FSF’s LibrePlanet 2021 Free Software Conference Is Next Weekend, Online Only

On Saturday and Sunday, March 20th and 21st, 2021, free software supporters from all over the world will log in to share knowledge and experiences, and to socialize with others within the free software community. This year’s theme is “Empowering Users,” and keynotes will be Julia Reda, Nathan Freitas, and Nadya Peek. Free Software Foundation (FSF) associate members and students attend gratis at the Supporter level. You can see the schedule and learn more about the conference at, and participants are encouraged to register in advance at

Loadsharers: Funding the Load-Bearing Internet Person

The internet has a sustainability problem. Many of its critical services depend on the dedication of unpaid volunteers, because they can't be monetized and thus don't have any revenue stream for the maintainers to live on. I'm talking about services like DNS, time synchronization, crypto libraries—software without which the net and the browser you're using couldn't function.

Open Source Is Good, but How Can It Do Good?

Open-source coders: we know you are good—now do good. The ethical use of computers has been at the heart of free software from the beginning. Here's what Richard Stallman told me when I interviewed him in 1999 for my book Rebel Code:

When Choosing Your Commercial Linux, Choose Wisely!

“Linux is Linux is Linux,” is a direct quote I heard in a meeting I had recently with a major multi-national, critical-infrastructure company. Surprisingly and correctly, there was one intelligent and brave engineering executive who replied to this statement, made by one of his team members, with a resounding, “That’s not true.” Let’s be clear, selecting a commercial Linux is not like selecting corn flakes. This is especially true when you are targeting embedded systems.

We Need to Save What Made Linux and FOSS Possible

If we take freedom and openness for granted, we'll lose both. That's already happening, and we need to fight back. The question is how. I am haunted by this passage in a letter we got from reader Alan E. Davis (the full text is in our Letters section):

A Conversation with Kernel Developers from Intel, Red Hat and SUSE

Three kernel developers describe what it's really like to work on the kernel, how they interact with developers from other companies, some pet peeves and how to get started. Like most Linux users, I rarely touch the actual code for the Linux kernel. Sure, I've looked at it. I've even compiled the kernel myself on a handful of occasions—sometimes to try out something new or simply to say I could do it ("Linux From Scratch" is a bit of a right of passage).

The Kids Take Over

As with Linux, these kids are all about making things—and then making them better. They're also up against incumbent top-down systems they will reform or defeat. Those are the only choices.

Some Thoughts on Open Core

Why open core software is bad for the FOSS movement. Nothing is inherently anti-business about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In fact, a number of different business models are built on top of FOSS. The best models are those that continue to further FOSS by internal code contributions and that advance the principles of Free Software in general. For instance, there's the support model, where a company develops free software but sells expert support for it.

Best Linux Marketing Campaigns

I have long held the opinion that one of the biggest problems holding back Linux-based systems from dominating (market-share-wise) in the desktop computing marketing. Our lack of attention-grabbing, hearts-and-minds-winning marketing is, in my oh-so-humble opinion, one of the most glaring weaknesses of the Free and Open Source Software world. But, in a way, me saying that really isn't fair.

What Is the Point of Mozilla?

Few journeys in the world of open source have been as exciting as Mozilla's. Its birth was dramatic. Netscape, the pioneering company whose Netscape Navigator browser shaped the early Web, had enjoyed the most successful IPO up until then, valuing the 18-month-year-old company at nearly $3 billion. That was in 1995. Three years later, the company was in freefall, as the browser wars took their toll, and Microsoft continued to gain market share with its Internet Explorer, launched alongside Windows 95. Netscape's response was bold and unprecedented. On January 27, 1998, it announced that it was making the source code for the next generation of its web browser freely available under a GPL-like license.

Book Review: Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) by Adam Fisher

I don't know where to begin—and I mean that in a very positive way. I can best describe Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) as a "literary documentary". The book provides a sort of oral history of the Valley from the legends who built it.

What Does "Ethical" AI Mean for Open Source?

Artificial intelligence is a threat—and an opportunity—for open source. It would be an understatement to say that artificial intelligence (AI) is much in the news these days. It's widely viewed as likely to usher in the next big step-change in computing, but a recent interesting development in the field has particular implications for open source. It concerns the rise of "ethical" AI.

Crossing Platforms: a Talk with the Developers Building Games for Linux

Games for Linux are booming like never before. The revolution comes courtesy of cross-platform dev tools, passionate programmers and community support. In the last five years, the number of mainstream games released for Linux has increased dramatically, with thousands of titles now available. These range from major AAA releases, such as Civilization VI and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, to breakout indie hits like Night in the Woods

VCs Are Investing Big into a New Cryptocurrency: Introducing Handshake

The entire landscape of how we authenticate domain names likely will see a complete overhaul, all powered by blockchain technologies. Just released, Handshake brings with it the much needed security and reliability on which we rely. Backed by venture capitalists and industry-established blockchain developers, Handshake has raised $10.2 million to replace the current digital entities maintaining our current internet infrastructure.

A Git Origin Story

A look at Linux kernel developers' various revision control solutions through the years, Linus Torvalds' decision to use BitKeeper and the controversy that followed, and how Git came to be created.

Python and Its Community Enter a New Phase

On Python's BDFL Guido van Rossum, his dedication to the Python community, PEP 572 and hope for a healthy outcome for the language, open source and the computing world in general. Python is an amazing programming language, there's no doubt about it. From humble beginnings in 1991, it's now just about everywhere. Whether you're doing web development, system administration, test automation, devops or data science, odds are good that Python is playing a role in your work.

Road to RHCA--Preparation Meets Opportunity

This article is the second in my series "Road to RHCA", where I'm charting my journey to the Red Hat Certified Architect designation—a designation that's difficult to come by. As an advocate and enthusiast of Linux and open source, and more important, as someone who works as a Linux professional, I am eager to change the current state of affairs around the number of women and people of color who know Linux and open source, study Linux and work in the Linux and/or open-source space.