there are those who want to deny the GNU license



Gone are the times when Richard Stallman, the legendary founder of the GNU Project, attracted the masses to free software events and He served as a friendly and close reference, wearing his popular 'Saint IGNUcius' costume. Or when politicians rewarded him and looked for the photo with him, as happened almost two decades ago in Linex Extremadura.



But in less than a couple of years, the situation has changed remarkably, and the one who was the creator of open source pillars such as Emacs, GCC or Make has become a divisive and controversial character of the movement that one day he championed.



Two days ago we told you the sudden and unexpected return of Richard Stallman to the FS board of directorsF (Free Software Foundation), whose presidency he had resigned in 2019 after controversial statements about the Epstein Case and the dissemination of previous writings on the age of sexual consent.



That resignation, in 2019, was explicitly celebrated by organizations and leaders of the free software community, and that suggested that not all would be applause for old Stallman after his recent decision. He himself predicted it, actually:




"I have no intention of resigning again. [...] Some of you will be happy about it, and others may be disappointed, but who knows? "








What is the difference between Linux and GNU / Linux





Well, Richard, we already know: in just two days, the community has become a pressure cooker of outrage.



They ask for heads to roll



First it was the board of directors of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) who released a tough statement against the FSF's decision, with the explicit threat of severing ties with it if it did not rectify:




"OSI calls on the Free Software Foundation to hold Stallman accountable for his past behavior, remove him from management positions, and help address the damage he caused."



"We will not participate in any event that includes Richard M. Stallman and we will not be able to collaborate with the FSF until Stallman is removed from the leadership of the entity."




An open letter signed by several leaders of the open source community has also been made public, demanding that ialso the resignation of the entire board of the FSF Y the removal of Stallman from all his posts, including that of Leader of the GNU Project; It is also proposed not to share projects or events sponsored or in which Stallman and the current board of the FSF participate.



Among the signatories are current or past leaders of projects such as the Open Source Initiative, the Debian Project, the Apache Foundation or the GNOME Foundation; they also sign it, collectively, organizations such as the Mozilla Foundation, the X.org Foundation or the Tor project.



Other prominent voices, such as that of digital law professor James Grimmelmann, announced on his blog that he will stop donating to the FSF and that he will not have a relationship with it as long as Stallman continues to serve on its board of directors.




"Stallman's announcement shows that the FSF, as an organization, has learned nothing from the #MeToo movement, and that it has wasted the opportunity for critical reflection that he had facilitated by his resignation."




One step too far?



The Processing Foundation, responsible for overseeing the development of several software libraries, went one step further and announced a decision that may end up generating more controversy than Stallman's own appointment: the claim of set aside the use of the GPL license itself as a gesture to distance himself from its author (Stallman himself).




The Organization for a Code of Ethics also decided to take the technical criteria to the political field, stating that:




"The FSF's decision makes it clear that the Four Freedoms of Free Software are not a sufficient ethical framework."




(Remember that the aforementioned four freedoms only regulate the way the software is developed and used: freedom of execution, access to the code, redistribution of copies and to alter the program).



Via | The Register