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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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Kithop 17 September 2019 at 5:18 pm UTC
Doc AngeloDo leaders of countries have to be almost silent about almost anything, then? Of course not. Because then they would just be mouth pieces of the public opinion because they want to get re-elected.

... my sarcasm detector is beeping.

Kind of off-topic here, but I mean, 'mouth pieces of the public opinion because they want to get re-elected' is pretty much modus operandi for politics, isn't it?

Also, I'm a bit confused here, on 'shitty social rules'. The social rules that say it's okay for men in power to make sexist, homophobic, etc. jokes while at the office, surrounded not only by their straight male peers, but women, etc. who are supposed to smile and nod lest they lose their jobs for speaking out? 'Cause I'm totally fine with getting rid of those - those have held us back ever since men took over 'computer programming' and turned it into 'software engineering' and pushed women (perfectly smart, trained, capable women!) out of the field in droves. And we wonder why it's so hard to get women back into STEM - it's certainly not a lack of interest in the subject fields...

If you're the spokesperson for an organization, be it a non-profit or a C-level exec of a megacorporation, the opinions you air in public reflect on that organization, no matter how much you try to qualify it as personal vs. professional. That's part of being a public figure and spokesperson. Yeah, it sucks, and you should be able to have a private forum to discuss things. A mailing list to a large chunk of staff isn't that private forum.
monnef 17 September 2019 at 5:53 pm UTC
Liam DaweIt has absolutely nothing to do with opposing views. It's about people having respect, once people start losing that and going wild, comments can be closed or offending users posts removed. If people follow our rules, there's no issue.

As I've said for a long time, opposing views are welcome. Respect however, has to be shown to fellow readers.
Respect for a person is earned, not freely given. I will try to be polite, respect other's opinions, but I will not implicitly respect them, revere them.

Why preemptively disable comment sections then? I can only conclude from your actions that it was clear to you that your article was biased, you found your opinion morally superior (which is of course strongly subjective and likely to change with age, yours or in general) and you closed comments section to censor opposing views. I simply viewed it as "My position is so weak, my arguments are not fact-based, so they cannot withstand a rational discussion, a public scrutiny, so I choose to silence my opposition.".

So, if my opinion, which is not targeted at an individual user, on an arbitrary term X would be that "they should have no extra rights because of X", "they should not be (even 'positively') discriminated" or "I view X as a mental illness", would my comment not be censored? I would be merely stating my view, my opinion, wouldn't I?

Liam DaweFor pointing out corrections, we have a dedicated bit above comments in a very defined box for people to use any time.
Which when comments are closed will see only staff, and only after some time (comments are instant), and only if staff deems it necessary and have time a correction will be added. Also that does not address the other reasons for comments I listed.

PS: It's entirely possible I misunderstood something (e.g. the respect part), English is not my native language after all.
Dedale 17 September 2019 at 6:10 pm UTC
Erm, monnef,

I do not understand. The comments were NOT closed. That is why we can post here. I am not sure i get your meaning.
Eike 17 September 2019 at 6:10 pm UTC
Patolathere is no discussion

PatolaBy the way, weren't you who said the comments should not even had been opened? That seems to prove exactly what I said, if it depended on you there was still another discussion cancelled. Fortunately was Liam who decided on this and so far it is still open.

Patola, aren't you a university graduate/academic (or do I remember this wrong)?
We are in a discussion you stated could not happen.
You're self-contradicting.
Dedale 17 September 2019 at 6:14 pm UTC
I think he meant controversial discussions cannot happen when the cancel culture people have their way. This discussion DOES happen here because they had not their way.

An important parameter here seems to be civility.
Salvatos 17 September 2019 at 6:16 pm UTC
@monnef
May I suggest taking that conversation to the following thread: An Open Letter to Liam Dawe on Censorship

I predict that the topic at hand will generate a lengthy debate as it is without crossing the streams, so to speak.


Last edited by Salvatos at 17 September 2019 at 6:17 pm UTC
Liam Dawe 17 September 2019 at 6:18 pm UTC
Salvatos@monnef
May I suggest taking that conversation to the following thread: An Open Letter to Liam Dawe on Censorship

I predict that the topic at hand will generate a lengthy debate as it is without crossing the streams, so to speak.
Yes, please direct any more posts about closing/opening comments to the Forum. I will not discuss it here any more as it's nothing to do with the article.
cprn 17 September 2019 at 6:36 pm UTC
Wait. So paraphrasing RMS he said "how about using a less guilt implying term" when it came to accusing a deceased (i.e. not able to protect themselves) faculty member that hasn't actually been accused by the victim of the crime... further along the discussion gave a dispute of a difference between moral and lawful definition of rape as an argument supporting that idea (because there are differences and if there weren't the law around the world would be unanimous on the subject)... and was forced to resign? For asking someone to change the wording of a Facebook event so that it'd represent the truth about the situation and not an opinion? Or am I missing something.
chr 17 September 2019 at 6:43 pm UTC
@monnef, I see you have strong opinions connected to many philosophical concepts. Most people (including me) are too lazy to try to have a respectful conversation discussing and explaining the intricacies of those concepts with each next guy who hasn't consumed enough varied sources (videos, or preferably books). I recommend learning more about the topics of ethics and morality. Otherwise we would spend a lot of energy and time arguing about basic concepts and questions that other, more smart people (philosophers) have already explained and solved. Since you will probably accuse my sources of having a liberal agenda (as almost all scientists and artists and thinking people seem to have), I recommend consuming information from varied sources, but being equally skeptical of all of them. And giving all of them a fair chance of explaining themselves. I don't expect you want to spend a lot of time though, so I will just mention a single video that deals with slightly related topics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ESU5ONMMxs&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNgK6MZucdYldNkMybYIHKR&index=29
Doc Angelo 17 September 2019 at 6:50 pm UTC
KithopKind of off-topic here, but I mean, 'mouth pieces of the public opinion because they want to get re-elected' is pretty much modus operandi for politics, isn't it?

It is, nobody likes it, yet we got so accustomed to it that we think it's better for everyone to follow that line of behavior. Makes no sense to me. That's why I'm baffled.


KithopAlso, I'm a bit confused here, on 'shitty social rules'.

I'm referring to the behavior mentioned above as shitty social rule.


KithopIf you're the spokesperson for an organization, be it a non-profit or a C-level exec of a megacorporation, the opinions you air in public reflect on that organization, no matter how much you try to qualify it as personal vs. professional. That's part of being a public figure and spokesperson. Yeah, it sucks [...]

I know how it sadly is right now. It shouldn't be. Everybody can decide on how to act: Make your footprint on society as a silent person, or someone who speaks out loud for what he thinks is right. I absolutely know how chilling the pressure can be, and that's why I wish it wouldn't be there.


Last edited by Doc Angelo at 17 September 2019 at 6:51 pm UTC
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