FSF New "High Priority Projects" List: Phone OS, Security, Drivers, More Inclusivity

Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 17 January 2017 at 11:19 AM EST. 36 Comments
For more than the past decade, the Free Software Foundation has been maintaining a list of high priority projects. Today they have a brand new list.

These have included projects that from the FSF's perspective were deserving of attention and needed more work to be done in order to have viable free software replacements to proprietary alternatives.

The list hasn't made much sense at times and projects on the list didn't necessarily advance during their time on the list or receive financial/developer support from the FSF along with other controversies. In 2014 they began forming a committee to maintain this high priority project list while today they announced a brand new list.

This new FSF High Priority Projects List doesn't list particular projects in need of support or interest, but rather specific areas. The list also isn't just of items on their technical merit but also to "deepen the inclusivity of the free software community," as said by this morning's announcement. The High Priority Free Software areas making the 2017 list include:

- Having a free phone operating system.

- Decentralizing/federating clouds so users have more control.

- Free drivers / firmware / hardware designs.

- Real-time voice and video chat (basically a free software alternative to Skype).

- Encouraging contributions by people under-represented in the community.

- Improving accessibility, such as those with physical disabilities and impairements.

- Improved internationalization of free software for different languages and regions.

- Better free software security.

- An intelligent personal assistant to be an alternative to Apple Siri / Microsoft Cortana / Amazon Alexa.

- Ensure GNU/Linux distributions are committed to freedom.

- Encourage free software adoption by governments.

That's their new list. A little bit of everything and rather broad areas but without any real action plan for addressing them. The previous items on the list included working on the Gnash Flash Player, free software video editing, a free Google Earth replacement, automatic transcription software, GNU Octave, a free software replacement for BitTorrent Sync, reversible debugging in GDB, free software drivers for network routers, and more.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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