Saturday, August 31, 2013

United for a Web without proprietary JavaScript

For some time now, free software users have been concerned about the increasing number of Web sites that cannot run without nonfree JavaScript programs downloaded and executed on the visitor's computer. Richard Stallman first raised the concern with his article The JavaScript Trap, pointing out that most JavaScript programs are not freely licensed, and that even free software Web browsers are usually configured to download and run these nonfree programs without informing the user. We've recently started organizing free software users around the issue.

Now we're proud to announce a new, dedicated Web page for our Free JavaScript campaign, an ongoing effort to persuade organizations to make their Web sites work without requiring that users run any nonfree software. By convincing influential sites to make the transition, we will raise awareness of the need for free software-friendly Web sites and influence the owners of other sites to follow.

The current focus of the campaign is, the online home of the famous global environmental organization. They haven't responded to our email requesting that they make their site work without requiring nonfree software, so we're asking you to add your voice with an email of your own. We'll focus on Greenpeace for a period, and then move to another focus, concentrating efforts on one site at a time to maximize our impact.

Head over to the new Free JavaScript campaign area to learn more about the issues and take action by emailing The campaign page also hosts resources for using the Web without nonfree JavaScript, a mailing list and a wiki page where you can share your ideas for the campaign.


Zak Rogoff

Campaigns Manager

P.S. If you are an experienced JavaScript developer that's interested in helping with the campaign, please let us know by emailing!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sell your Netflix stock to send a message

Dear Pascal,
Cancel Netflix graphic
"#CancelNetflix I used it and used to love it. But keep your hands off DRM in HTML5. Not cool. I'm stopping my rel. with you." -- @jordiburcas*
A few weeks ago we put out a call: if you care about freedom on the Web, cancel your Netflix subscription. The company has been leading an aggressive lobbying effort to change the fundamental language of the Web (HTML) to add an official extension accommodating Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). Free software supporters and the blogosphere have responded strongly to our previous posts about this attack on Web freedom, and many (like @jordiburcas above) have canceled their accounts. Now we're asking you to take this to the next level by dumping any stock you own in the company.
Netflix's plan is to hijack the standards-setting power of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body that coordinates the development of HTML, in an attempt to make it easier to distribute media with DRM. Netflix's proposed extension to HTML, called Encrypted Media Extensions or EME, is supported by software companies like Microsoft and Google, as well as the powerful media corporations that provide the primary impetus for DRM. This cabal supports DRM because it gives them control over Web users. By adding artificial restrictions to media, they are able to corral people into their outdated business models and revoke customers' access to media (even media they have paid for) when it suits them.
As if we didn't already have reason enough to oppose this scheme, the proliferation of DRM inherently makes it harder to use free software. EME would indubitably lead to an explosion of DRM-encumbered media on the Web, restricting our freedom and pressuring users to install proprietary software to satisfy the demands of digital restrictions. For those committed to freedom and unwilling to install this software, DRM-encumbered sites would create a growing dark zone on the Web.
Dump your Netflix stock and post about it to inspire other shareholders to join you. If you're still holding on to a Netflix membership, cancel it for a double whammy and post with the hashtag #DivestNetflix*. Even if you don't own Netflix stock or have an account, you can help by spreading this message to the many others that do.
"#CancelNetflix I used it and used to love it. But keep your hands off DRM in HTML5. Not cool. I'm stopping my rel. with you." -- @jordiburcas*
Screenshot of a tweet about canceling Netflix
This is a pivotal moment in the W3C deliberations over EME, when its proponents are struggling to maintain the illusion that EME won't cause any problems for the Web. Also, despite previous hype, Netflix recently released new subscriber numbers that were below expectations for the second quarter of 2013. These facts mean this is a critical time to send a message by divesting.
We should also remember that this is part of a larger struggle for freedom and control over our media. The world is in the initial stages of a great transition from locally stored to remotely hosted media. This shift will come with more opportunities for media distributors to encumber their products with DRM, and we need to demonstrate from the outset that doing so will cost them our support as customers and investors. That's why we're asking you to join the movement and divest from Netflix.


Zak Rogoff
Campaigns Manager
* We encourage users to do their microblogging with Web sites that do not include nonfree JavaScript, like instances of or GNU social. If you use Twitter, you can access the mobile version of the Twitter site which works with JavaScript turned off, even on a desktop computer.
You can view this post online at

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Getting Started With Open Source Web Design To

@ostatic: Getting Started With #Opensource Web Design Tools

Monday, August 26, 2013

Open Source RHCS

Friday, August 23, 2013

You're Invited: GNU 30th anniversary celebration and hackathon

Dear Pascal,
Are GNU ready to party?

It's been 30 years since the GNU manifesto was penned. What began as frustration over a printer driver has grown into a massive social movement. The GNU system itself has exploded; not only is it a fully free operating system, but it has expanded to include an entire universe of software. Now, GNU is on the threshold of another amazing leap, and we want you to be a part of it.
You're Invited: GNU 30th anniversary celebration and hackathon
Featuring Richard Stallman
When: Saturday and Sunday, September 28 - 29, from 10am until midnight. Special fundraising dinner to be held on Friday, September 27th.
Where: MIT, Cambridge, MA
RSVP: Registration is now open!
GNU's 30th will be an opportunity for free software legends and enthusiastic newcomers to tackle important challenges together, while toasting to the GNU system's success. That's why this 30th anniversary event is more than just a celebration, it's also a hackathon. This event isn't just for programmers either; there will also be opportunities to contribute in many other ways besides writing code, such as a Free Software Directory sprint, crypto workshops, and much more. Come join us in developing and documenting free software for our Web-based world, with a focus on federated publishing and communication services, as well as tools to protect privacy and anonymity. Plus, it has cake and coding; what could be better?
And of course, you'll want to be in the room when Richard Stallman makes a highly anticipated announcement about the future direction of GNU.
Register now!
The anniversary celebration is a chance to come together with other free software supporters to launch GNU on the path to another successful decade. In addition to contributing code and documentation, consider joining us for a special fundraising dinner on Friday, September 27th. Give back to GNU while enjoying a delicious meal with Richard Stallman, Bradley Kuhn, and John Sullivan. More details about the fundraising dinner will be available soon, and a limited number of tickets will be available. To reserve advance tickets, please email
See you in Boston,
Libby Reinish
Free Software Foundation, on behalf of GNU
P.S. Can't make it to Boston? 30th anniversary satellite celebrations will be held around the world. If you'd like to be notified if a satellite event is planned in our area, sign up for our GNU 30th satellite event notifications list.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


The administration of the Spanish autonomous region of Valencia has completed its switch to LibreOffice, a free and open source suite of office productivity applications. Last week Friday the region's ICT department announced that the office suite is installed on all of the 120,000 desktop PCs of the administration, including schools and courts. The migration will save the government some 1.5 million euro per year on proprietary software licences.
"Apart from economic benefits, the commitment to free and open source software brings other advantages, including having the solutions available in the Valencian language as well as in Spanish, and IT vendor independence, which encourages competition", the ICT department's Director General, Sofia Bellés, said in a statement. "We also have the freedom to modify and adapt the software to our every need."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Computer Science Education Revisited

Communications of the ACM, August 2013
Vinton G. Cerf, ACM President, weighs in on why computer science should be considered a core discipline, just like physics or biology. Cerf starts off by noting that ACM members have a wide range of academic and professional paths that have led them to become computer science practitioners. As a result, at this stage of computer science's evolution, it seems appropriate to reflect on what we should learn about computing and how we can or should learn it. The key, says Cerf, is to make computer science a core science along the lines of other STEM disciplines so that even people who have no intention of entering the field have some idea of programming, operating systems and networks.
Among the initiatives that ACM has been pursuing is to make computer science accepted as a core science along with mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry. This is especially critical in secondary schools where, with few exceptions, computing classes tend to be optional. In many advanced programs, it is a requirement to have a certain number of credits in science, for example. It is ACM's position that computer science should have equal standing. Moreover, the curriculum should include some serious exposure to programming, systems, languages, and computer architecture. The idea is not necessarily to turn students into professional computer engineers and scientists, but to expose them to the richness of computer science and to help them appreciate the potential nascent in computers and programmable systems. In many advanced programs, it is a requirement to have a certain number of credits in science. It is ACM's position that computer science should have equal standing.
Reforming K-12 education to incorporate serious computer science seems vital to producing an informed public that has a deeper appreciation for the power of computing than video games and social networking. There are, no doubt, countless opportunities for computing professionals to engage in this effort, by lending their support and time to the effort to reform K-12 curricula and to make visible to young people the excitement of discovering what computing can accomplish. The discipline of writing and debugging software, of creating simulations or interactive applications has the potential to draw many into the profession, and to provide others with a sense of the core role computing will play in the decades ahead.

Click Here to View Full Article 

Monday, August 19, 2013

NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands of Times Per Year, Audit Finds

The Washington Post (08/15/13) Barton Gellman 

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has violated privacy rules or overreached its authority thousands of times annually since 2008, primarily through unauthorized surveillance of American and foreign intelligence targets in the U.S., according to an internal audit and other documents. The infractions include major violations of law as well as typographical errors that led to misdirected interception of U.S. emails and telephone calls. One of the documents, provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden earlier this summer, instructs NSA workers to eliminate details in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The May 2012 internal audit found 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to, or distribution of legally protected communications. "We're a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line," says a senior NSA official. "You can look at it as a percentage of our total activity that occurs each day. You look at a number in absolute terms that looks big, and when you look at it in relative terms, it looks a little different."
View Full Article

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Meshnet Activists Rebuilding the Internet From Scratch

New Scientist (08/08/13) Hal Hodson

Activists across the United States are constructing meshnets--decentralized, user-owned wireless networks that enable secure communication without surveillance--partly in response to the Internet's lack of privacy and neutrality.  The Seattle Meshnet project, for example, is comprised of nodes, with each node made up of a radio transceiver and a computer to transmit messages from other parts of the network.  In the event data cannot be channeled through one route, the meshnet finds another.  U.S. meshnet projects are underpinned by Hyperboria, a virtual, peer-to-peer meshnet that runs through the existing Internet.  Once physical meshnet nodes are established, existing Hyperboria links can be routed through them.  Hyperboria's peer-to-peer connections facilitate full encryption of every link in the chain of communication.  The Seattle Meshnet recently completed a crowdfunding effort for meshbox routers that come preloaded with the cjdns software that is required to join the Hyperboria meshnet, and which keeps all communications encrypted.  Meanwhile, a much larger meshnet in Catalonia, Spain, consists of more than 21,000 wireless nodes, enabling user communications as well as support of Web servers, videoconferencing, and online radio broadcasts that would remain operational if the rest of the country's Internet was blacked out.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First batch of videos from LibrePlanet 2013 published!

Dear Pascal,
The first round of videos from LibrePlanet 2013 is now available for streaming and downloading. LibrePlanet is an annual conference sponsored and organized by the Free Software Foundation, with LibrePlanet 2013 being the best one yet. All current associate members of the FSF enjoy the perk of being able to attend LibrePlanet without paying an entry fee. This year we set out to make sure LibrePlanet featured fully functioning live video streaming using only free software, and it was a great success. The videos are now available for viewing in VP8/Vorbis, both free media formats, and are hosted on an instance of GNU MediaGoblin, the social media sharing platform which many of you helped support.
If you missed LibrePlanet this year or didn't have time to attend all the talks, there are lots of great sessions worth watching. In total, seven talks are included in this batch of videos. They include:
These videos are just from the first set of talks. In the coming weeks, we will be posting more of the dozens of hours of footage from talks, panels, and workshops at Continuing in our theme of freedom and community production, these videos are all freely licensed for easy sharing and remixing. Check back soon for more.
We have already started planning LibrePlanet 2014. To make sure you hear the details as soon as they are available, subscribe to the mailing list.
William Theaker
You can view this post online at

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Free Software Supporter, Issue 64, July 2013

Free Software Supporter

Issue 64, July 2013
Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 68,680 other activists.
View this issue online here:
Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by adding our subscriber widget to your web site.
Miss an issue? You can catch up on back issues at


El Free Software Supporter está disponible en español. Para ver la versión en español haz click aqui:
Para cambiar las preferencias de usuario y recibir los próximos números del Supporter en castellano, haz click aquí:


  • FSF, other groups join EFF to sue NSA over unconstitutional surveillance
  • Donate to Replicant and support free software on mobile devices
  • New Internationalist adopts DRM-free label and over 50 others added to the DRM-free Guide
  • Windows 8: PRISM Edition
  • Introducing the Licensing team summer intern: Vinay Kumar Singh
  • Introducing Sankha, summer campaigns intern
  • Will Ubuntu Edge commit to using only free software?
  • Cancel Netflix if you value freedom
  • Customers streaming away from Netflix
  • A distress call from a company threatened by a patent troll
  • Interview with Shiv Shankar Dayal of Kunjika
  • RMS in San Miguel, El Salvador - "Gone Fishin"
  • May 2013 - Ciudad Madero, Mexico - RMS at the ITCM
  • Richard Stallman becomes a Hall-of-Famer
  • New Snowden leak: Storing your data at Microsoft is negligent
  • German Parliament elections: The parties' positions on free software
  • For the first time in France, the Parliament passes legislation that gives priority to free software
  • MediaGoblin 0.4.1 (bugfix release)
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Defective By Design's DRM FAQ
  • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 32 new GNU releases!
  • GNU Toolchain Update
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • Take action with the FSF!

FSF, other groups join EFF to sue NSA over unconstitutional surveillance

From July 16th
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has joined eighteen other activist and advocacy organizations in challenging the National Security Agency's (NSA) mass surveillance of telecommunications in the United States with a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Donate to Replicant and support free software on mobile devices

From July 26th
The FSF launched a fundraising initiative for Replicant, a fully free Android distribution and the first mobile operating system (OS) to run without relying on proprietary system code.
Press release:

New Internationalist adopts DRM-free label and over 50 others added to the DRM-free Guide

From July 26th
The Guide to DRM-free Living is consistently one of the most comprehensive and sought out resources of the Defective by Design campaign. Since the last major overhaul of the Guide, readers like you have helped us add over fifty new listings and we've even added new subsections.

Windows 8: PRISM Edition

From July 25th
Microsoft is intercepting your stuff and sending it to the NSA (and the CIA and the FBI). This post offers suggestions on how to avoid surveillance, such as encrypting email, switching to GNU/Linux, and a full congressional investigation.

Introducing the Licensing team summer intern: Vinay Kumar Singh

From July 25th
Vinay Kumar Singh recently started working at the FSF as this summer's licensing intern. In this post, he writes about what brought him to free software, and the goals for his internship.

Introducing Sankha, summer campaigns intern

From June 28th
Sankha Narayan Guria recently started as this summer's campaigns team intern. In this post, he writes about his experiences in free software activism and development.

Will Ubuntu Edge commit to using only free software?

From July 25th
With $32 million to spend, will Canonical and Ubuntu commit to software freedom as the foundational design principle?

Cancel Netflix if you value freedom

From July 12th
What does Netflix's proposal to squeeze support for Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the HTML standard mean for you as a free software user?

Customers streaming away from Netflix

From July 3rd
Remember Turn off the TV Week? This summer, we have an even better reason to spend less time in front of a screen: Netflix is collaborating with the World Wide Web Consortium to destroy Web freedom.

A distress call from a company threatened by a patent troll

From July 11th
The FSF recently received a message from a software company in the legislative sights of the notorious patent troll NeoMedia Technologies. The company's lawyer, Charles Kramer, asked us to share a message with our supporters.

Interview with Shiv Shankar Dayal of Kunjika

From July 19th
This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works. In this edition, we interviewed Shiv Shankar Dayal, the developer of Kunjika, an extensible web-based Q&A system.

RMS in San Miguel, El Salvador - "Gone Fishin"

From July 19
RMS was at the hotel Tropico Inn, in San Miguel, El Salvador, on June 5th, 2013, to deliver his speech "Copyright vs. Community," at the first Congreso Latinoamericano de Informática y Comunicaciones.

May 2013 - Ciudad Madero, Mexico - RMS at the ITCM

From July 18th
RMS was in the Gran Salón of the Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Madero, in Ciudad Madero, Mexico, on May 29th, 2013, to deliver his speech "El movimiento del software libre," to an audience of more than 850 people.

Richard Stallman becomes a Hall-of-Famer

From June 26th
Free Software Foundation founder and president Richard Stallman was inducted into the 2013 Internet Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of other visionaries like Aaron Swartz, Jimmy Wales, and John Perry Barlow, who have all made significant contributions to the advancement of the global Internet.
Press release:

New Snowden leak: Storing your data at Microsoft is negligent

By FSF Europe, from July 12th
In light of the recent revelations regarding Microsoft and the NSA's Prism program, how can free software activists promote online privacy?

German Parliament elections: The parties' positions on free software

By FSF Europe, from July 3rd
The Free Software Foundation Europe published its free software related election questions for this fall's elections to the German parliament, which will take place on September 22.

For the first time in France, the Parliament passes legislation that gives priority to free software

By April, from July 9th
The French Parliament wrote into law the first instance of free software priority in a public service, by adopting the Bill on Higher Education and Research.

MediaGoblin 0.4.1 (bugfix release)

By Chris Webber of MediaGoblin, from July 10th
The MediaGoblin project has pushed out a bugfix release closely following 0.4.0: Hall of the Archivist. Users running 0.4.0 are encouraged to switch over to take advantage of several fixes.

Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

From July 31th
Tens of thousands of people visit each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions to version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing. The Free Software Directory has been a great resource to software users over the past decade, but it needs your help staying up-to-date with new and exciting free software projects.
To help, join our weekly IRC meetings on Fridays. Meetings take place in the #fsf channel on, and usually include a handful of regulars as well as newcomers. Everyone's welcome.
The next meeting is Friday, August 2nd from 2pm to 5pm EDT (18:00 to 21:00 UTC). Details here:
After this meeting, you can check to see the rest of August's weekly meetings as they are scheduled.

LibrePlanet featured resource: Defective By Design's DRM FAQ

Every month on LibrePlanet, we highlight one resource that is interesting and useful -- often one that could use your help.
For this month, we are highlighting the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) Frequently Asked Questions list put together by the Defective by Design campaign and is a collaboration among anti-DRM activists to develop introductory materials on why DRM is a threat to computing freedom. You are invited to adopt, spread and improve this important resource.
Do you have a suggestion for next month's featured resource? Let us know at

GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 32 new GNU releases!

32 new GNU releases this month (as of July 28, 2013):
  • autogen-5.18
  • bison-3.0
  • ddrescue-1.17
  • denemo-1.0.4
  • freeipmi-1.2.9
  • gettext-0.18.3
  • glpk-4.52
  • gnuhealth-2.0.0
  • gnupg-1.4.14
  • gsl-1.16
  • gsrc-2013.07.06
  • guile-sdl-0.5.0
  • gvpe-2.25
  • help2man-1.43.3
  • jacal-1c3
  • libextractor-1.1
  • libgcrypt-1.5.3
  • libidn-1.28
  • libmicrohttpd-0.9.28
  • libobjc2-1.7
  • libzrtpcpp-2.3.4
  • linux-libre-3.10-gnu
  • lsh-2.1
  • ocrad-0.22
  • parallel-20130722
  • pspp-0.8.0a
  • scm-5f1
  • slib-3b4
  • ucommon-6.0.6
  • units-2.02
  • unrtf-0.21.5
  • wb-2b2
To get announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: Nearly all GNU software is available from, or preferably one of its mirrors ( You can use the url to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.
I'd like to welcome Gaganjyot as the new maintainer of Dr. Geo, Avneet Kaur as the new maintainer of GNU libffcall, and Thad Meyer as the new maintainer of GNU rottlog, as well as Pratik Bhoir as a new-comaintainer for GNU gnats. Thanks everyone.
The GNU Hackers Meeting for 2013 is scheduled to take place from August 22 to August 25 in Paris, France. More information at
A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance. Please see if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at To submit new packages to the GNU operating system, see
As always, please feel free to write to me,, with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

GNU Toolchain update

By Nick Clifton, from July 29th
The GNU toolchain refers to the part of the GNU system which is used for building programs. These components of GNU are together often on other systems and for compiling programs for other platforms.
Read about updates to NEWLIB, GCC, and more.

Richard Stallman's speaking schedule

For event details, as well as to sign-up to be notified for future events in your area, please visit
So far, Richard Stallman has the following events in August:

Other FSF and free software events

Thank GNUs!

We appreciate everyone who donates to the Free Software Foundation, but we'd like to give special recognition to the folks who have donated $500 or more in the last month.
This month, a big Thank GNU to:
  • Roland H. Pesch
  • Jason Francis
  • Antonio Carzaniga
  • Mridul Muralidharan
  • Sebastian Spaeth
  • David Johnson
  • Andrew Reid
You can add your name to this list by donating at

Take action with the FSF

Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF's work. You can contribute by joining at If you're already a member, you can help refer new members (and earn some rewards) by adding a line with your member number to your email signature like:
I'm an FSF member -- Help us support software freedom!
The FSF is also always looking for volunteers ( From rabble-rousing to hacking, from issue coordination to envelope stuffing -- there's something here for everybody to do. Also, head over to our campaign section ( and take action on software patents, DRM, free software adoption, OpenDocument, RIAA and more.


Copyright © 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit