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Richard Stallman has resigned from the Free Software Foundation and MIT

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Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation has resigned and he's also left his position in CSAIL at MIT.

Why is this significant? Stallman and the FSF were responsible for the creation of the GNU Project, widely used GNU licenses like the GPL, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) and more that were used in the creation of Linux.

Posted on the FSF website last night was this notice:

 On September 16, 2019, Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, resigned as president and from its board of directors. The board will be conducting a search for a new president, beginning immediately. Further details of the search will be published on

Stallman also noted on how he's stepped away from MIT as well, with the below statement:

I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.

The question is—why? Well, an article on Vice picked up on comments Stallman made around convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Unsurprisingly, this caused quite a lot of outrage inside and outside the Linux community.

Not long after Neil McGovern, the GNOME Executive Director, made a blog post about it where they said they asked the FSF to cancel their membership. McGovern also noted that other people who they "greatly respect are doing the same" and that GNOME would sever their "historical ties between GNOME, GNU and the FSF" if Stallman did not step down.

McGovern of GNOME wasn't the only one to speak out about it, as the Software Freedom Conservancy also put out a post calling for Stallman to step down and no doubt there's others I'm not aware of.

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Tags: Misc
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Dedale 17 Sep, 2019
Another storm in a teacup. Maybe there is a correlation between working on a computer and being a drama queen.
sub 17 Sep, 2019
Quoting: DedaleAnother storm in a teacup. Maybe there is a correlation between working on a computer and being a drama queen.

Also, this looks like an unfair procedure as seen many times before.
While objectively a thing like "misunderstandings and mischaracterizations" can be a very valid thing in a communication, this will always be taken as a "cheap excuse".

If you've been in such a situation it will always stick to your person for the rest of your life,
no matter if it was true or NOT.
Headlines simply cannot be undone.

I see this often used as sharp knife to seriously harm public figures.

Last edited by sub on 17 September 2019 at 9:11 am UTC
dpanter 17 Sep, 2019
Turns out words have consequences, who knew... well, Stallman should have known.

At this point it doesn't matter what or how he said anything. The fact that he said anything at all about those topics was enough. We don't live in a society where you can discuss things like that without it turning into a royal shitstorm.
If anything, I'm amazed he hasn't been kicked to the curb until now.
rustybroomhandle 17 Sep, 2019
For those rushing to RMS' defense. This is just one thing in a long list of things. For all the good he has done, it's really not the person that you should want as the face of free software.
Dedale 17 Sep, 2019
Well, for example, Stephen Hawkins used to make hilariously stupid political public comments from time to time. At the beginning, there were even people trying to interpret the deep meaning of the Master's words.

Then, mostly nobody cared. I still read his Brief History of Time with pleasure and as far as i know nobody refuses to work with Cambridge or on black hole evaporation.

Some correspondence between Einstein and Freud can also make you laugh or raise your hair, depending on your temperament.
sub 17 Sep, 2019
Quoting: rustybroomhandleFor those rushing to RMS' defense. This is just one thing in a long list of things. For all the good he has done, it's really not the person that you should want as the face of free software.

Well, this might have been just the intention of those that now use this well-proven method to get rid of him.
The_Aquabat 17 Sep, 2019
I'm not happy but Stallman was never friendly with the linux gaming community. I strongly disagree with his view that proprietary games pose a threat to the free software movement.
Patola 17 Sep, 2019
Another victim of cancel culture...
spayder26 17 Sep, 2019
Actually he was not defending Epstein (he called him rapist), but declaring his opinion against laws against consented paedophilia, which is somewhat much more controversial.

The Free Software community deserve a better leader. Sure, you can have your personal opinions, but once you're the face of a movement you have to be cautious about what you're saying.

Last edited by spayder26 on 17 September 2019 at 9:31 am UTC
0aTT 17 Sep, 2019
Stallman talked some bullshit and pays the price. He should enjoy his retirement. He more than deserves it.

And nobody is surprised that the Gnome project is on the front line. These little nitpickers have nothing better to do. Except, of course, to ergonomically rape their users.
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