back to article Free Software Foundation urged to free itself of Richard Stallman by hundreds of developers and techies

Richard Stallman's return to the board of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), from which he parted ways less than two years ago, has not been well received. Following word that Stallman – who resigned from the FSF amid an outcry over his offensive remarks, past behavior, and warped opinions – had returned to the fold, open …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh how the woke wimper

    Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

    1. SuperGeek

      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

      Stallman? Is that you???

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        Don't be silly. rms would never post anonymously.

      2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        These offence takers are just little fascists who want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

          Not wanting to work with a dirty old man who can't stop harrassing young women doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

            Well, of course!

            But that's not what the post you replied to was talking about.

            1. Rol Silver badge

              Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

              Anyone running scared of the woke culture can always get the next U boat out of here.

              I do believe the world has a number of relocation options, where civilisation is still in the stone age. Although I would advise using your luggage allowance wisely and pack as many guns as you can, because you'll find your new neighbours defend their opinionated bigotry with more than just sticks and stones.

              1. TheRealRoland
                WTF?

                Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                Wait, you're saying... move to the United States?

                * "new neighbours defend their opinionated bigotry with more than just sticks and stones." - check

                * "pack as many guns as you can" - check

                * "where civilisation is still in the stone age" - check

                I live there, don't get me wrong. But here the hurr-durr-took-mer-jerbs-and-guns attitude is a thing, you know. And pretty bigoted.

              2. khanfisher

                Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                Plenty of 'opinionated and bigoted' places with high have much lower crime-rates than 'woke' cities. "I have my house, you have yours, we live relatively far away from each other, don't mess with me and I won't mess with you."

                Your characterization of the rest of the world seems pretty hostile. It reminds me of Trump's 'shithole countries' quip.

                If we're going down that route, it might be noted that the U.S. has been a better place to live than poorer or more violent countries for a while- since long before woke culture starting taking over.

                In practice, this is just another episode in the long random-walk of history, and just another religious revival with its own purges and witch-hunts, a manic fashion flare-up of a dying empire.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                  Whilst a blanket statement saying that entire nations are shitholes is a bit unfair, it's not entirely unfair to call somewhere specific a shithole.

                  Objectively speaking, Detroit in the US is a shithole. Hayes & Harlington near Heathrow Airport are objectively shitholes. Etc.

                  Slough is the ultimate shithole...someone even wrote a poem about it.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                    Lol, "ultimate shithole". Someone has never been to Adelaide.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                      I haven't, and now I won't. Thanks for the heads up.

                      There needs to be a Top Trumps set for international shit holes. There needs to be a criteria to balance it though, otherwise half the deck will be entirely North Western France and Southern Belgium.

                2. overton defenestrator

                  Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                  You're false preconceptions are really quite amusing! first the violence in "woke" cities is far lower than in rural or suburban areas of the united states unless you are one of those perennially ignorant twats who don't understand what the term "per capita" means. where one suddenly finds that violence is far higher in "white rural America" than it is in "woke cities", But as your family has obviously and avidly misunderstood the term "animal husbandry" for generations I guess In can't hold you responsible for your baseless fact free assertions as they are probably spoon fed to you by OANN.

                  In a hopelessly vain attempt to correct your wilful ignorance I provide you with a link to the 2019 FBI crime statistics to demonstrate that your initial assumption is as stupid as trying to sexually molest a blender. https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2019-crime-statistics

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                    I would have read all of your post, but you ruined all your credibility when you misspelled the first word.

                    After that, try as I might, I just couldn't take you seriously. So I stopped reading somewhere around the end of the first sentence.

                    Protip: you'll look like less of a moron if you learn the language. People will take you more seriously and will at least read your opinions before they call you an idiot.

              3. edris90

                Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                Us ot them mentality? You really enjoy endless conflict don't ya.

                That's strategy is good for little else

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

            He hasn't harassed any women though to my knowledge. He just has some difference of opinion on rape related matters.

            Whilst I don't necessarily agree with his opinions, I don't think he should be villified for having them. Without free and open debate and the freedom to express opinions we can't have progress.

            Anyone trying to ruin another person's career over an opinion is an absolute disgrace and toxic to the core.

            1. Citizen of Nowhere

              Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

              >He hasn't harassed any women though to my knowledge

              His harassment of women has been an open secret for decades. Brushed under the carpet, certainly; lots of blind eyes turned, for sure; but evident and remarked on time and time again, definitely. He can say whatever he wants as far as I am concerned. His attempts to justify the idea of consensual sexual relations between children and adults were hardly original and really quite vile, but he has the right to say them I guess. It's his behaviour which is, and long has been, a problem and why he should not be on the board of anything.

              1. Rainer Rechnermann

                Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                Compared to Bill Clinton, RMS is a SAINT.

                First cancel Bill Clinton, then come back, SJW !

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                Sure his opinions are weird and fucked up, the dude in general is weird and fucked up. Let's set that aside as people can have their opinions and there's nothing wrong with being weird.

                The problem is though, there is no actual evidence of any bad behaviour beyond hearsay on the internet and nobody has ever brought charges to him. Innocent until proven guilty is a thing right?

            2. Glen Turner 666

              Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

              > He hasn't harassed any women though to my knowledge.

              Women employed by FSF gave examples of their harassment on Twitter yesterday. Some women who worked in the vicinity of Stallman's office at MIT gave examples of their harassment in the leaked CSAIL email thread of September 2019.

              Across decades, many senior staff at FSF and other organisations have had in-depth discussions with Stallman about his behaviour. Again, yesterday's Twitter has examples.

              Stallman's defence of Minsky's sexual assault of Giuffre at Epstein's residence was the last straw -- the catalyst -- rather than sufficient reason of itself.

              That the Board of the Free Software Foundation would welcome back Stallman -- there are no words. The threat to the FSF's own staff would alone be ample reason not to do it. Which is why so many other free software organisations are cutting ties with the FSF.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                "Minsky's sexual assault of Giuffre at Epstein's residence"

                Sadly for those of you who fervently hope[0] that that happened, it apparently did not.

                Quoting Wiki: "There has been no allegation that sex between them took place nor a lawsuit against Minsky's estate. Minsky's widow, Gloria Rudisch, says that he could not have had sex with any of the women at Epstein's residences, as they were always together during all of the visits to Epstein's residences."

                But don't let facts keep you from your crusade to crucify rms.

                [0] Seriously, if you are one of those people, WTF is wrong with you? Seek help!

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                  C'mon. There's no smoke without fire, everyone knows that! Burn the witch! And anyone associated with the witch!

            3. fajensen Silver badge

              Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

              Anyone trying to ruin another person's career over an opinion is an absolute disgrace and toxic to the core.

              It has always and forever been the case that while working, one represents the employers brand, and it was never a good career move to get that brand associated with, lets say, controversial points of view.

              People have been fired for their "behaviour" / "opinions", and lost at the tribunal, for years and years.

              The only genuine changes, that I can see, are that:

              Now there is a different and wider spectrum of "opinions" / "behavours" that will get one shitcanned for sullying The Brand, some people have a hard time adopting to this new situation,

              Now there is the possibility of being a retard in front of a global audience rather than just being an idiot down at the boozer (I am a conservative person, so, I stick to being an idiot in the old, analogue, way).

              On top of those changes, in Stallman's case, it is a wee bit more than just "opinions" and it should have been dealt with years ago.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                Which "employers brand" is RMS "sullying", exactly?

              2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                It has always and forever been the case that while working, one represents the employers brand

                And when not working ?

                So it's OK to take his personal opinions, expressed outside of work, and make them his employer's fault ?

                And from what I've seen, pretty well all the arguments against him come down to such a level of incomprehension that one wonders how these people manage to get online.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: want to control what everyone is allowed to say or think.

                  And from what I've seen, pretty well all the arguments against him come down to such a level of incomprehension that one wonders how these people manage to get online.

                  Oh how I miss the 90s sometimes. Dial-up sometimes took 10 or even 15 minutes to configure!

        2. Terry Barnes

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          No. Stallman used his freedom of speech and thought and is now experiencing consequences from what he said and did.

          You don’t want freedom of speech, you want freedom from consequence.

          1. Timto

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            That tired old argument.

            What you call Freedom of Speech is meaningless since North Korea has your type of "Freedom of Speech". They don't have "Freedom from consequences".

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

              Freedom of speech means the government can't be the one giving you consequences. This seems to be required teaching about once a month, so let's do it a few more times. North Korea does not have it because, if you say the wrong thing, the government comes to arrest you. If I don't like what you said and tell you never to come to my house again, that's not a violation of your freedom of speech. If I don't like what you said and make it so you can't post on my site again, that's not a violation of your freedom of speech. If I don't like what you said and say something to you that you don't like, that's not a violation of your freedom of speech. If I don't like something you said and refuse to associate with you ever again, that's not a violation of your freedom of speech. If I don't like something you said and I tell other people that you said it, and they also don't like what you said, that is not a violation of your freedom of speech. As long as the government doesn't come to arrest you or otherwise affect your rights, your freedom of speech has not been violated.

              1. khanfisher

                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                Clearly, obviously, he means something different when he says "freedom of speech" than you do. The "freedom of speech" referred to in the first amendment is something separate from the law itself, a pre-existing ideal, like "freedom of movement". My movement can be blocked by you being in the way. This isn't necessarily illegal, but ideally I'd be able to move anywhere, and generally we'd like people to be able to move around without undue consequences.

                The principle of freedom of speech calls for charity towards those who offend with that speech.

                When someone kills a cartoonist for drawing Mohammed, they're infringing on their ability to express themselves without undue negative consequences- unless you think that consequence was due, given what was expressed. We can keep ramping down the viciousness of the retaliation, until me deciding personally not to associate with you, or even saying I didn't like what you said- which infringes on your ability to speak without consequence, but almost everyone would say those particular consequences were fair. The disagreements of the "free speech" crowd are twofold:

                1. The consequences imposed by cancel-mobs (social shunning, being fired from jobs, permanent tarring) are often disproportionate, hypocritical and unfair

                2. The practice of large-scale ostracism is itself unhealthy, and often dishonest and motivated by vindictiveness.

                You obviously disagree with the grandfather on those points, and on which consequences are due. But please don't act like there's only one possible definition of such a broad phrase, and that anyone who disagrees on the definition of a contentiously interpreted phrase is just clearly some kind of gibbering idiot who couldn't possibly just be speaking a different language than you. Taboo the phrase 'freedom of speech' and make up two new phrases to refer to the two different principles, like 'freedom from prosecution for speech' and 'freedom from persecution for speech', and then argue about those.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                Your views are not up to date with the modern internet media based shitstorm machine.

                Trying to destroy someone via online hate campaigns is a clear violation of free speech

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                Freedom of speech means the government can't be the one giving you consequences

                As long as the government doesn't come to arrest you or otherwise affect your rights, your freedom of speech has not been violated.

                That's an interesting theory.

                So just to clarify, what you're saying is that if I, a private citizen, hold a gun to your head and say "if you say anything negative about the new playstation I'll blow your brains out", I'm not restricting your freedom of speech?

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                  Technically, no. What you are doing is making a death threat to attempt coercion. Statements made under duress hold no weight in the eyes of the law.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                    I'm afraid you're wrong. if I do that, and you only say nice things about the playstation out of fear of retribution, your freedom of speech has been affected.

                    You say I'm attempting coercion. To be clear, we're talking about coerced speech. Which is the opposite of another type of speech. "fr" something IIRC ;).

                    It doesn't take a government to do it.

                    Statements made under duress hold no weight in the eyes of the law.

                    ...unless there's no way to know they were made under duress. In which case they have equal weight to truth.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                      If argumentum ad metum is what you're going for, I can easily trump you ... because if you try to put a gun to my head, you will die ... which kind of makes your point moot.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            What rms is experiencing is what happens when the curtain-twitchers and namby-pambys get a mob all worked up by cherry picking words and then manipulating them to make sure to incite base emotions. The Internet makes this almost ridiculously easy.

            1. LionelB

              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

              Well, yes, okay - they cherry-picked his words condoning child-abuse. How awful that they didn't balance this out with pictures of him cuddling fluffy puppies (oh... wait: he condoned bestiality as well).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                condoning child-abuse

                You know that's not what he said, right?

                You did actually read what he said before forming an opinion on it, right?

                1. LionelB

                  Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                  Yep.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                    Right. So you knew that wasn't what he said, and you knowingly misrepresented it anyway. Got it.

                    1. LionelB

                      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                      To clarify: I read what he said, and to me it most certainly amounts to condoning child-abuse. He may not have thought that that was what he was saying, but I strongly suspect most people would interpret it that way.

                      Whichever way you slice it, his comment was wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                        "He may not have thought that that was what he was saying, but I strongly suspect most people would interpret it that way."

                        So what you are saying is that what other people think is more important than what the author actually intended?

                        Wow. Just wow. I hope you enjoy living under mob rule, because that is what you are asking for.

                        Note that he retracted his statements later for that very misunderstanding. Which you conveniently ignore.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                          To be fair, it could be ignorance leading him to ignore the retraction. Maybe what he meant when he said "I read what he said" was "I read one set of cherry-picked, out of context quotes on that medium article and nothing else, formed an opinion based on that, and then proceeded to try to ruin a person's life".

                          So, LionelB, which is it? Did you not actually read what he said and then lie when queried about that, or did you knowingly ignore the retraction?

                          EDIT: OMG I just realised that LionelB is condoning child abuse in his message! He said "his comment was wrong, wrong, and wrong again". I choose to interpret that as LionelB meaning that RMS should have been more openly into child abuse, like LionelB is. This makes LionelB a reprehensible person who should be ousted from his employment and shunned from online discourse immediately. I think I'll go start a petition. Who's with me?

                          1. LionelB

                            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                            Oh, come off it. I read what he said, and concluded that any reasonable person would interpret it as him condoning child abuse. It's really hard to find an alternative interpretation.

                            I raised the possibility that he might not have thought that he was condoning child abuse. If that is the case, he is either delusional and/or incapable of expressing himself articulately (the latter seems highly unlikely - he is articulate). It's like saying "Pigs can fly", and then coming over all aggrieved when people interpret that to mean that you think pigs can fly.

                            I am finding this defence of RMS's deeply unpleasant pronouncements inexplicable and distasteful.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                              You've completely ignored his retraction.

                              ...Again.

                              Are you trying to assert that people can't change their minds, or what?

                        2. LionelB

                          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                          "So what you are saying is that what other people think is more important than what the author actually intended?"

                          I say: "Black is white". But don't you dare interpret that to mean that I think black is white. My intention was to make it quite clear that I believe black is black.

                          Are we through the looking glass yet?

                          I was not aware of his retraction. Could you post a link to it?

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            1. LionelB

                              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                              No, I had not seen that statement - thanks for posting it.

                              So... this is a guy who actually needed educating that perhaps the notion of "consensual sex with children" might be a little iffy. One wonders how those conversations went... Ugh.

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                thanks for posting it.

                                NP :)

                                Interestingly, it wasn't easy to find - my first few searches only turned up "Richard Stallman is the devil" articles. Do you maybe see a slight problem yet?

                                Also, did you happen to see the subheading on the page: "These are my personal opinions and do not speak for the GNU Project, the FSF, or anyone else"?

                                So... this is a guy who actually needed educating that perhaps the notion of "consensual sex with children" might be a little iffy. One wonders how those conversations went... Ugh

                                Haha. You say I stereotype you.

                                I considered but refrained from saying in my previous message:

                                "cue argument that he made the statement in the first place..."

                                but I didn't want to be too snarky.

                                People are allowed to have opinions. And people are allowed to change them. We don't have to agree with his opinions (I don't), but as long as he's not out there actually abusing children (axe-murdering, etc etc) he should have the right to air his opinions and have them challenged and his mind changed.

                                That's the point of freedom of speech.

                                1. LionelB

                                  Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                  Yes; people may change their attitudes. In RMS's case that can only be a good thing.

                                  But others may legitimately question the character of one who expressed deplorable attitudes in the first place. I don't hesitate to hold myself to that too. No doubt we have all said and done things in the past that we are not proud of; if so we have to acknowledge those words and deeds, and take criticism on the chin.

                                  This is particularly the case for RMS, as his original pronouncements were so ... depraved, is the word that comes to mind. Yes, so he "repented". Good. But that does not annul his original pronouncements, or expunge them from history.

                                  People are allowed to deplore other people's comments and attitudes, past and present. That's freedom of speech too.

                                  ---

                                  Me: "So... this is a guy who actually needed educating that perhaps the notion of "consensual sex with children" might be a little iffy. One wonders how those conversations went... Ugh"

                                  You "Haha. You say I stereotype you."

                                  RMS himself described his "repentance" as the result of conversations with others. I described that as "education", which I think is fair. Where does "stereotyping" enter into this? Genuinely mystified.

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                    But that does not annul his original pronouncements, or expunge them from history.

                                    Sigh. I'm just going to repeat myself from earlier:

                                    "I don't think there's any point in trying to change the mind of people like this, they're not open to discussion and won't even really hear your arguments."

                                    So let's clarify your position, shall we? He expressed an idea you don't like on his personal blog. He changed his mind about the opinion, posted that on his blog, too, and... he should have his life's work taken away from him?

                                    Where does "stereotyping" enter into this? Genuinely mystified.

                                    You criticised me for stereotyping you, but your reaction is so typical that I could have written it word-for-word as a parody. You're so judgemental, so inflexible. It's possible to have a discussion about things like age of consent and an opinion that maybe the laws where you live aren't 100% perfect without that meaning you condone child abuse. I could point this out to you with like a thousand examples, but frankly I doubt there's any point - I refer you to my self-quote above.

                                    his original pronouncements were so ... depraved

                                    Oh noes! he said something you don't like on the internet! Maybe he might even be one of those scary women christians pagans romans jews blacks asians feminists gays trans people dirty old men! Those weirdos are different to me! Let's oust him from the movement he created!

                                    He never said that anybody should go out and fuck a child. Maybe you should try actually reading what people are trying to tell you rather than concentrating on reacting so much? There's about ten thousand words here that it would do you good to re-read.

                                    You can dislike his positions all you like. You can argue against them all you like, call them repugant if that's what you think. If you must, write a treatise about how he's the devil for having an opinion one time. Go for it. But that doesn't justify trying to harm him by taking away his life's work.

                                    cue: "oh but it's only a few decades work we're trying to take away from him, it's not actual harm, not like the harm he wants to do to children!", and another roundabout of circular logic...

                                    1. LionelB

                                      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                      "So let's clarify your position, shall we? He expressed an idea you don't like on his personal blog. He changed his mind about the opinion, posted that on his blog, too, and... he should have his life's work taken away from him?"

                                      Yes, I don't like the repugnant idea(s) he expressed on his blog, and yes I recognise that he changed his mind (but also recognise that this does not excuse or expunge his original remarks from history). My highly-touted (by you) freedom of speech is exercised in expressing this opinion.

                                      But nowhere have I suggested or recommended that "his life's work [should be] taken away from him" (whatever that actually means). That is an invention born of your stereotyping. I have said that I would personally not wish to work with him, and that I perfectly understand why others might not wish to work with him either.

                                      His life's work has a life of its own, and will stand. And so it should; I not only respect, but applaud it - I am, in fact, a fan of his life's work.

                                      In an earlier post I raised the example of one R. A. Fisher, the father of modern statistics. His academic work was wonderful and world-changing (in a good way). As a working scientist, mathematician and statistician I literally use his work virtually every day. He was also, however, an appallingly racist human being, who enthusiastically espoused his ideas on eugenics. He had the ear of the great and good of the early-mid 20th century, and his obnoxious ideas are implicated in the misery of millions.

                                      Of course I would not have wished to work with Fisher (apart from anything else, he would have considered me racially inferior). Many, many others of his time felt the same towards him. But his (academic) "life's work" stands - so it should, and I respect and applaud it.

                                      Yes, I am judgemental and inflexible on the issue of child-abuse. I offer no apology for that.

                                      Are there conversations to be had about age of consent? Yes (I alluded to that in a previous post). But Stallman's pronouncements on child sex were clearly not part of a conversation about that issue.

                                      Since you consistently refuse to engage with what I actually say, in favour of ranting at some stereotype, I don't see much point in continuing this non-discussion.

                                      As we used to say back in the day... <plonk>

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                              2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                Out of interest, did you actually read what he wrote - in it's full context ?

                                ISTM that he was not saying that children should be sleeping around (his wording aorund that was poorly chosen) - but validly pointing out that the age of consent is an arbitrary legal construction, and some draconian laws making sex with someone under that arbitrary age automatically rape and/or child molestation are illogical. In the context, at the time, AIUI in France the age of consent was (and still is) 15, and IIRC in the UK it's 16 - yet in some places it's much higher. Is there any evidence to suggest that (for example, and using current numbers from the USA) a 17 year old girl from New York is not mature enough to consent, while if she lived across the border in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Pennsylvania she would be ? And he explicitly asked the question whether - given that some European countries (inc Germany and Italy) set the age of consent at 14 - it was unreasonable for a 14 year old (or older) person to be able to legally consent. That's not about morals or societal norms - it was purely about the legal side of things.

                                Also things change. For example, in ancient Rome, if a girl reached 15 without being married with (or at least, on the way to having) children, then she was considered an old maid. But back then, life expectancy was only something like 30 or so - so waiting till your mid 20s or 30s wasn't an option.

                                Looking at it from a purely biological PoV, it's illogical to suggest that a person should not be mature enough to have consensual sex until they have waited for an extra 50% on top of the age of puberty. In any other species, it would be natural for puberty to be the point at which an animal could choose to procreate - it's just us humans that have created various legal and societal/moral constructs that aim to prevent that.

                                But - the SJW lynch mobs baying for his blood have chosen to misrepresent what he wrote (and which he did later retract) in order to whip up a sh*tstorm amongst people who any incapable of, or choose not to, read and actually understand what he didwrite.

                                1. LionelB

                                  Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                  Sure there is a conversation to be had about age of consent (which I alluded to in an earlier post - perhaps you missed it). RMS may have had something to say about that too.

                                  However... the specific RMS comment I most take issue with is (2006): "I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing." [my emphasis] The context of that post was the formation of a Dutch political party to campaign for the legalisation of paedophilia.

                                  This is quite clearly not part of a conversation about age of consent. Note that "voluntary", and see my previous post about the issue of children and "consent" to sexual activity.

                                  On his later retraction, my stance is clear: good that he retracted, but retraction does not annul his original pronouncements, expunge them from history, or exempt him from criticism for making those pronouncements in the first place.

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                    Simon directly asked you a question but you didn't answer it.

                                    Did you forget?

                                  2. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                    > However... the specific RMS comment I most take issue with is (2006): ...

                                    Where's that from? Did a quick search, but not finding a source that looks reliable so far.

                                    1. LionelB

                                      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                      https://stallman.org/archives/2006-may-aug.html

                                      1. Anonymous Coward
                                        Anonymous Coward

                                        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                        Interesting that you found the link to stallman's website for the part you disagree with and want to highlight, but I had to find the link to his retraction for you.

                                        But then we've clearly established your bias and ulterior motives elsewhere.

                                  3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                                    Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                    Please explain, because I can't see it, how "voluntary" is not related to "consent" ? Perhaps pedophilia is not the correct word - but it's clear that he is talking about cases where the (in law) underage person is able to consent to the activity. That is a valid discussion to have, as is (as others have pointed out) how you can genuinely determine if there was real (vs co-erced) consent if there's a large difference in ages and hence the older person might be considered to have some authority or control over the younger person.

                                    And in some countries, 14 is an age where the legislature have decided that people are able to make an informed choice and give consent.

                                    1. LionelB

                                      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                      "Please explain, because I can't see it, how "voluntary" is not related to "consent" ?"

                                      Perhaps you misunderstood me. I understand that "voluntary" in RMS's post to mean "with the child's consent". I don't see how else it could be construed.

                                      "Perhaps pedophilia is not the correct word ..."

                                      It's the word used by RMS.

                                      " - but it's clear that he is talking about cases where the (in law) underage person is able to consent to the activity."

                                      My entire point has been to question the very idea that a child (see below) is even in principle capable of meaningful consent.

                                      The valid discussion to be had -- as I have acknowledged multiple times -- is what constitutes an acceptable age of consent (where "acceptable" might possibly be considered with reference to a given society or jurisdiction).

                                      But the RMS post I highlighted does not qualify what he intends by "children" -- age of consent is not mentioned, and there is no hint that he presents his comment as part of a discussion about age of consent. If that were the case, why would he not have said so explicitly? To back up this statement, his later retraction does not mention age of consent either.

                                      For the record, this is RMS's retraction is as follows: "Many years ago I posted that I could not see anything wrong about sex between an adult and a child, if the child accepted it. Through personal conversations in recent years, I've learned to understand how sex with a child can harm per psychologically. This changed my mind about the matter: I think adults should not do that. I am grateful for the conversations that enabled me to understand why." https://stallman.org/archives/2019-sep-dec.html#14_September_2019_(Sex_between_an_adult_and_a_child_is_wrong)

                                      Note that "if the child accepted it". He still appears oblivious that "accepted" in the context of sexual activity between a child and an adult might be, let's say, a somewhat problematic notion.

                                      My own thoughts about why I consider "consent" with reference to "children" (scare-quotes because both those terms are moot) to be problematic are, I'd have thought, pretty uncontroversial:

                                      1) Consent can only be meaningful on a "level playing-field". An adult-child interaction is not a level playing-field in terms of power, authority and expectation.

                                      2) Consent must be (as you say) informed: this presupposes an understanding of physical, social and emotional consequences - which children, depending on age, culture, education, etc., are likely to lack.

                                      By all means, let's have a grown-up conversation about age of consent - pun intended - though not here, please! But can we also be clear-eyed about what RMS actually wrote; his words are all we have to go on.

                                      1. Anonymous Coward
                                        Anonymous Coward

                                        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                                        By all means, let's have a grown-up conversation about age of consent - though not here, please!

                                        lol, I love it. Starts a moralistic discussion about consent, then doesn't want to have a discussion about moralism and consent.

                                        "omg stallman is the worst he rapes babies!"

                                        "well actually he doesn't (link to proof)"

                                        "well yeah but he said it!"

                                        "well actually he didnt,... (link to what he actually said, starts trying to have a reasonable discussion)"

                                        "Whoa, whoa! let's not start having a reasonable discussion here!"

                                        The hypocrisy is strong with this one. But we;ve demonstrated that already elsewhere.

          3. Somefagg0t

            "Punishments" vs "consequences"

            This argument is disingenuous.

            "Consequences" implies naturally occurring cause - and - effect event chains. Cancellations are punishments deliberately enacted to target an individual for their speech. State / social / individual level actions against a person are more accurately described as punishments, not consequences.

            Reducto ad absurdum: If you say "You are free to say anything you want, but if you say something I don't like I will punch you in the face" - is this free speech?

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: "Punishments" vs "consequences"

              Yes, it is. Your threat of punching is a crime though. Your actual punching is another crime too. You have the freedom to tell your boss or client that you hate them and think it would be best if they were locked up just for annoying you, but if you do, they will not be your boss or client much longer. This is a deliberate decision on their part. On that basis, you may call it a "punishment". Too bad. It's a punishment that they have the right to give to you.

              1. edris90

                Re: "Punishments" vs "consequences"

                There is no right to punish. But there is opportunity, will and power to punish. That much is true

            2. overton defenestrator

              Re: "Punishments" vs "consequences"

              your reply is bullshit. calling out stallman as an asshole is not physical violence and only an an utter whiny little child would even attempt to equate them. On the other hand inappropriate touching, (something stallman has been credibly accused of multiple times) is. The violence is on Stallmans side and no amount of idiotic obfuscation on your part will change that.

          4. kz20fl2

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            When does "experiencing consequences" cross the line into "condoning harassment"?

        3. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          Meerkat, if you think everyone is thinking those things you may need to ask for help from a qualified person. I'm not posting this as a snarky comment, but as a factual statement.

        4. Rainer Rechnermann

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          Welll said. Fascism 2021 is people who burn and smash in the streets. As it was then.

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: Fascism 2021 is people who burn and smash in the streets.

            And try and overturn a democratic election.

        5. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          I'd be prepared to let his private life and opinions pass because there are a digression. But the fact is that Stallman has abused to FSF to force some of his opinions on software. He's no-doubt a talented developer but also a dick who is not suited to management.

          1. Rainer Rechnermann

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            If you do not like RMS, you are free to live inside the golden cage of GOOG, MSFT or AAPL.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

              Objection! GOOG, MSFT and AAPL all use, and ship, GNU tools licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) or the GNU Library/Lesser General Public License (LGPL), as the case may be.

              Words in italics directly from Apple's "SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR macOS Big Sur", which you can read for yourself here here. (WARNING! PDF)

              If you don't like blindly clicking links (and in this day and age, who can blame you?), here's the very same link for your copy and pasting pleasure:

              https://www.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/macOSBigSur.pdf

          2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            Really ?

            Tell me one thing he has FORCED on the world ?

            Don't tell me GNU software - he didn't force that on the world, people chose to use it for it's technical merits.

            Don't tell me GPL - again, people chose to use it for it's technical merits.

            There is the argument that Apple, Microsoft, etc all use GPL'd software - but again they weren't forced to, they chose to based on the merits (not least, the ability to use the efforts of many developers instead of re-inventing yet another wheel).

            So really, despite the fact that he didn't FORCE them on anyone, you can avoid using GNU software or GPL. There are alternatives - but you'll have to do a bit of work yourself, and hook up with a bunch of like minded people to get the developer hours to re-invent your own set of wheels.

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        Think it might be Priti Patel.

    2. Winkypop Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

      The OP

      The bravery of being out of range (being Anon)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        Thank cancel culture for making people afraid to speak their mind for fear of instant mass retribution.

        I struggled about whether I should even reply with the above. We’re now in a world of extremes where The People are judge, jury and executioner and a person’s livelihood if not life can be destroyed by a tweet. People only want to hear opinions that match theirs exactly, and damn you to hell if you disagree. Social media algorithms show you want you want to hear and hide from you differing opinions. They’ve turned the web from a collection of diverse cities, where people are exposed to different cultures and ideas and their opinions challenged and moveable, to insular rural towns where every outsider is instantly marked and judged and forced to homogenise their personality to the majority’s. Cancel culture is toxic.

        1. Smirnov

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          "Thank cancel culture for making people afraid to speak their mind for fear of instant mass retribution."

          Oh sure, "cancel culture", the non-existent phenomenon born out of what was (quite literally) a liberal joke and which is used by the right to give cover to its reeling in its self-inflicted victimhood. The universal excuse for pathetic to be wimps.

          Back here on planet Earth, you are of course completely free to speak your mind, no matter how depraved your thoughts might be. But please accept that others are equally free to ignore you, not listen to your ramblings, not to associate with you or entrust you with positions of power. In short, others are free to treat racists and misogynists as the dreck they are.

          1. Rainer Rechnermann

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            Yeah, sure. Except that we have exactly this case here. Richard Stallman is witch-hunted and you downplay it.

            1. Smirnov

              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

              "Yeah, sure. Except that we have exactly this case here."

              What exactly do we have here?

              "Richard Stallman is witch-hunted and you downplay it."

              BS. RMS is not "witch-hunted" (btw, you might want to educate yourself what "witch hunt" really means, which is not what you believe it does), again he's free to say what he wants and others are free to disagree.

              Had you actually read and understood the article, the issue here is less with what RMS has said but with that he's now being back on the board of a non-profit organization, in a position of power and representing that organization, and that he's there with no elections or a public notice before the fact. A reason that makes others now use their own 1st Amendment rights to vent their disagreement, and to distance themselves from that organization that they feel no longer represents their values. Some also exercise their rights to no longer make financial contributions to said organizations.

              That shouldn't really need explaining, though, and the fact that it does says a lot about your capability (or lack of) to perceive facts as they are without falling into that typical right-wing victimhood behavior (which, frankly, is pretty embarrassing).

              So here you go.

            2. overton defenestrator

              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

              Calling out someone for decades of scumbag behaviour is not "witchhunting" no matter how many times you smear it on the nursery wall with your diaper. Have you ever met or worked with the man (i have) and frankly the complaints don't live up to the reality. I'm a white middle aged cis male and even I found him to be one of the most offensive,bigoted and overrated intellects I'd ever encountered. He's a plagiarist as he tries to claim credit for work done by others. So he's intellectually dishonest. While he might claim great ideals. In practice and personal behaviour he demonstrates utter disdain for what he preaches. He's as much of a hypocrite as a televangelist in a Notel Motel parking lot. In addition: what exactly has he done for free software other than bring dissension and pointless controversy for the last 20 years ? If you support free software why are you backing this horse? or are you just another desperate loser with no fucking identity outside of opposing essjayduublluuus ? And if that is the case why do you bother consuming oxygen? I mean, other than the fact that I find your flailing around to be pathetically amusing, what possible purpose do you serve? are you a horrible example of wasted potential for future generations? Gods attempt to provide comedic relief to your home town? were the first words your mother said at your birth "Don't flush, it has eyes" ? What caused the obvious trauma that causes you to back such an obviously odious and irrational position?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                Ever notice that these cancel-culture control freaks are almost universally loud-mouthed hate filled bullies? I wonder why that is.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                  Yeah I did notice that.

                  Did you ever notice that they really dislike hyperlinks for some reason? I mean if I was going to make a statement like "He's a plagiarist as he tries to claim credit for work done by others" you can be damn sure that sentence would be a hyperlink linking to a source where the reader can find something to back up such a serious statement.

                  But strangely, whenever I read stuff like this, there's never any hyperlinks.

                  I'm not sure why it is that I expect people to back up their assertions. I'm guessing that it's probably because I'm a misogynist bigot. Or maybe transphobia.

                  1. overton defenestrator

                    Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                    When one speaks from personal experience a link is not required, What I find most amusing about the support/avoid debate is the profound lack of personal contact on the support side. People who've actually met him. Loathe him. People who support him have only idealized opinions, their own issues. old news and press reports. If all you have is secondary sources of information and your opponents have first hand knowledge of the man. Why do you think your opinion has any merit at all?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                      When one speaks from personal experience a link is not required

                      The claim "He's a plagiarist as he tries to claim credit for work done by others" still needs supporting evidence even if you were the one he plagiarised. So no, your statement is not accurate.

                      People who've actually met him. Loathe him

                      When did this become about liking or disliking him? I thought you wanted him gone because he's a satanist who eats up babies, or something, not because you just don't like him. But maybe I've got it wrong and it's an emotional position you guys are taking rather than a rational one? Please clarify.

                      Why do you think your opinion has any merit at all?

                      When did I say that it did?

                      I'm not the one belligerently spewing hateful, prejudiced opinions all over the noosphere, making accusations with zero to back them up and then claiming that they don't even need to be backed up anyway.

                    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                      When one speaks from personal experience a link is not required

                      But without a link, it's nothing but an anecdote that could be true, or could be a complete and utter lie told in order to support a lynch mob. Without that link, no-one can know - and given the amount of lies and misquoting going on in this case, I'll assume it's a lie unless some evidence is given.

                      What I find most amusing about the support/avoid debate is the profound lack of personal contact on the support side

                      I'm met him - briefly, when he was doing a speaking tour in the UK.

                      Yes, as others have pointed out he's a complete knob when it comes to people skills and personality. But, what I came away with was the opinion that what he lacks in social skills, he makes up for in spades with honesty and principles. And like him or not - he had the foresight to see where closed software would lead, and the strength of character to follow the principles which we all benefit from.

                      Personally, I'd rather deal with someone with principles and no social skills - you know where you stand with them even if you don't agree with or like them. On the other hand, there are those more interested in "being liked" - they are the ones you need to watch, and especially don't turn you back lest you (metaphorically) feel a sharp stabbing pain if they feel stabbing you in the back will make them more liked by ${some_group}.

          2. david bates

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            Teen Vogue Editor Resigns After Fury Over Racist Tweets

            The hiring of Alexi McCammond, who was supposed to start at the Condé Nast publication next week, drew complaints because of racist and homophobic tweets she had posted a decade ago.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/18/business/media/teen-vogue-editor-alexi-mccammond.html

            Forced out for a tweet she made while an idiot teenager? Sounds like cancel culture to me....

            1. Smirnov

              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

              "Forced out for a tweet she made while an idiot teenager?"

              Well, it's the prerogative of an employer to decide if they want to associate with a prospective employee or not, and especially for leadership roles past behavior in public plays

              The problem here isn't that she was racist and homophobic teenager, the issue here is that she was stupid enough to go public with it. Actions do have consequences, even as teenager, and many of them have done stupid shit outside the internet and had to pay the price for it. That's life.

              "Sounds like cancel culture to me...."

              It may sound right in your head (but so did electing a complete imbecile for President for Millions of Americans), but that doesn't change the fact that an employer finding out about dirt from the past revoking their employment offer is nothing of the sort.

              1. Rainer Rechnermann

                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                Would you now kindly "cancel" Harry of Wales for wearing a Nazi uniform "for fun" ? Or would that be wrong, because he is on "your side" ?

                1. Citizen of Nowhere

                  Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                  How about you "uncancel" the cancelling of Colin Kaepernick for doing nothing more than taking the knee to protest against racism? Or maybe you're not on his side?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                OMG EVERYBODY LOOK HERE! It's the one person on earth who has never ever made a mistake! Wow! I'm so honoured to meet you!

                * What was it like being born perfect?

                * Did you always know you were perfect and incapable of making a mistake, or was that something you learned at some point?

                * What happens if you disagree with god? Since you're both incapable of making a mistake, does that situation erase all of existence, kinda like in the film Dogma?

                * Why aren't you spending more of your time in the sciences rather than arguing on internet forums? It seems to me that your input would be really invaluable in the theoretical physics and cancer research fields.

            2. LionelB

              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

              Well, at the very least that might discourage other idiot teenagers from harassing people by making racist tweets - thereby making the world a slightly better place.

          3. khanfisher

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            There is such a thing as social power, and social power dynamics mean that freedom of association can end up oppressive and socially deleterious. This is what people complaining about 'cancel culture' are worried about.

            It seems pretty uncharitable to call the people being 'deplatformed' and marginalized by the powerful- credit card processors, banks and social media sites- pathetic wimps and cowards. You're right- the weak are pathetic!

            When others demanded their right to free association, it was legislated away because collective dynamics led to less-than-good outcomes. That's what's happening here, with mob justice slowly building a culture of fear, with creeping definitions of 'racist' and 'misogynist', the movements and terms being co-opted by social climber sociopaths and used to bludgeon competitors and opponents.

            All of this together is deleterious to the wider culture. It's witch-hunting that feels good, but fails to solve bigger problems. Rule through fear doesn't convince people, they'll just pretend to go along with it, and as soon as the social deadlock slips or people think they aren't being observed and judged their true opinions will come through. All this is doing is breeding generations of crafty liars, as in the soviet union.

            Time and brainpower spent on not getting socially ostracized is time not spent actually solving problems, or breaking up the banks and monopolies, or trying to counteract oligopolies or whatever. Why do you think big companies love 'woke' stuff so much? Elites can keep up with moral fashions easily, proles don't have to and so will definitely never challenge the elite, and the middle class can only do so desperately, with it taking up so much of their time they have a harder time rising up and competing with the elite.

            And on the whole, the anglosphere and countries strongly influenced by it are constricted and contorted, and less productive and less innovative for it, and people are still dying on the streets and people are still living in misery pumped up on opioids and the banks and wall street and venture capital are still eating and concentrating the wealth, and cheering on the blue-versus-red culture war as they do so.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          Exactly.

          You can expect shouts of "Stone him!" and "Burn the witch!" to start by morning.

          1. HausWolf

            Re: Oh how the woke wimper

            Or build a bridge out of him .

            1. LionelB
              Trollface

              Re: Oh how the woke wimper

              I think build a bridge over him may be more appropriate.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                Condoning violence, LionalB?

                1. LionelB

                  Re: Oh how the woke wimper

                  Humourless, jake?

                  (or perhaps you just missed the troll-under-the-bridge reference - the hint was in the icon.)

        4. Rainer Rechnermann

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          That is only true if we allow the woke mob and their media mouthpieces to do that. What YOU can do is to avoid media outlets which are on the side of the mob.

          1. Smirnov

            Re: What YOU can do is to avoid media outlets which are on the side of the mob.

            Good idea. Sites like Infowars, Breitbart, OAN, The Daily Stormer and 8KUN are places you probably feel right at home.

            1. Rainer Rechnermann

              Re: What YOU can do is to avoid media outlets which are on the side of the mob.

              I dont know about most on your list, but I would like to add RT. All the misdeeds of the American Empire can be read there. If I want to know about Russian misdeeds, I will read BBC and NYT.

        5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          WTF?

          Did you check out those warped opinions ?

          Citation :

          From Stallman's blog in 2003: "prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia... should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of... narrowmindedness.

          So, you're telling me you find no issue here ?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Did you check out what Stallman's blog actually said, or are you happy to try, convict and excute based on what someone on twitter says it said? In a law court, that would be called hearsay and would be inadmissible.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              re: Did you check out what Stallman's blog actually said,

              I did, it's here.

              Text search for "bestiality" finds it in the page.

              1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                Re: re: Did you check out what Stallman's blog actually said,

                And did you notice that what is there has a very different meaning to the piece selectively misquoted in the tweet ? I say misquoted because it's a classic example of taking words that are there, and using them without the context that gives them the meaning that was originally there instead of the very different context of the selected words.

                The key thing there is the tweet does not include the bit where he says "if the choice of a sexual partner were protected by the Constitution". And that's leaving aside the inconvenient (for the lynch mob) fact that the words they quote were (by my reading of the page) actually those of someone else !

                Lets take a (I hope) fairly non-contraversial analogy. Suppose someone states that "provided the choice of the woman is protected and respected, a man should be able to have sex with any woman" - I don't think that should be too controversial, it's pretty much what the laws of most countries allow for, that a woman can choose to sleep with whoever she wants, and can choose not to as well. Now try it without the "provided the choice of the woman is protected and respected" - it has a completely different meaning.

            2. jake Silver badge

              But ...

              This isn't a court of law. This is the court of public opinion, which has no need of facts.

              FLOG HIM! DUNK HIM! STONE HIM! DRAW HIM! QUARTER HIM! BURN HIM!

              1. Citizen of Nowhere

                Re: But ...

                <Yawn>

                No, just keep him off the board of the FSF basically.

          2. TimMaher Silver badge
            Gimp

            If I am a necrophiliac bestial flagellant...

            ... am I flogging a dead horse?

          3. cornetman Silver badge

            > prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia

            Well the proper response is debate:

            1) That prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, possession of child pornography could be illegal is in my view indefensible. Some people might raise their eyebrows at that last one, but I don't believe that anyone should be criminalised for possessing photographs, or written documents of any sort. Sure flay the people for producing such items. The possession of documents should never be a crime in a free society.

            2) Pedophilia or at least the acting on it is a question of the ability to make choices and should definitely be illegal. We might debate how it is defined for sure, but we have to protect our vulnerable.

            3) Incest: there are sound, practical, biological reasons for this. Not entirely sure if the law is the right tool here though although I'm not sure what an alternative might be.

            In a reasonable Internet, this quote would have sparked off a frank and constructive debate on society and the law, but unfortunately, as a race, we are incapable of doing this. Rather we engage in destructive group "me too" behaviour which misses that opportunity for societal growth.

            Someone above talked about the power of social media to amplify difference and stratify thought. I suspect that we will stagnate as a society and continue to tear each other apart unless we can start to deal with the problems of social media and its ills.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Problem is, what if the whole thing boils down to "You can't fix Stupid"?

              PS. One reason for the criminalization of the possession of such stuff is to curb the demand for the stuff, which in turn is meant to curb the supply and thus production of it to meet that demand, so there's some logic to it. Like everything, there has to be limits or you end up with Fire in a Crowded Theater and other problematic edge cases.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              In a reasonable Internet, this quote would have sparked off a frank and constructive debate on society and the law, but unfortunately, as a race, we are incapable of doing this. Rather we engage in destructive group "me too" behaviour which misses that opportunity for societal growth.

              I used to be a straight cis white male until I read this paragraph. I love you.

            3. LionelB

              "... possession of child pornography could be illegal is in my view indefensible. Some people might raise their eyebrows at that last one, ..."

              The thing is, that child pornography exists at the scale it does mostly because some extremely vicious people make a lot of money out of it. They make a lot of money out of it because there is clearly a demand. That demand is manifest by the sickos in possession of those "documents". And meeting that demand requires the abuse of children.

              "The possession of documents should never be a crime in a free society."

              I'm certainly sympathetic towards that ideal - but I'm prepared to make an exception if that possession links directly to grievous harm (in this case to children).

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

      heh. that's pretty funny.

      Seriously my only objection to Stallman being on the board is his politics, and the way he seems to want to FORCE GPL-ness instead of "allow more freedom". GPLv2 is fine (especially with LGPL and compiler exceptions), GPL 3 not so fine, and I hate to think what a GPL 4 would be like if Stallman _REALLY_ got his way...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        With Bob on this. And that doesn't happen very often!

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        In what way is he FORCING GPL-ness on the world ? Are you seriously suggesting that the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and the thousands or even millions of developers around the world are using GPL because ... they are afraid to say no to RMS ?

        No one is FORCED to use GPL or GNU. That they are as common as they are is because so many people agree with the values they represent.

        The thing is, everyone has a choice - if they don't want to work on a GPL-ed project, then don't work on it. If you find a bunch of like minded people, or have enough free time and skills on your own, then simply create (or find) another project that does the same thing but with a different licence. Bear in mind that there are other licenses around - the one used by the various BSD projects comes to mind.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

      How about someone who was cancelled 2 years ago but no-one noticed coming back for another go at causing outrage? That's pretty fucking pathetic.

      Saying "I won't work with him" is free speech. Are you prepared to defend that or is it just misogyny that needs protecting?

      Women are dying at the hands of men, yet men who want to do something about it are "self appointed offence takers"?

      Fuck off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

        Women are dying at the hands of men, yet men who want to do something about it are "self appointed offence takers"?

        Actually, far more men than women are dying at the hands of (mostly) men.

        In the most recent set of figures, for 2016, there were 571 homicides in the UK. The homicide rate for males (13.8 per million population) was more than twice that for females (6.0 per million population).

        1. LionelB

          Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

          A fuller picture:

          Men dying at the hands of men - lots

          Women dying at the hands of men - lots

          Men dying at the hands of women - few

          Women dying at the hands of women - few

          See the pattern?

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

            Ah, the internet. Where posting well-established, cast iron statistics can still get you downvoted.

            1. Rainer Rechnermann

              Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

              This is the internet, where a man who is clumsy in his attempts to date women (and who looks weird etc) is being villified by a mob who want to exercise power over an organization said mob wants to control.

              As far as I know Stallman never comitted a crime, but the poster above brings up violence against women. That is nasty hyperbole and was therefore downvoted by myself and others.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Meh

            Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

            >See the pattern?

            No I don't. The population of the UK was 65.6 million in 2016. There were 571 homicides. I don't know how many cases were multiple people being killed by a single person, but assume none. That means that there was a 100 * 571/65.6 million = 0.0009% chance that any random individual in the UK killed someone else that year. Can you run that "lots" past me again?

            93% of people convicted in three-year period year ending March 2020 were male, so assume that was true of 2016 too. In 2016, 69% of the victims were male, and 31% were female.

            However, because of the miniscule per-capita numbers, I would characterise the pattern as:

            Men dying at the hands of men - very few

            Women dying at the hands of men - even fewer

            Men dying at the hands of women - almost none

            Women dying at the hands of women - almost none

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

              The OP was making a relative comparison of two populations, in hugely oversimplified terms because you were nitpicking terminology instead of acknowledging the point in the original comment: "more woman die at the hands of men than at the hands of women, or than men die at the hands of women". And your response to this is to continue to nitpick.

              Do you agree with the statement I quoted? The numbers you gave seem to indicate you do, but you say you still can't "see the pattern". It seems you're being deliberately obtuse.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Meh

                Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

                >Do you agree with the statement I quoted?

                Statements can be true whilst at the same time being misleading by not giving the complete picture. This is a common enough technique amongst politicians and others wanting to push an agenda.

                Statements like "Women are dying at the hands of men, yet men who want to do something about it are "self appointed offence takers"" - which is the one I actually commented on - is one such example, because it does not make it clear than this is an extremely rare event. It gives the impression that men often murder women, which the statistics show is plainly not true.

                A similar example is "black people are almost 4 times more likely than white people in Britain to be in prison". Do you agree with this statement? You should do because it is true. Facts like this are used to promote the fallacy that black people are inclined towards serious criminality.

                But, again it is not giving the full picture, which is that irrespective of the rather complicated racial biases in the criminal justice system, the total UK prison population is just 0.088% of the UK population. This means that the overwhelming majority of people, of any ethnicity, are disinclined to commit serious crimes.

            2. LionelB

              Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

              Pedantry. You know perfectly well what I was saying.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

                What you were doing was manipulating lies, damn lies and statistics to support your own purely emotional argument.

                1. LionelB

                  Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

                  Out of interest, what do you actually think my argument was, what are the lies and/or statistics I'm supposed to have presented, and what manipulation do you perceive me to have made?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Meh

                    Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

                    I think you are trying to advance the proposition that men as a group are dangerous to women because your post was in support of the comment that "Women are dying at the hands of men".

                    The biggest problem is that your "fuller picture" was a "pattern" based on a completely non-representative sample of the population. It is not possible to extrapolate the behaviour of a small unrepresentative sample, especially one selected because it is unrepresentative, across a whole population. It was an egregious example of the biased sample fallacy.

                    In 2016, 571 people killed someone else, which means that approximately 65,599,429 people did not. You pretended that those (approx) 65,599,429 people did not exist. But their effect is massive - it means that the vast overwhelming majority of people, of both sexes, did not kill anyone else. You would have to meet 115,000 people on average to find one killer. But you just ignored that.

                    It is like e.g. extrapolating the horse riding abilities of the British Olympic equestrian team to the whole UK population. Just because the Olympic team is really good at riding horses, doesn't mean that everyone else is. You must either consider the whole population or a representative sample of it.

                    1. LionelB

                      Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

                      "I think you are trying to advance the proposition that men as a group are dangerous to women because your post was in support of the comment that "Women are dying at the hands of men"."

                      An interesting misapprehension (extrapolation?). My point was, if anything, that (a) men are in general more dangerous than women, and I would add (though I did not in fact make this explicit) more specifically (b) that men are more dangerous to women than women are to men.

                      You'll find that domestic abuse and sexual crime figures both bear out that last point.

                      Did I say or imply that most men are dangerous, or most men are dangerous to women, or no women are dangerous, or that no women are dangerous to men? No, none of the above.

      2. Rainer Rechnermann

        Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

        Mr Stallman has great achievements. He is spot-on on quite a few subjects concerning the computer/Software industries, excessive government espionage and also out of control warmongering. Is he a god, a saint ? Probably not.

        The witchhunt by the woke mob must be countered. That is also free speech.

      3. khanfisher

        Re: Is there anything more pathetic than the self appointed offence takers?

        >Saying "I won't work with him" is free speech. Are you prepared to defend that or is it just misogyny that needs protecting?

        Of course that speech is also worth protecting.

        In terms of what to spend effort protecting- that speech thankfully already seems to be protected (and greatly amplified) by the current dominant social order, in a response to past orders.

    5. LionelB

      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

      Yes - the anonymous keyboard warriors virtue-signalling their anti-woke credentials. The free speech heroes who trumpet their right to be offensive and abusive, but thcweam and thcweam when someone exercises their right to call them out for it.

      They don't like it up 'em, Sir.

      1. Rainer Rechnermann

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        You are very much mistaken. We take a stand against people who destroy for the sake of destruction. Powermongers.

        We know these folks because we did not sleep during history lessons.

    6. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

      Seriously. What's wrong with being 'woke' (awake)? Do you believe there is virtue in going around asleep, and with your eyes shut, insensible to the feelings and ideas of others? Do you believe that there's virtue in staying stuck in the past?

      Being awake doesn't mean that you have to agree with everything that others say. It does, however, mean that you have to listen to them and consider their opinions before making a decision. It means that you can't blindly stick to your prejudices - and, just maybe, it can be boiled down to 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you', or 'don't be a dick'.

      1. Fonant

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        Quite agree. I can't understand why anyone thinks that being aware of other people is a bad thing. I try to be as "woke" as I can be!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        This is just No True Scotsman. We've had "be considerate" as a virtue for a couple of thousand years. Woke is global "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not", disseminated and enforced by tech companies mostly based in the US.

        1. Rainer Rechnermann

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          Or maybe it is just the latest tactic by intelligence agencies and corporations to achieve their objectives. The more they can supercharge their arguments, the more effect they can expect.

      3. khanfisher

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        The 'woke' called themselves that, and the term is used sarcastically by their detractors.

        A major part of the complaint by the anti-woke is that the woke don't do what you say. According to the detractors, 'woke' people don't listen to the people whose lives they try to ruin, or apply any measure of charity. The complaints are the the 'woke' are themselves highly prejudiced against people who disagree with them, and that a significant segment of the 'woke' take vindictive glee in causing or encouraging harm to those deemed acceptable targets.

        A big part of this is just how mob justice works; it latches on to visible targets and tries to bring them down. And as 'woke culture' is socially relatively powerful, and potentially useful to take down people you don't like, you'd expect a lot of sociopaths and other bad actors to come and join in under the banner, mouthing the party line for the chance to take someone down- perhaps a rival, perhaps someone they have a grudge against, perhaps just for the rush of getting someone fired.

        It feels good to SWAT people, it feels good to dox people, it feels good to troll someone, it feels good to get someone expelled from their school, for the same reason it feels good to beat up one of the other kids on the playground with your friends. If you can then say you were doing good, even better!

        Aside from outright malevolence, there's a danger of a feedback loop/purity spiral culture of fear. Nobody wants to be *ist, genuinely being *ist is actually bad, and some people are *ist. More importantly nobody wants to be branded as *ist, and a great way to show you aren't *ist is by accusing someone else of being *ist. The more people get fired or kicked out of things for being (seen to be) *ist, the more incentive people have to demonstrate they aren't. This leads to a widening of the terms, where ideas and statments that last year would have been fine, and that on the object level might be important to solving problems in the world, are labelled *ist and become socially toxic. Eventually, any idea or person that isn't directly in line with the mainstream is *ist; *ist just means 'heretic'.

        If we are in a purity spiral- well, they're like bubbles; eventually they crash, as it becomes common knowledge that *ist doesn't mean *ist anymore. And 50 years later kids wonder why people saw communists everywhere.

        The problem isn't necessarily moral fashions in and of themselves- you can't get rid of fashion- but the viciousness involved in the modern incarnation.

        1. CRConrad

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          How the hell could this get two downvotes — WTF is wrong with you two?!?

          The only half-way charitable explanation I can come up with is that you were going for the upvote button and missed (you clumsy jackasses!). Please fix that.

    7. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

      AC ( of course AC). Have you seen his views. Child abuse.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        I would suggest that if you read what he ACTUALLY WROTE and can interpret that as condoning child abuse then you have a big problem of your own. At the most charitable, you lack english language comprehension skills; being less charitable, it could be suggested that you are projecting your own (immoral) thoughts into what you think was the mind that wrote them.

    8. Mojave Green

      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

      People whining about stuff they don't understand comes to mind.

    9. anonanonanonanonanon

      Re: Oh how the woke wimper

      Quite right, when will they learn that freedom of speech is for those in power only? Don't you just wish all these woke people could be silenced and ignored? Only positive and reinforcing views should be allowed, I'm so sick of being forced to read about it all and have to go on forums to express how offended I am

      1. Rainer Rechnermann

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        Wicked and irrational arguments must be countered or the world will descend into a very dark age.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh how the woke wimper

          We vote the wicked and irrational into office!!

      2. CRConrad

        Re: Oh how the woke wimper

        The "woke" contingent are the ones in power; at least in social media, and rapidly consolidating in society at large, too.

  2. jake Silver badge

    Who can spot the hypocrisy?

    The Wide World O'Free Software sez "We want to be open to everybody, with no exclusions! Except Stallman!"

    Honestly, the mind absolutely boggles.

    1. AndrewCappo

      Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

      forget it, Jake, RMS is harrassment town. dude eats toejam and relentlessly pursues women at tech conferences, even though nobody, and I mean nobody, is into him. (See: aforementioned toejam).

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

        Who among us doesn't like a bit of animal protein partially broken down by Brevibacteria? Just because you call it Bel Paese, Limburger, Munster, Pálpusztai or Port Salut doesn't change the process any.

    2. LionelB

      Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

      No - they reserve their right to exclude offensive arseholes.Sounds reasonable to me.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

        So they are demonstrating their inclusiveness by excluding people they don't like?

        1. LionelB

          Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

          Apparently Kim Jong-un has applied to join your organisation.

          1. khanfisher

            Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

            Let him in, the more time he spends in our DOTA clan, the better for north korea.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

            "Apparently Kim Jong-un has applied to join your organisation."

            Where did I say that I was after all-inclusiveness in my organization?

            Hint: I'm not. The chocaholic Fat Elvis impersonator and Pooh-Bear need not apply, for example.

            1. LionelB

              Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

              Oh, okay. So you are prepared to compromise inclusiveness by excluding people you don't like. What was your original point again?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                Have you not been reading this thread? Are you hard of thinking?

                Go back to the beginning. Read my original TitleSubject. And the comment under it. We are not talking about me. We are talking about the twits who think that they can be completely inclusive by excluding people they do not like.

                Personally, I have no issue excluding people I don't like. What I have a problem with is hypocrisy. If these twits are so anti-Stallman, WHY THE FUCK did they join HIS organization in the first place? And now that they can make a buck off the fruits of his labo(u)rs, they kick him to the wayside? Be very, very careful who you support. They might turn on you next. These people have absolutely zero ethics, but they are sure good at crying crocodile tears and suckering people like you in to do their dirty work.

                1. LionelB

                  Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                  "Have you not been reading this thread? Are you hard of thinking?"

                  I retracted and apologised to you for an unwarranted ad-hominem attack. Perhaps you'd consider reciprocating.

                  Either way, I prefer not to engage further with you in these comments.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                    it's interesting that your first reaction was an ad-hom attack.

                    Interesting, and really stereotypical.

                    I retracted and apologised

                    In exactly the same way that you refuse to accept stallman's retraction, your apology doesn't change the fact that you said it. And at least stallman has the integrity to not try to censor his own words.

                    I prefer not to engage further with you in these comments.

                    It's Interesting how you stop engaging with people smart and patient enough to refute you. I'd almost call it like a pattern or something. Sort of like as if you knew exactly what you were doing.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                  These people have absolutely zero ethics

                  Yeah. And if you read the rest of his posts here, you'll start to see the pattern: LionelB is one of those people. He's not actually interested in truth or what's right, he has an agenda. There's no point in debating him. Like I said days ago.

        2. Terry Barnes

          Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

          No. They are demonstrating their inclusiveness by excluding people whose actions and words serve to diminish inclusiveness. Inclusiveness does not mean extending welcoming arms to misogynists, racists and homophobes. Popper’s paradox.

          1. khanfisher

            Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

            It just seems like that leaves an obvious route to excluding people. If I want to be exclusive, I label someone as one of the acceptably-excludable groups- racist, misoginyst, irish- and exclude them based on that. Or rather, I expand the definition of the *ist and *phobe terms as far as I can, making the group less inclusive, because what I want- my human instinct- is to exclude people I don't like, and the broader those terms are, the more people I can selectively enforce Popper's move on and exclude.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

              > It just seems like that leaves an obvious route to excluding people. If I want to be exclusive, I label someone as one of the acceptably-excludable groups- racist, misoginyst, irish- and exclude them based on that

              They key word there is 'label'. The label has to fit in order for that tactic to be effective. Stallman's label not only fits but was hand-woven by himself.

              1. Snowy
                Boffin

                Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Karl Popper described it as the seemingly paradoxical idea that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.

                https://medium.com/@giggsboson/stop-misusing-poppers-paradox-of-tolerence-in-free-speech-debates-6f6ab4b8f0d3

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

                1. FeepingCreature

                  Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                  The rejoinder of course, is that there is a very thin line between intolerance against intolerance, and regular intolerance - and in a society where the "Paradox" is common parlance, everyone who wants to be intolerant will aim to paint their enemies as the true intolerant ones.

              2. khanfisher

                Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                >the label has to fit

                I disagree. I've seen plenty of people who aren't something be labelled as that thing in order to ostracize them. Or does the label of 'witch' have to be accurate for witch-hunting to work? Well, she has to be ugly and have a wart and be a social recluse, I suppose, that's good enough, burn her.

                The amount of nuance people will accept has gone way down as a result of the desire to be able to cancel people. You can fit any label on to anyone if you squint enough, or cherry-pick what they say, or just don't read what they said; or if they ever said anything contentious, or that could be read in a poor way out of context. There goes 99% of the interesting, nuanced speech about any topic anybody actually cares about, there goes any consideration of the viewpoint of The Enemy, because people on twitter are blind- willfully or not- to nuance, as that gets in the way of doing what's fun- burning people on a crusade.

              3. jake Silver badge

                Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                "hand-woven by himself."

                To be fair, he had a lot of "help" with that ... From what I've seen, most of what people in this thread (and elsewhere) are saying about rms is twisted half-truths and outright lies designed to inflame the emotions of people who are incapable (or unwilling) to check the facts for themselves, and yet willing to pass along the lies with breathless moral superiority.

          2. idiot taxpayer here again

            Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

            @Terry Barnes.

            I have upvoted you, not so much because I agree or disagree with you but, because you mentioned "Popper's Paradox". Please tell, what is this paradox thing?

            1. Terry Barnes

              Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

              @Taxpayer

              The paradox is by philosopher Karl Popper.

              It states that blind inclusivity in any context is ultimately bound to fail because it will include people who have a primary objective of excluding others. To therefore be inclusive it is necessary to identify and exclude those people. Or put another way; Be tolerant of everything except intolerance.

              To use a practical example, if a city's Pride organising committee extended its warm, friendly and welcoming arms to members of the Westboro Baptist Chuch, the aims of that Pride committee would be subverted. To remain inclusive, the committee must exclude members of that Church.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

                All y'all can call it a paradox if you like. It doesn't alter the fact that it's still hypocrisy.

                Instead of trying to take over an existing club, the hypocrites should start their own club. They could call it G.R.O.S.S. (which stands for Get Rid Of Slimy StallmanS, of course) ... or they could pick their own name.

                Deep apologies, and much appreciation, to Bill Watterson.

          3. jake Silver badge

            Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

            "Popper’s paradox."

            It;s still hypocrisy by any other name.

        3. 45RPM Silver badge

          Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

          I refer you to Poppers Paradox

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Who can spot the hypocrisy?

            But here's an interesting question. Supposing that a certain level of intolerance is necessary to maintain tolerance, what if that intolerance can in and of itself be used to stifle all forms of tolerance by simple "E3" principles?

            Then the paradox becomes a dilemma.

  3. martyn.hare
    Linux

    Let this be a warning to all decent people

    Richard Stallman...

    1) Embraces a diverse range of cultures with open arms

    2) Has a strong track record of treating all people consistently equally

    3) Does not discriminate against commercial use of free software

    4) Puts the end-user community first, even being a developer himself

    5) Contributes to key projects which almost everybody in IT uses

    6) Is conscious of and thinks about linguistic barriers when speaking

    7) Has an excellent sense of humour (from a nerd perspective at least)

    8) Deliberately earns very little and works almost entirely as a volunteer

    9) Goes out of his way to research to try to understand others perspectives

    I’ve met the guy, he is awesome... I still have videos from the guest lecture somewhere. Seriously, as little as 15 years ago, I’m fairly certain he was loved by all except a few radfems. Now, a much larger vocal minority is out to get him all because he doesn’t kowtow to those who are either half as kind or half as competent (often both).

    He has spent the best part of his life working towards progressing the overall state of the public commons in a way which benefits rich and poor alike. Yet, for some reason, a few minor flaws in his character are being magnified to what end? Looking objectively, throughout his life, who has he helped and who has he actually hurt? If he has hurt people, was it intentional? Has he done so in any way that you (the reader) or I have not?

    In any event, I’m glad to see RMS back in action. I’m not generally a fan of religion but I think the Church of Emacs is worth preserving, for it may be the last bastion of hope in saving us all from the Cult of Mac!

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

      Good post. I probably wouldn't have tacked on the final paragraph, though. It's a detraction to the overall message. IMO, of course. YMMV. Beer?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

      "radfems" Hmm, new word to me. Not to you. Says a lot right there. HAND, sir.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

        The term is from the 1960s. Where were you?

        See the UCLA Women's Liberation Front for more, if you're interested.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          These days, the radical feminists are not feminist[1], or radical; in the same way that the Revolutionary Communist Party is not Communist, or Revolutionary; and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea is not a Republic, not Democratic, and not owned by the People.

          They tend to align themselves with the Christian Far-right and Qanon types.

          Visit the prosecco stormfront hate site known as MumsNet for more information; or even better, don't visit them. CW: Not Safe for Work.

          [1] Their central core beliefs seem to be that women are inferior to men, and that women exist solely to have babies. Traditional Self-loathing Misogynists might be a better term to use.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            I believe the modern term is TERF.

            1. tekHedd

              "TERF"

              I believe the modern term is "jingoism"

      2. CRConrad

        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

        Your lack of language skills is not an argument that detracts from anyone but yourself.

    3. Janne Smith

      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

      Stallman does not treat all people consistently equally - If you're female he will ask you for date, apropos of nothing, or give you one of his "pleasure cards".

      I foolishly hosted the man in my own home for a week and saw him in social situations. His behaviour around women was reprehensible

      Respecting other people's perspectives? He slagged me off in my own home, while I was hosting him, because of his misconceived notions of who I worked for. Nice.

      As for being a developer and contributing to projects, by his own admission he's not coded in decades. His whole life is going to conferences.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

        So a guy is not allowed to ask a gal out when they are in a social setting. Got it.

        Where, pray tell, is a guy allowed to ask a gal out? Or is it verboten at all times?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          If you even need to ask that question, maybe never for you.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            Having been happily married for many years, and having no intention of ever changing that status, I'd say that your cowardly penned attempt at making a point is purely academic.

          2. khanfisher

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            The people claiming to want a kinder, more inclusive world, and using this claim to justify excluding particular people, might do well to temper their own public expressions of scorn. It isn't a good look.

        2. claimed

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          When it's sincere. When there is no implied, assumed or alluded risk of consequences for refusal. When it doesn't follow a rebuff. Pretty much, when it's done with respect.

          Generally, if you havn't learned when it's ok, I suppose that's all right, provided you apologise when you learn that you're behaving badly; its something society expects Stallman to have learned and not only has he failed, he's chosen to continue behaving badly...

          We don't excuse people for behaving badly just because they are useful, funny or historically behaved well.

          Yes "badly" is subjective, yes it changes over time. That's OK, we're the most adaptable species on the planet - adapt.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            Fair enough. Now, regarding the post I was replying to, where exactly did rms cross your several somewhat orthogonal lines? How do you know? Were you there? Or are you presuming him guilty until proven innocent based on a post made by a person of unknown veracity in a somewhat obscure Internet forum?

            1. claimed

              Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

              I can give it as much credit as I give your claim to be married, how about that? I'll take it at face value.

              In the light of other independent claims about Stallman I'd say the balance of probabilities indicates its more likely to be true. I have no other sources of corroboration for your nuptials, sadly.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                So you'll give a comment I make about myself the same amount of credit that an anonymous third party makes about yet another third party in a random Internet forum?

                I guess "It must be true, I read it on the Internet!" goes right along with "Guilty until proven innocent.", then? Do you honestly not see anything wrong with that?

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. claimed

                  Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                  As far as I can tell, they're both first person accounts. 3rd party to me, so yes, they get the same weight

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                    So the account of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend has the same weight as the account of a friend. Got it.

                    1. claimed

                      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                      Random Internet Post says "I had a wedding"

                      Random Internet Post says "I had a guest"

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                        No, a better characterisation would be:

                        * random internet person said "I got married". Purely factual - can be proven or disproven quite easily, no opinions or emotions involved. Statement made about the speaker.

                        * random internet person says "I had a guest, and here's half a dozen completely unsubstantiated, non-specific claims about him". Highly emotional statement about a third party with a bunch of claims that are perhaps impossible to verify.

                        These two things are not equal. It boggles the mind that you would try to represent that they are.

                    2. edris90

                      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                      Well yea. Because even its history is hearsay.

                      You know what you've directly experienced and everything else is hearsay

          2. khanfisher

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            Quickly adapting circumstances favors the social and intellectual elite. More intelligent people are more adaptable. The average IQ is higher among programmers than manual laborers; you have to learn more new things faster (that new javascript framework won't research itself) to do well in the first job than the second. As society gets more technically complex and more jobs are automated or become higher-complexity, this ostracizes the less-intelligent.

            There's something similar for social mores, taboos and morals. They have their own shifting fashions, and those higher in 'social intelligence' and spare time- slack- can adapt faster, keep up with the newest buzzwords and faux pas. This all serves as a form of social barrier between the elite classes and the proles.

            Perhaps, when free resources dwindle and competition rises, people become more cutthroat about maintaining strict social divisions like this, and so the rate of taboo evolution increases?

            1. Rainer Rechnermann

              Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

              Many highly educated people make a mess out of their lives. Education is only slightly correlated with happiness.

              1. khanfisher

                Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                It's pretty highly correlated with intelligence, though, and with general life success; and with the ability to quickly adapt and climb social hierarchies, with exceptions for intelligent autists.

                Just because the people at the top are miserable doesn't mean people aren't striving to get to the top, or that smarter people aren't better at that.

                1. Rainer Rechnermann

                  Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                  I see lots of people with respectable scientific degrees who simply parrot what the media tells them to parrot.

                  One day they want a war, so they parrot war.

                  Next day they want good business relations with a tyranny and they will parrot that, too.

                  They call it "reality".

                  1. khanfisher

                    Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

                    Parroting what the media tells you to do is the smart thing if you don't actually care. When you're a scientist in stalinist russia, you praise comrade stalin and get back to the lab work.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            Your apparant need to talk down to me says more about you than I.

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            Hey Lionel. Ad Hom insults risk raising the temperature here.

            I'm sure you're on the side of speech actually being meaningful. As everybody here is, in their way.

            jake was most likely asking that question in earnest. Certainly he has presented as a married man for many years here. If fou respond as if he was merely asking the question rhetorically it doesn't illuminate anything. Someone above has made a fair attempt at answering his question at face value.

            1. LionelB

              Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

              Yeah, you're right.

              Apologies to Jake - that was mean.

        4. Citizen of Nowhere

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          Well, let's just say that continually asking women out even after they have communicated their lack of interest seems like fairly shitty behaviour, at best, to me. Nor did he limit such behaviour to social settings. Nor even stop when asked by the organisers of events he was attending, Not the kind of person I would want to work alongside. If that's the FSF board's idea of a role model, good luck to them. They'll probably need it.

          1. Janne Smith

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            Some conferences altered their codes of conduct to specifically ban Stallman from giving out his "pleasure cards". That shows they knew about his behaviour and still invited him to speak, so those moaning about "cancel culture" are talking bollocks.

            Frankly, I can't understand what value there is in having Stallman at such conferences, since he always uses the same speech he's been making for years to largely the same audience. I can only assume it's the same "old boys" network that kept him at MIT, where he did no actual work for years, and got him back onto the FSF board.

            1. herman Silver badge

              Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

              RMS doesn't have to work. He is independently wealthy. He is not super rich, but he doesn't need more money.

          2. CRConrad

            "Continually asking women out even after they have communicated their lack of interest"

            I've seen this claim repeatedly, both now and much more often back when he was first ousted. Thing is, though, that's exactly the form I've seen it in: Asking an unspecified number of unspecified women for some unspecified definition of "continually". No "Jane Doe says 'He asked me out seven / two / ninety-four[1] more times after I'd declined', and so do Jill Doe and Janet Doe". Nor even "a CS101 student in 1986" or "an organiser of Emacsfest 1994"in stead of names — NO actual first-hand claims to repeatedly asking after being turned down. I only saw ONE mention of him actually asking and being denied (attributed to something like "a CS305 student / undergraduate in 1989", IIRC); but as I understood that, it was just the once, no repeats.

            (1: And which of those are continuous harassment? 94, sure, but two? Maybe she just had some other engagement the first time, so asking again, maybe even twice, is okay?)

            So: Did YOU get any actual examples of this claimed "continual harassment", or did you see it in the same vaguely general format that is all I've seen? Because then, AFAICS, you're just repeating totally unsubstantiated hearsay — which, for all we know, could be malicious slander.

        5. Rainer Rechnermann

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          Welcome to the Brave New World.

        6. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          @jake

          Were you at the social meetings where RMS was?

          How do you know how he behaved?

          If you weren't, your answer seems irrelevant to the discussion up to the time we get more information from the person relating the incident.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

        I think your description is the more accurate one, in my bombastic opinion at least. I won't say why exactly, other than "it sounds typical" of the kind of person that i believe Stallman to be, especially politically.

        His original vision, I think, was to increase freedom with software, and NOBODY can really argue with that. Where it's gone from there, is ALSO typical, and a LOT less "free" In My Bombastic Opinion. It reminds me a bit of George Orwell's "Animal Farm". Implications obvious.

      3. Rainer Rechnermann

        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

        Surely we must believe you. Not.

      4. CRConrad

        Wow, finally!

        If this is true( sorry, not trying to call you a liar; but you are just a bloke saying something on the Internet, right?), it's the first concrete example of him behaving like an asshole. Everyone else I've seen saying that has only claimed "they know" he is. So, sure, incriminating... (Though I reserve the right to not yet call it conclusive.)

        It's a bit like the wide-spread "constantly harassing women for sex" thing that you also mention: Here, you don't give any concrete example. Neither has anyone else in this most recent spate of condemnations. And no, this isn't (I hope, and think) a case of "If you'd read up on it, you'd know". I did follow all the links and read all the blog posts and whatnot, back when this first erupted in 2019. And nowhere did anyone mention what, exactly, this "constant harassment" was supposed to have consisted of — except ONE young (at the time) woman, whom he apparently asked out on a date sometime in the late 80s, early 90s (sorry, I forget; it's been over a year). From all I could gather, it went like this: He asked. She said no. And that was it. This gives rise to two questions: A) How the fuck is that "harassment"?!?, and B) Is this also what you were talking about? Because if it is (B, that is), then sorry, but no: AFAICS that's far from enough to make someone an un-person over.

    4. LionelB

      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

      I call bullshit.

      It is perfectly reasonable to respect the man's work, but deplore his behaviour as a human being, and therefore not wish to be associated with him.

      History is littered with Great Men (and the odd Great Woman) who were hateful bastards and complete arseholes. I'm sure you can draw up your own list.

      1. Rainer Rechnermann

        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

        What are the sins of RMS ?

        What are the sins of Tony Blair ?

        What are the sins of GWB ?

        How many people died due to to the actions of a certain noble prize winner ?

        This whole thing is an exercise in anti rational behaviour.

        1. LionelB

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          For me, the sins of RMS are advocating child-abuse and misogyny. Maybe if we're playing rank-the dangerous-arsehole, I'd place him below the ghouls you list - but that's setting the bar pretty low, isn't it?

          If by "a certain Nobel Prize winner" you are referring to Albert Einstein, that argument is thoroughly specious, for reasons I'm not going to insult your or anyone else's intelligence by rehearsing.

          One of my favourite examples of egregious influence is the renowned English statistician and geneticist Ronald A. Fisher, an out-and-out genius who virtually created modern statistical theory (his name survives in the Fisher metric, the F-distribution, and elsewhere). He was also, by all accounts, a thoroughly vile man who despised women, was appallingly racist even by the standards of his day, and an enthusiastic eugenicist. He was enormously influential. His ideas on race in particular contributed significantly to catastrophic human misery over a century.

          Ideas have consequences, and through their eminence, "Great Men" (and woman) promulgate ideas effectively. If it's a sad sack down your local who thinks child pornography is okay, you're simply going to give him a wide berth. If an extremely influential doyen of a software movement espouses the same ideas, it bolsters the acceptability of those ideas. This leads to increased demand for child pornography, and consequently more child-abuse.

          What exactly is the "irrationality" here?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            > For me, the sins of RMS are advocating child-abuse and misogyny.

            "Child-abuse" is a loaded term that conflates a large number of circumstances and situations. If you use more precise terminology to describe the reprehensible acts you're thinking about, you'll likely find that Stallman never advocated for any such reprehensible act.

            As to misogyny... when and how did he advocate that? I've only seen assumptions, misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

            > If by "a certain Nobel Prize winner" you are referring to Albert Einstein

            Since it came after Blair and GWB, I'm guessing he was meaning Obama. Obama did, at the very least, personally order the extra-judicial killing of numerous individuals - including at least one American citizen - by drone strike.

            1. LionelB

              Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

              I'm not prepared to split hairs over the degree to which paedophilia and child pornography constitute child-abuse.

              Nobody is disputing RMS's misogyny.

              I'm happy to decry the sins of anyone, Obama included.

          2. CRConrad

            I'm guessing Peace Prize, not physics or chemistry

            I think they meant Barack Obama, not Einstein.

    5. tfb Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

      ... and Richard Stallman is 'skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children'. In other words he thinks that sex with children is OK, so long as it is, you know, 'voluntary': as long as the children consent. Because children, in his view, can consent to sex.

      In other words, RMS is someone who does not understand, even slightly, what it means to be able to consent to sex (or who understands but does not care). How do you think he treats women? Oh, but they're just 'radfems': I see.

      I've known since the early 1990s that cooperation with RMS was impossible, because I was on the appropriate mailing lists and I saw the mail exchanges[*]. I had no idea, at all, about this stuff (which is unforgivable: I should have known, even though I left the cult in about 1994). Almost certainly, I think, he is ill rather than evil: there is simply something which does not work properly in his mind which makes him unable to understand these things. This is very sad for him. Nevertheless this is a man who should be nowhere near any kind of leadership position, in anything, and who should never have been so.

      And that's the problem: it's not RMS, it's his acolytes and fanboys, like you, who have built this halfwit cargo cult around him. Many of you are now so blinded by the cult that you have made that you simply can no longer see that the little tinpot god you have built it around is damaged, evil, or both. And so you will drink the kool-aid, and end up, like the other cult members, still praising the idiot toy god you made, even as the building burns around you[**].

      And I have some limited sympathy for you as I have some (provisional) sympathy for him, as I have sympathy for other other damaged people. But the cult built around him does great harm and RMS directly does great harm, and it needs to stop. It needed to stop 30 years ago but it needs to stop even more now.

      On the other hand I don't have sympathy for the rest of you: the people whose minds have not been damaged by the cult, the people who think that RMS's attitudes are just fine nonetheless. The people who knowingly cheer on this awful human being because he represents their views. The people who (like you, hmm), think that the only women and others who are offended by the grotesque attitudes of RMS and many others in the free software community are 'radfems'. Fuck you: fuck all of you.

      [*] And I'm a Lisp hacker: I have low standards for cooperation. (What's the difference between a Lisp hacker and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist.)

      [**] I know I'm mixing my cults here.

      1. heyrick Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

        Full quote, because WTactualF?!?

        "I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing."

        1. tfb Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          I can't work out whether you think I'm quoting him out of context and that somehow the rest of that quote makes it OK. Because it does not, and I very much hope that is what you are saying!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            Well, he retracted those comnents years ago. said he was wong, stupid, didn't get it. etc. So if you still think they are important (I'm not saying they aren't) you should at least ackowledge he retracted them.

            1. tfb Silver badge
              Black Helicopters

              Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

              OK, I didn't know that (as I said I walked away from anything to do with RMS in the early 1990s. It looks like this is what you're referring to? In that case 'years ago' is actually 'a year an a half ago'.

              Well, in that case I'd revise what I said if I could (or take one of the options I mentioned): if it takes someone until they are 66 to understand that sex between adults and children is wrong then there is something quite badly wrong with their mind. Such people need sympathy perhaps, but should simply not be in any kind of position of authority.

              That does not alter my opinion of the fanboys and acolytes who defend him and I'll repeat what I said: fuck those people.

              On a more personal note, I was exchanging email with a friend of mine about this and she mentioned that she was accosted (her term: she's not a native English speaker, and I'm not going to ask her for details she does not want to volunteer) by RMS at an event I think I may have been at. If I was there I find this a bit distressing: I'm sure there was nothing I could have done (or even should have done perhaps), but I still feel shit about it. I think she was probably 18 when it happened. Needless to say she doesn't work in software now (she's a mathematician).

              1. Rainer Rechnermann

                Yeah Dude

                First you complan about RMS' attitude to sex, then you say his supporters should be "f*cked".

                It seems to me YOU should work on YOURSELF.

              2. CRConrad

                Re: "actually a year and a half ago"

                While it's true that something was updated pretty recently, I'm not sure that's all there's to it. FWIW, I think I saw someone in a discussion thread — not here, I think; probably on HN — post a link to archive.org that showed he originally recanted on that in 2006 or thereabouts.

          2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            He was pointing out that regardless of what you consider a reasonable age of consent to be, and hence what is considered pedophilia, it's important to quote the context of something. For example, if I were to write that "tfb says that 'sex with children is OK'" then people could imagine that you think that sex with children is OK. It's true, you did write that, in this post.

            It would be a true, but very misleading statement, because as anyone could see if they chose to look - taken in context what you wrote was "... and Richard Stallman is 'skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children'. In other words he thinks that sex with children is OK, so long as it is, you know, 'voluntary': as long as the children consent." which is a completely different statement.

            But of course, "child" is a legal construct which varies across the world - and as I pointed out in an earlier post, there are many places in the USA where taking one step across a state line can change that definition by 2 years. And if you read the source material, RMS did not in fact make an unqualified statement either (there are a surprisingly large number of countries with an age of consent lower than the suggestion used by RMS) - something else the lynch mob generally don't mention.

    6. Rainer Rechnermann

      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

      Richard has made himself some enemies in the world of software business. They deployed their woke stormtroopers to get him.

      1. khanfisher

        Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

        It's definitely funny that Google's head of open source is one of the signees of the petition to get him kicked off. There's an obvious ulterior motive for a big tech employee in charge of embrace, extend, extinguish shutting up a vocal free software advocate.

        1. Rainer Rechnermann

          Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

          Google uses plenty of free software, including GNU-licensed SW, in order to built their empire of spying on users.

          Call it clever or call it devious, what they do with Android and their tracking cookies.

          Based on GNU/LInux, very sad indeed.

          1. khanfisher

            Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

            They use GNU-licensed software, but they'd still rather everything were permissively licensed. Contrast how intel took MINIX and used it in their inbuilt spyware chip:

            https://lukesmith.xyz/articles/cucklicenses

            The title's a bit cringe, but the article does the job.

    7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

      I’ve met the guy, he is awesome...

      I've met him and think he's an intolerant dick who's out of his time.

    8. LionelB

      Re: Let this be a warning to all decent people

      "Yet, for some reason, a few minor flaws in his character are being magnified to what end?"

      A few minor flaws in his character? Misogyny, supports child-abuse and bestiality? Crikey, what does a major character flaw look like?

      Bottom line: great achievements or not, I'd hate to have to work with a dickhead like that. Unsurprisingly, many concur.

  4. Blackjack Silver badge

    To be fair, his views were not uncommon in the eighties, unfortunately he has been left behind by the times and become the Open Source software version of a racist grandpa.

    I don't think he even realizes that he is doing anything wrong, from his point of view most people at least tolerated what he said when one day they didn't.

    1. Rainer Rechnermann

      Yeah sure. Your post sounds like the F.U.D. spread by a certain megacorporation which sells closed source software.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Wow, Rainer. Blackjack's comment was reasonable, and it's pretty rude of you to accuse him of being insincere for zero reason.

        Instead of engaging with any point he made, you just insued his opinion could only be a talking point put out by the propoganda wing of a megacorp.

        1. Rainer Rechnermann

          Yeah, exact informal punishment for a man who was never convicted of a crime and never ordered any military action.

          What is that ?

          Freedom 2.0 ?

  5. Chubango
    Flame

    Here we go again.

    The open letter is a joke. It truncates and takes quotes out of context while helpfully leaving citations for anyone who is willing to do the minimum of due dilligence to see the context for themselves. For example, it paints him as a transphobe. He is anything but one and is vocally supported by Leah Rowe, the project lead of libreboot and a transgendered woman. Incidentally, maybe El Reg ought have contacted her instead of just exclusively going with anti-RMS quotes for a bit of balance.

    All of this is just a knee-jerk reaction to an opinionated man with a lack of social awareness who nonetheless makes logical and emotionless arguments whenever he can. It is telling that some of the first and most prominent signatories are OSI people, who have historically had a bone to pick with the FSF and GPL, not to mention a google employee and members of foundations with heavy corporate interests (Hi GNOME and Red Hat employees). RMS has never hurt anyone, has spent a lifetime being inclusive and tolerant and is being punished for daring to have an opinion.

    I, for one, am thankful for all of his contributions to the FSF and copyleft philosophy and definitely think that he's made the world a better place. So what if I don't agree with him all of the time? He's right about the things that matter and his pedantry on how terms are used in a legal context may be uncomfortable for some but that does not invalidate his principles and lifelong struggle.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here we go again.

      "... with a lack of social awareness who nonetheless makes logical and emotionless arguments whenever he can ..."

      When Minsky was labelled as a certified predator on Social Media, Stallman could have pointed out that Giuffre only claimed that Epstein and Maxwell instructed her to have sex with Minsky, not that she did, and not that Minsky requested it. Epstein and Maxwell were hoping to use Giuffre as bait, but there is no evidence that he fell into the trap. That's not surprising, because nothing ever came up about Minsky manhandling or pestering the numerous women who he interacted with from his on-high MIT post.

      But instead, Stallman posited that it would have been RIGHT for Minsky to have sex with her, and he couldn't have known she was underage. Never mind that Minsky was over ~60 yrs old. This was stated on a wide ranging open MIT mailing list including undergraduate females. That was not logic - that was Stallmans EMOTION obliterating his logic. Stallman was speaking for himself, not Minsky. Stallman KNEW it would not have have been right to say "I woulda porked her!!!". But he illogically convinced himself that by using Minsky as a proxy it would be OK (while in FACT degrading both Minsky and Guiffre).

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        Re: Here we go again.

        > But instead, Stallman posited that it would have been RIGHT for Minsky to have sex with her, and he couldn't have known she was underage.

        That is a most certainly NOT what he said. Go back and read his words properly please.

      2. Chubango

        Citation Needed

        "Stallman posited that it would have been RIGHT for Minsky to have sex with her, and he couldn't have known she was underage"

        He said no such thing. Luckily, even when the controversy first came up, Vice made a full copy of the email chain. He sees no reason to doubt initial reports about Minsky's supposed encounter and simply errs on the side of caution; Giuffre had been coerced (by Epstein) but it was unclear what role Minsky would have had in harming Giuffre. He seeks information about the deposition to inform himself better of the facts of the case. To me, this is a reasonable amount of nuance for a still-developing story (at the time).

        People are falling into a predictably emotional trap now as they did two years ago. I urge everyone to read things closely for themselves as the primary sources are mainly digital and can be freely accessed by anyone.

      3. Rainer Rechnermann

        Re: Here we go again.

        Or maybe he just defended his mentor and friend ?

  6. YetAnotherJoeBlow Bronze badge

    I wonder...

    "Never mind that Minsky was over ~60 yrs old."

    My wife is 20 years my junior - I wonder how many of those "orgs" despise me? Should I stop my contributions, my dollars?

    In fact, in time, almost anyone can be pilloried - especially their enemies. I wonder when the woke will awaken?

    1. claimed

      Re: I wonder...

      That depends on how old you are, I suppose! So long as you're about 60, and not in your 30's!

      I once heard that the lower boundary for an appropriate relationship is half your age + 7

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        The half your age +7 was sanctioned by the church in feudal times. The rationale was that males could (and did) marry at 14, and females at 12. These were typically to consolidate political ties between important families. Children could be betrothed at 7 years old. This would mean that two 14 year-olds could get married. It then worked out at 20&17; 30&22; 40&27; 50&32; 60&37; and 70&42. This may well have been because of relatively low life expectancy; likelihood of death in childbirth; and high mortality rates for children, and the need to ensure succession.

        1. claimed

          Re: I wonder...

          Wow... clearly the age of consent is key in this calculation, and I was just making a joke of the critical missing information from the OP! Thanks for the background though, that's interesting

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: I wonder...

            Especially for those of us who remember their Shakespeare. Think of this, right in Act I, Scene 2, Juliet Capulet (of Romeo & Juliet) was being hinted at being called a spinster...at 14, seeing as how her peers were already marrying and having children at that point (as noted, standards were different in Renaissance Italy).

  7. FeepingCreature

    Is it okay to donate to the FSF with a pro-Stallman message?

    I'm worried that I'll create an incentive towards outrage farming.

  8. DownUndaRob
    Coat

    Oh the irony

    That an organisation that talks about freedom of choice is now being pilloried because they have exercised such freedom...

    RMS has a right to be a d**k, we have a right to think he is a d**k (or not) just because your offended doesn't mean you are right...

    Now where is my coat, and get off my lawn...

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Oh the irony

      Of all the free speech proponents complaining about people exercising their right of association?

      Yeah, it's amazing how they can't see it. "We must be allowed to say whatever we want, so you lot shut up!"

      1. Rainer Rechnermann

        Re: Oh the irony

        You lefties want to govern over the FSF, which was founded in the work and ideas of Richard Stallman.

        If you found a Marxist theory foundation MTF, would you allow any non Marxist to take control of MTF ?

        Just got back to your irrational, violent ideology and leave us FSF supporters alone.

  9. shortfatbaldhairyman
    Unhappy

    With a name like mine ....

    obviously, what else can I say?

    The problem is if you decide that you need to look at every statement and action and behaviour, practically nobody is left.

    How dare anybody be allowed to do any good if they have done bad.

    By that logic, maybe we should destroy all Caravaggios (murder and more I believe), destroy all Louis Ferdinand Celine (Fascist) and many many more such.

    But we allow so many others, vile, in public life. Not that I expect anything better.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: With a name like mine ....

      I think someone once wrote something along the lines of "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.".

      'nuff said, really.

      1. Julz Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: With a name like mine ....

        Jesus was taking a walk around Bethlehem for old times sake when he saw a crowd up ahead. The crowd was noisy and there was obviously something was going down. Jesus hurried over and pushed his way to the front. The at the end of an ally was a person cowering in the dirt whimpering and pleading not to be stoned. Jesus rushed over and stood in front of the prone person. Raising his hands he bellowed in his finest sermon voice, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". A few seconds later a stone arched over the crowd and hit Jesus right in the solar plexus. Jesus doubled over in pain, as he straightened up he glowered into the crowd and said, "I hate it when you do that mum".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: With a name like mine ....

          "Now look, no one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle. *Even*...and I want to make this absolutely clear...*even* if they *do* say "Jehovah."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: With a name like mine ....

          I'd always wondered what would've happened if a very young boy or someone who'd just come from a confessional or baptism (basically, someone unburdened by sin at the moment) had shown up at that exact moment...

    2. Citizen of Nowhere

      Re: With a name like mine ....

      Nobody is asking for the software he created to be destroyed. Nobody is asking that his ideas and contributions to free software be somehow expunged. Some people are saying that perhaps he should not be on the board of a free software foundation given his well-known previous behaviours towards women.

      1. CRConrad

        Re: With a name like mine ....

        "well-known" [Citation needed]

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: With a name like mine ....

        Actually, and no I don't have any citations, but I vaguely recall having read comments along the lines of "we need to get rid of ${stuff} because ... RMS created it". Not physically un-create stuff (that would be impossible), but to remove and replace stuff he wrote.

        So no, they haven't stopped at "lynch the b'stard", some want to get rid of anything he ever touched.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    such audacity

    "he has no place in the free software movement"

    ...says a person who didn't found the free software movement.

    1. Rainer Rechnermann

      Re: such audacity

      Welcome to the zealotry of extremists.

      1. Terry Barnes

        Re: such audacity

        It is not zealotry to want workplaces where women can feel safe from the unwanted advances of predatory males. They you think it is tells us plenty about you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: such audacity

          They you think it is tells us plenty about you.

          Very argument strong make you. Sentence is coherent and well-written and obviously proof-read by a professional.

          Here, I'll join in the conversation:

          Word struggle art make is turtle epic battleship.

          1. Terry Barnes

            Re: such audacity

            Have no answer to my point so criticise my typing error? You know that means you lost, right?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: such audacity

              Never have I seen such a good example of zero-sum thinking. Breathtaking.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: such audacity

              Actually I was criticising your breathtaking lack of attention to detail. You had many opportunities to proof-read that message before you submitted it and an opportunity to correct it after you had submitted it. Instead you chose to just assume that you hadn't made a colossal mistake which rendered your message 30% unparseable gibberish

              ...Just like you assumed that there are people in this discussion who don't want a safe workplace for women.

              And since that idea is just as absurd as the gibberish part, I figured I'd just cover it all with one response.

              It occurs to me that perhaps people with that level of attention to detail shouldn't be making decisions about whether someone should be able to continue to contribute to their life's work.

              Snorkel fermion ninja aspidiske jihad corkscrew at seventeen.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: such audacity

          Nobody said they wanted no such workplaces.

          Why do people like you insist on putting words into other people's mouths?

    2. LionelB

      Re: such audacity

      Wait... so you're only allowed to have a say in a movement if you're the founder? Isn't that called "dictatorship"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: such audacity

        No, they're just saying that the founder of a movement is generally considered a more reliable authority for deciding who "has a place" in the movement, than some johnny-come-lately who decided to hitch their wagon to someone else's train.

        1. Citizen of Nowhere

          Re: such audacity

          So, it's follow the guru or git goin'? Got it. Wouldn't touch a toxic movement like that with a barge-pole.

          1. Rainer Rechnermann

            Re: such audacity

            If you lefties just set up the Woke Software Foundation, you can play all day long with your bizarre codes of conduct and JS frameworks for formlerly oppressed victims of something.

            Real computer scientsts will then proceed to work with FSF software.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: such audacity

            Wouldn't touch a toxic movement like that with a barge-pole.

            You say this, and I say "if only". If only you guys would go and set up the inclusive software foundation with policies that exclude Richard Stallman. Then normal people could go back to doing actual work.

            But we all know that won't happen because it would actually take effort. You'd need to actually do something other than complain on the internet to establish such an entity. I think we can all agree on exactly how likely that is.

            It's sort of exactly the same thing as when I talk about how freedom of speech and the ability to air unpopular opinions is important and you point out that twitter is a private entity and can ban whoever they want. In much the same way, the FSF is a private entity and is not required to even listen to your opinion. If you dislike this, you're welcome to set up your own foundation with all the blackjack and hookers you like.

  11. gobaskof Silver badge

    To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

    "The Processing Foundation, which oversees the development of popular software sketchbook libraries, said it was moving away from using the GPL"

    What? Moving away from a commonly used license is a silly reaction to this. If you create a new copyleft license you add to the problem of license proliferation. If you move to permissive licenses then you are forgoing the freedoms that copyleft brings. Go permissive because that is best for your goals, not because you disagree with the man or the FSF. If you want to distance yourself from FSF/RMS then next to your GPL you could say something like "We use the GPL as one of the most common and freedom respecting licenses, our use of the GPL implies no support for the FSF or Richard Stallman". Or you could not say anything because who sees a license and assumes that signals support of the author rather than a will to use the legal contract?

    1. Rainer Rechnermann

      Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

      These folks should not be stopped from hurting themselves. Let them do that.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

      The move away from the GPL has nothing to do with this: it's being used less and less because it causes more problems than it solves. It used to be the default licence for open source, thanks largely to effective lobbying by the FSF, but that started changing about ten years ago: developers don't want to have to deal with any kind of licence issues which is why they now prefer MIT, Apache and BSD licences.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

        So it's OK to still use the MIT licence when the whole MIT PeadoLab was run by MIT management?

        1. Rainer Rechnermann

          Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

          How nice, your defamatory propaganda. Marvin Minsky was a friend of both Richard Stallman and Mr Epstein, so the entire MIT Media Lab must be smeared ?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

            The whole media lab is "well dodgy" apart from it's Epstein links.

            Basically attaching the MIT name to a bunch of celebs without looking too much into their motives

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

              But MIT is much more than the media lab, which I don't think is that old, and the licence is just boilerplate in much the same way as the revised BSD licence is. Designed for a litigous country that doesn't accept things simply being placed in the public domain.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

                >But MIT is much more than the media lab

                That's the problem - you burn the reputation of MIT, and the value of MIT for all your students, staff, alumni to have a fancy institute that was mostly funded by a bunch of technology startups whose main "technology" was being able to claim a tenuous link to MIT. IIRC a couple of very Theranos-like biotechs

                Epstein was a middle man taking a cut of donations he brought in - so MIT was happy to look the other way and let the Media Lab work with him even through they knew his reputation and had bans on him donating to MIT itself.

            2. Rainer Rechnermann

              Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

              Could you kindly elaborate on your outragoeus claims re CSAIL ? With some links, please.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

                CSAIL is not the MediaLab that's the problem - it has poisoned the reputation of the rest of MIT.

                You can't sell the rights to put 'MIT lab startup' on your prospectus and then claim it has no links to MIT when it goes bad.

                For link's just put 'ito' (the director) and funding into your favourite search engine

                Still at least it means everyone will forget about Aaron Schwartz

          2. CRConrad

            Herr Rechnermann...

            ...Rekalibrieren Sie bitte ihren Sarkasmometer.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

          Last time I check the MIT licence I didn't see it doing any kind of assignments or make any claims, quite unlike the GPL. Instead, it's a just a very simple piece of boiler plate that has the advantage of having had some scrutiny, though I think that at some point all disclaimers "use as is" may be deemed insufficient.

  12. Ozan

    Let's face it. He should be around but I rather not be in a lead position anymore. He's subbornness needed to stay clean of permissive license. He might be quite a weirdo and push persn but he's right about GPL.

  13. cornetman Silver badge

    RMS should probably just wait it out. The woke are a fickle bunch and it will most likely all be forgotten about in a few weeks.

    Seriously, a project deciding not to use the GPL to distance themselves from the FSF? WTF? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Wait till they find out about Shockley - are they going to decide not to use transistors ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I hear that valves are very hipster these days ...

        Though they are a bit of a bugger for mobile devices

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Register asked the FSF for comment, and we've not heard back."

    Well, given the amount of flak they've taken, for sure they need to regroup and assess damages before having anything to say !

    1. Rainer Rechnermann

      Re: "The Register asked the FSF for comment, and we've not heard back."

      "when you are right above the target, the flak will be biggest"

  15. Rainer Rechnermann

    The Woke Mob And DollarSoft

    They want to destroy a man of great achievements. Richard Stallman defended his Mentor and friend, which is commendable. The accusations against Marvin Minsky are hearsay. Also, why is nobody talking about Bill Clinton, who apparently also visited the "pedo island". Is it because Clinton is on the "correct"/left side of the political propaganda ? Is it because Clinton is well connected to circles of power and big money ?

    1. LionelB

      Re: The Woke Mob And DollarSoft

      Nah. They just prefer not to be associated with a man of great achievements who practises misogyny and espouses child-abuse.

      "Great achievements" do not (and should not) automatically confer some moral high-ground, or exempt you from the consequences of your horrid and dangerous attitudes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Woke Mob And DollarSoft

        "horrid and dangerous attitudes [Citation Needed]"

        FTFY

  16. CommanderGalaxian
    Joke

    Should Stallman come out as a woman?

    Why does he not just put on a dress and self-id as female like Eddie Lizard and everybody can go back to sleep again?

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Should Stallman come out as a woman?

      Imagine you are a woman born in a man's body.

      Hilarious.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should Stallman come out as a woman?

      I suppose you think that transexuals only exist so that they can perve on women in womens bathrooms...

  17. JDX Gold badge

    Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

    Such is the modern obsession with redefining everything at breakneck speed. No matter how progressive your views today, if you do something stupid like hold the same position for a few years, you'll be the equivalent of your racist grandad to the youngsters.

    We already see some of the early LGB activists being rewritten in history as 'unhelpful'. It'll be #youtoo soon.

    1. Rainer Rechnermann

      Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

      In other words: distrust against claims of "progress" is highly rational. The progressive bodycount is at something like 100 000 000 just in the 20th century.

    2. LionelB

      Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

      I don't know... were, say, racism, homophobia, misogyny or paedophilia ever okay?

      This seems to be nothing more than an insidious and tendentious excuse for appalling attitudes: "Yes, I was a twat, but so was everyone else at the time". Erm, no, they weren't. Misogyny and paedophilia were NOT okay in RMS's youth, or ... ever.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

        > I don't know... were, say, racism, homophobia, misogyny or paedophilia ever okay?

        Err.. yes? Did you skip every class on human history in the world ever?

        Even in many Western countries, racism, homophobia, and misogyny were normal and accepted by the majority of the population within living memory!

        1. LionelB

          Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

          Normal and accepted != okay

          Example: female genital mutilation is still "normal and accepted" in some parts of the world today. It is NOT okay.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

            Example: female genital mutilation is still "normal and accepted" in some parts of the world today. It is NOT okay.

            ...and yet for some bizarre reason, male genital mutilation is normal, accepted, legal and regularly practiced in the USA.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

              Indeed, it's considered a requirement in certain major religious denominations. Starts raising the First Amendment question of how do you resolve the issue when non-fatal mutilation is considered a tenet of a major religion...

            2. LionelB

              Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

              I don't actually think any genital mutilation is okay. But do please check the differences in consequent sexual health (not to mention pleasure) issues between the male and female versions. (Believe me, I should know...) If you think they are comparable you are very, very wrong.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

            It is NOT okay

            The absolutism of statements like this tickles me. The way people like this speak as if there was one correct set of morals backed up by science, when the reality of the situation is that these are merely current popular opinions (well, mostly). I can see an ancient greek, heartbroken, saying in much the same absolutist terms that it's NOT OK for the family of his eromenos to take him away due to some "misguided" idea that adult men shouldn't be having relationships with young boys. And I can see him taking action, getting a mob together to hound the family and ridicule their "misguided ideas" until the family struggles to exist in that society.

            I find it sort of amusing, the arrogance required to assert "My morals are right and everybody else's are wrong".

            Sort of amusing, but mostly sickening.

            For this example, I happen to agree with the poster's opinion that it's not ok to mutilate women. However I'm forced to disagree with the later statement where this poster tries to say that mutilating a girl is worse than mutilating a boy. I'd call that sexist. But I wouldn't be so arrogant to assert that my view is definitely correct and his is definitely wrong. I'd be open to debate about it. And I wouldn't try to ruin anybody's life because they disagree on that point - as long as they're not actually mutilating anybody.

            And that's the difference right there: I'm tolerant of other opinions, willing to engage in civil discussion, and open to having my mind changed. LionelB is not: he has arrogance and absolutism on his side. In his world, he can't make a mistake or draw an incorrect conclusion. If you disagree with him, it obviously means you're wrong. In a lot of ways I'm reminded of myself when I was sixteen. But I grew out of it.

            I'm not sure what is the best strategy for dealing with that absolutism. Part of me feels like maybe the best thing to do is just not engage. But then that runs the risk of this misguided moralism spreading, and I'd hate to contribute to that by not taking any action. I don't think there's any point in trying to change the mind of people like this, they're not open to discussion and won't even really hear your aruguments. So my current thinking is that the best thing we can do is point out all the wrong things they say in the hope that others will see and not be swayed by their mistruths. And if you can't manage to do that in a serious way (it's not always easy, they say the silliest things), there's nothing wrong with ridiculing them a little bit. Or a lot.

            1. LionelB

              Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

              "The way people like this ..."

              Thank you for reducing me to a stereotype (of your own choosing).

              "... speak as if there was one correct set of morals backed up by science, "

              Who mentioned science?

              "... when the reality of the situation is that these are merely current popular opinions (well, mostly)."

              Out of interest, what did you have in mind with that "well mostly"?

              "However I'm forced to disagree with the later statement where this poster tries to say that mutilating a girl is worse than mutilating a boy."

              I made it clear that I believe both are deplorable. I also said that the consequences for male and female of are not equivalent in terms of consequent quality of life. Are you disputing that, and if so, on what grounds?

              I'm going to ignore the rest of your ad-hominem rant.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Thumb Up

                Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

                I didn't reduce you to a stereotype, I'm responding to a whole bunch of your messages. You stereotype yourself. All I did was put you in a bucket with a bunch of other people I've seen act the same way. You're welcome to surprise me and act in an unexpected way. I'd be elated if you did.

                Who mentioned science?

                Nobody. That's why the sentence you quoted includes the words "as if".

                Out of interest, what did you have in mind with that "well mostly"?

                Oooh, that's a can of worms. And a long discussion. But mostly it was a qualifier because there's an exception to every rule ;). I do think there are certain things that most rational people would agree on, morally speaking. Like you shouldn't harm others. And some of these things can be backed up by rational arguments or science: If people go around hurting each other you have a less safe and stable society. There have been studies that show child abuse pretty much always causes long term effects (which is, coincidentally, the data that caused Richard Stallman to retract his statements that you so deplore). I'm sure there are other examples.

                I made it clear that I believe both are deplorable. I also said that the consequences for male and female of are not equivalent in terms of consequent quality of life. Are you disputing that, and if so, on what grounds?

                I'm going to ignore the rest of your ad-hominem rant.

                It doesn't feel good when someone deliberately mischaracterises what you say, does it? And I'm only one person. How many members does twitter have these days?

                1. LionelB

                  Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

                  Okay, hands up. I can see how I may have stereotyped myself as a person who deplores child-abuse and misogyny.

                  "I didn't reduce you to a stereotype... All I did was put you in a bucket with a bunch of other people"

                  Oxymoron much?

                  "Like you shouldn't harm others."

                  Exactly. Nailed it.

                  Let's see how this plays out with paedophilia. Can we agree that sexual activity without mutual consent constitutes harm to the non-consenting party? I hope we can.

                  RMS spoke (before later retracting) of consensual sex with children.

                  Let me repeat that: consensual sex with children.

                  So here is the question: can a child possibly ever be said to consent to sex? There are, as I see it, two issues: (i) consent requires some sort of level playing field, and the absence of pressure or coercion; (ii) consent requires an understanding of what you are consenting to, including the likely consequences (to yourself and others) of consent.

                  On point (i): Do you think that the playing field between children and adults is level - say in terms of power and authority (including - or perhaps especially - within a family dynamic)? Do you think that the effective pressures to consent are likely to be comparable between a child and an adult?

                  On point (ii): Do you think that a child (and of course this will be age- and culture-dependent) is likely to have a sufficiently mature sense of the physical, emotional and social implications of sex, and of the physical, emotional and social consequences, to understand the full import of what they are consenting to?

                  Clearly RMS had, to put it politely, "difficulties" with these questions. Why?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Yesterday's trailblazer is tomorrow's bigoted embarassment

                    Okay, hands up. I can see how I may have stereotyped myself (snark snipped)

                    Here we go. Again.

                    I've talked more about how your actions stereotype you more than I do in the other thread. The one you haven't responded to yet.

                    Oxymoron much?

                    Not really. I'm categorising you based on your behaviour. To stereotype you, I'd have to call you a "white knight" or assert that you're probably gay or whatever.

                    Can we agree that sexual activity without mutual consent constitutes harm to the non-consenting party? I hope we can.

                    Of course we can.

                    can a child possibly ever be said to consent to sex?

                    That's a good question. Since you haven't responded to the other thread where some of these questions have been raised by others, let's explore.

                    So: Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the age of consent in france is 14. Let's say that in neighboring switzerland it's 18. In both countries, anybody over the age of consent is legally an adult, and can sign contracts, sleep with anyone they like, etc etc. Anyone under the age of consent is legally a child.

                    (these are not the real-world laws. We're setting up some thought experiments and I can't be bothered hitting up wikipedia - you've used up so much of my time already :P )

                    OK, so let's say these are the laws. Simple.

                    Steven is 17. He has a 19 year old boyfriend, Eric. They live in switzerland. They've been friends for a couple of years and romantically involved for about a year. They're seriously into each other and want to get married one day. But Eric is a virtuous type, and won't have sex with Steven until he turns 18, because it's the law. And Eric ain't no child abuser.

                    Steven was born at 11pm on the 1st of january, 2000. It's 11:59pm on the 31st of dec, 2017.

                    1. Is it child abuse if Eric kisses Steven for new years, but is one second early?

                    2. Is it child abuse if Eric and Steven are about to have sex and wait for the stroke of midnight, so that Steven is 18, but they can't wait and they start a minute early?

                    3. Is it child abuse if Eric and Steven have sex at 12:01 am on jan 1, because Steven is not 18 biological years old yet? Do they have to wait until 11:01pm on the 1st of january?

                    4, Is it child abuse if Eric was born in a different timezone with a 14 hour difference, in a country where the age of consent is 21? Does that mean that he should wait until he is 20 years, 364 days, and 21 hours old according to his local time? Or does living in switzerland override his racial/cultural heritage/background?

                    5. What if Steven and Eric can't wait, and run off to france together for a raunchy weekend when Steven is 17 and Eric is 20? Is that child abuse?

                    6. What if we replay the scenario above again, but this time Eric is: a) 21? b) 25? c) 30? d) 50? e) 90? f) At what point does is become "depraved"? g) Would that point be different if it was Steven and Melissa? Or Eric and Rachael?. Note how I haven't changed the age of the younger party in this paragraph, so in theory your answer should be the same, right? Because we're talking about the age of consent, right? And everybody is equal, right?

                    7-12. Repeat all the questions above but this time Eric and Steven live in france, Steven is nearly 14, the age gap between them is the same in all examples, and they run off to a third country where the age of consent is 13. Please give an "is it child abuse" answer for each of those, too. And as an extra bonus, what if they're living in france but were born in switzerland?

                    When does the biological switch from "child" to "adult" flip? Please explain the biological mechanism as to how it is aware of things like timezones and local jurisdictions.

                    Could it be that when RMS used the word "child", he did so as a poor choice of wording, rather than meaning "5 year old"? Maybe he meant "person who is under the legal age of consent"? Perhaps he was asking questions about where the age of consent should be?

                    Do you think that the playing field between children and adults is level - say in terms of power and authority (including - or perhaps especially - within a family dynamic)?

                    No.

                    But why are you bringing up family dynamics? That's pretty sick. RMS certainly never mentioned any kind of family dynamic as far as I'm aware. Unless you have a source you'd like to link to? Otherwise, I'm not sure where you're getting that from. Eeew.

                    Do you think that the effective pressures to consent are likely to be comparable between a child and an adult?

                    I think that there are grey areas, and that your question is ambiguous. One example of a problem with your question: Where exactly is the line between "child" and "adult"? Ideally, please provide links to peer-reviewed biological papers in your response, and provide a treatise on how these biological mechanisms interact with timezones and local jurisdictions. And I'd love to hear your thoughts about Eric and Steven.

                    On point (ii): Do you think that a child (and of course this will be age- and culture-dependent) is likely to have a sufficiently mature sense of the physical, emotional and social implications of sex, and of the physical, emotional and social consequences, to understand the full import of what they are consenting to?

                    I think that there are grey areas, and that your question is ambiguous.

                    But not only is it ambiguous, it's phrased in such a way as to be alarmist. It's not really a question at all, it's a rhetorical point-scoring device intended to persuade third-party readers with emotion. Yet another stereotypical behaviour: "wont' somebody think of the children!?". It's moral panic. You're trying to destroy somebody's life because he had an opinion about a delicate issue. And I stress that the "had" in that sentence is past tense.

                    RMS spoke (snip) of consensual sex with children.

                    Let me repeat that: consensual sex with children.

                    can a child possibly ever be said to consent to sex?

                    Will you concede that perhaps, when taken in it's full context, perhaps it was a poor choice of wording and the fact that - as you point out - he's talking about consensual sex with children, and the fact that children can't consent, means that maybe he's not really talking about sex with actual children? Maybe he meant "people who are legally children in the country/state/county/timezone I live in, but who are biologically old and mature enough that they can consent"? If you make this concession, is he still a horrible person who deserves to have his life ruined?

                    Will you concede that perhaps he was a socially-inept idiot, and a dirty old man, who didn't know anything about child development, and who thinks that maybe where he lives the age of consent should be lowered, but phrased it particularly poorly? And that perhaps he has spoken to people and learned a bit about child development since, and changed his mind? If you make these concessions, is he still a horrible person who deserves to have his life ruined?

                    I'd like to point you to SImon Hobson's Question:

                    Out of interest, did you actually read what he wrote - in it's full context ?

                    You told me you had read what he wrote. I'd like to echo Simon's question and ask if you read the full thing in context? I assumed that's what you meant when you said you had read it.

                    ...You did actually read what he wrote, right? You said you did. You're not a liar, are you? Please clarify. I'll be interested to read your response to this and the other thread :)

                    Cue: Deafening Silence

  18. hairydog

    How do you go about being the boss of such an organisation?

    Did he simply appoint himself, or was he invited?

    If so, by whom?

    Why?

    1. Rainer Rechnermann

      Richard basically started the free software movement with programs he wrote, with licenses he (co-) authored and with plenty of writing and speeches. He certainly has a very good claim to the leadership of the FSF.

      Does it mean he is perfect ?

      Certainly not.

      But his "crimes" are truly benign as compared to some other "respected" figures.

  19. jhiggins

    Why is this even a story?

    The Reg used to be about software and computing. It's becoming a political/social justice rag.

    There is no outcry. One guy's views don't sit well the views of a few others - wow, isn't that a surprise?

    1. LionelB

      "One guy's views don't sit well the views of a few others - wow, isn't that a surprise?"

      Because most people are fine with paedophilia, misogyny and bestiality, right?

      1. jhiggins

        Some must be - otherwise we would not have those words in the language. If you were writing your response sixty years ago you'd probably have included homosexuality in your list too. So, is being 'correct' a function of time?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          It can, as the concepts of right and wrong are not absolute (AFAICT, nothing is) and can change over time.

        2. LionelB

          No, it's a question of empathy with your fellow human beings (and animals).

          Would I have included homosexuality if I were writing 60 years ago? Well I could just about write then, so difficult to say. If you make that 50 years ago, I can answer with a resounding NO (yes, I'm that old).

  20. Ace2

    Get rid of him

    Hey @jake - do you want YOUR daughter to show up for work on her first day at the new gig, and be advised by the more senior women that she needs to get a bunch of houseplants pronto, otherwise she won’t be able to get the gross old creep from down the hall to ever leave her office?

    There is NO room for that behavior, in any industry. If he wants to sit at home and write code, fine with me. But he’s a cancer in any workplace.

  21. Paul 195
    Mushroom

    Don't defend the indefensible

    Although Stallman's comments about one of the minors pimped out by Epstein was the trigger for his initial departure from the FSF, the fact is he has been making women feel uncomfortable for decades. If you are just focusing on that one tweet, and complaining about "cancel culture", you are missing the bigger picture. Which is that he behaves in an unacceptable way, that he thinks paedophilia "with consent" is OK, and that he is a misogynist.

    So, if you want to stand up and say he is being unfairly vilified for all of that, go ahead, we now know where you stand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't defend the indefensible

      looks like you forgot to add "[citation needed]" at the end of most of those sentences.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't defend the indefensible

      "Hey, buddy, that's a real nice family you got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to them."

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Interesting non-discussion

    On both sides

    Now about this new XYZ software...

  23. mihares

    Just passing by

    Among the “hundreds” of techies who feel offended about the return of Stallman to the FSF, please *do not* count me.

  24. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    You know what's great about El Reg? It's one of the places on the net where this kind of debate is allowed to rage.

  25. Joe Harrison

    Just looked at the FSF mission statement

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom. We defend the rights of all software users.

    OK I am fine with the mission. I don't care about and am not interested in their views, if any, on issues outside of that. I resent what feels like pressure to have an opinion and take sides upon the unrelated actions of this Stallman guy.

  26. Tridac

    It works like this: RMS has been annoying people for years, he is controversial, speaks his mind and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. So much so that those with an agenda spend weeks trawling through everything he has ever said in public, to find something to attack him with. They find a comment that he made 17 years ago ffs, and that is enough to condemn him for evermore ?. You could argue poor choice of words, but the accusers intentionally miss the underlying point about freedom of speech and action, live and let live, assumptions of innocence and other values that are the foundation of our civilisation. Even if he regrets saying it at the time, why would would he apologise, when the underlying dishonest agenda of the accusers is plain as day.

    The new morality, completely devoid of ethics, due process, fair play and natural justice. Always assuming the worst, rather then understanding and giving benefit of the doubt. But of course this is RMS, so the ends justify the means. Same sh1t, different wrapper, social control and repression by other means. The Mary Whitehouse crowd would be proud of them.

    If that’s the sort of world you want to live in, good luck, as you may be next for the ducking stool...

    1. Rainer Rechnermann

      Thanks, well said.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Leaving asides the rights and wrongs of RMS, it does worry me that people can now be indelibly stained. Get sentenced to 3 years in pokey, and ten years later the records are expunged. You are clean. But a tweet from a decade ago never becomes "spent", even if you delete it and apologise.

      More recent examples: a prospective parliamentary candidate in Hartlepool; and the editor of Teen Vogue (both had apologised and the latter said the idiot things when she was an idiot teen.) It took a helluva lot of support to get James Gunn reinstated. This lack of due progress and inability for society to forgive is not healthy. People are being excluded for acts speech and acts that are lawful.

  27. jason_derp Bronze badge

    This comment section is weird and full of bizarre ideas.

    1. Tridac

      Democracy at work, the free exchange of ideas and opinions. Evrerythnig should be open for discussion, then let each individual make their own mind up, without coercion, blackmail, or use of force.

      I've never met RMS, but he sounds typical of many creative types. Probably a bit socially clumsy and perhaps misses the signals that would warn of excess. In the old days, as an individual, you just had to deal with that, but now we have posh names for it, such as borderline autistic, or similar. Just the sort of thing one would expect the socially aware and sensitive types to have sympathy for, but no, mob rules, let's crucify him and declare victory. Sorry, but such attitudes say much more about the accusers, than the accused....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fatal flaw as the Greeks and others discovered: people are emotional by default, not rational, so a charismatic demagogue can get his/her way by appealing to baser instincts that override reason. Look what happened in the US just a few years ago...

    2. Rainer Rechnermann

      Too much independet thought for you ?

      1. jason_derp Bronze badge

        Everyone independently decided to be on one of two sides?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weird but not evil?

    Some of his quotes were stupid, if not inciting illegal behaviour, but what really annoys me is the society where noone is allowed to have an opinion that does not fit with the loudest voices on social media.

    It often appears to be the young Twits just going after the older generation and trying to rewrite history.

    In a society where it is so easy to shout to the world it is now impossible to search the web to find out what is going on for fear of incriminating yourself. I do not have an answer to paedophilia etc, but I still don't understand how we got to the state where it is a bigger crime to look at a website than to physically assault someone.

    Having looked especilally at some of the older quotes it does make sense for him to go in spite of the good work he has done.

  29. msobkow Bronze badge

    I am stunned to hear that anyone who resigned from any recognizable organization of any kind in such a state of disgrace would EVER have the nerve to try for a "do-over" only two years later, apparently presuming that the public is comprised of such fools and idiots as to have forgotten their life-long transgressions in only 24-odd months. :(

    1. Tridac

      So enlighten me, what did he actually do to fall into such a "state of disgrace". Did the "lifelong transgressions" ever result in prosecution and conviction, or was it all just rumour and smear ?. Truth matters, so does due process...

      1. Rainer Rechnermann

        RMS fell into disgrace in the court of woke-corporatist opinion.

        Lets all bow down to corporate dollars !

  30. herman Silver badge
    Stop

    The woke need to wake up

    As far as I recall, RMS did not say a whole lot of things everyone is accusing him of saying...

    He came to the defense of a friend who was denied due process in the media and then had the same thing happen to himself, so he tossed up his hands and walked away, in the hope that the nonsense will blow over and now all the blow hards are blowing again.

    RMS certainly has my sympathy.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's interesting that one of RMS more persistent critics, according to Wikipedia "uses the pronouns they and their". Which of course doesn't mean that he uses these pronouns, because none of us use any pronouns about ourselves except "I" and "we". What it really means is that he wants everyone else to use these pronouns about him, which is a very different matter. There is a lot of control freakery flying around this issue, which makes it very hard to work out what RMS has actually done. An awful lot of "If you don't see the problem then you are part of it" passive aggression.

    Also a fair amount of ableism, directed at RMS. Sure, he's socially inept in his interactions with women, but that's pretty typical of people on the ASD spectrum and complaining about it is like complaining that a deaf person isn't a great conversationalist.

    1. Rainer Rechnermann

      Maybe he simply spent his time in front of computers when he should have spent more time on his conversation skills.

      Is that a sinful behaviour ?

      Only if you believe in some wicked ideology which thankfully is NOT the law in any civilized nation.

    2. Janne Smith

      Where is the clinical proof that Stallman is "on the ASD spectrum"? I have been professionally diagnosed as having Asperger's and I have spent a week with Stallman in my own home. I didn't see anything indicating autism in his behaviour, just that of a narcissistic, arrogant man who showed the worst traits of the hippy movement.

      Trying to justify Stallman's irrational views by claiming he is autistic is deeply insulting and potentially creates problems for those that really are autistic.

  32. xjy
    Pint

    Misunderstood genius ... let's all man the barricades for him ...

    But in fact sounds more like a power-grabbing opportunist with the tenacity of a leech when it comes to keeping its teeth in its victim - in this case the free and open programming community.

    Love all these bigoted obscurantist wet blankets (the wet is acid not water) posing as paragons of free speech and saviours of hmm saviours of what exactly?

  33. Sin2x

    Seeing that the letter in support of Stallman has more signatures than the one blaming him, I feel there is still hope for this world.

    https://rms-support-letter.github.io/

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