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Zerocat Chipflasher "board-edition-1" now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

Mar, 15/05/2018 - 16:05

This is the first device under The Zerocat Label to receive RYF certification. The Chipflasher enables users to flash devices such as laptops, allowing them to replace proprietary software with free software like Libreboot. While users are able to purchase RYF-certified laptops that already come with Libreboot pre-loaded, for the first time ever they are capable of freeing their own laptops using an RYF-certified device. The Zerocat Chipflasher board-edition-1 is now available for purchase as a limited edition at http://www.zerocat.org/shop-en.html. These first ten limited edition boards are signed by Kai Mertens, chief developer of The Zerocat Label, and will help to fund additional production and future development of RYF-certified devices.

"The certification of the Zerocat Chipflasher is a big step forward for the Respects Your Freedom program. Replacing proprietary boot firmware is one of the first tasks for creating a laptop that meets RYF's criteria, and now anyone can do so for their own devices with a flasher that is itself RYF-certified," said the FSF's executive director, John Sullivan.

An RYF-certified flashing device could also help to grow the number of laptops available via the RYF program.

"When someone sets out to start their own business selling RYF-certified devices, they now have a piece of hardware they can trust to help them with that process. We hope to see even more laptops made available under the program, and having those laptops flashed with a freedom-respecting device will help to set those retailers on the right path from the start," said the FSF's licensing & compliance manager, Donald Robertson, III.

"Free software tools carry the inherent message 'Let’s help our neighbors!', as this is basically the spirit of the licenses that these tools are shipped with. From a global perspective, we are all 'neighbors,' no matter which country. And from this point of view, I would be happy if the flasher will be regarded as a contribution towards worldwide cooperation and friendship," said Mertens.

To learn more about the Respects Your Freedom device certification program, including details on the certification of all these devices, please visit https://fsf.org/ryf.

Hardware sellers interested in applying for certification can consult https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/criteria.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at and , are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

About The Zerocat Label

The Zerocat Label has been set up in order to direct the focus on free design hardware development.

The development of free designs for hardware has many benefits. One of the most important is probably its capacity to conserve the Earth’s resources, and those of people. When we share knowledge, we work towards global solutions instead of individual profits.

Our current approach is to check which free design computer chips are available today, and to start creating something useful with them, even if bigger goals remain out of reach at this time. Creating tools in a modular manner allows us to combine them and to achieve complex solutions in the future.

Our next tasks are to find an answer to questions like “What free-design tools do we need?” and “What are we able to accomplish right now?” We hope to be able to build other free-design tools of wide interest by answering those questions. It is an experimental endeavor.

Media Contacts

Donald Robertson, III
Licensing and Compliance Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
licensing@fsf.org

Kai Mertens
Chief Developer
The Zerocat Label
zerocat@posteo.de

Image Copyright 2018 Kai Mertens, Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0.

Contract opportunity: JavaScript Developer for GNU LibreJS

Ven, 11/05/2018 - 16:18

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a contract JavaScript Developer to work on GNU LibreJS, a free browser add-on that addresses the problem of nonfree JavaScript described in Richard Stallman's article The JavaScript Trap. This is a temporary, paid contract opportunity, with specific deliverables, hours, term, and payment to be determined with the selected candidate. We anticipate the contract being approximately 80 hours of full-time work, with the possibility of extension depending on results and project status.

Reporting to our technical team, the contractor will work to implement important missing features in the LibreJS extension. We are looking for someone with experience in backend JavaScript development, WebExtensions, and NodeJS/Browserify. Experience with software licensing is a plus. This is an urgent priority; we are seeking someone who is able to start now. Contractors can be based anywhere, but must be able to attend telephone meetings during Eastern Daylight Time business hours.

Examples of deliverables include, but are not limited to:

  • Web Labels support, plus Web Labels in JSON format
  • SPDX support
  • Unit and functional testing
  • User interface improvements
  • New and updated documentation

LibreJS is a critical component of the FSF's campaign for user freedom on the Web, and freeing JavaScript specifically. Building on past contributions, this is an opportunity to help unlock a world where users can better protect their freedom as they browse, and collaborate with each other to make and share modified JavaScript to use.

Reference documentation Proposal instructions

Proposals must be submitted via email to hiring@fsf.org. The email must contain the subject line "LibreJS Developer." A complete application should include:

  • Letter of interest
  • CV / portfolio with links to any previous work online, especially browser extensions
  • At least two recent client references

All materials must be in a free format. Email submissions that do not follow these instructions will probably be overlooked. No phone calls, please.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the contract is filled. To guarantee consideration, submit your proposal by Friday, May 18, 2018.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. We are based in Boston, MA, USA.

Public Lab and Karen Sandler are 2017 Free Software Awards winners

Sab, 24/03/2018 - 23:47

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, USA – Saturday, March 24, 2018 – The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the winners of the 2017 Free Software Awards at a ceremony held during the LibrePlanet 2018 conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). FSF president Richard M. Stallman presented the Award for Projects of Social Benefit and the Award for the Advancement of Free Software.

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to a project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, to intentionally and significantly benefit society. This award stresses the use of free software in service to humanity.

This year, Public Lab received the award, which was accepted by Liz Barry, Public Lab co-founder, organizer, and director of community development, and Jeff Warren, Public Lab co-founder and research director, on behalf of the entire Public Lab community.

Public Lab is a community and non-profit organization with the goal of democratizing science to address environmental issues. Their community-created tools and techniques utilize free software and low-cost devices to enable people at any level of technical skill to investigate environmental concerns.

Stallman noted how crucial Public Lab's work is to the global community, and also how their use of free software is crucial to their mission, saying that "the environmental and social problems caused by global heating are so large that they cannot rationally be denied. When studies concerning the causes and the effects of global heating, or the environmental impact of pollution, industry, and policy choices, are conducted using proprietary software, that is a gratuitous obstacle to replicating them.

"Public Lab gets the tools to study and protect the world into the hands of everyone -- and since they are free (libre) software, they respect both the people who use them, and the community that depends on the results."

Jeff Warren, speaking on behalf of the Public Lab community, added that using free software is part of their larger mission to take science out of the hands of the experts and allow everyday people to participate: "At Public Lab, we believe that generating knowledge is a powerful thing. We aim to open research from the exclusive hands of scientific experts. By doing so, communities facing environmental justice issues are able to own the science and advocate for the changes they want to see.

"Building free software, hardware, and open data is fundamental to our work in the Public Lab community, as we see it as a key part of our commitment to equity in addressing environmental injustice."

The Award for the Advancement of Free Software goes to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.

This year, it was presented to Karen Sandler, the Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, as well as a perennial LibrePlanet speaker and friend to the FSF. She is known for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices: she led an initiative advocating for free software on implantable medical devices after exploring the issues surrounding the software on her own implanted medical device (a defibrillator), which regulates an inherited heart condition. Sandler has served as the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation, where she now serves on the Board of Directors, and before that, she was General Counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Finally, she co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program that organizes paid internships in free software for people who are typically underrepresented in these projects.

Stallman praised Sandler's dedication to free software, emphasizing how sharing her personal experience has provided a window into the importance of free software for a broader audience: "Her vivid warning about backdoored nonfree software in implanted medical devices has brought the issue home to people who never wrote a line of code.

"Her efforts, usually not in the public eye, to provide pro bono legal advice to free software organizations and to organize infrastructure for free software projects and copyleft defense, have been equally helpful."

Sandler explained that her dedication to promoting free software was inevitable, given her personal experience: "Coming to terms with a dangerous heart condition should never have cost me fundamental control over the technology that my life relies on," she said. "The twists and turns of my own life, including my professional work at Conservancy, led me to understand how software freedom is essential to society. This issue is personal not just for me but for anyone who relies on software, and today that means every single person."

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at https://fsf.org and https://gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://my.fsf.org/donate. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

Media Contacts

John Sullivan Executive Director Free Software Foundation +1 (617) 542 5942 campaigns@fsf.org

LibrePlanet free software conference celebrates 10th anniversary, this weekend at MIT, March 24-25

Mar, 20/03/2018 - 15:39

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, USA -- Tuesday, March 20, 2018 -- This weekend, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) present the tenth annual LibrePlanet free software conference in Cambridge, March 24-25, 2018, at MIT. LibrePlanet is an annual conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and tackle challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature sessions for all ages and experience levels.

LibrePlanet's tenth anniversary theme is "Freedom Embedded." Embedded systems are everywhere, in cars, digital watches, traffic lights, and even within our bodies. We've come to expect that proprietary software's sinister aspects are embedded in software, digital devices, and our lives, too: we expect that our phones monitor our activity and share that data with big companies, that governments enforce digital restrictions management (DRM), and that even our activity on social Web sites is out of our control. This year's talks and workshops will explore how to defend user freedom in a society reliant on embedded systems.

Keynote speakers include Benjamin Mako Hill, social scientist, technologist, free software activist, and FSF board member, examining online collaboration and free software; Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff technologist Seth David Schoen, discussing engineering tradeoffs and free software; Deb Nicholson, community outreach director for the Open Invention Network, talking about the key to longevity for the free software movement; and Free Software Foundation founder and president Richard Stallman, looking at current threats to and opportunities for free software, with a focus on embedded systems.

This year's LibrePlanet conference will feature over 50 sessions, such as The battle to free the code at the Department of Defense, Freedom, devices, and health, and Standardizing network freedom, as well as workshops on free software and photogrammetry, digital music making, and desktops for kids.

"For ten years, LibrePlanet has brought together free software enthusiasts and newcomers from around the world to exchange ideas, collaborate, and take on challenges to software freedom," said Georgia Young, program manager of the FSF. "But the conference is not purely academic -- it works to build the free software community, offering opportunities for those who cannot attend to participate remotely by watching a multi-channel livestream and joining the conversation online. And this year, we're proud to offer several kid-friendly workshops, encouraging earlier engagement with fun, ethical free software!"

Advance registration is closed, but attendees may register in person at the event. Admission is gratis for FSF Associate Members and students. For all other attendees, the cost of admission is $60 for one day, $90 for both days, and includes admission to the conference's social events. For those who cannot attend, this year's sessions will be streamed at https://libreplanet.org/2018/live/, and recordings will be available after the event at https://media.libreplanet.org/.

Anthropologist and author Gabriella Coleman was scheduled to give the opening keynote at LibrePlanet 2018, but was forced to cancel.

About LibrePlanet

LibrePlanet is the annual conference of the Free Software Foundation, and is co-produced by MIT's Student Information Processing Board. What was once a small gathering of FSF members has grown into a larger event for anyone with an interest in the values of software freedom. LibrePlanet is always gratis for associate members of the FSF and students. Sign up for announcements about the LibrePlanet conference here.

LibrePlanet 2017 was held at MIT from March 25-26, 2017. About 400 attendees from all over the world came together for conversations, demonstrations, and keynotes centered around the theme of "The Roots of Freedom." You can watch videos from past conferences at https://media.libreplanet.org, including keynotes by Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts and Cory Doctorow, author and special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

About the Free Software Foundation

The FSF, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at https://fsf.org and https://gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

Media Contact

Georgia Young
Program Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

Free Software Foundation releases FY2016 Annual Report

Mer, 28/02/2018 - 20:20

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Wednesday, February 28, 2018 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today published its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Annual Report.

The report is available in low-resolution (11.5 MB PDF) and high-resolution (207.2 MB PDF).

The Annual Report reviews the Foundation's activities, accomplishments, and financial picture from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. It is the result of a full external financial audit, along with a focused study of program results. It examines the impact of the FSF's programs, and FY2016's major events, including LibrePlanet, the creation of ethical criteria for code-hosting repositories, and the expansion of the Respects Your Freedom computer hardware product certification program.

"More people and businesses are using free software than ever before," said FSF executive director John Sullivan in his introduction to the FY2016 report. "That's big news, but our most important measure of success is the support for the ideals. In that area, we have momentum on our side."

As with all of the Foundation's activities, the Annual Report was made using free software, including Inkscape, GIMP, and PDFsam, along with freely licensed fonts and images.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at https://fsf.org and https://gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://my.fsf.org/donate. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

Media Contacts

Georgia Young
Program Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942 x 17
campaigns@fsf.org