Recently a big controversy surrounding the Free Software Community appeared and cut deep into the community when it was announced without warning that Richard Stallman (RMS) had returned.
This controversy reached a boiling point, as we covered before with a petition to have Stallman removed. Since then, the FSF repeatedly put out statements about their policies, things that will change, people resigning, a Twitter post and more - but not once did the FSF mention Stallman or what the heck was going on. Finally, multiple weeks later, both the FSF and Stallman have released new statements.
In the FSF statement, it's mentioned that FSF staff had no idea what was going on and neither did organisers of LibrePlanet where RMS returning was announced. RMS was voted back in by voting members and the board of directors after "several months of thorough discussion and thoughtful deliberation". The FSF acknowledge how "badly we handled the news of his election to a board seat" and take "full responsibility". With RMS back on the board as an "unpaid volunteer" the rules still apply including "prohibitions against conflicts of interest and sexual harassment and those outlining whistleblower processes and fiduciary duties". The FSF linked to the changes the organisation is committed to implementing and will "continue to pursue additional ideas and actions designed to improve transparency and accountability".
RMS clearly isn't going anywhere, as the FSF see "his views will be critical to the FSF as we advance the mission and confront the challenges that software freedom faces".
While it took a while, it seems like the FSF are fully aware of their need to improve everything surrounding this. We should give them some points on that.
As for the statement directly from Stallman, it goes over and actually acknowledges some real personal issues and social problems. Then leading into the comments Stallman made about the likes of Marvin Minsky and Jeffrey Epstein, mentioning how the comments were "tone-deaf that I didn't acknowledge as context the injustice that Epstein did to women or the pain that caused". Stallman ends the post with "I've learned something from this about how to be kind to people who have been hurt. In the future, that will help me be kind to people in other situations, which is what I hope to do.".
It will be interesting to see what happens as a result of the public apologies from both Stallman and the FSF. Let's hope that all of this can lead somewhere productive and have less in-fighting with more fighting for software freedom.