FSF/GNU/GPL: GCC, Denemo, Copyleft
For months we have been covering the HSA patches for GCC and their hopes of getting the code merged for GCC 6. Feature development on GCC 6 is over, but there still is the possibility of release exceptions and this HSA support would be new functionality that can be optionally enabled.
Free software is built by a community of hackers and activists who care about freedom. But forces outside that community affect the work done within in it, for good or ill. While we at the FSF regularly deal with GNU General Public License (GPL) violators (who we always hope are just community members waiting for a proper introduction) , there is another force that can have a substantial effect on user freedom: governmental policy.
Laws, regulations, and government actions can have a lasting impact on users. The GNU GPL is based in copyright but uses its power in a "copyleft" way to actually protect users from the negative impacts of copyright, patents, and proprietary license agreements. While we can sometimes turn a law on its head to make it work for users like this, other times we are forced to push back in order to guarantee their rights. In order to achieve our global mission of promoting computer user freedom and defending the rights of software users everywhere, we must often take action to petition and protest governing bodies and their regulations. For the Licensing and Compliance Lab this is particularly relevant to our work, as these rules can affect how the licenses published by the FSF protect users. 2015 was a year filled with such actions, and 2016 will see much of the same. While our work this past year often involved issues with the U.S. government, the scope of our work is global. As our worldwide actions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other international agreements demonstrate, bad laws in the U.S. have a tendency to spread around the globe. We work to educate the U.S public about problematic laws and regulations here, and we also work with supporters and partner organizations in countries around the world to achieve the same goals in their countries.
We want to take a moment to look back on the work we've done on the licensing team pushing for policies that protect users, and fighting to stop laws and regulations that would harm them.