As free software activists, do we focus on our own project-based communities or should we be looking outside? If free software is to succeed (forever!) I believe we need to do both. Maintaining our ideals as we take free software to new places, introduce it to new people, and bend it to new purposes depends on our willingness to grow both individually and collectively. Change is never simple so I hope that we will be gentle with each other as we try new things and work to build an even bigger movement.
A battle is underway at the US Department of Defense (DoD) to improve the way DoD develops, secures, and deploys software. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is not common reading for most people, but buried within the DoD’s 2,000-page budget authorization is a provision to free source code. The lively history behind this provision is simultaneously frustrating and encouraging, with private industry giants, Congress, and other federal agencies jockeying around the effort to free the code at DoD. Come listen to this important, but perhaps lesser known, chapter of the free software narrative, and learn how a small group of impassioned digital service experts are defying all odds to continue the fight for free software adoption.
Modern vehicles are nodes on a network with a high degree of autonomy. As they've become more connected, they've incorporated more free software. But the fundamentally proprietary nature of car and truck manufacturers has led to regulatory and compliance issues that have unclear outcomes. The outcomes are increasingly pertinent to software freedom, especially as the use of free software shifts domains from consumer-focused to safety-critical.
This session will discuss problems around modern vehicles, including:
This is a short introduction to LaTeX, a free software project/ecosystem for document preparation. The presentation is intended for a general audience who have no prior knowledge of LaTeX, but are interested in creating beautiful electronic documents (manual, slides, letters, etc.). We will answer the following questions: When can LaTeX be a good choice? How do you get started with LaTeX? How do you migrate existing non-LaTeX documents (Markdown, OpenDocument, etc.) to LaTeX?
In this session, we will reconstruct a real 3D object using a camera and free software!
Photogrammetry is the reconstruction of 3D information about objects from a photograph or multiple photographs -- like 3D scanning but with cameras. While closed source tools to do this are quite well marketed and hyped, it might come as a surprise that we can accomplish similar results with free software. The workshop will go over some of these tools, and their use and installation, and participants should be able to go home and do the same with their own computers and cameras. Some familiarity with command line tools, software installation, and 3D graphics might help, but the workshop should be understandable to people with any level of technical ability.
Please bring your own laptop and, if you have one, a camera.
Think your phone is safe from the creepy gaze of advertisers? Think again. Not only do big tech companies have a grip on your mobile device, but there's a clandestine industry of surveillance inside the world's most popular apps. Researchers at Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy are collaborating with F-Droid to expose this kind of tracking in Android apps. This session will give an overview of Yale Privacy Lab's approach, and introduce you to the Exodus privacy auditing platform, a free software scanner that analyzes Android apps and reports a list of detected trackers and app permissions. We will talk about static analysis of app packages, network analysis, impostor apps, and our work on related privacy issues such as tracking through ultrasonic beacons.
We want software creators to use the GPL and its cousin licenses. We also know that people make mistakes in the process, or don’t even try because they’ve heard it’s "too complicated." Just as we do when we develop software, we would do well to study these failures and use them as opportunities to improve the usability of the GPL. This talk aims to start that process by identifying some known problems and considering some possible solutions. (None of these solutions are a new version of the license!)
If you develop or distribute software of any kind, you are vulnerable to whole categories of attacks upon yourself or your loved ones. This includes blackmail, extortion or "just" simple malware injection! By targeting software developers such as yourself, malicious actors, including nefarious governments, can infect and attack thousands -- if not millions -- of end users.
How can we prevent these disasters? The idea behind reproducible builds is to allow verification that no flaws have been introduced during build processes; this prevents against the installation of backdoor-introducing malware on developers' machines, ensuring attempts at extortion and other forms of subterfuge are quickly uncovered and thus ultimately futile.
Through a story of three different developers, this talk will engage you on this growing threat to you, and how it affects everyone involved in the production lifecycle of software development, as well as how reproducible builds can help prevent against it.
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This panel will offer a well-rounded discussion on various ways to incorporate free software into university curricula and scholarly projects, as well as ways to promote further engagement between scholars and the free software community. The panel will explore how free software fits into both computer science programs, such as the Free and Open Source Software and Free Culture Minors at RIT, and into digital humanities projects. What are the barriers to free software in academia? How does terminology cloud the issue? How do we promote the ethics of "free as in freedom" when the draw to many academics is "free as in beer"? How do free software and free culture interact in digital humanities and humanitarian projects?
On the surface, this presentation is about setting up a small, inexpensive, low-power server for the home. However, it uses that objective as an excuse to delve deeper into some technical issues, as well as to reflect upon the effect of free software on the relationship between computers and humans. It will answer the obvious questions about such a server: the whats, whys, hows, etc. It will share experiences with hardware and software for services such as shared file systems, backups, printing, Jabber/XMPP, music, and more. But it will also sneak in some deeper technical excursions enabled by free software, such as the preferred way, and reasons, to write random data prior to setting up encrypted storage. It will also include some personal observations on the experiential differences between using free and non-free software, especially those relating to enjoyment and to learning and teaching, formal and informal.
This presentation will review some of the policies that governments have adopted over the years regarding the production of free software. Historically, the free software community has focused on news items about larger users of free software, including a program in Munich. We now live in a world where everyone uses free software at least some of the time, and a large number of companies, even Microsoft, have even created policies on how they are participating. We are just starting to see governments considering their role in free software beyond consumers. In this talk, we will review some of the existing policies by both national and state governments that are embracing free licensing, and we will look at some recent proposed/enacted policies and laws. We will also briefly discuss the role that copyleft and permissive licenses can play in those policies, and what governments should consider when choosing a license.
The use of free software in the research and development of technology in the educational field is essential for a better society with more solid values. Mexico has initiated the development and use of free software, thanks to the creation of free software labs in higher education institutions. In this talk, we will discuss the creation of these labs, and the positive impact it has generated.
The ambition of the Software Heritage project is to collect, preserve, and share the entire body of free software that is published on the Internet in source code form, together with its development history.
Since its public announcement in 2016, the project has assembled the largest collection of freely available software source code for about 4 billion unique source code files and 900 million commits, coming from more than 60 million projects.
Initially focused on the collection and preservation goals -- which were at the time urgent, due to the recurrent disappearances of development forges -- Software Heritage has since rolled out several mechanisms to peruse its archive, making progress on the sharing goal.
In this talk, we will review the status of the Software Heritage project, emphasizing how users and developers can, today, benefit from the availability of a great public library of source code.
In this non-technical session, I will talk about the philosophical aspects of GNU Health as a social project. I will discuss implementations in places around the world, including Argentina, Cameroon, and Laos, and the different actors involved, including governments, academia, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Finally, we will talk about the community, ethics, risks, challenges, and ways to keep these projects healthy and sustainable in the long term.
The FSF and The Document Foundation have worked together to offer LibreOffice Certification to FSF Members, for developers, migrators, and trainers. This session will provide all of the relevant information about LibreOffice Certification, in order to make it easier for FSF Members to apply and prepare for the certification review.
The Tor Project has been hard at work this year building free software to fight surveillance and censorship across the globe. Join a handful of Tor contributors at this panel, and learn all about the state of the onion. We'll talk about how we're adding new security features like browser sandboxing, improving support for mobile devices, deploying the next generation of onion services, making Tor more usable, lowering our network overhead, making our software more maintainable, and growing our community with new outreach initiatives. We'll also share some of what you can expect from Tor in the coming year, and we're eager to hear questions from our community, too.
Starting a business is a big decision, and choosing to share its results with the world is perhaps bigger still. Denver started JMP early last year, and faced this very choice, deciding to release all of JMP's code as free software and to charge money to use the instance he runs. In this session, Denver will describe why he chose to build a free software business, and will discuss the details of the business model he arrived at, alongside other business models for free software companies.
Few contributors are paid to work on free software today, and far fewer are paid by non-profit organizations (or even by small businesses). It is imperative for us to explore how we can sell free software, especially through non-profits and small businesses, so we can bring freedom to more people and, just as importantly, build sustainable futures for our contributors.
Many nonprofits today are at a disadvantage in the software they use to manage everything from donor management to graphic design. Staff members are often not focused on acquiring the best digital resources, and overcomplicated, restrictive, and expensive software programs dominate the nonprofit market. Free software could provide a much-needed revolution for the nonprofit world.
The good news is that some nonprofits are beginning to work with other organizations and free software developers and communities to start solving common problems.
In this session, I will review some tangible ways in which free software is having and can have a positive impact on the nonprofit world, and some of the challenges nonprofits face both with current software available and in getting involved. I will then discuss strategies for advocating for free software for nonprofits. With nonprofits across the globe facing issues of censorship, privacy concerns, and the need for more financial freedom than ever before, this is the perfect time for nonprofits to embrace free software.
Engaging youth by meeting in their space in a respectful and encouraging manner is critical to achieving youth participation within the free software movement. Many opportunities to engage young people within their communities already exist across the globe, so let's explore how we can contribute in ways that are fun, engaging, empowering, and memorable.
Boston-based Mariah Villarreal and Devin Ulibarri have been working in their respective fields to empower youth with free software and free culture. Mariah and Devin will present some of their fieldwork, and will discuss the challenges and opportunities that teaching libre technology to youth provides. Mariah and Devin will also highlight how this branch of activism fits into the larger software freedom advocacy landscape.
The license-importance divide seems almost generational: the older generation cares about licenses, and the younger generation does not. Yet, the historical focus on licensing in FLOSS, while occasionally prone to pedantry to a degree only developers can love, stemmed from serious governance considerations regarding how community members interact.
Copyleft was invented to solve the many problems of project governance, assuring the rights of users and creating equal footing for all contributors. The licensing infrastructure today also has increased in complexity, with proprietary relicensing business models, excessive use of CLAs, and tricky clauses on top of existing licenses.
Given this climate, how do we understand if copyleft is succeeding? This talk explores historical motivations and modern reactions to these licensing matters, and digs into understanding how policies have impacted Free Software communities for both good and ill.
Embedded devices are all around us, and have become deeply "embedded" into our daily lives: from microcontrollers to "smart"-watches, routers, and televisions, they are all around us. Many of us don't think twice about the root of control in these devices, or even the software that runs on them. In some cases, manufacturers lock users out from controlling these devices, and cause a security nightmare when they stop supporting them. This session will cover a wide range of topics including: what libreCMC is, the project's goals / developments, and why free software is crucial in securing control and freedom in embedded devices.
Given the rapid growth of free software, it seems reasonable that free software communities might expect undergraduate students in computer science or software engineering programs would graduate with an understanding of free software and the ability to make project contributions. However, many students are not being taught core tools and concepts such as licenses, version control, and issue trackers as part of their degree program. This presentation will summarize the results of recent field research on the state of undergraduate education about free software; discuss the gap between undergraduate computing education and community expectations; and explore both the reasons for the gap and approaches to bridging it.
We're updating the popular 150-page Introduction to the Command Line. What do you think should be in the new edition? We'll be discussing content and process for updating this important work.
A product of a partnership between the FSF and Floss Manuals, this book gives new computer users a gentle, beginner's window onto Bash, vim, a few scripting languages, and other key tools offered on the Unix/GNU command line. A lot has happened since the book was released in 2009. We want to include new developments without substantially increasing the length of the book.
The president and founder of the Free Software Foundation will speak about pressing issues in free software today, and will present the winners of the 2018 Free Software Awards.
During this time, there will also be a raffle drawing.