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[dupe] Richard Stallman Resigns from the FSF after Epstein Comments (lwn.net)
72 points by amaccuish 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

Without entering to discuss Stallman's role as a historic figure and his original work as a developer, I think it's about time we had a change in leadership and public figures.

Stallman pretty much embodies the worst stereotypes about software developers, engineers and "computer guys" in general (black-and-white attitude, lack of social skills, bluntness, even hygiene issues). It's really baffling, considering that his role right now is in a pretty much PR and evangelism.

I still feel bad for him, I honestly believe he is a well meaning person with issues that aren't his fault. But the community as a whole really needs to move past him, I think, and project a wildly different image.

GNU software is under my finger tips more than half the hours of my waking life. But something inside me withered so painfully when I read his comments. The news of his resignation doesn't bring me any happiness. But it restores some hope for me that those in leadership roles can be held accountable for the things they say and do.

Would you be willing to quote the original comment in context and highlight the issue you have with it? or are you referring to the nth revision of it via twitter?

This is not rhetorical! sorry i know it sounds it, but i'm genuinely curios because all of the information appears so muddied to me having discovered this via HN.


This is my first exposure to any so called comment from RMS so you can imagine my skepticism:


My reaction to his comments, which is entirely personal and wholly my own, is in response to all of his words in this e-mail thread


Which I interpret in the context of some of his previous comments


His comments are painful to me, and I feel they were spoken with an air of zero accountability in regards to his leadership role. I don't think he "should" be forced to resign his leadership role, I'm here only to comment that it gives me hope that leadership and accountability are trending toward not away from each other.

Stallman was always a lousy frontman with a long history of foot-in-mouth and blowups. However to his credit he really reigned it in the past couple decades. I don’t remember him doing anything particularly newsworthy from 2000ish until today. I think the turning point was around the time he tried to rename Linux via a glibc patch (and I think in gcc also), and that blew up. I think the rise of llvm softened him up a bit, I seem to recall him doing odd dictatorial stuff with gcc back in the day but that stopped when llvm appeared.

Did you actually read why professor Stallman was cruzified before writing your comment?

There is, in my book, nothing to hold him accountable for.

While I agree that a lot of this has got a bit blown out of proportion, there is one line by him that I find a bit disconcerting:

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

[from https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6405929-091320191420... and I hope people will agree that this isn't misleading without context]

Whatever your position on statutory rape ethically, it is nonetheless a crime in most countries with (as many laws have) an arbitrary cut off point. Which side of the road you drive on is an arbitrary choice, but I don't think most of us would defend someone who got into an accident because they forgot they were in the UK and drove on the left.

I appreciate your honest response on a sensitive subject, thanks you.

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

While I think it's a bit a matter of context the statement could as well be interpreted as:

Rape is morally wrong! It doesn't matter the cultural context or the age of the victim (alas, it's certainly a valid argument that it's especially vile when minors are victims).

I think the "morally" is really key here and while I can understand that you take offense with the statement I really feel it's a matter of interpretation.

You can argue that as a leader he should have been more careful how he phrases such a statement. But it's a tall ask to engage in permanent self-censorship when you're even a slightly exposed public person.

It can be interpreted as "Rape is morally wrong", but the implied conclusion is "but this isn't rape so it's ok".

Thus "morally". He's not really commenting on the legality of it?


Instead of slinging borderline personal insults, would you mind pointing out what's wrong with my opinion?

Not really, since you have not stated an actual opinion, except to dismiss the whole issue from the start. That does not speak to a willingness to actually listen to any contrary opinion.


Yes.. accountability.. so awful /s

I think hanging a man out to dry without any possibility of defending himself is the definition of a witch hunt...

This is the definition of cancel culture, drag up some old shit out of context and then get fake offended.

Sad to see so many people on hacker news is brainwashed. Hacker culture used to be anti authority, free markets etc.

How is bringing up something from the past anti-free market or anti-authority? And how does it preclude a person from being able to defend themselves?

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