" But I believe in judging each thing that a company does separately. So if a company is doing this thing, which is wrong and unjust, and this thing, which is helpful, I'd rather not add them up. If these two activities are separable in practice, in other words, if it's possible to look at each one, individually, and distinguish it from the other, if they're not tied up with each other, so much that that's a nonsensical thing to do, then I do that. Because that way, I can disapprove of whatever is bad and approve of whatever is good. That's more useful, just adding it up to get one total for a given company."
Treating people that way, and expecting to be treated that way, is part of the reason he's had to step down.
I suspect that the great Satan for RMS was mostly Apple. I don’t think he and his organizations have ever advocated a boycott of Microsoft, while they have called for boycotts of both macOS and iOS at times — and notably at a time when MS owned something like 90% of the OS market, they advocated for a boycott of more or less their last PC OS competitor.
I never quite understood that focus. Maybe it was because Stallman thought that Apple, with its hippie roots, was the bigger disappointment for not aligning themselves with his values.
And Apple was always like that - even for Apple Lisa they developed a scheme where a floppy would be permanently bound to a single machine on first use practically forbidding resale. There are really not many large software companies that would be more hostile to FSF core values than Apple.
But there was nothing in macOS that was incompatible with the GPL, and yet the FSF for a decade prohibited its maintainers from accepting macOS specific patches (So much for “freedom”).
To Stallman, Apple’s “Look & Feel” lawsuit was an unforgivable transgression, but Microsoft’s various tactics to muscle out competitors were never a cause for concern.
I also believe this is the reason.
Recall RMS's commentary when Steve Jobs passed away, he basically said: nobody should die, but I'm glad to see him leaving Apple, as he has built a cool prison of Apple in his life. It even triggered some strong actions within the community, "it's time to fork the FSF", from members who see and respect Steve Jobs as an important hacker in computer history. But to RMS, he has been excommunicated from the hacker community for what he has done, regardless of his early life.
Poor Richard, having his life's work usurped by the ankle biters and the self-aggrandising.
Congratulations, to all those who fell for it.
Some will claim this is evidence of his scepticism but really it's evidence of lazy thinking. He could have done a tiny bit of reading before saying that child abuse isn't harmful, but he chose not to do so.
Stallman dared to question the dominant belief in the US today, and needed more evidence before accepting that belief. With sufficient investigation (hardly "lazy thinking") he came to agree with it, but that's not enough for the social media mobs.
His experience shows that one must not only accept the dominant belief, one must accept it immediately and without question, because a moment of heresy will never be forgiven or forgotten.
Funny story. He "stole"/borroe my phone. He didnt have a phone so we lended him one. My phone was a dumb phone and we guessed that would be better. After the conference, he took my phone to another conference that was in our country. I got it back though
> I am willing to stay in a hotel if there is no other way. ... My distaste for a hotel is less if it does not know my name, but staying in a house with people is normally more enjoyable than staying alone.
RMS has a unique super power I propose you admire: he is deeply committed to his convictions, and willing to construct his life around them.
He has autism so he finds himself in situations that you are politely calling tone deaf a lot; he has said in public that he can find the responses hurtful. But he still keeps on with his values, at times at great personal cost.
I think of him as a sort of national treasure; if we had 10 of him in the last twenty years the world would be a much better place.
What I came away with was that SOMEONE needs to hold the points of view that he holds, at least as far as they pertain to software development and licensing, since almost nobody else does.
Whether he presents as well as he could is a different matter. The recently reported on comments he has made could and will be perceived as quite distasteful.
Until it's too inconvenient. He's said previously that he doesn't own a mobile (cell) phone - but will use someone else's.
He's the tech equivalent of a fucking anti-vaxxer. Doesn't want to deal with the realities and compromises of having convenient communications, but happy to ride on someone else's compromise for his own benefit.
> I think of him as a sort of national treasure
A man who wants pedophilia, child porn, bestiality and necrophilia legalised, is "a national treasure"?
I don't even want to know what nation you think should treasure people like that.
Let's not make the mistake of calling Stallman unintelligent or deaf. He simply chooses to direct his attention to other tones.
>having or showing an obtuse insensitivity or lack of perception particularly in matters of public sentiment, opinion, or taste
Having read that I stand by what I said. In my opinion he has shown "an obtuse insensitivity or lack of perception of public sentiment" on more than one occasion. The Minsky message being a very good example. Whether you agree with the sentiment or not is seperate from clearly being obtusely insensitive about the public sentiment I think.
He waded into the crazy internet morass that is sexual assault and Epstein, and didn't realize that quotes like the one below might trigger a response. That is either hopelessly naive, or absolutely "tone deaf" -- these have been over-the-top, hyper-sensitive topics for weeks.
Maybe he's just so used to staking odd or controversial positions and didn't see this as any different, I don't know. But the optics are terrible.
> "The most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing," Stallman wrote in his post last Wednesday. "Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates. I’ve concluded from various examples of accusation inflation that it is absolutely wrong to use the term 'sexual assault' in an accusation."
It seems to me the problem isn't that he's tone deaf but that other people have terrible reading comprehension.
How is this particular statement by Stallman insensitive?
It's also naive. I mean... powerful billionaire brings you to his private island and presents to you a beautiful young woman who wants to have sex with you, a 70-something man. That sounds like the "plot" of a really bad porno. You'd have to be obnoxiously naive to believe the woman wasn't being coerced in some way.
A paid escort is plausible, though, and I hadn't thought of that. However, the girl was 17. Obviously age isn't always obvious down to the year, but I would hope someone in that situation would think twice before assuming everything was kosher.
...I don't think it makes it any better.
...applies to a tiny minority of people involved in prostitution sex work.
When we're talking about recklessness and naivety it's not a persuasive argument to say "he thought this child was a willing prostitute".
Which means powerful billionaire wants to own you, and you should gtfo while you can.
> You'd have to be obnoxiously naive...
Well, some people probably are.
> ..to believe the woman wasn't being coerced in some way.
or believe that she was willingly paid?
Idk, I think I'd be creeped out way before it came to that, but who knows.
Sex trafficking isn't the logical conclusion to draw.
I'm not saying that's the correct side, but it's a human, emotional thing, rather than rational.
"Friend" isn't just some flag that gets set by cosmic rays and then stays that way forever, that would make it meaningless to me, not more noble.. blind loyalty isn't loyalty, just blindness. I say this as someone who did cast of friends, which was painful to me, even though it was for totally trivial and harmless, outright edifying reasons in comparison.
Agreed. It's more of a collection of experiences and knowledge of character.
If I've known you for 20 years and known you to be a good person, if I hear something like this I'm more likely to believe this is some sort of a mistake, as it is completely out of character. One way to rationalize it would be to believe that you were misinformed, rather than me being a poor judge of character for all of these years.
Again, not saying it's what happened - i dont know. But it's just human nature to react like that. It's not really human nature to consider the social media and print media applications before writing an opinion.
"Human nature" is also too generic, the question was, how would you react. I answered that question, and have the former friends I showed the door to prove it. It's clearly within "human nature" to react like that, too.
Why, if it is 2 consenting adults? As I said in another comment, some people are into BDSM, tentacle stuff, toys, etc. If they're both into it and happy, it's none of my business.
This agist view towards sex that you are prescribing is certainly no better than someone who would stop being friends with someone because they found out that their friend is gay.
> This agist view towards sex that you are prescribing
You're actually trying to prescribe to something to me, and about my reasoning and "view" you know nothing, because you prefer your own straw man.
> is certainly no better than someone who would stop being friends with someone because they found out that their friend is gay.
Aaaand here comes the payoff, where being against taking advantage of someone is "the" bad thing, and dirty old men don't exist, just an "agist view". A lot of variations can be seen in that other thread, too: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20990583
Your assumption is completely wrong.
In a world where one's written words can be so twisted beyond their original intent, it's good to reaffirm an assumption of good faith.
This statement isn't sensitive to the anger that people feel towards Epstein and thus Minsky, and the fact that Stallman has said it in this angry environment has caused quite a spectacle.
So in that sense, I think one might call it "spectacularly insensitive." On the other hand, I think that was the point. And I don't think that all public intellectuals should be required to be sensitive to the angry mobs at all times. I'd like someone to stand up to the mob, from time to time.
EDIT: to be clear, the italicized part is what I infer Stallman's intent was.
>How is this particular statement by Stallman insensitive?
It's insensitive to the fact that if you are a very old, famous man, who is taken by another old, rich man to a private island, where a seemingly willing 17-year-old girl offers sex -
- then the right thing to do is to politely decline the offer, because anyone with a half brain cell, a world-famous scientist more so, can figure out what that is about.
The statement is insensitive regardless of the allegations. It shows that RMS, alas, doesn't think that something that we today can't accept is wrong at all.
Does it make him unworthy of being the president of the FSF? I don't know; he has been right about the tech, I think. I just wish he abstained from commenting on social matters that don't have anything to do with FSF concerns.
Churchill was a racist that (arguably) saved his nation from invasion.
Stallman is a Marxist ("from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs") when it comes to how the power of computing is used and distributed and arguably the GPL and Linus's choice to use it for Linux have had world changing effects.
But Stallman is a man that also has no clue about how to deal with people in general or in tolerating other views.
His defence of Minsky's behavior is unacceptable as the head of the FSF and damaging to CSAIL/MIT (as is the relationship of MIT to Epstein in general).
It is unfortunate for him that his defence of Minsky has had this effect on his career. However, the impact of the result of that defence on the institutions he represented is much more important to resolve.
Geniuses in one field are not knowledgable in others.
What "knowledge" are you suggesting is required, that RMS does not posses, to understand that fucking kids is not OK?
Is this like when a sports "star" rapes someone, and then the team says they'll have "training". What does this training look like? "Lesson 1. DON'T RAPE PEOPLE. Class dismissed."
Time for someone who is a bit more accessible and savvy to take the FSF cause onwards.
The question though would be, will the FSF mission change or it's cause be diluted without RMS at the helm?
He just sacrificed his job and legacy to defend the honor of a friend.
What kind of person do you want leading the FSF, a mealy-mouthed politician?
He resigned after claiming that a victim of child sex trafficking, was "a member of (the trafficker's) Harem" and "entirely willing".
Defending his dead friends honour might be to raise the question of whether it was in fact his friend who was involved. He essentially gave the "but she wanted it" defence, for a dead man, who is accused of raping a child whom he had "borrowed" from another dead man, who is also accused of raping children.
> What kind of person do you want leading the FSF, a mealy-mouthed politician?
Most people would probably just be happy with someone who doesn't say the following about prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia (and I quote):
> All of these acts should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.
As I understand it, he opined that she may have been coerced into acting as though she were willing. Which is substantially different from your version of it.
And regarding sex trafficking/rape - sex with a 17 year old is almost never seen as rape legally. That's a mostly US thing. The age of consent is 16 generally; lower than 16 in parts of Europe. Everyone's entitled to an opinion but criticising someone for defending actions which are legal and - subject to opinion - moral seems like a bit of a boring waste of time.
This is untrue.
Sex with a coerced child is rape in everyday English(although it may have a different more specific legal term), and sex with a 17 year old prostitute is also rape (again, it may have a more specific legal term).
For all those places that have legal prostitution can you show me one that allows prostitution in under 18s?
But sure, carry on as usual because there’s always someone to defend RMS no matter how fucked his statements are.
Another poster asked why "adultery" was in the list of things in the quote, and I explained that I quoted the entire thing he said.
So fuck you, read something before you want to claim people are lying.
...and you just straight out lied there:
> He resigned after claiming that a victim of child sex trafficking, was "a member of (the trafficker's) Harem" and "entirely willing".
So, he says something a decade and a half ago, and then coincidentally 3 days after an email discussion where he defends a man alleged to have had sex with a victim of child sex trafficking, he suddenly "thinks adults should not do that".
WELL WHAT A REVELATION.
He called her a member of Epstein's Harem and said the "most likely" explanation is "she presented herself as entirely wiltingly"(sic)
A harem is a collection of wives or concubines. How exactly is a child sex slave either of those things?
RMS' theory is that a 70 year old man goes to a billionaire's private island and a 17 year old girl just happens to "present as willing" for sex and the guy asks no questions?
As other's have said, even if he didn't know she's 17, and somehow it never occurred to him to ask, it's the plot for a bad porno, it's not a plausible chain of events in reality, and it's definitely not the most likely scenario.
> "She was asking for it"
is very different from
> "I don't think my friend - who I knew well - was aware that she was coerced"
You, at least initially, argued that the former was the correct interpretation of his words, but to do so you did misquote him in a way that obviously altered the meaning of his words. Was that intentional or a mistake?
I don't have the context for the "harem" quote, but given how you presented the quote with regard to the victim's willingness, I think it's reasonable to conclude that RMS meant something other than what you insinuate.
In any case, it seems now that you recognize that the latter interpretation is correct, and you question whether RMS' position was reasonable. Fair enough. But tell me, would you know the difference between an 18yo prostitute (who is otherwise free to leave) and a 17yo slave?
Look, I think what Minsky did was wrong regardless, that he was foolish to let himself become entangled with a man like Epstein, and I think it's atrocious what happened to the young woman, but these two scenarios have vastly different legal consequences. Do you not think it is plausible that Minsky thought it was the first scenario?
For what it's worth, my initial thought when I heard that Minksy had been implicated in Epstein's ring, was that he was fully aware and complicit in the abuse. And Minksy may have in fact been fully aware, but RMS' words lead me to question that assumption because RMS actually knew the guy.
EDIT: hold the phone. Looking at some other sources suggests that Minksy may not have even had sex with the young woman. It sounds like she was coerced by Epstein to proposition Minsky, and that according to another witness Minsky turned her down . It does not appear that the victim is actually accusing Minksy of assaulting her (though I could be missing evidence. If this is the case, then why is this argument even happening?
It's concerning to me that you don't think his defence of pedophilia (not even just theoretical now - an actual specific case with an actual victim) would make him unpalatable to any people outside the world of pedophiles.
If you ask the average punter on the street who RMS is, they would shrug.