The FSF Is Looking To Update Its High Priority Free Software Projects List
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 29 October 2020 at 06:30 AM EDT. 19 Comments
FREE SOFTWARE --
As we roll into 2021 the Free Software Foundation is looking to update its high priority free software projects list. These are the software projects that should be incorporating "the most important threats, and most critical opportunities, that free software faces in the modern computing landscape." For now the FSF is looking for help deciding what to include.

The FSF high priority projects list is what once included PowerVR reverse engineering as being very important albeit never happened prior to PowerVR graphics becoming less common. In fact, many FSF high priority projects never panned out as they weren't contributing much in the way of resources to the causes but just calling attention to them.

PDF support was among their high priority projects as well as another example as well as the likes of an open-source Skype replacement and reverse-engineering other popular technologies.

They overhauled the list in 2017 after forming a committee to maintain the list while now as 2021 is just around the corner they are looking to revise their high priority projects focus once more.

They have issued a call for input to share with the High Priority Free Software Projects committee what you feel should belong on the list. Feedback is being collected through early January.

Currently on the list are different "areas" they feel are high priority for free software as opposed to previously focusing on particular projects:

Free phone operating system - This could be argued that it's already accomplished from the likes of Ubuntu Touch to the various PinePhone efforts to PureOS on the Librem 5 to more... There is also Replicant and other free software project built off the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP).

Decentralization, federation, and self-hosting - A call for more decentralized services.

Free drivers, firmware, and hardware designs - Don't we all love free software drivers and that's been going rather dandy and more vendors in recent years contributing their open-soruce drivers to the Linux kernel. Open-source firmware and hardware designs though is another tough effort but at least the likes of Raptor Computing Systems with their libre POWER9 system has shown what's popular.

Real-time voice and video chat - There exists various free software solutions these days albeit popular ones with the masses is another story...

Encourage contribution by people underrepresented in the community - There is Outreachy, Google Summer of Code, etc.

Internationalization of free software - This seems to continue to be happening as well as ever.

Security by and for free software - Is security ever complete?

Intelligent personal assistant - Mycroft is the best open-source alternative to the likes of Google Home and Amazon's Alexa.

Help GNU/Linux distributions be committed to freedom - The Free Software Foundation continues to endorse the likes of Guix, Hyperbola, PureOS, Trisquel, and other distributions most have never heard of but ship without any firmware binaries or other blobs.

Free software adoption by governments - A rather sticky and never-ending matter...

What do you hope to see out of the 2021 Free Software Foundation High Priority Project List?
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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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