Since a lot of people here seemed to have an emotional reaction to Jobs' passing, I had no desire to say anything here. But now the topic is Stallman, and for whatever reason, people are wanting to discuss his comments.
I (and probably most people I know) don't think Stallman's comments are a big deal. Steve was known for acting cruelly to people; apparently acted like a sociopath. If he treated people like shit when he was alive, then it's not the end of the world when someone says a few less-than-respectful things about him when he's gone.
When confronted with the death of someone he disliked, I doubt Steve would be so sentimental. (At least not inwardly.)
> Steve was known for acting cruelly to people; apparently acted like a sociopath
Stallman is also a sociopath by your definition then; remember his comments in some mailing list when someone announced they had had a child. There are plenty of other examples. Richard Stallman is an asshole. A brilliant and useful asshole, but an asocial asshole incapable of basic empathy nonetheless.
I don't admire either of them (though I'd give more credit to Stallman for fighting the good and difficult fight all these years), but it seems to me that Stallman's supporters behave exactly the way they claim Jobs' supporters do - by eulogizing and finding excuses for the ugly sides of their heroes and claiming "the others" are a cult.
History is full of brilliant and useful assholes. both Jobs and Stallman should be given their rightful due and called on their failings. But neither of them should be casting aspersions about the other (not that Jobs can do that anymore). At some level they are fundamentally the same.
I am yet to see a press release saying a company decided to go closed source because they disagree with what Richard Stallman says. Can you point to any specific examples where Richard Stallman and his views have pushed a project that was on the open source path into the closed source direction.
"The open source path" includes many steps before you actually see any source from people. Once they've released source, it's a little late to go back. But they might be turned away from going through the trouble and risk of releasing source in the first place if they perceive that Richard Stallman is the type of person they'd be appeasing.
But more to the point, Stallman does not just want open-source software. He wants free software, and just based on my informal observations, his ideas of free software seem to be losing traction these days. Yeah, there's a lot of open-source software, but BSD, Apache, MIT and other open-source-but-not-free licenses are taking the lion's share.
Even among projects that do use GPL, they mostly seem to prefer v2 rather than the more-free GPL3 and AGPL.
Your original post had - "It’s impossible to ignore the effects he has in his role and they are terrible.". You failed to cite a single effect let alone it being terrible. I merely asked you to point out things that you think are hard to miss but that I dont know about at all.
I think that claiming to know what someone else wants falls in the same category as speaking on their behalf - something that should only be done in very limited circumstances.
Richard Stallman does an excellent job of defining what it means to be a free software radical. He makes the rest of us look far more moderate and reasonable by comparison, which is a very valuable thing.
Why do you feel he does a terrible job? Does the Tea party do a terrible job? Does Dawkins do a terrible job? Did Marx, Nietzsche, Augustine, ... do terrible jobs? I don't doubt you can think of awesome people that others think are doing -- or did -- terrible jobs.
I'm glad someone says the things he says and I think it would be a loss if nobody said these things anymore. He's as much a visionary as Steve Jobs was, only his vision does not get carried out be a multi-billion dollar company, so he needs to keep spreading it with his mouth. He doesn't care about selling the vision, because that doesn't work in a world where many people believe Ayn Rand is someone with deep insight in how the world could and should be organised.
If they've got anything to say to Steve they should've said it to HIS FACE when he was alive. RMS is a low life pig and a coward and I won't be surprised if people piss in his grave after he dies a lonely death.
I don't doubt they've met each other on several occasions and that RMS has told Steve to his face that he disagreed with him. They moved in a lot of overlapping circles and RMS is many things, but certainly not a coward or a hypocrite. He has always put his money where his mouth is.
While I am with you about finding RMS action here despicable, the comment you upvoted was not appropriate for HN.
As I have no doubt RMS would have told Jobs what he thought directly as he has done this in the past with many people. I remember him getting an award and in his speech speaking his mind about the people giving him the award (it was an opensource conference) about using the word opensource etc... He's not shy to insult whoever contradicts his views.
Jobs was a notoriously private person, so I'm fairly confident saying that if you didn't know him personally, you aren't qualified to guess how he'd react to the death of someone. My guess is that he'd be quite reflective on the concept of death, but then again, I'm not qualified to speculate either.