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GNU founder Richard Stallman resigns from MIT, Free Software Foundation

Birdseye

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
12,039
After reports revealed the lengths undertaken by some at MIT to accept donations from convicted sex offender and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito resigned. Now, computer scientist Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU operating system and author of an associated manifesto that pushed the idea of free software, has stepped down from his position with MIT's CSAIL and as president of the Free Software Foundation.

This comes after growing calls for his removal, most recently tied to Stallman's statements in an MIT email thread about Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre, and what he called the "injustice" of claiming she was assaulted by Marvin Minsky. MIT alum Selam Jie Gano posted about the emails on Medium, and shared redacted copies with Motherboard. According to Stallman, the teenager could have been presented as "entirely willing," while also arguing over the use of terms like rape or sexual assault to describe the situation.
A few days ago Stallman posted on his blog "I've learned to understand how sex with a child can harm per psychologically," followed by another note late Monday evening:
16 September 2019 (Resignation)
To the MIT community,
I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.
Richard Stallman
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,146
But I don't see any misunderstandings? What he said seems clear cut.
It's usually the tactic taken by jerks for their non-apology. Twist reality so it looks like they were being unfairly targeted by a lynch mob.

Just look at the racist comedian fired from SNL who tried to portray his very recent and many instances of racism as just people out to get him by dredging up decade old "jokes".
 

Buzzman

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,475

How does a grown man in the Year of our Lord 2019 unironically admit to not seeing anything wrong with pedophilia.
Like, it's good that he changed his mind eventually, but fucking wow dude. Maybe he should try reading the room a little more when he's not busy eating from his own foot.
 

Jonnax

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,052
Taking a look at the comments on hacker news makes me hate the tech industry:

Bunch of tech bro libertarian bullshit about how a guy saying "willing pedophilia" is fine and how a sex trafficking victim was willing, and faces consequences is actually the death of free speech.

The pathetic "I feel like I can't talk about any controversial subjects anymore" when the context is this arsehole is emailing the computer science mailing list at MIT which includes undergraduate students.

Imagine you're an 18 year old woman studying computer science and getting emails from one of the most famous and prominent software engineers about his views on rape.

I've even read people justifying it because he's autistic. Fucking hell that's offensive to autistic people.
 

zashga

Member
Oct 28, 2017
955
I gotta admit, I never knew what a creepy asshole RMS was. Somehow people just sort of never mentioned the pedophilia stuff over on Slashdot.
 

Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
7,291

How does a grown man in the Year of our Lord 2019 unironically admit to not seeing anything wrong with pedophilia.
Like, it's good that he changed his mind eventually, but fucking wow dude. Maybe he should try reading the room a little more when he's not busy eating from his own foot.
Nah. You don't get to that age completely ignorant of the effects abuse has on a child. Doubt the conversations happened at all.
 

BrassDragon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,199
The Netherlands

How does a grown man in the Year of our Lord 2019 unironically admit to not seeing anything wrong with pedophilia.
Like, it's good that he changed his mind eventually, but fucking wow dude. Maybe he should try reading the room a little more when he's not busy eating from his own foot.
I don't for a second believe this was some intellectual, detached thought exercise for the man. There are skeletons in the closet.
 

Vagabundo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,031
Damn shame. I really don't understand people's thought processes on this. Maybe some people are completely detached from the real world and live in a bubble?
 

Catshade

Member
Oct 26, 2017
577
It's disgusting how a lot of people gave creeps like him free passes because 'he contributed a lot to the community/movement!' I mean, that's basically the MO of Epstein - throw stacks of money to various noble causes so people just look the other way when he comes with his entourage of underage 'models'.

 

Nappael

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,454
A lot of people I know within the community see this coming from a mile off and are in agreement it was his time to go. He has been massively important for free software, but he cannot be a figurehead while saying shit like this.

Also, I wish people would stop citing Autism as a justification. It's not.
 

Nappael

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,454
Were they afraid of calling him out?
Not particularly as far as I know, but please understand that by "in the community", I mean contributors to free software, people who donate to the FSF, that kind of thing. Not leading contributors to projects. Although there was the Software Freedom Conservancy statement and Neil's statement about the future of Gnome for that, I can't possibly say anything about how they felt writing those.

Stallman's horrible takes can't even be called an open secret among the community. They were public going back as far as at least 2006. It was just a matter of time until he said something bad again and for it to explode.
 
May 25, 2018
4,799
Wow I was just reading about him the other day for one of my classes. He did some great things and with the Linux kernel it changed everything.

Edit: Oh shit I thought this was like a retirement. Jesus. I had no idea.
 
OP
OP
Birdseye

Birdseye

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
12,039
So, Richard Stallman's dating profile...

My former Personal Ad

(Currently for amusement only.)

[This was last updated in early 2009. The ages are out of date now.]

I'm a single atheist white man, 55, reputedly intelligent, with unusual interests in politics, science, music and dance.

I'd like to meet a woman with varied interests, curious about the world, comfortable expressing her likes and dislikes (I hate struggling to guess), delighting in her ability to fascinate a man and in being loved tenderly, who values joy, truth, beauty and justice more than "success"--so we can share bouts of intense, passionately kind awareness of each other, alternating with tolerant warmth while we're absorbed in other aspects of life.

My 25-year-old child, the Free Software Movement, occupies most of my life, leaving no room for more children, but I still have room to love a sweetheart if she doesn't need to spend time with me every day. I spend a lot of my time traveling to give speeches, often to Europe, Asia and Latin America; it would be nice if you were free to travel with me some of the time.

If you are interested, write to rms at gnu dot org and we'll see where it leads.
 

iapetus

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,381
I thought it was well known that RMS was a complete arse? I didn't know some of the specific details that have been posted in this thread, but they come as no surprise to me at all.
 

LewieP

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
8,223
I thought it was well known that RMS was a complete arse? I didn't know some of the specific details that have been posted in this thread, but they come as no surprise to me at all.
I think publicly going to bat for Jeffery Epstein was still a surprise to many.

I know he has had a terrible reputation for many years, I'm not actually surprised he didn't think Epstein did anything wrong, I'm just surprised he documented this viewpoint publicly.
 

SixPointEight

Member
Oct 28, 2017
783
Sounds like he’s not leaving this role entirely willingly. But I suspect he still won’t know the difference when it concerns others.
 

Kthulhu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,832
This sucks.

I know he's said some stupid shit in the past but I was hoping he'd have learned he was wrong.

A lot of people I know within the community see this coming from a mile off and are in agreement it was his time to go. He has been massively important for free software, but he cannot be a figurehead while saying shit like this.

Also, I wish people would stop citing Autism as a justification. It's not.
Stallman has ASD?
 

Nappael

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,454
Wow I was just reading about him the other day for one of my classes. He did some great things and with the Linux kernel it changed everything.

Edit: Oh shit I thought this was like a retirement. Jesus. I had no idea.
He didn't really do much for the kernel. He was important because of his part in the reimplementation of a bunch of Unix-like tools under the GNU project, and the resulting GNU userland being used on basically every Linux distribution not named Alpine (or Android, if you count that).

The GNU project actually were trying to implement their own kernel. It was the one thing they didn't have which would've given them a 100% free software operating system. The struggles that project, Hurd, had meant that Linux had a chance to shine instead.

The creation of the GPL, and the Linux kernel being relicenced to it after Linus wasn't satisfied with his original plan of a non-commercial licence, was also largely down to him.

This sucks.

I know he's said some stupid shit in the past but I was hoping he'd have learned he was wrong.



Stallman has ASD?
Possibly, but it is being brought up only by internet doctors hoping it will help their point. He has never been diagnosed to my knowledge.
 

Acorn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,862
Scotland
Suspect as fuck whenever someone pulls the "willing" shit. Especially when it's someone that is supposed to be smart wilfully ignoring why we have age of consent.
 
May 25, 2018
4,799
He didn't really do much for the kernel. He was important because of his part in the reimplementation of a bunch of Unix-like tools under the GNU project, and the resulting GNU userland being used on basically every Linux distribution not named Alpine (or Android, if you count that).

The GNU project actually were trying to implement their own kernel. It was the one thing they didn't have which would've given them a 100% free software operating system. The struggles that project, Hurd, had meant that Linux had a chance to shine instead.

The creation of the GPL, and the Linux kernel being relicenced to it after Linus wasn't satisfied with his original plan of a non-commercial licence, was also largely down to him.
I know I meant more in combination with linux. Thank you though.
 

Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,542
I find people who are extremely opinionated tend to be really really wrong about something. I think this is because they mistake their emotions with factual statements and where they get into trouble is when they do that outside their narrow point of expertise.
 

Nappael

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,454
I was going to say that I'm disappointed in Stallman, but apparentlyhe has a history of saying some sus shit? Can someone elaborate?
The earliest is probably this from 2003:

As usual, the term "child" is used as a form of deception, since it includes teenagers of an age at which a large fraction of people are sexually active nowadays. People we would not normally call children.

The law would also prohibit "encouraging a (so-called) child to take part in sexual activity." I think that everyone age 14 or above ought to take part in sex, though not indiscriminately. (Some people are ready earlier.) It is unnatural for humans to abstain from sex past puberty, and while I wouldn't try to pressure anyone to participate, I certainly encourage everyone to do so.
Later, there was this (2006)

Dutch pedophiles have formed a political party to campaign for legalization.
[Reference updated on 2018-04-25 because the old link was broken.]

I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.
 

SJurgenson

Member
Oct 28, 2017
318
Taking a look at the comments on hacker news makes me hate the tech industry:

Bunch of tech bro libertarian bullshit about how a guy saying "willing pedophilia" is fine and how a sex trafficking victim was willing, and faces consequences is actually the death of free speech.

The pathetic "I feel like I can't talk about any controversial subjects anymore" when the context is this arsehole is emailing the computer science mailing list at MIT which includes undergraduate students.

Imagine you're an 18 year old woman studying computer science and getting emails from one of the most famous and prominent software engineers about his views on rape.

I've even read people justifying it because he's autistic. Fucking hell that's offensive to autistic people.
Yeah. It's been the most disheartening thing I've discovered since moving to Silicon Valley to work in the tech industry. It's full of 'libertarian' (read: republican) assholes that don't give a fuck as long as they got theirs.

If you want to really see it, have a look at the comments from Hacker News when California's legislature passed a statewide rent control measure.

The comments are seething. How dare California tell landlords how they can set their prices?

I'm a particular fan of the rider that gets sent out ahead of his speaking engagements:


When I was in college, I set up speaking arrangements for a couple of clubs I was a member of. For one, we brought in RMS. This was before his rider had made the rounds of the Internet. The section on parrots was particularly surprising. In a similar vein, I'm not surprised to hear that there are sexual misconduct allegations against Michael Shermer.
 

lunarworks

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,104
Toronto
RMS has been a known creep with questionable views for a long-ass time. Anyone on Slashdot back in the day who could filter through all the trolling saw quotes and anecdotes about him.

He did great work getting the free software movement off the ground, which is why he was placed on such a pedestal, but nowadays he's a crackpot extremist from another time.
 

Rushersauce

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,771
Taking a look at the comments on hacker news makes me hate the tech industry:

Bunch of tech bro libertarian bullshit about how a guy saying "willing pedophilia" is fine and how a sex trafficking victim was willing, and faces consequences is actually the death of free speech.

The pathetic "I feel like I can't talk about any controversial subjects anymore" when the context is this arsehole is emailing the computer science mailing list at MIT which includes undergraduate students.

Imagine you're an 18 year old woman studying computer science and getting emails from one of the most famous and prominent software engineers about his views on rape.

I've even read people justifying it because he's autistic. Fucking hell that's offensive to autistic people.
Ahhh, classic libertarians.


Disgusting
 

Kalem

Member
May 23, 2019
34

How does a grown man in the Year of our Lord 2019 unironically admit to not seeing anything wrong with pedophilia.
Like, it's good that he changed his mind eventually, but fucking wow dude. Maybe he should try reading the room a little more when he's not busy eating from his own foot.
Released two days before he resigned, he was probably already getting yelled at by MIT
 

BriareosGAF

Member
Oct 28, 2017
983
The comments are seething. How dare California tell landlords how they can set their prices?
Well, rent control is one of the few issues that almost everyone who has done research on it agrees is a policy disaster.
RMS has been a known creep with questionable views for a long-ass time. Anyone on Slashdot back in the day who could filter through all the trolling saw quotes and anecdotes about him.
I met him a couple of times back when I was heavily involved in the free software space, and he has been problematic for decades, not just from his personal viewpoints being so bizarrely unpleasant, but also his management style and how projects were managed. Anyone who worked on gcc, emacs, and glibc has stories about how difficult it's been working with him. The fact that he hasn't been put out to pasture for that alone is a scandal.
 

Adree

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,862
RMS has been a known creep with questionable views for a long-ass time. Anyone on Slashdot back in the day who could filter through all the trolling saw quotes and anecdotes about him.

He did great work getting the free software movement off the ground, which is why he was placed on such a pedestal, but nowadays he's a crackpot extremist from another time.
They're mourning this over on Slashdot which has gone full on alt-right it seems.
 

vypek

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,687
Taking a look at the comments on hacker news makes me hate the tech industry:

Bunch of tech bro libertarian bullshit about how a guy saying "willing pedophilia" is fine and how a sex trafficking victim was willing, and faces consequences is actually the death of free speech.

The pathetic "I feel like I can't talk about any controversial subjects anymore" when the context is this arsehole is emailing the computer science mailing list at MIT which includes undergraduate students.

Imagine you're an 18 year old woman studying computer science and getting emails from one of the most famous and prominent software engineers about his views on rape.

I've even read people justifying it because he's autistic. Fucking hell that's offensive to autistic people.
I stopped before I got too far down the page. Anything that seemed reasonable was not seen in a positive light all that much. Really disappointing and disheartening. I hope that those reactions are more indicative of the hacker news audience than the tech industry as a whole but who knows
 

OniLinkPlus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
568
Blegh. Ever since I switch to Linux in 2008 I kept hearing people celebrating Stallman and I just kept thinking "there is something creepy and offputting about this guy". I'm not happy I was right. I am happy he's finally been kicked out for his bullshit. Just goes to show it's worth at least paying attention to your gut if someone is giving bad vibes, those bad vibes are coming from something they're doing.