Join us on the Linux Gaming community on Lemmy, the federated open source alternative to Reddit.

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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Meta, Misc
17 Likes , Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG and Humble Store. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
The comments on this article are closed.
29 comments
Page: «3/3
  Go to:

I'm kind of with TheSHEEEP on this. Stallman had stuff to apologize for. So yes, he should have apologized. And he did in fact apologize. And unlike a lot of people, there is no way in Hell Stallman would ever apologize for anything if he didn't mean it; in fact I'm not sure I've ever heard of him apologizing for anything before. And he says he intends to do better. I want to give him the chance to show he can, partly because he is if nothing else a very honest man and partly because he's the originator of Free Software, the whole list CatKiller mentions wouldn't exist without him, and I'll feel like a real dick if my attitude is all "But what have you done for us lately?"

When it comes to the criminal justice system, I believe in calmer more European approaches which reduce re-offending much more than the harsh no-second-chances, throw away the key American system. I think to be consistent I shouldn't back the idea that someone, once socially fallen, must be socially poison forever.
scaine 12 Apr
View PC info
  • Contributing Editor
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: Purple Library GuyI'm kind of with TheSHEEEP on this. Stallman had stuff to apologize for. So yes, he should have apologized. And he did in fact apologize. And unlike a lot of people, there is no way in Hell Stallman would ever apologize for anything if he didn't mean it; in fact I'm not sure I've ever heard of him apologizing for anything before. And he says he intends to do better. I want to give him the chance to show he can, partly because he is if nothing else a very honest man and partly because he's the originator of Free Software, the whole list CatKiller mentions wouldn't exist without him, and I'll feel like a real dick if my attitude is all "But what have you done for us lately?"

When it comes to the criminal justice system, I believe in calmer more European approaches which reduce re-offending much more than the harsh no-second-chances, throw away the key American system. I think to be consistent I shouldn't back the idea that someone, once socially fallen, must be socially poison forever.

Great reply, I agree completely. We only differ that I don't think he should be trying to travel that road of illumination as a member of the Board that purports to represent the whole of free software.
Bumadar 12 Apr
Quoting: scaineI'm not outraged, but Stallman, and hence the FSF, can definitely get in the bin. The fact that they took weeks to address something as simple as voting back in a confirmed abuser to their board shows me all I need to know about this organisation.

Pretty incredible really. I don't trust them to represent my interests in free software at this point.

I am sorry but your post is basically what is wrong with today's social media, the man is NOT a confirmed abuser, the man might have a bit of autism and thus say stuff with not enough thoughts about how the other party receives it but that is about it.

If people take the time to read themselves what was said in what setting instead of jumping on a mobs bandwagon of people who either need attention or get of on burning somebody down, the world would be a much nicer place.
TimeFreeze 12 Apr
I'm glad that Stallman stays and thats all i have to say since i dont want any discussion to happen.
scaine 12 Apr
View PC info
  • Contributing Editor
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: Bumadar
Quoting: scaineI'm not outraged, but Stallman, and hence the FSF, can definitely get in the bin. The fact that they took weeks to address something as simple as voting back in a confirmed abuser to their board shows me all I need to know about this organisation.

Pretty incredible really. I don't trust them to represent my interests in free software at this point.

I am sorry but your post is basically what is wrong with today's social media, the man is NOT a confirmed abuser, the man might have a bit of autism and thus say stuff with not enough thoughts about how the other party receives it but that is about it.

If people take the time to read themselves what was said in what setting instead of jumping on a mobs bandwagon of people who either need attention or get of on burning somebody down, the world would be a much nicer place.

I've spent a long time, over two decades being amazed at the shit Stallman posted on his website. I've followed women on Twitter who share their experiences of meeting him and speaking with him. I've followed in detail the things he said that led the FSF to drop him in the first place.

Stallman is demonstrably, inarguably toxic, on multiple topics. Hes, what in his 60's and only recently found it withim him to apologise? Nobody is 'jumping on a bandwagon' here. Just do some research.

If you still support this man despite everything he's said, that's on you. We won't see eye to eye on this.

Can he change? I hope so, although I do doubt it, true. But we shouldn't be asking that question at all while he's a member of the Board that already axed him for some very good reasons.
Xakep_SDK 12 Apr
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: scaineBut instead, he's just back and that's it? Okay then. As I say, FSF can get in the bin alongside him. Some will support this move - fine. I just don't. It hurts free software, it drives women away in particular and I don't want to be associated with any of it.

There's a reason the labs at MIT are full of plants.

The FSF have rendered themselves completely irrelevant by their continued association with rms. The Free Software movement will continue to be championed by, say,

3NSoft
Aaru Data Preservation Suite
Calyx Institute
Ceccun
CH Open
CommitChange
Creative Commons
Cusy
Data + Feminism Lab, MIT
DataMade
Dot HQ
Echap
Espen Gottschal (Norway)
Exercism
Exherbo Linux
Exodus Privacy
EZPZSoftware
Ferrous Systems GmbH
Fivnex
Framasoft
Freedom of the Press Foundation
GlobaLeaks
Globenet
GNOME Foundation
GNU Mailman
GNU Radio
Great Scott Gadgets
Innatical
Kludge Cyber Systems
LineageOS
May First Movement Technology
Metaform
MidnightBSD Project
MousePaw Media
Mozilla
OBS Project
Open Life Science
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
Open Source Collective
Open Source Diversity
OpenTelemetry
Organization for Ethical Source
Outreachy
Palante Technology Cooperative
Progressive Technology Project
Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science
RACTF
Radial Source
Riseup Networks
Sanctuary Computer
Solidaires Informatique
SumoStack
SUSE
TEN7
The FreeDOS Project
The HardenedBSD Foundation / The HardenedBSD Project
The Linux Experiment
Tor Project
Velvetyne – Libre and Open Source Foundry
wiquaya.org
X.org Foundation
April
Document Foundation
EFF
Fedora Council
FSFE
KDE
May First Movement Technology
Mixxx
OpenUK
Organization for Ethical Source
OSI
Outreachy
OW2
Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science
Red Hat
Software Freedom Conservancy
Solidaires Informatique

and the rest of us will try to minimise the harm done by the FSF.
You'd better remove Mozilla from this list. Mozilla killed any possibility of having 100% free (as in freedom) browser.
Nowadays to comply with web standards, your browser must have some proprietary bits, for example Widevine.
vv221 12 Apr
No one was asking for any kind of half-hearted apology from either RMS or the FSF directors board.

What was expected from the FSF was to not put RMS back in a seat of power. Because the free software users this group pretends to be the voice of do not want to be represented by someone unable to understand basic things like consent or gender equality.

But the FSF showed us instead that they care more about the ego of their guru, rather than the demands of the people that they are supposed to speak for. By doing that they proved that they are no longer relevant, and are actually only representing themselves.

Such an epic fail from a group pretending to fight for ethics is baffling. It’s obvious that the FSF is no longer relevant for the free software users and developers. I wonder how long ago they stopped being relevant and only started working for their self-interest only.
Aleph 12 Apr
Stallman is not a confirmed abuser by any stretch of those words.
Since Scaine won't provide source, I will throw some myself:

Here's Libreboot founder and developer Leah Rowe (a transwoman) defending "Stallman the transphobic":
https://libreboot.org/news/rms.html

Here's a feminist activist defending "Stallman the misogynist"
https://whoisylvia.medium.com/richard-stallman-has-been-vilified-by-those-who-dont-know-him-a3907b25b4c7

Here's a letter with +6000 verifiable signatures and an entire website with more testimonies and articles supporting him:
https://stallmansupport.org/index.html

You don't have to agree with all the weird crap Stallman sometimes says, but he's not "toxic" or any of the ridiculous accusations they have been laying on him. He's the most passionate voice defending free software there is, and he should be with the FSF
Liam Dawe 12 Apr
Thanks for all the comments everyone but will be closing it here. It's late and we can't keep an eye on it in our sleep.
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Patreon, Liberapay or PayPal Donation.

We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
The comments on this article are closed.
Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams