Join as an Annual Sustainer
Note: Annual Sustainers do not automatically renew. If you join today, you'll receive an email to renew in about a year.
Join as a Monthly Sustainer
Note: Monthly Sustainers automatically pay each month until you cancel payments in PayPal. You'll be added to our Sustainers list as soon as we process your first payment. You may not receive other benefits (like the shirt) until you've paid at least $60.
Renew as an Annual Sustainer
Note: This form is for annual Sustainers who want to renew their support this year. If you're a new Conservancy Sustainer, please select another form.
Sustainers help us do our work in a strategic, long-term way. We could not do this without the support and financial contributions of individuals like you. We list our Sustainers here.
Please watch this video to learn about what we do and why we need your support as a Sustainer:
The wide range of work we engage in is supported by people like you.
We are so proud that we're funded by individuals and stay unbeholden to corporate interests and pressures. We stand up for developers, consumers and those who have been historically excluded. We work to make technology truly fair for all.
Thank you for helping making this work possible:
- Standing up for consumer rights in copyleft compliance
- Supporting Outreachy with its increasing number of interns
- Bringing legal action against prolific license violators
- Hiring team members to get projects like Reproducible Builds to continue pushing the forefront of software reproducibility
Our Year in Review
This past year we've all grown more conscious of our interconnected world. These events escalate the importance of free software tools that empower us all. Closed source and proprietary tools have overtaken many communication channels — particularly when we work from home. Even conferences and lecture series dedicated to “open source infrastructure” have been unable to escape the grasp of these closed systems. As we monitored these diffcult events, we prioritized support for those in our community that understand the crucial need for conferences run solely with free software. We have been pleased to support free communication tools to assist with these efforts. Our commitment to using, developing, and supporting free software tools and communities has never been stronger.
Over the past year, we took on new work that would have been impossible without your support. Last month, we filed a lawsuit against long time license violator Vizio. Through that lawsuit and many non-litigation ongoing license enforcement actions, Software Freedom Conservancy leads the field: We stand up for license compliance and holding corporation accountable when others won't. Our focus in software licensing defends consumer rights. This novel and critical approach to license compliance culminates years of effort by our amazing policy and legal experts. We believe software freedom, when properly and actively upheld, enables everyone to hold technology providers accountable to the people most impacted by their actions.
This year, we filed more DMCA exemption requests than any organization in the country — and we won on every single one. We clarified the right to jailbreak of routers (an essential activity of our OpenWrt project), won a new right to safely investigate devices for license compliance, and helped solidify privacy-related research. Karen (our executive director) also participated with a coalition that achieved yet another exemption for medical devices! Our lawyer, Pam Chestek, testified at the DMCA hearings on these exemptions, and confronted industry lobbyists directly as they sought to use their extreme wealth and legal power to harm consumers. We stridently fight their overreach — one bit at a time.
Highlights from some of our projects
Software Freedom Conservancy helped our projects engage in critical work this year. Overall, we raised, administered and facilitated $1.7 million to improve software freedom — this year alone! Those funds go directly to fund FOSS contributors. We do the arduous work to sustain these FOSS communities:
We helped Outreachy expand to its largest cohorts ever. Our last round accepted 71 interns, and we announced this week that the current round will have 62! (That's 133 interns — an 27% growth from the previous two rounds!) We're grateful to be able support Outreachy to serve more communities who are committed to helping to push back against systemic underrepresentation in technology and software.
Godot has continued to push the boundary of what anyone thought was possible with an open source game engine. Godot's impressive team, funded through contracts with Software Freedom Conservancy, continues to building their community and their excellent codebase. We are so proud of their beneficial focus on community. Watch their fun, exciting, and brand new showreel to see what these cutting edge creators are making.
Software Freedom Conservancy also proudly supports, with direct funding of contributors, the Reproducible Builds team. They ensure the security of computer systems of all shapes and sizes around the world. This necessary and vital project becomes even more essential in the age of direct attacks on technological infrastructure. The tools they've made are freely available to help others increase reproducibility in their own projects.
OpenWrt recently had their OpenWrt 21.02 release — which increases the default security options including optional SELinux and ASLR. OpenWrt empowers users to run a free operating system on their routers. Combined with our DMCA exemption, the landscape of free firmware is now much easier to explore and deploy. Meanwhile, another of our projects, coreboot, has further grown the supported hardware list for freeing your bootloader. These two projects are at the core of our firmware liberation initiative. As our work continues, more companies will learn what most router companies already know: consumers prefer hardware that can run copylefted software and — contrary to popular belief — will gladly pay more for hardware that respects their rights and freedoms!
The Institute for Computing in Research has furthered its mission. After two successful rounds of interns in Santa Fe, New Mexico, ICR expanded its intern cohort to include a selection of six high school students in Portland, Oregon. These unique paid internships introduce high school students to software freedom as part of a summer research position that focuses on introducing young scholars to computing in areas of physical science, life science, social science, arts, and humanities. Supported by academics at Portland State University, Reed College, and Oregon State University, the cohort in Portland has projects in computational biology, natural language processing, pure math, and AI and game theory.
At the end of last year, we hired Sage Sharp as Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion; they about to complete their first year with us. Meanwhile, finishing up his first six months is Daniel Pono Takamori, our Community Organizer & Non-Profit Problem Solver. These two are very welcome additions to our team of just five full-time employees, and one part-time employee. We are proud of the breadth of skills and dedication of our team.
As a testament to “practice what you preach”, we undertook what we consider a fair and equitable hiring process which our executive director Karen described in detail on our website. We lead by example — with transparency and casting a wide net to avoid just hiring within our circles.
We also updated our website — hopefully, you'll find it easier to use and that it better conveys our mission and work. Our chat platform moved to XMPP. Bridging to IRC and Matrix is supported, so you are welcome to join with whatever client you like (unlike other “Loose” options). Throughout the seemingly-endless video chatting during the pandemic, we have been one of only two FOSS organizations who insist on using FOSS video chat platforms like Big Blue Button. We are committed to using free software for communication and demonstrating that organizations of all sizes can make the same commitment.
Writing and Speaking
Software Freedom Conservancy team members published important writings this year to both share essential historical context and modern interpretations. Denver Gingerich wrote about the installation requirement for the GPLv2. Bradley M. Kuhn documented the historical record in his related piece about “Tivoization” and Your Right to Install Under Copyleft. Bradley also explained how It Matters Who Owns Your Copylefted Copyrights — which garnered a lot of great community conversations. In another vein, Sage Sharp of Outreachy wrote a tremendous piece titled So you want to apologize… Now what? — which has helped explain the entire life cycle apologizing for your own behavior. We can all learn from this piece about how to act more humanely in our shared spaces of production.
This was another long year of online conferences. While the traveling was easier (by not doing it), we miss the face to face relationship building that we've come to expect from our big conference gatherings. We can't wait to get back to a sense of normalcy and at least have a little less latency between us.
Karen, our executive director, gave two keynotes this year, one at the Leuven AI Law & Ethics Conference and another at Linux App Summit. Karen also spoke with Marina Zhurakhinskaya at All Things Open about the 10+ year history of Outreachy. Karen was also an invited speaker at Big Data, A.I. and Healthy Longevity: How to progress faster and better for all scientists.
Karen and Bradley were also co-organizers (with others) of the Legal & Policy Devroom at FOSDEM, where they also moderated panels and spoke. Daniel Pono Takamori gave a talk about How Free Software Continues the Legacy of Open Communication to the Portland Linux/ Unix Group.
We were also a sponsor of the fantastic SeaGL event. A community focused conference that does an incredible job giving opportunities to first-time speakers (suitable for community members of all walks of life). They hosted their conference on the Matrix platform, which further proved it's possible to run a virtual conference with free software.
Help us Continue this Work
We are beyond thankful for the ability to continue our work — which only continues due to your financial contributions. We recognize that not everyone has the same financial leeway to donate as they have in the past. But please consider giving what you can so that our organization can continue to advocate and support the rights of all software users. We work hard and efficiently, and accomplish so much with our small staff. We hope — through our hard work, creativity, and passionate dedication — that we've demonstrated over the years how Software Freedom Conservancy continues to be the beacon of change for software freedom that the world needs. Please consider donating now!
Vintage-shirt-wearing Sustainers pose with Karen!
From left: Stefano “Zack” Zacchiroli, Karen M. Sandler, John Sullivan, and Jim Wright
We're all sick of hearing about supply chains, global shortages, and deliveries being delayed. But we must tell you up-front that since we have a small staff we try to batch our t-shirt orders, and given the realities of the pandemic, we are often a few months behind on t-shirt deliveries. Those owed t-shirts from early 2021 renewals should receive them by years' end. Meanwhile, we're working on a new t-shirt design for this year; check back here for an announcement later in the fundraising season! All renewals during this fundraising season will receive the new shirt! We so appreciate everyone's patience!
Vintage T-Shirt Promotion
If you're a Sustainer, you've already received or will soon receive a t-shirt in our 2018 design shown here. But, would you like to take advantage of a last chance to get our vintage design — seen sported so often by our earliest Sustainers at conferences and events? If so, read on!
Brett Smith wears the current t-shirt design.
UPDATE: Just give $256 total for this year's fundraiser and receive an additional vintage T-shirt!
But first, as a note to how difficult this year has been, we know that many of our 2019 Sustainers are still awaiting their t-shirts, which have the wonderful 2018 design. We've had difficulty working through keeping our staff safe during the pandemic lock downs and making trips to the post office — historically, we on staff all shared the post office trips, but we all have different COVID-19 risk factors and thus it's all moving slowly. We appreciate the patience of our Sustainers waiting for t-shirts, and we do have plan to safely send out the backlog by years' end.
As part of those preparations, we found a treasure trove and now have an exciting promotion for renewing Sustainers. We found an old stash of vintage t-shirts, in the old style! Supplies are limited, but for those few sustainers who would like to receive one, we have a special offer. Sustainers who give $256 or more between 2020-01-15 and 2021-01-15 can receive one of these vintage t-shirts! To claim your vintage t-shirt, do the following:
Neil McGovern wearing that stylish vintage shirt!
- Renew as a an annual sustainer for $256 or more. (Alternatively, if you already gave this year, make a separate donation so that your 2020 total is $256.)
- Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> and include the email address and date(s) of your donation(s) that total $256 and your desired size. (We have all sizes except MenM in stock. Supplies are limited; we cannot necessarily guarantee your size selection, and we'll continue to update here as sizes run out.)
Supplies won't last; give $256 and make one of these vintage shirts yours today!
You too can look cool in the vintage design. Or maybe your original has faded and you're ready to spruce up with a new one? As we said, supplies are limited so make a big donation today, support Conservancy, and show you've always been old-school — or just want to look that way!
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