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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 17 September 2019 at 9:54 am UTC
Eike
chancho_zombie
spayder26but declaring his opinion against laws against consented paedophilia, which is somewhat much more controversial.

pretty disturbing and disgusting.

Well, consented sex with 17 year old is perfectly legal here (Germany)...
Prostitution of a 17 years old is not legal in Germany (nor anywhere in Europe for what mater)

Even without the prostitution part, consented sex will not work either in most tribunal because of age and social position difference.

P.S: Sorry for the double post
chr 17 September 2019 at 10:01 am UTC
DedaleWell, for example, Stephen Hawkins used to make hilariously stupid political public comments from time to time. At the beginning, there were even people trying to interpret the deep meaning of the Master's words.

Then, mostly nobody cared. I still read his Brief History of Time with pleasure and as far as i know nobody refuses to work with Cambridge or on black hole evaporation.

Some correspondence between Einstein and Freud can also make you laugh or raise your hair, depending on your temperament.

Times change.

Eike
amataiP.S: I don't think the comment shall have been opened on this one, we'll see

Yeah, thought so, too.

Thus far it seems rather civilized for such a topic.

PatolaAnother victim of cancel culture...

I'm getting the impression that this is another troll-meme-right-wing term. Being intentionally obtuse, having a nice-looking shallow facade, hiding behind it the worst sides of humanity. Sorry if I'm entirely wrong and this is truly a neutral, unloaded, clear, unpoliticized term.
Eike 17 September 2019 at 10:06 am UTC
amataiProstitution of a 17 years old is not legal in Germany (nor anywhere in Europe for what mater)

Yes, I've added this into the post later. (The stuff cited didn't talk about money, though.)

amataiEven without the prostitution part, consented sex will not work either in most tribunal because of age and social position difference.

If you're not the other one's teacher or something like this, there won't be a problem.
Nanobang 17 September 2019 at 10:07 am UTC
Headline:
Famed Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Described Epstein Victims As 'Entirely Willing'

What Stallman actually wrote:
StallmanWe 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.


Last edited by Nanobang on 17 September 2019 at 10:11 am UTC
Pikolo 17 September 2019 at 10:08 am UTC
It's sad how honest people are much more vulnerable to being sniped for opinions because they speak them instead of removing any meaning by proxying their communication through lawyers. Stallman has had very controversial theoretical opinions that could be and were used against him, because he conducts his discussions under public scrutiny.

Interestingly, he has very recently changed his mind on damage caused by paedophilia: https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September_2019_(Sex_between_an_adult_and_a_child_is_wrong). And just as he was becoming a less controversial figure, Vice blew up in his face.
Liam Dawe 17 September 2019 at 10:11 am UTC
amataiP.S: I don't think the comment shall have been opened on this one, we'll see
We shall see how it goes, so far people have been okay.

As always, if people do repeatedly go overboard and make the community a bad place, the comments can be closed at any time.
Patola 17 September 2019 at 10:19 am UTC
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.


Last edited by Patola on 17 September 2019 at 10:23 am UTC
kaiman 17 September 2019 at 10:31 am UTC
Eike
spayder26Actually he was not defending Epstein (he called him rapist), but declaring his opinion against laws against consented paedophilia, which is somewhat much more controversial.
You seem to have information differing from mine.

I read that he found the "most plausible scenario" that the girls have been "entirely willing".
Read again. A cursory search didn't turn up RMS's actual post, but my understanding of the quoted line is a little different than what you make it to be.

QuoteWe 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.
But even that lacks the context of the whole, without the original source, so take it with a grain of salt.


Personally, I really wonder though how people can hang Stallman for his words, while nobody so much raises an eyebrow at the way Epstein's case was handled by the legal system. Makes me think priorities aren't what they ought to be these days.
Eike 17 September 2019 at 10:32 am UTC
PatolaQED. 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.

You proved the opposite. You did "utter" what you wanted to. And there wasn't any personal consequence whatsoever.

The following is not targeted at you, because I cannot judge the usage of "cancel culture", but it is important in general:

https://xkcd.com/1357/
Schattenspiegel 17 September 2019 at 10:45 am UTC
Yay another witch hunt!
Why do I always have to wonder if the hunters really feel themselves morally driven to burn people at the stake or if they just use this tool of public assassination to further their own immoral agendas?
There does not seem to be much evolution in that department from the earliest stages of recorded history. does there?

Anyway,
I would like to express some sincere gratitude to Dr. Stallman for the work he has done and wish him the best for the future.
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