Goodbye, RMS

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jxself
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https://www.fsf.org/news/richard-m-stallman-resigns

https://www.stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#16_September_2019_(Resignation)

GNU Linux-libre 5.3 is code named Freechard in honor of Richard Stallman.

jxself
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Thank you, RMS, for everything you have done these last four decades. Starting the GNU Project, pioneering the concept of copyleft, starting the entire free software movement. The world is a better place for having you in it. You didn't deserve what happened.

GNUser
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Yes, indeed, I certainly disagree with RMS in many matters, but he was and is the father of the Free Software Movement, he founded the FSF, the GNU project, created the GNU-GPL and the concept of copyleft. In many of the ways I disagree with him, he had no impact in the world, but in the technological realm he had, he was a man who along with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, changed the landscape of society regarding technology, only he did it for the better. For that I salute and thank RMS. And even if he was guilty of something that actually deserved to be taken out of his own organization (I know nothing of what happened, and in these cases the true facts never come up usually, only rumors), I wish him the best and that he might appreciate the remaining years of his life in a positive way.

jxself, what means Freechard? Is it just a play on Richard + Free? Or is there any other meaning?

jxself
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"jxself, what means Freechard? Is it just a play on Richard + Free? Or is there any other meaning?"

Yes, that's what it is.

SuperTramp83

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Stallman is and alwas will be teh best one.
A true free spirit nad father, godfather of freedoom.
When I feel down I visit this page, which is https://stallman.org/photos/rms-working/ which is RMS doing tetris everywhere around teh world.

andyprough
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Was it Tetris? I could never see what was on his screen.

chaosmonk

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I am a translator!

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> Was it Tetris?

I highly doubt it. Maybe a free replacement like tint.

jxself
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I highly doubt it's a game at all. It's more likely to be his email which, thanks to his email batching process, he can read and compose replies to anywhere in the world while offline.

SuperTramp83

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>I highly doubt it. Maybe a free replacement like tint.

You are wrong. As a matter of fact it is ltris. No mails, thast a lie. Never trust jxself:)

andyprough
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> You are wrong. As a matter of fact it is ltris. No mails, thast a lie. Never trust jxself:)

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

There were mails, however. I know for a fact he emailed a certain lady several times to try to get on her ex-boyfriends list:
https://stallman.org/ex-boyfriends-list.html

SuperTramp83

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>And experience suggests that starting a relationship in Emergency Mode is likely to speed the processing of my application-

:)

aloniv

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He also resigned from MIT over Epstein remarks:

https://tech.slashdot.org/story/19/09/17/0446239/richard-stallman-resigns-from-mit

EDIT: The MIT resignation appears in the second link of the first post as well.

MistahDarcy
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So much cancer involved with politics and political correctness. The end of free speech and having an opinion different from others without punishment.

Thanks RMS for being the legend you have created, and sorry everything had to happen this way.

You have been Rosie O'Donnelled.

aloniv

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commodore256
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Can we trust William John Sullivan to take his place? He has a Twitter (though he hasn't used his personal account in over a year and he has his FSF presence account that's just an echo of GNU Social) and he uses Google Chrome with Google Maps.

http://gallery.wjsullivan.net/v/public/East+Boston_+Boston_+MA+to+Sullivan+Square+-+Google+Maps+-+Chromium_002.png.html?g2_imageViewsIndex=1

He is also a used of Facebook, I see a Facebook account matching his full name in Boston with an image that says "Stop DRM in HTML5 Hollyweb", so I'm guessing that's him, what are the odds I'd find a guy with his matching his full name living in Boston on Facebook?

He's also the stereotypical "Communist Vegan".

https://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=johnsu01

Why isn't there much ideology diversity in communities like this? How many free software advocates supports property rights but don't recognize effortlessly duplicable vapour as property? I don't like the distinction of "means of production", because that's a highly ambiguous phrase and it was used first used in Feudal Europe to use mental gymnastics to tax everybody and the idea monopolization I like to call "imaginary property" also came from Feudal Europe. Not to say, I think everybody in free software should think like me or they would be thrown in a gulag or something crazy like that, but it's just a weird observation and I hope people with dissenting views aren't being driven away like RMS or is it like how most futurists are socialists because most of the futurists find the topic of economics to be boring. The beauty of free software is it frees us from central planners, I was asked "what would it take for you to trust Microsoft?" I responded with it's like asking me what would it take for me to trust North Korea, I don't trust central planning be it from a Bully with lots of costumed Thugs like Kim Jong or from a non-free software stack.

Sorry for the rant, my philosophy comes from my interpretation of my experience.

Personal and possibly community-conflicting philosophy aside, (of which the rant was just to ask why the echo-chamber and to explain my philosophy) I'm not sure we can trust William John Sullivan, sure RMS was paranoid, but he had every reason to be! John Sullivan's use of centralized trash platforms like Twitter, Google Maps and Facebook. Now granted, I'm a used of those platforms, but I plan on transitioning away from them very soon and I expect the head of the FSF to not have those accounts at least still up. I expect more from the head of the FSF.

I want RMS back, but aren't we being dependent on centralization with the FSF? In my experience central planning means nothing except a central point of failure, it's like having hundreds of drives in Raid 0. Maybe we should stop honouring restrictive licenses and making violating them like Jaywalking if the FSF goes down the toilet. I'd rather live in a world if you print a license, it won't be worth the paper it's printed on and there would be no incentive to make it a black box and even if they tried, we have reverse-engineering software.

Sorry for the long post

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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name at domain wrote:
> Why isn't there much ideology diversity in communities like this?

Sometimes diversity is not helpful. "Ideology diversity" can amount to
granting an opponent leadership duties in some part of the movement.

In the free software movement, for instance, this could be someone who
thinks free software and open source aren't clearly philosophically or
historically distinct. Consider someone who argues for minimizing any
discussion of the philosophical differences even when those philosophical
differences amount to the difference between free and nonfree software --
like running a totally-free GNU/Linux system as a VM atop a proprietary VM
system. Microsoft "loves open source" for this very reason -- they want us
to run our free systems as VMs on a VM system they control.

The open source development methodology doesn't question the control
proprietors stand to gain. Free software activists challenge it directly:
All the gains you ostensibly had through software freedom are now lost as
literally every bit of data your OS sees or generates will be vetted by the
proprietary VM software.

Red Hat, which identifies itself as an open source company, announced they
were "partners" with Microsoft in the endeavor to run what could be free
GNU/Linux systems atop Microsoft's VM system. Anyone who dares to point out
what a freedom-losing choice it is to host one's free OS in this way
quickly finds that the corporate media and various shills (both in-person
and online) counterargue that such talk is unwelcome because it is
"divisive". Their message is repeated widely because most computer news
coverage is corporate and proprietor-friendly. They can't afford to debate
proprietary control because that might bring software freedom to mind!

Thus some diversity can be turned into a scam which risks having us promote
the very ideas that run against the movement's raison d’être. Vetting
candidates for high office is critical. It'll be interesting who the next
FSF president will be (they say they've begun a search).

> I want RMS back, but aren't we being dependent on centralization with
> the FSF?
I think it's important to keep things in perspective; don't lose touch with
what's important over some people's objections to speech they disagree
with. Stallman's departure from heading up the FSF doesn't mean much in
practical terms: he can speak on his own behalf with no fear of leaving
some organization (one could argue he's more free to speak his mind now
than ever before), and given the situation we have now we're lucky we
didn't have to reckon with this as a result of him dying but merely leaving
his former job.

But his departure from his job also reminds us to do the work we should
have been doing all along -- speaking and being heard promoting software
freedom for its own sake.

You choose whose advice you consider important in your own head and nobody
can take that away from you. Nobody can stop you from continuing to cite
and defend software freedom including quoting Stallman's many apt
observations. His insights don't vanish or become less valuable now than
they were, say, two years ago. The ills of software nonfreedom are still
very real and threatening (even lethal in some circumstances -- see Karen
Sandler's often told story about her enlarged heart and the proprietary
software operating the device which she wears on her heart for one example
of this point). There's much work to be done educating the public about the
importance of software freedom. We're better off when there are many more
voices doing that work.

strypey
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> Nobody can stop you from continuing to cite and defend software freedom including quoting Stallman's many apt observations.

Technically, that's true, but what they can do is ramp up the social cost of doing so, just as they ramped up the social cost of insisting on unexaggerated descriptions of Marvin Minsky's historical actions. Resulting in ... well ... the event this thread is about. Sadly, being principled and caring about the truth doesn't always have the social consequences that it ought to.

I will continue to quote and link to Stallman's written record where appropriate. But having observed and criticized disturbingly similar 'kangeroo courts' on many occasions, I expect to be attacked for promoting the work of a "rape apologist" at some point, and if I don't immediately tug my forelock and apologize, to be called one myself. I have a low opinion (to put it mildly) of anybody who casually throws around smears like that, and I'm used to being called names, but it's not fun.

Communism has come in up this discussion, so I think it's worth pointing out that communism has the bad name it does, not because of what communism *is* (a liberation movement inspired by the Paris Commune during the French Revolution), but because it couldn't protect it's organizations from being manipulated by narcissists, until eventually they were the ones in charge. What the narcissists did, and had others do in their name, had nothing to do with the founding ideas of Marx, Proudhon, Bakunin et al. The same thing has happened with market libertarianism, to the degree that most people assume "libertarian" means "apologist for corporate rule". Which is exactly the opposite of what even the most propertarian versions of libertarianism were originally about, going right back to Adam Smith, who saw markets as a way to decentralize economies and redistribute the monopoly power of the aristocracy.

I saw the same dynamics that have led to Stallman's resignation cripple and essentially destroy Indymedia as a functioning global movement, although some local IMCs survived and continue to do good work. I'd hate to see the same thing happen to the software freedom movement. But sadly, from what I've been seeing over the past few years, that's exactly the situation we're in. I don't know exactly what to do about it, there may be nothing we can do.

But for what it's worth, here are my suggestions:
* any and all responses need to be based on careful fact-checking, not spewed out in the heat of the moment (here's an example of me not following by own advice https://mastodon.nzoss.nz/@strypey/102870689347829791 , then trying to course correct :/).
* any and all responses need to be strongly critical of interpersonal violence and abuse in all its forms, and utterly condemn the actions of anyone found guilty of committing it, through a fair and balanced legal process.
* any and all responses need to emphasize the importance of being inclusive, including taking special actions and running special projects to address and reverse past exclusions of anyone, for any reason (other than a reasonable reason, like someone being a convicted predator), but point out that stating this as a goal is not an excuse to avoid fair criticism of one's actions.
* any and all responses need to emphasize that the problem we are pointing out is not "political correctness" or even "identity politics" (terms that just escalate debates into arguments and arguments into fights), but rather the lack of respect for natural justice (eg the human rights of the accused), and the misuse of pro-diversity discourse as a plausibly deniable excuse for narcissistic attention-seeking, conflict escalation, and power games.
* any and all responses need to point out that one of our arguments is for the continued inclusion of the neurodiverse, who have often found our safe spaces in the digital freedom movements, since many of the accusations being thrown around against Stallman are based on bigotry against those who are not neurotypical (eg "he's creepy").

I'll leave the last word to the man himself:
"Whatever conduct you want to criticize, you should describe it with a specific term that avoids moral vagueness about the nature of the criticism."

Word.

andyprough
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I kind of doubt we've heard the last from Stallman. I'll say thanks, but not goodbye. He's survived so many controversies in the past, it's hard to believe he really bowed to the pressure this time.

I remember when the media was falling all over themselves praising Steve Jobs at the time of his death, and RMS was getting roasted for publicly printing “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.” That seemed like a much bigger controversy than this one. I'm wondering if he didn't just get tired of it all and decide that this was a good time to retire.

Whatever happens, I'll not forget that his output from 1984 to 1990 is unparalleled in computing history, when he single-handedly wrote from scratch emacs (for the second time), gcc, gdb, various other GNU tools, and came up with the idea for the GPL. During which time he went to Helsinki, Finland and gave a talk to a group of university students, including an impressionable young Linus Torvalds who wanted to write a terminal emulator that would allow him to compute remotely from his dorm room and not have to walk through the snow to the university's timeshare center. We would have nothing today but expensive, crappy software with EULA's were it not for Stallman's massively prodigious output and influence in the 80's.

jxself
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"Can we trust William John Sullivan to take his place?"

John Sullivan isn't. The board of directors (scroll down to "Board of directors" on https://www.fsf.org/about/staff-and-board/) in looking for a new president. In the meantime Alexandre Oliva, of Linux-libre fame, is Vice President and Acting President.

andyprough
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This is great news, let's hope Alexandre becomes the permanent president.

tonlee
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I knew about the text where Stallman says, a child should be
allowed to consent having sex with an adult. When I
read it, I came to two possible explanations. I have
a notion that a person who is a proponent of pedophilia is
maybe himself a pedophile. Either an active or
abstain pedophile. About Stallman I have found no
evidence or indication, he is a pedophile. Sometimes
people develop an analytic system, which they
want to use on any matter in life. My understanding of
Stallman is, in some fields you cannot limit
people's freedom. And if in a given field there are
reasons to limit people's freedom, then limit
the limitation of people's freedom as much
as possible. I concluded that Stallman had
subdued the matter of pedophilia to his analytic
system. In result he says, if it is consensual sex
then there is no reason to forbid it. A big
fallacy. It is baffling how Stallman disregards in how
many areas a child is unable to make its own
decisions. In consequence I got to know that if Stallman
speaks outside the field of free software I am
very skeptical about what he has to say. Stallman
now says, he rejects any form of pedophilia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_sexual_abuse
It had not taken him more to educate
himself.

About applebaum a lot of accusations came along. A sexual predator,
rapist, bullying people to give him shared credit
for software he had not contributed to. I do not know
how much would hold in court. But I believe not all of
the allegations are conspiracies.

Now we will see what else we will get to know about Stallman.
https://medium.com/@selamie/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec210794
https://medium.com/@selamie/remove-richard-stallman-appendix-a-a7e41e784f88
Her dossier tells about stupid behavior. But likely not criminal
acts.

onpon4
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Hi there. It's been a while. So long, in fact, that I'm practically not even the same person I was when you last saw me. I think I've changed tremendously for the better.

When I left the Trisquel community, it was because I was (and am) no longer a user of Trisquel, and because I no longer wished to associate with the FSF or the strategy of taking a distro and subtracting from it until the FSF's standards for what a system is allowed to have are met. I wrote a whole article about it on my website, which I never linked here because I had already left the Trisquel community at that time, but it can be found here:

http://onpon4.github.io/articles/actions.html

But something that happened today gives me some hope, and that thing is Stallman's resignation from the FSF, which I believe was long overdue. Stallman has been guiding the libre software movement on a downward spiral for years with his bullshit, both with flawed tactics (as discussed above) and with unconscionable ideas expressed on his website. Now, after years, people have finally stood up to him, and he's finally out of the FSF.

I say this is wonderful news.

With Stallman out of the picture, perhaps (depending on what the FSF does next) this will be a new beginning for the libre software movement. Maybe we can move on from the failed strategies of Stallman that have been in use for almost 3 decades now to little effect. Maybe the libre software movement can escape its current status as a fringe ideology and begin to enter the mainstream. Maybe we can start to make actual progress on these important issues.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be a new dawn for the movement. I sure hope so.

commodore256
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"Hi there. It's been a while. So long, in fact, that I'm practically not even the same person I was when you last saw me. I think I've changed tremendously for the better."

The same kinda happened to me as well.

SuperTramp83

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Y"Hi there. It's been a while. So long, in fact, that I'm practically not even the same person I was when you last saw me. I think I've changed tremendously for the better."

"Hi there. It's been a while. So long, in fact, that I'm practically not even the same person I was when you last saw me. I know I've changed tremendously for the worse."

jxself
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"I say this is wonderful news."

It's quite sad news. The news coverage about what happened was completely and totally incorrect and didn't represent what he actually said. Sadly it seems that most people didn't take the time to read the PDF of what he actually said in order to find out that things like what the Vice article and others were saying were totally incorrect in their reporting.

I recommend reading (and thinking) on the actual PDF of the email and not what the news or other people said. If you do those two things I think you'll find it quite eye opening to compare what was actually said to what the news (and other people) say he said.

For just one example, Vice ignored a statement by RMS ("We know that Giuffre was being coerced into sex -- by Epstein. She was being harmed.") which completely disproves their own statements.

What he did say was to ask someone to be more specific in the accusation that they were making, saying it was too vague and could be subject to "accusation inflation." That was somehow turned into him defending the guy which is not what he was doing if one actually reads and thinks on his words.

People also said he said that the women were "willing" which he also did not say. He did say that if Epstein was coercing them then it was in his (Epstein's) interest to make sure they appeared to be willing to people. Which is not the same thing. But that whole "willing" thing was taken out of context too. "RMS says they wanted it" (paraphrased there) and etc.

And sadly this shows that almost no one actually read what he really wrote but just jumped onboard with everyone else (referring to the collective internet and all of the emails received at the FSF) calling for his head over something he never said.

It's like the whole Steve Jobs thing again when he said I'm not glad he's dead but I'm glad he's gone. And then everyone was talking about how RMS was happy Steve Jobs died. Which is not what he said.

And so now here he is, ousted from his own movement over something he never said.

Now he has nothing left. No FSF and no MIT. There are probably only a few people that actually read the FSF's financial filings but RMS was never getting paid by the FSF so he never got money that way. And his "home" was on the road giving speeches. But who is going to invite him to speeches and (thus give him a place to stay) for a disgraced public leader?

Remember this as the day that a mob of people on the internet destroyed someone's life for something they didn't even say.

It's very sad and I worry about him. He's well and truly broke without the FSF and has nothing left now.

I think I will contact him and say he can stay with me if he needs a place.

onpon4
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> The news coverage about what happened was completely and totally incorrect and didn't represent what he actually said.

Sure, the "news coverage". Blame the media all you want, but the source of this was a single person writing a blog post:

https://medium.com/@selamie/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec210794

News coverage came *after* that.

What they said is not "totally incorrect". RMS has been saying stuff like this for *years*. The Geek Feminism wiki article on him has several examples, but most notable is where he defended "voluntarily (sic) pedophilia" years back on his personal website by claiming that it doesn't harm its victims.

> People also said he said that the women were "willing" which he also did not say. He did say that if Epstein was coercing them then it was in his (Epstein's) interest to make sure they appeared to be willing to people. Which is not the same thing. But that whole "willing" thing was taken out of context too. "RMS says they wanted it" (paraphrased there) and etc.

I beg to differ. You are ignoring further context where someone pointed out to him that the victim was under the age of consent, to which he replied:

"I think it is morally absurd to define “rape” in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17."

The fact of the matter is that what Stallman did was defend an accused rapist who, may I remind you, isn't even alive anymore, at the expense of his very real, very much still alive victims, by coming up with excuses for the accused and claiming that it is an "injustice" to use the term "assault" in reference to what they were accused of.

The fact that Stallman worded what he said in a way that very closely resembles claiming that the victim was willing (as what he said is barely distinguishable from what most people interpreted it as even if you squint) is just an additional part of him doing wrong by being a rape apologist.

> Now he has nothing left. No FSF and no MIT.

It took me a couple years to learn to stop being a token for the alt-right, a truscum, and an overall shithead. Nobody's perfect. But Stallman had decades to make himself into a better person; he didn't, and he still isn't doing it.

His stubbornness, not "a mob of people on the Internet", is why he lost his status and respect. As the saying goes, he made his bed, and now he must lie on it.

As for money, well. Maybe, now that he's in the same situation as everyone else, he can get off his high horse about people accepting jobs that don't meet his software purity standards. I'm sure Walmart will happily take him in as a maintenance worker or something. He just has to apply online and cut the crap about how no one is forced to run proprietary software.

Crass? Perhaps. But for Stallman, it's been a long time coming.

jxself
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Working from that blog post is also going off of what someone says RMS said, which is the issue I raised. Have you actually read the PDF with the full thing in there? It seems like not. I encourage everyone to read what he *actually* wrote (the full unedited entire thing and not quotes so as to see everything in context) and think on what he says. You may not like RMS, but he's a human being.

loldier
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Where is this PDF?

##EDIT##
I think I found it.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6405929/09132019142056-0001.pdf

andyprough
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It's an interesting read. Typical Stallman - challenging people on their imprecise use of terms, and debating the effects on society of imprecise language.

I hope he's ok. If, as jxself said, he is broke without his position at MIT and is lost and possibly homeless without his position at FSF, then I worry about him and would also like to help in any way I can. Please someone keep us updated if there is something we need to do to help support him. Nearly everything we have in terms of technology rests on a foundation he built from nothing with his own two hands and with almost no real assistance. No one else had the vision to build a complete set of freely licensed portable tools for every type of available system.

Andreas
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onpon4
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The full context does not excuse the fact that Stallman is defending someone accused of sexual assault by playing language games. Even assuming the best, that he was playing devil's advocate, it's still unacceptable. Not to mention his own language that downplayed how bad of an atrocity it was (calling the victims a "harem").

It's rape apology, pure and simple.

And yes, I've read it, and there was a very nice a voice of reason within:

"If we're debating the definitions of 'rape' and 'sexual assault', perhaps it's better to accept that this conversation isn't productive.

When this email chain inevitably finds its way into the press, the seeming insensitivity of some will reflect poorly on the entire CSAIL community. Regardless of intent, this thread reads as 'grasping at straws to defend our friends' around a potential involvement with Epstein, and that isn't a reputation I would like attached to my CSAIL affiliation."

> You may not like RMS, but he's a human being.

Oh please. Don't go appealing to Stallman's humanity when it was he who insensitively defended an accused rapist at the expense of the victim, also a human being.

Stallman was not assassinated, deported, jailed, raped, or anything of the sort. He just lost his status and clout, by his own chosen actions. Forgive me for not shedding tears over a privileged man who has been saying problematic things for decades now, finally, losing respect because of it. How horrible for Stallman to lose his privilege and be on the same playing field as the rest of us. /s

He chose to base his way of living on his privilege as the libre software movement's respected leader. And he chose to risk throwing away that respect, multiple times, by saying many, many problematic things over the years (ranging from making women feel uncomfortable to defending pedophiles and rapists to callously disregarding the very real difficulty of trying to follow his holier-than-thou standards regarding software).

Now it's caught up to him. That's all it is, and it's about time.

strypey
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onpon:
> defending someone accused of sexual assault

What you don't seem to get is that this is not wrong! If the accused gets a fail trial, it will be somebody's *job* to defend them. Is the mob going to try to get that person fired too?

As so often happens these days, the accusations against Minsky were not being made in a court of law, where the rights of the accused include being considered innocent until proven guilty, but in the court of every asshole's opinion, where the burden of proof seems to be reversed. In that court, it falls to people with principles and intellectual integrity to insist on accuracy and evidence, which is what Stallman did, and I applaud him for it.

> rape apology

This is just a smear. It doesn't actually mean anything. Even if it did, I can't help notice the implication that always comes with it, that not condemning rape in strong enough terms to this or that person's satisfaction is as bad as the original rape. Which is obviously delusional nonsense.

> Don't go appealing to Stallman's humanity when it was he who insensitively defended an accused rapist at the expense of the victim, also a human being

Top marks, you've managed to include a 'two wrongs make a right' and a guilt trip in a single sentence. Riddle me this, Batman, how exactly was the survivor impacted by comments on a *private* mailing list? Oh, that's right, by some self-important asshole deciding to make those comments public. Stallman didn't hurt that survivor. The person who wrote that muckraking Medium piece you're pimping did, as did every media outlet that seized on the opportunity for a celebrity scandal piece without doing their job - ie a basic fact-check. You claim this was "inevitable". On what basis? There was a time, among both academics and activists, that *private* email meant something.

> He just lost his status and clout, by his own chosen actions.

This is a lie and you know it. It also happens to be trivializing the situation. He lost his job, his living, and potentially his home. By the actions of the clown that decided it was wise to publish private emails, everybody who spread the smears based on them, and everybody who demanded his resignation on the basis of those smears.

> He chose to base his way of living on his privilege

I'm not sure how being effectively homeless so you can spend the majority of your free time *voluntarily* promoting a socially important cause counts as "privilege", but of course, that doesn't matter. When in doubt, lob in a vague accusation of "privilege", just for good measure.

You used to stand up against crap like this, and I although I didn't always agree with you on the details of this or that case, I respected you for that. Your comments about the conflict between Libreboot and FSF/GNU Project turned out to be right on the money. What happened?

onpon4
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> If the accused gets a fail trial, it will be somebody's *job* to defend them. Is the mob going to try to get that person fired too?

There's a difference between being an attorney defending someone who is alive in a court of law and publicly defending someone who's too dead to care anyway at the expense of a victim who is alive.

In cases of things like sexual assault, you need to approach the topic delicately, because there are too many victims who are afraid to come forward because of exactly what RMS did: people eagerly placing blame on the victim by expressing doubt and saying, "Well, we don't know that they're guilty." (Which by extension means, "We don't know that the victim is telling the truth.")

You also do have to consider the possibility that they might be lying. But what is the sensitive way to deal with that? After all, you can't believe both the victim and the accused at the same time. Quite simply: accept the victim's testimony, and don't make it about the accused. Don't talk about the accused, whether attacking or defending. And if someone brings the accused up, point out that what matters is that we support the victim -- because it's not unreasonable to assume that they are a victim (around 20-25% of women are raped or sexually assaulted at least once in the U.S.), and victims need support and compassion, not to be put on trial.

I think it's also important to recognize that cases of rape and sexual assault are very difficult to prove due to the nature of the crime. So it stands to reason that some (actually, many) perpetrators will get away without a guilty verdict even if they are indeed guilty. Given that, it's important to not just assume a victim is lying just because of a "not guilty" verdict. They might be. They might not be. But until there is proof of it, never accuse them of lying.

> Even if it did, I can't help notice the implication that always comes with it, that not condemning rape in strong enough terms to this or that person's satisfaction is as bad as the original rape.

Nice strawman there. Does everything need to be as bad as rape to be subject to criticism?

> Riddle me this, Batman, how exactly was the survivor impacted by comments on a *private* mailing list?

Because those people in that mailing list saw them, and it impacted their attitudes. Such a thing can easily have a ripple effect: someone sees Stallman's email and thinks, "Gee, he has a point!" and so they start talking about that with their friends, and that spreads further until it makes it onto social media, where suddenly the victim sees doubt about their testimony blowing up. At that point, they wouldn't have even traced it to RMS because it would be too far removed.

> This is a lie and you know it. It also happens to be trivializing the situation. He lost his job, his living, and potentially his home.

Stallman has been effectively homeless and jobless by choice for years. He was a volunteer at the FSF. He also chose to base his living on being able to charge people to give talks, which most people don't have enough clout to do.

> I'm not sure how being effectively homeless so you can spend the majority of your free time *voluntarily* promoting a socially important cause counts as "privilege", but of course, that doesn't matter. When in doubt, lob in a vague accusation of "privilege", just for good measure.

Because, like I said, most people can't choose to just stop working and make their living charging people to give the same four talks to vast audiences wanting to listen. That's a privilege. He also, as I said and as you know, chose to be effectively homeless. How did that story go again? Something about having made so much money from people wanting to pay him for software development that he just stopped doing it when he had enough money for the year?

> You used to stand up against crap like this, and I although I didn't always agree with you on the details of this or that case, I respected you for that. Your comments about the conflict between Libreboot and FSF/GNU Project turned out to be right on the money. What happened?

You could say I woke up, I suppose.

Mostly on IRC. Someone on #libregamenight (Freenode) started me on that path, and it was folks from the ##transspace channel who guided me the rest of the way (actually on a channel I started, ##transcasual), along with YouTubers Innuendo Studios, Three Arrows, and Shaun (I especially related to the Three Arrows video, "How to Fall Down the Anti-SJW Rabbit Hole"). This was only after I got banned from ##transspace, and from ##transgender on Snoonet, for being an insensitive shithead.

I think I'm a much better person now than I was before. I see you don't think so, but that's just too bad. I'm not going to go back to being an alt-right enabling truscum.

strypey
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I've been involved in community justice processes in activist and other alternative communities for more than 2 decades. You just discovered that sexism is real and rape is a problem. Good for you, but you're teaching Grandma to suck eggs. I could quibble with the details of this epic Safer Spaces Policing copypasta, but all that really needs to be said is that it really isn't relevant to this case.

Even in the one email we have access to (unless there are others?), Stallman accepts that the survivor was coerced (by Estein). So unlike most cases of this nature, it's not about believing either the survivor, or the person who had sex with her without her consent. Stallman proposed a scenario in which that person was a patsy, not an accomplice, and it's possible to believe *both* that the coercion happened *and* that Minsky was innocent of knowingly coercing her.

If his emails had stayed in that private group - where they belonged - their ability to influence anything would have been much more limited that than are now, so again, the person who published them is responsible for any wider affect they might have, not Stallman.

When people are the victims of false or exaggerated accusations, as in Stallman's case, it can lead to the loss of their livelihood and potentially their home, health (physical or mental illness caused by homelessness), or even their life (through physical illness or suicide). Just as it can when people are the victims of rape. If we don't care about that, then we don't care about justice, in which case why should we care if people rape each other? My argument is that we should care about justice, which means we should care about both rape *and* false accusations, for the same reason.

Certainly, no one should ever lose their job or their home simply for discussing the issues in ways other people don't like.

> I think I'm a much better person now than I was before. I see you don't think so, but that's just too bad.

Actually the change mostly seems to be an improvement. It's just that you seem to be over-correcting somewhat, meaning you've swapped one type of screechy attack politics for its inversion. You seem like a smart person - overall the growth in your attitudes support that - so I'm sure you'll find a sane middle ground eventually.

> I'm not going to go back to being an alt-right enabling truscum.

Glad to hear it :)

EDIT: But I do suggest you read this article - written by non-binary,trans, person of colour Frances Lee - and the mostly thoughtful comment thread that follows it:
https://www.autostraddle.com/kin-aesthetics-excommunicate-me-from-the-church-of-social-justice-386640/

onpon4
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> But I do suggest you read this article

I don't think that article says what you think it does. When I read that, I see a call to give people a chance to better themselves, which I agree with and I don't think is an unpopular sentiment (as the comment section evidences). But Stallman has been causing trouble for years now. This is just the latest.

> Even in the one email we have access to (unless there are others?), Stallman accepts that the survivor was coerced (by Estein).

Yes, there was another, the email where he reiterated his rejection of age of consent laws in response to someone pointing out that it was rape regardless of beliefs about consent due to the victim's age.

If he had said nothing, or just made a blurb accepting that response as valid, I don't think it would have been made an issue. As it is, he chose to argue over the definition of the word "rape". It comes off as callous and insensitive. His response to the controversy on his website does, too.

That's the real problem here. It's not that he said something problematic. It's that he's been saying problematic things for years, never admitting the slightest hint of fault, and often doubling down on what he said. His apologies amount to "I'm sorry you misunderstood me", which is not really an apology. (For what it's worth, I'm guilty of that sort of non-apology in the past too. The important thing isn't that you never make mistakes; it's that you own up to and learn from them.)

> My argument is that we should care about justice, which means we should care about both rape *and* false accusations, for the same reason.

I've heard from multiple victims who are afraid of coming forward to their friends and family about sexual abuse because they're worried they'll put them on trial, or who did come forward and did get put on trial by their friends and family. It's a serious problem, and worrying every time there's a claim of victimization about the possibility that the accusation might be false perpetuates that.

Yes, false accusations (of any kind) should be taken seriously. If an accusation is proven to be false, that should be punished and we should make an effort to clear the names of those affected. But that must not come at the expense of real victims.

As for RMS, he was defending someone who is too dead to care. No benefit could ever have come from it. But had the person he was defending still been alive, it still would have been wrong to just speculate that they must not have known they were raping someone. It would be different if the person, still being alive, had stated as such and apologized (though, note, it would still have been statutory rape); if so, maybe RMS could have discussed his view against age of consent laws in a less crass manner. But that wasn't our situation here.

In this case, I propose the proper course of action would have been to just let it go. But after his first email, the proper course of action would have been to accept that, yes, as far as the law is concerned, it was rape and the person did commit a crime. But after his second email and the disclosure, the proper course of action would have been to apologize for his tone and accept that, yes, statutory rape did occur. But now, after everything, the proper course of action is to issue a real apology (not the non-apology he did issue), accept that, yes, statutory rape did occur regardless of the perpetrator's beliefs about the victim, and also apologize for the manipulative wording of his initial apology and work to make sure he doesn't make the mistake again next time.

But either way, I think him stepping down as President of the FSF was the right move and should have happened some time ago. Nobody's perfect, but RMS has demonstrated multiple times that he's not really an ideal leader or icon for the movement. Everyone needs to retire and pass on the torch at some point. Stallman's time was in the early 1990s, in my view.

strypey
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Onpon4:
> I see a call to give people a chance to better themselves, which I agree with and I don't think is an unpopular sentiment (as the comment section evidences). But Stallman has been causing trouble for years now.

Can you not see the contradiction in accepting people need to be allowed to be better themselves, and then condemning them not purely on what they do *now*, but on the basis of a catalogue of all their past mistakes?

> Yes, there was another, the email where he reiterated his rejection of age of consent laws in response to someone pointing out that it was rape regardless of beliefs about consent due to the victim's age.

Let's imagine a hypothetical situation where Minsky knew the young woman was 17, but he didn't know the age of consent in the Virgin Islands. If they had been having sex in New Zealand, or Estonia, that would have been perfectly legal. So her age, as Stallman quite righly points out, is not the important thing, but whether or not she was being coerced (he acknowledges she was), and whether or not Minsky *knew* that. You might think it's fine to condemn someone on a technicality. I don't and neither does Stallman. You think he was insensitive to say so. I think he was principled and brave to say so. We're probably going to have to agree to disagree about these things, because they're questions of values, not questions of fact.

> I've heard from multiple victims who are afraid of coming forward to their friends and family about sexual abuse because they're worried they'll put them on trial, or who did come forward and did get put on trial by their friends and family.

I've talked to lots of people who are afraid to support people making accusations of rape because they know the alleged perpetrator will suffer massive social (and often economic) consequences, whether they are guilty or not. It's a serious problem. If society's response to allegations of rape *both* protected survivors from being retraumatized *and* protected the natural justice rights of the accused to be considered innocent until prove guilty - particularly when it comes to protecting their livelihood until due process has taken place - people might feel more confident to take survivors seriously and advocate for them.

> the proper course of action is to issue a real apology

For what? Other people taking offence at his personal opinions and his choice of words? I think his statement he offered showed much more respect and dignity than most of the people condemning him have.

> RMS hasn't been employed at MIT since 1983 when he quit his job (by his own account) before starting his work on GNU.

So he was forced to resign from two unpaid positions? One at the FSF, and one at MIT as a formal Visiting Scientist at CSAIL, which was why he was on their mailing list. Is this correct? If so, I'll acknowledge that being pushed out of unpaid positions is not nearly as serious as being pushed out of a paid job. If you'll acknowledge that his ability to make a living in the manner he had been was severely impacted, because some people were offended by comments he made in a private forum.

onpon4
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> If so, I'll acknowledge that being pushed out of unpaid positions is not nearly as serious as being pushed out of a paid job. If you'll acknowledge that his ability to make a living in the manner he had been was severely impacted, because some people were offended by comments he made in a private forum.

Yes, his ability to make a living in that manner was impacted, of course. Not because of either of his resignations, but because of the impact to his public image.

strypey
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onpon:
> Because, like I said, most people can't choose to just stop working and make their living charging people to give the same four talks to vast audiences wanting to listen. That's a privilege.

OK, but it's an *earned* privilege, based on decades of pioneering and (mostly) unpaid work that preceded it, and ongoing work of many other kinds that you choose to leave out of this description. This is not the same as leveraging privilege that comes from being male, or white, or neurotypical, or using sociopathic manipulation to climb corporate ladders.

EDIT:

> He was a volunteer at the FSF

Yes, but I believe he was employed by MIT? Besides you're splitting hairs. If he made his living from giving speeches as the leader of the FSF (something nobody ever complained about before all this), then he has lost his living as the result of these false accusations against him and the resulting witch hunt.

onpon4
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RMS hasn't been employed at MIT since 1983 when he quit his job (by his own account) before starting his work on GNU.

Yes, clout is an earned privilege, but it's one that you lose when you don't keep your public image up. Being earned doesn't change that fact.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

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exactly what RMS did: people eagerly placing blame on the victim by expressing doubt and saying, "Well, we don't know that they're guilty." (Which by extension means, "We don't know that the victim is telling the truth.")

That is not "exactly what RMS did". Not at all. In the leaked emails, RMS wrote:

"I see no reason to disbelieve [Minsky had sex with one of Epstein's harem]."

And:

"We know that Giuffre was being coerced into sex -- by Epstein. She was being harmed."

loldier
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Joined: 02/17/2016

RMS essentially wanted to correct an "injustice" that he thought was done to Minsky by the protestors at MIT.

The injustice was in the word "assault".

The accusations and innuendo are almost as debased as rumours about the tsarina having an affair with a Siberian holy man or, being of German heritage, "helping the enemy".

RMS is out of sync with the times. The protestors wanted justice for women and an end to male privilege in tech. RMS was as clueless to the revolution as Nicholas II ever was.

When RMS stepped down from FSF, it was the end of an era, like the abdication in 1917.

loldier
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That was so well-written that I had to convert it to a LaTeX document.

2019-09-18-120653_687x972_scrot.png 2019-09-18-120658_687x972_scrot.png
AttachmentSize
rmsgoodbye.pdf 30.57 KB
strypey
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onpon:
> I left the Trisquel community

I say this is wonderful news. I was wondering why it's felt so calm and constructive here for the last wee while. Don't let us keep you from all the more important places you need to be ...

onpon4
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Also, I want to say, a big thanks to Conservancy for standing up to RMS, which I suspect must have been an important factor to him ultimately stepping down:

https://sfconservancy.org/news/2019/sep/16/rms-does-not-speak-for-us/

strypey
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Conservancy has lost a huge amount of respect over this and will lose more as the dust settles and people realize they've been led down the garden path. Either SFC weren't smart enough to fact-check the accusations against Stallman before joining the witch hunt, or they knew the accusations were false and cared more about potential PR damage to them, than about truth or justice. Which just makes them scum. Until such time as they issue a public apology to Stallman for their part in this whole sorry affair, they will never get a second of volunteer time from me, nor any kind of promotion, nor a single cent in donations.

faif87
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Joined: 07/08/2017

RMS has been, still is, and always will be a force for good in my book, warts and all. Birds fly, sun shines, and RMS fights for freedom! With or without him, the struggle continues...

Masaru Suzuqi
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Would someone explain why he does not disband FSF? I think maybe I should ask him in this forum or by email directly, though. It seems that we are talking about something like an other unrelated world's incident somehow.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

"It seems that we are talking about something like an other unrelated world's incident somehow."

Yes, the email message that sparked all this didn't have anything to do with free software and was written in his own personal capacity, not as President of the FSF. Orthogonal comments that don't conform to someone else's ideology should not be used as counter evidence for his lifetime of advocacy.

"Would someone explain why he does not disband FSF?"

That would seem to be a huge reaction and even worse that just losing RMS. Losing RMS already was bad enough. Shutting down the entire FSF seems like an even bigger overreaction.

Masaru Suzuqi
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Joined: 06/06/2018

No no. I was talking about some kind of atmosphere. I think Trisquel is adopted as the server OS of FSF, so Mr. Stallman must/ought to always check on this forum. Or he might have been joining here forum under an alias. Despite so, people seem to talk about him as a kind of stranger who does not relate to this forum (Thank you RMS, Good-bye
RMS, etc). It was something like talking about the deceased, talking about his conducts, like "he was a good man... was a bit something at the same time, though" near him. It is unnatural, I think.

I read some things so I think I understood vaguely why he resigned MIT. But I could not understand well why he resigned FSF. Why did he resign the president of FSF? If I understand correctly, and if my guess was right, then if I was you, I might disband FSF.

I don't know well but like some people seem to expect something new to happen from his resignation, the something new might happen from disbanding FSF. I see a certain great possibility. But you say too big to fail like the car manufacturer?
And may I ask the degree of the social impact of his resignation in your country? Wall Street Journal seem not to refer to this incident including his resignation in Tech news Briefing. I guess if it was Mr. Jobs, it would differ. How popular he is in your country? In Japan, maybe only few people know his name. DDG search results by "Stallman resignation (in Japanese language) " displays six articles.

Edit: typo.

onpon4
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It's true that a lot of the posts on this thread sound as if they're talking about someone who has died, which is possibly the most absurd thing I've seen here.

I don't believe RMS is on these forums though. I've never seen any poster who talks like him, so I don't think it's likely for him to be here even under an alias.

The reason he resigned from the FSF is because there was pressure for him to resign from there too, especially from Conservancy (as I linked below). Who, not incidentally, I decided to become a member of yesterday. Conservancy is exactly the kind of organization we really need, anyway: putting money into improving the situation with libre software.

As for how popular RMS is, not very. He's mostly just known in programming circles, especially those centered around Linux or libre open source software.

Masaru Suzuqi
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> I don't believe RMS is on these forums though.

I think he should have joined.

> The reason he resigned from the FSF is because there was pressure for him to resign from there too,

I wonder how the FSF pressured him. By ignoring greetings or his emails or something?
Or did they demand straight to his face that he resigns the president of FSF? I don't understand well the power relationship of there.

> As for how popular RMS is, not very.

I would like to ask details of his popularity (e.g. do people usually know his name and face but do not know well what he does? or how about compared to Kelly Slater, or James David Rodriguez? etc) but it would derail from the subject. So anyway I would like to set a prank for the critics or someone by e.g. setting a beautiful 17 or 18 years old boy or girl on them to lower the boom if I have a chance. Women are scary. IIRC Mr. Assange was already caught in a trap, too.

Edit: added some words.