical systems such as Gaza's gain self-sufficiency and local independence.

Richard Stallman

Continuing an annual tradition, FSF president Richard Stallman will present the Free Software Awards and discuss opportunities for, and threats to, the free software movement.

LibrePlanet is an annual event jam-packed with interesting talks and hands-on workshops -- and we know you have a lot to say! Have an idea for your own free software-related talk or workshop? Submit it for consideration by October 26, 2018 at 10:00 EDT (14:00 UTC).

Your talk can be aimed at an audience of experienced developers, young people, newcomers to free software, activists looking for technology that aligns with their ideals, policymakers, hackers, artists, or tinkerers. Talks and workshops should examine or utilize free software, copyleft, and related issues, but beyond that, we welcome any topics that may educate, entertain, or encourage action.

Some possibilities include updates on free software projects, especially if they fulfill a High Priority free software need; the intersection of free software and other social issues or movements; how to resist the harmful effects of proprietary software by using free software; introductions to aspects of free software for newcomers generally or children specifically; hands-on workshops using free software for particular applications; copyleft and other free software legal issues; free software's intersections with government; and how to use free software in artmaking. Find more inspiration in videos of LibrePlanet 2018 talks, as well as the full program listing.

Gratis admission for FSF members

Current Associate Members and students with valid ID may attend LibrePlanet gratis. FSF Associate Membership starts at just $10/month and comes with many benefits. If you're not already a member, there's no better time to join than the present!

Travel funding available

Do you need help with the cost of travel to LibrePlanet? The FSF is able to offer a limited amount of funding to bring conference participants to Boston from all around the world. You can apply for a scholarship through Friday, November 16 at 10:00 EST (15:00 UTC). Scholarship recipients will be notified by the end of November. If you don't need a scholarship, you can help those with financial need attend LibrePlanet 2019 by making a contribution to the conference's scholarship fund.

Free Software Award nominations

Each year at LibrePlanet, the FSF presents its annual Free Software Awards. Nominations for the awards are open through Sunday, November 4th, 2018 at 19:59 EST (23:59 UTC).

Promotional opportunities

LibrePlanet is a good place to spread the word about your organization to the free software community. You can sponsor LibrePlanet or have a table in our exhibit hall (or both!). Our exhibit hall is highly visible at the LibrePlanet venue, and sponsors are highly visible at the conference and in our promotional materials. LibrePlanet is a distinctive event that centers free software, in its infrastructure, program of talks and events, and audience, and we appreciate the support of organizations that embrace free software. Apply to exhibit at LibrePlanet 2019 or email us at campaigns@fsf.org if you are interested in being a sponsor.

Volunteering

LibrePlanet is propelled by the positive energy of dozens of volunteers. We simply couldn't make this community event happen without them, and we thank them accordingly, with a gratis T-shirt and admission to the conference, and our deep gratitude. Applications for most LibrePlanet volunteer opportunities will be available soon, but if you would like to help with advance outreach, including spreading the word about the conference in online communities and your networks, and by posting flyers in schools and community spaces, please email resources@fsf.org to get started!

LibrePlanet 2019 is about 170 days away -- tell your friends and submit a talk proposal today!

Photo of Richard Stallman by by Adte.ca. This image is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Photo of Tarek Loubani by Tarek Loubani. This image is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Photo of Bdale Garbee by Karen Garbee. This image is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Photo of Micky Metts by Micky Metts. This image is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.

Keynotes announced for LibrePlanet 2019 free software conference

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, October 18, 2018 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced all four keynote speakers who will appear at the 11th annual LibrePlanet free software conference, which will take place in the Boston area, March 23-24, 2019.

Keynote speakers for the 10th annual LibrePlanet conference will include Debian Project contributor Bdale Garbee, free software activist Micky Metts, physician Tarek Loubani, and FSF founder and president Richard Stallman.

LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software users and anyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For ten years, LibrePlanet has brought together thousands of diverse voices and knowledge bases, including free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who have just begun to learn about free software.

Bdale Garbee

Bdale Garbee has contributed to the free software community since 1979. He was an early participant in the Debian Project, helped port Debian GNU/Linux to five architectures, served as the Debian Project Leader, then chairman of the Debian Technical Committee for nearly a decade, and remains active in the Debian community. For a decade, Bdale served as president of Software in the Public Interest. He also served on the board of directors of the Linux Foundation, representing individual affiliates and the developer community. Bdale currently serves on the boards of the Freedombox Foundation, the Linux Professional Institute, and Aleph Objects. He is also a member of the Evaluations Committee at the Software Freedom Conservancy. In 2008, Bdale became the first individual recipient of a Lutece d'Or award from the Federation Nationale de l'Industrie du Logiciel Libre in France.

Micky Metts

Micky Metts is an owner of Agaric, a worker-owned technology cooperative. She is an activist hacker, industry organizer, public speaker, connector, advisor, and visionary. Micky is a member of the MayFirst People Link Leadership Committee, and is a liaison between the Solidarity Economy Network (SEN) and the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), with an intention to bring communities together. Micky is also a founding member of a cohort that is building a new Boston public high school based in cooperative learning: BoCoLab. She is a member of FSF.org and Drupal.org, a community based in free software. She is a published author contributing to the book Ours to Hack and to Own, one of the top technology books of 2017 in Wired magazine.

Tarek Loubani

Dr. Tarek Loubani is an emergency physician who works at the London Health Sciences Centre in Canada and at Al Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip. He is a fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation, where he focuses on free software medical devices. His organization, the Glia Project, develops free/libre medical device designs for 3D printing, in an effort to help medical systems such as Gaza's gain self-sufficiency and local independence.

"This year's keynote speakers reflect the breadth of the free software community and its impact," said FSF executive director John Sullivan. "If you attend LibrePlanet or watch our free software-based livestream, you will have the opportunity to hear from dedicated contributors, activists, and people who saw an important need in our world and met it using free software."

Richard Stallman

As he does each year, FSF president Richard Stallman will present the Free Software Awards and discuss opportunities for, and threats to, the free software movement. In 1983, Stallman launched the free software movement, and he began developing the GNU operating system (see https://www.gnu.org) the following year. GNU is free software: anyone may copy it and redistribute it, with or without modifications. GNU/Linux (the GNU operating system used in combination with the kernel Linux) is used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award, and the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several doctorates honoris causa, and has been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

The call for proposals is open until October 26, 2018. General registration and exhibitor and sponsor registration are also open.

About LibrePlanet

LibrePlanet is the annual conference of the Free Software Foundation. Over the last decade, LibrePlanet has blossomed from a small gathering of FSF members into a vibrant multi-day event that attracts a broad audience of people who are interested in the values of software freedom. To sign up for announcements about LibrePlanet 2019, visit https://www.libreplanet.org/2019.

Each year at LibrePlanet, the FSF presents its annual Free Software Awards. Nominations for the awards are open through Sunday, November 4th, 2018 at 23:59 UTC.

For information on how your company can sponsor LibrePlanet or have a table in our exhibit hall, email campaigns@fsf.org.

LibrePlanet 2018 was held at MIT from March 24-25, 2018. Nearly 350 attendees came together from across the world for workshops and talks centered around the theme of "Freedom Embedded." You can watch videos from last year's conference, including the opening keynote, an exploration of the potential for the free software community to last forever by maintaining its ideals while also welcoming newcomers, by Deb Nicholson, who is now director of community operations for the Software Freedom Conservancy.

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 and , 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.

Media Contacts

Molly de Blanc
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542-5942
campaigns@fsf.org

Photo of Richard Stallman by by Adte.ca. This image is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Photo of Tarek Loubani by Tarek Loubani. This image is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Photo of Bdale Garbee by Karen Garbee. This image is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Photo of Micky Metts by Micky Metts. This image is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.

Richard Stallman - « ¿El software que usas deniega tu libertad? » (Madrid, Spain)

Richard Stallman hablará sobre las metas y la filosofía del movimiento del Software Libre, y el estado y la historia del sistema operativo GNU, el cual junto con el núcleo Linux, es actualmente utilizado por decenas de millones de personas en todo el mundo.

Esta charla de Richard Stallman formará parte del III Foro de la Cultura (2018-11-09–11). no será técnica y será abierta al público; todos están invitados a asistir. Será posible asistir a la charla de Stallman sin registrarse hasta completar el aforo del recinto

Lugar: Espacio Fundación Telefónica, C/ Fuencarral, 3, Madrid, España

Por favor, rellene este formulario para que podamos contactarle sobre futuros eventos en la región de Madrid

Single-board computer guide updated: Free software is winning on ARM!

In many geeky circles, single-board computers are popular machines. SBCs come in small form factors and generally run GNU/Linux, but unfortunately, many boards like the popular Raspberry Pi are dependent on proprietary software to use. The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of system-on-chip families, sorted by their freedom status.

Unfortunately, this list had not been updated in several years. While it was accurate when it was published, free software is constantly improving. Today, more and more boards are usable with free software. On the graphical side, the Etnaviv project has reached maturity, and the Panfrost project, with which I have been personally involved, has sprung up. The video processing unit on Allwinner chips has been reverse-engineered and liberated by the linux-sunxi community in tandem with Bootlin. Rockchip boards have become viable competitors to their better known counterparts. Even the Raspberry Pi has had a proof-of-concept free firmware replacement developed. Free software is winning on ARM.

Accordingly, I have researched the latest developments in single-board computer freedom, updating the list. The revised list includes much more detail than its predecessors, groups boards by system-on-chip rather than brand name for concision, documents previously-unidentified freedom flaws, and of course describes progress liberating the remaining elements.

The new guide is, I hope, clearer, more comprehensive, and more useful to free software users seeking to purchase a board that respects their freedom.

Check it out!

Alyssa is a former intern at the FSF -- you can read more about her work here.

Toward Community-Oriented, Public & Transparent Copyleft Policy Planning

More than 15 years ago, FOSS community activists successfully argued that licensing proliferation was a serious threat to the viability of FOSS. We convinced companies to end the era of “vanity” licenses. Different charities — from the OSI to the FSF to the Apache Software Foundation — all agreed we were better off with fewer FOSS licenses. We de-facto instituted what Richard Fontana once called the “Rule of Three” — assuring that any potential FOSS license should be met with suspicion unless (a) the OSI declares that it meets their Open Source Definition, (b) the FSF declares that it meets their Free Software Definition, and (c) the Debian Project declares that it meets their Debian Free Software Guidelines. The work for those organizations quelled license proliferation from radioactive threat to safe background noise. Everyone thought the problem was solved — until today.

Introducing our new associate member forum!

I'm excited to share that we've launched a new forum for our associate members. We hope that you find this forum to be a great place to share your experiences and perspectives surrounding free software and to forge new bonds with the free software community. If you're a member of the FSF, head on over to https://forum.members.fsf.org to get started. You'll be able to log in using the Central Authentication Service (CAS) account that you used to create your membership. (Until we get WebLabels working for the site, you'll have to whitelist its JavaScript in order to log in and use it, but rest assured that all of the JavaScript is free software, and a link to all source code can be found in the footer of the site.) Participation in this forum is just one of many benefits of being an FSF member – if you're not a member yet, we encourage you to join today, for as little as $10 per month, or $5 per month for students.

The purpose of this member forum is to provide a space where members can meet, communicate, and collaborate with each other about free software, using free software. While there are other places on the Internet to talk about free software, this forum is unique in that it is focused on the common interests of FSF members, who care very much about using, promoting, and creating free software.

The forum software we chose to use is Discourse.

One of the technical requirements for the forum was that it needs to work well with single sign-on (SSO) systems, specifically our CAS system. In the process of launching the new member forum, I patched our CAS server so that it would verify FSF associate membership. I also wrote a patch for the Discourse CAS SSO service so that we can require email validation when users log into Discourse for the first time.

We built our own patched instance of Discourse's base Docker image to resolve a freedom issue, and as preparation for any times in the future that we may need to make changes to the upstream source code for our local installation.

I spent some time trying to set up Discourse without using Docker, but getting email delivery to work without a Docker image proved to be very challenging. In the end, we decided that using Docker adds complexity when making patches to the software, but think that it makes using Discourse easier overall.

One of the reasons we chose Discourse is because it allows users to respond to conversations via email. Users may enable the "mailing list mode" in their user settings, which allows us to interact with the member forum as if it were a mailing list.

I would like to thank the Discourse team for creating this software, and for their responsiveness to my questions about Discourse patching, new features, configuration, and deployment. They responded very quickly to a security issue that I reported, and donated a hacker bounty to the FSF.

If you want to chat with other members via IRC, I suggest joining the #fsf-members channel on Freenode, where I made an early announcement about the member forum launch.

I hope you are excited to use our new forum. I certainly am! I look forward to the great conversations that we will have among members who care very much about free software. Happy hacking!

The completion of Sonali's Outreachy internship work on the Free Software Directory

For context, see the previous blog post, Sonali's Internship work on the Free Software Directory, part 2

After much work, I finally completed the upgrade of the Directory from the previous long term support version of MediaWiki, 1.27, to the current one, 1.31, which was released shortly after my internship started. I also made some general improvements.

  • I downloaded the Semantic MediaWiki extensions using composer;
  • I removed deprecated code in LocalSettings.php;
  • I ported the customizations to Vector skin to the new version;
  • I improved the search bar by placing it in the right navigation panel instead of the sidebar;
  • I added the FSF favicon; and
  • I spent about a week fixing bugs in the CASAuth and HeaderTabs extensions.

Upgrading the mobile site took more work, and after some testing I decided to switch from the MobileFrontend extension to the mobile friendly Timeless skin along with MobileDetect.

I recorded the shell commands required to set up the server and translated them to ansible commands. Since I was unfamiliar with ansible and yaml, I took some time to learn about it.

Then we performed the final migration. Andrew (my mentor) gave me the latest MySQL dump from the directory and made the old site read-only. I imported it to the new server and ran the upgrade script. Then he migrated the DNS. There were a few small hiccups, but after a few hours, the upgrade was complete.

It was my first internship and my first experience of working in a free software community, and I grew very attached to it. My mentors were very experienced and responsive. I was able to learn a lot from them. I am grateful that I got the opportunity to associate with such an amazing organization. Thanks to Outreachy organizers for giving me a great way to work for a distinguished organization and to develop my skills. Lastly, a big thanks to my mentors, Andrew and Ian, who helped me all along and made my internship a truly incredible experience!

CopyLeft Conf's Call for Presentations is Open!

The First Annual Copyleft Conference is ready to receive your proposals for twenty-five minute talks and for eighty minute discussions you would be willing to lead. The conference will be held in Brussels, on February 4th (aka the Monday after FOSDEM.)

FSF statement on Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network

Microsoft's announcements on October 4th and 10th, that it has joined both LOT and the Open Invention Network (OIN), are significant steps in the right direction, potentially providing respite from Microsoft's well-known extortion of billions of dollars from free software redistributors.

These steps, though, do not by themselves fully address the problem of computational idea patents, or even Microsoft's specific infringement claims. They do not mean that Microsoft has dismantled or freely licensed its entire patent portfolio. The agreements for both LOT and OIN have substantial limitations and exclusions. LOT only deals with the problem of patent trolling by non-practicing entities. OIN's nonaggression agreement only covers a defined list of free software packages, and any OIN member, including Microsoft, can withdraw completely with thirty days notice.

With these limitations in mind, FSF welcomes the announcements, and calls on Microsoft to take additional steps to continue the momentum toward a complete resolution:

1) Make a clear, unambiguous statement that it has ceased all patent infringement claims on the use of Linux in Android.

2) Work within OIN to expand the definition of what it calls the "Linux System" so that the list of packages protected from patents actually includes everything found in a GNU/Linux system. This means, for example, removing the current arbitrary and very intentional exclusions for packages in the area of multimedia -- one of the primary patent minefields for free software. We suggest that this definition include every package in Debian's default public package repository.

3) Use the past patent royalties extorted from free software to fund the effective abolition of all patents covering ideas in software. This can be done by supporting grassroots efforts like the FSF's End Software Patents campaign, or by Microsoft directly urging the US Congress to pass legislation excluding software from the effects of patents, or both. Without this, the threats can come back with a future leadership change at Microsoft, or with changes in OIN's own corporate structure and licensing arrangements. This is also the best way for Microsoft to show that it does not intend to use patents as a weapon against any free software, beyond just that free software which is part of OIN's specific list.

The FSF appreciates what Microsoft joining OIN seems to signal about its changing attitude toward computational idea patents. Taking these three additional steps would remove all doubt and any potential for backsliding. We look forward to future collaboration on fully addressing the threat of patents to free software development and computer user freedom.

The FSF will also continue to monitor the situation, for any signs that Microsoft intends to still continue patent aggression, in ways permitted by the terms of LOT and OIN. We encourage anyone who is a target of such patent aggression by Microsoft to contact us at campaigns@fsf.org.

Media Contact

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

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.

FSF job opportunity: program manager

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a motivated and talented Boston-based individual to be our full-time program manager.

Reporting to the executive director, the program manager co-leads our campaigns team. This position develops and promotes longer-term resources and advocacy programs related to increasing the use of free software and expanding and advancing the free software movement. The program manager plays a key role in external communications, fundraising, member engagement, and special events.

Examples of job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead the planning and successful implementation of most events, such as our annual LibrePlanet conference;
  • Develop and maintain longer-term free software resources, such as the High Priority Projects list;
  • Coordinate two annual fundraising appeals, including goal setting, strategy, and working with outside contractors;
  • Implement the FSF's communications and messaging strategy, including serving as a primary point of contact with press and the external public;
  • Write and edit for FSF blogs, external periodical publications, and both digital and print resources;
  • Assist with planning and execution of issue campaigns, working in concert with the campaigns manager;
  • Occasional conference travel and speaking as an FSF representative.

Ideal candidates have at least three to five years of work experience with project management, fundraising, events management, and nonprofit program management. Proficiency, experience, and comfort with professional writing and media relationships preferred. Because the FSF works globally and seeks to have our materials distributed in as many languages as possible, multilingual candidates will have an advantage. With our small staff of fourteen, each person makes a clear contribution. We work hard, but offer a humane and fun work environment at an office located in the heart of downtown Boston. The FSF is a mature but growing organization that provides great potential for advancement; existing staff get the first chance at any new job openings.

Benefits and Salary

This job is a union position that must be worked on-site at the FSF's downtown Boston office. The salary is fixed at $61,672/year and is non-negotiable. Other benefits include:

  • Fully subsidized individual or family health coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield;
  • Partially subsidized dental plan;
  • Four weeks of paid vacation annually;
  • Seventeen paid holidays annually;
  • Weekly remote work allowance;
  • Public transit commuting cost reimbursement;
  • 403(b) program with employer match;
  • Yearly cost-of-living pay increases based on government guidelines;
  • Health care expense reimbursement;
  • Ergonomic budget;
  • Relocation (to Boston area) expense reimbursement;
  • Conference travel and professional development opportunities; and
  • Potential for an annual performance bonus.

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via email to hiring@fsf.org. The email must contain the subject line "Program Manager." A complete application should include:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Two recent writing samples

All materials must be in a free format. Email submissions that do not follow these instructions will probably be overlooked. No phone calls, please.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. To guarantee consideration, submit your application by Sunday, October 28, 2018.

The FSF is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or application for employment on the basis of race, color, marital status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, or any other legally protected status recognized by federal, state or local law. We value diversity in our workplace.

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 https://donate.fsf.org. We are based 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.