FSF Stallman And What To Do Now?

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eviledlibre
Desconectado/a
se unió: 07/14/2020

I know that this post is very late. I just assumed everything was fine at the FSF. I never imagined that what happened would happen. So, please forgive me that I didn't see all of this back in September.

At this point, I am heartbroken over how Stallman was treated. I have looked to him for inspiration sense my college does. I had just discovered back then the history of Stallman, why the OS should be called GNU + Linux, and why the Free Software Foundation is better than "open source."

Linus made that clear a little while back with his 'suck on Stallman' quote in his message basically declaring it a programmer's sacred right what license he/she releases software under.

This message itself illustrates the point perfectly on what the difference is between Free Software and open source, between Stallman and Linus; and why users should never look toward open source for freedom.

Stallman knew that the point of Free Software was to secure liberty for ALL the users of the software. That liberty wasn't only meant to survive the compiler; but was something that also shouldn't be at the discretion of either a corporation or a programmer. That as users; we shouldn't have to beg bended knee for liberty from others. Rather, that the spirit of liberty as an ethical duty to others for the sake of a moral society should be cultivated, cherished, and spread as a way of life for the common good of all.

When the FSF lost Stallman, they lost their soul. I am no longer donating to them; and I had in the past. I donated in the past because I believed in what Stallman stood for in Free Software. And, not being a programmer, but being someone who loves computing, I felt that it was my way of participating and helping make the world a better place for others who also loved computing and wanted liberty with their computing.

I've let my membership lapse so as to not donate to the FSF anymore. I've peeled off the FSF stickers from my computers and threw away the FSF enamel pins I used to wear at work. I feel betrayed by all of this. Sad.

On one hand I feel horrible for how the media treated Stallman for all of this. On the other hand I feel horrible for how the FSF and MIT did nothing to help the man. I feel horrible for how others working around him took it as an opportunity to stab him in the back by calling for his removal. And I feel horrible that a great man with strong conviction allowed his legacy to be tarnished by bowing out due to these atrocities.

I feel bad to feel that way about Stallman himself. I can also understand it, in a way. If everyone was calling for me to leave; I would to in most situations. But, I always thought Free Software was about more than just himself. I don't know what I would have done if I was is Stallman's shoes. But, I feel betrayed by him as well insofar as he didn't weather this controversy the same way he weathered the ones that came before.

So, my question is; what do I do now? I'm done with the FSF. I'm done with Stallman. Do I just be done with Free Software too? I can't program. So, I can't participate directly in helping the movement. I refuse to donate to or promote the FSF anymore because of what happened.

This was my cause. This was the one charity that I actually donated to and cared about because I really did feel that it helped make the world a better place. Because I actually believed in its mission.

But when the organization turns on its founder and the founder bows out; what's left to support?

I could donate on a project by project bases. But, if I did that, I'd also like a good list of all the projects who stabbed Stallman in the back so that I know to never donate to them.

Even then, it feels like the entire movement just had a sledge hammer taken to its ankles. Donating to small projects I care about without donating to a central hub seems like trying to salvage a few survivors after a disaster. Helpful, but the proverbial ship is still sinking anyway.

Maybe this is why movements shouldn't have faces. Shouldn't have central leaders. Maybe this is why movements shouldn't have central charity hubs. Because after decades of service to the cause it can all be upended pointlessly in about a week. Yet, I also question how far a movement can get without a faces, central leaders, and a charity hubs.

Where do I go from here with Free Software? What have others done? I've read several articles about this on Techrights and it seems to be about the only place left that actually has people speaking out who care. Is there anywhere else to get good information about Free Software and what happens now after the fallout of Stallman's removal? Does Free Software even have a future anymore? A real future with people who actually care about what it really means? Or, is all we're left with is a spineless FSF and a leaderless movement to forever live in the shadow of 'open source' who cares nothing about freedom for the users?

The Free Software movement just seems done to me now. Is there any hope in saving it? Is there anything left to save? Any point in trying? If anyone has anything helpful or genuinely hopeful to add; please do. Because, I'm just not seeing hope for this movement anymore.

loldier
Desconectado/a
se unió: 02/17/2016

Stallman:

"I continue to be the Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project.
I do not intend to stop any time soon."

https://stallman.org/

What happened to RMS was an injustice.

I suggest you use free libre software and continue to do so no matter what.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado/a
se unió: 07/24/2010

Also on RMS' personal webpage, written in a large bold font and with a link to https://my.fsf.org/donate :

Please donate to the Free Software Foundation to support its work for your freedom.

Techrights' coverage of RMS resigning, and of many other topics, is fake news: https://trisquel.info/forum/cort%C3%A8s-wingo#comment-146947

andyprough
Desconectado/a
se unió: 02/12/2015

>And, not being a programmer, but being someone who loves computing, I felt that it was my way of participating and helping make the world a better place for others who also loved computing and wanted liberty with their computing.

I felt much the same way, and decided I can no longer say that by supporting a project I'm doing enough. I'm learning more programming and how to build more types of packages. The only one who can really safeguard my freedoms is me.

nadebula.1984
Desconectado/a
se unió: 05/01/2018

Richard Stallman is our enemy, since he is a (petty) bourgeois.

FSF is our enemy, since they are a group of (petty) bourgeois.

Knowing this, you'll understand that free software movement led by them will surely fail. Unfortunately, there are very few communist parties remaining on the world since capitalist restoration (officially called "reform and opening up") in China. Maybe we can rely on the new Communist Party of USA?

Jaret
Desconectado/a
se unió: 12/19/2018

Free software are the tools you need to accomplish your various tasks. No matter what you do, if you're using proprietary software - you will fail. Why is it so important that free software to be developed by communists? Stallman may be bourgeois, but he's supporting software freedom. I don't see a problem between his political views and him supporting free software.

jxself
Desconectado/a
se unió: 09/13/2010

"But when the organization turns on its founder and the founder bows out; what's left to support?"

This is a misunderstanding. The FSF did not turn on him, and RMS still asks people to continue to support the FSF. It's right on the front of this website. I hope that you will listen to him and continue to do so.

"So, my question is; what do I do now? Do I just be done with Free Software too? Where do I go from here with Free Software? What have others done?"

The same as before. The issues RMS raised about the importance of free software still exist and still need to be addressed. I also call for the FSF to remain on course and continue to address these issues: https://jxself.org/course.shtml to quote:

"I have found that I really agree with the ethical and social issues that RMS brings up in his talks about free software.

I've renewed my FSF membership with $1,000 ($500 from me and $500 as an employer match.) I really like that I can donate to the FSF and my employer will match it.

I sent an email to the FSF saying my expectation is that they will stay true to those same issues in the way RMS has over these decades. It's important to preserve that singularity of vision. I intend to continue to be supportive of the FSF for as long as that remains true."

It is perhaps even more important to do so now because as you can see there is much misunderstanding not only from this this one thread but also elsewhere on the internet.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado/a
se unió: 07/24/2010

I can't program. So, I can't participate directly in helping the movement.

Yes, you can: https://www.gnu.org/help

Is there anywhere else to get good information about Free Software and what happens now after the fallout of Stallman's removal?

Techrights is the last news site to read to get good information. Notice that RMS still emphatically asks on https://stallman.org to "donate to the Free Software Foundation to support its work for your freedom".

eviledlibre
Desconectado/a
se unió: 07/14/2020

Thank you for your posts. It just still feels weird to me that all of this has happened. I can almost understand stepping down from MIT; considering that's where this originated from. But, I still don't understand why he stepped down from the FSF itself. I always understood that as separate from his work at MIT and as the central hub for the Free Software movement. I'm glad he's staying on with GNU. It's just all confusing and makes me sad.

I will think about what I have read here.

jxself
Desconectado/a
se unió: 09/13/2010

"But, I still don't understand why he stepped down from the FSF itself."

Immense pressure from those also pushing him to leave MIT. As I understand it, the desired end result is to have him removed from everything everywhere, including from the GNU Project, as part of something called "cancel culture".

eviledlibre
Desconectado/a
se unió: 07/14/2020

Thank you boba, magic banana, and jxself. Those replies are helpful. I didn't know either of them have spoken about things sense everything happened. I have bookmarked the info-gnu page and the Structure page. Now I have some good places to read directly what's happening. Thank you.

FindEssential
Desconectado/a
se unió: 08/23/2017

I find it amazing one would consider disavowing a movement over a single person. Do you support Stallman or Free Software? They are not mutually exclusive. Obviously, one can support both...but to place a single person over a movement that person created is an intellectual betrayal of everything he stands for.

Richard Stallman is a public figure that has a history of wading into topics related to his politics, not software that split some very nuanced hairs to put it lightly. He regularly writes on political matters and he knows full well the climate that content is entering into. It is in no way surprising he faced the outcome he did. The only surprise is that it didn't happen sooner.

Faced with that outcome he didn't make excuses, took quick, and undebatable responsibility so that the Free Software movement didn't suffer. He placed the movement above himself and you should too.