10.01.19

Gemini version available ♊︎

Guest Post: What Stallman Wants

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

Please stay on path

Summary: “Don’t forget, we are trying to keep something important alive.”

If you know me, you will often find me critiquing the FSF or talking about how to create alternatives in the event of a catastrophe. I still think those are good things.

Richard Stallman has asked several people to make a case for joining, or not leaving the FSF; I have agreed to do so. I am mostly addressing those contemplating leaving in protest. For those who might think of joining, some of these points may also apply and I invite you to consider them as part of your decision.

First off, I can’t tell you what to do with your time or your money. That’s up to you of course. I can’t make you read this article or consider its points either. My job is to urge you to consider the points made here, I really can’t do more about it than that.

“We are against the sort of witchhunt that happened.”For those who have already left — particularly those who are leaving the FSF because they feel as I do, that Stallman was wronged — I understand. I’m angry too.

Those who can’t understand why we are upset for Stallman, I have very little to say to you right now. We are against the sort of witchhunt that happened. This entire circular argument that we can’t talk about why someone isn’t guilty, first requires us to assume they are guilty. It is a loaded argument that goes against every concept of justice fought for over several centuries, to forbid such discussion or make it taboo to make (or even attempt) the same arguments that a lawyer would in court. When exactly did that become a special right only for lawyers, anyway?

This is particularly true when specific accusations are made that are problematic in certain detail or in their overall nature. I suppose there are many people these days who really believe they are going to start widespread inquisitions that demand everyone face their accusers while bound, gagged and unrepresented — but that’s not how we are supposed to do things in the western world, the free world, or in any semblance of a just civilisation where people have rights.

“I suppose there are many people these days who really believe they are going to start widespread inquisitions that demand everyone face their accusers while bound, gagged and unrepresented — but that’s not how we are supposed to do things in the western world, the free world, or in any semblance of a just civilisation where people have rights.”If we cannot speak in Stallman’s defense, then there is no purpose for justice at all. Truth is a prerequisite of justice. Honest discussions, not one-sided arguments that make unconditional demands for their own premise, are a prerequisite of truth — and they happen to be part of a very clearly established human right. It’s astonishing and even Machiavellian that anybody would argue against this.

Others are moving the bar, saying that it doesn’t matter if Stallman’s words were twisted — because the untwisted words are “bad enough.” They make it clear that no matter how dishonest the attacks on him were, that he isn’t going to be left alone until a justification is found for what’s already been done to him.

There is plenty of time to talk about why witchhunts are the precise opposite of justice. But what about those of you who are already eager to help Stallman?

“There is plenty of time to talk about why witchhunts are the precise opposite of justice.”The silence of the FSF has upset me too, I’ve even called for people to protest their lack of message about several important issues by boycotting before. If you’re leaving now, I can’t blame you for anything I haven’t called for in the past. If I thought it was the best thing to do right now, or in the future, I would call for it again. So I can really only argue about whether it’s the best thing to do at the present time.

Of obvious note is Stallman’s actual request. You may have seen this already, particularly if you emailed him yourself:

I wasn’t forced. Based on the way the FSF was being attacked by people outside, I agreed I needed to resign. Blame them, not the board.

I appreciate your moral support. What is needed now is to convince the FSF to stick with the principles I set and avoid harmful changes.

Would you like to help out in a practical way?

1. If you support the Free Software Foundation’s work, you could (1) join as an associate member and (2) tell the organization that you want it to stay true to the way I have led it. See fsf.org.

If you can’t afford to join, you could still state your views to the FSF. I suggest keeping it short!

2. You could speak up in mailing lists and discussions (don’t bother with Twitter), to inform people that the articles misrepresented my views, then demonstrate that by showing what I really said.

Either one, or both, could make a difference. So thank you for whatever you do.

Like many people, I prefer to avoid quoting private emails, though other people have already quoted this information and I feel comfortable doing that here.

This is definitely the difficult part to believe:

I wasn’t forced. Based on the way the FSF was being attacked by people outside, I agreed I needed to resign. Blame them, not the board.

We’ve heard rumours. We’ve watched a lot of things happen. I’m not encouraging anybody to give up an investigation into what happened — I’m entirely in favour of that. People are trying to change history, not in a good way, and the best time to start paying attention to what’s going on is right now. By all means, keep watching.

What you do with the information you find is important as well. When Stallman first said he wasn’t forced out by the board, I didn’t believe that. I wanted to — I didn’t think he would lie, but he’s mistaken, obviously — right?

“He still insists that it wasn’t the FSF at fault, and I’m really starting to believe that.”It’s not easy to trust anybody, even those we are defending, when this many unfortunate and shocking things have happened. So intellectually, I believed Stallman. Emotionally, I was not very strongly moved at first. “Okay, I’ll try,” but it’s not going to be easy for me. I’ve even included this in some of the things I’ve said about it already. I’m saying it again right now.

What’s changing is I’m still looking, I’m coming around to really believing him, while his request has not changed. He still insists that it wasn’t the FSF at fault, and I’m really starting to believe that. I could still be wrong. But I believe enough to keep advocating that members remain members. That is what I really believe is the best thing to do right now.

I honestly don’t care if you agree. If you don’t, I’m not saying you should be hounded or argued with. Sure I would still try to make the point for other people, but your money and time is yours.

“A lot of us are angry — I’m still angry. We want to know who is responsible for these attacks.”For everybody else, I don’t think it’s a good time to go. It’s not what Stallman wants, and at this time I really don’t believe there is a good reason to leave. If you are considering leaving the FSF, I only ask that you really consider staying first. Consider again what Stallman wants, if you are doing this for him.

If you can’t be convinced — I think the most suspicious thing going on right now is the website problem on stallman.org. There is a rumour now that someone at the FSF is responsible. I don’t have any information about that, others might — I do think the speculation is getting more over the top than is probably useful.

Probably. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be speculation, at least one person ought to consider the wildest most exotic possibilities I guess, but I feel if and when we get to the bottom of that, it’s going to prove to be on the more mundane side of things.

If you don’t believe the wording that it’s “an error” I don’t either. I mentioned this to Stallman as a point that people might feel particularly restless about.

It’s possible that he doesn’t want to tip off what he knows for strategic reasons (this is speculation on my part, I’m just throwing that out there) and I want answers just like you do. A lot of us are angry — I’m still angry. We want to know who is responsible for these attacks.

“Let’s not, if we can help it, let that emotion override our patience in getting to the (actual) truth about this.”I will gladly quote balduin’s recent post on this topic, where he says:

“The practice of emotion-before-thinking is the reason why RMS resigned at the end.”

Personally, I believe that emotion and logic work together to help us find truth and meaning. There is a time for emotion and you’re not alone in feeling betrayed — many of us do. Let’s not, if we can help it, let that emotion override our patience in getting to the (actual) truth about this. I want answers right now. I am routinely demanding them, and I know I’m not the only person who wants them immediately.

You are certainly free to continue to make those demands. It is not Stallman’s wish, nor my advice, that you attach those demands to your membership at this time.

I think all you will achieve by leaving now is reducing the ratio there, of people who care about Stallman to those who don’t.

“Don’t forget, we are trying to keep something important alive.”It is of course, still your choice to make. Part of what I’ve committed to at this time, is to try to keep as many people from leaving as possible. If you go, I hope people will have the good sense to be polite to you and show you every reason to come back as soon as possible.

Don’t forget, we are trying to keep something important alive.

Long live rms, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. On the Internet, Trust Should Not Become Centralised

    “Trust” is a word that lost its meaning in the era of “TPM” and fancier names for 'Palladium'; we need to reject this idea that computers need to check with Microsoft if the operating system is trusted (not just Windows!), check with Gulag/Chrome if a Web site is trusted, and whether it's OK to run some application/s on one's own computer (as if Jim Zemlin et al get to decide what is trusted)



  2. Microsoft-Connected Publishers Suffer and Perish With Microsoft (While Peddling 'Fake News' for Their Beloved Sponsor)

    IDG and other fake news outlets/networks/sites (selling to companies flattering articles about themselves or renting out 'news space' to them, not just ad space) want us to think Microsoft is doing very well, but it's just that same old Ponzi scheme



  3. Links 27/1/2022: Mabox Linux 21.11 Herbolth and PipeWire 0.3.44

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 26, 2022



  5. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)



  6. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats



  7. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  8. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography



  9. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)



  10. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day



  11. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)



  12. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)



  13. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022



  15. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  16. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"



  17. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day



  18. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini



  19. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  20. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  21. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products



  22. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022



  24. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Proprietary Software is Pollution

    "My daughter asked me about why are we throwing away some bits of technology," Dr. Andy Farnell says. "This is my attempt to put into words for "ordinary" people what I tried to explain to a 6 year old."



  26. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XV — Cover-Up and Defamation

    Defamation of one’s victims might be another offence to add to the long list of offences committed by Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley; attempting to discredit the police report is a new low and can get Mr. Graveley even deeper in trouble (Microsoft protecting him only makes matters worse)



  27. [Meme] Alexander Ramsay and Team UPC Inciting Politicians to Break the Law and Violate Constitutions, Based on Misinformation, Fake News, and Deliberate Lies Wrapped up as 'Studies'

    The EPO‘s law-breaking leadership (Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their corrupt cronies), helped by liars who don't enjoy diplomatic immunity, are cooperating to undermine courts across the EU, in effect replacing them with EPO puppets who are patent maximalists (Europe’s equivalents of James Rodney Gilstrap and Alan D Albright, a Donald Trump appointee, in the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, respectively)



  28. Has the Administrative Council Belatedly Realised What Its Job in the European Patent Organisation Really Is?

    The "Mafia" which took over the EPO (the EPO's own workers call it "Mafia") isn't getting its way with a proposal, so it's preventing the states from even voting on it!



  29. [Meme] Team UPC is Celebrating a Pyrrhic Victory

    Pyrrhic victory best describes what's happening at the moment (it’s a lobbying tactic, faking/staging things to help false prophecies be fulfilled, based on hopes and wishes alone), for faking something without bothering to explain the legal basis is going to lead to further escalations and complaints (already impending)



  30. Links 24/1/2022: Scribus 1.5.8 and LXLE Reviewed

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts