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Back in 2019, Richard Stallman (RMS) resigned from the Free Software Foundation and MIT but it appears Stallman has returned and many are not happy about this.

When Stallman originally resigned, he cited doing it due to "pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations". Stallman announced the return during a livestream for the FSF project LibrePlanet where he explained he will not be resigning for a second time. Stallman is now once again listed on the official FSF board.

After this announcement went live there's been calls for both Stallman and the entire Free Software Foundation board to resign, with an open letter that continues to pull in more and more signatures. The letter pulls no punches and gets right to the point in the opening paragraph:

Richard M. Stallman, frequently known as RMS, has been a dangerous force in the free software community for a long time. He has shown himself to be misogynist, ableist, and transphobic, among other serious accusations of impropriety. These sorts of beliefs have no place in the free software, digital rights, and tech communities. With his recent reinstatement to the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation, we call for the entire Board of the FSF to step down and for RMS to be removed from all leadership positions.

The letter includes an appendix, which actually goes over what some of the issues are.

People signing it include the likes of Neil McGovern (GNOME Foundation Executive Director), Molly de Blanc (Debian Project, GNOME Foundation), Faidon Liambotis (Open Source Initiative Director), Cassidy James Blaede (elementary co-founder, GNOME Foundation member), Daniel Foré (Founder, elementary, Inc.) and the list just keeps on going with Igalia, KDE, Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Apache, Mozilla, Solus, OBS Studio and people from many more teams calling for Stallman and the FSF board to go with even more waiting to be added on the GitHub page.

Additionally the Free Software Foundation Europe has joined the call for Stallman to resign, going as far as to say they will not "collaborate both with the FSF and any other organisation in which Richard Stallman has a leading position".

Update - 25/03/21: the Free Software Foundation has announced some changes to how people are appointed to their board:

  • We will adopt a transparent, formal process for identifying candidates and appointing new board members who are wise, capable, and committed to the FSF's mission. We will establish ways for our supporters to contribute to the discussion.
  • We will require all existing board members to go through this process as soon as possible, in stages, to decide which of them remain on the board.
  • We will add a staff representative to the board of directors. The FSF staff will elect that person.
  • The directors will consult with legal counsel about changes to the organization's by-laws to implement these changes. We have set ourselves a deadline of thirty days for making these changes.
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Tags: Meta, Misc
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30 comments
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Zlopez 24 Mar
  • Supporter Plus
I like how they are talking about diversity and inclusion in one sentence and in other sentence they want to exclude someone for his different opinions and behavior. It's kind of funny :-D
Samsai 24 Mar
Quoting: GuestThe only thing he does that could harm the reputation of the FSF are his uncompromising views on free software. None of the risible accusations mentioned here have anything to do with such views. It is about nonsense only woke assholes care about. If anything that outburst may make him more popular because most people hate woke culture and people.
Yet the only reason the FSF has managed to get any mainstream media spotlight at all recently is because of RMS getting kicked out and then taken back in. So not only are they failing to do relevant advocacy during a time when proprietary systems are causing incredibly relevant mainstream controversies, they are only getting the spotlight when RMS's laundry list of hot takes irrelevant to free software are aired. And I assure you, no matter how loudly some people will cry "cancel culture!" and call RMS "based" or whatever, this is no ticket to fame for him or the FSF.
CSharp 24 Mar
I can't comment on the guy's views, since I do not know him personally. But I think the FSF has done good work in the past and I do trust that these people have a good judgement (at least when it comes to FOSS)

I considered this occasion a nice reminder to support the FSF with a small donation
Liam Dawe 24 Mar
I would like to point out, that people need to stay respectful and not post comments about subjects surrounding this that are, well, gross. Comments will be removed if people continue to post such things. If you had a comment removed, you should know why.
kuhpunkt 24 Mar
Quoting: Liam DaweI would like to point out, that people need to stay respectful and not post comments about subjects surrounding this that are, well, gross. Comments will be removed if people continue to post such things. If you had a comment removed, you should know why.

The subject is gross, yes. But the comment I quoted is ok, when he's defending it? Stallmann shouldn't be in any position of power.

Also, people need to stay respectful, yet him calling others "idiots" is ok?


Last edited by kuhpunkt on 24 March 2021 at 10:32 am UTC
Rooster 24 Mar
Small off-topic feedback: I do not like this Promoted Comment thing. I understand that Samsai is part of the staff, but I think rather than him having a Promoted Comment, his comment on the topic should be part of the article. Or maybe just have it worded differently, like "Comments from Staff members" This way it makes it seem like his take on the topic is somehow more than the rest of us.


Last edited by Rooster on 24 March 2021 at 11:07 am UTC
Call to close comments. So far it has been 90% douche-posting.
kuhpunkt 24 Mar
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: RoosterSmall off-topic feedback: I do not like this Promoted Comment thing. I understand that Samsai is part of the staff, but I think rather than him having a Promoted Comment, his comment on the topic should be part of the article. Or maybe just have it worded differently, like "Comments from Staff members" This way it makes it seem like his take on the topic is somehow more than the rest of us.


On topic: Was Stallmans former exclusion from FSF really stated to be only because he refused to use "correct" pronoun for trans people or was this just the one highlighted from many other issues?

It was because a VICE article distorting his comments about one of his deceased friends accused by someone of being a rapist related to the Epstein affair. He dared to talk back to an accuser.

He then said that he NOW understands how damaging sex with kids can be. How do you not grasp this as an adult in this century? And he was victim blaming. And you want a person like this leading the FSF?
Disharmonic 24 Mar
Quoting: RoosterOn topic: Was Stallmans former exclusion from FSF really stated to be only because he refused to use "correct" pronoun for trans people or was this just the one highlighted from many other issues?
The latter. There are a lot of articles about it from when he resigned from the FSF board and MIT. At best he seems socially awkward and that's really not a quality you want from someone that is the face of a movement. I agree that this comments section should be closed, as I simply cannot see how this will not end up in a flame war


Last edited by Disharmonic on 24 March 2021 at 11:25 am UTC
Liam Dawe 24 Mar
Quoting: RoosterSmall off-topic feedback: I do not like this Promoted Comment thing. I understand that Samsai is part of the staff, but I think rather than him having a Promoted Comment, his comment on the topic should be part of the article. Or maybe just have it worded differently, like "Comments from Staff members" This way it makes it seem like his take on the topic is somehow more than the rest of us.
It's staying and working as intended. That comment would have been promoted no matter who made it, as it's the most interesting one so far that isn't just calling out one side or spreading vitriol.
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