Don't want to see articles from a certain category? When logged in, go to your User Settings and adjust your feed in the Content Preferences section where you can block tags!
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. See more here.

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
16 Likes
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 and find me on Mastodon.
See more from me
The comments on this article are closed.
26 comments
Page: 1/3»
  Go to:

psymin 12 Apr, 2021
This is great to hear <3
CSharp 12 Apr, 2021
I'm very happy the FSF has made up it's mind and is looking for a path forward. The fact that they took several weeks to discuss this is a good sign IMO. No rash decision in response to an outraged mob. :D
BielFPs 12 Apr, 2021
scaine 12 Apr, 2021
View PC info
  • Contributing Editor
  • Mega Supporter
I'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.
Kithop 12 Apr, 2021
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.

Pretty much the entire rest of the industry has stopped trusting them, too. At best, we'll see another org fork in the vein of OpenOffice/LibreOffice, ffmpeg/libav, etc.
tomaszg 12 Apr, 2021
Sad he had to apologize. It's only encouraging more attacks of this kind on other people.
CSharp 12 Apr, 2021
Quoting: scaineconfirmed abuser

Sources?
rustybroomhandle 12 Apr, 2021
Quoting: tomaszgSad he had to apologize. It's only encouraging more attacks of this kind on other people.

I think he needs to apologize more, perhaps a bit of groveling thrown in. And sheesh, the wording. "Women" Stallman, seriously? Stallman's rap sheet is long, ranging far beyond just comments about a pedophile.
PublicNuisance 12 Apr, 2021
Quoting: tomaszgSad he had to apologize. It's only encouraging more attacks of this kind on other people.

Agreed. Apoligizing to the mob will only make it worse, never better. Forgivness will never be on the table with these people.
TheSHEEEP 12 Apr, 2021
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: tomaszgSad he had to apologize. It's only encouraging more attacks of this kind on other people.
Well, he did something that one should actually apologize for. It's not one of these situations where some bored blue checkmark dug up some ancient tweet or forum post, removes all context and starts going on a crusade for virtue currency.

He made really bad comments on topics he didn't know much of anything about - on a public space.
Like... stuff that makes casual N-wording seem innocent (IMO).

But it was so odd and so out of touch, it's easy to see how if that wasn't edgy satire, he simply didn't know any better (and his general social awkwardness is well known, not all people are aware of all things social), so an apology and quite a loss of power is fine.

Of course, to the cancel and outrage mob, an apology and sensible consequences is never enough and once they smell blood, they'll keep at it until the target has been properly removed from society or they get bored and move on to their next ritualistic public hanging.

It definitely speaks against the FSF that they were unaware about the uproar this would cause in modern times.
But their handling of the situation - from not letting a member getting cancelled to seeking to improve their structure to prevent further similar incidents, it's all just very level-headed - definitely made me a supporter.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 12 April 2021 at 5:51 pm UTC
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Reward Tiers: Patreon. Plain Donations: PayPal.

This ensures all of our main content remains totally free for everyone with no article paywalls. We also don't have tons of adverts, there's also no tracking and we respect your privacy. 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.