FSFLA's GNUsletter
Issue #21
April, 2007

1. GPLv3
2. Constitution
3. "Softwares Impostos"
4. News and events
5. Welcome
6. Help wanted

1. GPLv3

It's taking longer than expected, but it's coming along. For news and updated information on GPLv3, check the GPLv3 development web site or join its announcements mailing list. Watch our translators mailing list to participate in our translation of the third draft, published on March 28, and post your suggestions at the site. If language is a problem, we can help.

2. Constitution

Thanks to Diego Saravia and Beatriz Busaniche for having suggested improvements to our constitution draft.

Our goal is to establish an organization that is as democratic and as open to participation of activists committed to Free Software as possible, while at the same time we try to make sure it remains itself fully committed to the moral principles of Free Software.

If you have further suggestions of improvements for our constitution, please have a look at the draft and send your suggestions to discusion@fsfla.org.

3. "Softwares Impostos"

Our campaign against the imposition of non-Free Software by the government in Brazil keeps on making progress. After some news coverage of our article and letter-writing campaign, we've managed to engage in negotiations with Receita Federal.
http://www.cipsga.org.br/article.php?sid=8351&mode=thread&order=0 (both in Portuguese)

We have thus published a petition that detailed and justified our demands for convenience and freedom, legal and technological safety, and respect for the law and for philosophical beliefs. Brazilian citizens and taxpayers in Brazil are invited to sign it.
http://info.abril.uol.com.br/aberto/infonews/032007/27032007-7.shl (all in Portuguese)

In response to our campaign, Receita Federal has already published the specifications of the file formats of income tax declarations and declaration receipts. Unfortunately, it's still missing the specification of the algorithm that computes a hash value over the declaration, so a program can't be created using this specification alone, and declarations that follow the specification will be incomplete and probably rejected.
http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br/Download/ProgramasPF.htm#Projeto%20IRPF%20-%20Layout%20TXT (in Portuguese)

Shortly after releasing the petition, we've found out that, unless Receita Federal has obtained special permission from copyright holders, it infringes copyright on 10 out of the 12+ (depending on how you count) Free Software packages used in the Sun-Java version of IRPF2007, the program that all taxpayers can and some taxpayers must use to fill in their income tax forms.

Also, based on arguments sustained by Receita Federal and lawyers that we don't need a license to run or distribute their program because the permission is implied, we understand we also have implied permission to decompile the Java program and then study it and to modify it such that it runs on Free Software platforms, and then distribute it to anyone else who might want to run it on such platforms. We can't get the original source code without their help, but since the Java .class files are not obfuscated and they even hold debug information, the decompiled sources are quite usable. And then, since we have implied permission to (0) run the program, (1) study it and adapt it to our needs, (2) redistribute the program the way we received it and (3) distribute our modifications, and we have source code (even if not the original source code), we can publish it as Free Software. Receita Federal itself might as well release the actual source code under a Free Software license.

If you want to help us carry out the effort of Freeing IRPF2007, or otherwise help in discussing, planning and implementing the next steps of our campaign, join us at softwares-impostos@fsfla.org.

4. News and events

Alexandre Oliva spoke at the 3rd Regional Symposium of Digital Inclusion promoted, in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, and at AtualTec III, in Boa Vista, Roraima, Brazil.

FSFLA will be massively present at FISL 8.0, the International Free Software Forum, to be held in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on April 12-14. Pedro A. D. de Rezende, Fernanda G. Weiden, and Alexandre Oliva will speak and share the FSFLA booth with whoever volunteers to help us run it. If you'd like to help us prepare promotional material, to give away or to obtain donations, or to help us run our booth, please let us know at eventos@fsfla.org. Otherwise, show up there anyway to chat, sign the petition against Softwares Impostos by Receita Federal and maybe make a donation.

On April 28, all over Latin America, a multi-site Free Software Installation Festival will take place. Each site sets its own rules as to what software they're going to offer, and unfortunately a number of them choose to install non-Free Software along with Free Software. As a consequence, FSFLA must not support the entire event, but rather only the sites that offer only Free Software to attendants. We urge FLISoL sites to rule out the installation of non-Free Software, and urge participants in all sites to reject the installation of any non-Free Software on their computers. FSFLA is preparing educational material for FLISoL attendants and organizers. If you'd like to help us prepare the material, or take our messages to FLISoL sites, in printed or spoken form, please join us at eventos@fsfla.org.

5. Welcome

Exal de Jesus Garcia Carrillo, Mexican Free Software activist and one of the GNU webmasters, has accepted our invitation to become a board observer, joining Alejandro Forero Cuervo in this position of potential future board members.

Beatriz Busaniche has accepted our invitation to return to a more active role at FSFLA, also as board observer.

Mario Bonilla has also chosen to become a board observer, resigning from his post of board member. We thank him very much for his active participation in the early days of FSFLA, and for making room for new participants, and we're very sorry that his work commitments have prevented him from devoting as much time to FSFLA as he and we would prefer. Thanks, Mario, and success to you!

For the sake of clarity, we quote our constitution draft:

15. The board may invite external observers to take part in the permanent session and other internal communications. Observers can offer their opinions but they don't vote and can't stop consensus, so they can't be held responsible for FSFLA's decisions. In fact, it must not be assumed that observers endorse or agree with such decisions.

6. Help wanted

FSFLA depends on voluntary work from Free Software enthusiasts. If you can and want to help, please join our workgroups. If you'd prefer to work on another projet, please bring it up at discusion@fsfla.org.

You may have noticed the new name of the FSFLA GNUsletter. It's no longer going to be created behind closed doors (thanks to our former member Federico Heinz for suggesting us to improve our processes), but rather on prensa@fsfla.org, where we intend to prepare press releases as well. If you'd like to help, join that list.

We keep on making progress in the transition our web sites to svnwiki, from Drupal and MediaWiki. Thanks to Alejandro Forero Cuervo for having improved svnwiki so much since we started trying it. It's already in heavy use in preparation of announcements, press releases and translations, and we hope to complete the transition in the next few weeks. Can you lend us a hand at sitio@fsfla.org?

After the hard disk crash we experienced a few months ago, in which the contents of the web sites of both our Anti-DRM campaign and FSFE's were lost, we're considering the possibility of joining forces and re-launching a single joint campaign, contributing the material we've created and redirecting our URLs and future efforts to the joint campaign. What do you think? Let us know at anti-drm@fsfla.org.

We can never thank our translation team too much for the superb job they've been doing. We're going to have a lot of their work published throughout this month. Special thanks to Antonio Negro, Leonardo Paredes and Adriano Rafael Gomes for their very active and consistent participation. Keep it up, folks!

This issue of FSFLA GNUsletter was translated by Adriano, Exal and Leonardo.

Copyright 2007 FSFLA

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

Permission is also granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of individual sections of this document without royalty provided the copyright notice and the permission notice above are preserved, and the document's official URL is preserved or replaced by the individual section's official URL.

Last update: 2008-05-05 (Rev 3440)

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