GNU and FSF News for December 2007

Posted 7 Dec 2007 at 23:35 UTC (updated 8 Dec 2007 at 17:26 UTC) by robogato Share This

Licenses are in the news everywhere this month. The SLFC takes on Verizon for violating the GPL. The FSF releases the Affero GPL and a handy new guide to the GPLv3. The FSF, Creative Commons, and the Wikipedia Foundation agree to make the GDFL compatible with the CC BY-SA. GNOME is the other big newsmaker. A new GNOME Journal, a D-Bus debugger, GUADEC video, GNOME Foundation elections, and GNOME news about FOSDEM 2008. All the usual topics are covered as well.

FSF Europe

The latest FSFE Newsletter covers the end of the battle between the European Commission and Microsoft, a Free Software information event at an Austrian school, a discussion of Sustainable-IT in Berlin, the donation of a Sun T1000 server to the FSFE, and other stories.

GNU License News

The Free Software Foundation has announced the release of the GNU Affero General Public License. This is basically like the standard GPLv3 with the added provision that users who interact with the software over a network also have the freedom to receive the source code.

The Free Software Compliance Lab has released a handy diagram showing GPLv3 license compatibility. The diagram is part of the new Quick Guide to GPLv3.

The Free Software Foundation, Wikipedia Foundation, and the Creative Commons have reached an agreement that would make the current Wikipedia licence, the GFDL, compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license. The Wikipedia Foundation has released a resolution on the license update. There's still a lot of confusion as to what exactly this means for Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales has said the existing content would be "migrated" to the CC BY-SA license and "liberated". Others have suggested this only means the "or later version" clause in the current GFDL will allow the content to fall under a new version of the GFDL that is CC BY-SA compatible. Lawrence Lessig attempts to clear up some of the confusion with a recent blog post:

...the Wikimedia Foundation Board has agreed with a proposal made by the Free Software Foundation that will permit Wikipedia (and other such wikis) to relicense under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. That is very different from saying that Wikipedia has relicensed under a CC license. The decision whether to take advantage of this freedom granted by the FSF when the FSF grants it will be a decision the Wikipedia community will have to make. We are very hopeful that the community will ratify this move to compatible freedoms.
Comments on Lessig's blog suggest this explanation is still less than clear to many. In any case, making the GDFL and CC BY-SA licenses compatible sounds like good news.

The Software Freedom Law Center has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Verizon for violating the GPL. Verizon has been giving FIOS customers MI424WR wireless routers which incorporate BusyBox, a Free Software package, without making source code available. The lawsuit was filed after Verizon failed to respond to other attempts at communication for over three weeks. This is the fourth lawsuit the SFLC has filed on behalf of the BusyBox authors.

GNU Hurd

There has been a lot of activity lately related to producing new cross-gnu instructions and scripts. The results were added to the GNU Hurd wiki recently. Following the new instructions will allow a GNU/Linux user to build and configure a cross-gcc tool chain and environment for compiling GNU Mach and the Hurd. The new instructions seem to work pretty well and there were numerous reports of success on the mailing list.

How you can help: The number of developers working on the Hurd and GNU Mach contiues to be small and they could use your help. Check in on the #hurd IRC channel or the bug-hurd mailing list. There should be no trouble finding interesting things to work on.


Since last month, the bug count on the upcoming GCC 4.3.0 release has dropped from 184 to 154, according to the latest status report. More patches are in the que to be reviewed but there's plenty to go around if anyone would like to jump in and help out.

How you can help: if you're interested in working on compiler development, visit the Contributing to GCC to find out what you can do help with the development of the GNU GCC compiler.


John Palmieri announced a D-Bus debugger called D-Feet. Current features include viewing names on the session and system bus, viewing exported objects, interfaces, methods and signals, viewing the full command line of services on the bus, and executing methods with parameters on the bus and seeing their return values. Many more features are planned.

Thomas Wood announced that after a bit of a delay, videos from GUADEC 2007 are finally being encoded and made available online. Video from events in the main hall is not available yet due to audio problems that have yet to be fully resolved.

There a new issue of the GNOME Journal out. It includes an interview with Daniel G. Siegel, the author of the Cheese, a GNOME webcam application. There's also a review of the book, "Foundations of GTK+ Development". And, finally, you can read about Maryland's Howard County Library and how they benefitted from a switch to Groovix, an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distro.

The GNOME Foundation 2007 elections are coming and candidates have been announced.

There will be a GNOME Developer Room at FOSDEM, 23-24 Feb 2008 in Brussels. It will be in Room H.1302 on Saturday and Room H.1301 on Sunday with a seating capacity of about 200.

How you can help: GNOME needs your help. In addition to programmers, the GNOME team also needs people to assist with testing, translation, accessibility, documentation, website maintenance, graphics, and marketing. To find out what you can do and how to get started, visit the Join GNOME webpage.

FSF High Priority Free Software Projects

The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of what they believe are the highest priority projects at any given time. If you're looking for something fun to work on or just want to make the world a better place, this is a good place to start.

"There is a vital need to draw the free software community's attention to the ongoing development work on these particular projects. These projects are important because computer users are continually being seduced into using non-free software, because there is no adequate free replacement. Please support these projects."

Where's RMS This Month?

The RMS calendar is a bit bare for the month of December with only one speech listed: a talk about the Free Software Movement in Granada, Spain on 17 December. His calendar hints that there may be a second speech the following day in Huelva, Spain but details have not been announced yet. For the latest updates see the FSF upcoming events page.

This monthly news summary about the Free Software Foundation and GNU project was distilled down from FSF press releases, blogs, email lists, and website news pages. The idea is to provide a concise summary of FSF/GNU news from the past month for those who don't have the time or interest to find and read all the original news sources within that community. This is a news summary about the FSF but it is not produced by or associated with the FSF in any way.

I'm looking for a volunteer to take over writing this news summary each month. It's a minimal amount of work, taking no more than a few hours per month.

Again thanks for a great GNU activity summary, posted 17 Dec 2007 at 21:33 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

Much appreciated!

Hurd, posted 18 Dec 2007 at 15:52 UTC by fzort » (Journeyer)

Regarding Hurd, StevenRainwater wrote a very nice introduction for aspiring hackers: How to Become a Hurd Hacker

KDE 4, posted 23 Dec 2007 at 00:05 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

KDE 4 release day

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