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No Radical Changes in GNU Project (gnu.org)
156 points by stargrave 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 145 comments





Excellent. This entire incident has been re-enforcing of how willing the media is to lie and how little people care when the lies support a narrative they believe in.

Here is what reporter Edward Ongweso Jr. wrote for Vice [1]:

> Early in the thread, Stallman insists that the “most plausible scenario” is that Epstein’s underage victims were “entirely willing” while being trafficked.

Here is what Stallman actually wrote:

> We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates.

There is literally no way to read the previous sentence as Stallman arguing that Epstein's victims were entirely willing.

People like Edward Ongweso should be the ones losing their jobs, not Richard Stallman.

[1]: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ne8b47/two-researchers-re...


See https://se7en-site.neocities.org/articles/stallman.html for more details. It's really a disgrace.

[flagged]


"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."

https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September...


Cue somebody pointing out how recent this is; then followed by a rebuttal pointing out the phrase recent years, and that while the post may be new, the change of heart may not be

In fact, he seems to have changed his mind about that as early as 2016:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Biograp...

(Credit for finding this goes to dependenttypes: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21092184)


"Not endorsing pedophilia since 2016" is not exactly the ringing character endorsement you might consider it to be.

Ringing character endorsement? It wasn’t meant to be. It was meant to correct the seemlingly common misconception that RMS changed his mind only recently after the fact, when in reality he seems to have changed his mind many years ago.

Also, should people be condemned for opinions they used to hold, even if they changed them relatively recently? If so, what is the point of anybody changing their mind on any topic, if they’re going to get nailed for any opinion they have ever held? What kind of world would that make, where nobody could be expected to change their mind on anything?


2016 IS very recently. Three years ago does not count as "many years ago". Richard Stallman is 66 years old. To have only realized that pedophilia is bad at age 63, only when other people had to convince him..welp.

You seem to be arguing with some other point than the one I was making. Also, you are not responding to what I wrote, and seem to be determined to argue your other point. You are welcome to do so, but please find someone else, who actually holds an opposite viewpoint, to argue with.

Reminds me of this scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the character simply didn’t understand something: https://youtu.be/MZ96c7IOIPQ

Which has nothing to do with the objectivly false representation of a completly different statement he made.

I don't want to get into the weeds discussing the ins and outs of the various things that have happened with RMS and the FSF. I have my own opinions on whether or not these moves were warranted. Separate from that I guess my largest worry is that this is another step on the road to a complete neutering of the Free Software movement, and the increasing corporate enclosure of the software commons.

The one thing I feel like everyone would have to agree on with RMS is that he was strident in his belief in the Free Software movement and refused to compromise in ways that initially seemed intransigent, and were later revealed to be prescient. I worry that both Gnu and the FSF will move more and more toward being co-opted by the corporate "open source" movement as people less obstinate that RMS take charge and let themselves and the "overton window" of Free Software be dragged further into the realm of captive corporatism.

Of course the counter to this is that retaining RMS as the leader alienates enough people to weaken the movement equally, and that may be true, I don't have a crystal ball. What I do know is that he published The Right to Read in 1997 and a year later we had the DMCA and things have only accelerated from there.

I guess we'll see where the road takes us, but as someone who remembers the excitement and energy that surrounded the web, linux, firefox etc etc, it feels like nowadays open source reigns supreme and it's all just a bunch of free work for corporations to scoop up, stick a web interface on (or containerize), and give back none of the same freedoms they make use of. I just hope we don't look back on this moment (from our locked down walled garden devices) as when the real decline of a true free software commons started.


> I worry that both Gnu and the FSF will move more and more toward being co-opted by the corporate "open source" movement as people less obstinate that RMS take charge and let themselves and the "overton window" of Free Software be dragged further into the realm of captive corporatism.

It's already happening. I saw this posted recently, either here on HN or on Twitter, by someone allegedly from the FSF/GNU camp: https://freesw.org/. The language of that page is worrying.

I think the "overton window" you mentioned really captures the essence of the problem. Principled people like RMS are needed, even when their positions are sometimes impractical, because otherwise the "window" will shift too much to the side of nonfree software, well past the middle point of compromise. I've had people here on HN argue with me that Free Software is "not about users rights" (i.e. the Open Source position) and that it's exactly like Open Source, and that "Free" Software doesn't mean what I -- or the FSF/GNU -- claim it means. Without RMS, this narrative will gain momentum :(


It's a complicated question, but I think the real decline of true free software commons was probably around the time cloud services proved so valuable. Cloud provides huge leverage to some end-users for getting to the goal of doing the thing they want to do with the software, and it utterly side-steps the Four Freedoms via the simple expedient of "You don't own the hardware the software runs on."

GNU hasn't had an answer to this besides "boycott it," which feels an awful lot like horse-riders suggesting we deal with the problems with cars by never owning or supporting ownership of them.


I think the GNU response is more subtle than "boycott it". In particular, I do not get the impression that GNU opposes someone using software that runs on someone else's server machine in general. One obvious example would be an HTTP server with PHP scripts, or whatever.

The software running on the remote server could even be proprietary software! For the sake of the person running the server, they should not use proprietary software, but if it is running on their machine and not yours, then it is not your responsibility, and (as I understand the GNU position) not wrong for you to access that software.

Now, if the software is actually a combination of server-side software and client-side software, such as servers that deliver Javascript code to be run locally, then that Javascript software should be Free Software.

But moreover, the GNU concern about running software on remote servers (i.e., "in the cloud"), is not just about the software itself, but about what the server maintainers can and do do with user data. Who owns the data? Can you get a copy of it? Can you get a copy of _all_ of it? How about the implications of the data? For example, you could tell Facebook ten things about yourself, and they could extrapolate a hundred more. Is "your data" the ten things only, and not the additional hundred extrapolations? And, if you ask them to delete "your data", will they? If they do, what exactly do they delete?

So it's really more of a privacy issue, I think, than a pure "free software" issue, but important nevertheless.


> The software running on the remote server could even be proprietary software! For the sake of the person running the server, they should not use proprietary software, but if it is running on their machine and not yours, then it is not your responsibility, and (as I understand the GNU position) not wrong for you to access that software.

I'd expect them to prefer you to use free software on the server, licensed under the AGPL.


I thought I had read something along those lines in a GNU document, but I believe I found what I was thinking of on Stallman's personal web site:

I firmly refuse to install non-free software or tolerate its installed presence on my computer or on computers set up for me.

However, if I am visiting somewhere and the machines available nearby happen to contain non-free software, through no doing of mine, I don't refuse to touch them. I will use them briefly for tasks such as browsing. This limited usage doesn't give my assent to the software's license, or make me responsible its being present in the computer, or make me the possessor of a copy of it, so I don't see an ethical obligation to refrain from this. Of course, I explain to the local people why they should migrate the machines to free software, but I don't push them hard, because annoying them is not the way to convince them.

Likewise, I don't need to worry about what software is in a kiosk, pay phone, or ATM that I am using. I hope their owners migrate them to free software, for their sake, but there's no need for me to refuse to touch them until then. (I do consider what those machines and their owners might do with my personal data, but that's a different issue, which would arise just the same even if they did use free software. My response to that issue is to minimize those activities which give them any data about me.)

https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html

A kiosk, pay phone, ATM, or someone else's personal computer is indeed not a "cloud" server; I might reasonably extrapolate that Stallman would have the same opinion about software installed on someone else's server, but whether if that is true or not, this may in fact not be an official "GNU" position, as such.


> I do not get the impression that GNU opposes someone using software that runs on someone else's server machine in general.

That's my impression as well, but to me that is an area where the FSF/GNU/RMS is fundamentally wrong. Not having control over the software and, even more important, the data that is on the server is the main reason why everything is going to shit. Yet the FSF doesn't seem to care, specifically this reply from RMS on the topic:

https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/repo-criteria-discuss/201...

All the privacy, censorship and other problems with Facebook, Youtube, smartphones and so on are rooted in somebody else controlling the server, and in turn the software and the data.

If the Javascript is GPL or not is essentially irrelevant, yet that is the main problem the FSF focuses on. I can understand how the FSF would came to that conclusion (by following their philosophy that has been outdated for decades), but it completely misses all the problems people have day to day on the Internet.

How data is managed and controlled on the server should be the main concern of the FSF today, but there has been shockingly little effort in that area. I am not even talking in terms of actual software solutions, but just general philosophy discussions. The few bits of effort we have seen, such as the AGPL, not only don't go anywhere far enough, it wasn't even originally created by the FSF. And their repo-criteria completely miss the point.

Ironically, even the slow moving field of politics went to overtake the FSF here. The GDPR goes far and beyond anything I have ever seen by the FSF when it comes to data freedom.

I really wish the FSF would put more effort into solving and discussing todays problem, instead of solving RMS's printer driver problems from the 80s, since really, that problem has been essentially solved. We have today completely Free Software OSs that everybody can use. The problems that remain are outside the realms of the classic four software freedoms.


Cloud services are actually still very fragile and vulnerable to being replaced.

(Granted, it will be annoying and painful to find new ways to do things like search the web, manage files/emails, or stream videos, but I think those can all be solved from the technical side.)

About the time the proprietary OS was finally declared dead, new competitors arose with convenient, cheap solutions that made money exactly because "you don't own the hardware the software runs on."

So we have another proprietary "open" operating system and it can capitalize on free software but still be proprietary.

When it becomes inconvenient (or painful) to use the proprietary solutions, there's a flood of new users to the free software world. I plan to just keep polishing the free software offering. That deprives the proprietary versions of oxygen, because it raises the bar for what is Free.


The significant difference between free vs. proprietary OS and free vs. proprietary cloud are around responsibility and cost.

A person can hack away on a free version of an OS for cost of labor and electricity, and making a mistake on one's personal OS build tends to have a "blast radius" limited to the individual user (or perhaps an enterprise relying on whatever software that OS was running).

Running a free (as in speech) cloud service? Much trickier as one deals with cost to run the servers on behalf of other people and administrative costs of users of one's cloud offering abusing one's resources. It shifts responsibility and cost models in a way that doesn't map cleanly to pre-cloud models.

I'm not sure I disagree with you, but I can't visualize the model of replacement that would actually work (everything I've seen so far has significant gaps in security, reliability, and division-of-responsibility in the design itself).


I don't think a Free Software version of what we now call the cloud has to slice the responsibilities the same way.

(Reductio ad absurdium) GNU hackers creating an AWS clone? Not gonna happen.

I have paid close attention to conversations that Ed Snowden brought up around his attempts to convince Glen Greenwald to use and trust PGP.

The Free Software movement will someday have an improvement on PGP. When average ordinary people such as Glen Greenwald can use it, that part is done. Part of what?

And... let's argue about what to call it!

Free Cloud? Nah, too conformist.

GNU's Non-Cloud? The acronym GNC is already taken and besides, it's unpronounceable.

Shout out to https://plausible.io/ even though they use the MIT license.


> Granted, it will be annoying and painful to find new ways to do things like search the web, manage files/emails

The best thing I did to reduce annoyance and pain in managing files and emails was to move off of hosted garbage like Gmail and Dropbox to offlineimap/mu4e and Unison/git/rsync.


> GNU hasn't had an answer to this besides "boycott it," which feels an awful lot like horse-riders suggesting we deal with the problems with cars by never owning or supporting ownership of them.

That is a really unfair way to describe things:

https://www.gnu.org/software/librejs/ https://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.en.html

The real problem is corporate propaganda to discourage people from licensing their work under the GPLv3+ or AGPLv3+

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGa_TlRdtG8


Their "answer" misses the problem. A cloud solution running AGPL is not any more free than one that doesn't. The issue is Tivoization 2.0. The AGPL allows you to get the source, but since you don't own the server, you can't really do much with it.

Same with the Javascript, sure, you get the source in a non-obscured fashion, but that doesn't buy you anything, the data is still on the server and how much or how little you are allowed to access it is controlled by the owner of the server, not that bit of Javascript.

To bring Free Software into the cloud age you would need licenses that go beyond the source code and regulate how the data on the server is stored, manipulated and distributed. The European GDPR does that and there are a tiny few licenses like the Open Data Commons Open Database License that do that. But from the FSF there has been pretty much nothing.


Well, AGPL was the answer to that issue, but it hasn't really done much. I think part of the impact was things like GitHub recommending the MIT license.

My understanding is that the AGPL is an answer to an older problem and didn't see the cloud coming. It addressed those running web-hosted GPL licensed applications who were side-stepping the viral aspect of the GPL by claiming that they were not "technically" distributing a binary by making the application available on the internet as an executing web app.

The AGPL requires those who create web applications derived from the AGPL (whether they're distributed as binaries or not) to make the code for their web applications available.

The AGPL does not address the cloud-hosting conundrum at all. This conundrum is where a cloud hosting company (e.g. Amazon AWS) can replicate the original author's service offering using the unmodified open source tool (wrapping it and interacting via API at most), and undercut the original author's business model. I.e., you can imagine a power user of some AGPL software competitively putting the software author's company out of business.

This is the reason for the recent licensing restrictions around ElasticSearch and MongoDB. The originating companies have had their hosted service revenue models undercut by Amazon AWS offerings that simply repackaged the software as part of their cloud offering.

Making the AGPL even stronger by adding in a viral API clause would pigeon hole AGPL software to only the most fringe ideological use-cases as everyone would be afraid to run AGPL software in a business context.


The AGPL covers the cloud use case insofar as, if a cloud provider takes the AGPL-licensed code, adds additional features, and offers it as a service it would have to add those additional features. (And, potentially, other code that interacts with the AGPL-licensed code; the boundaries are a bit unclear.)

Of course, the desire is to keep AWS from offering even just a fully-compatible competing service. But that would 1.) require APIs to be copyrightable and 2.) would, as you suggest, make that software pretty much unusable for most cases.

You're right that the AGPL largely pre-dated the cloud providers although the direction things were going in was reasonably clear.


I don't think the AGPL actually cares about being able to undercut the original author's business model, as long as you're not just taking open source software, adding minimal value-add, then keeping that as a closed service.

The AGPL was really driven by the increasing prevalence of software being delivered in the form of a service. I don't recall much discussion of business models at the time but there was at least a school of thought that the GPL's protections of software freedom were being eroded because of service providers exploiting this "ASP loophole."

People tend to spread a lot of FUD about AGPL. We have recently released a server product under GNU AGPLv3, and very next moment someone says: "Agpl makes it basically worthless except as a toy" :-\

Source: https://twitter.com/binarytemple/status/1172884198912331776


Also you can ask 20 honest developers what they think AGPL means and get 3 or more wildly different explanations, at least if you include "I've no idea except it also works lver the network".

The meaning seems pretty clear. It's like the GPL but distribution now also encompasses offering the software over the network in the form of a service.

What's less clear is what defines the boundaries between AGPL-licensed software and the rest of your stuff making up whatever you're offering. This isn't always 100% clear with the GPL either but the GPL meaning of distribution is pretty tightly tied to traditional Unix methods of combining code which are mostly unambiguous.


> The meaning seems pretty clear. It's like the GPL but distribution now also encompasses offering the software over the network in the form of a service.

Agree.

> What's less clear is what defines the boundaries between AGPL-licensed software and the rest of your stuff making up whatever you're offering. This isn't always 100% clear with the GPL either but the GPL meaning of distribution is pretty tightly tied to traditional Unix methods of combining code which are mostly unambiguous.

Agree again.

See my point? I don't say AGPL is bad only that it has a tendency to confuse developers in all directions.


Or you can stop spreading the FUD and point people to: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-affero-gpl.html

It might very well be that this is more of an education and explanation problem.

My point still stands: I don't personally know a single person who is able to explain AGPL.


Is it not "if you take AGPL code and run it on your server and make it available to other people, you need to give them the code to whatever you're running"?

It's the "whatever you're running" that gets complicated if you're using the AGPL code in conjunction with a bunch of other code to deliver some service to customers. What are the rules around how that other code is allowed to interact with the AGPL code before it has to be made available as well?

Ok, two slightly different already, in addition to a number of people who have no idea at all.

I think this proved what I said.

(That said there was a thread on the n8n project where a couple of persons had serious problems understanding the basics of open source, its relation to free software, why commons clause isn't open source etc etc so guess we will have to explain what is and isn't "open source" for the foreseeable future :-/


There are licenses to address that, though they're even more expansive or "viral", making the proposition less attractive. What I've seen instead is software project owners, tired of being profited upon by cloud services without contribution, switching to more restrictive licenses or attaching the Commons Clause. Then, commercial use is pay to play.

It's a small tragedy.


RMS is too black and white. It was probably a good thing to get the project started but I believe that it's counter-productive now. It's a bit like some people are good founders, but then you need a proper CEO to run the company. Having the project switch leader might actually be a good thing for the GNU project.

But like you said, we'll see where it goes, it might not be all bad.


Th FSF is not a company.

It's like saying that the Pope is too religious...


For context, I think it's an answer to this open letter from GNU developers: https://guix.gnu.org/blog/2019/joint-statement-on-the-gnu-pr...

> Stallman’s behavior over the years has undermined a core value of the GNU project: the empowerment of all computer users

The notion that empowered means shielded from opinions you might disagree with seems odd.


Contrast that with Ellen Degeneres responding to people dismayed that she sat next to George W. Bush during a game (warning, video in the tweet):

https://twitter.com/TheEllenShow/status/1181395164499070976

Basically, it's okay to be friends with people we disagree with (and really, we ought to).


We all have friends we disagree with, but Ellen deserves catching shit for palling around with a guy who started a war that killed nearly 5 thousand American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians for absolutely nothing.

It didn't end well, but if any dictator or warlord is ever worth a war to overthrow, Saddam Hussein was.

Is that something the US should be doing? I think not, and it frequently ends badly, but Presidents keep trying. Like Obama in Libya or the elder Bush and Clinton in Somalia and Bosnia.


I agree that Saddam deserved to die. He was a monster who used chemical weapons against his own people. But the premise of the war wasn't "Saddam is bad so we should stop him," it was "Iraq is developing WMDs and is an imminent threat." That, of course, was a lie.

Bosnia was different. Clinton was 100% correct (and too slow) to act, because it was genocide. He already Rwandan blood on his hands by his inaction.


Americans started a war that killed nearly 5 thousand American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians for absolutely nothing. We're all pretty much complicit. If there's any smaller group to be mad at, I'd say it's anybody who didn't oppose that course, but more likely, the U.S. military complex.

Ironically, she didn't catch flack for George being president of the Iraqi war, she caught flack for George's stance on LGBT issues when he was president.


Copy pasting the same comment over and over does not help make your point.

> Americans started a war that killed nearly 5 thousand American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians for absolutely nothing. We're all pretty much complicit.

Not all of us lied to get Congressional authority to use force with explicit conditions, and not all of us declared those conditions to be met and applied the force so authorized in knowing bad faith.

In fact, exactly one of us did that, and his name is George W. Bush.

Whatever guilt anyone else has in that matter is far less.


Presumably because that's something she clearly has an opinion about.

Wow, that is such a refreshing monologue. Yay Ellen! Right now this is what the world needs more of, not public lynchings and outrage-driven firings. Really happy to see someone with such a high profile take this stance.

Love thy neighbour folks!

(EDIT: this doesn't mean i don't have a problem with GW Bush's needless war, as pointed out by a few sibling comments. It's more like, I think that if people mingled a bit more with people from other camps, then there would be more understanding and, ultimately, less hardship in the world. So much of the shit in the world comes from lack of communication!)


There is a very great difference between a top-tier celebrity "palling around" with a former president, and someone in an asymmetrical, basically broadcast and image-setting position of power spreading messages that the majority of participants don't support. It is at the very least a huge and unnecessary distraction from the goals of the organization.

George Bush killed a million Iraqis in a war based on fabricated evidence of an Iraqi WMD program

Americans killed a million Iraqis in a war based on fabricated evidence of an Iraqi WMD program. We're all pretty much complicit. If there's any smaller group to be mad at, I'd say it's anybody who didn't oppose that course, but more likely, the U.S. military complex.

Ironically, she didn't catch flack for George being president of the Iraqi war, she caught flack for George's stance on LGBT issues when he was president.


ah yes, I remember personally lying to congress and pushing false narratives in the media. oh wait, no, that wasn't me was it...

No, Americans are certainly not "all pretty much complicit". There is no basis for such an extreme statement, even for moderate values of "pretty much".

Also, isn't this post a copy/paste of one that you just posted? Simply repeating it doesn't make it true, guy.


Love too be friends with a war criminal and mass murderer.

Hey, but he's a painter too! And we all know that no world leader who paints can be truly evil.

The letter does not even mention who the "large part of those we want to reach out to" refers to. The reader is left to figure out on their own whether these are legitimate grievances or power struggle.

[flagged]


This whole thing started with a pedantic e-mail and a blogger that got offended and decided to slander RMS. The media then lied about RMS defending a pedophile. And now 'SnarkAsh is implying that RMS was harassing people by exposing his manhood.

This is why fighting the cancel mob is so important. Lies accumulate.


> The media then lied about RMS defending a pedophile

They should have stuck to the other times he defended pedophilia and child porn instead.


Perhaps they should have. But they didn't. I guess because recycling very old statements wouldn't make for enough of a story, especially not compared to just lying about current events.

> The media then lied about RMS defending a pedophile.

Source? I saw an article by John Gruber[0] that retracted some specific allegations about him, saying that for these specific allegations RMS was being conflated with ESR, another known sexual predator who has some fame in the early world of FOSS.I saw nothing lying about him being a pedophile. That came a leaked email to the MIT CSAIL mailing list (which had been confirmed by multiple sources) and from his personal blog, on a widely circulated article. I'd link to the specific one (edit: [2]), but when searching Google for the query 'child pornography site:stallman.org'[1] there are far too many instances of him commenting on child pornography in the news and such — it's a topic he has spoken at lengths about, and advocating for it is not something new for him.

The article by John Gruber retracts a specific sexual assault allegation. I don't think that he should be tried or burned at the stake for something that he hasn't done, and I don't personally know any other specific allegations of sexual assault on his behalf either. But to say that the media saying RMS defending a pedophile is a lie is silly. The man's a known pedophile sympathizer, and clearly based on the dates published he doesn't intend to retract any of his own articles proving such any time soon.

Also, to be clear, the Vice article that you are thinking of[3] that said he defended a pedophile has an excerpt straight from the CSAIL mailing list that's been confirmed by multiple others.

Seriously, click that [1] link and try to say he's not a pedophile sympathizer…

[0]: https://daringfireball.net/2019/10/correction_regarding_an_e...

[1]: https://www.google.com/search?q=child+pornography+site%3Asta...

[2]: https://stallman.org/archives/2006-may-aug.html

> I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.

[3]: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9ke3ke/famed-computer-sci...

Edit: added [2] and [3].

It's not just Emacs that makes RMS a bad person.


> Source?

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9ke3ke/famed-computer-sci...

https://www.thedailybeast.com/famed-mit-computer-scientist-r...

Versus what he actually said. The original e-mails are easily available, they've even been quoted in Salem G.'s blog post.

> for these specific allegations RMS was being conflated with ESR, another known sexual predator who has some fame in the early world of FOSS

I hope your phrasing here is accidental, because it could be read as alleging that RMS is a "known sexual predator". I'm pretty sure some people will read it that way and run with it.

> I saw nothing lying about him being a pedophile.

Me neither. Him defending a pedophile (Epstein) was a lie news outlets run with. Him believing at some point in the past pedophilia may be harmless when both sides are willing is true, because he wrote exactly that years ago (recently retracted, whether because of actual change of mind or damage control is besides the point).

> The man's a known pedophile sympathizer, and clearly based on the dates published he doesn't intend to retract any of his own articles proving such any time soon.

Now that is, from what I can tell, factually incorrect. He only wrote in the past that he think the popular opinion on pedophilia is wrong due to issues of bias.

EDIT: You actually quoted the exact statement. Re-read it carefully.

> Seriously, click that [1] link and try to say he's not a pedophile sympathizer…

I clicked that and browsed the results and all I saw in the first couple was:

1) that he believes accusing an underage person who shot nude photos of herself, with no indication of abuse or coercion, of "self-abuse", is bullshit, and

2) that he believes "child pornography" is routinely used as an excuse to justify deploying technologies for Internet censorship, which then can and are being extended to cover more and more material - this being an issue of freedom

Both views are very far from being "pedophile sympathizer"; in particular 2) is what I think is a view shared by most HNers too.

I'm going to assume you're quick to jump to conclusions, but be wary that stuff like this can be misconstrued to further spread falsehoods.

EDIT:

> Also, to be clear, the Vice article that you are thinking of[3] that said he defended a pedophile has an excerpt straight from the CSAIL mailing list that's been confirmed by multiple others.

Yes. Vice article misquotes RMS both in the headline and in the article proper, and I'm having a hard time browsing their broken PDF widget so I'll refer you to the original post that started the whole mess:

https://medium.com/@selamjie/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec2...

C-f "willing" to find the actual words Stallman used.

EDIT: And where in previous comment I said it started with a blogger that decided to slander RMS, I meant Salem G. and the post I linked to above, not Mr Gruber, who only conveniently managed to pour gasoline into the fire by confusing ESR with RMS.


>> Source? >https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9ke3ke/famed-computer-sci.... >https://www.thedailybeast.com/famed-mit-computer-scientist-r.... >Versus what he actually said. The original e-mails are easily available, they've even been quoted in Salem G.'s blog post.

I carefully reread the statements, and I still maintain my opinion on it. I see what you are getting at — he suggested that the girl _presented herself_ as entirely willing, and that this may have been coerced by Epstein. I said in my original comment that I don't want an innocent person accused of sexual assault, and indeed he's suggesting Marvin was innocent in that regard.

However, at this point we're debating whether another person is innocent in order to determine the innocence of some phrasing. My Occam's Razor interpretation really is not that clear here. I honestly cannot say that I think the Vice, et al., interpretation (that he is referring to victims as "entirely willing") is particularly far fetched.

>> for these specific allegations RMS was being conflated with ESR, another known sexual predator who has some fame in the early world of FOSS >I hope your phrasing here is accidental, because it could be read as alleging that RMS is a "known sexual predator". I'm pretty sure some people will read it that way and run with it.

Yes, indeed there my phrasing is accidental. I'll admit that is very poor phrasing. I'll be clear that I do not think RMS is a "known sexual predator." I also can't say I actively think he is one either, though I do have my assumptions based on this and his prior thoughts.

>> I saw nothing lying about him being a pedophile. >Me neither. Him defending a pedophile (Epstein) was a lie news outlets run with. Him believing at some point in the past pedophilia may be harmless when both sides are willing is true, because he wrote exactly that years ago (recently retracted, whether because of actual change of mind or damage control is besides the point).

I have not seen the retraction — I believe that he may have retracted it, but the post on his blog was never updated and I have not seen such a retraction. If you could please provide such a link I'd appreciate it.

>> The man's a known pedophile sympathizer, and clearly based on the dates published he doesn't intend to retract any of his own articles proving such any time soon. >Now that is, from what I can tell, factually incorrect. He only wrote in the past that he think the popular opinion on pedophilia is wrong due to issues of bias. >EDIT: You actually quoted the exact statement. Re-read it carefully. >> Seriously, click that [1] link and try to say he's not a pedophile sympathizer… >I clicked that and browsed the results and all I saw in the first couple was: >1) that he believes accusing an underage person who shot nude photos of herself, with no indication of abuse or coercion, of "self-abuse", is bullshit, and >2) that he believes "child pornography" is routinely used as an excuse to justify deploying technologies for Internet censorship, which then can and are being extended to cover more and more material - this being an issue of freedom

Personally I absolutely agree with both 1 and 2 myself, so let me be clear that neither is all he says disagreeable nor bad. I do however think that the sheer number of things he's written on child pornography and pedophilia are a little worrying. Let me repeat I also have not seen him retract past statements (and that I certainly may have missed him doing so). I'm not going to deny this is also based on some bias and personal opinion at all, but it's based on the greater context — I'm looking at it from the perspective I see when I consider all of this information, and I see him as a pedophile sympathizer, and I see that his blog is evidence that he is one.

Let me also be clear that I do believe in free speech, and that he shouldn't have to remove any of his blog posts nor that he should be penalized legally based on thoughts and views. I don't want us to slip down to thoughtcrime.

>Both views are very far from being "pedophile sympathizer"; in particular 2) is what I think is a view shared by most HNers too. >I'm going to assume you're quick to jump to conclusions, but be wary that stuff like this can be misconstrued to further spread falsehoods. >EDIT: >> Also, to be clear, the Vice article that you are thinking of[3] that said he defended a pedophile has an excerpt straight from the CSAIL mailing list that's been confirmed by multiple others. >Yes. Vice article misquotes RMS both in the headline and in the article proper, and I'm having a hard time browsing their broken PDF widget so I'll refer you to the original post that started the whole mess: >https://medium.com/@selamjie/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec2.... >C-f "willing" to find the actual words Stallman used. >EDIT: And where in previous comment I said it started with a blogger that decided to slander RMS, I meant Salem G. and the post I linked to above, not Mr Gruber, who only conveniently managed to pour gasoline into the fire by confusing ESR with RMS.

I would have linked the original article by Salem G if I remembered what it went by. My points are mainly about undisputed facts (he said this and that), and how one can interpret them (does that make him a pedophile sympathizer?)


Please, provide a source for your claim of sexual harassment.

(You won't because it's false)


Everyone knows that RMS is a bad houseguest and socially awkward, and women use plants to keep him away. It is known.

What you wrote and what 'SnarkAsh wrote are to each other like poke in the nose is to murder.

Where did it happen that Stallman exposed his penis to somebody? (corrected typo)

Very anemic list. For example, only one person from GCC steering committee (Ian Lance Taylor)

Also not a single woman on that list of Stallman supporters, as far as I can tell.

EDIT: I misread, it’s not a letter of support to Stallman. Sorry.


Quote from the page:

> Yet, we must also acknowledge that Stallman’s behavior over the years has undermined a core value of the GNU project: the empowerment of all computer users. GNU is not fulfilling its mission when the behavior of its leader alienates a large part of those we want to reach out to.

> We believe that Richard Stallman cannot represent all of GNU. We think it is now time for GNU maintainers to collectively decide about the organization of the project. The GNU Project we want to build is one that everyone can trust to defend their freedom.

This is not a list of people in support of RMS, they are against RMS.


It's a list of people against RMS.

Not at all. I'm one of the people who signed it.

I think it's clear from the context in what sense you are against RMS. You don't want RMS to continue GNU project leader and representative. RMS wants to continue. You are against RMS.

I'll quote the page since maybe you had trouble reading it: https://guix.gnu.org/blog/2019/joint-statement-on-the-gnu-pr...

> Yet, we must also acknowledge that Stallman’s behavior over the years has undermined a core value of the GNU project: the empowerment of all computer users. GNU is not fulfilling its mission when the behavior of its leader alienates a large part of those we want to reach out to.

> We believe that Richard Stallman cannot represent all of GNU. We think it is now time for GNU maintainers to collectively decide about the organization of the project. The GNU Project we want to build is one that everyone can trust to defend their freedom.

These are not supporters and the page isn't made in support of RMS.


I signed it. I'm not against RMS, I just don't think he should lead GNU. I think the GNU Advisory Committee is better suited to lead things. I believe both the FSF board and the GAC need term limits and I hope they implement them.

Are you a different person from the mattl who recently tweeted

> Support free software.

> Don’t support Stallman.

https://twitter.com/mattl/status/1177355118829854720?s=20

In any case I think it’s clear the letter is against Stallman retaining the leadership role and therefore in a binary supporter/adversary framing, the signers should not be considered “supporters” of RMS.


> I'm not against RMS, I just don't think he should lead GNU.

The second half of that sentence pits you directly against RMS, who has made clear he does not intend to leave his position with GNU.


> I just don't think he should lead GNU

That'd classify as being against RMS. You can argue semantics all you want, but with someone else as I am not interested.


And so you have seized the opportunity. Disgusting.

Well, that's a problem!

You should read and understand what you sign, before you do.



[flagged]


We've banned this account for trolling. Could you please not create accounts to break HN's guidelines with? It's not hard to use this site as intended.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Well, good. An FSF without Stallman doesn't seem very relevant anymore, but GNU is still very important.

Any movement that depends on one person to thrive is already dead.

Are you saying that about the FSF? Certainly, Stallman was very important for the FSF, but there was an array of others who worked at various facets at times. Eben Moglen, for example, did a stand-up job and had great success helping the FSF, as did others. So, no, the FSF has not been about "one person".

That said, however, with the circumstances surrounding the removal of RMS, the FSF can longer be trusted. This very different than "depending" on a single person.


This might be a noob question but can someone explain me how mailing lists are used in software projects. I keep seeing these archived emails that are posted. Could someone fill me in?

Mailing lists are still the best async method for discussing meta issues with regards to a project, when the people who work on it span the globe.

Basically you post to the list if you have a meta issue and then everyone replies. It can get pretty tough to follow if you're using email, but most of these had (still have?) mail<->news gateways, so you could use a threaded Usenet reader to keep track of all the forks in the threads.

It's sort of a lost art with the news service being mostly gone and with threaded social media.


Many email applications can be set to a threaded view to be able to see who replied what to which message: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/message-threading-thund...

This is a good point. I've been using gmail for so long I forgot that there are better MUAs out there.

Thank you for your response. I have a better understanding now. How is spam dealt with? Do people get banned quickly? Also, who archives these emails. Do they automatically get archived for public viewing?

Most lists require you to subscribe before being able to post. Subscription involves the mailing-list software sending a cookie/none to your e-mail address for authentication. You can either reply directly to the message or, if the mailing-list software supports a web interface, follow an embedded link.

That simple step prevents most bulk spam. For technical lists you can also do things like limit messages to text/plain, reject binary attachments, etc. What little spam remains, if any, can be handled by simple filters. Manual moderation, where posts are queued waiting for approval, is rare but might be necessary if someone is maliciously trying to disrupt the list.

One of the oldest mailing-list archive-to-HTML processors is MHonArc (https://www.mhonarc.org/). Most mailing-list software now supports this feature natively, but the organization of such archives (by date, thread, etc) and the look & feel seem to have been heavily influenced by MHonArc.


Manual moderation of the first 2-3 posts of a new user can go a long way to prevent spam.

The mailing list software automatically archives them. There are also provisions for spam blocking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Mailman


all of these are up to the list. various policies

spam: some run filters on the list, some let it through

banning: some lists are moderated where posts go through moderators, some are not, ban tendency is up to the list administrator

archives: some listserve software has built in archives, other people run add-on web applications, others dont archive at all.

see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mailing_list_software , etc.


When you send an email there, everyone on the list gets it. It's like a group chat via email. Lots of things are discussed, from technical to commit access to use questions.

God I feel old now.


It's basically a rudimentary forum system based on email communication that relies on a software most people have and that is widely available in either closed-source or open-source, an email client.

While web forums and project management platforms come and go, mailing lists just refuse to die. It's the most pervasive chat protocol/format. I guess they will still be there when facebook already went the way of myspace.

Glad to see this. I don't want GNU to be rebranded into a mediocre open source project from radical free software symbols, and only someone who bites his fingers after scratching toes like Tux has the least possibility to appease corporations with those sugar-coated pills named "open source".

So RMS resigned from the FSF and his role(s) at MIT, but he's still on with GNU?

According to [1], GNU isn't a legal entity.

[1] http://wingolog.org/archives/2019/10/08/thoughts-on-rms-and-...


GNU (and I think the GNU Project) is trademarked so there is a legal entity that own the trademark. There is also the domain gnu.org which domain owner is a legal entity. There is the publisher who publish information on the site and distribute the copyrighted works, which depending on the law where the server is located may or may not also be a legal entity. Last we have the Free System Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG) which is maintained by the FSF Licensing and Compliance Lab, which I would assume is owned by FSF.

That's correct but it's also worth noting that he did not resign, he was resigned.

I'm confused; I'm pretty sure resigning is an act done by the individual, at least supposedly voluntarily, and a quick dictionary check seems to bear that out. Are we just using this as a euphemism, or is there another definition that I needed to learn?

At higher levels of governance (both corporate and governmental) it's customary to not fire people. The way corporate entities/governments get around this is by asking for some one's resignation, with the implication that if it isn't given, the next step will be to forcibly fire that person. There are a lot of social and legal reasons for this, but it mostly boils down to the negative connotations that come with firing someone; it's a way of avoiding shame/saving face for both parties. The person 'being asked to leave' is spared the indignity of being fired, and the institution doesn't have the albatross of 'one of our key leaders fucked up so badly we had to boot them to the curb' hanging around their necks.

You're correct in the definition of 'resigning'. However, there are many cases (and this seems to be one) where people are pushed into resigning against their will. People will still resign, whether out of a sense of honour, or due to the alternative being a prolonged process which will end in the same outcome (being out of a job).

> at least supposedly voluntarily

This is the implication. As an example very, very few CEOs are fired but a great many are sternly asked to voluntarily resign by the board.


Please stop being obtuse. You know very well that people are 'asked to resign' instead of 'fired'.

I'm familiar with "asked to resign"; I was asking about the form "they resigned him", which I have not encountered before and which moves it from generally understood euphemism to utterly transparent word replacement.

It depends on what happens over the next few months.

IIUC, GNU leadership is somewhat distributed. If people still listen to rms, he has a leadership role. If people cut him out of decisionmaking, he doesn't. I don't think he has veto power over any aspects of the software (and even if he did, forks can be made).


Yes

This whole issue, it hurts. Why do we need lynch mobs to bring justice? That is precisely what we need courts of law for. Yet those are overburdened because lawyers and judges are expensive because law is complex.

It just makes me so sad. I'd like to learn the truth about this whole issue, and see justice served, but without an official and thorough situation it all remains hearsay and such.


It is amazing to see a plea for basic standards of justice being downvoted.

Hard to read, but we definitely need to make sure the GNU project stays in the right hands.

Why do you say it's hard to read? Because it's talking about the eventual need for succession?

> I won't be here forever

It definitely needs to removed from the FSF. They have shown themselves to be unable to stand up to the mob. What will the next mob call for?

Good hopefully he can separate GNU from the FSF and get it under responsible stewardship.

I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say.

Do you feel the FSF is irresponsible? If not, what are you trying to say?

Can you share any specifics? What evidence do you have to back up your claims?


FSF fell for the hit piece.

[flagged]


I think they're referring to this article, which took his quotes entirely out of context since Stallman never said that the victims were willing (quite the opposite)

https://www.thedailybeast.com/famed-mit-computer-scientist-r...



I believe the parent is saying Stallman was resigned from the role of president of the FSF over the controversy about his private emails (when they were made public).

The MIT CSAIL and the FSF (according to the parent) were both deceived by a "hit piece." It's not 100% clear what the parent is calling a "hit piece," but this might be it: https://medium.com/@selamjie/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec2...

Richard Stallman's email announcing he is resigning his position at MIT CSAIL: https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#16_September...

FSF announcement of Richard Stallman resigning: https://www.fsf.org/news/richard-m-stallman-resigns


> If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

Cardinal Richelieu. Maybe; origin of the quote is a bit disputed.

In any case, it's a cute sentiment but it's unclear it has any bearing on a world that isn't an authoritarian universe with a power-protected clergy class. Perhaps in terms of modern-day utility, we can interpret it as a warning to always check primary sources, not trust someone else to have accurately or honestly arranged six lines of text from a third party.

(Unfortunately for rms, the primary sources don't actually make him look that good in this situation, since he decided to "um actually" a conversation about rape).


I believe this is what is being referred to https://medium.com/@selamjie/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec2...

It was written by an engineer who didn't know who Stallaman is and works for the US military.

I don't see how a person's employment in the military is relevant here.

Yes. They got rid of RMS based on slander and libel.

They are no long relevant to Free Software.


and truth and past actions.

what truth and past actions? seriously I see lots of vague references but no one actually links to anything concrete. I get a very "it is known" vibe here, which is usually baseless.

Please just stop with the libel. Either present evidence or stop defaming people.

First hand accounts are evidence. That you dislike or disbelieve them doesn't make them libelous, it just means you don't want to believe firsthand accounts of bad actions by a person you admire.

Pretty sure she was saying that hand-wavey statements like "he's done bad things in the past" are libelous, not people talking about their experiences. Regardless: there's another option here, where you don't dislike or disbelieve anyone, including rms. Just keep that in mind.

It's very difficult for me to square "these are libelous hit pieces" with not disbelieving people when said libelous hit pieces reference firsthand accounts.

Said handwavey statements are also not libelous, at all. Libel is a high bar.


What is being said about RMS is easily hitting the UK standard for libel including actual harm being inflicted.

Please provide any first hand accounts of actual behaviour that justify what you said. I've yet to see any.


Luckily, no one involved is in the UK.

> 2. Richard Stallman has been contributing to a negative environment for women at MIT for over thirty years.

From the original article, contains a number of quotes from witnesses and people who felt uncomfortable or harassed due to Stallman's behavior over a span of ~20 years while he was at MIT.

Then there's this[1], this one where he argued about the re-inclusion of an abortion joke in code because his code is inherently political[2][3], Stallman apparently violating the policies at a conference he attended and going unpunished (which is a common occurrence)[4]. People have been complaining about his casual sexism publicly for decades[5].

And I'll remind you that the "charge" here, insofar that there is one, is that "Stallman behaves in a way unbecoming of a leader of the free software movement and other organizations". There's ample evidence here that he repeatedly and continually refuses to communicate with others in common ways, instead he invents his own language (no really, he has a personal dictionary on his website) and when his counterproductive communication methods cause confusion or pain on the part of others, he is generally unapologetic and unwilling to correct them.

[1]: https://twitter.com/bella_velo/status/1172524864193945603

[2]: https://twitter.com/alicegoldfuss/status/993677847280562178 (I remember people complaining about this one at the time), https://sourceware.org/ml/libc-alpha/2018-05/msg00001.html for the entire thread

[3]: Remember this one the next time you say code isn't political!

[4]: https://wwahammy.com/on-safety-at-libreplanet/

[5]: https://opensourcetogo.blogspot.com/2009/07/emailing-richard...


Nothing here justifies what you said.

My original claim was simply "firsthand accounts are evidence". Your said there wasn't evidence. I provided firsthand accounts. Multiple ones. You are now apparently claiming that these firsthand accounts are not evidence. This is a simple falsehood. You may disbelieve these accounts, but they are still evidence. And they justify what I said: evidence exists.

These are not firsthand accounts. Nor are they accounts of actual bad behavior.

There is nothing in what you posted that merits me believing or disbelieving.

I engaged with your defamation in good faith. You provided no evidence of any bad behaviour so there is nothing more to discuss than you apologizing.

I won't be engaging further.

Edit: wow you even reposted the original hit piece.


Please explain for each example I posted, including those from the original article[1], how it isn't a firsthand account, and why the behavior is acceptable.

I went to the work of providing specific examples, it would be polite for you to specifically and precisely explain why you think they're bad. You have repeatedly avoided giving specific reasons that the examples I provided are acceptable, instead you have claimed that these examples aren't evidence, with no accompanying reason. This is not a good faith interaction by you. It's avoidance of actually addressing the evidence provided. Since it's so bad, addressing it should be quick and easy.

Edit:

> Edit: wow you even reposted the original hit piece.

Of course I did! My statement was that the original article referenced firsthand accounts. That's a true statement. There are attributed quotes. Do you deny the existence of those quotes? Like, they're there in the article.

[1]: quoted in this https://medium.com/@selamjie/remove-richard-stallman-appendi...


Please provide some first hand accounts. No one has done so yet. I've seen plenty of second hand rumors etc but no one has put their name to any of them as the originator.

Is there a way to donate to GNU directly? Seems like through the FSF is the only way and after their recent actions I'm not willing to do that.



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