20 votes

Joint statement on the GNU Project

First, the article:

Joint statement on the GNU Project


For those who aren't caught up, Richard Stallman recently resigned from his position at MIT and as president of the Free Software Foundation.

We discussed that here:

Richard Stallman resigns as president of the Free Software Foundation, and from his position at MIT

His resignation was the result of a controversy that started with an article posted to Medium, which we discussed here:

Remove Richard Stallman

It should be noted however, Stallman did not resign from his position as the head of the GNU Project.

So, this is an interesting development. One that could lead to Stallman's resignation from the GNU Project.

Also, yesterday the FSF and Stallman posted updates about the continued relationship between the FSF and the GNU Project:

FSF and GNU

GNU-FSF relationship

16 comments

  1. JXM
    Link
    I think it’s time for a change in leadership. So many different people have said they feel uncomfortable working with him that keeping him as a leader of the GNU project will hamper the...

    I think it’s time for a change in leadership. So many different people have said they feel uncomfortable working with him that keeping him as a leader of the GNU project will hamper the organization’s ability to do its job (as the letter points out).

    10 votes
  2. hungariantoast
    Link
    Also, Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso, a maintainer for GNU Octave and one of the signatories of the statement, did a mini-AMA on Lobsters: Am signatory, AMA. Oh, and The Register, as usual, coming in...

    Also, Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso, a maintainer for GNU Octave and one of the signatories of the statement, did a mini-AMA on Lobsters:

    Am signatory, AMA.

    Oh, and The Register, as usual, coming in HOT:

    GNU means GNU's Not U: Stallman insists he's still Chief GNUisance while 18 maintainers want him out as leader

    7 votes
  3. DanBC
    Link
    I found these twitter threads interesting: https://twitter.com/sarahmei/status/1178064736597889024?s=20 Especially this one, which claims that RMS's influence, even though he's stepped down from...

    I found these twitter threads interesting:

    https://twitter.com/sarahmei/status/1178064736597889024?s=20

    Especially this one, which claims that RMS's influence, even though he's stepped down from FSF, is still significant. https://twitter.com/sarahmei/status/1181552203355475968?s=20

    I think tech's inability to deal with Stallman, and people like him, are why the industry remains so toxic and keeps pumping out toxic product.

    7 votes
  4. [13]
    ubergeek
    Link
    If hes ousted from the GNU project, I will terminate my monthly contrib, and axe their mirror from my server. That would save me almost $100/month. Just like I did with the FSF (well, minus the...

    If hes ousted from the GNU project, I will terminate my monthly contrib, and axe their mirror from my server. That would save me almost $100/month.

    Just like I did with the FSF (well, minus the mirror, I dont host one of those).

    1 vote
    1. [12]
      JXM
      Link Parent
      Why is that?

      Why is that?

      7 votes
      1. [11]
        ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Because he is the only bulwark that is unmoved when it comes to the four freedoms. Remove him, and both the FSF and GNU are done, because they will just sidle right up to Redhat's MacOS-ification...

        Because he is the only bulwark that is unmoved when it comes to the four freedoms.

        Remove him, and both the FSF and GNU are done, because they will just sidle right up to Redhat's MacOS-ification of Linux, and MS's "we're cool, for real gais!" Just move all the projects to Redhat's freedesktop.org.

        Plus, it's my money, and my resources. So, it's my vote.

        1 vote
        1. [10]
          hungariantoast
          Link Parent
          So you're saying that, out of the 400+ contributors to the GNU Project and the various members of the Free Software Foundation, Stallman is really, truly, the only person who will stand up for the...

          Because he is the only bulwark that is unmoved when it comes to the four freedoms.

          So you're saying that, out of the 400+ contributors to the GNU Project and the various members of the Free Software Foundation, Stallman is really, truly, the only person who will stand up for the the Free Software Definition? Doesn't that seem like a stretch? I mean, is there really no one that could take his place? No one that can maintain his integrity and uphold his ideas while also not repeatedly engaging in problematic behavior?

          Remove him, and both the FSF and GNU are done, because they will just sidle right up to Redhat's MacOS-ification of Linux, and MS's "we're cool, for real gais!"

          What do you mean by this?


          I don't know, threatening to stop supporting the FSF or GNU Project if Stallman resigns makes it seem like you think Stallman is the FSF, or he is the GNU Project, but that's not true at all. By pulling your support, you're not helping Stallman, you're harming important components of the free software movement.

          20 votes
          1. [9]
            ubergeek
            Link Parent
            No, I dont think there's a Greg Hartman for either the FSF or GNU at this time. The gcc AST discussion illustrated that quite well. That is the only real reason people want Stallman ousted....

            No, I dont think there's a Greg Hartman for either the FSF or GNU at this time.

            The gcc AST discussion illustrated that quite well.

            That is the only real reason people want Stallman ousted. Because he stands in the way of proprietary software abusing the ideals of free and libre software.

            Of course, the FSF can choose another proven bulwark like Stallman, and win back my support. I just dont see it happening. Too many people worried about saying the perfect thing and virtue signaling, rather than making libre software now.

            Who knows? Maybe gcc will get proprietary extensions now? Wont that be great for MS and Apple and Redhat?

            Also, I dont care about helping Stallman. I will pull my support because ousting Stallman for doing nothing wrong is signaling they dont care about libre software anymore, just virtue signaling. Same goes for GNU as the FSF, they'd win me back by picking a proven and unmovable bulwark.

            So, I wouldn't be harming libre software, if the ideology doesnt exist anymore. The FSF and GNU would be.

            1. [6]
              JXM
              Link Parent
              As this letter and countless other people's stories that have been shared over the course of years demonstrate, this is false. People want him out because he creates a toxic environment that has...

              That is the only real reason people want Stallman ousted.

              As this letter and countless other people's stories that have been shared over the course of years demonstrate, this is false.

              People want him out because he creates a toxic environment that has pushed people away from the FOSS community for years.

              4 votes
              1. [5]
                ubergeek
                Link Parent
                What toxic environment does he create? Does he reject commits due to gender? Sexual preference? Political creed? No, this list of 30 out of 400 people wanted him gone to a row over the Kind...

                What toxic environment does he create?

                Does he reject commits due to gender? Sexual preference? Political creed?

                No, this list of 30 out of 400 people wanted him gone to a row over the Kind Communications Guidelines. At least one them rarely contributes to the software they signed as being a maintainer. And, a lot of people started to gun for his removal when he refused to budge on the gcc AST issue. Declared RMS as "killing the project", "preventing contributors due to his unflinching stance on proprietary software".

                I don't recall a single time RMS has made the environment toxic. He doesn't go on berating screeds. He's odd. That's about all. He eats his toejam on stage. Very weird. He holds some odd stances. Very weird.

                His stance on libre software has never changed once. And the last item is really the only one that matters. What might see unual to you, is that people will lie about their motives, to effect a change. Often.

                1. [4]
                  JXM
                  Link Parent
                  There are tons of examples of him being creepy toward people. Even something like staring at a women's chest after a talk creates a climate where women aren't welcome. It isn't the only thing that...

                  There are tons of examples of him being creepy toward people. Even something like staring at a women's chest after a talk creates a climate where women aren't welcome.

                  His stance on libre software has never changed once. And the last item is really the only one that matters.

                  It isn't the only thing that matters though. His ability to effectively lead while making the FOSS community a welcoming place for everyone matters just as much. Otherwise, the community loses out on valuable input from people.

                  What might see unual to you, is that people will lie about their motives, to effect a change. Often.

                  Which is why I mentioned that this has happened multiple times over the years. Do you really think there is a massive conspiracy to oust Richard Stallman?

                  Do you really think that Richard Stallman is the only person in the world who can successfully lead the GNU Project? I'm genuinely asking. Surely there are other people who can do just as good of a job.

                  2 votes
                  1. [3]
                    ubergeek
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    So he made virgins feel uncomfortable, by using the term "virgin?" And, given that it's commonly accepted he is on the spectrum, perhaps she was first and foremost offended by his stance to...

                    So he made virgins feel uncomfortable, by using the term "virgin?"

                    And, given that it's commonly accepted he is on the spectrum, perhaps she was first and foremost offended by his stance to proprietary software? And then didn't realize that folks on the spectrum often do not make eye contact, and instead look below the neck?

                    It isn't the only thing that matters though.

                    It is, though, when it comes to promoting libre software.

                    His ability to effectively lead while making the FOSS community a welcoming place for everyone matters just as much.

                    Many developers have contibuted to the FOSS community, with him in charge. I do not think that's a problem.

                    Which is why I mentioned that this has happened multiple times over the years. Do you really think there is a massive conspiracy to oust Richard Stallman?

                    Yes. He's been weird, very weird, over the years. And yes, I do think there is a conspiracy to oust him, and has been since a year or so before the AST fiasco.

                    Do you really think that Richard Stallman is the only person in the world who can successfully lead the GNU Project?

                    No. But he's the only capable one to have ever stepped up.

                    I'm genuinely asking. Surely there are other people who can do just as good of a job.

                    Unless they step forward, they, for all intents and purposes, aren't available to do so.

                    If no one stepped forward, as staunchly defending of libre software as Stallman, I'll continute to not donate to the FSF, since the one person willing to do so was ousted for no real reason.

                    1. [2]
                      JXM
                      Link Parent
                      You're obviously not going to change your mind. We can keep going back and forth but it isn't going to accomplish anything useful. You've been show ample evidence that other people have issues...

                      You're obviously not going to change your mind. We can keep going back and forth but it isn't going to accomplish anything useful. You've been show ample evidence that other people have issues with him and that he has turned people off of working in the FOSS community.

                      I do hope that in the future you won't put so much hope into just one person. There's a lot of great people in the FOSS community who are doing great work. They can (and are) helping to keep the open source community alive and well.

                      3 votes
                      1. ubergeek
                        Link Parent
                        No, you probably wont change my mind. Only the FSF can be finding another unmovable person like RMS to replace him. Until then, no money from me. GNU will get the same if they follow the same...

                        No, you probably wont change my mind. Only the FSF can be finding another unmovable person like RMS to replace him.

                        Until then, no money from me. GNU will get the same if they follow the same path.

                        What I've seen from most trying to push RMS out is a desire to make libre software able to be coopted by proprietary software. I dare the FSF to prove me wrong, and I hope they do.

            2. [2]
              Grand0rbiter
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Hypothetical. What if Richard Stallman retired or, worse, died instead of what is happening? Would you say the ideology would be dead and pull your $100/month? Would be nobody there that could do...

              No, I dont think there's a Greg Hartman for either the FSF or GNU at this time.

              Hypothetical. What if Richard Stallman retired or, worse, died instead of what is happening? Would you say the ideology would be dead and pull your $100/month? Would be nobody there that could do what he was doing?

              If free software was on the shoulders of just one person, it would not be strong enough to survive.

              4 votes
              1. ubergeek
                Link Parent
                No, because he wouldn't have been removed for no real reason, and it I would let it ride, to see how things go. Right now, today? Correct. There is nobody who can do what he did. Correct. And this...

                Would you say the ideology would be dead and pull your $100/month?

                No, because he wouldn't have been removed for no real reason, and it I would let it ride, to see how things go.

                Would be nobody there that could do what he was doing?

                Right now, today? Correct. There is nobody who can do what he did.

                If free software was on the shoulders of just one person, it would not be strong enough to survive.

                Correct. And this is why his removal from GNU would be greatly problematic.