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Re: conflicts in the gnu project now affect guile

From: Thompson, David
Subject: Re: conflicts in the gnu project now affect guile
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 10:11:47 -0400

On Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 9:14 AM Andy Wingo <address@hidden> wrote:
> Perhaps this moment is an opportunity, to see where the Guile community
> stands.  In that spirit I invite Guile community members to weigh in on
> the issue.  What do you think about Guile's continued relationship with
> GNU?  What about its relationship with RMS?  Finally, what would you
> like to see happen regarding the future of Guile?

A bit of context about myself and what has shaped my feelings on the
matter: In 2014 I was hired at the FSF as a web developer. In 2015 I
quit because the work environment that RMS is ultimately responsible
for was demotivating and sad.  All of my former FSF coworkers, some of
whom sincerely tried (and failed) to make positive change, have since
moved on due to similar frustrations.  In 2018 I disassociated myself
with GNU (as in I no longer identify as a GNU hacker, as there is no
formal association) after witnessing RMS rudely interrupt and derail
Bradley Kuhn's LibrePlanet session and insist that conference rules do
not apply to him.  That was the last straw for me, personally, but
this pressure had been building for years.

However, I have felt, and continue to feel, that Guile is an oasis in
the GNU desert and a large part of that is because it has maintainers
that truly care about creating a welcoming environment and not
tolerating bigotry in the name of "free speech."  Andy, Ludovic, and
Mark, I owe each of you much gratitude for all the help and positive
messages I've received since 2012 or so when I discovered Guile.  I
love free software, and I especially love Guile. Thank you, thank you,
thank you.

Now, onto the present.  Seeing Mark step down from as a Guile
co-maintainer was an indicator that something was amiss internally
with Guile.  I have a great respect for Mark, but I must admit that
I've been extremely disappointed to see him, on internal GNU lists,
steadfastly defending what I consider indefensible behavior by RMS.
Upon seeing the mail to this list that Mark was stepping back into his
co-maintainer role, I had assumed that Andy and Mark had worked
through their differences and disagreements and was glad.  But now
that I know that the truth is that RMS, as chief nuisance, put Mark
back into this role without the consent of either active Guile
co-maintainer, and without even telling them, I am extremely
disappointed and I do not approve.  RMS, once again, has abused his
leadership role to make unilateral decisions to the detriment of a GNU
project.  Yet another data point that reinforces my belief that when
RMS "leads" the results are negative.  This is not the behavior of a
leader that I support, and I certainly don't personally recognize him
as the leader of GNU.  He truly is a broken stair, a stick in the mud,
a roadblock.  What happens if we pay no mind to him?  Does the GNU
brand mean anything at this point?  If anything, it's probably

As for the future, I would like to see Guile continue to be the
welcoming, inclusive, productive place it has been since I've known
it, even though it may require some socially difficult decisions.
Andy and Ludovic, you have my support.  You've responded to recent
events admirably even though it meant being personally attacked by
others within GNU and outside.  Mark, I urge you to reconsider where
you stand with RMS.  I know that you have a lot of history, but times
have changed.


- Dave

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