04.17.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Richard Stallman Vilified by Those Who Don’t Know Him, Says Sylvia Paull

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sylvia PaullRepublished “In Support of Richard Stallman”, based on the original.

Sylvia Paull is a well-known feminist and PR person who has known Richard Stallman for many years and hosted him in her home. This is an article she wrote in 2019 when RMS was pushed to resign from his positions at MIT and the FSF after a defamation campaign. The article was published on Medium, a website that cannot be seen without letting JavaScript run on people’s computers. We decided to reproduce it here verbatim from the original so that people who refuse to run JavaScript code can read it. We have been unable to reach the author so far. Sylvia, if you are reading this, please Contact us.


Richard Stallman Has Been Vilified by Those Who Don’t Know Him

By Sylvia Paull – September 26, 2019

People in the tech community know me as a high-tech publicist, a former board member of BMUG—the largest Macintosh computer user group in the world—a founder of the Berkeley Cybersalon, which focused on the impact of technology on every aspect of our lives, and the founder of Gracenet, a networking and support group for women in tech that at the turn of this century launched a worldwide campaign to eliminate sexist advertising in high-tech media. The campaign, which issued a press release announcing a “DisGraceful Award in Advertising,” to a different leading tech company each month, ended up shaming several companies, IBM included, to withdraw their ads and apologize for the offense they might have caused women (and men).

Before even entering the tech field, I was a die-hard feminist and came up with the slogan, “A Woman’s Place Is on Top,” for a t-shirt whose sales made possible the first all-women’s ascent of Annapurna, the tenth highest mountain in the world. The t-shirt, whose slogan I gave to the leader of the climb and my good friend, Arlene Blum, is still selling and supports a nonprofit to support women climbers.

When I met Richard Stallman at least 25 years ago, through a mutual friend mentioned who said Richard could use a publicist, I was only too willing to help. For many years, he became my pro bono client because I believe in the mission of the Free Software Foundation and his life’s investment in that mission of free software, which indeed has made the world a better place. I even put up Richard at my home—the one I then shared with computer editor and writer Fred Davis— for a week, and found out more about him. He was kind, attentive, and has a loving core. In simple language, he patiently explained to my son, then around 12, about the virtues of the GNU/Linux operating system, so that after he left, in the middle of the night, my son stripped Windows from all our nine PCs and installed GNU/Linux. (A disaster, my son discovered, because he could no longer play his favorite video games. He ended up reinstalling Windows on all the machines.)

Richard does not relate to people in the way most of us do. Most of us put up a shield between ourselves and others. We act the way they expect us to act, whether we really empathize with them or share their point of view. This is what we have learned is the way to get ahead in life. Richard does not seem to have developed this shield. He takes everything literally and doesn’t necessarily take feelings and the reactions of others into account when making statements that are outside the bounds of his expertise in free software.

I read his comments on the CSAIL list and was horrified to see some of the early media headlines that misconstrued these comments to say that he condoned Epstein’s rape of women. Richard explicitly said that Epstein was a serial rapist, but few reports remarked or even included this comment. I told Richard that his remarks—which tried to question Marvin Minsky’s awareness that his victim was being forced to have sex—showed a cluelessness about the impact they would have on Epstein’s victims as well as women everywhere. It was a stupid assumption on Richard’s part, and he has since expressed, and more importantly, understood the harm that these remarks have caused women and particularly Epstein’s victims.

I do not excuse Richard Stallman’s remarks, nor do I challenge the actions of both the MIT Media Lab and the FSF for terminating his positions with them. As an active feminist and one who has witnessed much bad behavior among tech CEOs over the past 30 years, I think that accusing Richard Stallman of not supporting women, gays, or any other minority group is false. Look at his real history, not the sign about welcoming “hot ladies” on his MIT Media lab[*] office door, which someone else wrote as a joke and which he removed but not before someone took a photo of it—but his record in helping to give everyone in the world access to free software. He has truly made our world a better, more free place. #door


[*] Stallman was never part of the MIT Media lab. The author is confusing it with CSAIL.

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: Sunday, January 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 23, 2022



  2. [Meme] Team UPC Congratulating Itself

    The barrage of fake news and misinformation about the UPC deliberately leaves out all the obvious and very important facts; even the EPO‘s António Campinos and Breton (Benoît Battistelli‘s buddy) participated in the lying



  3. Links 24/1/2022: pgBadger 11.7 Released, Catch-up With Patents

    Links for the day



  4. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)



  5. On the 'Peak Hacker' Series

    Hacker culture, unlike Ludditism, is ultimately a movement for justice, for equality, and for human rights through personal and collective emancipation; Dr. Farnell has done a good job explaining where we stand and his splendid series has come to a close



  6. Links 23/1/2022: First RC of Linux 5.17 and Sway 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  7. Peak Code — Part III: After Code

    "Surveillance perimeters, smart TVs (Telescreens built to Orwell's original blueprint) watched over our living rooms. Mandatory smart everything kept us 'trustless'. Safe search, safe thoughts. We withdrew. Inside, we went quietly mad."



  8. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 22, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 22, 2022



  9. Links 23/1/2022: MongoDB 5.2, BuddyPress 10.0.0, and GNU Parallel 20220122

    Links for the day



  10. A Parade of Fake News About the UPC Does Not Change the General Consensus or the Simple Facts

    European Patents (EPs) from the EPO are granted in violation of the EPC; Courts are now targeted by António Campinos and the minions he associates with (mostly parasitic litigation firms and monopolists), for they want puppets for “judges” and for invalid patents to be magically rendered “valid” and “enforceable”



  11. Welcome to 2022: Intentional Lies Are 'Benefits' and 'Alternative Facts'

    A crooks-run EPO, together with the patent litigation cabal that we’ve dubbed ‘Team UPC’ (it has nothing to do with science or with innovation), is spreading tons of misinformation; the lies are designed to make the law-breaking seem OK, knowing that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are practically above the law, so perjury as well as gross violations of the EPC and constitutions won’t scare them (prosecution as deterrence just isn’t there, which is another inherent problem with the UPC)



  12. From Software Eating the World to the Pentagon Eating All the Software

    “Software is eating the world,” according to Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape), but the Empire Strikes Back (not the movie, the actual empire) by hijacking all code by proxy, via Microsoft, just as it grabbed a lot of the world’s communications via Skype, bypassing the world's many national telecoms; coders need to fight back rather than participate in racist (imperial) shams such as GitHub



  13. Links 22/1/2022: Skrooge 2.27.0 and Ray-Tracing Stuff

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 21, 2022



  15. 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."



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

    Links for the day



  17. 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)



  18. 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."



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

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 20, 2022



  21. 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



  22. 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



  23. [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



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

    Links for the day



  25. 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



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

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 19, 2022



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

    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