Richard Stallman: Free Software Foundation Newsletter #53 August 2012

Richard Stallman

Free Software Supporter

Issue 53, August 2012

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  • Why programs must not limit the freedom to run them
  • New DRM-free label!
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • Guest Post: Why schools should refuse iPads
  • Interview with John W. Eaton of GNU Octave
  • Fall licensing internship application deadline fast approaching
  • The Shield Act fails to protect free software from patents
  • Summer 2012 Trip to Europe: Photos from the Technical University of Munich
  • Show your support for GNU with our new pocketknife!
  • A model of free software success
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: Licensing Volunteers
  • GNU Toolchain update
  • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 19 new GNU releases!
  • Richard Stallman's speaking schedule and other FSF events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • Take action with the FSF!

Why programs must not limit the freedom to run them

From August 31st:

Free software means software controlled by its users, rather than the reverse. Specifically, it means the software comes with four essential freedoms that software users deserve. At the head of the list is freedom zero, the freedom to run the program as you wish, in order to do what you wish.

Some developers propose to place usage restrictions in software licenses to ban using the program for certain purposes, but that would be a disastrous path.

Richard Stallman's latest article explains why freedom zero must not be limited:

New DRM-free label!

From August 13th:

A unified marker for DRM-free files that also educates downloaders about DRM is a powerful way to increase the value of being DRM-free. People looking for ebooks in places like Amazon often have trouble figuring out which ebooks have DRM and which don't because Amazon does not advertise that information. This label is a step toward solving that problem, making it easy for people who oppose DRM to find like-minded artists, authors, and publishers to support.

Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

From August 29th:

Join us on IRC in #fsf most Fridays from 2pm to 5pm EDT (18:00 to 21:00 UTC) to add new entries and update existing ones.

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 providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Free Software Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world over the past decade, it has the potential of being a resource of even far greater value. But it needs your help!

Guest Post: Why schools should refuse iPads

From August 24th:

This is a guest post by FSF associate member #10916, David Steinhafel. It is a slightly edited version of a letter sent in April 2012 to discourage the Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD) in Texas from spending $4,000,000 USD on iPads for their 2nd – 8th grade students. We hope others will send letters like this. The LibrePlanet wiki is a great place to share them.

Interview with John W. Eaton of GNU Octave

From August 31st:

This is the first in a series of interviews the FSF's Licensing and Compliance team is doing with maintainers of free software projects who choose GNU licenses for their work.

Fall licensing internship application deadline fast approaching

From August 14th:

We are looking for an intern to work in our Licensing and Compliance Lab from September 17th to December 14th. If you are interested in interning with the Licensing and Compliance Lab this fall, the deadline for applications is September 3rd. You can review the full application details and apply at our internships page.

This is an educational opportunity to work with the organization that publishes the GNU General Public License (GPL), handles license review and compliance for the GNU Project, and fights for software freedom. As an intern, you work closely with FSF staff members learning about free software licensing and helping to educate the community about copyleft, patents, and other legal issues related to software. This is a great opportunity for law students or legally minded hackers.

The Shield Act fails to protect free software from patents

From August 7th:

The Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes Act (SHIELD Act) fails to protect the free software community from software patents.

On August 1st, 2012, the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes Act, or SHIELD Act, was introduced to Congress by Representatives Peter DeFazio and Jason Chaffetz. This act is meant to deal with the problem of patent trolls destroying software businesses. The bill would enable victims of patent trolling to have their costs covered if the judge decides that the plaintiff was not likely to succeed on their claims. While many are hailing the bill for fighting against patent trolls, it does not go far enough for us to support it, and it carries some risks that concern us.

Summer 2012 Trip to Europe: Photos from the Technical University of Munich

From August 30th:

RMS was at the Technische Universität-München, in Garching, Germany, on 11 July, to deliver his speech “Copyright vs. Community in the Age of Computer Networks,” hosted by the Department of Computer Science's Lehrstuhl für Netzarchitekturen und Netzdienste, to a packed room.

Show your support for GNU with our new pocketknife!

From August 31st:

The Free Software Foundation is now offering a smaller knife that serves as a great complement to our cybertool. GNU/Linux aficionados will appreciate the iconic GNU head logo. This 2 1/4″ rally comes in your choice of blue or red, and boasts 9 useful tools.

A model of free software success

From August 9th:

FSF board member Benjamin Mako Hill reviews a paper by Fabio Landini. He says, “‘Open source' style efficiency arguments persuade a lot of people. Especially when they are true. But those arguments are only ever true because a group of ethically motivated people fought to find a way to make them true. Free software didn't start out as competitive with proprietary software. It became so only because a bunch of ethically motivated hackers were willing to ‘subsidize' the movement with their failed, and successful, attempts at free software and free culture projects and businesses.”

LibrePlanet featured resource: Licensing Volunteers

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 FSF Licensing Volunteers group, which is a home for coordination among the volunteers who work with FSF staff to research and write about free software licensing issues. If you're interested in learning more about licensing and helping people do it right, please stop by!

Do you have a suggestion for next month's featured resource? Let us know at

GNU Toolchain update

Nick Clifton covers updates to the GNU toolchain, including GCC, over the last couple of months.

GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 19 new GNU releases!

New GNU releases as of August 28, 2012:

  • alive-2.0.0
  • emacs-24.2
  • help2man-1.40.12
  • autogen-5.16.2
  • freeipmi-1.2.1
  • icecat-14.0
  • automake-1.12.3
  • gdb-7.5
  • mediagoblin-0.3.1
  • bison-2.6.2
  • gnubatch-1.6
  • parallel-20120822
  • ccide-0.6.5-1
  • gnuhealth-1.6.3
  • wget-1.14
  • coreutils-8.19
  • gnutls-3.1.0
  • cppi-1.17
  • grep-2.14

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.

This month we welcome Thien-Thi Nguyen as a new maintainer of alive (first release above) in addition to his work maintaining RCS, Jordi Hermoso as a new co-maintainer of Octave, and Thomas Young as the author of the new GNU package ccide.

Several GNU packages 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 GNU, see

As always, please feel free to write to me,, with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

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 .

Richard Stallman has the following events coming up:

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:

  • Krishna Kunchithapadam
  • Graham J. Lee
  • David Johnson
  • Steven C. Morreale
  • Eric Moore
  • Jelte van der Hoek
  • Vernon Woolford

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 © 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

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