Share Our Mission with Three Friends (and get a prize!)
byon December 18, 2019
We know that our Supporters are our biggest advocates, spreading the word about the work we're doing and helping us to reach our match goal. We want to thank you for doing this and inspire you to help a little more! Now if you sign up three friends as new Conservancy Supporters, you get a surprise prize!
The most exciting thing you could do for us during this giving season, is tell your friends about our work. Get three of them to become Conservancy Supporters and you will receive a small special edition gift designed by the lovely Chris Lemmer-Webber and/or we will thank you publicly on our website (but only if you are into that.) Plus, new Supporters will have their donations tripled by our generous matching donors.
WHY: Many nonprofits have staff members whose job it is to just write and talk about the work the organization is doing. As a small scrappy org, we do our best to squeeze this work in along with all of our normal jobs of actually doing all of the work to support software freedom. We have no professional marketers or fundraisers. And of course, Conservancy doesn't buy lists, or track folks who come to our page so we can follow them all over the internet with ads. That means that we grow our membership base a little more slowly than the organizations that do choose those methods. It also means that we need your help.
Nobody likes being followed around the internet.
We are largely a remote org that attends events throughout the year, but still the number of in-person conversations we can have about our work is finite. Even at a busy booth, we can only talk with so many new people. Plus there are loads of lovely folks who support software freedom who just don't attend in-person events, folks we'll never meet because we don't choose to spend a lot of money on advertising. We've noticed that most of our Supporters are folks that are really "in the know" - you're people who are leaders, speakers and the ones who will shape the future of software freedom. You know about our work because you are on the front lines of advocating for software freedom and you understand the critical role Conservancy plays.
WHO: All of this means that we rely on YOU to share our message with your friends and colleagues. We rely on you to share our story with the other folks that you collaborate with on free and open source software projects. We count on you to praise us to your fellow activists who are unhappy about how helpless we are in relation to the pervasive surveillance, one-size-fits-none solutions that many of us find it harder and harder to not use. We can't expand our work to support and protect free software solutions and grow the software freedom movement without you -- and your friends.
Once you've gotten three friends to sign up, just email us to let us know. Give us your address and you will receive a small special edition gift designed by the lovely Chris Lemmer-Webber and/or we will thank you publicly on our website (or just let us know if you prefer to remain anonymous or have your listing be in honor of someone or something.)
Hacker and Software Liberator
byon December 17, 2019
This week we are interviewing Mark Wielaard, one of the excellent people who is supporting our annual fundraiser by putting up matching funds. This year's match is our biggest yet! We've been challenged to match a total of $113,093. Donations help us support and protect free software alternatives and grow a bold software freedom movement where everyone is welcome.
Photo at GNU Tools Cauldron 2017, courtesy of Mark Wielaard.
Mark Wielaard has a been a free software developer and advocate for a long time! He started out helping liberate Java as GNU Classpath maintainer and over the past twenty years, he has spoken publicly about his work to improve the experience of using critical free software tools including GCC and glibc and the DWARF debugging tools, elfutils and Valgrind. He's a senior principal software engineer at Red Hat working in the Engineering Tools group. Mark is passionate about building a software freedom movement that is inclusive and as bug-free as possible. He is not a huge fan of interviews, but generously agreed to answer a few questions for us anyway. Thanks, Mark!
1. What do you think is the biggest threat to software freedom today?
2. What do you think free software projects should be paying more attention to over the next few years?
Besides figuring out what to do about those centralized communication/collaboration platforms I think Reproducible Builds (a Conservancy project) is really important. Even if you use only free software, you are still vulnerable to software supply chain attacks -- unless you audit and build all the software yourself. But everybody ultimately uses some binary builds produced by someone else. Reproducible Builds allow users to collaboratively "challenge" the provider of their binaries -- to trust, but verify.
3. Which Conservancy projects do you use?
As a hacker my current workflow is largely based around Git, Qemu, and Buildbot. But all Conservancy projects are useful (or just plain fun) in various situations. People really should check out the member list. If you used one of the projects and it was useful, consider hitting the Donate button.
4. Do you talk to family and friends about free software? If so, where do you usually start?
They will probably tell you I talk too much about it. These days it is easier because people very much realize they are no longer in control of their own computing devices. Sadly, software and computing have become synonymous with tracking and spyware. For their desktop or laptop I can mostly provide some free software solution. But not having much experience with mobile devices I often struggle to suggest good free software solutions there, except to suggest to avoid them if possible. Most people have become too dependent on their mobile devices to just not use them anymore.
5. Finally, what caused you to step up as a matcher for Conservancy this year?
Conservancy supports many software freedom causes and projects to which I could never productively contribute directly myself. Giving money is my indirect way to contribute. I believe it is important that Conservancy is supported by as many individuals as possible, so they can stay independent. Hopefully, the matching program inspires even more people to join, so that Conservancy can provide community projects a home where they can produce even more Software Freedom for all of us.
Participate in the match and have your donation doubled through the generosity of folks like Mark, today!
Copyleft Conf Tickets On Sale Now!
byon December 16, 2019
Where's it happening? La Tricoterie, it's just 18 minutes southwest of Grande Place by tram. Folks who like to start the day with walk can get there in 30 minutes under their own power. By car, it's 13 minutes from Grande Place.
Who should attend? Developers, strategists, enforcement organizations, scholars, activists and critics — will be welcomed for an in-depth, high bandwidth, and expert-level discussion about the day-to-day details of using copyleft licensing, obstacles facing copyleft and the future of copyleft as a strategy to advance and defend software freedom for users and developers around the world.
Individual tickets are for students, or folks who are unemployed, under-employed, self-employed or working at a small charity. The ticket prices also cover coffee breaks and lunch. If $20 is a barrier, please get in touch. We could definitely use a few volunteers for the day and will waive the entrance fee in exchange for a bit of help onsite.
We want everyone to feel welcome at Copyleft Conf! We have a robust Code of Conduct that covers the behavior of our staff, board members and volunteers. The venue is wheelchair accessible, there will be a gender neutral bathroom available and food will be provided including options for gluten-free and for vegan diets. If there is anything that we can do to make attending Copyleft Conf more comfortable for you, please write to us.
Friends of Outreachy, UX and the GPL
byon December 13, 2019
David Turner and Danielle Sucher are just two of the excellent people who are supporting our annual fundraiser by putting up matching funds. This year's match is our biggest yet! We've been challenged to match a total of $113,093. Donations help us support and protect free software alternatives and grow a bold software freedom movement where everyone is welcome.
David Turner has been working on free software for nearly 20 years. He's been a GPL Compliance Engineer at the Free Software Foundation, worked on Open Trip Planner (a Conservancy member project) and is a Senior Software Engineer at Two Sigma. Danielle Sucher is a polyglot who primarily works with OCaml these days. They are partners who live together in New York City, along with the best cats.
Picture is available under a CC.BY license and was taken by Danielle Sucher.
David and Danielle were gracious enough to participate in an interview -- thanks!
1. What do you think is the most exciting thing that happened in free software over the past year?
David: As a user of free software, I think the renewed focus on UX has been valuable. Two examples: Git has added some new subcommands like "switch" and "restore" and that put the emphasis on the task the user is trying to accomplish rather than on what happens internally. And Blender has a whole new UI, just in time for me to start playing around with it.
2. How does software freedom fit in with the other causes you support?
I think the notion that it's possible to cooperate with folks with whom one might not have very much in common seems increasingly rare these days. I think of freedom of speech as a sort of treaty: I won't try to censor you, and you won't try to censor me. Free software is very much the same: you're doing your thing with the software, and I'm doing mine. Because freedom of speech is threatened, we support the ACLU.
3. Danielle, you went from being a lawyer to being a developer when most people in this field go the other way if they're going to switch! What was the most unexpected thing about that change?
Danielle: I thought I would like front-end stuff because I love art, but in fact, I hate it and am very happy doing backend development and distributed systems.
4. Do you ever dream of writing a software license? Why or why not?
David: I do sometimes dream of writing a constitution. But I don't really feel the need to write a license, because I think the GPL does a fine job.
5. What do you hope to see Conservancy accomplish in the next five years?
We continue to enjoy seeing new folks joining the movement through Outreachy. And I'm sure that whatever else you do will be great too.
Participate in the match and have your donation doubled through the generosity of folks like David and Danielle, today!