Good News! Richard Stallman is Back at Free Software Foundation - It's FOSS News

Stallman was ‘cancelled’ in 2019. He announced his return at FSF yesterday, though he is not the President of FSF anymore. I hope the ‘cancel mob’ spares him this time.

How is this good news?

He was the founder of the entire free software movement who was “canceled” for dumb reasons (read the article!)

I mean if near endorsement of child abuse is not enough , yeah, please, let’s wait until he fully endorses child abuse, then we’ll get rid of him.



That’s the very essence of the accusations against him. In an email to a student body mailing list, he defended a former colleague against allegations of child abuse. It is not such a clear cut case, as the “child” in questions seems to have been a 17 year old girl, and Stallman basically said it can’t be considered child abuse if the child was credibly lying about her age and willingly engaged in it.

I personally think it still leaves an incredibly bad impression on the person (who at the time was an middle aged man) to exploit a young woman like that, irregardless if the interaction appeared to be legal and entirely voluntarily. Especially if the context is transactional sex as in this case and not some sort of lolita type of romantic inflatulation.


he defended a former colleague against allegations of child abuse.

You can’t just believe everything you read on Twitter.

The source is quite public, so it’s better to go to that source.


Yes? I read the original source, and that is what he did. You can say he argued on a technicality, but for all intends and purposes he did try to defend his former colleague against such accusations.


For the intent of figuring out what he said, he did not say that such-and-such actions are defensible.

Rather than talking in big circles round the issue, it’s better to just look at the truth of the matter. Do you, or do you not believe that saying someone who slept with a twenty year old has committed “sexual assault” could be misleading?


You are twisting the story to fit your own purpose. The girl/woman in question was not 20 and at least Richard Stallman knew this when he wrote his defense based on a technicality.


I didn’t characterise any story. I asked a simple question, to return to the matter in question, rather than side tracking. This is more side tracking.

Do you, or do you not believe that saying someone who slept with a twenty year old has committed “sexual assault” could be misleading?


But this is not the question at all and you are completely side-tracking, so why should I answer a question that has absolutely no relation to the issue at hand?

Neither does a 20 year old feature in this story, nor is anyone even mention “sexual assault”. And last but not least, it isn’t at all a question of what legally might or might not be a certain offense.

You are so far off the point that I am starting to think you are not arguing in good faith :(


This is the question I asked, twice. It’s also the original question asked by Stallman.

I’m not sure how you want to show evidence that the question I’m asking is not “the question”. It’s a question, it’s one I’ve asked, and one you’re apparently incapable of answering.

If this isn’t the point you’re making, then don’t be surprised when other people’s questions - including Stallman’s - are not there to facilitate your points.

Neither does a 20 year old feature in this story,

The story pertains to Stallman precisely because of his initial demand for clarity.


That’s the very essence of the accusations against him.

I’m getting tired of this, exactly this is the problem. It’s always accusations, not a clear-cut case. We can talk when accusations turn into facts.

And I mean, yes if the girl lied about her age I don’t know how you expect the other person to know? Obviously transactional sex is still unethical, but calling it willing child abuse is pretty strong if the abused lied about her age, and was nearly an adult.

Edit: being nearly and adult matters, because it may make it much harder to visually tell the person’s age


It’s always accusations, not a clear-cut case.

No, there’s a tons of evidence on many episodes when he embarrassed the Free Software movement by acting poorly in public speaking events. You can find pictures, videos and descriptions of him doing weird things ranging from older comments around age of consent, annoying women with unwanted attention, walking around barefoot or poorly dressed, throwing temper tantrums and the list goes on.

This is not about judging him as a person. A spokeperson is responsible for representing a community in public. Bad publicity harms other people.


I mean, speaking as a member of said community, Free Software is punk. I don’t want a fashionable representative who only says things that everyone agrees with.

Sure, I don’t need my Free Software representative to philosophize about the age of consent, but as long as he’s not telling people to rape others, I do not have a problem with that, and again, would rather have him speak his mind than not say anything that’s pushing the boundaries.


This punk supporting gender equality and anti-sexism?


I don’t think he is anti equality or sexist, his actions only reflect poor social skills. His take on pronouns for example just seems like he was being overly pedantic about language again (GNU/Linux anyone?). And the reports about him annoying women sound like he just lacks awareness about how he is perceived.

So yeah, this punk supporting gender equality and anti-sexism. The punk that, last time I checked, didn’t have problems with people expressing themselves in idiosyncratic ways.

The age of consent and the annoying of women is bad, but the rest I don’t really care, IMO I kind of like it, it is fun and I prefer that to a souless kind of CEO.


That’s just a false dichotomy.


No, I know that he did some interesting stuff (including, among the ones you listed, eating his toe skin in public).

I was talking more about the motives behind “canceling” certain people; that is, not many people have been canceled because of facts, it’s always accusations


…and yet the evidence is overwhelming.

It’s always accusations, not a clear-cut case.

With Stallman, pretending it’s not clear cut is ridiculous.

Some receipts.

Probably the most damning one:

  • In a 2007 interview, he said:

I don’t have any experience working with women in programming projects; I don’t think that any volunteered to work on Emacs or GCC.

A number of women have contributed to GCC, including:

  • Janis Johnson maintains the test suite and has been a contributor since 2001
  • Sandra Loosemore is the lead author of the GNU Library Reference Manual;[3] RMS is listed as her co-author.
  • Dorit Nuzman made major contributions to loop scheduling and vectorization.
  • Carolyn Tice is also mentioned as a contributor.

If anything that just shows how fucking disconnected he is from everyone… it’s kinda been like that for a long time, nothing new there

the ‘everyone’ he’s disconnected from just happening to be his women colleagues, huh

Maybe, but in general he sometimes seems pretty disconnected from reality

You do realize that’s a bad attribute for someone leading the Free Software Foundation.

Yes; and I wouldn’t want him to lead the FSF. But having him on the board of directors is not the same


With Stallman, pretending it’s not clear cut is ridiculous.

The “not a clear-cut case” referred to Minsky and not Stallman. What are you claiming that Stallman is obviously guilty of? Because the discussion was on his alleged endorsement of child abuse and sexual assault and you linked to articles which make accusations based on assumptions and further dilute it with describing how disgusting and asocial he is. Your highlighted point in no way supports the claim of him endorsing such behaviors and comes from an interview, in which Stallman also states that:

I know most of the maintainers only through email, which means that I don’t know whether they are male or female unless their names show me. I just looked at the list: one maintainer is probably female, and a few others have names that might be male or female.

Yes, saying that no women contributed to GCC is false and wrong but it’s not a reason to exclude him from the movement or a justification for the CancelStallman campaign.


Lets be factual here, no one is accusing Richard Stallman of child abuse.

What he did, and no one is even remotely denying that, is publicly defending someone who likely did something of incredibly bad taste (regardless of the specific details and the exact age) for exactly that thing the person allegedly did (so Stallman must assume it to be true as well).

This in itself is not illegal or anything like that, but associated organizations like the MIT or the FSF have every right to decided that because of that Richard Stallman is no longer suited as a public high level representative or a honorary professor.

As much as I also think this witch-hunt on the internet went too far (with Stallman being an out of touch ex-hippy who probably thought we was beyond touch due to his cult following), this is not by any means a hill I am willing to die on. In fact it was probably a good reality check for him and I don’t see much problems him him being back on a lower profile position in the FSF now.


Stallman poses a danger to the system not only because of his ideas about Free Software but because he still keeps alive the approach with which we have obtained all our rights: radicalism. The system to try to discredit Stallman even with fake news and to incorporate only what suits its interests under the name of “Open Source” leaving out the rest of the rights-based political movement (Free Software).


lets see how it goes this time


A very rich discussion is going on in r/Linux


Found this article there, and it’s well worth a read.


I think the most important bit of that article is the response of Civil Rights Activist Nadine Strossen. I don’t know her but her credentials are listed sound believable.

Some people using the Internet might be surprised but it’s not their job to judge in a liberal society. They of course can raise their opinion in the same way as someone can raise their opinion in a pub after a few beer, and their opinion weights the same, nothing more but a chat.

For a more serious discussion certain rules and assumptions should apply in a society and these are well explained and argued in Nadines response.

Excellent article.

What is libre culture?

Libre culture is all about empowering people. While the general philosophy stems greatly from the free software movement, libre culture is much broader and encompasses other aspects of culture such as music, movies, food, technology, etc.

Some beliefs include but aren’t limited to:

  • That copyright should expire after a certain period of time.
  • That knowledge should be available to people, not locked away.
  • That no entity should have unjust control or possession of others.
  • That mass surveillance is about mass control, not justice.
  • That we can all band together to help liberate each other.

Check out this link for more.


I’ve looked into the ways other forums handle rules, and I’ve distilled their policies down into two simple ideas.

  • Please show common courtesy: Let’s make this community one that people want to be a part of.

  • Please keep posts generally on topic

  • No NSFW content

  • When sharing a Libre project, please include the name of its license in the title. For example: “Project name and summary (GPL-3.0)”

Libre culture is a very very broad topic, and while it’s perfectly okay for a conversation to stray, I do ask that we keep things generally on topic.

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