Free software advocates seek removal of Richard Stallman and entire FSF board

Free software advocates seek removal of Richard Stallman and entire FSF board

Richard Stallman speaking in front of microphones while holding a stuffed animal.
Enlarge / Richard Stallman speaks about cost-free computer software in Athens, Greece at the Commons Fest in 2015.

Richard Stallman’s return to the Free of charge Computer software Foundation’s board of directors has drawn condemnation from several people in the absolutely free program community. An open letter signed by hundreds of men and women today referred to as for Stallman to be eradicated once more and for the FSF’s full board to resign.

The open letter said:

Richard M. Stallman, usually acknowledged as RMS, has been a unsafe drive in the absolutely free program community for a extended time. He has revealed himself to be misogynist, ableist, and transphobic, between other severe accusations of impropriety. These sorts of beliefs have no place in the absolutely free software, electronic rights, and tech communities. With his current reinstatement to the Board of Directors of the Cost-free Computer software Foundation, we simply call for the whole Board of the FSF to step down and for RMS to be eradicated from all leadership positions.

Letter signers consist of Neil McGovern, GNOME Foundation government director and previous Debian Challenge Leader Deb Nicholson, general supervisor of the Open up Resource Initiative Matthew Garrett, a former member of the FSF board of administrators 7 of the eight members of the Foundation board of directors Elana Hashman of the Debian Specialized Committee, Open up Source Initiative, and Kubernetes venture Molly de Blanc of the Debian Task and GNOME Foundation and additional than 300 other individuals. That variety has been growing promptly these days: the open up letter consists of guidance for signing it.

The letter mentioned all users of the FSF board really should be eradicated since they “have enabled and empowered RMS for decades. They display this all over again by permitting him to rejoin the FSF Board. It is time for RMS to phase back again from the no cost software, tech ethics, digital legal rights, and tech communities, for he simply cannot provide the management we require.” The letter also named for Stallman to be eradicated from his position leading the GNU Venture.

“We urge those in a position to do so to halt supporting the Free of charge Software package Foundation,” they wrote. “Refuse to add to projects connected to the FSF and RMS. Do not speak at or show up at FSF events, or events that welcome RMS and his brand name of intolerance. We check with for contributors to free program projects to get a stand towards bigotry and despise inside of their assignments. While performing these items, tell these communities and the FSF why.”

Stallman’s resignation

For a prolonged summary of the gatherings that led to Stallman’s resignation in September 2019, see our posting published yesterday. Stallman resigned soon after the leak of e-mail about Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual intercourse trafficking of a insignificant, in which Stallman objected to the use of the word “assaulting” and known as it “morally absurd to outline ‘rape’ in a way that is dependent on minor particulars this sort of as which place it was in or no matter if the sufferer was 18 decades old or 17.”

The open up-letter writers also posted a website page that mentioned numerous of Stallman’s other, comparable statements about age-of-consent legislation, and a statement in which Stallman “recommended that, must somebody obtain out they are expecting and the little one checks favourable for Down’s syndrome, ‘the right class of action for the lady is to terminate the being pregnant.'” The website page also said that “RMS has used several years on a campaign against utilizing people’s proper pronouns. This is poorly disguised transphobia.”

“RMS has a background of mistreating women of all ages and building them experience unpleasant, unsafe, and unwelcome,” the website page also explained, whilst linking to a summary of allegations.

“Some of us have our personal stories about RMS and our interactions with him, items that are not captured in electronic mail threads or on online video,” the open letter stated. “We hope you will examine what has been shared and contemplate the damage that he has accomplished to our group and some others.”

Stallman launched the FSF in 1985 and served as its president until eventually his resignation in 2019. He announced his return to the board, as a member but not president, at the FSF’s LibrePlanet convention this past weekend. “I am now on the Cost-free Software package Foundation board of administrators the moment once again,” he claimed. “Some of you will be satisfied at this and some may well be upset, but who understands. In any scenario, that is how it is. And I am not planning to resign a second time.”

Stallman’s announcement evidently arrived as a surprise to conference organizers. The No cost Application Foundation’s official Twitter account posted a tweet today that explained, “No LibrePlanet organizers (staff or volunteer), speakers, award winners, exhibitors, or sponsors ended up manufactured mindful of Richard Stallman’s announcement until finally it was community.”

We contacted the No cost Application Foundation about the open letter calling for Stallman’s removal now and will update this article if we get a reaction. At least for now, Stallman’s name is once yet again detailed on the FSF’s board of administrators webpage.