Remove Richard Stallman - Selam G. - Medium

Stallman resigns from the FSF.


I am honestly surprised he resigned everywhere.

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It’s possible to read between the lines on his statement on the MIT resignation; and interpret it as “resign or be fired.”

My most cynical “I work at a university take” is : His position at the MIT lab was completely honorary. The administration had probably more to gain by clearing his office, once he stopped having PR value.

It might be more nuanced than that, in reality. It might not.

Im most surprised at the FSF resignation. I think it’s telling in a way the FSF announced it and NOT Stallman. Which implies to me it wasn’t voluntary. Stallman is strangely silent on it in his pseudo-microblog.

In theory I think he may have kept his mantainership of emacs; and in that vein is still part of the GNU project. In some ways thats historically full circle for him. Emacs is in many ways pre-unix pre-GNU and his very first widely published piece of software.


Continuing Coverage…

Vice president of the FSF aired some pretty angry emotions on Diaspora. I get anyone in the FSF being emotional. But they seem to be lashing out at detractors of Stallman and defending his behavior. (I do not have direct access to the Diaspora network. So I am trusting this as second hand news.)

Meanwhile Redhat released a statement asking for the entire board to be cleaned up. Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors

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Continuing Coverage…

Stallman formally announces he plans to continue to lead the GNU project:

I posted this in a protected toot on the Fediverse last week but I think it ought be said again:

Under the heading “freesoftware fears”.

  1. Stallman retains his roles in relationship to the GNU project ; OR it is formally announced he is removed from the GNU as well.
  2. Resulting controversy causes a GNU Schism.
  3. Schism effectively causes forks of base GNU userland.
  4. Distributions must select which userland tools to ship by default; pulling pretty much all distros into this frey.

Of course the BSDs will just continue to ship everything in ports.

Stallman steps down as GNU Project Leader.

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Stallman’s resignation has vanished from his not-exactly-a microblog. Who the hell knows.

Stallman decided to remove all ambiguity. Top of his personal website. Lots of chatter that the previous message was leftover from sort of attack on his personal website. Though ive also not seen him acknowledge that.

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Gut reaction: “chief GNUisance” sounds both unofficial and like a supercool thing from the 80s. :roll_eyes:

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Had the internet not coughed proof for me, of him using that as a semi-official title before all of this; I would have thought that it shocking self-aware humor.

A collection of GNU Maintaners including @cwebber have issued a statement: Joint statement on the GNU Project — 2019 — Blog — GNU Guix

We, the undersigned GNU maintainers and developers, owe a debt of gratitude to Richard Stallman for his decades of important work in the free software movement. Stallman tirelessly emphasized the importance of computer user freedom and laid the foundation for his vision to become a reality by starting the development of the GNU operating system. For that we are truly grateful.

Yet, we must also acknowledge that Stallman’s behavior over the years has undermined a core value of the GNU project: the empowerment of all computer users. GNU is not fulfilling its mission when the behavior of its leader alienates a large part of those we want to reach out to.

We believe that Richard Stallman cannot represent all of GNU. We think it is now time for GNU maintainers to collectively decide about the organization of the project. The GNU Project we want to build is one that everyone can trust to defend their freedom.

In parallel the FSF is soliciting open comments on the future of the GNU and FSF; as they figure out how to restructure their org making the distinction between the two… well a distinction. FSF and GNU — Free Software Foundation — working together for free software

I put in my two cents.

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Stallman basically announces he will enforce the status quo for the foreseeable future, but may concede to letting maintainers have minor voices in trivial matters at some point in the distant future. (my uncharitable paraphrasing.)

Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Conservancy resigned from his role as both a voting member of the FSF and from his role as a FSF director and wrote a thoughtful piece on his blog. On Recent Controversial Events - Bradley M. Kuhn ( Brad ) ( bkuhn )

He would have been my personal choice for a new president of the FSF I think.

Interesting tidbits from his blog post.

Specifically, the FSF asked that all communication during the crisis come directly from FSF officers and not from at-large directors and/or Voting Members. Furthermore, the FSF management asked all Directors and Voting Members to remain silent on this entire matter — even on issues only tangentially related to the current situation, and even when speaking in our own capacity (e.g., on our own blogs like this one). The FSF is an important organization, and I take any request from the FSF seriously — so I abided fully with their request.

For the last two years, I had been a loud internal voice in the FSF leadership regarding RMS’ Free-Software-unrelated public statements; I felt strongly that it was in the best interest of the FSF to actively seek to limit such statements, and that it was my duty to FSF to speak out about this within the organization. Those who only learned of this story in the last month (understandably) believed Selam G.'s Medium post raised an entirely new issue. In fact, RMS’ views and statements posted on about sexual morality escalated for the worse over the last few years. When the escalation started, I still considered RMS both a friend and colleague, and I attempted to argue with him at length to convince him that some of his positions were harmful to sexual assault survivors and those who are sex trafficked, and to the people who devote their lives in service to such individuals. More importantly to the FSF, I attempted to persuade RMS that launching a controversial campaign on sexual behavior and morality was counter to his and FSF’s mission to advance software freedom, and told RMS that my duty as an FSF Director was to assure the best outcome for the FSF, which IMO didn’t include having a leader who made such statements.

RMS has consistently argued that there was a campaign of “prudish intimidation” — seeking to keep him quiet about his views on sexuality. After years of conversing with RMS about how his non-software-freedom views were a distraction, an indulgence, and downright problematic, his general response was to make even more public comments of this nature.

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Stallman is choosing new maintainers for the GNU Guile community, with possible internal political motivations. Current GNU Guile leadership was not consulted and apparently had been operating with an internal understanding that RMS was an emperor in name only and not recognized as such by them.

Gnu Guile leadership were signatories of the joint statement on the GNU project from last week. So this may be retaliation.

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There is more news but im going to try and stop my continuing coverage. Its not healthy for me to watch the GNU rip itself apart. Maybe if and when there is a resolution to this mess.


Thanks for carrying it so far; it saved me a lot of mental and emotional anguish. :slight_smile:

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2 posts were split to a new topic: GNU Social Contract happenings

its a shame the way things went though. i know someone in dc who met with rms to discuss some related issues during a previous fiasco (on account of being very personally close to the other party), and i guess that got resolved without rms ever coming around. i just wish the FSF community would learn to make space for voices unlike their own :frowning:


There are some very good actors fighting in that project to make space for other voices. I fear their still the minority though.

I hope other groups can take on more of a leadership role in the community. I think the FSF and the GNU are going to continue wane in the years to come. Organizations (like everything) eventually adapt to change or die; and their refusing to adapt right now.