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The problem is that Stallman is a very public spokesperson for free software and he does an absolutely terrible job.

It’s impossible to ignore the effects he has in his role and they are terrible.

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.

BSD, Apache and MIT are all Free licenses, even by Stallman's viewpoint. They're just not copyleft.

He thinks the Open Source movement misses the point, but he has no problems accepting their software as Free.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that keeping existing open source projects open source is all Stallman wants.

Do you honestly believe that his comments help push for more free software? I don’t.

I dont claim to know what Richard Stallman wants or what effects his words have.

What?! I think Stallman has always been pretty clear about what he wants. It’s not clarity that he lacks as a spokesperson.

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.

Anyone more competent as a spokesperson for the FSF... would not be.

It is the sort of position that can only be publicly lead by someone who is more than a little eccentric. Anyone else would not be able to walk their own walk.

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.

I’m not so much talking about content but about delivery and style.

free software isn't a religious movement like Stallman would like it to be.

it's just a social concept (one of many) of how we humans should organise our interactions with regards to software.

I believe it's an useful concept and probably so do you. For god's sake, we don't need a spokesperson!

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