It’s FOSS: “Amid Epstein Controversy, Richard Stallman is Forced to Resign as FSF President”

2 minute read

She didn’t want a clarification or apology. All she wanted was to remove Stallman even if it means ‘burning MIT to the ground’.

By the name of your blog, I’m going to assume you know who you’re writing about. The man who throws tasteless, pointless, “haha hot lady” jokes left and right? The man who, after continuous reprimanding, refuses to remove an unnecessary abortion joke in glibc? That man?

He’s had chance after to chance to offer apologies for his behavior. Instead he tries to explain his rationality, or offers non-apologies.

It’s not that Stallman is a saint. His crude, insensitive and sexist jokes have been doing the rounds for years.

All it took five days of activism to remove a person from an organization he created and worked for more than thirty years.

Which is it? Five days or “doing the rounds for years” that caused his undoing? I think you’re missing who’s at fault here: Stallman, not the people calling him out on his behavior.

Ignoring reckless and sexist behavior of tech stalwarts is not acceptable but neither is the mob mentality of lynching anyone who disagrees with a certain popular view. I don’t agree with Stallman and his past remarks but I am also not happy that he has been (forced to?) resign in this manner.

Hot, centrist take.

“cancel culture” used to go by another name: “consequences”.

And this is when Stallman wasn’t even remotely involved in the sex trafficking scandal.

Blogging about the acceptance of wikipedia and semantics over the legal definition of “rape” doesn’t involve him at all?

Some of these ‘activists’ have also targeted Linux creator Linus Torvalds in the past… If they had not taken the corrective step, probably Torvalds would have been a goner by now.

Let’s not slide down this slippery slope here. You’re involving activists that support meritocracy, which is a whole other concern. That’s who Torvalds yells at, and he’s taken steps to stop.

This topic concerns basic human decency when discussing something sensitive: a trait Stallman has never been any good at. And never wanted to improve on.

This isn’t an issue of “speaking the truth”. This is as simple as “maybe a college mailing list isn’t the best place to discuss the legal definition of rape, without a touch of sensitivity”.

Debate is always going to include emotion and placement. That’s how human beings are. If you do not approach sensitive issues with the sensitivity they deserve, you will be asked to leave. Simple.

Stallman should have been asked to leave long ago. It’s a shame it took so long, and took an incorrect interpolation of his stance. But I’m glad it happened.

The free software movement inspired a number of projects to choose the open source GPL license. Linux is one of those projects.

Please don’t phrase this as a loss to the community. It’s simply not.

Stallman did a lot to define the environment for the GNU GPL. v2 specifically: v3 has not picked up speed like the previous iterations.

That begs the question: what has he done since the 90s? He hasn’t been involved in anything but travels and talks, mostly. And all those talks are the same: “if the user doesn’t control the software, the software controls the users”. Look up any YouTube talk, interview, etc., you won’t learn anything new. No innovative blog posts or manifestos. No updates to reflect the ever changing landscape of tech.

There are FOSS people out there, doing real work to further the ecosystem. He’s not one of them.