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Re: Support RMS

From: Thomas Lord
Subject: Re: Support RMS
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 10:23:12 -0700
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/1.3.16

You seem to be complaining that you can not work on
free software without closely associating with the FSF.

That seems nonsensical. What's stopping you?


On 2021-04-15 09:13, Deb Nicholson wrote:
As you know, I've spent many hours in FSF booths and many hours running
   FSF events. I've personally spoken to many, many more than "a half
   dozen" women and others who have told me their stories about RMS
   treating them differently, hitting on them at a conference, loudly
   interrupting a young person's talk or involving them in a mortifying
   public joke about virginity. In particular, I have had several young
women say to me, "Oh, I could never give a talk at LibrePlanet because
   RMS might yell at me."
Others have told me that they can't bring their wife or girlfriend to these events because the last time they did RMS or other free software representatives were awful to them. Having a leader who inspires others
   to treat potential newcomers rudely, or with contempt is not a net
   positive for the free software movement.
   Perhaps it would not surprise you to hear that almost none of the
   people who've had these interactions with RMS or his representatives
choose to donate to the FSF or support it through their volunteer time? I'm not surprised that the people who are left at the FSF mostly still
   support him. What's sad is that the free software movement should be
much, much bigger and it won't be able to grow if it is only accepting people who don't mind harassment, bullying and belittlement. We should
   be able to work on free software without that gate.
You mentioned that a public letter is a hostile act. I understand that it feels that way to you. Collectively the signers of that letter have
   spent many, many hours trying to "call in" or improve free software
   *with RMS.* He hasn't listened. It's completely false to draw a
parallel between that action and acting rudely to complete strangers at an event where the primary goal should be bringing in new free software
RMS did come up with free software and many tools for achieving it and
   that is great, vital, visionary work. He did not invent the struggle
for freedom though. And there are many aspects of even computer freedom
   that the FSF does not work on; some of the EFF's work against
persistent surveillance, campaigns to popularize Open Hardware, pushing for reform of EULAs and TOS agreements, resisting the use of algorithms that reinforce racism and sexism in job opportunities or the criminal justice system or pushing to be able to work on things like drones or
   amateur rockets without being labeled as criminals. The struggle for
freedom has to be more than one person and more than one organization.
   If the FSF is unwilling to listen to people's concerns, then I fear
that it will cease to grow and become irrelevant. I think that would be terrible because software freedom is extremely important and that's why
   I'm continuing to engage here.
On Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 4:21 AM Alexandre Oliva <[1]>

     On Apr 14, 2021, Deb Nicholson <[2]>
     > It's disappointing that so many people have chosen to disbelieve
     former FSF
     > employees, hundreds of women who have encountered RMS at
     conferences or MIT
     > and many, many free software creators.
That's a real peril, and would have been wise to take into account, before deciding to form a coalition with known liars and attackers,
before resorting to false allegations, exaggerations and distortions
spark an explosive reaction that facts have or would have failed to
     These decisions have contaminated and shed doubt on the legitimacy
     claims advanced by those who joined the coalition, or who
     opportunistically timed their action to coincide with those of the
corporate-funded coalition. That may be illogical, but it's often a
     valuable heuristics.  Call it karma if you wish.
     Now, if there were any true, first-hand accounts of actual sexual
harassment, I'd be very interested in getting them straight from the source. Giving out pleasure cards, politely asking people on dates,
     keeping foliage or mattresses in work offices, reports of the
     of institutional sexism at universities, advising caution against
     to unsupported condemnation, tasteless jokes, getting angry and
loud are not it IMHO. Hearsay about the same half dozen rumors over
     period of 40+ years isn't either, unless your own investigations
hit a dead end before something concrete popped up. I encourage you
     let the FSF board know if that's the case, and please keep me on
     > The vast majority of the people who signed the letter asking for
     > to step down, care deeply about free software.
     I encourage them (you) to behave as such, instead of associating
historical opponents, and working so hard to divide us. It's become
     really hard to believe in that commitment, and in good intentions
     the actions, given the present circumstances.
     Alexandre Oliva, happy hacker  [3]
        Free Software Activist         GNU Toolchain Engineer
             Vim, Vi, Voltei pro Emacs -- GNUlius Caesar



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