Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The War against Free Software

I mentioned a plot to cancel the leading advocate of free software, and the battle rages on with Mozila, Red Hat, other other big companies

pushing an open letter against him:

Richard M. Stallman, frequently known as RMS, has been a dangerous force in the free software community for a long time. ...

We, the undersigned, believe in the necessity of digital autonomy and the powerful role user freedom plays in protecting our fundamental human rights. In order to realize the promise of everything software freedom makes possible, there must be radical change within the community. ...

We cannot continue to let one person ruin the meaning of our work. Our communities have no space for people like Richard M. Stallman, ...

We are calling for the removal of the entire Board of the Free Software Foundation. These are people who have enabled and empowered RMS for years.

The attack is so vicious, and the actual offensives are so trivial, that I wonder what underlies it.

Apple, Microsoft, and other software companies have hated him for many years, because they sell software and he gives it away for years.

Mozilla claims that its software is free, but it is not really free in the way that Stallman defines the term.

But he was more of threat to him 30 years ago. Now they make money selling his free software. Why now? And why do they want to take down his whole Free Software Foundation?

Why do they say he is "dangerous"? This can oly be a reference to his ability to persuade others with his free software ideas.

I am guessing that this is partially a personal vendetta, partially a business attempt to steal the ability to define what is or is not free software, and partially a symptom of our cancel culture run amok.

A clue is that these companies are pushing "radical change". Mozilla is also the company that fired its CEO for donating a small amount to a winning ballot measure.

These companies have become extremely intolerant.

Some of those commenting on this matter say that Stallman is being blamed for his personality traits. In some cases, he is blamed for saying something rude or insensitive, and he will argue that he was just expressing a completely legitimate opinion. To some, the question is whether we should tolerate someone with a mental illness that makes him insenstive to others. I think that the people taking offense are the mentally ill ones. They should be able to deal with some ordinary opinions.

Update: Stallman has posted an apology. He admits to being "tone-deaf". That has become one of the major accusations of the modern age.

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