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July 24th, 2015

RMS Likes Crowd Supply, Riddell Pokes Ubuntu & More…

FOSS Week in Review

While Larry Cafiero is up in Portland having himself a merry auld time at OSCON, I’m in the sweltering heat and humidity of North Carolina, normal for this time of year, with dreams of All Things Open swirling through my head. ATO, because it’s the next conference I’ll be able to attend — and because it happens in October, when the weather around here is much more tolerable.

Crowd Supply logoWhile Larry’s been keeping an eye on things at the self-proclaimed most-important-open-source-conference-in-the-multiverse, I’ve been keeping an eye on the happenings in the FOSS world elsewhere. In the process, I’ve managed to make Larry part of this Week in Review.

RMS Likes Crowd Supply: Yesterday, Larry reported on the super cool and secure Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops being offered by Purism. On the same day, Ars Technica published what’s sort of the story behind that story. It seems that Purism’s two laptops were at least in part funded through a campaign with the crowd funding site Crowd Supply. Not much news there, as practically everything these days goes through some kind of crowd funding process. What is news, as the folks at Ars report, is that the godfather-of-free-software, Richard Stallman, is a supporter of the Crowd Supply platform. So much so that the crowd sourcing company has entered into a partnership with Stallman and the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Not a bad match, considering the fact that Crowd Supply has mainly focused on open source hardware and software projects.

The agreement between the two organizations is a two way street, one that should be good on many levels for free tech. As part of the agreement, Crowd Supply has already redesigned its website to bring it into compliance with FSF’s Free Javascript Campaign — meaning that users will be able to use the site without running any non-free software. Going forward, the crowd funder will work with FSF on more software and hardware projects that pass FSF muster, which includes FSF’s famous “four freedoms.” In return, FSF officially endorses Crowd Supply as its funding platform of choice, and will recommend the site to developers who are seeking funding for open source projects.

So what does Richard Stallman, who recently has been very vocal in telling us about organizations he doesn’t like, think of this? He says he’s happy about the agreement because Crowd Supply “respects people’s freedom while asking them to donate to projects.”

Jonathan Riddell remains a thorn in Ubuntu’s side. On Wednesday, he asked the Ubuntu Community Council to remove the Canonical Intellectual Property policy from the Ubuntu website, or at least move it, in order to remove confusion.

“It was revealed last week that is policy breached the GPL and still leaves open numerous gaps in the ability of people to freely share, copy and modify Ubuntu,” he wrote. “It is hurting the reputation of Ubuntu as a welcoming and functional free software project that respects the licence of the upstreams we depend on.”

For background, I’ll refer you to Larry Cafiero’s report in our last Week in Review about the ongoing saga between the FSF and Ubuntu over Canonical’s licensing policies.

Anyway, Softpedia reported yesterday that Riddell took back his request after Alan Pope and other members of the Ubuntu community explained that the Council doesn’t exercise any control over the Ubuntu website.

If I were Larry, at this point I’d bring up the still missing $143,000 in donations to Ubuntu, but I’m not, so I’ll leave that alone.

An OSCON Keynote Observation: For the last two days, I’ve been spending my noon hours here on the East Coast, watching the OSCON keynote addresses as they’ve streamed live here on FOSS Force. Although they’ve all been top notch and informative, I especially enjoyed yesterday’s closing address by Mikey Dickerson, who is nowadays part of the United States Digital Services Team, a job he got after being called in to fix the then far-from-ready-for-prime-time federal health care website before it went live.

In my estimation, he also offered the keynotes’ most quotable quote when summing up the work he did getting the site ready for the millions of Americans who would be depending on it: “It was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was the worst thing I have ever done. It was also the best thing I have ever done.”

As for me, writing this Week in Review has been none of those things.

Larry will be back next week, all rested and raring to go. Until then, may the FOSS be with you…

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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