Sunday, I was happy to give a talk at the FSF , wearing the Tshirt I designed for them (photo). But later that day, Richard Stallman announced his return to the FSF's Board of Directors. In this situation, I'll no longer invest my energy for them... 😿

@davidrevoy I am happy that you have stuck by your principles and have chosen to do that.


Stallman poses a danger to the system not only because of his ideas about Free Software but because he kept alive the approach with which we have obtained all our rights: radicalism. The system try to discredit Stallman even with fake news and to incorporate only what suits its interests under the name of "Open Source" leaving out the rest of the rights-based political movement (Free Software).

I can't believe you fell for this fake news too 😕

@alexl Oh, stfu.

It's not fake news, you can easily read the documented decades of bad behaviour from RMS. We're not upset about his uncompromising attitude towards free software. We're talking about him being a constant sex pest and his decades of support for pedophilia.


I read Stallman's original words. If you are so sure of what you are saying, please report the offending texts here.

For some reason (😏 ) those who attack Stallman never report his words and context. Those who defend it calmly report them:

I call this defaming someone with fake news.

@alexl Nah, stfu, you already read them and you can't see how he's a sex pest or the time the rubbed his underwear on a woman's forehead without even asking her and you think that's fine, then I can't really help you.

@alexl @davidrevoy Two things can be true at the same time: 1. A person made an important contribution to philosophy and politics, sparking a new movement. 2. The same person is a pain to deal with even for their friends and allies and their continued presence is a distraction for that movement.

To me it's also a huge red flag when people operate by "I'm controlling this thing or I'm not participating at all": What GNU tool does he actively maintain (or even just contribute to in a meaningful way)?

But even if we look at his much-desired "President of FSF and GNU" role: what initiative did he get off the ground in the last, say, 20 years, that was more meaningful than a website demanding tons of things, waiting for somebody to do it, and then chastising them for not doing it The Right Way? (Through coreboot I've been on the receiving end of that, so yeah, I do hold a grudge)


Let's be honest, this is not the reason most people are unhappy with Stallman leading the FSF. They don't want him because of this fake news about... child abuse? I don't even know how to call it since Stallman just said the word "assault" was not appropriate for an episode we don't know nothing about and the professor involved is already dead and can't provide his version of facts.

@alexl Only part of what he has been accused of was distorted. It took him years to get that there is no "but it's consensual" escape hatch to underage sex (as RMS himself writes in ).

It's part of his (apparent) approach to life of having strong opinions, strongly held: he sets up some theory, however flawed, and then it takes years for others to undo that position. RMS _always_ required a significant amount of cleaning up after him by those around him, pretty much wherever he went (and I don't mean that in a hygiene sense because I don't know about that). In this instance it simply was too much to clean up after, _even though_ some of the statements were trivial to rebuke.

Why was that? Because it was all too much in line with his public persona.

So, he was ousted for holding and expressing undesirable opinions, and some of them were distorted. The last part was unfair, I agree, but I also think that the rest was enough of a reason to get rid of him, not necessarily because of these particular opinions, but because his way of expressing and defending them made him a liability to the organization.

Let's move on to what happened more recently:

After all this happened, the FSF made a decision to appoint somebody to their BoD (who apparently aims for President) who has shown for the last 20+ years that he's an ineffective communicator, an ineffective campaigner, an absent software maintainer or developer, and a high-maintenance personality (to put it mildly).

So he's not a good match for the role. He also carries that baggage. Yet they picked him.

That doesn't look well for the FSF: Either they don't know better (in which case, wtf are they doing?) or they know better but have found no suitable alternative (in which case they could as well shut down), or - most likely - they're simply helping a buddy back to the steering wheel, which is textbook nepotism.

It also doesn't look well for RMS: Even though he should by now have learned that his presence is a liability for the FSF, he's still going back. That may be good for him personally, but he doesn't seem to care at all for "the cause".

So congrats to RMS for being back to a leadership role (because apparently he won't settle for anything less - a sign of a principled person, indeed), and congrats to the FSF for demonstrating its helplessness.

(Nothing in this piece covers the problem that some people argue that they don't feel safe around him. This is mostly because it's a) not necessary to argue that RMS is a lousy choice for any leadership position, b) something that detractors did claim in the past to be merely a political ploy and that they could bring up again to distract from that RMS is a disaster along all other dimensions as well. While I disagree with the idea that all or even most people are claiming this for political reasons, I'll stick to the bits that aren't potential minefields.)


Stallman probably has some form of autism and it doesn't bother me. Instead, the hypocritical moralism of the vast majority of people is extremely worrying.

@alexl He probably isn't autistic, but even if so, see what an autistic person has to say about that "excuse":

I am not good at social cues. I have, in my time, held quite a few shitty, offensive opinions.
But when people have pointed out how awful those opinions are to me, I've thought "Oh shit, they're right," apologised, and changed my opinions.
Being autistic *can*, on occasion, give some of us a tendency to think of moral questions as interesting hypotheticals to be discussed.
Any autistic person *with a functioning moral compass* learns there are things you don't do that about, by their mid twenties or so at latest.

So, even if RMS has some form of autism (AFAICS autism and living off public speaking is a rare combination), he still seems unsuited for that particular role. If he wants to support the goals of the FSF, he could maintain some GNU codebase or do whatever else helps the FSF, but apparently his priorities lie elsewhere.


Sorry it seems you don't know what autism is and no, obviously that's not an excuse for everything, it's just that some people fail to understand that certain Stallman behaviors are not to be exploited by his detractors to say "look, he's a weirdo".

@alexl I'm pretty well aware of what Autism is, tyvm.

A highly functioning neurodiverse person (Assuming RMS is on the spectrum he's certainly not in the deep end, given what he did accomplish decades ago) _can_ reflect on their behavior and can adjust for that when dealing with the outside world for the most part. So there could be missteps and (potentially clumsy) apologies after feedback and reflection.

The unapologetic conduct shown by RMS might be driven by Autism underneath, but his refusal to deal with the fallout still makes him an asshole, not some excusable "weirdo":

And at that point, "asshole" is the dominating characteristic.
Using any neurological issue to excuse that only serves to make things harder for all the others who manage to live decent lives (at great emotional and intellectual expense to adapt to their environment) despite their condition. Due to that, if he were to claim autism for himself to excuse his behavior, that would just make him even more of an asshole (but, being entirely fair: he didn't, that's on his groupies.)

To summarize: I don't think he's autistic, but actually it doesn't matter if he is because he's predominantly a self-centered asshole.
And even if we disregard all that: if he's unable to function in society, he's not fit to be a figurehead for an organization because that comes with pretty specific expectations. Any other position? Potentially, but that's not what he's seeking.


I think you didn't read carefully my comment... because I pointed out that some people use Stallman peculiarities that have nothing to do with the matter for dialectical purposes. I am criticizing poor rhetorical tricks, if it were not clear.

@patrick @alexl
>He probably isn't autistic
His mother own mother told that he would have been categorised as such if the knowledge we have today on it was available in her time.

>But when people have pointed out how awful those opinions are to me, I've thought "Oh shit, they're right," apologised, and changed my opinions.

>AFAICS autism and living off public speaking is a rare combination
It's a spectrum, there are limitless combinations.

@mangeurdenuage @patrick

> It's a spectrum, there are limitless combinations.

Exactly. It's worth mention that the only autistic protagonists featured in a manga (L and Near in Death Note) are shown to be comfortable speaking in public, but despite this I see that the fandom recognizes them as high-functioning autistic.


Being right is so sad for a pessimist... what platform are these people using to gather support against Richard Stallman? GitHub.

Goodbye radicalism, goodbye consistency, welcome hypocrisy.

@tennoseremel @davidrevoy
If you have read the mit-ai email thread and the fbi report about Minsky like I did it was a non-story. The disinformation was very ill intended and the decisions the weeks after were unjust considering the actual facts.
If you wish to read them tell me and I'll go search in my archives to get them.

@mangeurdenuage Yah, I did. And storymakers didn't, from what I remember. Was real weird.


@tennoseremel @davidrevoy
>Was real weird.
Journalist and political extremist in the free software movement just wanted to remove him for unfounded and hyperboled reasons.

@tennoseremel @davidrevoy I think it's not coincidental that similar attacks were applied to Torvalds as well. It was actually an attack on Free Software in general.

We all have flaws, and I don't remember where, but I read Stallman said many more things in the past which many would not like. But it was brought to attention only recently. Why? Maybe to divide the community? With this post, it seems they have succeeded. At least partially.

@adnan360 @tennoseremel @davidrevoy They don't have to, the community is already deeply divided on its own.

@stemy @tennoseremel @davidrevoy Well, I haven't seen the community that much divided before these attacks. Sure it was divided based on DE, programs, workflow etc. but never like this.


> But nowadays, I deeply think he is a bad representative for the community.


birdsite, answer 

@alexl @davidrevoy Perhaps this flow of tweets on Twitter will give you an inkling of why.

If that's not enough then just accept that folks are disappointed and move on with life while other folks move on.


I'm interested in David opinion only, if you check my profile you will see I just shared an article debunking the fake news about Richard Stallman.

You should read it too:


It's unfortunate you think RMS is not good for free software, when he's doing full time voluntary work for advancement of free software for 37 years.

Anyways it's your personal dicision.

@redstarfish @davidrevoy It's wonderful that rms has been working so hard for so many years creating the movement, and we wouldn't be where we are without that work and dedication.

It is unfortunate some of what he does is holding back the credibility and progress of the movement.

He is less suitable as a leader in the 2021 environment than he was in the 1985 environment, and it is unfortunate that some people still brought him back to a leadership position.

@davidrevoy I wonder if distancing that personality cult, let alone the problems with Stallman himself, is the best thing for our movement... How much overlap is there between that crowd & those that villify forks of e.g. GIMP, it takes the same sort of hero worship to miss our principles like that!

P.S. Great talk! And I love your Pepper & Carrot comics!

@be Done by email since 30min; it might take time to get part of the next triage 🙂 Thanks for the link.

@davidrevoy did you read this:

I read what RMS said and I think the fuss created around misinterpretations and misquotes from what he said is much more harmful to a community at whole, than what he actually said.

@xinayder I read it, it was sent to me a lot this afternoon: I try to read various sources of info to keep rational opinion.

Still, I think if it was only misinterpretations; it would have been easy for him to fix it, clarify, adjust and post disambiguation when it was time. I see that very often on communication issues on other Floss project...

But even when he came back; it was made without clarification, disambiguation: just imposed out of the blue.

Definitely, not my cup of tea... 🍵

@davidrevoy @xinayder
>I think if it was only misinterpretations; it would have been easy for him to fix it
In the context that the US is in it was, and still is impossible when happening.
Even the fact that he has his own mattress to sleep in the MIT ai lab was distorted to levels of utter insanity.
The context of the dissemination and fabrication of information in the US is what often causes all of the discord that you can see in the population.

En temps que francophone je vous redirige chez "softzilog" (qu'il repose en paix).
Il faisait régulièrement des traductions est résumer d'information outre France ou sujet don't les media passer sous silence.
En voici un exemple:
Plus vous en apprenez plus vous vous rendrez compte que tout cela est d'une tristesse sans nom.

La plupart de tout les problèmes entre humains vient d'une incompréhension mutuelle, et d'une incompréhension de ses propre besoins et sentiment. Pour ça si cela vous intéresse je vous redirige vers les travaux de Marshall Rosenberg.

Take care Revoy, I like your art keep up the good work o/
@davidrevoy @xinayder
Just to add another something for the context of the usa. Even ESR got banned from the OSI, and he was a co-founder, and for even less than RMS.
@mangeurdenuage @davidrevoy @xinayder I think you are trying to make the opposite point, but to me the OSI vs esr resolution was perfectly reasonable. There were formal rules of civility, esr didn't live up to them, so he wasn't welcome.

It just shows that rms got away with so much more, including violating the code of conduct at a LibrePlanet, before he had to go.

And yet he's still allowed back at LibrePlanet, that's the first shocker, and on top of that he takes that opportunity to announce that he's back at the FSF, which is even more unbelievable given the number of people who have spoken out about how this would harm the FSF and free software.

Still, I think if it was only misinterpretations; it would have been easy for him to fix it, clarify, adjust and post disambiguation when it was time. I see that very often on communication issues on other Floss project...
But even when he came back; it was made without clarification, disambiguation: just imposed out of the blue.

I'm sorry to keep this going, but that's not factual. Things were clarified and disambiguated, first by himself and then to great length by others. Only the clarifications and disambiguations didn't get any of the attention nor the bloodlust of the bashing and accusations.

And I don't understand why "imposed out of the blue". This was the result of an election, a result which was unsurprising given the circumstances under which he was forced to resign, and the support he enjoys. People accuse his supporters of being fanboys, but it's the haters that have taken social media by the storm with battle cries, while his supporters have for the most part tried to bring facts and arguments to the discussion, and sent mentions of support directly to the FSF (to my knowledge numerous, at least considering the people i know) sometimes for fear of mob attacks.

@davidrevoy I hope you are doing well. Thank you so much for standing up.

@ToonLink :blobcatheart: I'm doing ok thanks to the focus on last week of production for episode 34 of Pepper&Carrot.

I feel I'll only start to digest emotionaly a lot of things in start April when it will be posted. Thank you very much for sending kind words.

@davidrevoy Are you sure you are not falling for a smear campaign here? I recommend reading this:

@davidrevoy @eliasr What does that say beyond "These people were not harassed"?

@silverwizard @davidrevoy That wetheweb text says several things that are relevant here, I really recommend reading it. If you did read it and thought it was nothing, then maybe go back and read again a bit more carefully. One thing it explains is about the thing that triggered it all, the contents of some emails, pointing out that RMS did in fact not say what people claimed. The truth matters, I think. Also... (to be continued)

@silverwizard @davidrevoy That text also says something about the kind of person RMS is, someone who cares a lot about right and wrong and who tends to be frank about his opinions, and how that influenced what happened. It also says something about how rumors can work, and at least for me that makes me think that we should be careful to check what basis we have before accusing someone. If the accusation is serious, that does not mean we should care less about what basis we have for it.

@davidrevoy @eliasr Might I recommend not reading a text about an event that happened less than two years ago and instead remember it.

Remember the stories of undergrad women who had to hide behind plants. Not about the people *in* the movement, but instead the people who were kept out of the movement. About the people RMS hurt, not just those who he didn't.

Do you think that a person defending their hero is the same as hundreds of identical stories?
@davidrevoy @eliasr This is textbook hero apologia and doesn't get across any solid point. It is actually possible to separate RMS's work and personality by celebrating his past contributions and at the same time not giving him any symbolic prominence like at the FSF anymore.
@eliasr @davidrevoy I think the text is correct that one shouldn't be punished for having unpopular opinions, but being the leader and representative of an organization isn't a human right.

Stallman wasn't pushed out by one incident, his departure was the climax of years of people saying that his opinions and actions outside free software philosophy and development were a distraction from the free software message and causing harm to the image and mission of the FSF and the free software movement.

@clacke @davidrevoy Thanks @clacke for being the voice of reason. 🙂 Maybe worth noting that RMS is not back as "the leader" of FSF, he is not Executive Director (that is John Sullivan) and not President of the Board of directors (that is Geoffrey Knauth). RMS is right now one of six members of the Board of directors: Is that still too much of a leading role, I'm not sure, but anyway it is not the same as before.

@eliasr Yes, thanks for letting me know I was unclear. I was referring to his previous position in my first paragraph, and now he is back in a leadership position, but not the top one.

@davidrevoy yeah, the whole thing sucks and I feel like I should be watching out for where projects' allegiances lie. I appreciate your integrity though :blobcatheart:

@davidrevoy I'm sorry you've upset the RMS fan club.

I believe you made the right choice. I am also thinking of how to disassociate myself from the FSF.

@JordiGH @davidrevoy at this point I don’t think that the FSF will be a long standing institution. These decisions demonstrate a greater interest in the personality cult of RMS than in actually fostering/mentoring new leadership talent to ensure the future of the foundation.

Ni! I have read and thought a lot about this issue and, with all honestly, I cannot classify it as anything else than a smear campaign.

His actual words were not bigoted, not prejudiced, nor harmful, nor malicious, specially in the context they were said, and even his reaction to the whole affair was reasonable, measured and respectful. This is not about placing him in a pedestal, just being fair to a person.

The last few people I heard repeating this, when I asked them, admitted they never even read the original dialogue or read any critique of the accusations. It seems to me that this is the actual thing we should worry about in this affair.

@davidrevoy I really like the design and I enjoyed your talk! Thank you very much

@davidrevoy @schmittlauch I get your reasons (after reading your statements), but the appendix to the letter contains a lot of deliberate misinterpretations and the signature appears to give them credit. Which would be sad to think. :blobcatneutral:

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