GNU and FSF News for October 2007

Posted 8 Oct 2007 at 23:55 UTC (updated 9 Oct 2007 at 22:43 UTC) by robogato Share This

There's a new GNU PDF Project in the works to support the upcoming ISO standard PDF implementation and they need your help. The FSF Europe has posted a new RMS video. Conversion of software to the new GPLv3 license continues at a steady pace. The SFLC files a history-making legal complaint against a GPLv2 violator and resolves a GPLv2 dispute between the BSD and Linux communities. Unofficial Gnash Flash binaries for Windows are available. GNU Hurd gets IPv6 support and a new pfinet maintainer. RMS will be speaking Columbia, Costa Rica, Japan, and the US this month. Oh, and did I mention that new and improved versions of GNOME and GTK+ have been released.?

The GNU PDF Project

The Free Software Foundation is calling for volunteers to assist with the new GNU PDF Project that will attempt to create a lightweight set libraries implementing the coming ISO standardized version of PDF, ISO 32000 (aka PDF 1.7). The new libraries will also have support for PDF/A-1, ISO 19005-1:2005, Extensible Metadata Platform, XMP, and XML Forms Architecture v2.4 (XFA). The GNU PDF Project libraries and programs are an official part of the GNU Project and will become part of the GNU System. The project started by looking at the available free software support for any these technologies including things like Ghostscript, xpdf, poppler, and MuPDF+Fitz but all of these packages have either technical or legal issues. The project has already published a roadmap and started writing code. If you're a C programmer and would like to find out how you can help, join the development mailing list or visit the Savannah GNU PDF Project page.

FSF Europe

The FSF Europe has posted Ogg video of Richard Stallman's 16 May 2007 speech titled, "Free Software and Beyond: Human Rights in the Use of Software and Other Published Works" (Ogg video torrent seed). The talk was given in cinema Draken in Gothenburg, Sweden

GPL News

Palamida's GPLv3 Information site showed 734 GPLv3 packages this month, up from 534 last month. The total seems to be climbing at about 200 per month. But the latest GPL news is not the steady conversion to GPLv3. The big news is the GPLv2 lawsuit. The Software Freedom Law Center filed a copyright infringement complaint (PDF format) against Monsoon Multimedia because they failed to abide by requirements of the GPLv2 license on BusyBox code when they incorporated that code into their own software, which was then distributed without making the source code available to recipients. What makes this significant is that it is the first ever GPL violation lawsuit filed in the US. Monsoon quickly issued a press release saying they wanted to settle. In the past, violators of the GPL have been let off easy provided they agreed to comply with the license, however, Monsoon may not be so lucky. The SFLC said in a statement to, "simply coming into compliance now is not sufficient to settle the matter because that would mean anyone can violate the license until caught, because the only punishment would be to come into compliance. I can't discuss the details of what additional things are being sought by our clients, but hopefully we'll be able to shed light on that if/when we do reach an agreement".

The SFLC has also been working to resolve a GPL-related dispute that arose between the BSD community and the Linux kernel developers over the Atheros wireless driver code. The code was originally released under a permissive license. Some of this code was incorporated into a GPL'd Atheros driver for Linux. The trouble arose when the BSD camp wanted to incorporate the improvements and changes from the GPL'd Linux version of the code back into their codebase. This wasn't possible because the GPL adds protections of freedom that aren't provided by the BSD license and cannot be removed, making the code unusable to the BSD community. The SFLC did a complete audit of the code and resolved the situation by getting all the contributors of the Linux code to agree to relicense their code under the permissive license used in the original codebase. The SFLC has also now developed a set of guidelines for using permissive-licensed code in GPL projects. Interestingly one of the things they discourage is the common use of "dual licensing" code under two conflicting licenses.


While the primary purpose of Gnash is to provide Flash support to the GNU System, GNU/Linux, and other free operatings system, it may also be possible to use it on proprietary Windows systems. In fact, an unofficial Windows binary of Gnash has been built and released by Dossy Shiobara.

GNU Hurd

Stefan Siegl posted about his work in adding IPv6 support to pfinet. By the time you read this, IPv6 support should be committed to CVS. Stefan will also be taking over as maintainer of the Hurd pfinet translator. Carl Fredrik Hammar worked on the Hurd as part of a 2007 Google Summer of Code project. Carl worked on an experimental implementation of libchannel, a framework that, among other things, provides an efficient way of stacking translators. He posted a report about the results of the work on one of the Hurd mailing lists. Vikram Vincent has volunteered to begin the task of rewriting the GNU Mach device driver glue code layer that allows GNU Mach to use Linux device drivers. The current version of GNU Mach can only use Linux 2.0.x device drivers. The plan is to update the glue code to allow the use of Linux 2.6 device drivers. This would greatly expand the hardware support for the Hurd. The number of developers working on the Hurd and GNU Mach contiues to be fairly small, so if you'd like to help out, 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 GCC team is still working towards a 4.3.0 release which will include a lot of nifty new features. If you're interested in working on compilers, visit the Contributing to GCC to find out how you can help.


The big GNOME News this month is the release of GNOME 2.20. The GNOME 2.20 Release Notes is the best introduction to all the new features and it includes lots of screen shots. One of the many interesting new features that I expect to find useful is the intelligent battery profiling in Power Manager that learns about your battery over time to produce better estimate of the remaining run time. It can warn you when you're battery is no longer storing as much power as it should. It also knows which batteries have been recalled by the manufacurer. You can also read the Desktop Linux review of GNOME 2.20. This version of GNOME also relies on a new v2.12 release of the underlying GTK+ toolkit, which boasts an impressive assortment of new features itself.

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 in Bogoto, Columbia on 10 October, speaking about the goals and philosophy of the Free Software movement. On the 12th and 13th of October, he'll be San Jose, Costa Rica talking about software patents and how they obstruct software development (at the first talk) and about the history and status of the GNU Operating System (at the second talk). On 17 October, it's back to the US for a talk at Yale University in New Haven, CT. On 26 October, he'll be in Nagoya, Japan talking about Copyright and the problems of using the term "intellectual property". From there it's on to Tokyo Japan for another talk on 29 October. 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.

sorry it's late..., posted 8 Oct 2007 at 23:58 UTC by StevenRainwater » (Master)

Sorry this is being posted a couple of days later than usual, I just got back from a road trip to Marfa, TX for the Chinati art festival. I had anticipated posting it from there but Internet access turned out to be a bit scarce.

Minor correction, posted 9 Oct 2007 at 03:33 UTC by mbrubeck » (Journeyer)

It's GNOME 2.20, not GNOME 2.2.

Oops 2.2 != 2.20, posted 9 Oct 2007 at 03:44 UTC by robogato » (Master)

Thanks, fixed.

gnupdf roadmap has moved, posted 20 Oct 2007 at 16:29 UTC by richdawe » (Journeyer)

Looks like the gnupdf roadmap has moved to

GNU and FSF News, posted 6 Nov 2007 at 20:55 UTC by aicra » (Journeyer)

Robgato wrote:

"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."

Hey, I'll do it if you are still looking for a volunteer.

Re: GNU and FSF News, posted 9 Nov 2007 at 17:28 UTC by StevenRainwater » (Master)

aicra: I emailed about your offer, but with the spam levels these days, email isn't too reliable anymore. If you don't hear from me, try emailing me at

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