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Re: Will RMS be back to Programming now?


From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: Will RMS be back to Programming now?
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2019 07:58:09 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.10.1 (2018-07-13)

Dear Nala,

Greetings to China. I am eating here with chopsticks...

* Nala Ginrut <address@hidden> [2019-11-07 15:03]:
> 
> Hi Jean!
> 
> Yes, I totally agreed. And I actually meant RMS's health status,
> personally I don't think the fame was hurt by the recent comments
> misinterpretation or even the previous personal activity years ago.
> If his health status is permitted, then maybe he can do some advocating
> work by simple coding work, it's kind of advertisement. ;-)

His programming was significant for the inception of GNU operating
system, as there were not many people to do it except of RMS. By
calling and inviting contributors to join his position changed, and
from simple programming RMS became probably, it is my impression,
supervisor of the GNU project. Then some larger GNU software became
more or less self managed, or have formed into larger groups, such as
Gnome for example and position of RMS changed into planner and policy
maker.

Yet most important work is in fundemental underlying free software
philosophy which is what RMS is mostly known for.

Today people are well aware that software projects include so many
people. Who wrote the software is not always prominently displayed. It
may matter little to public to know the name of a programmer.

Those are all my personal impressions.

What matters are speeches and connections, RMS does the advocacy on
much higher level, first there is FSF that has most important
campaigns and sponsoring such:

https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/

RMS is founder, he initiated majority of activities and manner of
conducting those activities within the FSF, and together with other
people who have agreed on fundamental principles, the organization is
working by motivation of duty by those people who feel they have the
duty to help, and also by those who could be motivated by money and
are paid to help.

Stallman does speeches in remote areas, such as in Russia in August
2019. Or he goes into the heart of Microsoft and vouches for better
policy of free software licenses within Github.com. That type of
fundamental work is most important. He has good connections and thus
the power to "close" new allies and gain their acknowledgement and
approval for free software. That is done on higher level than solely
coding.

It shall not be underestimated how important is the work of
advocacy.

GNU project and the FSF that is founded on GNU free software
philosophy are higher level of organizations, they are based on
philosophy and not necessarily on the hierarchy of employed
people. Free software philosophy, when understood by somebody, is
making the person vouch for free software and human rights, be it that
person is member of FSF or contributor to GNU operating system or
not. Multiple organizations came to existence to promote free software
philosophy and user rights. That type of organization is motivated by
duty to spread the free software philosophy and spread software for
reasons of free software philosophy, and highest motivation is duty
and not the money.

If one would be only motivated by programming "open source", one is
motivated maybe by quality software, but does not regard importance of
free software philosophy. It does not matter much for as long as
software is free, but such governance of software by motivation of
being better software does not spreed the word about human rights and
freedom in computing, it is weak and fragile.

Thus promoting GNU project with programming alone, would not be the
GNU project.

Stallman as a programmer would probably cause more programmers to
contribute, but Stallman as philosopher and human rights advocate is
causing more philosopher and more advocate to join.

> At least in China, RMS is still greatly respected by technical people. Of
> course, there're proprietory supporters don't like him. Maybe it's
> because it is a different culture, when I told the so-called RMS
> scandal to my Chinese friends, they thought it's a joke. Since in our
> culture, one should be judged by the contributions that one ever
> made. After experenced the Cultural Revolution [0], Chinese people are
> utterly cautious about the judgement to personal life and
> opinions. Because these are used for politically attacking to
> individuals.

Of course, and thank you for telling your opinion as being there in
China. GNU project and free software philosophy is now of planetary
importance.

The public shamings for reasons that RMS expressed opinions or jokes,
and the call-out or cancel culture is phenomena that got some space in
media in some of Western countries, and even there it is not generally
approved. Mob justice is punishable by law in many countries. And many
will find it as you said "it's a joke".

> BTW, Cultural Revolution caused over million people died or suicide by
> ethical pressure, but the indirect killers thought they were doing
> ethical correction, and in the beginning, people thought it was funny.
> 
> Frankly, I felt funny when I first heard RMS stepped down by those comments.

RMS is head of GNU project.

Stepping down as President of FSF appear to me as act of damage
control and not act of being ashamed of anything or morally wrong. In
my opinion that was not right action do, as media is always hungry and
they will be always making money on mob' emotions.

And being President of FSF or not being President of FSF does not need
to change the course of action which is advocacy of free software and
free software philosophy, or actively delivering speeches all over the
world, or gaining new allies for the free software movement.

Practically very little have been changed. FSF is still campaigning
for same causes and doing its job of supporting free software. It
should do so, with or without RMS, it does not matter, he is the
founder. Other politics should not matter for FSF.

Practically nothing changed that I can see, unless RMS stops
delivering speeches worldwide and do smart actions of advocacy on
higher levels. At that point there will be time to call to organize
more public speakers to deliver free software philosophy speeches and
to lobby for more free software in governments or in new technologies,
such as cars with software backdoors.

Jean

P.S. I have removed gnu-system-discuss from Cc: as it was not about GNU system.



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