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Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)

From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)
Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2019 14:14:55 +0100

Hi Sandra,

On Fri, 2019-11-01 at 09:34 -0600, Sandra Loosemore wrote:
> I'd like to clarify some things, and provide some references.  Since I 
> sent my original post in this thread, several people have accused me of 
> slandering or defaming RMS, lying about what he has said, making false 
> accusations against him, repeating false media reports, and the like. 
> Well, I am not a liar.
> I'm aware that some news reporting and social media posts have 
> inaccurately characterized RMS's remarks about Virginia Guiffre as a 
> defense of Epstein.  I'm aware that is not what he actually said in that 
> particular instance, and I have not repeated those false 
> characterizations, or based any of my thinking on that inaccurate reporting.
> [...]
> Beyond the news articles,
> there've been a *ton* of blog and social media posts trashing both
> Stallman and the free software community for looking the other way
> for far too long. 
> Some of those comments have been wildly inaccurate and off-base, but 
> there is a public perception that the problem is all of us, not just 
> RMS.  :-(
> I'm confident that RMS's statements on child pornography, pedophilia, 
> etc do not reflect a consensus view of the GNU developer community.  So 
> why can't we stand up and say that "this is not us"?  It makes no sense 
> for us to die on this particular hill trying to defend those views or to 
> defend having him as the public face of our organization.
> [...]
> for now let me just say that I enjoyed my time there 
> and have always been grateful to RMS for finding me something useful and 
> fun to do when I was between "real" jobs.  I don't have a grudge against 
> him, and I'm not trying to smear him with fictional stories of things he 
> didn't really say or do.

Thanks for saying so clearly what I believe many of us feel. And for
expressing why this is all so incredible hard. For many of us rms his
Free Software vision and his early work making that happen have been an
inspiration. And for some of us GNU has been like family. Although a
bit of a dysfunctional family with constant struggles and minor (or
major) quarrels about who is really responsible for what. For too long
we have kept all that to ourselves, only complaining in private, not
wanting to rock the boat or admit that our happy GNU family was
actually stressing us out. The events from 2 months ago suddenly caused
all this to become very public, in a way that I believe makes none of
us proud.

To rms his credit he did acknowledge there was a problem by resigning
as president of the FSF. He still volunteers as the GNU maintainer of
emacs and gnustandards packages. He also said the way the GNU project
makes decisions needs to be changed. And the FSF is now looking for
input on what the relationship with GNU should be with respect to
fiscal sponsorship, technical infrastructure, promotion, copyright
assignment, and volunteer management.

While acknowledging and sharing your views on the public impact this
has had on the GNU project and all of us, I still hope we can do this
together and turn GNU around to make us all proud again to belong to
that organization.



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