Software Freedom Conservancy

Software Freedom Conservancy

Software Freedom Conservancy is a not-for-profit charity that helps promote, improve, develop, and defend Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. Conservancy provides a non-profit home and infrastructure for FLOSS projects. This allows FLOSS developers to focus on what they do best — writing and improving FLOSS for the general public — while Conservancy takes care of the projects' needs that do not relate directly to software development and documentation.

[RSS] Recent News

The Houdini Project

Fundraising Software for Non-Profits Joins Conservancy

November 14, 2018

First we were excited find out that a project like the Houdini Project even existed and now we can proudly say that they are also a Conservancy member! Services and applications for non-profits -- that are also free software -- are very close to our fiscal umbrella heart here at Conservancy. Houdini is our second incoming project this year that specifically caters to the needs of non-profits. Back in May, we welcomed Backdrop CMS a lightweight content management system that is great for non-profits, to the Conservancy fold. As long-time readers of the Conservancy blog know, the offerings for non-profits that care about software freedom are pretty slim, which is why we've also been working on our own non-profit accounting solution.

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Reproducible Builds Joins Conservancy

Receives $300,000 Donation from Handshake

November 8, 2018

We are very excited to announce the Reproducible Builds project as our newest member project. Reproducible builds is a set of software development practices that create an independently-verifiable path from the source code to the binary code used by computers. This ensures that the builds you are installing are exactly the ones you were expecting, which is critical for freedom, security and compatibility and exposes injections of backdoors introduced by compromising build servers or coercing developers to do so via political or violent means.

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Conservancy Adds Dr. Laura Fortunato and Bdale Garbee to its Board of Directors

Our board grows from seven to nine members today.

November 1, 2018

Our Board of Directors grows from seven to nine members today. As the Conservancy continues to grow, it makes sense to draw on a wider field of expertise to inform our work. Tony Sebro, former Conservancy staff member and now Deputy General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation, joined our board at the beginning of the year. Today we bring on two brand new board members, one an academic with interests in reproducibility and open research, the other a longtime free software activist and expert. We look forward to both broadening and deepening our impact in the coming years and a larger board is a critical piece of our long-term plan to support and promote software freedom in more places than ever before.

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Conservancy Adds Expanded Section To Copyleft Guide On GPLv2 Irrevocability

September 26, 2018

In discussion of the Linux project's new Code of Conduct, a few people have suggested that contributors who reject the Code of Conduct might disrupt Linux licensing in response. This seems unlikely to most, but to ensure that uncertainty around this issue casts no shadow over contributions to GPLv2 works, Conservancy engaged our outside counsel, Pamela Chestek, to update the Copyleft and the GNU General Public License: A Comprehensive Tutorial and Guide (called the Copyleft Guide for short) on copyleft.org to clarify this issue.

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Handshake Provides a Leg Up

Conservancy has been gifted $200K

August 22, 2018

Handshake has recently awarded funds to many critical free and open source software projects. In particular Conservancy has been gifted $200K for our ongoing work to support software freedom by providing a fiscal home for smaller projects, enforcing the GPL and undertaking strategic efforts to grow and improve free software. Outreachy, the organization offering biannual, paid internships for under-represented people to work in free software (itself a member project of Conservancy) has also been awarded $100,000 from these funds.

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[RSS] Conservancy Blog

Thoughts on IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat

by Karen Sandler on October 31, 2018

There’s been quite a stir in our communities following the announcement that IBM is acquiring Red Hat. As I considered the announcement, one part of the email to employees by Jim Whitehurst posted on the Red Hat blog really struck me:

I appreciate that everyone will experience a range of emotions as a result of this news. Excited, anxious, surprised, fear of the unknown, including new challenges and working relationships - these are all ways I would describe my emotions. What I know is that we will continue to focus on growing our culture as part of a new organization. We will continue to focus on the success of our customers. We will continue to nurture our relationships with partners. Collaboration, transparency, participation, and meritocracy - these values make us Red Hat and they are not changing. In fact, I hope we will help bring this culture across all of IBM.

In addition to the normal anxiety, surprise and fear experienced by employees of companies in the wake of an announcement of a merger, takeover or ordinary reorganization, this transaction will also reverberate through the community outside of the company. Because of this, I think it’s a good time to remind everyone of the ways we can protect ourselves now and in the future from these kinds of uncertainties related to changes in ownership, structure or motivations of corporate players in free and open source software.

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Why We Chose a Robust Code of Conduct for Copyleft Conf

by Deb Nicholson on October 30, 2018

We want all kinds of people to feel safe and comfortable participating as speakers or attendees at Copyleft Conf. Unfortunately, that is neither a given or even the default in many FOSS communities. In order to be credibly welcoming, it is incumbent on each free software community and event to proactively say, "Yes, you are welcome here" and, "No, we will not look away if someone attempts to belittle you, harass you or harm you." It is not enough to merely suggest good behavior. People need to know that those who willfully disrupt our community -- by making it unsafe or uncomfortable for others to participate -- will be asked to leave.

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Bradley in Lisbon, then Bristol Next Week

by Deb Nicholson on October 26, 2018

Our Distinguished Technologist Bradley Kuhn will be in Europe to speak at OpenWrt Summit in Lisbon and keynoting freenode #live in Bristol next week. Bradley always enjoys connecting with Conservancy supporters when he is on the road at free software events.

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Karen Sandler Speaks at British Computer Society in London Tomorrow

by Deb Nicholson on October 24, 2018

Our Executive Director, Karen Sandler, will be speaking at BCS as a part of their Open Source Specialist Group event, tomorrow October 25, 2018, Mentoring & Advocacy in Open Source + AGM. Karen will kick off the evening by talking about promoting software freedom effectively, while also taking steps to bring in newcomers to the field.

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Toward Community-Oriented, Public & Transparent Copyleft Policy Planning

by Bradley M. Kuhn on October 16, 2018

More than 15 years ago, FOSS community activists successfully argued that licensing proliferation was a serious threat to the viability of FOSS. We convinced companies to end the era of “vanity” licenses. Different charities — from the OSI to the FSF to the Apache Software Foundation — all agreed we were better off with fewer FOSS licenses. We de-facto instituted what Richard Fontana once called the “Rule of Three” — assuring that any potential FOSS license should be met with suspicion unless (a) the OSI declares that it meets their Open Source Definition, (b) the FSF declares that it meets their Free Software Definition, and (c) the Debian Project declares that it meets their Debian Free Software Guidelines. The work for those organizations quelled license proliferation from radioactive threat to safe background noise. Everyone thought the problem was solved — until today.

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