Supporting Software Freedom with Your Time through Conservancy
byon May 7, 2020
The current global pandemic has affected everyone, but the experience of essential workers couldn't be more different from the experience of remote tech workers. Even within tech, many people have found themselves with no free time at all while they work to balance child-rearing, care-giving and remote work, while some of their friends, siblings and peers have found that they suddenly have a lot of extra time.
This post is for free software enthusiasts who find themselves with extra time. Conservancy and its member projects have a variety of different ways that you could meaningfully volunteer your time -- remotely, of course.
Translation is great way to help spread free software. MicroBlocks needs help with translation to help them make their fun projects available to more new coders, all over the world. The contact email is: email@example.com. Etherpad, a key tool for remote collaboration, is also currently seeking translation help.
In a few weeks, we will need help with some of the bits and pieces associated with our upcoming migration to Bean Count. Moving ten years of financial records is a big undertaking. Folks who are python savvy and/or have experience with Bean Count should drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with "Bean Count Help" in the subject.
Many of our projects could use more technical volunteers, here are two that have nice specific lists of tasks they could use help with. Reproducible Builds has a handy list of technical tasks that they could use help with on their site. Inkscape has a thorough list of both coding (and non-coding) tasks that they could use help with on their site.
Compliance is more important than ever. As more and more people come to rely on their digital devices and applications, we want to ensure that these tools empower, rather than spy on, the user. Compliance is big part of how we make sure there is source code that folks can examine -- and alter if necesary.
At a high level, this is how Conservancy's compliance process works:
- People like you tell us about products or services they use where the source code for GPLed parts isn't provided or is incomplete
- We investigate and contact the company if we can't find complete build and installation instructions
- We work with the company to get the complete source - in rare cases we file a lawsuit (only when all other avenues fail)
We're specifically interested to hear from people who are able to check their devices (TVs, smartphones, tablets, et.c) to see if they contain any GPLed software. Here's how to do that:
- If you think the device uses Linux, BusyBox, Android, etc., or the manual mentions "open source" then ask the manufacturer for source code
- If they don't reply, or refuse to provide it, please report this to us
- Or, if you can't build their source code or install the result on your device for some reason, let us know
- We will start the process to resolve it (so you can get the source!), following up in a few days
We're always interested in talking to FOSS-savvy folks who want to write for our blog. A robust free software movement includes lots of voices. Some topics we'd like to see include; stories about driving free software adoption at your work or school, ways to improve governance or work-flow at community-driven free software projects, how your company embraced copyleft or sharing strategies for growing and/or diversifying free software communities. If writing about free software sounds exciting to you, email us at email@example.com with "Guest Blogging" in the subject.
Some of our projects have also put out calls for help with writing. Selenium could use help answering questions, writing documentation, and updating information on their website. Inkscape has a thorough list of both non-coding (and coding) tasks that they could use help with here.
This one's a little specialized, but if you are at all familiar with the grant space or are interested in learning, we could use some help identifying grant application opportunities. If that sounds like your wheelhouse, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with "Grant Research" in the subject.
Thanks for considering volunteering your time to support software freedom!
Please email any comments on this entry to email@example.com.