It's a bit suspicious because a) he just said two days ago that he has no intention of stepping down from GNU https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/info-gnu/2019-09/msg00008... and b) there's another copy of the entry dated yesterday, deeper on the page: https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#27_September...
It 100% wouldn't surprise me if he didn't have adequate security for his personal website. He comes from a culture of leaving doors unlocked and passwords unset, and he also doesn't actually participate in the modern web (he has a daily cronjob that emails him text dumps of web pages he wants to read, he doesn't "browse" the web in any me), and his personal site is probably not actually run by the FSF or anyone else with experience in running websites.
"Why GNU su does not support the `wheel' group
"(This section is by Richard Stallman.)
"Sometimes a few of the users try to hold total power over all the rest. For example, in 1984, a few users at the MIT AI lab decided to seize power by changing the operator password on the Twenex system and keeping it secret from everyone else. (I was able to thwart this coup and give power back to the users by patching the kernel, but I wouldn't know how to do that in Unix.)
"However, occasionally the rulers do tell someone. Under the usual su mechanism, once someone learns the root password who sympathizes with the ordinary users, he or she can tell the rest. The "wheel group" feature would make this impossible, and thus cement the power of the rulers.
"I'm on the side of the masses, not that of the rulers. If you are used to supporting the bosses and sysadmins in whatever they do, you might find this idea strange at first. "
 Page 155: https://books.google.com/books?id=oLHMBK0iGkkC&pg=PA155&lpg=...
Also, it is there twice https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#27_September...
Instead he seems to prefer to step down from what he has been doing for the last 30 years. Does he really regret nothing?
On a human level I sympathize with the women he has offended (I know the story is also about his behavior over the years), but I also worry about him as well, I hope he stays in good health and spirit.
He could give a fake apology with the hope that this would stop this whole drama, but I believe that he is more principled than that. Plus, apologising for something that you have not done wrong hurts.
Does only work though, if he is sorry, which is not likely.
Because the thing is, allmost all rapist defend themself by saying the victim presented themself willingly and when RMS just declared that the most plausible scenario that the epstein underage prostitute present herself willingly, then he should not be surprised if people understand that wrong and feel hurt, if he has some empathy.
Now whether he has some, remains actually unclear to me after all I read now (but I never met him in person).
Anyhow, for someone talking so much abouth ethics and leading a organization about it, I believe empathy should be a required skill for leadership, otherwise it can (and was and partly is) be seen as a bad joke.
Good thing, he already did that. https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September...
> allmost all rapist defend themself by saying the victim presented themself willingly
In which case they (the rapists) are lying, otherwise they would not be rapists. What about victims of false rape reports though? Do they say that as often?
> RMS just declared that the most plausible scenario that the epstein underage prostitute present herself willingly
Are you saying that this is implausible or even unlikely that she presented herself to be willing to Minsky? (note: he did not say that she presented herself willingly, there is an important difference between the two)
> if he has some empathy
Apparently I do not have any empathy for not understanding what the issue with this statement is, thanks. I believe that you have adopted a very neurotypical view of empathy.
"Are you saying that this is implausible or even unlikely that she presented herself to be willing to Minsky? "
I am saying I don't know any of the persons involved personally, live far away, so I would never make any statements regarding what actually happened.
But in general yes, I believe when someone is coerced into prostitution, it should be obvious to spot real willingnes from forced one, unless you don't want to notice.
"Apparently I do not have any empathy for not understanding what the issue with this statement is, thanks"
And no, you do not, yes. Because the issue is sexism/patriacharlism. Strong men sexually abusing weak women/girls, what was the norm for centuries and was ok to do so (and in some parts of the world still is).
And apparently also partly in the MIT, if Epstein had so much connection there. So in this context, when a victim makes an accusation - and someone uses the defence, "the victim appeared willing" than yes, you clearly lack empathy, to not see how that might hurt feelings and has a high chance of getting misunderstood.
And that we have media, who does not care about truth, when there is a scandal and a scapegoat is a very sad other story.
You ever see the science experiment where you supercool a container of distilled water, tap it, and then watch it instantly turn to ice? That's what's happened here. And just as the tap didn't actually freeze the water, neither did the Epstein reporting doom Stallman; rather, it was the long prior history of unfortunate comments about pedophilia and of allegations of harassment.
It was a running joke around MIT that women would place ferns in their office to repel him; his notoriety was enough to create special meaning for ferns. It's surprising he lasted as long as he did, just like it's surprising that you can get a jug of water below freezing without actually freezing it.
The comments were misquoted and RMS fans believe that this is the sole reason for him being fired and are outraged.
Even if he changes his mind about some subjective things, he will keep saying other things that are objectively true but people don't want to accept.
Society slowly unravel that consent is such a fragile concept, and they have to resort to some finite number (age) to strengthen that stance. But, as the most rational amongst us found out, those numbers are indefensible too.
A better and more defensible stance is the one Catholic's have (Humanae Vitae).
No, it's not; a consent based view does not logically imply that children are capable of consent; in fact, the view that intoxication, mental disability, and other factors can make adults incapable of consent at least strongly supports an approach where children (to, perhaps, an age above the common ages of consent) ought to be viewed as at least presumptively, and possibly conclusively, unable to consent to sex; the dominant legal position is consistent in outline, though there may be room to debate the particular details.
> A better and more defensible stance is the one Catholic's have (Humanae Vitae).
Humanae Vitae didn't even reflect the most defensible stance within the Catholic intelligentsia, which is why the Pope had to dump the position adopted by the Second Vatican Council workgroup on the topic to issue it, and why the document is widely disregarded by the faithful and even large segments of the clergy and even heirarchy (see, e.g., the Declaration of Königstein).
From system design perspective, it operates on lower level rule-based design. This is weaker. I understand there's debate internally about Humanae Vitae, and it's good. But at least it gets the core design stronger by operating on higher level goal/paradigm constraint (the purpose of procreation)
That's actually not how it works; the intricacies of the dual procreative and unitive function model in the theology under Humanae Vitae is no less complex than that of the consent-based system, but it's just based on a moral system with a larger number of specialized axioms; the consent-based system is based on a simpler set of axioms, because it doesn't need a specific set of axioms for sex; the principle of consent underlying the consent-based system of sexual morality is the same one underlying all of the liberal enlightenment political/social/economic ideology.
That seems like the most bizarre and harmful outcome of deciding there's no such thing as consenting 'paedophilia' - something as normal as two 16 year olds hooking up and using their smartphone can turn into a disaster. That can happen any time the definition of child for sexual consent is different from the definition of child for child porn laws, something that you'd think would never happen in any rational legal system, but does!
Perhaps if the age difference is very small, but see hereunder.
However, there is a good reason why a minor isn't able to sign a (legal) contract. Because they're not an adult. The brains stop growing at around age 25. The body at around age 20 / mid 20 (depends on gender and differs per person). So at age 18, teenagers are still growing up. A teenager is unable to consent to an older adult because the relation isn't equal. The adult (presumably) is grown up. It has the huge potential to create a power vacuum.
Which is why we need to be very careful to protect our minors. Which is why if the age difference is minor, its often tolerated even if it isn't exactly legal. Alas, the law is not perfect, but the lawmakers did did try their best to make the law as far as possible for all parties involved.
No links provided. From there we get the leap
> most rational men always come to the same conclusion (the age of consent should be abolished)
Motivated reasoning much?
I read: https://medium.com/@selamie/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec21...
And from a cursory search I didn't see him exactly advocating.
Some things he says are objectively true.
Advocating for the legalization of "consensual pedophilia" (whatever that means) is not an objective truth, it's an opinion.
Stallman has said many "problematic" things apart from defending "consensual pedophilia".
…and then he says that an enslaved child could, somehow, be “entirely willing”. Let’s also note that he called a group of child sex trafficking victims a ‘harem’, a terrible word choice.
[>] We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that
she presented herself to him as entirely willing.
The only opinion stated here by Stallman is that "it's the most plausible scenario", but it's an objective truth that it's a possible scenario (even if not the most plausible) for the underage girl to be coerced into presenting herself as willing, given the public knowledge of the situation. Then, Selam gets angry because he stated that possibility.
Note that she doesn't disagree with it being the most plausible scenario, she disagrees with it being a possibility at all (an objective truth, because coercion is a thing), and then she twists Stallman's words (presenting oneself as [something] vs being [something]).
The nominee is quoted as saying that if the choice of a sexual partner were protected by the Constitution, "prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia" also would be. He is probably mistaken, legally--but that is unfortunate. All of these acts should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.
I don't have an opinion about the recent reporting of Stallman's comments on Epstein, other than to note that they are, in effect, about pedophilia. I don't have to; Stallman has done us all the favor of being outspoken about his belief that pedophilia should be legal.
I think a lot of advocates for Stallman don't know this about his history, and think they can hang their entire argument on the Epstein pedophilia drama. If that's all that had happened, Stallman defending Minsky, he might be fine. But it's not. If you want to talk about Stallman saying things that others don't agree with, be mindful of what it is he's saying. You probably don't actually want to be defending it.
> Many years ago I posted that I could not see anything wrong about sex between an adult and a child, if the child accepted it.
> Through personal conversations in recent years, I've learned to understand how sex with a child can harm per psychologically. This changed my mind about the matter: I think adults should not do that. I am grateful for the conversations that enabled me to understand why.
He doesn't care.
Saying something can be objectively true, entirely non-hypocritical and completely idiotic, all at the same time.
I'm only stating a name many of them have branded themselves as, and proudly at that. It's a point of discussion and quite frankly disturbing people make assumptions as to those who use it.
Everything is presented verifiable with the smallest of effort.
It's usually associated with come kind of bigotry and used as put down describing someone as being in another camp to the writer.
There are people in the world who have opinions based on critical thinking that are individually arisen at, per item.
Many are just pragmatic.
Some just don't have the ability to form a different view in some cases because they have not witnessed or experienced various forms of prejudice, persecution, being exploited and so on.
And that doesn't make them privileged, at most it makes them luckily ignorant.
There is no "side" or "group" that holds the entire high morel ground in anything.
"What if I told you that a bird needs both wings to fly?".
Mind you, I do not have any authority in this matter. It is just my personal observation that posts that call people SJWs end up dying, just like posts that call people nazis.
And it's not a coincidence.
Fundamentalist lefties aren't uncommon, but Stallman isn't
really typical for that group, as he's a fundamentalist of a particularly niche ideology that, while on the left in a broad sense, isn't typical of leftism (fundamentalist or otherwise.)
I saw an old interview where RMS goes bananas when the interviewer calls him a communist.
 if you follow any of RMS's thinking he is generally quite precise and careful in his writing, choosing words carefully, eschewing ready made labels and coining his own with more precise definitions.
So it would not surprise that referring to Stallman as say a "lefty", "communist", "libertarian" or a whatever would annoy him, since there is no good consensus on what those terms actually mean.
I would posit that the use of over-broad popularly contentious labels is generally counter-productive to actual thinking and one of the major problems in modern political discourse - it promotes tribalism over thinking about issues.
Labelling is a poor substitute for reasoning.
So yeah, he also defined his version of "freedom", but labelling sounds very RMS to me. Also the strict wording of "ethical" software, meaning only the licence he favors is ethical and good and everything else, not.
RMS has his faults but ambiguity is not one of them. He really bends over backwards to be careful about explaining what he means.
An actual libertarian would be pro: "there's no copyright nor copyleft; my computer -> my rules, I do whatever I want with whatever files I empirically have. And the only way to decisively stop me from doing that is to actually kill me."
Although I'm sympathetic to that idea myself, that just isn't true in Stallman's case. He's a Bernie/Stein voter and he's read something by Emma Goldman, but I think that's the extent of his "lefty" gland.
I am saddened by this occurrence, and am worried about the ability to pressure people like Stallman like this.
If a critical mass of people refuse to work with you, that is itself a mishandling of the project. Getting people to work with you is one of the most important responsibilities of a leader.
Also - you're right that this is an important characteristic, but if there is active outside pressure to get people to _not_ work with you, that should not be ignored when evaluating someone's ability to lead.
Having his inevitanle departure reduced to collateral damage of Jeffrey Epstein is a shame.
Nixon's was one sentence: https://watergate.info/1974/08/09/nixons-resignation-letter....
- "As discussed, this is my notice of resignation effective February 28."
- "Further to our conversation, this email confirms my resignation from <X> effective today."
The interesting conversations about resignation happen in private. The paper trail for administrative reasons doesn't have to have the gory details.
Hurd? Who cares?
Linux has always been and will continue to be its own thing; it isn't a GNU project.
Has anyone else noticed that Stallman hasn't been effective, outside of the hard-core FSF, in a very long time?
I'm a big fan of the GPL licenses. I'm a moderate fan of the FSF. But geeze, Stallman has been a liability in terms of the outside world for a long time.
What is activly maintained and being used?
For GCC, less Stallman influence, if it happens as a result of this, might have some consequences. E.g. there was some discussions about (not) having features giving deeper insight into internals some years ago, which are helpful to e.g. make code inspection tools, but also could be used to feed a non-GPL codegen backend.
Many "GNU" projects are really run independently though, with little influence.
Ok, I meant GNU projects, with actual ties to the organization and not just the name. If there is no real connection, then it does not really matter who leads GNU
[EDIT] Quoting the text of the above link for convenience:
> "On September 16 I resigned as president of the Free Software Foundation, but the GNU Project and the FSF are not the same. I am still the head of the GNU Project (the Chief GNUisance), and I intend to continue as such."
Earlier discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21088690
Again, first they go to you, and if you will not comply they go to your boss.
why does he sign this way? he doesn't have a PhD.
edit: i have never (ever) seen someone with an honorary doctorate actually call themselves doctor.
This came up at my wedding. After the ceremony we had a bunch of silly "group of X" photos. All the musicians, all the writers, the lawyers, the grandparents, the athletes, the tech folk, the doctors, and so on.
The programmers made jokes about type checking, of course.
(I was, on the sly, also gently nudging strangers to connect. Our friends are pretty scattered and don't know each other.)
However, several of the PhDs had forgotten they had one, particularly those that had not subsequently remained in the ivory tower. When the Call for Doctors went around, we had to remind them them individually.
Hah, yeah, sometimes PhD's don't stress their "Dr." title to avoid being mistaken for a medical doctor in miscellaneous medical emergencies.
For example, I'd heard one professor say that after checking the "Dr." title on an airline ticket, he was called upon in-flight to deal with a medical emergency, only to have to explain that he wasn't that kind of "Dr.". Thereafter, he reverted to "Mr." in such informal situations.
Then in professional environments, we often go by first names anyway.
> Thereafter, he reverted to "Mr." in such informal situations
"Oh! So you're a surgeon!" 
I don't know about you but I don't think that I have ever seen anyone other than stallman with an honorary doctorate, they tend to be pretty rare after all.
They are usually (though not always) given to the speaker at a graduation ceremony.
You're right that this is abnormal in American academic culture . Apparently German culture would afford him the title "Dr. h.c.", where the "h.c." qualifier clarifies that it's an honorary degree.
To be fair, [his Wikipedia page] seems to suggest that he's done enough work to have potentially earned a real PhD, had he been enrolled in a PhD program.
Plus we're often loose with the "Dr." title anyway. For example, we'll often call a college-level instructor "Dr." even if they don't actually have a doctorate.
All that said, it's still a tad less-than-dignified. I mean, it does have a hint of puffery behind it for someone whose work would seem to otherwise stand on its own. Plus a PhD is an early honor; for example, we don't bother saying Dr. Albert Einstein because Einstein's later accomplishments were so much greater than merely earning a PhD that the title seems more like an understatement than an honor. So, it's a bit weird for an older guy who doesn't have an earned PhD to use the "Dr." title, given that it's a bit of a stretch and almost feels like he's leaning on it whereas other famous names don't.
Not really a big deal, just kinda neat to examine.
I see nothing to suggest that. A PhD is fundamentally about doing research to push the boundaries of knowledge. He may be responsible for an impressive amount of software, but replicating what already exists (most of the GNU tools were about rewriting the UNIX utilities from scratch) doesn't qualify a whit towards a PhD.
1. Earned a BS in Physics from Harvard with a near-perfect GPA.
2. Got into a PhD in Physics program.
3. Dropped out of the Physics program to pursue a non-degree-track research program in AI.
4. Published stuff and gave talks.
His work around that time sounds like what a typical grad student would be doing, i.e. performing research as a research assistant to a principal investigator:
> While working (starting in 1975) as a research assistant at MIT under Gerry Sussman, Stallman published a paper (with Sussman) in 1977 on an AI truth maintenance system, called dependency-directed backtracking. This paper was an early work on the problem of intelligent backtracking in constraint satisfaction problems. As of 2009, the technique Stallman and Sussman introduced is still the most general and powerful form of intelligent backtracking. The technique of constraint recording, wherein partial results of a search are recorded for later reuse, was also introduced in this paper.
Without looking into precisely what he did, that sounds like the sorta thing someone could type up as a dissertation and defend to earn a PhD.
Most obviously don't, otherwise we'd be talking about Dr. Kylie Minogue, Dr. Kanye West, Dr. Bill Gates, Dr. Oprah, etc., etc. It would be insane.
(And of course the result was everyone called him "famed MIT computer scientist" and was asking about him being a professor when he had no paid affiliation with MIT for decades.)
You might want to seriously examine the mechanisms which inform that emotion.
Is that enough examination for you, or would you like more?
A few days ago, for whatever reason, he blogged that his resignation from the FSF didn't mean he was stepping down from head of GNU.
I have to assume this post means someone let him know that he was no longer welcome as head of GNU, either.
This is a man who was intermittently homeless and sleeping at his office while establishing the foundations of his work on free software and GNU. He's not likely to cave to demands he feels are ridiculous over something minor in his mind like his need for income or housing -- minor compared to his principles, it seems.
I believe he was directly responsible of the development stall of GCC, Emacs and various other projects. It's also his fault for not abandoning the Hurd sometime around the early 1990s.
His forced resignation should better be happened earlier for the lack of skill, not by his opinion on the definition of pedophile and the correct understanding of intention in criminal law system.
that whole thread is a pretty gross social lynch mob, if I do say so myself.
not condoning RMS, but I don't feel too great about any get-together where the topic at hand is , quite literally, let's speak ill of someone.
Sure, but that's not what's going on in that thread.
It's basically just a pissing contest, with participants across the internet, about 'ridiculous' stories involving RMS.
A link to the famous rms-foot meme is by no means a warning to future hospitable folks.
It's not some neighborhood watch newsletter to warn about a predator, it's just a bunch of people who have been given the social go-ahead to share stories that they wouldn't otherwise have -- while simultaneously vying for social credit from others with regards to how hospitable they say they were.
In other words, i'm not buying the supposed good intentions 'we must warn others' perspective here.
If anything, it seems like group therapy for those that feel scorned by RMS to get together and share war-stories. That's fine -- but let's not paint it like they're adamantly trying to prevent RMS from victimizing someone.
Back in my day it was called 'gossiping', and it was usually poor form.
> that whole thread is a pretty gross social lynch mob
This is relevant information for anyone who might consider giving you a job, having a relationship with you, or renting you a place to stay, so it's totally appropriate to air your dirty laundry in a entirely public forum and associate it to your real identity. Thank you.
I suppose for fairness we should count only being over age 18, so, I once hit my best friend with a car because I was picking them up from the airport, they were loading luggage, and I took my foot off the brake without realizing it was in reverse instead of park. (They were not injured.)
Do you regularly associate with people for whom having Stallman-level worst behaviors is common?
Also, it's generally common to apologize after doing something bad, to acknowledge that the behavior was mistaken, as a step to forgiveness. I did not apologize to the girl (it seems more harmful than not at this point to reconnect) but I did apologize to the friend immediately. Did Stallman apologize to de Icaza for his behavior?
The whole point of my request was to show the absurdity of justifying spreading rumors about someone simply because their bad behavior is known.
Besides which, you're dodging my point.
Yea, I agree you don't need anyones permission to post this kind of stuff, it is free speech, afterall. I just object to you justifying it as somehow being moral, just because it's relevant information to someone who might interact with him in the future.
This is a public forum, and posting this kind of stuff here is being an asshole. That's my only point.
The guy is an old man who's already been stripped of all positions of influence. Why do you want to make him sleep on the street too? At what point will you believe justice has been served? Attacking the defenseless and powerless is cruelty itself.
Which is neither here nor there, but thanks for playing.
Only after the hordes were finishing RMS, he found the "courage" to speak
So yes, a weak person, but it is still telling, that now so many speak up who did not dare to do so before.
Weak and pathetic? Maybe yes. But still telling about RMS.
It is only when RMS has shown some "weakness" by resigning from his two alma maters due to journalistic pressure, that the rats jump in the criticism to finish the job.
But FSF definitely also had and has some cult like mentality, with not much tolerance and not much restraint sometimes. So I can understand that people with low self esteem tried not to cause a shitstorm by speaking up.
I don't claim that this is near either extreme of the spectrum, but it seems closer to the latter end, in my brief interpretation.
Many people seem to have rms bad behaviour stories, but a quick glance shows that there there is no shortage of people to respond antagonistically to any bad word spoken.
I have only met rms once in the 90's, he made quite a poor impression. While it was nothing to condemn, it was enough to keep a skeptical eye on the cult of personality that surrounds him. Over the years that followed I encountered enough people who have stories that they were not prepared to share publicly because it would be more detrimental to themselves than rms.
In my opinion I am much less concerned about the hypotheticals shared in emails that precipitated the current situation. The issues that worry me are the stories of inconsiderate, manipulative, or outright bullying behaviour.
I have no accusations to make of my own, but I support those who feel like they now have an opportunity to be heard.
Oh, I don't know, that thread read more like relatively mild commiseration between people with first-hand experiences hosting RMS - which all sounded rather chagrined/amused more than anything, at least in retrospect.
(Admittedly such talk is better in person over drinks, but it's hardly the "cancel culture" type mob you see nowadays.)
People saying RMS shouldn't be leading open source projects are now stuck.
If they don't give details of all the times RMS has behaved unacceptably someone will say "but what has he actually done?", and if they do give details of poor behaviour someone will say "the social lynch mob is unpleasant".
Also, I am sure that there are many people who would offer him somewhere to live, he has quite a few fans.
Why? That's an impressive amount of benefit of the doubt to give anybody, but so much more so if you're also willing to personally host that person. It's almost unbelievable. Do you in fact mean to say not that you don't care about his opinions, but that you simply have read about them and don't find them particularly condemnable?
I would be willing to host him just for the conversations, and because I feel like it's the least I can do for a man who shaped much of the software that I use everyday.
If they really do, only then it makes sense to remove him from a position of power.
then maybe he should be a little more humble about what he expects? that's my point.
I generally agree with what little I understand of the principles behind his work. But "selling out" for money (and locking up code to facilitate that) was the trend he was defying and it's a vastly easier path than the one he chose.
In 1990 Stallman received a MacArthur grant, which comes with $500,000. During the late 1990s, many of the founding fathers of free software were granted stock during IPOs. Here for example is documentation that Eric Raymond got stock that ended up being worth $36 million (for a couple of years until the bust in 2001): https://www.theregister.co.uk/1999/12/10/ipo_makes_va_linux_...
Now Eric Raymond got that stock for accepting a position on the Dot Com's board of directors, and I can well imagine Stallman refusing all such directorships on principle, but OTOH I would be surprised if none of the founders of successful Dot Coms during that period donated generously to Stallman directly or via the FSF.
In general, almost everybody with as much fame and public reputation for moral rectitude ("prestige"?) as Stallman has for as long as Stallman has had it is worth at least a million or 2 dollars (unless they're, you know, chronically mentally ill or some such). Fame and prestige for example get you much higher speaking fees, and public speaking has long been Stallman's favorite thing to do.
So it took him seven years to get that money. Meanwhile, he was intermittently homeless and only succeeded in registering to vote while homeless due to his fame for his work. He submitted his voter application and listed himself as a "squatter" at his work address. The registrar of voters refused to accept this and changed their mind when an article about him came out in a national publication and said the same thing.
Meanwhile, I routinely hear that software engineers at FANG companies can make upwards of a quarter million annually in salary and he lives in Boston, not known for its low cost of living.
That should be common knowledge for the HN crowd, so I'm not going to try to back that up with a source.
I always thought the "squatter" description referred to his spending much of his time at MIT and keeping things at MIT without being employed by MIT. (Stallman quit his MIT job when he started GNU out of a worry that if he kept it then MIT might claim ownership of GNU; the legal ramification of the GPL weren't understood as well back then as they are today.) I don't think his use of the word implies that he had nowhere else to live.
I searched the page you linked for "home", "squatter", "vote" and "register" without finding any text the supports anything in your comment. I hope I don't come across as antagonistic to you; I am sincerely curious whether Stallman was ever homeless (i.e., ever lacked reliable access to private indoor space with a door that could be locked).
A quick search of the web also gives me nothing and I don't plan to spend a lot of time trying to prove this. Perhaps this will suffice as a source to satisfy your curiosity:
ADDED. "Until around 1998, my office at MIT was also my residence. I was even registered to vote from there. Nowadays I have a separate residence in Cambridge not far from MIT." https://stallman.org/rms-lifestyle.html
Not trying to argue with you. I just honestly don't understand it to work exactly like that, but some of your phrasing seems ambiguous and I'm wondering if I even understood you.
IBM bought Redhat at a valuation of $34 billion.
yeah, that’s a no from me, dog.
.. ok :)
Some of the most significant human advances have been made by people obsessing over their passionate interests to the neglect of everything else.
(I'd be hard-pressed to name 20 people you've heard of without Google. Why not ask for 1000 to be really sure the bar is absurd?)
That said, there are 7 billion people on this planet and I suspect rather more than 20 of them have done more good than Stallman.
- Bill Gates. For saving in the hundred millions lives through his foundation.
- Arunachalam Muruganantham. For low cost sanitary pads which have helped millions of women.
- Elon Musk. For starting a green revolution in the notoriously dirty car industry which will save millions of lives by saving the environment.
I'm all for doing things that benefit the environment, I kow but I think this is a bit of a stretch.
The cars are too expensive for average consumer, so you will not see widespread adoption any time soon.
What about compared to police officers taking criminals off the streets, firefighters saving people from burning buildings, people volunteering to build shelters in third world countries? There's a lot of good to be done in the world. I'm all in support of free software, but I would not put rms in the same category as those people.
Would the lives of all the people who don't care about "free software" be much different if he didn't exist?
>factually done more good
This honestly comes off as a satire of bad faith argument.
Similar worries were expressed on /r/linux as well; I don't think any of us who were concerned about his well-being were doing that for other reasons than empathy.
However, as a counterpoint, do you really want to live in a world where the leadership is not determined by how skilled you are at your craft, but how well you conform to a conventional morality? RMS has done some things that don't conform to that morality, and some things that go against my own sense of morality.
He doesn't lead a religious organization. He doesn't lead a political party. He was leading technical organizations, and seemed immensely successful in doing so. I have never once heard of him doing anything that was counter to the goals of those organizations.
Why do his personal beliefs even need to be brought into the equation? Do we really intend to digress back to some kind of Puritanical morality where your ability to do anything is first judged by your piousness, and secondly by your ability to perform the job?
Personally, this has somewhat diminished my interest in both the FSF and the GNU organizations. If witch hunts based on your personal sense of morality are going to be an entrenched part of joining that community. What I look for in a technical community is just that: technology. I'll save the witch hunts for organizations that purport some form a moral compass.
I'm in the same boat. I've been eyeballing things I've been seeing about him on HN as of late.
> However, as a counterpoint, do you really want to live in a world where the leadership is not determined by how skilled you are at your craft, but how well you conform to a conventional morality? RMS has done some things that don't conform to that morality, and some things that go against my own sense of morality.
I won't look at this in a binary way. True, I'd choose to live in a cave, rather than in a community where all leaders are selected solely on their social conformance. However, work or any other activity where it is done with a group, people bring merely more than their skills. They do bring their culture, their personal touch as well, and under circumstances where this social side is extremely irritating, it could override a decision on whether to include this person into the group. That being said, how much we should care about one's persona is a complex problem and I am refraining presenting an opinion about it. From the looks of it, in this particular instance, people think it was significant enough.
His resignations are going to be a net loss for everyone, but I refuse to believe this damage has been inflicted by the community. He is the sole responsible of his mouth. If you want to bring change, then the burden of being accepted lies with the individual, him, not the community.
It seems to me like he has enough allies to continue all of his organisations with some replacement of those who wont associate with him, so it seems to me like people are drawing lines for other people.
I have mixed feelings about his running of the organisations on a technical level, but I have more reservations about organisations after such a social coup. Similarly, I find Brendan Eich's political views distasteful, but I am more inclined to draw a line against interacting with Mozilla than Eich over people drawing lines for other people, and I would definitely shun Mozilla had they removed Eich for expressing political thoughts without making actual monetary donations.
I've worked with people far more distasteful in far more areas of their belief and behavior than those two, and I would rather the nonsense stop than empower one more moron on the web to bring someone to "justice". How is this mob going to sleep at night in a few months?
More realistically, he was hounded by a loud minority with most people shruging and waiting. Given that his situation with MIT is somewhat more complicated and he has a limited amount of resources for handling simultaneous emergencies..
We already live in that world. Within the boundaries of the law, any behavior which interferes with an organization's business, creates an intolerable work environment, or might invite a lawsuit or negative publicity can be grounds for dismissal regardless of a person's competence. Morality, politics and optics have always mattered, and matter more for leaders than others, because leaders are expected to embody an organization.
Stallman is an example of someone being given far more leeway than others when it comes to the effects of his his "unconventional morality."
I appreciate RMS for all that he has done. But unless he committed a crime, which he didn't, I don't think we should police his thoughts and opinions. The thresholds for decency may be different for you and me. And RMS is not a politician whose opinions could potentially affect all of us. If you don't link what he says, you can just ignore him.
That's what this is about. Sarah Mei is coming from a place of, "Because RMS said this Very Bad Thing, no one should associate with him at all." Carrying with it an implied threat: if you continue to associate with a Bad Person, then you are a Bad Person and maybe whoever signs your checks should know just what a Bad Person you are.
I have no horse in this race, this is too much of a hot topic to take a stance about personally, but I can't say I'm enjoying the modern viral Twitter shit-storm phenomenon very much.
The loudest campaign, wrong or right, wins by deafening everybody and amplifying their moral stance through that platform.
I have nothing against Mei personally, but I _loathe_ the modern Twitter driven moralism. Does everything have to be a crusade?
Sure, but others are entitled to tell him he should step down, and he's entitled to do so if he feels like it.
Political changes tend to follow behind cultural changes here. If this cultural change has legs, then I have to wonder how long it will be before the Government does start acting more directly against anyone who has views outside of the mainstream. Social Credit score, anyone?
Government Social Credit Scores are bad. It does not follow that people don't have reputations.
You don’t have privy to his HR record at MIT and neither do I. But I’ll bet it looks closer in size and volume to Bart Simpson’s file than it does Lisa Simpson.
It is hard to fire people in academia. They found a legit, lawsuit-proof excuse to can him and took it.
In the hours I've spent reading this story, all I've seen is hearsay about women feeling uncomfortable about him having a mattress in his office; criminally stupid misreadings of his writings regarding Minsky; and of course various accounts him being a terribly unpleasant person, which we already knew.
It's obvious what ways the winds are blowing. There's no place for misfits like RMS in today's world. (But I guess there never really was.) That doesn't mean I have to like it.
If the contributors to the GNU project stop contributing since they do not like what he says, Stallman becomes a liability. Resignation is likely the only viable option.
It is also worth noting that there are reasons to stop contributing to an organizations for reasons other than policing the thoughts and opinions of its leadership. Sometimes people don't want to be associated with those thoughts and opinions, even if they are a strong proponent of the freedom of speech. Other people will want to limit their exposure to thoughts and ideas that they find revolting, which is difficult to do when the leadership sanctions them. While it is possible to argue that ending contributions results in the policing of a threshold for decency regardless of the motivation, the motivations are meaningfully different.
Yes, we should be grateful to Stallman for his contributions to Free Software. We should also be grateful for his resignations. Some of his viewpoints are truly harmful to both individuals and society, while his leadership role lent those ideas more credence than they deserve. If he recognizes the undue influence that leadership roles provide, we should offer him an opportunity to rebuild his reputation. Otherwise, he brought his own downfall.
Now I don't personally like Richard Stallman, but the "one tactless comment and you're dead _and_ people who want to associate with you are dead, too" approach to modern Internet justice seems wrong.
When you run a public organization, personal skills do matter.
If you put it to Twitter or a message board whether he's a "decent human being", you're going to get answers like "he's among the very best human beings because free software" and "he's among the very worst human beings because pedophilia".
I think it's worth interrogating whether "is Stallman a decent human being" is a question worth asking. The operative question is "is Stallman the right person to be leading the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project".
And yes, Stallman wrote twice in the past that he thought consensual pedophilia was not particularly harmful - about three lines worth among many thousands of entries in his inane "political blog" that approximately nobody reads or cares about (and on which of course nobody commented or cared about at the time they were made). These lines were lovingly collected and placed, with some other examples of his wrongthink, e.g. on the geek feminism wiki years ago. They did not play a significant role in creating the moral panic - the initial Medium article with the lie about him saying Epstein's victims were entirely willing didn't have them. The articles in the media with headlines like "Star MIT Scientist Calls Epstein Victim Virginia Giuffre "Entirely Willing"" mostly didn't include them, though a few did when the journalists went to dig for more fodder.
Thomas, I've never met you, but admired your writings over the years. Seeing you defend the mob against Stallman with well-worn platitudes like "He is welcome to his thoughts and opinions, and everyone else is entitled to their freedom not to associate with him as a result" is particularly saddening.
while there are those who believe 'stallman did nothing wrong,' i suspect many in the community who object to his forced resignation feel the same way - that it was done in bad faith.
The US President relies highly on evangelical voters. Surely this is because those voters have made a calculation on the balance of values, and despite honorable sexual conduct being an evangelical value... it didn't win in the sum of things.