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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 fsf.org.

Stallman also noted on stallman.org 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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc
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129 comments
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Eike 21 September 2019 at 10:32 am UTC
devnull> Frankly, I think that's tin-foil hat level stuff there.

Ohh Liam... poor guy. I give you Red Hat:

Red Hate


QuoteRed Hat urges the FSF board to seize the opportunity during its current leadership succession by appointing a president and members of its board that are more diverse, including from a national, racial and gender perspective.

Wolves be a circlin kids. Lot of unemployed ex management types who are used to being overpaid PHB's smell blood.

You cut out all context, so I'll put it back in:
"I simply can't understand how it is possible that such companies like MS or Apple can even get a seat at FSF?! Something bad is going on IMHO."

So, how does what you linked refer in any way, shape or form to "such companies like MS or Apple can even get a seat at FSF"? It's about diversity in the FSF.
KijBeta 22 September 2019 at 1:43 am UTC
It took a characterization of his remarks in a disturbing twisted way to finally get rid of him.
But his real remarks, and harassment should have been enough to get rid of him 20 years ago.
It's been more than 20 years of disturbing sexual, harassing, and disparaging remarks made by him.
Honestly never should have gotten to this point, he should have been removed and fired many many years ago.

The truly disturbing part is that people, are acting like the BS that went down in the news cycle means he did nothing wrong.
It's okay to appreciate his work and devotion to the Free Software Movement, and still not want him to be celebrated due to his sexual harassment, and disturbing ideas that got ignored for years due to the culture he was a part of.
Doc Angelo 22 September 2019 at 8:59 am UTC
KijBetaIt took a characterization of his remarks in a disturbing twisted way to finally get rid of him.
But his real remarks, and harassment should have been enough to get rid of him 20 years ago.
It's been more than 20 years of disturbing sexual, harassing, and disparaging remarks made by him.
Honestly never should have gotten to this point, he should have been removed and fired many many years ago.

The truly disturbing part is that people, are acting like the BS that went down in the news cycle means he did nothing wrong.
It's okay to appreciate his work and devotion to the Free Software Movement, and still not want him to be celebrated due to his sexual harassment, and disturbing ideas that got ignored for years due to the culture he was a part of.

RMS harassed other people? What did he do to others? Is there any source on that? And what do you mean with "culture he was part of"? What kind of culture?
Diable 22 September 2019 at 9:34 am UTC
Patola
rustybroomhandle
PatolaAnother victim of cancel culture...

Nobody who uses the phrase "cancel culture" with a straight face can be taken seriously. Off to the kids table with you.
QED. This is a hallmark of cancel culture, there is no discussion, simply personal attacks, sometimes quite vicious ones. Some subjects cannot be discussed. Some opinions cannot be uttered. This is the new, more radical form of making something taboo. It has grave personal consequences.

Stallman lost his jobs because he said something that could be considered a defense of a well known convicted sex offender. He would have lost his jobs 30 years ago for saying the same.

Losing his jobs had nothing to do with any modern day cancel culture and everything to do with our society's eternal vilification of rapist, paedophiles and sex offenders. As you said, "some opinions cannot be offered" and defending a sex offender is one.

I'm sure Stallman will rail against societies closed mindedness but he won't find may defenders.
Purple Library Guy 22 September 2019 at 6:34 pm UTC
DiableStallman lost his jobs because he said something that could be considered a defense of a well known convicted sex offender.
Well, except it couldn't. He was very very unequivocal about the well known convicted sex offender being a horrible rapist. He said something that could be considered a defence of Marvin Minsky, who as far as I know was not a well known convicted sex offender. His entire argument was that Minsky might not have known just how horrible Epstein was being. That is not a defence of Epstein and cannot be considered one without a massive dose of intellectual dishonesty.
Now, he may be wrong--frankly, I think it would take some world class naivete for a Minsky to think this girl is throwing herself at him because she's a huge groupie for aging AI research pioneers. But that's a somewhat different issue.

DiableHe would have lost his jobs 30 years ago for saying the same.
Quite likely. Rush to judgment without looking at the facts is not a new thing under the sun. But it wouldn't have been right 30 years ago, either.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 22 September 2019 at 6:38 pm UTC
KijBeta 22 September 2019 at 10:46 pm UTC
Doc Angelo
KijBetaIt took a characterization of his remarks in a disturbing twisted way to finally get rid of him.
But his real remarks, and harassment should have been enough to get rid of him 20 years ago.
It's been more than 20 years of disturbing sexual, harassing, and disparaging remarks made by him.
Honestly never should have gotten to this point, he should have been removed and fired many many years ago.

The truly disturbing part is that people, are acting like the BS that went down in the news cycle means he did nothing wrong.
It's okay to appreciate his work and devotion to the Free Software Movement, and still not want him to be celebrated due to his sexual harassment, and disturbing ideas that got ignored for years due to the culture he was a part of.

RMS harassed other people? What did he do to others? Is there any source on that? And what do you mean with "culture he was part of"? What kind of culture?

Back in 2006, at a conference a young woman asked about changes happening and the implications of the "business" on a GNU project he had some kind of personal interest in.
His response was something about her being a dumb blond, and later implied that she won't get far if she is not showing more of her body and other skills. This would be laughed at by most of the men. At that same place he would make a graphic comment about sex and a specific thing that had to do with coding.
Why would any of this ever have a "source"? There was no reason for the people that condoned that kind of BS to make it into a news story, par for the course.
He also has a long history of insulting people who don't share his absolutist position, ad sharing opinions that are not appropriate in any public place.
He should not have ever been allowed to be a spokesperson with any power, due to his unfiltered personal skills.

I respect his passion, and his drive to make the world a better place, and improve the Free Software Movement.
But he is a terrible person, who never should have been given a position of power and influence.
My opinion is based on one moment, and what could easily be dismissed as gossip, but it has a solid foundation for me to believe most of the disgusting things he said and did for much of his life.
Cybolic 23 September 2019 at 2:09 pm UTC
amatai[...]
soulsourceStallman is not wrong about the fact that laws about this topic are different in different countries. Where I live, Austria, consent between a 17 year old and a much older person is legally possible, unless there is a situation of power or money involved.
Which there clearly was. It's hard to argue that a 70-years old academics has no authority over any 17-years old girl. The distinction is made so that you can have someone 19 and someone 17 having sex without problem.

That wasn't what he argued though. He wrote:
Richard StallmanDoes it really? I think it is morally absurd to define "rape" in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17.

I think the existence of a dispute about that supports my point that the term "sexual assault" is slippery, so we ought to use more concrete terms when accusing anyone.

That's arguing specifically about using the terms "rape" and "sexual assault" for cases where both parties are consenting and wouldn't be doing anything illegal if they were doing it in a different country.
As others have said, you need to see this through the eyes of a pedantic and leave the rest of the case out of the discussion of this specific point.

It's not as if he doesn't have a point here; if a 19 year old American has consensual sex with a 17 year old while travelling in Europe, should that also be called rape? Disregarding the rest of the case, I can certainly see his argument.
Doc Angelo 23 September 2019 at 3:13 pm UTC
KijBetaBack in 2006, at a conference a young woman asked about changes happening and the implications of the "business" on a GNU project he had some kind of personal interest in.
His response was something about her being a dumb blond, and later implied that she won't get far if she is not showing more of her body and other skills.

I'm not going to believe that the actual and real RMS said these things and meant it like that. I would if you tell me he wore his St. Ignucius outfit at that moment and showed his odd humor. But I'm not going to believe this without a source on that. And with source I don't mean yet another article with vague third party knowledge. You're right. Not everything has a definitive written and archived source. That means that not everything is documented, but this works both ways. Until I happen to know that this actually took place, I'm going to disregard it as a rumor.

You're free to believe anything about anyone, of course. We all are.
namiko 23 September 2019 at 3:50 pm UTC
chrBut I think we shouldn't ignore the fact that despite this being almost always a sincere concern, there are also those who are just hiding their intentionally malign anti-societal behavior behind pretending to be a victim of some global mass movement of silencing and censorship. I do get it that some people sincerely feel this way.
It's in our best interests to submit to the will of the majority or law, but it isn't always to our benefit, personally or to the rest of humanity, in the long run. We need more in-depth discussions and scientific testing to discover how we can best do things. Something offensive to someone is bound to come up during this process, but if we falter at the 'wrong' words or ideas, we can't progress our thinking any further, because going against what was formerly 'normal' is sometimes the starting point of new discoveries.

I honestly don't know how far censorship is being promoted, but it seems like it's been gradually increasing online for some time. People call it a global mass movement because it really appears to be. I mean, who among us would want to publicly profess a like of the "wrong" political candidate, even to our families and friends? Maybe we tell no one. Maybe we'd lie right to the faces of our loved ones because we're afraid.

That some people even contemplate these things is a bad sign.
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