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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
We are proud to tell you about the important work we've accomplished over the past 12 months. Software Freedom Conservancy continues to set the bar for promoting ethical technology and advocacy for software freedom. Whether it's continuing the tireless and incredibly important work of copyleft compliance, growing and working with our many member projects, or leading the way in promoting diversity and inclusion efforts with Outreachy and The Institute for Computing in Research. This year was no different in showing our dedication to software freedom and critiques of those who oppose it.
We are entering the second year of our lawsuit against Vizio. While there's a long way to go in this groundbreaking suit, we've already attained an initial historic victory in succeeding to remand the case back from federal to state court. We've been grateful to see so much support from our Sustainers and communities around the promise our case holds for consumer rights. With the rise of the Right to Repair movement, we've seen a growing desire from "everyday consumers" to have the ability to repair the software on their phones and other internet connected devices. Our projects like OpenWrt and coreboot are integral in giving people the freedom to choose what software runs (and can be repaired) on their own devices. (And speaking of our projects, there's a highlight of what some of projects did this year below!) We also pursued many other violations (that our Principles don't permit us to disclose at the moment) and launched a self-service copyright assignment form so that FOSS contributors can, without overly burdensome paperwork, entrust their copyrights to a nonprofit dedicated to software freedom and rights of users all over the world.
As software based technology becomes more pervasive in our lives, it's vital that we communicate the importance of software freedom to the wider population. In that vein we've created a video (narrated by our Executive Director Karen Sandler) that introduces the ideas of software freedom, and specifically what Software Freedom Conservancy does. We also did a lot of public writings about some of the important issues this year. From interesting legal developments to political outreach as well as leading a conversation standing up for developers and distributors of free software.
We also started a campaign to Give Up GitHub. With more and more corporate interest and investment into FOSS, we see a trend of community resources being bought up and controlled by singular corporate entities. Having lived through multiple acquisitions and extinctions of gratis code forges before, GitHub is just the most recent holder of the title. Contrary to it's namesake project, git GitHub remains a proprietary, centralized and hierarchical method of working on software. Stripping the underlying power and versatility that has allowed it to become the canonical tool for distributed software development. A single corporation controlling this piece of critical infrastructure is clearly a harmful idea, a corporation will always serve it's shareholders and not the community that it depends on growing and keeping within it's walled garden. Please check out our blog post about the issue to find alternatives and other ways you can help this divestment effort.
Highlights from some of our projects
For the second year in a row, we've raised, administered and/or facilitated $1.7 million to improve software freedom directly! This includes contractors, interns and students, administrators, and grants for creation, distribution and maintenance of free software projects. Part of the unique position of our organization is the expertise necessary to do this kind of work.
Outreachy accepted 61 interns in the December 2021 cohort, and 67 interns in the May 2022 cohort with over 30 Free and Open Source software communities. Bringing in new communities in the Open Science and Humanitarian spheres, Outreachy continues to lead the way in providing opportunities to historically excluded and under represented people in technology. With over 900 interns accepted to the program to date, Outreachy continues to grow and expand it's community. Outreachy also hired a new community manager, Omotola Omotayo. Having recently won an award at the She Code Africa Summit, her work building up and promoting the Outreachy community has been immensely successful. Outreachy increased the stipend it pays its interns this year, improved its documentation and held many more opportunities for interns and applicants to learn about Outreachy, FOSS and how to successfully engage in the tech industry.
A few of our projects put on or are planning to put on conferences. Git Merge was held in Chicago in September. It provided a great face to face space for the international group of developers to come together, decide on some technical directions and have other conversations that are greatly sped up by in person meeting. WineConf was held simultaneously with the X.Org developer's conference and FOSS XR in Minneapolis the first week of October. The twelfth RacketCon was run at the end of October. Reproducible Builds had their summit in the beginning of November in Venice. We're also working with the Selenium project on their upcoming conference March 28-30 2023.
OpenWrt just released version 22.03.02 which added some more hardware support and fixed security bugs. This 22.03 release had some major changes like moving from iptables to nftables, adding over 180 new devices to support over 1580 total devices! Some great quality of life enhancements like dark mode in LuCL (Pono, who's the primary author of this text, was really happy about this one) and they've solved Year 2038 problem which if you remember Y2K, is a sigh of relief to not scramble to patch.
The Institute for Computing in Research completed it's first round in Austin, Texas. Now providing training, education and real world software experience to high school students in 3 cities and exploring additional cities that may join next summer. These research internships are a great way for high school students to get involved in real academic research while also being exposed to the ideas and principles of software freedom.
And in a happy close of a member project relationship, Godot has graduated from Conservancy to start its own foundation. Our relationship with Godot was built on a shared passion for community building in the free software space and we expect this will continue as they grow into their own. Modeling their governance on the system that we built together here are Conservancy, we are extremely proud of what they have become and expect great things to come out of their new organization and look forward to continue our relationship in an advisory capacity.
SFC hired an additional employee this year! Tracy Homer is our new Operations Manager. Outside of Tracy's' work with SFC, she is studying GIS at the University of Tennessee and is a board member of her local hackerspace. We're so excited to have someone to with her set of skills help us build out our organization. Helping out with everything from international banking and tax questions, to conference planning, Tracy's been an incredible addition to our team. She rounds out our team to 7 people (largest we've ever been!).
Writing and Speaking
Our staff has been presenting and speaking about software freedom all year. Our Executive Director Karen Sandler gave a remote keynote address at the 2022 Public Domain & Open Source SW License Conference in Seoul, Korea. We also published a talk Karen gave to update folks on the Vizio law suit. Karen was also at All Things Open for the Open Source Law Policy and Practice Book Panel. She was joined other experts who contributed to the book and they had a conversation about current state and best practice for legal policy around free and open source software in addition to conducting a book signing (You can check out another book that Karen contributed a chapter to along with Marie Moe, "Modified: Living as a Cyborg", which became more widely available this year.)
Pono took a photo of the SFC booth at SCaLEx19
Pono gave a keynote at Git Merge this October. Speaking on how the Git project is a canonical model for free software development and the ways it teaches by leading the way. He also boothed at SCaLE 19x, which was great to have the community centered conference back in action.
Sage spoke at the September 2022 Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative EOSS, sharing advice on how Outreachy has improved its own inclusive processes, and the group discussed potential solutions for unresolved DEI issues in open science communities. Karen and Bradley co-organized the FOSDEM Legal & Policy DevRoom, which was held remotely. In addition to helping to organize the room, they also participated in a panel with the other organizers about the most critical topics facing FOSS today. SFC staffers also participate in key meetings to represent community interests in a variety of FOSS related discussions concerning security, governmental use of FOSS and in critical infrastructure discussions and also presented in classroom to educate students about software freedom.
Help us Continue this Work
Sustainers pose with Karen!
From left: Stefano “Zack” Zacchiroli, Karen M. Sandler, John Sullivan, and Jim Wright
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!
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