01.16.21

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Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part II: Why Bradley Kuhn Left the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Or why the FSF in 2021 is mostly OK

Bradley-Kuhn-LF
Frame source (fair use): Video [1, 2] from the Linux Foundation

Summary: The founder of the FSF is still at the FSF (albeit not publicly) and the person who lobbied to oust him has basically been ‘banished’ by the founder

IN PART I of this series we took note (without mentioning any names) of people who had entered the Free software world on behalf of super-wealthy employers (multi-billionaires), mostly to disrupt software freedom. Sometimes those aren’t employers but clients or sponsors (such as Google and Microsoft).

As already noted in our Intel leaks (ongoing series), there’s always the risk of infiltration by hostile entities, especially large corporations. Their goals aren’t the same as the institutions which they infiltrate. Ask Nokia. The Conservancy (SFC) is a good example of this; check where it raises money from…

One side story not many people are aware of is the cause for Bradley Kuhn’s (SFC) departure from the FSF’s Board. “I have been silent the last month because, until two days ago, I was an at-large member of FSF’s Board of Directors, and a Voting Member of the FSF,” he wrote in his blog.

Richard Stallman (RMS) is still a voting member at the FSF. He never left. And “if you read the FSF’s bylaws,” a source told us, “voting members add and remove board members” so in effect “they’re above the board” albeit not listed anywhere. As it stands at present (2021), “RMS’s resignation applied only to the position of chairman and member of the board,” which means he still participates in important decisions. Free software advocates and FSF supporters deserve to know this; it’s of public interest, for sure…

The backdrop or the context of all this matters as it is not specified in the public record. The blog post from Kuhn is “the only public part of the discussion,” but there’s more to it, privately.

As it turns out, RMS (founder of GNU and FSF) said something along the lines of (to paraphrase), if there’s a conflict of interest arising when serving as the President of the Conservancy and being a Board member at the FSF, then perhaps one should leave either the Conservancy or the FSF.

RMS was referring to Bradley Kuhn after the Conservancy had issued a strongly-worded press release, likely instrumental in disgracing RMS and causing him to step down at the end. Kuhn took that message into account “and the next day,” we’re told, “Kuhn made a blog post and resigned from the FSF Board… he could have left the Conservancy instead.”

“…in order to meet its goal, the FSF needs about 36 more new members in 48 hours.”So in effect, as the record suggests, Kuhn wasn’t forced out but was given a choice and his blog post is basically, as it turns out, a “response to the voting members insisting that he take a side, about 5 days later [as] probably he also sent an internal notice quitting from the Board and as a voting member…”

This story is worth sharing because this week the fundraising by the FSF is ending. About a week ago I made a video calling for people to support the FSF, where RMS basically continues to play a role (as a voting member). As shown below, in order to meet its goal, the FSF needs about 36 more new members in 48 hours.

FSF funds

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