Software Freedom Conservancy

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In free software, you're not alone. Starting today, we're scheduling time to chat.

by Karen Sandler on March 12, 2020

Given the drastic reduction of travel, cancellation of in-person FOSS events and the many, many folks in the community who are working remotely for the first time, some of us are understandably feeling a little isolated. We at Conservancy know that community is a huge part of software freedom and luckily we already know how to come together remotely.

And so, I'd like to officially invite you to come hang out with Conservancy *virtually*!

Our IRC channel #conservancy on freenode.net is often an active meeting place, where folks already congregate for interesting conversation. Everyone is invited to join that conversation at any time. Starting this week, some of us at Conservancy will make sure to be around on Thursday afternoons at 2pm Eastern/6pm UTC to chat with anyone who is interested. The #conservancy channel is accessible via your IRC client. If you don't already use an IRC client, you can come in through your browser. Just visit this page, and choose a nick (or nickname) and you'll be "in channel."

Folks in the channel often discuss software freedom advocacy, the challenges of maintaining free software, new gadgets and free software licenses and other practical strategies to advance the cause. On Thursday afternoons, no special topic is necessary! Come for advice on remote work, thoughts about events that may or may not be cancelled, post jobs, find a friend for virtual proofreading, or just chit-chat about The Good Place [1].

I feel so grateful for the free software community, which I think of as my free software family. It's incredibly comforting to know so many people who are passionate about software freedom, and bringing justice and ethics to the technology that pervades our daily lives. We are building solutions to big problems that we can only do by bringing people together from all over the world and all walks of life to collaborate. One of the key sustaining characteristics of this is a strong social network we've formed in the process. When you are involved with free software, you have friends across continents and across time zones. We'll get through this crisis by supporting each other. See you in IRC!

[1] As always, please be mindful that the folks who are part of our global community different levels of comfort with sexual or religious topics. The channel is moderated and we won't allow anyone to be harassed or subjected to topics that are way outside of appropriate quasi-professional conversation.

Tags: conservancy, software freedom for everyone

Conservancy Activities: March and Beyond

by Deb Nicholson on February 19, 2020

Open Source 101 is brought to you by the fine folks who put on All Things Open every fall. Deb will be giving a 90 minute workshop at the locally-focused event titled, Software Licensing and Compliance: It’s All About Community on March 3rd, in Columbia, SC. The number of available tickets is limited, but some are still available here.

Denver is keynoting Git Merge where folks will be celebrating Git's 15th Anniversary! He'll be discussing the History & Future of Git. The sixth annual Git Merge will be hosted at The Majestic Downtown in Los Angeles on March 4th. Ticket proceeds will again be donated to the Software Freedom Conservancy. (Thanks!)

Just a few days later, Bradley will be presenting at the Southern California Linux Expo, aka SCaLE, a long-running FOSS community event in Los Angeles on, What'll We Do When FOSS Licenses Jump the Shark?. Join him on Saturday, March 7th.

Denver and Bradley will be at the Conservancy booth at SCaLE! We love seeing supporters and connecting with new software freedom enthusiasts at community-driven events like this one. Helping us greet folks by volunteering at the booth is a great way to support our work. The expo floor will be open from 2:00pm on Friday, March 6 until 2:00pm on Sunday, March 8. Please write to us about when you can help out.

In June, Bradley is keynoting the annual OpenFOAM Workshop with a talk about how the GPL impacts the OpenFOAM community. The Call for Papers and Registration are open now.

The next Outreachy round is also coming up! In fact, applications for the May to August 2020 round are due February 25 at 4pm UTC. Feel free to share Outreachy's opportunities with interested folks in your network!

Tags: conservancy, events

Last Week in Brussels: FOSDEM, Copyleft Conf and More

by Conservancy's Staff on February 10, 2020

FOSDEM

FOSDEM is a great volunteer-run, community-driven event that has been going on for twenty years!! Conservancy staff and volunteers who attend the event are grateful to have the opportunity to interact with so many passionate free software advocates in one place each year.

The FOSDEM organizers invited Bradley and Karen to speak on the main track talk — the next installment talk on the difficulty in living in software freedom and making ethical choices today — a follow-up to their keynote from last year.

Conservancy staff also gave some DevRoom talks, including participating in the one-of-a-kind debates in the Legal & Policy DevRoom this year. Nearly all of these recordings are now available. The FOSDEM video team is amazingly efficient — with a fully FOSS system for conference video!

The well-attended Legal & Policy DevRoom (which Bradley and Karen help organize each year) occurred all day on Saturday. In the morning, Bradley participated in a debate entitled, Does Careful Inventory of Licensing Bill of Materials Have Real Impact on FOSS License Compliance? The debate format was an exciting new addition to the DevRoom this year. (Please note that per the debate format, some speakers took positions that did not necessarily reflect their personal or organizational views.)

On Sunday, Deb spoke about Building Ethical Software Under Capitalism, in the Community Devroom. Later that day in the same room, Bradley Kuhn discussed, How Does Innersource Impact on the Future of Upstream Contributions?.

On Sunday, Conservancy welcomed attendees to learn more about our organization at our booth. We thank our volunteers who greeted and discussed Conservancy's work with attendees; we appreciate your energy. Also, thanks to the many Outreachy alums (all of whom are still participating in FOSS!) who stopped by the booth — it's really gratifying to hear from you. One current intern even asked for a selfie with our staff!

Many of our member projects were also at FOSDEM. Coreboot ran a shared booth, Homebrew had their second in-person meeting on Monday and Godot had a booth and helped run the Gaming Development track.

Godot also hosted two pre-conference sprint days and a two day “FOSDEM Fringe” event — GodotCon.

Copyleft Conf

Sign that says Second Annual Copyleft

Photo is by Deb Nicholson and is available under a CC-BY-SA-4.0 license

We ran the Second Annual Copyleft Conf on Monday. The event sparked lively and respectful conversations about the use and future of copyleft. The event included an exciting, multi-faceted schedule of talks and panels. Our lovely program committee — Molly de Blanc, Nithya Ruff, Harald Welte, Josh Simmons, Beth Flanagan, Bradley Kuhn and Deb Nicholson — curated and selected excellent content for the day. Thanks also to our Copyleft Conf volunteers, who helped with registration, speaker introductions and time-keeping.

All the Copyleft Conf sessions and Deb's CHAOSS Con keynote (a Friday “FOSDEM Fringe” event), Ethics: What You Know & What You Don't Know should be posted within a few weeks.

Tags: conferences, Godot, Outreachy

Conservancy is headed to Brussels

by Deb Nicholson on January 24, 2020

Greetings software freedom friends! We will again be in Brussels for FOSDEM and the Second Annual Copyleft Conf. We would love to see you while we're there so here are few of the places and times where you can find us.

FOSDEM

Our Executive Director, Karen Sandler and our Policy Fellow, Bradley M. Kuhn are half of the team behind Saturday's popular and long-running Legal & Policy DevRoom. This year the DevRoom will have debates on critical current topics. Sustainability, the relevance of the Open Source Definition, privacy and open hardware are just a few that will be covered. In past years this room has gotten full, so savvy attendees should show up a little early for the sessions they want to catch.

On Sunday, Conservancy staff have two talks in the Community Devroom run by Leslie Hawthorn, Laura Czajkowski and Shirley Bailes. Our Director of Community Operations, Deb Nicholson will be discussing Building Ethical Software Under Capitalism just before lunch, and near the end of the day Bradley looks at how Innersource might affect the future of upstream contributions.

Conservancy will also have a stand all day on Sunday in K level 2 (we are in group E). Come by, say hi, load up on stickers, share some FLOSSip, etc. We could also use a few volunteers at the booth. If you like talking about free software and you can help out for an hour or two, please get in touch!

Conservancy projects Godot and Coreboot also have stands at FOSDEM so be sure to swing by and see what they've got going on.

Second Annual Copyleft Conf

Copyleft Conf is a one day conference on February 3rd, dedicated to -- you guessed it -- copyleft licensing! We'll be discussing theory, practice and the future of copyleft in a friendly and welcoming environment. Porfessional tickets are $200, student/under-employed/non-profit employee tickets are just $20. Both tickets include coffee and tea in the morning as well as lunch. You're going to want to register in advance so that we can get a solid headcount for lunch and get everyone checked in quickly in the morning. Please get in touch if $20 is prohibitive for you.

We could also use volunteers onsite for Copyleft Conf. Volunteer tasks include; helping with registration, time-keeping and recording. Email us if you can pitch in with these important tasks.

Bonus!

Deb is also keynoting CHAOSScon on the Friday before FOSDEM starts. She'll be talking about ethics and metrics. If you're in town early and want to join, the conference organizers recommend registering as soon as possible because space is limited.

Tags: conferences, licensing

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