GNU and FSF News for November 2007

Posted 7 Nov 2007 at 21:35 UTC by robogato Share This

In this month's update, the FSF tries to block a patent-encumbered standard from slipping through the IETF, the FSF Europe reports on the latest court decisions in the Microsoft case, and the FSF India meets with their government to coordinate the promotion of free software. Meanwhile, the SFLC vs Monsoon GPL lawsuit has been dismissed after Monsoon agreed to generous terms with the BusyBox developers. GCC and the Hurd both make incremental progress this month and there's a new GNOME roadmap full of things you can look forward to in GNOME 2.22 and 2.24.

FSF Expresses Opposition to TLS-authz "experimental" standard

The Free Software Foundation issued a press release describing the steps they'd taken to oppose the TLS-authz "experimental" standard, which was under consideration by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). TLS-authz was originally being considered as an official standard until a company called RedPhone Security disclosed that they had applied for a patent which would have to be licensed by anyone wishing to use TLS-authz. This resulted in TLS-authz being rejected as a standard since it could not be freely used nor could it be support by any free software. However, there were efforts to keep the standard alive as an IETF "experimental" standard. The FSF as well as others oppose this because any widespread adoption of the technology would be bad news for free software use. The FSF is also calling on programmers not to support TLS-authz. All support for TLS-authz has been removed from GnuTLS.

FSF Europe

There's a new FSF Europe newsletter out. It mentions that the European courts have upheld the European Commission demands that Microsoft cease obstructing interoperability of its products and cease bundling certain products. The newsletter also includes stories on problems at WIPO and FSFE activity at OpenExpo in Switzerland. There were also links to YouTube videos of a meeting between Chilean Minister of Economy Alejandro Ferreiro and FSFE president Georg Greve about the economics of Free Software. (video part one, video part two)

FSF India

A FSF India delegation met with the Union Minister for Information Technology and the secretary of the Ministry of IT in New Delhi on 18 October. The government officials indicated they were committed to supporting open standards and would work with the FSF India. They also talked about several existing FOSS projects in India.

FSF India is also supporting the Save Kannada Campaign that opposes Microsoft's plan to proprietize Government software in Karnataka as well as converting schools and offices to Microsoft products.

GPL News

Palamida's GPLv3 Information site showed 1051 projects have reported making the switch to GPLv3 so far. Meanwhile, there was good news from the Software Freedom Law Center. They have jointly announced with Monsoon Multimedia that an agreement has been reached and the GPL enforcement lawsuit filed on behalf of the BusyBox developers has been dismissed. The plaintiffs agreed to reinstate Monsoon Multimedia's rights to distribute BusyBox. In exchange Monsoon Multimedia agreed to a few things too, including:

"Monsoon Multimedia has agreed to appoint an Open Source Compliance Officer within its organization to monitor and ensure GPL compliance, to publish the source code for the version of BusyBox it previously distributed on its Web site, and to undertake substantial efforts to notify previous recipients of BusyBox from Monsoon Multimedia of their rights to the software under the GPL. The settlement also includes an undisclosed amount of financial consideration paid by Monsoon Multimedia to the plaintiffs."

GNU Hurd

A patch dedicated to Linus Torvalds was presented on the bug-hurd mailing list. It fixes a locking issue that could cause the file system to hang under certain conditions. The problem was revealed by the git testsuite, prompting the dedication. With the patch, git now compiles on Hurd-based systems. There were further tweaks to the new IPv6 support this month as well as minor makefile improvements to make the Hurd easier to compile on older versions of GCC. There was some discussion earlier in the month on the gnu-system-discuss list of whether sub-hurds could be used in place of chroot.

How you can help: The number of developers working on the Hurd and GNU Mach continues 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.


The release of GCC 4.3.0 is slowly approaching as developers smash the last few bugs. As of the last status report, there were 36 P1 bugs, 115 P2 bugs, and 33 P3 bugs. The new release branch is created when the bug count drops below 100. While a total of 184 bugs sounds like a lot, it shouldn't really take too long according to Mark Mitchell:

"Based on previous experience, the 33 P3s will probably turn out to be about 2 P1s and 10 P2s. So, 184 is a slight overstatement ... if we each fix a bug a day, we'd been done sometime next week. So, there shouldn't be that far to go."
How you can help: if you're interested in working on compiler development, visit the Contributing to GCC page to find out how you can help with development of the GNU GCC compiler.


The GNOME Roadmap document has been updated to show the plans for GNOME 2.22 and GNOME 2.24. Lots of interesting improvements to existing programs. There is also a list of new programs that may be added to GNOME including the Anjuta DevStudio IDE, the Vinagre VNC client, the GtkGLExt OpenGL extensions to GTK+, and others.

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?

RMS will be speaking in Sonora Mexico on the 8th and 9th of November. He moves on to Mexico City on the 12th. From there he travels to Foz do Iguacu, Brazil where he'll give a talk at Usina de ITAIPU on the 14th. His next stop is Granada, Spain on the 17th. Then back to Brazil on the 20th where he'll be speaking at Hotel Fiesta Bahia in Salvador de Bahia. The next day he'll be speaking in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Finally, he'll speak in Cuenca, Ecuador on 26 November. For details and 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.

oh irony, posted 8 Nov 2007 at 00:25 UTC by hub » (Master)

What an irony that even the FSF link to YouTube proprietary video distribution system..... If even the FSF do that, who won't ?

Reversible Debugging, posted 8 Nov 2007 at 00:39 UTC by ncm » (Master)

Reversible debugging is ├╝ber-cool. I think Michael Chastain worked on something spiritually similar that worked at the system-call level, back in Linux 2.0 days, but I can't remember details. Whatever it was, I wanted it.

again thanks for another high quality summary of the GNU, posted 8 Nov 2007 at 23:18 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)


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