03.28.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Pursuing Justice and Freedom

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 11:46 am by Guest Editorial Team

By Alexandre Oliva

A lie repeated a thousand times does not, by virtue of repetition, become the truth.

That thousands of people will sign an open letter that proclaims a human being guilty based on twisted pseudo-evidence says more about their respect for due process, fair trials, justice and science, than about the human being they seek to burn at the stake. Do they even know who Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno were?

Burning witches after a kangaroo court-styled mob trial does not signal virtue, but rather the lack thereof.

Richard Stallman may be hard to like and to work with. His extreme attention to detail and to language can be infuriating. His urges to get back to work for free software, picking up and directing his attention to a screen at a dinner table long before that became fashionable, has often been labeled disrespectful. His harshness and often tactless disregard for social conventions can be emotionally hard to swallow and forgive, even with a rational understanding of his condition.

“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” - Malcolm XBut these are not horrifying allegations that would serve the purpose of misleading decent people into the moral panic that leads to witch burning. The allegations make such leaps as from evidence of untargeted harshness to conclusions of sexism; from cautioning against accusation inflation, and from misguided and corrected inquiries about teen sexuality to pedophilia and defense thereof; from proposing an alternative to a grammar quirk to transphobia; from passing on scientific advice about fetuses with life-impairing conditions to… what is the criticism in that, genocide, standing for informed choice, or insensitivity of science?

A couple of decades ago, he used to make women uncomfortable with staring, but after being advised by friends, he made the effort and managed to overcome the habit. It’s not that this effort would be meritorious in itself (though specific circumstances may make it so), but the acknowledgment that he made the effort and succeeded ought to cast significant doubt on the allegations of misogyny.

Some of the people who support his cancellation dare claim they are in favor of free software ideas, and that this somehow justifies demanding the collective beheading of (i) the organization he founded to promote these very ideas; (ii) the GNU operating system, whose development he started and has led for over 36 years, a system that “has won” despite those who’ve long tried to write his legacy out of history; (iii) the stubborn, loyal, inflexible, uncorruptible and dehumanized human being who has consistently and correctly identified threats to software freedom before anyone else, who has consistently attracted enormous audiences to his speeches and readership to his writings about software freedom, and who invented copyleft and implemented it in the GNU GPL, the strongest vaccine we’ve had against attackers who label it a virus or a cancer to discourage developers from adopting it.

This is what these self-identified free software supporters are trying to deprive the free software movement of, by dragging it all to the fire over shocking but false allegations, and over some very real and painful discomfort and disagreement. Their false allegations have done far more to divide the movement, alienate people and empower our historical opponents than Stallman possibly could, even if he’d devoted his entire life to it. Our opponents must be thrilled.

Even if there was any truth to any of the outrageous allegations, it would be self-defeating for the movement to force him into non-existence. When irreconcilable differences impose themselves, all of us who support the movement would likely agree that having more collectives committed to the same principles and cooperating to promote the same ideas is preferable over weakening and dividing the movement with a schism, or with indefinite infighting. However, decapitating organizations and projects he founded and leads, on the grounds that he’s there, even if the goal is not a hostile take-over, comes across as vindictive, petty and destructive. It’s very hard to see good intentions behind it.

Anyone with a comparable track record to his in untiringly and uncompromisingly pursuing and advancing the cause of software freedom is very welcome to apply for any of his positions in the movement (other than founding father, of course), and he’ll surely be glad to make room. Very thick skin is now a strict requirement. We are inclusive, and select primarily based on alignment with the core values of the movement, but, all else being equal, we would give preference to candidates who displayed these rare features in a completely flawless package.

So blong,


Copyright 2007-2021 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this
entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright
notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don't contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

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. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 21, 2022



  2. Peak Code — Part II: Lost Source

    "Debian and Mozilla played along. They were made “Yeoman Freeholders” in return for rewriting their charters to “work closely with the new Ministry in the interests of all stakeholders” – or some-such vacuous spout… because no one remembers… after that it started."



  3. Links 22/1/2022: Ubuntu MATE 21.10 for GPD Pocket 3, MINISFORUM Preloads GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  4. Computer Users Should be Operators, But Instead They're Being Operated by Vendors and Governments

    Computers have been turned into hostile black boxes (unlike Blackbox) that distrust the person who purchased them; moreover, from a legislative point of view, encryption (i.e. computer security) is perceived and treated by governments like a threat instead of something imperative — a necessity for society’s empowerment (privacy is about control and people in positions of unjust power want total and complete control)



  5. Peak Code — Part I: Before the Wars

    Article/series by Dr. Andy Farnell: "in the period between 1960 and 2060 people had mistaken what they called "The Internet" for a communications system, when it had in fact been an Ideal and a Battleground all along - the site of the 100 years info-war."



  6. Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 20, 2022



  8. Gemini Lets You Control the Presentation Layer to Suit Your Own Needs

    In Gemini (or the Web as seen through Gemini clients such as Kristall) the user comes first; it's not sites/capsules that tell the user how pages are presented/rendered, as they decide only on structural/semantic aspects



  9. The Future of Techrights

    Futures are difficult to predict, but our general vision for the years ahead revolves around more community involvement and less (none or decreased) reliance on third parties, especially monopolistic corporations, mostly because they oppress the population via the network and via electronic devices



  10. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU



  11. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

    Links for the day



  12. The Web is a Corporate Misinformation/Disinformation Platform, Biased Against Communities, Facts, and Science

    Misinformation/disinformation in so-called 'news' sites is a pandemic which spreads; in the process, the founder of GNU/Linux gets defamed and GNU/Linux itself is described as the problem, not the solution to the actual problems



  13. Links 20/1/2022: McKinsey Openwashing and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 19, 2022



  15. Links 20/1/2022: Linuxfx 11.1 WxDesktop 11.0.3 and FreeIPMI 1.6.9 Released

    Links for the day



  16. Links 19/1/2022: XWayland 22.1 RC1 and OnlyOffice 7.0 Release

    Links for the day



  17. Links 19/1/2022: ArchLabs 2022.01.18 and KDE's 15-Minute Bug Initiative

    Links for the day



  18. When Twitter Protects Abusers and Abuse (and Twitter's Sponsors)

    Twitter is an out-of-control censorship machine and it should be treated accordingly even by those who merely "read" or "follow" Twitter accounts; Twitter is a filter, not a news/media platform or even means of communication



  19. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 18, 2022



  20. Links 19/1/2022: Wine 7.x Era Begins and Istio 1.12.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  21. Another Video IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    It seems very much possible that IBM (or someone close to IBM) is trying to purge me from Twitter, so let’s examine what they may be trying to distract from. As we put it 2 years ago, "Watson" is a lot more offensive than those supposedly offensive words IBM is working to purge; think about those hundreds of Red Hat workers who are black and were never told about ethnic purges of blacks facilitated by IBM (their new boss).



  22. What IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    Let's 'Streisand it'...



  23. Good News, Bad News (and Back to Normal)

    When many services are reliant on the integrity of a single, very tiny MicroSD card you're only moments away from 2 days of intensive labour (recovery, investigation, migration, and further coding); we've learned our lessons and took advantage of this incident to upgrade the operating system, double the storage space, even improve the code slightly (for compatibility with newer systems)



  24. Someone Is Very Desperate to Knock My Account Off Twitter

    Many reports against me — some successful — are putting my free speech (and factual statements) at risk



  25. Links 18/1/2022: Deepin 20.4 and Qubes OS 4.1.0 RC4

    Links for the day



  26. Links 18/1/2022: GNOME 42 Alpha and KStars 3.5.7

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 17, 2022



  28. Links 17/1/2022: More Microsoft-Connected FUD Against Linux as Its Share Continues to Fall

    Links for the day



  29. The GUI Challenge

    The latest article from Andy concerns the Command Line Challenge



  30. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

    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