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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.

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130 comments
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Jaromir 19 September 2019 at 3:43 pm UTC
amataiThe facts are: a professor of the MIT send highly problematic comment to a whole departement

These are not objective facts but rather a subjective interpretation of the facts.

amataiwhile the MIT was in a deep crisis

If I may quote MIT: 'Preparing for a crisis is not a luxury; it is a necessity. You know the odds are high that your institute will suffer a disaster or crisis at some point.' It seems that they had already seen it coming to MIT and that they had already finished their response to a crisis before they had the excuse of a crisis. It is also fairly easy to see a crisis coming when you know that certain things are happening in the institution that are actually never acceptable. And I'm not talking about Stallman.

amataiHe was planning a coup, hardly what I call "no good reason".

Suppose he indeed planned this. Then your own reaction proves my point that the average person has not changed his thinking patterns. A second problem with your statement is that he was not accused for a coup but for these two things: Socrates stood before a jury of 500 of his fellow Athenians accused of "refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state" and of "corrupting the youth."

I can give other examples that illustrate that the average person has changed little: Euripides gives the following words to the mother of the girl Erechtheus sacrificed: “I love my children, but I love my country more.” A contemporary version of the above statement: 'I love my children, but I love myself more.' If they would love their children because that is often not the case.

What the death of Socrates illustrates is that people sometimes like to poison other people and that these people are usually not responsible for this. This has actually become increasingly clear over the years. If you look at how the average person lives now you can decide that thanks to new technology he has always been able to refine poisoning other people without being accountable for this.

Most people eat genetically modified waste that often contains pesticides. Most people simply poison other people to go to work. And this does not end with poisoning because air pollution is actually murder. People get certain cancers because people like to travel by plane and the absurd noise nuisance gives innocent people cancer. The beautiful gold mines are pumping massive cyanide into the ground. Almost all of our technological devices contain hazardous materials and the financing of these devices means that wars are financed in Africa. And Africans are allowed to mines where they are naturally poisoned. The managers of the countless companies that produce huge amounts of poison don't usually wonder what the hell they're doing. What they do wonder is why they only earn 6000 EUR and have to pay 2000 EUR to society, to support people who do not work when they themselves 'work so hard'.

So thanks to technological 'innovations', people are increasingly able to satisfy their natural urge to poison. And has Stallman done things worse than how the average person fills his days? The correct answer is: no.

So you can naturally wonder about what a person like Thomas Bushnell reflects in his enormously hollow articles. It is also bizarre that he still believes in matters that he cannot prove in any way. It is also striking how many pedophiles can be found in the religious environment where he feels at home like a fish in the water.

What I have often seen myself is that certain old men often make contact in a strange way with underage girls in public affairs. And often these minor girls show in a clear way that these approaches are undesirable. Yet I often see these old men keep repeating this behavior in public affairs, often with the same underage girls. What I also see is that although these things are publicly visible, few people respond indignantly to this, and that no one addresses these old men about this. It would not surprise me at all that Thomas Bushnell is one of these people who has seen similar things in his life, but that he has never written articles about it. Maybe he only writes articles about these 'problems' when it suits him.

What I also see is that Trump has been best friends with Epstein. Would it not make sense for them to be so good friends because they were on exactly the same wavelength? Do we not have enough proof that Trump and Epstein were on the same wavelength with their ideas about women?

Here are some examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0Z3hkCGsfY&t=64s
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/politics/donald-trump-sexism-tracker-every-offensive-comment-in-one-place/
https://apps.voxmedia.com/graphics/vox-trump-misogny-timeline/
http://www.businessinsider.fr/us/trumps-worst-insults-toward-women-2018-10
A Timeline of Donald Trump’s Inappropriate History With Women

Although Trump suddenly says that he was not a fan of Epstein, images seem to indicate that they got along well:
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/8LZ2gMnHJ6U/maxresdefault.jpg
https://img-s-msn-com.akamaized.net/tenant/amp/entityid/AAEtDB1.img?h=630&w=1200&m=6&q=60&o=t&l=f&f=jpg&x=1046&y=235
https://media11.s-nbcnews.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Video/201907/n_wh_deadline_epstein_190717_1920x1080.nbcnews-fp-1200-630.jpg

Look how happy they were both together in the past:
link1link2

What I find in another article: Donald Trump has not only been accused of rape and sexual misconduct by more than 20 women over the past several decades, but he regularly uses his power to threaten survivors who come forward and to protect and promote men who abuse women.

Epstein was known to hang out with the likes of Bill Clinton, Woody Allen, Prince Andrew, celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and, yes, the president, sometimes giving them rides on his infamous private child-sex-abuse plane, nicknamed the “Lolita Express.” Trump, who now claims he's "not a fan," in 2002 called Epstein a “terrific guy” who "likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-07-08/jeffrey-epstein-arrest-is-a-worry-for-donald-trump
Brown’s stories took note of the extensive network of political, business and legal allies assembled by Epstein over the years and questioned the extent to which that network may have protected him or helped cushion his fall. It included: A former president, Bill Clinton; the U.K.’s Prince Andrew; powerhouse attorneys such as Alan Dershowitz, Kenneth Starr, and Roy Black; and business contacts such as Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, and Leslie Wexner, the owner of retailer Victoria’s Secret. Several years ago, Gawker published a copy of Epstein’s address book and it was packed with marquee names from Hollywood, Wall Street and Washington.

Trump’s name was among them, too. The financier was a member of Trump’s Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, and the men dined at one another’s homes. Trump flew on Epstein’s plane at least once. According to Brown, Epstein is quoted in court papers as saying he wanted to set up his modeling agency – which prosecutors believe he used to get access to underage girls – “the same way Trump set up his modeling agency.”

Although a court filing says Mar-a-Lago eventually dumped Epstein from its ranks after he approached an underage girl there, Trump has generally spoken about Epstein fondly – to me and to others. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York magazine in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, an unidentified young woman filed a suit against Trump in which she alleged that he raped her when she was 13 at a party at Epstein’s Upper East Side townhouse in Manhattan. Trump denied the claims and the woman later dropped the suit because, her lawyer said, she was intimidated by death threats. The Trump camp described her allegations as “untrue.”

https://www.spin.com/2019/07/donald-trump-jeffrey-epstein-party-video-1992-mar-a-lago/
The real estate mogul is seen in the clips palling around the financier, pointing out women on the dance floor, and whispering something into Epstein’s ear that made him double over and laugh. At one point, Trump motions towards someone off camera and tells Epstein “she’s hot.

Strange that Thomas Bushnell does not write articles about what a good leader that Trump is for his country. It is also strange that Trump is constantly allowed to make just as controversial statements as Stallman, and gets away with this. Nor would it surprise me at all that Stallman has not committed any act in his life that is more regrettable than the things Trump does every day.
Eike 21 September 2019 at 10:32 am UTC
devnull> Frankly, I think that's tin-foil hat level stuff there.

Ohh Liam... poor guy. I give you Red Hat:

Red Hate


QuoteRed Hat urges the FSF board to seize the opportunity during its current leadership succession by appointing a president and members of its board that are more diverse, including from a national, racial and gender perspective.

Wolves be a circlin kids. Lot of unemployed ex management types who are used to being overpaid PHB's smell blood.

You cut out all context, so I'll put it back in:
"I simply can't understand how it is possible that such companies like MS or Apple can even get a seat at FSF?! Something bad is going on IMHO."

So, how does what you linked refer in any way, shape or form to "such companies like MS or Apple can even get a seat at FSF"? It's about diversity in the FSF.
KijBeta 22 September 2019 at 1:43 am UTC
It took a characterization of his remarks in a disturbing twisted way to finally get rid of him.
But his real remarks, and harassment should have been enough to get rid of him 20 years ago.
It's been more than 20 years of disturbing sexual, harassing, and disparaging remarks made by him.
Honestly never should have gotten to this point, he should have been removed and fired many many years ago.

The truly disturbing part is that people, are acting like the BS that went down in the news cycle means he did nothing wrong.
It's okay to appreciate his work and devotion to the Free Software Movement, and still not want him to be celebrated due to his sexual harassment, and disturbing ideas that got ignored for years due to the culture he was a part of.
Diable 22 September 2019 at 9:34 am UTC
Patola
rustybroomhandle
PatolaAnother victim of cancel culture...

Nobody who uses the phrase "cancel culture" with a straight face can be taken seriously. Off to the kids table with you.
QED. This is a hallmark of cancel culture, there is no discussion, simply personal attacks, sometimes quite vicious ones. Some subjects cannot be discussed. Some opinions cannot be uttered. This is the new, more radical form of making something taboo. It has grave personal consequences.

Stallman lost his jobs because he said something that could be considered a defense of a well known convicted sex offender. He would have lost his jobs 30 years ago for saying the same.

Losing his jobs had nothing to do with any modern day cancel culture and everything to do with our society's eternal vilification of rapist, paedophiles and sex offenders. As you said, "some opinions cannot be offered" and defending a sex offender is one.

I'm sure Stallman will rail against societies closed mindedness but he won't find may defenders.
Doc Angelo 22 September 2019 at 8:59 am UTC
KijBetaIt took a characterization of his remarks in a disturbing twisted way to finally get rid of him.
But his real remarks, and harassment should have been enough to get rid of him 20 years ago.
It's been more than 20 years of disturbing sexual, harassing, and disparaging remarks made by him.
Honestly never should have gotten to this point, he should have been removed and fired many many years ago.

The truly disturbing part is that people, are acting like the BS that went down in the news cycle means he did nothing wrong.
It's okay to appreciate his work and devotion to the Free Software Movement, and still not want him to be celebrated due to his sexual harassment, and disturbing ideas that got ignored for years due to the culture he was a part of.

RMS harassed other people? What did he do to others? Is there any source on that? And what do you mean with "culture he was part of"? What kind of culture?
Purple Library Guy 22 September 2019 at 6:34 pm UTC
DiableStallman lost his jobs because he said something that could be considered a defense of a well known convicted sex offender.
Well, except it couldn't. He was very very unequivocal about the well known convicted sex offender being a horrible rapist. He said something that could be considered a defence of Marvin Minsky, who as far as I know was not a well known convicted sex offender. His entire argument was that Minsky might not have known just how horrible Epstein was being. That is not a defence of Epstein and cannot be considered one without a massive dose of intellectual dishonesty.
Now, he may be wrong--frankly, I think it would take some world class naivete for a Minsky to think this girl is throwing herself at him because she's a huge groupie for aging AI research pioneers. But that's a somewhat different issue.

DiableHe would have lost his jobs 30 years ago for saying the same.
Quite likely. Rush to judgment without looking at the facts is not a new thing under the sun. But it wouldn't have been right 30 years ago, either.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 22 September 2019 at 6:38 pm UTC
KijBeta 22 September 2019 at 10:46 pm UTC
Doc Angelo
KijBetaIt took a characterization of his remarks in a disturbing twisted way to finally get rid of him.
But his real remarks, and harassment should have been enough to get rid of him 20 years ago.
It's been more than 20 years of disturbing sexual, harassing, and disparaging remarks made by him.
Honestly never should have gotten to this point, he should have been removed and fired many many years ago.

The truly disturbing part is that people, are acting like the BS that went down in the news cycle means he did nothing wrong.
It's okay to appreciate his work and devotion to the Free Software Movement, and still not want him to be celebrated due to his sexual harassment, and disturbing ideas that got ignored for years due to the culture he was a part of.

RMS harassed other people? What did he do to others? Is there any source on that? And what do you mean with "culture he was part of"? What kind of culture?

Back in 2006, at a conference a young woman asked about changes happening and the implications of the "business" on a GNU project he had some kind of personal interest in.
His response was something about her being a dumb blond, and later implied that she won't get far if she is not showing more of her body and other skills. This would be laughed at by most of the men. At that same place he would make a graphic comment about sex and a specific thing that had to do with coding.
Why would any of this ever have a "source"? There was no reason for the people that condoned that kind of BS to make it into a news story, par for the course.
He also has a long history of insulting people who don't share his absolutist position, ad sharing opinions that are not appropriate in any public place.
He should not have ever been allowed to be a spokesperson with any power, due to his unfiltered personal skills.

I respect his passion, and his drive to make the world a better place, and improve the Free Software Movement.
But he is a terrible person, who never should have been given a position of power and influence.
My opinion is based on one moment, and what could easily be dismissed as gossip, but it has a solid foundation for me to believe most of the disgusting things he said and did for much of his life.
Cybolic 23 September 2019 at 2:09 pm UTC
amatai[...]
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.

That wasn't what he argued though. He wrote:
Richard StallmanDoes it really? I think it is morally absurd to define "rape" in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17.

I think the existence of a dispute about that supports my point that the term "sexual assault" is slippery, so we ought to use more concrete terms when accusing anyone.

That's arguing specifically about using the terms "rape" and "sexual assault" for cases where both parties are consenting and wouldn't be doing anything illegal if they were doing it in a different country.
As others have said, you need to see this through the eyes of a pedantic and leave the rest of the case out of the discussion of this specific point.

It's not as if he doesn't have a point here; if a 19 year old American has consensual sex with a 17 year old while travelling in Europe, should that also be called rape? Disregarding the rest of the case, I can certainly see his argument.
Doc Angelo 23 September 2019 at 3:13 pm UTC
KijBetaBack in 2006, at a conference a young woman asked about changes happening and the implications of the "business" on a GNU project he had some kind of personal interest in.
His response was something about her being a dumb blond, and later implied that she won't get far if she is not showing more of her body and other skills.

I'm not going to believe that the actual and real RMS said these things and meant it like that. I would if you tell me he wore his St. Ignucius outfit at that moment and showed his odd humor. But I'm not going to believe this without a source on that. And with source I don't mean yet another article with vague third party knowledge. You're right. Not everything has a definitive written and archived source. That means that not everything is documented, but this works both ways. Until I happen to know that this actually took place, I'm going to disregard it as a rumor.

You're free to believe anything about anyone, of course. We all are.
namiko 23 September 2019 at 3:50 pm UTC
chrBut I think we shouldn't ignore the fact that despite this being almost always a sincere concern, there are also those who are just hiding their intentionally malign anti-societal behavior behind pretending to be a victim of some global mass movement of silencing and censorship. I do get it that some people sincerely feel this way.
It's in our best interests to submit to the will of the majority or law, but it isn't always to our benefit, personally or to the rest of humanity, in the long run. We need more in-depth discussions and scientific testing to discover how we can best do things. Something offensive to someone is bound to come up during this process, but if we falter at the 'wrong' words or ideas, we can't progress our thinking any further, because going against what was formerly 'normal' is sometimes the starting point of new discoveries.

I honestly don't know how far censorship is being promoted, but it seems like it's been gradually increasing online for some time. People call it a global mass movement because it really appears to be. I mean, who among us would want to publicly profess a like of the "wrong" political candidate, even to our families and friends? Maybe we tell no one. Maybe we'd lie right to the faces of our loved ones because we're afraid.

That some people even contemplate these things is a bad sign.
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