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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.
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130 comments
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amatai 18 September 2019 at 1:21 pm UTC
So many confusion. The facts are: a professor of the MIT send highly problematic comment to a whole departement (students included) while the MIT was in a deep crisis and had to resign from his position of visiting researcher. Folowing its resignation from the MIT, he also resign from the head of the FSF. He still has FSF membership.

JaromirThey have also given Socrates the poison cup for no good reason. So it's not like the average person has changed.
He was planning a coup, hardly what I call "no good reason".
razing32Curios what is the best way to handle this.
Should an organization terminate all contacts with an individual for their opinions ?
That has not happened yet. He is still part of the FSF. For the MIT, Grotendick who was a incommensurably greater genius than Stallman has to break tie with the French college when he starts saying that science should stop at his conference.
Some opinion are incompatible with some function, you have the freedom to voice those opinion and loose your function. It's liberal America, you also have the freedom to die from poverty and malnutrition.

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.
johndoe 18 September 2019 at 1:22 pm UTC
Phlebiac
johndoeCurrently I don't see anything, that MS or Apple did to enrich the FOSS ecosystem

I'm no big fan of either, but: Apple funds development of projects like CUPS, LLVM, and Webkit (not that Webkit is terribly relevant any more). Microsoft has become a big contributor to Git, and funds the guys who made Mono.

These contributions/funds are a drop in the ocean. None of them are in-house developments.
dubigrasu 18 September 2019 at 1:45 pm UTC
g000h
dubigrasu
Purple Library Guy
dubigrasuHow can I filter out these kind of not (really) gaming related topics?
I filter out topics I'm not interested in by reading the article's title. Works pretty well.
Yeah sure, but I'm asking specifically about the control panel settings.

I think if Liam added a NON-GAMING tag, and added it to articles like this one, then it would solve Dubigrasi's issue (Not wishing to view non-gaming articles.)
Yes, that's basically what I asked for.
Through the use of tags, any reader of this site can adjust the content of what he wants/needs to see.
Yeah sure, you can choose not to read what you don't need. But the functionality is there for a reason, and is already used for other topics.
You're an AMD user and not interested of Nvidia drivers/software related news?...use the Nvidia tag to filter out those news.
You do only native gaming and don't wanna hear about Proton?...use the SteamPlay tag, and so on.
Or of course, you can use tags to specifically search for the same subjects. Is just a handy option to have.

So I don't think is an unreasonable request for a tag in this case. What actually the tag name would be, that's up to Liam.
wvstolzing 18 September 2019 at 1:55 pm UTC
I think this article by Chris Hedges is pretty pertinent:
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-curse-of-moral-purity/

Now for those of you who aren't familiar with him, it doesn't get any more 'progressive' than Chris Hedges -- but see the point he makes about the obsession with moral purity.

Since the other day, the one issue brought up by critics that is at all RELEVANT to a call to Stallman's resignation was the allegation that through the years, he has been consistently driving people away from the community. I've heard this claim coming from people that I respect (e.g. Michael W. Lucas, great technical writer from the BSD universe, & novelist) -- but never in a form other than anecdotes & hearsay. Claims such as this demand more support -- now, I'm aware that this is a well abused principle, and often an excuse to 'blame the victim'; but still, one has to be more demanding. I'd love to see all manner of bullies & assholes (with or without the sexual abusiveness dimension) get their comeuppance; but the kind of simplistic thinking laid out so well by Chris Hedges is definitely not the way to achieve that. (For one thing, what he calls the 'curse of moral purity' is a breeding ground for ever new big-ego bullies & assholes.)


Last edited by wvstolzing at 18 September 2019 at 1:56 pm UTC
Salvatos 18 September 2019 at 4:10 pm UTC
Cyba.CowboyI haven't read Stallman's latest comments personally, but my understanding is that one of the comments which got him in hot water was a comment that suggested some of these chicks went into these situations of their own free will... Which is a perfectly valid - and very likely accurate - point (like it or not, most 12+ year old children of both sexes have a much better understanding of sex than they should, at least these days!).
(Emphasis mine.) It’s not even that. He said that it was likely that these girls, while coerced by Epstein to offer sex for money, were probably also made to act like they were willing when approaching their clients (presumably so as not to scare them off; my words, not his). In my opinion, the headlines are a gross and either careless or malicious exaggeration of his statements.

It’s not even a long chain of e-mail when you figure out the weird PDF formatting. Here’s Stallman’s original e-mail in question, which as soulsource said seems to originally be in (partial) defence of an accused (and deceased) client of Epstein’s sex trafficking. Or I should even say, in defence of accurately describing his offence.

StallmanThe announcement of the Friday event does an injustice to Marvin Minsky:
Quotedeceased AI "pioneer" Marvin Minsky (who is accused of assaulting one of Epstein's victims [2])

The injustice is in the word "assaulting". The term "sexual assault" is so vague and slippery that it facilitates accusation inflation:
taking claims that someone did X and leading people to think of it as Y, which is much worse than X.

The accusation quoted is a clear example of inflation. The reference reports the claim that Minsky had sex with one of Epstein’s harem.
(See (link))
Let's presume that was true (I see no reason to disbelieve it).

The word "assaulting" presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but the article itself says no such thing.
Only that they had sex.

We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates.

I've concluded from various examples of accusation inflation that it is absolutely wrong to use the term "sexual assault" in an accusation.

Whatever conduct you want to criticize, you should describe it with a specific term that avoids moral vagueness about the nature of the criticism.

I won’t analyze it with Stallman’s rigour, but there are a few points worth repeating although others have already said so; from top to bottom:

1. Stallman’s correspondence is mostly interested in the differences between sex, rape and sexual assault and using the proper terms in an accusation, as the acts imply different levels of severity and mal-intent (in this case on the part of Minsky, not Epstein).

2. To reiterate, he says she likely presented herself as entirely willing, not that she actually was. The difference matters here since he is evaluating Minsky’s culpability as a client, not Epstein’s as a pimp. I’m not sure whether Stallman implies that it makes the situation any better, but keep in mind he’s still arguing against the use of the term "assault", which leads us to:

3. He is not wrong to say that in such a scenario, it’s entirely possible that there was no use of physical force and "assault" would not apply.

The whole thing gets more wobbly and weird as the discussion goes on, and certainly provides fodder for anyone wanting to get rid of him, but at the very least Stallman clearly expresses that "We know that Giuffre was being coerced into sex -- by Epstein. She was being harmed. But the details do affect whether, and to what extent, Minsky was responsible for that."

Source: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6405929-09132019142056-0001.html
Purple Library Guy 18 September 2019 at 4:49 pm UTC
Cyba.CowboyMeanwhile, everyone conveniently "forgets" that Donald Trump, "Prince" Philip and Stephen Hawking (among others) have all been accused of associating with Jeffrey Epstein to some degree... Most of them on a close, regular basis and some of them - notably "Prince" Philip and Donald Trump - have repeatedly had accusations of sexual misconduct made against them, often in the company of or courtesy of an arrangement by Jeffrey Epstein.

I haven't read Stallman's latest comments personally, but my understanding is that one of the comments which got him in hot water was a comment that suggested some of these chicks went into these situations of their own free will... Which is a perfectly valid - and very likely accurate - point (like it or not, most 12+ year old children of both sexes have a much better understanding of sex than they should, at least these days!).

And why is no one asking where the parents were, when these "vulnerable" chicks were flying around the world screwing rich and powerful people / "royalty"? If my daughter was that age and was flying around with a "prince" ad some wealthy dude in a private jet, I'd expect people to be asking some awfully big questions!
Couple of corrections:
--It's not prince Philip. It's prince Andrew, the Queen's younger son, prince Charles' younger brother. His niche in the family seems to be operating as a sort of trade ambassador for Britain, hobnobbing with arms dealers and whatnot; I've always thought he was on the sleazy side.
--Your understanding of the comments is incorrect. The core one that got him in hot water has been quoted here a couple of times:
QuoteWe can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him [Minsky] as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates.
I have now looked at the email chain some; he says further
QuoteWe know that Giuffre was being coerced into sex -- by Epstein. She was being harmed. But the details do affect whether, and to what extent, Minsky was responsible for that.
So what he was saying was, it's likely a girl would have been faking being willing even though she most likely wasn't actually willing. He was not suggesting Epstein wasn't coercing them. To the contrary, he says flat out that Epstein was.

You do seem to be suggesting that; I don't agree. The way it seems to have gone is, this stylish obviously rich woman would find these dirt poor kids and recruit them on the basis of being basically eye candy/service staff. It's not like there aren't plenty of people who do that with no sex attached. Then once they were on sites, usually distant from their homes and isolated, they'd be expected to do what the other kids were doing; Darth Epstein would be, in a more jolly way than Vader, "I am altering the deal; pray I don't alter it any further." It's not that hard to pressure most people once they're cut off and alone, let alone kids.
Presumably most of them didn't tell their parents just what was going down, just that they were making good (by the standards of dirt poor families) money. It's possible some parents made a stink and successfully got their kids back. It's possible some parents tried and were stonewalled, and if you're a poor person how are you going to expect it to play out if you try to get the cops to go after a billionaire? But sure, some of those parents probably sucked. Some of those parents were probably in jail. Not sure what makes that relevant though--what, it's OK if bad things happen to kids as long as they have bad parents? Predators aren't culpable, it's their victims' fault for not having better parents to defend them? I don't get it.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 18 September 2019 at 5:10 pm UTC
Cyba.Cowboy 19 September 2019 at 5:30 am UTC
LungDragoWe truly live in a f*cked up world. Just like in the Orwell game. Destroy someone by publicizing a statement out of context. So easy!

2 + 2 = 5

Slightly off-topic, but ha, you should come to Australia... "1984" is alive and well here.


Purple Library GuyThe way it seems to have gone is, this stylish obviously rich woman would find these dirt poor kids and recruit them on the basis of being basically eye candy/service staff. It's not like there aren't plenty of people who do that with no sex attached. Then once they were on sites, usually distant from their homes and isolated, they'd be expected to do what the other kids were doing; Darth Epstein would be, in a more jolly way than Vader, "I am altering the deal; pray I don't alter it any further." It's not that hard to pressure most people once they're cut off and alone, let alone kids.
Presumably most of them didn't tell their parents just what was going down, just that they were making good (by the standards of dirt poor families) money. It's possible some parents made a stink and successfully got their kids back. It's possible some parents tried and were stonewalled, and if you're a poor person how are you going to expect it to play out if you try to get the cops to go after a billionaire? But sure, some of those parents probably sucked. Some of those parents were probably in jail. Not sure what makes that relevant though--what, it's OK if bad things happen to kids as long as they have bad parents? Predators aren't culpable, it's their victims' fault for not having better parents to defend them? I don't get it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting the blame back onto the victims here and whilst we will never be privvy to the full facts, I do believe that at least some of these girls were carefully "encouraged" to participate in sexual misconduct with Epstein and his buddies, if not all of them (the girls)... With so much money and power at your disposal, I suspect it would be pretty easy to nudge people in the "right" direction.

My point that I was saying (at least for that part of my post), is that there are some pretty valid questions which need to be asked, and people are conveniently refusing to seek answers and / or are ignore these facts in favor of the little issues - such as some geek sitting at a desk who should know better than to comment on a highly controversial topic in his position...

Regarding the "parents" thing, I think it is unfair to blanket them all as being in jail or having abandoned these kids and whatnot, though that may be the case for some of them... In saying that, as I explained to my wife, the most likely scenario is that a lot of these parents simply "turned a blind eye" in hopes of rubbing shoulders with the wealthy and the elite - it would not be the first time a parent (from any class of society) has neglected their moral and legal responsibilities in favor of such an outcome.

As a father, the thought of that makes me cringe, but sadly, it happens all the time, and the Epstein thing is not even that bad compared to what some "parents" do in the hopes of rubbing shoulders with the wealthy and the elite.

The other issue is, and this is a tricky one, is the fact that a lot of people are simply ignoring the rather serious accusations against "Prince" Andrew, Donald Trump and various others who are wealthy and / or powerful...

What makes it "tricky"?

Well, look at his suicide... The entire thing is surrounded by "facts" that just don't match up, despite the fact that he was a high-profile prisoner in one of the most "secure" prisons in America.

And the fact that everyone is completely avoiding the topic of Epstein's buddies being participants in some or all of Epstein's activities, instead focussing on the smaller issues, such as a geek / academic who was silly enough to voice some controversial opinions about an already controversial topic.

It would be unrealistic to expect anything to come out of any investigation against Epstein's long list of wealthy and powerful buddies - this stuff happens all the time (you're kidding yourself if you think the wealthy / elite don't do this all the time!) and they don't get away with it for no reason... But that doesn't mean everyone needs to ignore the fact that this sort of thing was happening.


Last edited by Cyba.Cowboy at 19 September 2019 at 6:23 am UTC
Purple Library Guy 19 September 2019 at 6:42 am UTC
Cyba.Cowboy
LungDragoWe truly live in a f*cked up world. Just like in the Orwell game. Destroy someone by publicizing a statement out of context. So easy!

2 + 2 = 5

Slightly off-topic, but ha, you should come to Australia... "1984" is alive and well here.


Purple Library GuyThe way it seems to have gone is, this stylish obviously rich woman would find these dirt poor kids and recruit them on the basis of being basically eye candy/service staff. It's not like there aren't plenty of people who do that with no sex attached. Then once they were on sites, usually distant from their homes and isolated, they'd be expected to do what the other kids were doing; Darth Epstein would be, in a more jolly way than Vader, "I am altering the deal; pray I don't alter it any further." It's not that hard to pressure most people once they're cut off and alone, let alone kids.
Presumably most of them didn't tell their parents just what was going down, just that they were making good (by the standards of dirt poor families) money. It's possible some parents made a stink and successfully got their kids back. It's possible some parents tried and were stonewalled, and if you're a poor person how are you going to expect it to play out if you try to get the cops to go after a billionaire? But sure, some of those parents probably sucked. Some of those parents were probably in jail. Not sure what makes that relevant though--what, it's OK if bad things happen to kids as long as they have bad parents? Predators aren't culpable, it's their victims' fault for not having better parents to defend them? I don't get it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting the blame back onto the victims here and whilst we will never be privvy to the full facts, I do believe that at least some of these girls were carefully "encouraged" to participate in sexual misconduct with Epstein and his buddies, if not all of them (the girls)... With so much money and power at your disposal, I suspect it would be pretty easy to nudge people in the "right" direction.

My point that I was saying (at least for that part of my post), is that there are some pretty valid questions which need to be asked, and people are conveniently refusing to seek answers and / or are ignore these facts in favor of the little issues - such as some geek sitting at a desk who should know better than to comment on a highly controversial topic in his position...

Regarding the "parents" thing, I think it is unfair to blanket them all as being in jail or having abandoned these kids and whatnot, though that may be the case for some of them... In saying that, as I explained to my wife, the most likely scenario is that a lot of these parents simply "turned a blind eye" in hopes of rubbing shoulders with the wealthy and the elite - it would not be the first time a parent (from any class of society) has neglected their moral and legal responsibilities in favor of such an outcome.

As a father, the thought of that makes me cringe, but sadly, it happens all the time, and the Epstein thing is not even that bad compared to what some "parents" do in the hopes of rubbing shoulders with the wealthy and the elite.

The other issue is, and this is a tricky one, is the fact that a lot of people are simply ignoring the rather serious accusations against "Prince" Andrew, Donald Trump and various others who are wealthy and / or powerful...

What makes it "tricky"?

Well, look at his suicide... The entire thing is surrounded by "facts" that just don't match up, despite the fact that he was a high-profile prisoner in one of the most "secure" prisons in America.

And the fact that everyone is completely avoiding the topic of Epstein's buddies being participants in some or all of Epstein's activities, instead focussing on the smaller issues, such as a geek / academic who was silly enough to voice some controversial opinions about an already controversial topic.

It would be unrealistic to expect anything to come out of any investigation against Epstein's long list of wealthy and powerful buddies - this stuff happens all the time (you're kidding yourself if you think the wealthy / elite don't do this all the time!) and they don't get away with it for no reason... But that doesn't mean everyone needs to ignore the fact that this sort of thing was happening.
I tend to view Epstein as a symptom of wider problems. And yeah, consider that he was doing his crap for years, getting a rep for his parties and so on, and as far as I can make out none of the attendees ever denounced him. Too much concentrated wealth and power gives those wealthy and powerful the ability to control other people, too much distance between upper classes and the rest makes those upper classes dehumanize the rest of us. The concentration is getting higher, the distance is getting larger. So Epstein types will be out there doing that kind of thing because they can, and because they don't see us as human but just something to be exploited. Consider the phrase "human resources" and think about what it actually means. Epstein individually was just the tip of the iceberg.
Liam Dawe 19 September 2019 at 10:53 am UTC
dubigrasu
g000h
dubigrasu
Purple Library Guy
dubigrasuHow can I filter out these kind of not (really) gaming related topics?
I filter out topics I'm not interested in by reading the article's title. Works pretty well.
Yeah sure, but I'm asking specifically about the control panel settings.

I think if Liam added a NON-GAMING tag, and added it to articles like this one, then it would solve Dubigrasi's issue (Not wishing to view non-gaming articles.)
Yes, that's basically what I asked for.
Through the use of tags, any reader of this site can adjust the content of what he wants/needs to see.
Yeah sure, you can choose not to read what you don't need. But the functionality is there for a reason, and is already used for other topics.
You're an AMD user and not interested of Nvidia drivers/software related news?...use the Nvidia tag to filter out those news.
You do only native gaming and don't wanna hear about Proton?...use the SteamPlay tag, and so on.
Or of course, you can use tags to specifically search for the same subjects. Is just a handy option to have.

So I don't think is an unreasonable request for a tag in this case. What actually the tag name would be, that's up to Liam.
Such discussion and requests need to be made in the forum where it can be seen properly, not buried in the article comments please.
dubigrasu 19 September 2019 at 11:27 am UTC
Liam DaweSuch discussion and requests need to be made in the forum where it can be seen properly, not buried in the article comments please.
Ok, thanks, I'll do that.
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