Death, taxes and free software at DebConf this year

In case you missed it, our most excellent Executive Director, Karen Sandler and FSF Campaigns Manager, Molly de Blanc presented together at DebConf in Taiwan earlier this month on what *really* constitutes a software freedom issue.

FSF job opportunity: Business operations manager

This position, reporting to the executive director, works as part of our operations team to ensure the organization's financial, human resources, and administrative functions run smoothly and in compliance with all legal and policy requirements. We are looking for a hands-on and detail-oriented professional who is comfortable working independently and with multiple teams, including some remote coworkers. Ideal candidates will be proactive and highly adaptable, with an aptitude for learning new tools and coming up with creative solutions. Applicants should have at least three years of experience with bookkeeping and nonprofit operations; human resources experience a plus.

Examples of job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • processing accounts receivable and payable, bank deposits, and monthly financial reconciliation,

  • preparing annual budget and regular financial reports for management, helping the organization maintain its fiscal health and excellent four-star rating on Charity Navigator,

  • assisting management with the annual audit,

  • working with the operations team to ensure that GNU Press (https://shop.fsf.org/) continues to support fundraising efforts,

  • purchasing for operational and programmatic purposes,

  • coordinating ongoing vendor review,

  • administering the FSF's payroll and benefits programs,

  • providing administrative assistance to management during hiring, onboarding, and offboarding,

  • monitoring legal and regulatory landscape for changes that may impact the FSF, and

  • pitching in to help with organization-wide projects, like our major fundraising activities and annual LibrePlanet conference.

Because the FSF works globally and seeks to have our materials distributed in as many languages as possible, multilingual candidates will have an advantage. With our small staff of thirteen, each person makes a clear contribution. We work hard, but offer a humane and fun work environment at an office located in the heart of downtown Boston. The FSF is a mature but growing organization that provides great potential for advancement; existing staff get the first chance at any new job openings.

Benefits and Salary

This job is a union position that must be worked on-site at the FSF's downtown Boston office. The salary is fixed at $61,672/year and is non-negotiable. Benefits include:

  • fully subsidized individual or family health coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield,
  • partially subsidized dental plan,
  • four weeks of paid vacation annually,
  • seventeen paid holidays annually,
  • weekly remote work allowance,
  • public transit commuting cost reimbursement,
  • 403(b) program with employer match,
  • yearly cost-of-living pay increases based on government guidelines,
  • health care expense reimbursement,
  • ergonomic budget,
  • relocation (to Boston area) expense reimbursement,
  • conference travel and professional development opportunities, and
  • potential for an annual performance bonus.

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via email to hiring@fsf.org. The email must contain the subject line "Business Operations Manager." A complete application should include:

  • cover letter,
  • resume, and
  • two recent 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.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. To guarantee consideration, submit your application by August 26, 2018.

The FSF is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or application for employment on the basis of race, color, marital status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, or any other legally protected status recognized by federal, state or local law. We value diversity in our workplace.

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.

Inkscape Developers Hacking in Kiel this September

As Inkscape gears up for its historic version 1.0 release, they've added a second hackfest to this year's calendar of events. Inkscape is an indispensable vector editing tool. In fact, we use it here at Conservancy for many of our promotional materials.

Stop Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh to protect free software!

United States Supreme Court judges serve from the time they are appointed until they choose to retire -- it's a lifetime appointment. One judge recently stepped down, and Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the empty seat. He comes with a firm stance against net neutrality.

Last year he wrote:

Supreme Court precedent establishes that Internet service providers have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion over whether and how to carry Internet content.

Here, Kavanaugh argues that controlling the way you use the Internet is a First Amendment right that ISPs -- companies, not people -- hold. The First Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to congregate, is one of the most dearly-held amendments of the United States Constitution. With this statement, he says that net neutrality protections -- policies that prevent companies from "editorializing" what you see on the Web -- is a violation of the Constitution. He believes net neutrality is unconstitutional. We know he's wrong.

We need you to contact your congressional representatives, asking them to vote against Kavanaugh's bid for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Why does net neutrality matter to free software?

There are so many reasons why we think net neutrality is important -- and why it's necessary for free software. We'll briefly mention that:

  • Free software is built collaboratively by using Web tools and Internet connections around the world.

  • Free software is most easily discoverable thanks to pages like the Free Software Directory.

  • Need to update your system or software quickly? You need an Internet connection to make that happen.

  • Organizations like the FSF use the Web to educate and share free software ideology and tools.

  • The FSF itself is run by a small team spread across the globe. Every day we use tools like IRC to communicate and work for user freedom together, with one another, and with you.

  • We promote decentralized free software replacements for centralized software services, and losing net neutrality means that centralized services will have a huge built-in advantage.

Without a free Web and Internet, what we can do online will be limited by what ISPs like Comcast and Verizon want. They will have the legal right to control which Web sites we can access and how fast that access will be -- and they will take advantage of their new ability to extort even greater fees from Web sites and consumers alike.

Call, microblog, or write

Call your senators!

Don't know who to call?

  • Call your Senator directly. Find their number here.

  • Dial the Senate at (202) 224-3121 and they will connect you.

(Note: The number for the the Senate is a switchboard that will direct your call.)

If you're looking for help knowing what to say, try:

Hi, I'm [NAME] from [PLACE]. I think Brett Kavanaugh is unfit to serve on the Supreme Court. His position against net neutrality is harmful to all users of the Internet. Please vote against his nomination to the Supreme Court. Thank you.

Microblog

Many Senators are on microblogging services. You can microblog at yours!

Samples:

Keep Brett Kavanaugh off #SCOTUS for #freesoftware's sake.

Keep #netneutrality, protect #userfreedom, vote against Brett Kavanaugh #SaveSCOTUS

A vote against Kavanaugh is a vote for #netneutrality! #SaveSCOTUS

Writing to your Senators

If you're more comfortable reaching out to your senators over email, do it! Their email addresses are available online. If you're looking for ideas, try out:

Dear [SENATOR], I'm [NAME] and I live in your district. I am deeply troubled by the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. He has come out against net neutrality, which is necessary for a free Web, a free society, and user freedom (). If Kavanaugh becomes a Supreme Court Justice, the threat to net neutrality is undeniable. Thank you, [NAME]

If your senator [voted for the CRA][5], consider thanking them for that as well.

Why does the Supreme Court matter for net neutrality?

While the regulations that are used to protect net neutrality are currently under the Federal Communication Commission, they might not stay this way. Should an Internet Service Provider (ISP) decide to sue for the "right" to ignore net neutrality protections, it is possible such a case would reach the Supreme Court. Should this happen, Kavanaugh's anti-net neutrality opinions could have a serious impact on our digital rights.

More on net neutrality from the FSF

Richard Stallman - "El software libre en la ética y en la práctica" (Quilpué, Chile)

Richard Stallman hablará sobre las metas y la filosofía del movimiento del Software Libre, y el estado y la historia del sistema operativo GNU, el cual junto con el núcleo Linux, es actualmente utilizado por decenas de millones de personas en todo el mundo.

Esa charla de Richard Stallman no será técnica y será abierta al público; todos están invitados a asistir.

Lugar: Salón de Honor, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María Sede Viña del Mar, Universidad Santa Maria, Quilpué, Chile

Favor de rellenar este formulario, para que podamos contactarle acerca de eventos futuros en la región de Valparaíso.

Respects Your Freedom certification program continues to grow

We recently had some exciting news for our Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification program. Our program helps users to find hardware that they can trust to come with freedom inside. When a retailer receives certification on a device, it means users know they will receive hardware that meets with our strict standards on free software and documentation.

First up, on May 15th, we certified the Zerocat Chipflasher "board-edition-1", which can be purchased from the Zerocat Label. This device is a really exciting addition to the program. The Zerocat Chipflasher enables users to flash their own devices using only free software, replacing proprietary firmware with free software. One of the big steps currently for a retailer in creating an RYF-certified laptop is flashing laptops to replace proprietary boot firmware with Libreboot. With the Zerocat Chipflasher, for the first time ever, retailers (or any user) can flash their laptops with a device that can likewise be trusted to respect the rights of users. It means many more users will be able to free their own devices using only free software, and could even help spur the creation of more RYF-certified devices in the future. Currently they are selling a limited edition version, signed by the founder of the Zerocat Label, which will help to fund future availability of the device. Only five remain at this point, but once they are sold, there will be enough funding for future runs of the device.

Next up, on May 30th, we announced certification of the Minifree Libreboot X200 Tablet, which can be purchased here. While not the first laptop-tablet hybrid to be RYF-certified (that honor goes to the Technoethical TET-X200T), it offers users even more choices in finding a tablet computing device they can trust. Minifree is also run by the creator of the free boot firmware project Libreboot, so buying a device from them helps to support the continued development of that critical piece of free software.

Both of these devices show great potential for the future of the RYF certification program, whether it is enabling the next generation of retailers who can free devices for users, or continuing the development of the free software needed on those devices. The future in general is looking quite bright for RYF, as we currently have around fifty devices working their way through the certification program. Help us in congratulating the Zerocat Label and Minifree Ltd in their recent accomplishments. And if you would like to help support our work on RYF and other free software initiatives, here's what you can do:

Apple App Store anniversary marks ten years of proprietary appsploitation

It's been ten years since Apple opened the App Store. This created a whole new industry through which third party app creators and Apple themselves found new ways to threaten user freedom with technical tricks and legal loopholes. Since the beginning, we at the Free Software Foundation have recognized the threats posed by the iPhone and have reported on Apple on fsf.org and DefectiveByDesign, while free software supporters around the world have been taking action.

Apple controls your apps

The only way to install apps on a non-jailbroken iPhone is through the iOS App Store -- this means that your device can only run what Apple wants it to run.

Apple acts as a gatekeeper for which apps you're allowed to access. They control what becomes available -- and not every app gets to stay there. They regularly remove apps for many reasons and sometimes no reason at all. They claim this enhances your security, but are happy to abuse their power: Apple blocked updates to messaging app Telegram in Russia, after demands from the government. This was after Telegram was removed entirely from the App Store, only to be made available again later. When BitCoin posed a threat to Apple Pay, they removed all BitCoin apps.

Other instances of app removal include July 2017, when Apple removed apps that circumvented the Great Firewall, making them no longer available in the App Store. GNU Go was removed after issues with GPL compliance on Apple's end.

Apple loves DRM

Apple loves Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)! DRM is the use of technology (including software) to restrict access to digital media like ebooks, games, and music. Apple's use of DRM not only steps on the freedoms of users, but has proven to be downright dangerous. In 2016, AceDeceiver became the first iOS trojan exploiting flaws in iOS DRM.

In a DRM-free a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. - Steve Jobs

When DRM was dropped from the iTunes store, Steve Jobs wrote an essay titled "Thoughts on Music," which took a firm stance against DRM. It has since been removed from the Apple Web site. In it, Jobs called for the world to abandon DRM technologies, and for Apple to embrace a DRM-free future. This is clearly no longer Apple's stance on DRM.

Apple loves surveillance

In addition to colluding with Russia, Apple has allowed itself to be the tool of other governments looking to monitor and control their populations. For example: the National Security Agency's (NSA) PRISM program, which allows the NSA access to data, including "search history, the content of emails, file transfers, and live chats" of Apple users. While Apple claimed no knowledge of the program, the NSA reported that the company gave them this access. Whether or not this is true, we can never know due to the opaque and proprietary nature of Apple's code and business practices.

The iPhone X brought with it facial recognition capabilities. In light of government use of facial recognition and government contracts with Amazon to use their Rekognition facial scanning technology, we are deeply concerned about the transparency and surveillance issues associated with the widespread deployment of this technology.

While Apple has taken strong stances against certain types of government surveillance, they support surveillance in other contexts. By building proprietary technology designed to lock users into a system, they enable the possibility for gross surveillance and limitless anti-privacy policies. Apple CEO Tim Cook is currently preventing this. Should Cook change his mind, decide that being pro-privacy is no longer profitable, or leave Apple, things could change. There are no guarantees a new CEO would not kowtow to government demands.

Apple also offers other forms of surveillance, like the Screen Time feature, which allows users to control the ability to access different apps and functionality on an iPhone. This might seem great if you're looking to keep yourself off Twitter, but it's also a tool of monitoring and control. Tools like this can (and will) be used by domestic abusers looking to control other people's access to technology.

There are better choices you can make!

What can you do?

Talk to Apple

One thing we always recommend is contacting Apple about your stance on iOS devices.

Talk to others

If you're looking to get more hands-on, visit your local Apple store with flyers and stickers and hand them out to people going into the store. We also have DRM-specific flyers.

If you're organizing an event or action, email info@fsf.org and we can arrange to send you some items to hand out (gratis within the United States, for the cost of shipping outside the United States).

Buy a better mobile device

There are more ethical options for your mobile needs. Technoethical -- a company that sells a number of Respects Your Freedom (RYF) devices -- also sells mobile devices. These mobile devices come pre-installed with Replicant (see below), a version of Android that has had the nonfree parts removed. Purism is also working on creating a mobile device. (Please note that at the moment there are no RYF-certified mobile devices.)

Get better software

Android and iOS aren't your only choices for a mobile operating system! Replicant is a free software OS. We help support Replicant through the Working Together for Free Software fund, and consider it to be a High Priority Project.

Rather than using a proprietary app store, you can download and install apps using F-Droid, a free software marketplace that features free software and is free itself! F-Droid works on Replicant and Android devices.

Join a project

Projects like Replicant and F-Droid are always looking for volunteers with a range of skill sets, including designers, developers, translators, and writers. You can also package for F-Droid, creating a more robust selection of apps available.

Richard Stallman - "El movimiento del software libre" (Santiago de Chile)

Richard Stallman hablará sobre las metas y la filosofía del movimiento del Software Libre, y el estado y la historia del sistema operativo GNU, el cual junto con el núcleo Linux, es actualmente utilizado por decenas de millones de personas en todo el mundo.

Esa charla de Richard Stallman no será técnica y será abierta al público; todos están invitados a asistir.

Lugar: INACAP Renca, Bravo de saravia 2980, comuna de Renca (desde el centro de Santiago, tomar el bus 314), Santiago de Chile, Chile

Favor de rellenar este formulario, para que podamos contactarle acerca de eventos futuros en la región de Santiago de Chile.

Richard Stallman- "Por una sociedad digital libre" (Valparaíso, Chile)

Existen muchas amenazas a la libertad en la sociedad digital, tales como la vigilancia masiva, la censura, las esposas digitales, el software privativo que controla a los usuarios y la guerra contra la práctica de compartir. El uso de servicios web presenta otras más amenazas a la libertad de los usuarios. Por último, no contamos con ningún derecho concreto para hacer nada en Internet, todas nuestras actividades en línea son precarias y podremos continuar con ellas siempre y cuando las empresas deseen cooperar.

Esa charla de Richard Stallman no será técnica y será abierta al público; todos están invitados a asistir.

Lugar: Auditorio Escuela de Ingeniería Química, Avenida Brasil nº 2162, Universida Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile

Favor de rellenar este formulario, para que podamos contactarle acerca de eventos futuros en la región de Valparaíso.

Richard Stallman - "Una sociedad digital libre" (Valdivia, Chile)

Existen muchas amenazas a la libertad en la sociedad digital, tales como la vigilancia masiva, la censura, las esposas digitales, el software privativo que controla a los usuarios y la guerra contra la práctica de compartir. El uso de servicios web presenta otras más amenazas a la libertad de los usuarios. Por último, no contamos con ningún derecho concreto para hacer nada en Internet, todas nuestras actividades en línea son precarias y podremos continuar con ellas siempre y cuando las empresas deseen cooperar.

Esa charla de Richard Stallman no será técnica y será abierta al público; todos están invitados a asistir.

Lugar: Auditorio Carpa CECs Libertad 1 N° 49 (a dos cuadras de Plaza de la República, en dirección hacia el río Calle-Calle), Valdivia, Chile

Favor de rellenar este formulario, para que podamos contactarle acerca de eventos futuros en la región de Valdivia.