Friday, March 26, 2021

Canceling Richard Stallman

One of the most influential men in the history of computer software is Richard Stallman. Besides programs that he wrote, he figured out how copyright law could be used to force open source software, and then convinced the world. Without him, the industry might be about ten years behind where it is now.

He was canceled in 2019, and is now making a comeback.

Here is the attack:

Richard M. Stallman, frequently known as RMS, has been a dangerous force in the free software community for a long time. He has shown himself to be misogynist, ableist, and transphobic, among other serious accusations of impropriety. These sorts of beliefs have no place in the free software, digital rights, and tech communities. With his recent reinstatement to the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation, we call for the entire Board of the FSF to step down and for RMS to be removed from all leadership positions.
And here is a letter of support.

He is over-opinionated, and I disagree with a lot that he says. I think that I alienated him once, but he probably doesn't remember me.

At any rate, the gripes against him are remarkably trivial. The one that seems to have done the most damage was simply that he stood up for his deceased friend and mentor, MIT professor Marvin Minsky, against some extremely doubtful allegations. For that, I commend him.

Even if you follow all the above links, read all the backstories, and disagree with him, it is still just an opinion. Can't a man have an opinion anymore? I do not agree with these cancellations, that are so popular today. Even the EFF, which used to be a free speech advocate, is against Stallman.

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