Well Richard Stallman, founder of free software and the GNU project is going around defending MIT professors who participating the Epstein sex assault ring; from student protestors.

I think it's important when people, even leaders in your community do this sort of thing; that they are criticized.

Honestly, it pains me to say it, but free software has to be bigger than richard stallmen. Its time, probably past time for him to step down.


@trashHeap he's been on the wrong side of sexual issues for his entire career. He's defended paedophilia in the past.

It's important to remember that being a leader in one area, even a visionary, doesn't mean you're not an absolute idiot in others. He should be criticized for this freely and will hopefully learn from it.

@tomasino I've known the former for some time honestly. His political notes on that have always been close to disturbing if not actually disturbing honestly.

I feel ashamed for giving him so much of a pass, personally on that claptrap now.

The problem with this, is the message it sends to the community. It would be OK if he was an idiot on say music, or art-history.

But this speaks to and echoes pains that volunteers in his own community have to grapple with.

@trashHeap the danger in this is that people will want to hurt him in return for the hurt his words cause. How do you hurt RMS? You try to take away his position of authority. How do you do that? By pressuring the FSF. How do you do that? Calls for boycott and financial withdrawal. Scare them with capitalism.

Will it work, probably. But the path to hurting this man also hurts an organization that does good.


@trashHeap Do we justify it to ourselves by saying that the FSF defends him? Now they're okay to target? For many people that's exactly what will come.

I don't have an alternative. RMS should have been reprimanded for damaging statements in the past, but his celebrity has protected him. I just wish there was a better way for us to deal with these situations that didn't cause collateral harm.


@tomasino Honestly the BEST solution is for him to learn from this, grow as a person and to work towards making amends. On both sex assault and on trans issues.

But I'm not about to hold my breath.

@tomasino There is no perfect solution here. I wish there were.

In the absence of one, though I must confess my sense of justice required that I have to asside against Stallman here.

@trashHeap I really hope he wakes up and realizes that he's hurting people. Maybe he'll spend time with the victims of sex trafficking and realize how absurd his stance has been. Maybe he'll feel the deep shame as his conscience demands action and he'll become a vocal advocate for women's rights.

I could really, really go for someone reacting that way right about now instead of doubling down on ignorance and power.

@tomasino @trashHeap It is highly unlikely though. All his life has been devoted to go against the grain, to believe in something when few others did, to persist against overwhelming odds. What makes you think he would suddenly mellow his ways when having a hardline stance got him where he is now?

@tomasino @hypolite What is the adage? "Hope for the best and expect the worst"

I don't hold much hope honestly. Ive never seen Stallman walk back any mistake.

But ive got so much emotionally invested in the FSF that I get it.

@tomasino Honestly, I get that a life without the FSF or GNU project would wound the man. It would be ripping his life's work from him.

But if we stand around all day scratching our beards wondering why there is a lack of women and others in FLOSS while he leads the FSF; we are hypocrites too.

meta+ rms 


Thank you for posting about this in a thoughtful, nuanced way. I've seen several Hot Takes on both sides of this, and I know it's an area where passions can run high—especially because the linked article is powerfully written.

Without stating a position on the underlying issue, I'll say that I'm glad Fostodon remains a place where even controversial issues can be discussed productively

I think he is not trying to defend him, but he is minimizing the crimes by being pedantic around terms. Honestly this is almost as bad though. He is more worried about the proper definitions of words than victims of abuse. Regardless of his intent, what he is saying is callous and offensive, and he seems to not care.

@trashHeap Wow, can't believe the FSF still doesn't filter his public activity; this is extremely embarrassing for them and insulting for everyone else. Stallman is harming the fight for Free Software, and the fact that he started it is irrelevant.

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