FSF adds Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre to list of endorsed GNU/Linux distributions

hyperbola logo

The FSF's list showcases GNU/Linux operating system distributions whose developers have made a commitment to follow its Guidelines for Free System Distributions. Each one includes and endorses exclusively free "as in freedom" software.

After a thorough vetting process, the FSF concluded that Hyperbola, a long-term support simplicity-focused distribution based on Arch GNU/Linux, meets these criteria.

"In a world where proprietary operating systems continually up the ante in terms of the abuse they heap on their users, adding another distribution to the list of fully free systems is a welcome development. Hyperbola represents another safe home for users looking for complete control over their own computing," said John Sullivan, FSF's executive director.

"Hyperbola is a fully free distribution based on Arch snapshots and Debian development without nonfree software, documentation, or any type of support for the installation or execution of nonfree software. Unlike Arch, which is a rolling release distribution, Hyperbola is a long-term one focused on stability and security inspired from Debian and Devuan," said André Silva, Hyperbola co-founder and developer.

FSF's licensing and compliance manager, Donald Robertson, added, "It was a pleasure working with the team behind Hyperbola throughout this process. They really go above and beyond in terms of looking out for the rights of their users. "

Hyperbola joins a growing list of distributions that users can trust. More information about Hyperbola, and how volunteers can get involved, is available at https://www.hyperbola.info/.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to run, edit, share, and contribute to 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 the GNU Operating System and Linux

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

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

Media Contacts

Donald Robertson, III
Licensing & Compliance Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre logo, Copyright 2017-2018 Hyperbola Project released under the CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.

Support software freedom: Shop the GNU Press

This autumn is a great time to visit the GNU Press Shop, the online store that promotes software freedom with every T-shirt, every button, and every two socks. We are always busy improving and expanding our selection of documentation, cool stickers, and garments as attractive as they are useful. There can be little doubt that every hacker, coder, and software freedom enthusiast you know devoutly wishes for a gift from the GNU Press Shop to help them upgrade their skills and spread the word about software freedom far, wide, and often. In case you haven't visited since last year, here's what's brand new in 2018:

  • An updated 18th Edition of the perennially-popular GNU Emacs Manual: an invaluable reference to the many, many, many functions of the world's most useful text editor. Order it by itself, or as part of the "All Things Emacs" bundle!

  • For a lighter read, we have returned to availability Free As In Freedom 2.0,the biography of Free Software Foundation (FSF) founder and president Richard M. Stallman (RMS), written by Sam Williams and annotated by RMS himself. At the FSF we always encourage you to study the source directly, and biography is no exception. Autographed copies of this book are available for dedicated free software enthusiasts!

  • Looking for something with even more "aura" than an autographed book? New and improved glossy photos of RMS have been staged, shot, and printed by none other than FSF chief technology officer Ruben Rodriguez, and signed by RMS. I'll ship one to you carefully packed so it arrives pristine and ready to be framed.

  • This is also a banner year if you enjoy software freedom and beverages. We have made available a limited number of mugs originally issued by the League for Programming Freedom, a fellow software freedom advocacy organization, in the year 1991. If a less venerable drinking vessel suits your needs, check out the new Emacs "Auto-Fill Mode" mug -- another constituent of the "All Things Emacs" bundle!

  • Behold: A new gnu. We've printed one of our longest-running T-shirts in a new color: you can now wear the GNU Head shirt in Heather Mauve, a color we find flatters just about everyone. The remaining blue and grey shirts are the last of their kind -- get them before they're gone!

  • 2018 was the year of the sticker at the GNU Press Shop: you can now order several of our iconic sticker designs by the fistful. The Emacs logo and "There Is No Cloud" designs have been hot items in 2018 -- and the Bash logo and vintage Emacs icon stickers are brand new. Stickers get seen: there's no more efficient way to raise awareness of software freedom.

That's what's new and exciting this fall at the GNU Press Shop. If you read this blog all the way through you are of course very eager to order all the items in it -- and you can! By becoming an FSF member, you support the mission of the FSF, help push free software to new frontiers, help us reach our goal of 400 new members by the end of the year, and of course receive a 20% discount at the GNU Press Shop. This means, for instance, if you are starting a free software manual book club and tea drinking society, the fifth member of your club can be outfitted with books and mug gratis.

Last but not least: if you need your GNU Press Shop orders to arrive on time for Christmas gift-giving, please place your order no later than December 20! For all GNU Press shop inquiries, email me at sales@fsf.org. This includes, but is not limited to, inquiries about shipping, sizing, inventory, past and future products, and anything else that's on your mind. Stay tuned for more excellent GNU Press products to come!

Introducing Hrishikesh Barman, intern with the FSF tech team

Hello everyone! My name is Hrishikesh Barman, and I am a third-year computer science undergraduate student. Growing up, I had an inclination towards computer networks, and in my first year at college I got started with programming properly. Eventually, I got introduced to free software, and it always gave me immense pleasure to be a small part of a bigger project by contributing to it. I realized that tech is made for the people (the society) and not the other way around, and users should have software freedom.

I came to know about the FSF through a documentary about Aaron Swartz. I greatly appreciated the FSF's ideas and was intrigued to be a part of it, so when I got the mail that I've been selected as a fall tech intern it was truly a great moment for me. The interview process was very smooth and friendly. I am being mentored by Ian, Andrew, and Ruben from the tech team. I am really psyched about the campaigns and the tech things happening at the FSF.

As a remote tech intern, I will be researching monitoring systems, alerting systems, and LibreJS. The main way of communication with the team so far is through IRC and emails. In my first week of the internship, and as an initial task, I was asked to write this blog post and start learning related technologies so as to draft my work plan.

The monitoring and alerting system project is about making fewer alerts for issues that aren't important, and more alerts for issues that are more important. The FSF runs over 100 virtual machines and a dozen servers. It will be very interesting and informative to learn about the current setup of Nagios and Munin at the FSF, and explore Prometheus. This will enable the tech team to have better insights into the software they run and the hardware it runs on.

GNU LibreJS is a browser add-on that blocks nonfree nontrivial JavaScript, while allowing JavaScript that is free or trivial. The first thing that I did was to make my personal blog LibreJS compatible. I am looking for issues that I can work on.

I am still learning how the FSF uses Nagios, but so far it is going well. The best part about interning at the FSF in my opinion is that it helps both ways, I learn and improve my skills and at the same time help the FSF achieve its goals. I'm looking forward to an amazing time and learning experience.

Interested in interning for the Free Software Foundation? The application period for spring 2019 internships is open until December 23, 2018 -- see details here.

The FSFE needs you to continue spreading software freedom in Europe!

The FSFE needs you to continue spreading software freedom in Europe!

Since 2001 the Free Software Foundation Europe empowers software users to exert control over the technology that is so deeply involved in every aspect of our lives today. As a non-profit organisation, our work is backed by the continuous and generous contributions of our supporters. From public campaigns to policy monitoring, from removing legal barriers to helping organisations in understanding how Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination, our supporters have helped to finance our work.

Become a supporter of the FSFE

On the European level, 2019 will be a particularly crucial year for software freedom and technological rights that will need your support. The EU Copyright Directive currently moving its way through formal Trilogue discussions threatens to impede the free flow of online information and enact onerous new legal barriers for Free Software developers. The looming elections for the EU Parliament in May will seat politicians with the legislative power to impact the Free Software movement in Europe for the next five years.

To help them get started, we are releasing a comprehensive policy brochure as part of our "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign, which will be used to provide candidates for the EU elections in Spring 2019 with background information about the benefits of Free Software for the public sector. We will also hand over our signatures from individuals and organisations in Europe in our "Public Money? Public Code!" open letter, and continue our movement to demand that code paid for by the people should be freely available to the people.

And of course, in 2019 the FSFE will again use public awareness campaigns and political lobbying, provide our expertise, and produce promotional material and explanatory videos, to bring our community to diverse events in Europe and let them talk about the freedom of software. To achieve our goals, we base our work and form our movement with the help of our community and friends, who ensure that our message gets out and is heard in as many diverse parts of our society as possible.

You can directly help us to master these upcoming challenges in 2019 by becoming a supporter of the FSFE. Any amount that you give will be greatly appreciated. Your contribution makes a huge impact today, tomorrow, and ongoing!

Help spread software freedom in Europe

If you would like to know more about the FSFE’s ongoing work, our 2018 yearly report gives you a better and more detailed understanding of the projects that we are presently involved in, which projects we want to realise in 2019, and what we have accomplished over the past year.

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
Make a one time donation

Register today for LibrePlanet 2019!

The free software community spans the entire world, with supporters in nearly every corner of the globe, busily coding, tinkering, and spreading the word about the growing importance of controlling our computing. The Internet provides us with many great tools to share the latest news and advances, but ultimately, there’s nothing quite like meeting in person at the LibrePlanet conference! At LibrePlanet, you can meet other developers, activists, policy experts, students, and more, to make connections and help us strategize the future of free software.


LibrePlanet 2019 is only four months away, on March 23-24, here in the Greater Boston area. We’re already in high gear here at the Free Software Foundation (FSF): we’ve secured four amazing keynote speakers, and we’re hard at work putting together an exciting schedule. Session topics will include:

  • Free software activism;

  • Practical and creative applications of free software;

  • Case studies;

  • Legal and compliance issues;

  • Fighting surveillance and defending our privacy; and much more!

LibrePlanet 2019's theme is "Trailblazing Free Software." In 1983, the free software movement was born with the announcement of the GNU Project. FSF founder Richard Stallman saw the dangers of proprietary code from the beginning: when code was kept secret from users, they would be controlled by the technology they used, instead of vice versa. In contrast, free software emphasized a community-oriented philosophy of sharing code freely, enabling people to understand how the programs they used worked, to build off of each other's code, to pay it forward by sharing their own code, and to create useful software that treated users fairly.

LibrePlanet boasts three days of free software activities, starting with a Friday night party at the FSF office in Boston. Saturday and Sunday are packed with conference sessions, lectures, workshops, lightning talks, and a party. To attend LibrePlanet, simply register online. Registration is gratis for FSF members, and $90 for both days or $60 for one day for non-members.

See you in March!

Introducing Lei Zhao, intern with the FSF tech team

My name is Lei Zhao, and I often stylize it as Leei Jaw. I am one of the fall interns for the FSF tech team.

I first became aware of free software in the sense of freedom at the age of 19. I encountered free software even earlier, but it took some time to appreciate the free/libre aspect of free software.

I'm working on making changes to GitLab to improve the license selection for new projects. As written in the article, For Clarity's Sake, Please Don't Say “Licensed under GNU GPL 2”!:

"When sites such as GitHub invite developers to choose “GPL 3” or “GPL 2” among other license options, and don't raise the issue of future versions, this leads thousands of developers to leave their code's licensing unclear. Asking those users to choose between “only” and “or later” would lead them to make their code's licensing clear. It also provides an opportunity to explain how the latter choice avoids future incompatibility."

GitLab has the same problem, but it is free software, so I'm working to change that. This is the first time I've participated in such a large project, and I am very excited.

I learned my first programming language, Pascal, in high school. Then Python, Java, C/C++, Scala, JavaScript, SQL, and Lisp. The language I've used most often is Python, since it is the language I used for my past jobs. My primary editor is Emacs.

In my spare time, I like listening to music, and playing the guitar. When I have spare money, I enjoy driving recreational go-karts.

Interested in interning for the Free Software Foundation? The application period for spring 2019 internships is open until December 23, 2018 -- see details here.

Keith Packard: Inspired & Inspiring

This is part of our ongoing series to highlight our generous matching donors. Keith Packard has been working in free software for more than thirty years and is a long-time contributor to Debian, X Windows and more recently the Linux graphics driver stack. Keith and several other outstanding individuals are joining Private Internet Access and a big anonymous donor in offering a total of $90K in matching funds to Conservancy for our continued work to provide both a "back-office" for free software and a clear voice in favor of community-driven licensing and governance practices. You can join him and donate today!

Free Software Foundation receives $1 million from Handshake

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Monday, December 3rd, 2018 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced it has received several earmarked charitable donations from Handshake, an organization developing an experimental peer-to-peer root domain naming system, totaling $1 million. These gifts will support the FSF's organizational capacity, including its advocacy, education, and licensing initiatives, as well as specific projects fiscally sponsored by the FSF.

John Sullivan, FSF's executive director, said, "Building on the $1 million Bitcoin gift from the Pineapple Fund earlier this year, and our record high number of individual associate members, it is clear that software freedom is more important than ever to the world. We are now at a pivotal moment in our history, on the cusp of making free software the 'kitchen table issue' it must be. Thanks to Handshake and our members, the Free Software Foundation looks forward to scaling to the next level of free software activism, development, and community."

Rob Myers of Handshake said, "The FSF is a worldwide leader in the fight to protect the rights of all computer users through its support for the production of free software, including the GNU operating system and its campaigns to raise awareness such as Defective by Design. Handshake is proud to be able to support the FSF in its important work to secure our freedom."

These significant contributions from Handshake will fuel the FSF's efforts with activists, developers, and lawyers around the world. They include:

  • $400,000 for the FSF's organizational capacity, publications, licensing, and activist initiatives;

  • $200,000 for Replicant, the fully free mobile operating system based on Android;

  • $100,000 for GNU Guix and GuixSD, a package manager supporting transactional upgrades and roll-backs, unprivileged package management, per-user profiles, and more, as well as a distribution of the GNU operating system using that package manager;

  • $100,000 for GNU Octave, a high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations;

  • $100,000 to help the GNU Project address important threats like nonfree JavaScript; and

  • $100,000 for the GNU Toolchain, which provides the foundational software components of the GNU/Linux system and the Internet.

Replicant developer Denis "GNUtoo" Carikli said, "So far, Replicant development has been driven by very few individuals contributing to it in their free time. Donations have been used to enable Replicant developers to buy new devices to port Replicant on, and to enable new Replicant developers to work on already-supported devices. They were also used to enable developers to attend conferences to promote Replicant and try to find new contributors. The kind of amount we received will enable Replicant to fund development, first to fix the most critical bugs, and then to upstream most of its code, making it more sustainable, and also enabling other projects to reuse Replicant's work to improve users' freedom."

Guix developer and project committee member Ricardo Wurmus said, "This donation allows the GNU Guix project to guarantee its independence, invest in hardware, and develop new features to benefit all our users. We'll be able to grow the performance and reliability of our existing infrastructure. We also envision better support for new and liberating architectures, and more resilient long-term storage of binaries and source code. It will also allow us to continue our outreach efforts and attract new interns to further improve and promote the project."

John W. Eaton, original author and primary maintainer of GNU Octave, said, "We are grateful for such a generous donation. It is by far the single largest monetary contribution we have ever received, and we thank Handshake for including Octave in this select group. We have only begun to imagine how these funds might impact Octave, but given the size of the gift, we intend something transformational and previously impossible."

David Edelsohn, founding GCC Steering Committee member and GNU Toolchain Fund trustee, said "We are incredibly gratified by the confidence in and support for the GNU Toolchain demonstrated by this donation. This donation will allow the project to greatly expand its outreach to students and new developers. It allows us to move forward on a number of fronts with confidence that we have the resources to match our imagination."

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to run, change, share, and contribute to 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.

Media Contact

John Sullivan
Executive Director
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

Help the FSF tech team build the future of free software

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) tech team works every day to maintain and improve the infrastructure that supports hundreds of free software projects, along with the FSF itself and its mission to create a world where all software is free. Will you propel the free software movement to new frontiers by supporting the FSF? Our annual fundraiser is happening right now, and we want to welcome 400 new Associate Members before December 31st. You can join for as little as $10 per month ($5 per month for students) or make a donation. As a special bonus, all new and renewing Annual Associate Members ($120+) can choose to receive a set of enamel pins. Become a member or make a donation today.

The FSF tech team has been busy over the last year. Our small three-person band supports FSF and GNU infrastructure, and we work hard to improve the services we provide. All of this infrastructure runs on free software and is self-hosted: for example, we use CiviCRM to manage events, campaigns, mailing lists, and our database of members; our new member forum is powered by Discourse; and we used tools like HUBAngl and GNU MediaGoblin to stream, record, and publish 30+ hours of video from LibrePlanet 2018. Much of our infrastructure is routinely under an impressive load -- the Mailman list server we run for hundreds of free software projects continues to spool out nearly a half-million messages per day.

We don't do this work alone. We are fortunate to have both a worldwide community of volunteers and a thriving internship program. The six interns we mentored over the past year have inspired us with their work and dedication. Projects they worked on include:

  • A free software replacement for PayPal's nonfree JavaScript, which can be run from the command line;
  • A physical system for remotely resetting unresponsive servers with freedom-respecting software;
  • Upgrades and improvements to the Free Software Directory;
  • The replacement of the GNU Image Manipulation Program's old JPEG codec with a well-maintained library;
  • Researching site monitoring systems like Prometheus;
  • Testing Pagure, a code collaboration platform; and
  • Researching the code used for license selection in GitLab, to facilitate future patches.

Two of our interns came to us from Outreachy, which connects under-represented people with paid internships working on free software projects. In addition to completing the above specific projects, our interns are now better prepared to take on future challenges within free software. We're proud that we helped them deepen their involvement in the movement.

We rely on volunteers to provide and maintain services to support thousands of free software developers around the world. An important part of what we do as staff is make sure those volunteers have what they need. Volunteers continue to maintain Savannah, which hosts both GNU and non-GNU code, and to take care of https://www.gnu.org and its translations.

In addition to supporting free software development and advocacy by others, the team also directly funds some upstream contributions. We are not just users of free software -- we also submit patches and bug reports to the projects we rely on. When we have the resources, we fund extra development in areas that are particularly important for user freedom. This year, we contracted with the author of the popular browser extension NoScript to do major improvements on GNU LibreJS, giving a significant boost to the campaign for protecting users against proprietary JavaScript.

We also use our position as technical representatives of an established institution in the world of free software to attract new kinds of resources to the movement. Currently, we are working with students at the UC Berkeley Blueprint program to develop software which will enable people around the world to more easily support the free software movement both financially and with their activist energy.

We've done a lot this year, but there are also many projects we didn't get to, and new projects that we want to take on in 2019. We want to spend more time directly supporting and improving the GNU Project infrastructure beyond the maintenance of the services we host. We would like to provide better options for developers who want to host their projects with organizations that share their commitment to free software principles; we want to be offering a more attractive public online presence for the FSF itself; and we need to show that a nonprofit can be best-in-class in its operations and at its mission without giving up its freedom to Service as a Software Substitute or proprietary software.

Thanks to the generous donations we've received this past year, we are building our capacity to take on these challenges. Ruben Rodriguez, formerly a senior systems administrator, has taken on a new role as our chief technology officer. Ruben's new role affords him time each week to continue contributing to Trisquel, a fully free GNU/Linux operating system. Andrew Engelbrecht, previously our Web developer, has joined Ian Kelling as a senior systems administrator, which means we're currently hiring for a Web developer. We're excited to be growing from a trio to a quartet, but we also know we could keep a whole orchestra productively busy.

In order to continue our work and push free software to new frontiers, the FSF tech team needs your help. Much like free software itself, the FSF is only as strong as the communities of users and contributors that support it. I encourage you to do what you can to give us the boost we need to start 2019 strong.

Yours in freedom,

Andrew Engelbrecht, Senior Systems Administrator,
and the Free Software Foundation Tech Team

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 new GNU releases!

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

To download: nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

This month, we welcome Adam Bilbrough as the new maintainer of mcron.

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.

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

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