Home > FSF, GNU/Linux, linux, Linux, Richard Stallman > Time to fork the FSF

Time to fork the FSF

October 7, 2011

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you would have noticed, at the end of the blog, a button for the Free Software Foundation marking me as Member No. 5030.

It is no longer there, and with good reason.

So today I resigned my membership in the Free Software Foundation, so I am no longer Member No. 5030. I did so because Richard Stallman no longer speaks for me after making a completely ludicrous, tactless and heartless remark regarding the passing of Steve Jobs.

You can read the three-paragraph post here. There has also been commentary about it by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols here and by Adrian Kingsley Hughes here.

Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier probably wrote the best commentary on the issue here.

Richard Stallman crafted an outstanding software license and wrote a outstanding treatise on free software in “Free Software, Free Society,” of which I have bought multiple copies and have given to people I thought would benefit from reading it.

Few have had the huevos to publicly call him out on things he’s done wrong or on miscues for which he is responsible, and those who have usually have faced a barrage of criticism from free software “advocates” who’ve attacked them with a zeal, ironically, reserved for Apple fanboys and fangirls. But the fact remains that Stallman’s dogmatic attitude and peculiar behavior has been an anchor weighing down a significant degree of progress the free software movement could have made to date.

One could argue, “OK, so he made a mistake with the Jobs thing. Give him some latitude.”

No. Not anymore. This is not the first time this has happened. From the GNU/Linux insistence to the “Emacs virgin” incident to a litany of other miscues that display a clear lack of leadership skills, it’s time people stopped saying, “Oh, that’s just Stallman being Stallman” and hold him accountable.

So I think it behooves thoughtful free software advocates to seriously consider forking the Free Software Foundation, and create a new organization; a more flexible, more responsible organization that marries today’s technological realities to the possibilities and necessities — especially the necessities — that the free software paradigm offers society.

Call me a heretic if you like, and if you want to debate this rationally, I’m up for that, too.

In the meantime, I will keep advocating for free software as I always have. However, I will do so now independently and not as a member of the FSF.

[NOTE: An addendum to this blog item can be found here.]

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

  1. October 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Stallman’s personal failings aside for the moment.

    The underlying and longstanding problem with the FSF is that it’s never experienced governance turnover at the presidential level. It’s never had the second generation of leadership happen which would allow it to stand up as its own entity with its own evolving culture not tied to a cult of personality of its initial founder.

    I think that sort of executive turn-over and how its handled is a key part of organizational maturity. Its a very hard leap to make for any organization, but its a very important leap to untangle Foundational identity as represented by its executive board from the identity of one fallible human being who founded the organization.

    If Stallman was not the founder of the FSF but was instead just the 3rd or 4th sitting FSF president would you feel as strongly about forking the foundation? Or would you be calling instead for him to step down and let someone else take the presidential seat? If he were President of say HP or MS (any other Apple business competitor) and he said similar uncharitable things about Jobs, would you be attributing his statements as strongly to the corporate entity or would you rather you (maybe as a shareholder of that company) be asking for him to step down from his office?

    I don’t think the FSF as an organizational structrure is irredeemable. But new blood( maybe even a generational change) in the driver seat is probably long overdue for the health of the organization.


    • October 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      That’s an interesting observation, Jef. To answer your question, “If Stallman was not the founder of the FSF but was instead just the 3rd or 4th sitting FSF president would you feel as strongly about forking the foundation?” I probably would not seek to fork, but rather seek for him to step down or be replaced. I am not sure that this is possible in the current structure of the FSF for reasons you point out. But I’m willing to hope against hope that it is possible.

      I hope you are right in your conclusion that you don’t think the FSF’s structure is irredeemable, and I completely agree that new a change in the driver seat is long overdue.

  2. October 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I abandoned the FSF a long time ago, and not because of Stallman, but because I feel (And this is my personal opinion) that the current FSF efforts are being wasted entirely.

    When I joined the FSF, I was happy, I thought they would promote Free Software and all. Instead, I see these “Bad Vista” campaigns, “Windows 7 Sins” and similar charades against Apple and Amazon.

    I would rather the money be used to fund development, not smear campaigns, and so I withdrew my support for the FSF and would rather support Mozilla or Eclipse, thus letting my money go to the developer’s hands which is what I intended.

    I’ve seen Stallman as a horrible figurehead for Free Software for quite a while, and whenever asked during events, I always point to Torvalds, or to the ‘nicer’ pictures of Stallman, because lets face it, Stallman as a figurehead is about as cool as Steve -The Monkey- Ballmer, for Microsoft.

    • Simon
      October 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Yes, there’s truth to that. There’s a lot of good work done by the FSF, but their public image is very negative – a lot more criticism for things that don’t meet their approval, than praise for things that do. I’d much rather deal with more positive people – people who talk about why their own work is great, rather than about why their rivals are worse.

      • l
        February 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        one problem is that criticism raises more scandal, if not consent, than working constructively (although much of it is useless consent, while constructive people get less consent but more useful consent, FSF goes for visibility).
        the other problem is that often (no, always) big companies apply harsh anticoncorrential manouvers to which free software can’t answer with just quality, as quality is not the matter (heck! debian/hurd works better than windows /on old-ish pcs at least/ yet it’s still classified as unusable, because of the comparison with linux etc, while windows is far more popular than linux… It’s been 8 years since I abandoned windows I never fail to wonder how can people keep using it everytime I see it…).

        honestly I don’t like fsf way of acting not because of the campaigns but because of the method. Also I believe they are missing a lot of “political” drive, a lot of their campaigns lurk in the obvious -although it’s good to let people know, I believe that all those who advocate freedom (not just software freedom) should realize the dangers of DRM and propertary software. but there’s much info not being provided, and there’s a lot that could be done that’s not done, and I doubt it’s for lack of resources, but rather for negligence, if not complicity.

        in my view the fsf is a happy community of friends that grew too large and became a messy dictatorship.

        yet again their work is definitely no waste, but I think an alternative would be good.

  3. October 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I do not agree. There is no interpersonal sense included when you just declare Stallmans point of view “unworthy” compared to your own. Are your own emotions really “better” than his – seen from a fair, rational base? – Just don’t be so self-centered and sentimental. Leave others their own taste – without any need to “hate” them for not loving the same as you. – QUite surely there will be no fork at FSF, because there is no need for that.

    • October 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      You’re perfectly within your rights to disagree, but this is not about me or my self-centered sentimentality. It’s about leadership skills, which Stallman lacks, in a very, very important movement — the free software movement — and the consistent embarrassment he brings to the FSF and other free software advocates, whether it’s in statements like this or in eating things from his hair during presentations (I’ve seen him do this at an event I organized).

      • October 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm

        In this response you deny your sentimentality and show proof for it at the same time: “whether it’s in statements like this or in eating things from his hair during presentations” (last part: ad hominem) – what you find badly worded, breaking a tabu, or disgusting is based on your subjective taste only. Putting aside our differences (I find Stallman’s statement truthful, intellectually honest), you convinced me that him being an outspoken iconoclast on SO many topics disqualifies him to be a focused and effective leader of our cause. Damned politics! Bring on the fork.

    • WorBlux
      October 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      They do a lot of stuff on the legal and development side of things besides thier defective by design campaign.

  4. Bob McKeand
    October 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Huevos indeed. Huevos revueltos. At least that is what the Colonel
    has ordered for Dick Stallman. His, with a side of frijoles.
    It is time to fork the FSF. We can fork Stallman too.

    I have always been a fan of FOSS/Linux. Maybe more Linux than
    FOSS because being true to FOSS left me without some tools I
    needed. Linus said he would use what he needed, free or not.
    Lets get that free and open stuff up to snuff and then I can really
    be a FOSS guy.

    How about we nominate LtFSG to head up the FSF or to head up
    what ever is next in this arena? Serious.

    Peace, Bob

  5. Andrew
    October 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with RMS… He said everything there is to say in a few succinct and correct sentences… And when I depart from this life, I hope that I may leave behind more than just an overpriced, overly controlled, and overly locked in product line — which is mostly what Apple produces to the detriment of information freedom and freedom in general…

    • Observer
      October 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      well said, Andrew…So long, Larry…

    • HC
      October 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      I think RMS is an obese man-child with disgusting personal habits, but the fact he, in three sentences that explicitly stated he did not want Steve to die, managed to piss someone off so thoroughly they severed themselves from his foundation is making me reconsider my opinion.

      If Larry would pull the politically-correct telephone pole out of his ass he might see that dying does not change one iota of a person’s intentions or actions, or the effect thereof, be it positive or negative. Being offended is a concept reserved for intellectual children incapable of rationally debating that with which they do not agree.

      • October 7, 2011 at 8:33 pm

        Say what you mean, HC. Also, you seem to have missed the point: It’s not so much that Stallman said what he did, it’s that this kind of faux pas happens over and over again, and it doesn’t reflect well on the free software movement. Frankly, I’m tired of having to explain Stallman to the uninitiated when he’s supposed to be the face of the free software movement. Also, I’m tired of having to debate simple concepts within the “my way or highway” dogmatic realm of the FSF.

      • October 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm

        Actually, being offended is reserved for human beings with real emotions. being an “adult” does not mean losing the ability to be offended. Here, try an experiment to validate this: Go up to your grandmother and shout at her “F*** your aging terrible c*** you stupid wh****”, and observe her reaction. Once you extract her walking cane from your ass you might realise that offense is a natural function of a fully integrated adult with ethics and decorum. The hypothesis that maturity must emulate sociopathy is suspect indeed.

      • Mike L.
        October 9, 2011 at 11:51 am

        Yeah, Larry, I think you’re having the wool pulled over your eyes this time. I can’t say it better than what Andrew said, so I’ll just leave it at that. And if you’re seriously advocating a fork of FSF, have fun. But it’s your RSS feed I’ll be removing, not the fsf’s.

      • October 9, 2011 at 11:54 am

        OK, see ya.

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:10 am

      You fail to understand what this whole discussion is about. It is not about who is right in ideology but the fact that RMS has really horrible senses and lacks basic human empathy.

      Just because he created free software movement doesn’t give him the right to pass off such pathetic and malevolent remarks

      • October 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

        If we’re talking about lack of empathy, how would you describe someone who fathered an illegitimate child, then lied to the court that he was infertile so he wouldn’t have to pay child support, leaving the mother to try and raise the child on welfare?

      • October 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm

        @Mathew, nobody is claiming Mr Jobs is a saint. In fact in many respects he was a terrible person. But theres a time and place for it, and thats not when people are burying their dead.

      • October 9, 2011 at 5:23 am

        Jobs misdeeds doesn’t make RMS’s statements apt.

        On top of that Steve Jobs never wished that his enemies died. He just tried to beat them by competition.

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      +Andrew The problem is the dogmatic back-and-white view of the word that Stallman has. Needless to say, the rest of the world see things in a much different way.

      I don’t have a problem with people being succinct, I have a problem with them being 100% certain of their beliefs, and assuming everyone else is either stupid or evil. Job’s had a different view of how to improve the world, that doesn’t make him evil.

      In fact, I think 99.99% of the world would agree that RMS is the one that seems evil by making those comments. You can stay with your righteous attitude and be sure you are 100% right, but they rest of the world doesn’t care how sure you are of being right, these types of comments only draw people away from the FSF, which, apparently, is full of crazy people.

    • Dard
      October 10, 2011 at 1:59 am

      Succinct? As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley “Daley wouldn’t know succinct if it bit him in the ass”. And though Stallman thinks nobody deserves to die – and iterates them… we all do die – so what was the actual point of that sentence?

      Yep – for sure could have said the same thing more succinctly and more tastefully.

      RIP Steve Jobs. Apple’s products still do not encourage software Freedom. Hopefully that changes in the future.

  6. October 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Steve Jobs had a lot of great ideas, they just weren’t implemented in the way free software advocates would prefer. That’s no reason to piss on his grave, which is essentially what Stallman did.

    I used to admire Stallman. Not any more. The older he gets the more he sounds like a lunatic.

    I don’t blame you one bit for leaving FSF with its current state. It’s time Stallman retired and let someone young with new ideas step up to the plate.

  7. Gerry
    October 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I also agree with RMS…let’s call a spade a spade.

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      You can call a spade a spade, but RMS wasn’t doing that, he called Jobs evil, so he is assuming bad intentions.

      We can disagree on how to improve society, but even if Jobs was wrong, he wasn’t evil.

  8. October 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I’m surprised at how restrained RMS’ comments were. The guidelines of not speaking ill of the dead shouldn’t apply to those who are so grossly evil. If anything, no one should be as polite as RMS if we are to speak truth and condemn evil monopolists who try to make any competition illegal through corrupt courts and corrupt patent laws.

    I love karma.

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      You are assuming bad intentions from Jobs. I don’t think his intention was to slave humanity.

      Disagreeing on how to improve society doesn’t mean the other side is evil, even if your side is right (and I don’t think that’s the case).

      • Jess
        October 10, 2011 at 5:12 pm

        By their fruits shall ye know them.

        We don’t give criminals a pass merely if they claim to have thought they were doing the right thing. The most you can reasonably say for Jobs is that he fought software freedom in the service of shareholder value, and that isn’t much of a defense.

        RMS is serious about freedom. His comments confuse you, because you aren’t. You didn’t complain when Nicolae Ceaușescu was roundly condemned upon his death, with your weak-sauce “don’t assume bad intentions!” Like Ceaușescu, we had plenty of opportunity to observe Jobs during his life, and we are perfectly justified in drawing the obvious conclusions.

      • October 13, 2011 at 12:39 am

        +Jess We all agree criminals are doing something wrong, because they are violating the law, which is something we have collectively agreed upon. Jobs didn’t violate any law.

        You and RMS can live in a fantasy world were not embracing software freedom 100% is a crime, but in the real world closed vs open software vs free software is an open discussion, and being on the wrong side of it doesn’t make one evil.

  9. NoStop
    October 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I agree with everything Stallman said. He spoke the truth. Don’t know why the author has gotten his panties in a knot on this one, unless he was already looking for an excuse to fork.

  10. October 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    RMS said exactly what I was thinking. I don’t have anything personal against Steve Jobs… as I did not know him as a person. As a businessman, I knew quite a lot about him… and that is what RMS is talking about… not slighting Mr. Jobs personally… and I think RMS was justified in his statements.

    You might not agree with RMS but would you have expected him to say anything different? I guess he could have thrown in a… “sorry Mr. Jobs had health issues and died so young and I feel sad for the family BUT” before that.

    Regarding some calling various campaigns of the FSF “smear campaigns”… no, they are education programs.

    • October 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      Scott — I don’t know: I would expect leaders of movements to be, oh, a tad more eloquent and somewhat more diplomatic. You can completely voice your opposition to what someone stands for and still come across on higher ground (see Marcel Gagne’s post on Steve Jobs here: http://marcelgagne.com/content/my-reflections-steve-jobs — and I wish I had written that).

      More to the point, though, is that I’m really tired of having to make excuses for Stallman when he goes off half-cocked like this, which is why I’m no longer a FSF member.

      [By the way, I still have a Fedora shirt for you — I’ll e-mail you to get your address]

      • Randuev
        October 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm

        Larry, there’s absolutely no need to be politically correct or nice to your worst enemy. More so, doing it would offend your allies more. Think about it next time you jump on sentimental wagon.

        Early Jobs did very great things. RIP

  11. Fewt
    October 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Well, it’s about damn time the rest of the community woke up and spoke up.

    That’s all I have to say.

    +1 Larry

  12. aos
    October 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Larry :
    You’re perfectly within your rights to disagree, but this is not about me or my self-centered sentimentality. It’s about leadership skills, which Stallman lacks, in a very, very important movement — the free software movement — and the consistent embarrassment he brings to the FSF and other free software advocates, whether it’s in statements like this or in eating things from his hair during presentations (I’ve seen him do this at an event I organized).

    well then, its just again, personal.
    he speaks his mind and he’s correct. Steve Job did crap for the free software as in freedom. He helped kill most of it, a lot.
    That he’s dead won’t change the facts. I respect much more people able to express their own opinion. That’s why I also respect Steve Job, by the way. He could speak his mind and I can disagree.

    You on the other hand, seem different. Your Meego post seems similar. The Free software doesn’t seem to be trendy anymore, so every excuse is good to let it go, right?

    Well some other people fight for it for real reasons, not for a trend. Get over it.

    • October 7, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Interesting perspective. I don’t know what the difference is between Stallman voicing his opinion and me voicing mine, but never mind.

    • Joe Johnson
      October 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      “he speaks his mind and he’s correct. Steve Job did crap for the free software as in freedom. He helped kill most of it, a lot.”

      Really? Exactly what FOSS did he help kill? Because last time I checked things like WebKit, Darwin, CUPS, etc are all FOSS and come from Apple and yet strangely Jobs did not “kill them”.

      • mog
        October 9, 2011 at 8:55 am

        apple only created darwin from that list, which has so few of the core parts of macos x its worthless. Webkit was a kde/qt thing long before apple came to it, cups is a project far older than macos x. apple just hired creator and bought the code in 2002, the only project they have that anyone i know uses is darwin streaming server.

    • October 7, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      No, he’s not correct. If you want to advance your viewpoints having a cranky neck-bearded man-child piss all over the grave of a man the rest of the world is celebrating is a terrible way to do it. All you’re doing is alienating more people. So now you guys can all stand around and talk about how right Stallman is at your next neckbeard conference…by yourselves.

  13. October 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    To those saying you agree with what RMS wrote: that’s fine, but irrelevant. As a spokesman for FSF he shouldn’t be pandering to his already devout followers, he should be trying to convince others that the ideals of the FSF are worth pursuing, and he’s been doing an absolutely TERRIBLE job of that lately.

    Silly campaigns of immature puns, lashing out at people who don’t say “GNU/Linux”, insulting a recently deceased man who much of the world admires, and making otherwise inappropriate remarks on a regular basis is an excellent way to alienate the people you’re trying to win over.

    How have these tactics been working out for FSF? I don’t have stats, but anecdotally most new open source projects I come across have rejected the GPL licenses for BSD, MIT, Apache, etc.

    Now imagine what FSF could accomplish if they had a spokesman with the skills of Steve Jobs…

    • Mike Swanson
      October 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      About the licensing of new software projects: I think it is not Stallman or the FSF that drives the move away from the GPL being the #1 choice. Rather, that the rather restrictive copyleft terms no longer appear as necessary. The GPL was written in a time and mindset where it seemed that merely having a liberal license (like BSD) would cause your software to be “snatched up” by the “bad guys” and its source would never been seen again, at least not of that particular version.

      Over time, this mindset has proven to be an overly paranoid one, and while there are cases of now-it’s-closed-source (eg, Microsoft Windows’ command line networking tools are almost entirely lifted straight from 386BSD 0.1, never updated to this date), the open source/free software renditions of them generally always win out. There have been plenty of forks of Free/OpenBSD as well, some of them closed, the closed ones simply die. Arguably, people like to point out Mac OS X as a “successful” one — but the only thing in common with FreeBSD are the userland utilities lifted from it, and Apple does in fact provide the source code to all of that, and they’re not even legally obligated!

      • WorBlux
        October 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm

        Apple contributes code back to reduce thier costs when the code doesn’t define something unique about the O.S. They hold very tight to the things that make that define their OS.

  14. October 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    You say your problem is with Stallman (the examples you offer are his untimely rant about Jobs, his insistence – correct IMO – on GNU/Linux, etc – all cases of a Stallman’ism not an FSF’ism), but yet you conclude that it’s time to fork the FSF to create a more “flexible” organisation. Not to be combative, but it seems more like you have always wanted a different kind of FSF (perhaps motivated by Raymond, others) and are using Stallman as a reason. I could heed a call to create the same FSF free of Stallman’s lack of finesse, but a different FSF, a more “flexible” one would not be “progress”. Cheers!

    • October 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      You’re right, ravi — I do want changes in the FSF, but I don’t think under the current structure that they will be forthcoming anytime soon. Hence, the only other option (one of two actually) is to fork the organization (and the other, of course, is to just stop advocating for free software, but I’m not taking that course).

      By the way, who’s Raymond? Eric Raymond? How does he enter into this?

  15. 10 yrs + with Linux
    October 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Thing is, when forking you normally bring with you the whole nest. Thus, you’ll end up with FSF, FSF II, Stallman and Stallman II…..Gpl ++ and all makes sense. And occasionally Stallman makes sense too. Most of the time he doesn’t make sense.

    Stallman’s social skills never was honed by the real world. He doesn’t have the filters natural to socially intelligent humans.

    Stallman is without libelous power. It would be a good thing if bloggers ++ just ceased reading his stuff and stopped writing about him.

    RIP Steve Jobs – a truly amazing person.

  16. Doug
    October 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Stallman is, at heart, a Marxist radical. He believes he has an inherent right to share in the product of my (and your) labor. I would never consider licensing anything I produced under the GPL because (especially in its third iteration) it embodies his radicalism so completely. I would have no reservations about releasing code under BSD, MIT or Apache licenses. His utterly self-centered view of the world is what we saw reflected in his absolutely tasteless comments on Steve Jobs demise.

    • October 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Doug – Regardless of whether it “embodies his radicalism” (which arguably it might), I do think the GPL (especially v2) is a solid license. And while I know he leans left, politically speaking, I’ve never seen or read anywhere that he was a Marxist.

    • October 8, 2011 at 5:12 am

      Doug :
      Stallman is, at heart, a Marxist radical. He believes he has an inherent right to share in the product of my (and your) labor.

      This seems to be a strange notion of Marxism which is all about ensuring that you have the right to the product of your labour, not some rentier class that owns the means of production (in the sense of the time of Marx; can translate to financiers, today). In fact, the difference between the GPL and other licenses like MIT, BSD, etc is that with the GPL others cannot take advantage of your labour without in turn sharing theirs.

      Larry, in my earlier comment I did mean Eric Raymond and the long-running disagreement between Stallman and Raymond, especially on issues of licensing. But given your views on the GPL (in response to Doug’s comment above), I would say I was wrong in thinking (wondering) if Raymond’s idea of GPL reform are shared by you. Beyond avoiding the tactical errors of Stallman, what are the changes you would like to see in the FSF? i.e., what, in your mind, comes under “flexible”?

    • Simon
      October 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      On the contrary – Stallman’s philosophy, at heart, is all about private property rights. It’s the idea that if you buy something (or receive it for free), it’s yours, to do whatever you want with. With the caveat, of course, that having benefited from that right, you cannot then deny it to others.

  17. Jeff
    October 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Agree wholehheartedly.
    And i was wondering if there was anybody out there trying to put together some more free apps for the Nook Color. I’ve already upgraded one of mine to Gingerbread. However, I have one for the kids and have to wait awhile before can get anything else. I realize these arn’ t tablets per se.
    So I’ve been looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which is supposed to running a close second to the iPad. And trying to get my hands on an HP Touch Pad Tablet forever.
    Mostly right now I’m trying to find an outside developer of Nook Color Apps.
    Mahalo, Jeff…

  18. October 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I think there are many forks of the fsf. even the fsfe is one of them.
    and for the record, I really feel bad for steve jobs, his company put the apple II e into our schools. Apple may have created a jail, a nice jail, but also they made computers available and accessible to many many people. This also needs to be acknowledged.
    I can understand some of RMS critiques of SJ, but they are really a bit harsh.

  19. yeahdude
    October 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Fork it! The original ideas were good, but avoidance of market forces makes them stale. The other side of the L?GPL (v2) sword is that you’re welcome to take the code if you abide by the rules.

    Steve J’s putative sins were nothing compared to the good he did and the wealth he brought to people who had little idea it was possible. Let’s go follow in his footsteps.

    Long live BSD, MIT and Apache.

  20. October 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    My memory’s fuzzy as always, but didn’t this basically already happen with the OSI?


  21. October 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Totally agree. The Free Software Foundation and philosophy should have nothing to do with his own personal agenda against Steve Jobs. Those remarks were really uncalled for.

    I believe there are many open source developers and FSF proponents who admire Steve Jobs.

    Let’s fork our own FSF!

  22. Coldnose
    October 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Hear hear.

  23. carl
    October 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    in the mail, stallman was talking as “stallman, the person with opinions” not as “stallman, representative of the FSF”, so is OK that he can tell what ever he wants. note how this wasn’t in the news pages of the FSF

    maybe is a prick, but we shouldn’t judge a institution for it’s public face’s personal opinions

  24. October 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    You could be right, but remember that it’s been done before: the League for Programming Freedom, and Software in the Public Interest, of course the Open Source Initiative, and most recently the Software Freedom Law Center; and, of course, there are an immense number of free software projects that would be part of the GNU project if it weren’t hard to get along with Stallman. Some of these projects have been very successful, and others less so, but none have really come close to eclipsing the FSF. So you have a lot of work ahead of you.

    Here’s what I wrote on Hacker News:

    People are complaining a lot that Stallman isn’t complying with the social norm that one does not speak ill of the dead. (And of course there are people who are personally offended because they identify with Steve Jobs and put Apple stickers on their car, which is just kind of pathetic. We’ll leave them to one side.) Some of them go so far as to argue that Stallman would be more effective if he complied with those social norms, and that the FSF would be more effective if it had a spokesperson who complied with social norms.

    The point that they’re missing is that Stallman is effective at what he does precisely *because* he violates social norms — much like Steve Jobs. Let me tell a story.

    On the 9th of September of this year, I was at the Conferencia Internacional de Software Libre here in Buenos Aires. Partido Justicialista, the ruling party of Argentina, has decided that free software is a good idea, and has been trying to promote it. One of the things that they’re doing is a program called Conectar Igualdad (“Connecting Equality”), in which they’re distributing one netbook to every public high school student in the country, 1.7 million so far, dual-booting with Linux and Windows, bought with the country’s recently-renationalized pension funds.

    Another of the things they did was that they organized this conference, last year and this year, which was hosted by the National Library. Last year they had Jon “maddog” Hall give the keynote, and he talked about this thin-client internet-access project that he’s been putting together with a bunch of folks in Brazil, which really sounds pretty awesome. This year they had Stallman give the keynote instead, and the auditorium was so crowded that I couldn’t get in far enough to see him, so I hung out in the library’s café instead. (This is Argentina; cafés are a necessity of civilized life, so there is one in the library.)

    So I didn’t see the talk, and I didn’t even see Stallman on his way out, but boy, did I hear about it afterwards in the café. Stallman apparently spent quite a bit of time ripping up the Conectar Igualdad program, because of the dual-booting, because of the lack of support for kids actually running Linux, because of the lack of source code for the modified Linux kernel that was actually running on the machines, and for other reasons.

    A person who obeyed social norms would not have considered doing this. After all, he was the guest of the Argentine government, who had invited him to come speak at this conference in order to reinforce their appearance of commitment to free software. Instead, he accepted the invitation and then spent his time shredding their appearance of commitment to free software. What a socially incompetent loser, eh?

    A week later I was at a party, and I happened to talk to a woman who works for Conectar Igualdad. She brought up Stallman’s speech and said how she had been so happy about it, because he had said all the things that she had been unhappy about but hadn’t been able to bring up. And apparently now there are meetings inside Conectar Igualdad to fix the problems that Stallman so publicly criticized.

    Stallman is what is colloquially known as an asshole. He has very little concern for other people’s feelings or for social norms. And it’s that very unbending nature that makes him an effective change agent. Deferring to social norms would cripple him.

    On the other hand, if he were at least *aware* of the feelings of other people, perhaps he could be leading a much more effective organization, instead of alienating even most of his closest friends over the years.

    • October 8, 2011 at 5:41 am

      Thanks for the thoughtful perspective, Kragen. I think that’s the most interesting and listen-worthy anecdote about and perspective on RMS I’ve heard in years.

    • October 8, 2011 at 10:00 am

      Kragen, I agree with most of what you’ve said about RMS. Specifically, I believe that pointless adherence to social norms can often make it difficult to fight for an important cause. However, your assumption about RMS and his relationships with his closest friends is something that I’m quite sure you don’t have enough information to make any conclusion about.

      I am, actually, one of RMS’ closest friends and can publicly confirm that he hasn’t alienated me, yet I have had *other* friends (who are oft-compared to RMS) who have, in fact, alienated me. Spending lots of time in geeky Free Software world often leads me to form relationships with people who are difficult to be friends with. Yet, RMS isn’t even in the top ten list of people I know in the Free Software community who tend to alienate people.

      • October 9, 2011 at 8:12 pm

        I think that simply indicates that you are an amazing outlier in your ability to tolerate interpersonal unpleasantness, and that our cohort includes many abrasive people who are astonishingly destructive in driving away useful relationships and inhibiting contributions. But I do appreciate that it’s hard to publicly, empirically discuss the question of whether RMS has, in fact, alienated “even most of his closest friends over the years” without invading the privacy of various third parties.

    • pebcak
      October 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      I too think, we need Stallman to be just the way he is.

    • Craig
      October 10, 2011 at 5:36 am

      Thanks for the story. It was trying to make kind of the same point further up the the but without being so eloquent.

      Frankly, I have absolutely no time for people so obsessed in social norms and crippling over-politeness. Jobs could be just as zealous and inflammatory as RMS. Likewise, Linus Torvalds is rather well known for spewing vitriol at people. When was the last time a politically-correct group-thinker changed the world?

      This subject has already been done to death. Something Torvalds said recently sums the whole thing up quite well:

      “Umm. I’m not polite. Big news. I’d rather be acerbic than stupid.”

      And the point is. Those people here who are hopelessly clinging to their pathetic little group-think ideals won’t ever make much of a difference until they stop being so utterly spineless and so concerned with trivialalities.

      Why is it that public announements of forking some high profile project never get further than the bikeshedding debate? It’s because if people were going to actually do it – they’d have already done it by now.

      Fascinating debate guys – back to the real world now eh? You know…the world where you make absolutely no impact whatsoever – unlike RMS.

  25. Mike
    October 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Oi vey! There was nothing at all wrong with what RMS said. Everything he said was true. Must everyone walk on eggshells who says anything critical about Apple or Steve Jobs. These articles all seem to indicate that anyone who mentions the name Steve Jobs must say it with holy reverence. That’s utter nonsense. Really??? Are you all serious? What a bunch of drama queens! If you really want to complain about people being insensitive to Steve Jobs turn your attention to the Westboro Baptist Church who is going to picket his funeral. Sheezzzzz…

  26. October 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I’m an ardent defender of free software, but have always refused to associate myself with the FSF in any manner whatsoever. I completely agree with you that it’s time to fork the foundation and to build something that’s more in touch with reality and more professional in the way it operates.

    If you wish to start such an initiative, I will be a day one supporter.

  27. rexismybff
    October 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    If it was really so upsetting, you would have quit years ago when RMS was bashing a guy who was dying from pancreatic cancer. This article has the foul odor of a melodramatic, self-serving publicity stunt.

    • October 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      I think that’s your cologne. I just stated an opinion. Take it any way you want.

  28. whoops
    October 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    so start your own free software advocacy group…there’s nothing stopping you

  29. alecco
    October 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    It’s time to fork Apple!

    I’m really tired of having to make excuses for the them when they go off half-cocked like this, which is why I’m not going to buy the iphone 4S.

  30. October 7, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I agree with Stallman! I respect Steve Jobs a lot, but he’s not a saint. He did everything to maximize his profits, not our freedoms.

    I’m tired of people threatening with forks! First, it’s not a manly thing to just talk as talk is cheap – either fork or shut the fork up! Secondly, even if you start a fork, at the end there will be yet another dead one.

  31. October 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I m shocked 😦 and empty no comments

  32. Christopher
    October 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Politics: boring.

  33. ava
    October 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Every word Stallman wrote regarding Jobs is right. This guy did nothing to make this world better. Not even one. However, to realise that you need to use your brain. Provided that you have one left.

    • ripSJ
      October 8, 2011 at 11:12 am

      >This guy did nothing to make this world better.
      Oh, really? How about you conduct a survey on the internet and asking people if Steve Jobs has made this world better? I bet you’ll then fall back on the usual bashing of the masses as “fools” whose opinions don’t count. I bet you also think that you know what’s best for everybody on this planet?

    • Craig
      October 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      I don’t think even RMS would agree with that. Jobs clearly had a great mind and a huge amount of passion for his work. Also, Apple have probably done more for free software than you ever will. CUPS, LLVM, Clang, Webkit…the list goes on.

      The world isn’t as black and white as you think. Their business practices go a little too far sometimes but free software will go on. No need for kneejerks.

  34. muuh-gnu
    October 7, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    > time to fork the FSF?

    What did you expect him to say on this? Something along the line of “Even at the FSF, we have been devastated that this great visionary does not dwell among us any more. His magical devices, even while closed, proprietary, DRMed, lawsuit-trigger-happy, and generally unfree as it gets, have also changed our lives forever. He changed our way to think and how we use computers. We will soon rename the FSF to FRSF: Forever Remember Steve Foundation to honor this great man. He will be greatly missed.”

    Hell, no. Stallman made a absolutely valid point that Jobs has done much harm to the Free Software ecosystem by making closed source, closed platforms and closed ecosystems vastly more appealing to users and developers. Even rebuking Stallman for saying this doesnt make sense, statements like this are what a head of the FSF, whoever may hold this position, is *supposed* to do in the first place.

    Job’s death does in no way imply that every form of valid criticism of his negative influence on the world has to be immediately silenced.

    > and if you want to debate this rationally, I’m up for that, too.

    In my humble opinion, you are totally overreacting and are not even aware of it. Sorry. Your place in the FSF membership list will be filled with someone else.

    • October 8, 2011 at 12:10 am

      I hope my place is filled by someone else, and I don’t think I’m overreacting.

      • Craig
        October 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm

        Free software pro tip: publicly calling for a fork always backfires and at the very least lowers your credibility. It’s the free software equivalent of “I’m taking my ball and going home”. You will end up kicking it against the wall on your own unless you actually have a vision.

        A few insights on public conduct is just wonderful but it won’t gain any traction, since it’s just administration for a non-existant cause. In fact, it’s essentially just bikeshedding in disguise.

  35. rb
    October 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    RMS told you the truth, maybe in a rough way. But still the truth. I find it valid to complain about the wording and timing, but please do not behave like a fanboi/braindead ignoring the truth in how apple behaves.

    • October 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      So you think everyone who disagrees on how to improve society is evil? You are disconnected from reality. 99.99% of the people out there would say it’s RMS statements that seem evil.

  36. October 8, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I have always found Richard Stallman “too much of a good thing”. And because of this, I prefer Linus Torvalds

    • carl
      October 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      stallman/linus/et all are not avatar you know right?

    • Craig
      October 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Torvalds is just a lot more pragmatic than RMS. He gets shit done without too much politics and still makes just as much difference. It’s hard not to respect that approach.

  37. startupgrrl
    October 8, 2011 at 12:14 am

    RMS made some rude remarks about an organ thief and now you’re throwing a hissy fit. Cry me a river.

  38. WorBlux
    October 8, 2011 at 12:18 am

    You’re full of it Gesh. I’ve never seen a EULA that allows users to modify the software.Most of them say that you absolutely shall not modify the program. EULAS that let you re-distribute software are rare. Also common in EULA’s are arbitration clauses and clauses that allow the BSA to come inspect all of your hardware.The GPL is one of the easier licenses to comply with.

  39. just-me
    October 8, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I was never a RMS fan (the toe picking incident) nor even a GPL zealot. But the neck-bearded dude spoke the truth in a cacophony of group think. I’m gonna join FSF and all my future OSS projects will now carry a GPL license. He said it and nailed it. I for one am sick and tired of group think

  40. October 8, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I’m on the fence in my opinion. I agree that it is bad to talk ill of someone who just passed, but I think all this “Steve changed the world” is a bit overrated. Steve Jobs is surely someone to be inspired from, considering how he aggressively pushed a personal computer to the layman’s room from his garage. But there are some realities to be discussed about. Naturally the reaction to the overreaction of “Steve’s the man” would come from the other extreme and will settle down in the middle ground.

  41. October 8, 2011 at 12:34 am
  42. October 8, 2011 at 12:45 am

    It sounds to me like you don’t need a fork. You just want to kick RMS out.

  43. max
    October 8, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Drama queen.

  44. October 8, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Whatever, no-one will care about this in a week anyway.

  45. October 8, 2011 at 2:28 am

    >Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

    Very true. He made pretty jails where users were forbidden to be free, like sharing of files with bluetooth, SMS forwarding, (iphone 1) etc.,

    Steve was a great design architect but the architecture was of beautiful confinement. Handcuffs made of gold, platinum, shiny gems and decorated with a million designs are still handcuffs.

    Steve Jobs – A hardware-software jail designer died.

    Larry, good that you left FSF, When you feel embarrassed for stating the obvious facts, then, you don’t deserve to be with *free* part, but you can be a part of a PCSF (Politely Congenial Soft Foundation)

    Truth is bitter. Everyone dies. So, just because someone dies, we should not tell anything bad about them? What’s your take on OSAMA B or Hitler?

    Steve jobs was a selfish person, like most of us, whatever he did he did for his self, for his iName, iFame, and iCash. Where is the part of philanthropy = iLoveHumanity?

    I agree with RMS, he has the courage and the wit to say the things as they are.

    peer-pressured people can’t understand that.

    • John
      October 8, 2011 at 6:14 am

      Well put. Please come dressed in your flame proof clothing next visit.

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:30 am

      Even I have been saying for long that Steve Jobs promotes closed walled-garden products. His intentions has been to create more and more closed products.

      I agree with RMS that he was a supporter of closed system. RMS should get the Captain Obvious award for this statement

      That said, I would like to beat his walled garden by promoting or developing open products. This does not mean I would be happy and wish he died so that I can win.
      To win you need to climb the hard way rather than pulling someone down the ladder or wish he fell so that the way was clear. The later is cowardice.

      • Craig
        October 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm

        It’s just a few words. Get over it. RMS has been wrong plenty of times. So have you.

        He’s just very to-the-point and a little lacking in empathy. Straight talk and independant thinking is what makes RMS so fit for the job he’s doing.

        Perhaps he went a little too far a little too early this time. Oh well, not much point getting butthurt about it.

  46. csh
    October 8, 2011 at 2:45 am

    It’s somewhat surprising that RMS’s claim that Steve Jobs was “the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool” goes entirely unchallenged. About 10% of desktop users have /usr/bin/gcc and /usr/bin/emacs at their fingertips; if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs, 99% of desktop computers would run Windows, with no free software whatsoever in sight.

    • October 8, 2011 at 4:07 am

      This is because the whole argument is less about who is right ideologically or who contributed to computing world but more about “how to behave properly in public”.

      Steve Jobs and RMS had a serious difference in opinion. One championed closed systems and RMS championed open system. RMS made this difference in opinion personal. Instead of saying “I wish he would have made his products more open”, he wished him good riddance.

      This is about not going personal even if you strongly disagree with someone

  47. hans paijmans
    October 8, 2011 at 2:51 am

    Sorry, I agree with Stallman, although timing could have been better. The publicity round death of Jobs bears more resemblance to the passing of Lady Di than of a normal human.


    • October 8, 2011 at 6:34 am

      Since Steve Jobs has left already his name will be more famous and unstoppable. Stallman has a point.

  48. Free Sofware Supporter
    October 8, 2011 at 3:28 am

    The amount of freetardery in these comments is sickening. Why don’t you all just follow RMS off of a cliff and get it over with so we can all move on to a world where everyone just gets along.

  49. October 8, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Why shouldn’t RMS state obvious and important facts just because Steve Jobs died?

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:32 am

      Yes, Captain Obvious (RMS) just stated what everyone knows. What is pissing off everyone is his intentions – his malevolent intentions. You have missed Larry’s point

      • October 9, 2011 at 7:50 am

        While many people—journalists, business people etc.—try to say nice things, just because Jobs died, RMS is honest and says what he feels and thinks like. His intention is a world without proprietary software, that is not malevolent.

    • Jon Hendry
      October 9, 2011 at 4:53 am

      How many workers have died in the Chinese factory that made Stallman’s laptop?

  50. October 8, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Why forking FSF instead of joining the OpenSource initiative?
    Apart from polical point of view, the OSI is a less radical FSF.
    Or I’m wrong?

  51. Tom
    October 8, 2011 at 4:32 am

    What Stallman said was completely justified. Jobs was an enemy of our freedom, I shan’t miss him and nor should you.

  52. October 8, 2011 at 4:43 am

    RMS is flawed, just as Jobs was. That doesn’t diminish their achievements.

  53. dean
    October 8, 2011 at 5:49 am

    It’s as if I wrote the article myself… I completely agree. RMS got me excited about free software once and I have a few open source projects with GPL licenses. The whole GNU/Linux thing always reaked of jealousy to me and made him look like a little kid. Everytime he publicly says anything lately it makes me realize he is just certfifiably crazy and a bitter old man.

    While I fully understand his disagreements with Apple, Steve left a family behind. As someone who lost his father recently, I would be heartbroken to read how people were happy he was dead in my days of mourning. It was extremely tasteless and sick. Anyone taking up for this comment is either coldhearted, has never lost a loved one or is just such a fanboy of RMS that they can’t see through the smug. Also, the whole intellectual and analytical thing doesn’t hold water. As a human, there is a time to put your analytical self aside, grow some emotions and respect other humans. It’s not about Steve anymore, it’s about his family he left behind. They’re not Steve and they’re not your enemy. Be analytical about Apple as a company and critique it, but let these peope mourn in peace over their father.

    Sorry for the rant.

  54. October 8, 2011 at 5:55 am

    This just shows you didn’t deserve to be a FSF member

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:32 am

      or FSF doesn’t deserve sensible people like Larry?

  55. October 8, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Both are inspirational, but this not the correct time I guess RMS. There is huge debate going over. Not good for the Free Software movement.

  56. October 8, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Here’s an article on Steve Jobs that actually has some balance… and perhaps you’ll like the Tim O’Reilly quote near the end:


  57. October 8, 2011 at 7:17 am

    “I’m not glad he’s dead, I’m glad he’s gone”

    I don’t see the problem.

    Steve Jobs has created one of, if not THE most evil computing companies around today. You wouldn’t get mad if this was a dictator, but thats exactly what Jobs was, a dictator of the computer world.

  58. Danny Moules
    October 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Whilst you’re there, don’t forget to stop using Firefox and Thunderbird because Asa Dotzler periodically makes unpopular comments.

    When people have strong opinions about something and spend their entire life making strong statements for or against things as a matter of their day job, they will occasionally say things that many people dislike. That’s part of being a great figure who makes things happen. You have to be the one person who speaks out for an idea when nobody else is, even if that’s detrimental to your personal image.

    In that sense, Stallman is continuing to do an excellent job.

    Not to mention stating why we need to continue with rational thinking whilst everyone else around us is losing their heads…

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:35 am

      Whilst you’re there, don’t forget to stop using Firefox and Thunderbird because Asa Dotzler periodically makes unpopular comments.

      Bucketload of crap. Asa has just voiced his opinion. His comments are like how RMS voices his comments. I once had a small discussion with him. I was pissed that XUL API broke in Firefox. He replied “We would break it in every release”.

      Going by what RMS said in his post about Jobs, I won’t be surprised if RMS would be present in place of Asa then he would have said “You don’t believe in what I stand for or what I believe. I don’t want you to die, but I wish you were gone” . Something Asa never said.

  59. October 8, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Stallman is a passionate developer, not a spokesman or a spin doctor. Consequently at times something awkward comes out. Still, I prefer the occasional slipup than see FOSS move into the “corporate speak” were now used to. At least it’s honest. BTW, I’m no FSF member. There are other, more distasteful person associated with FSF than Stallman.

    • Jon Hendry
      October 9, 2011 at 4:56 am

      “Stallman is a passionate developer,”

      Does he actually develop anything anymore?

      • October 9, 2011 at 6:06 am

        I dunno, but that is beside the question. Whether he IS a developer is a matter of semantics. You really wanna go into that?

  60. Sam
    October 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Don’t let the Doorknob catch you on the way out, Larry.

    • October 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

      It didn’t. Thanks for your concern.

  61. JustAnotherOpinion
    October 8, 2011 at 10:38 am


    RMS words were as tactless and callous as those that my Autistic son speaks daily. Unfortunately, my son is almost always right. Consider this article:


    Watch “Pirates of Silicon Valley” or “Triumph of the Nerds”. Steve’s failings were public knowledge.

    So were his successes. Steve was loved and admired too:


    Are we to remember him as “Alfred Nobel”, with an ironic “Peace Prize”? Should we distort his memory like that of Michael Jackson? Just accept him for who he was, good and bad.

    RMS’ fails to respect the dead, or their loved ones. His silence on the matter would have been appropriate and preferred. It is perfectly understandable that you would leave the FSF over his remarks.

    Put it in perspective though. Don’t abandon the ideals that led you to embrace open source software in the process.

    Best Wishes,


  62. Passerby
    October 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I just wonder… So, you’re leaving FSF because of something Stallman said? So an opinion of one person in FSF somehow changed you position on the whole organisation? What made you join in the first place then? Were it the goals and ideals of Free Software, or did you view the foundation as some RMS personality cult from the very beginning? Really, what’s the connection with the goals of the foundation and personal opinionsof its members, no matter how strong and hard to handle?

    In all cases, it’s good that you’ve left. If you’re doing something for Free Software, you can do the same without any organisation. As for FSF, if you think it has anything to do with whatever RMS writes in his personal blog, it’s quite obvious that you don’t understand what is it and what is it for.

  63. October 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

    By the way, you realise Eric S. Raymond just agreed with Richard Stallman on his take on Jobs?


  64. October 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Where do I sign up for the new fork?

  65. csh
    October 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    David Gerard :
    By the way, you realise Eric S. Raymond just agreed with Richard Stallman on his take on Jobs?

    He doesn’t agree on RMS’s tactless tone though, which is at the centre of Larry’s criticism: “Certainly RMS’s remarks were rude, intemperate, and ill-timed […]”

  66. bestform
    October 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Full Ack! I’ll be proud to put the member number “2” on my page, when you decide to fork the FSF.

  67. October 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I think we all agree on some points:
    1. Steve Jobs created a unique and impressive environment.
    2. This enviroment was closed, which is against all things that FSF and Open Source stand for.
    3. RMS statements about Steve Jobs, while true could have been timed better.
    4. We admire both Steve Jobs and RMS.
    5. Foxconn working conditions are an example of what’s wrong with corporate profiteering.
    6. Steve Jobs got rid of charity at Apple – exactly what we have come to expect from self serving greed.
    7. a closed environment to ‘protect’ his users borrowed and based on FSF / Open Source code – completely against open source ideology.
    8. SJ showed us what we could create with Open Source though some of disagree with his implementation.

    Based on the above I do not agree with ‘fork’ FSF – don’t do it. As with anyone who passes, I will give last respects, this applies to SJ. What contributions to the advancement of human compassion, equal rights, etc.. has made? I don’t expect the man to be a saint, but let’s not try to expand human suffering. Apple profits are up and it has a market cap greater than oil companies – yeah for humanity! How much of this has gone to charity? RMS has a right to his non fanboy opinion.

  68. GeekJen
    October 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I will be glad when Richard “Osama Bin” Stallman is dead & gone. Seriously. And nothing of value will be lost then. Stallman does NOTHING to really improve the live of the general public. Nothing. He barks to a tree and is a second Don Quixote. He is an extremist fighting for an extreme ideology, not for real-world problems&solutions. His so called goals are absolutely irrelevant for 99% of the population. Even for Linus Torvalds, who gives a shit if everything is “Open”.

    I despise RMS. I laugh at him. Who in their right mind, can take that moron seriously?

    • October 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Obviously, you’re entitled to that opinion, GeekJen, but personally I don’t wish Richard Stallman ill, nor will I be glad when he’s gone. Also, I “give a shit “if everything is “open,” if you’re talking about accessibility to code.

      • October 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm

        If you give a shit if everything is free, why did you ever join the FSF?

      • Jess
        October 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm

        @The User

        Just in case English isn’t your first language, the intended idiom for not caring about something is “not giving a shit”, even though the “not” is often elided by lazy speakers, similarly to when people say they “could care less” when they should say they “couldn’t care less”. When Larry says he gives a shit about “everything” being “open”, he means that he does care about that.

      • October 11, 2011 at 4:17 am

        Yes, I am not a native speaker, this usage sounds strange… Seriously?

      • Craig
        October 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

        @The User

        Yes, English is a very illogical language, but “giving a shit” means that you DO care, whereas “not giving a shit” means you DON’T care.

        I suspect the former usage emerged as a way to express the polar opposite of the latter (which is also a pretty odd construct to be honest).

        The more I learn about other languages, the more English seems a ridiculously illogical and indirect language.

  69. October 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    At the core of the issue, is the feeling that it’s bad to be happy when a certain person dies.

    I really don’t see any lack of taste in admitting that thing. Is his opinion, everybody can believe whatever they want. Besides, Stallman never said that. He said that the world is better without Jobs. Or something like that.

    Before Jobs’ death, some people had said that Apple was the new evil, even worse than Microsoft. Now Jobs is a saint, and nobody can speak bad of him.

    Stallman is at the left of Linus, at the left of Eric Raymond, at the left of everyone. We really need that point of view, otherwise, the world of free software would be unbalanced.

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:42 am

      At the core of the issue, is the feeling that it’s bad to be happy when a certain person dies.

      Exactly. Why would you like someone to die just because they stood against what you believe?

      Besides, Stallman never said that. He said that the world is better without Jobs.

      He said “As Mayor… said ‘I am not glad that he is dead, but I am glad he is gone”.
      It means the same. Now you can say that RMS didn’t say that, he just quoted. If this quote was not at all relevant, then why did he quote it? If it was relevant, then he used someone else quote and said “This statement fits for Jobs’ situation. I wish he was dead”

      Before Jobs’ death, some people had said that Apple was the new evil, even worse than Microsoft. Now Jobs is a saint, and nobody can speak bad of him.

      People are surely saying things against Jobs even now. Check the gawker article on the dark side of Jobs. Even the person who has written that never said that he is happy that Jobs died. He just laments that Jobs has dark side too.

      • October 9, 2011 at 9:17 am

        Why would I like someone to die just because they stood against what I believe?

        Well, that’s the whole point of having a enemy.

        In this age of politically correct morals, nobody can have enemies anymore. Nobody can have feelings like that, even if a mere wish can’t kill a thing, like a bullet would do.

        It’s really that bad to wish someone’s death, even if a wish can’t make a difference?

      • October 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

        Well, that’s the whole point of having a enemy.

        Sucks that people turn ideology differences into hatred and enmity, which turns to wishing the competitor dies so that they can win without competing with true spirit

        It’s really that bad to wish someone’s death, even if a wish can’t make a difference?

        For most of the people criticizing him, being malevolent is a strict NO-NO.

  70. Nigel
    October 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm


    I wrote this on ESR’s blog. I don’t think that the FSF is salvageable and here’s why:

    I think the problem for me is that the F/OSS culture has been tainted with this belief that these “other” folks are contemptuous or evil. I’ve felt this intellectually for a while but not really emotionally. It was always something I could ignore as one of those things the FSF zealots (and the young) do as it has always been my opinion that F part of the community has nurtured these unhealthy points of view. But now I believe that the O part is too willingly tightly coupled to the deranged half.

    I expected better of our community. I don’t want crocodile tears but actual respect for pioneers and visionaries in our domain even if they disagree. Except for here and there on an individual level it doesn’t seem to exist. Not at a community level.

    It has been complete idiocy from day one to characterize proprietary software as evil and it has breed this unwarranted contempt for other opinions and people who disagree. Because, hey, they are EBIL. Even folks that don’t directly buy into this idiocy are molded by it because it permeates our community at a fundamental level and is not vehemently rejected by our OSS community leaders. It is a hateful, poisonous aspect of the OSS culture that is mostly hidden by the fact that many if not most geeks are pretty mellow, nice folks. It is infuriating that while some members of our community would deride the “iSheep” for liking Apple products the real sheep has been us.

    ESR’s post on Steve Jobs’ death is fine but his defense for RMS is not.

    The open source community should NOT be based on hatred.
    The open source community should NOT demonize proprietary software and their makers as evil.

    It cheapens the concept of evil and it simply isn’t true.

    In his 1997 keynote Steve Jobs stated:

    ““We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win Microsoft has to lose”

    He did, and look where Apple is today?

    We have to let go of this notion that for open source to win closed source has to lose.
    We have to let go of the unhealthy hatred that permeates the F/OSS world.

    That requires more than just a fork I think.

  71. foo
    October 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    The FSF was already forked: http://opensource.org/

  72. vivsk Khurana
    October 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    No need to call you heretic cause you are an idiot of highest kind…

    • October 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      So you say. Many would say otherwise.

  73. St Ignatius
    October 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I never even heard of Richard Stallman.

  74. neuroelectronic
    October 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I’d love to hear more about your accusations that FSF resources are being redirected toward smear campaigns toward Microsoft and Amazon.

  75. R2
    October 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    So he said he’s glad he’s gone, and you start crying.
    Here’s a surprise for you, a lot of people, including me, is glad he’s gone too.

    About the “fork” thing. So you say they’re doing it wrong. You know what they say –talk is cheap, show me “code”.

  76. October 9, 2011 at 12:45 am

    So Larry,
    You got all the attention you wanted,from those who never liked RMS what next?
    Are APPLE investors talking to you about your folk plans and name of the same, is it going to start with “i”.

    Its irony that you worked with FSF for all this while…

    • October 9, 2011 at 5:45 am

      Its irony that you worked with FSF for all this while

      You mean to say that people working with FSF should blindly follow whatever RMS says and not question him? What is this ? Blasphemy? Glorification of blasphemy?

      Larry’s statement while being an FSF supporter gives him more credibility. If he was not an FSF supporter, then people would have come out saying “You were never a FSF supporter. You don’t know what it feels like being a true free software advocate” or shit like that.

  77. October 9, 2011 at 1:17 am

    me too

  78. October 9, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Shayne O’Neill :
    @Mathew, nobody is claiming Mr Jobs is a saint. In fact in many respects he was a terrible person. But theres a time and place for it, and thats not when people are burying their dead.

    No. Every newspaper is speaking about Jobs as the most important genius of the world. So it is normal to have some opposite reaction.

    I find this whole post completely sad.

    1) RMS didn’t attacked Jobs itself but only what he has done for the industry.
    2) RMS only speak about the public side of Jobs (he does not intend to hurt his friends or family)
    3) RMS explicitely say that nobody deserves to die, even your worst hated enemy.
    4) RMS was not rude.
    5) RMS even recognize that Jobs was very efficient at what he did.
    6) RMS speaks on his own personal blog, in its own name, not the one of the FSF oh his folk dancing club.

    So what’s wrong with you guy?

    Do you realize how brainwashed you have to be to consider RMS post offensive to the point of leaving the FSF?

    I personaly don’t like RMS, I don’t like the FSF. But I cannot see anything wrong with one guy saying on his blog “I think that what that guy did is bad”.

  79. Cheetah
    October 9, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Richard must realize that despite orthogonal philosophies, even he can learn from Steve Jobs. Richard totally fails to realize that to make an Idea popular, “being right” and giving lengthy talks why you think you’re right, is not enough. Acting like an insensitive clod and wishing someone good riddance at their deathbed vigil, so to speak, will not drive any of your points home – no matter how valid they are.

    It’ll just make you look like somebody not to be taken seriously. Learn from your enemy. Make your ideas popular. Steve has shown the world how to do it.

  80. UIX
    October 9, 2011 at 2:52 am

    You need to get over yourself. Stallman has said lots of things I don’t agree with. I don’t have a hissy fit about it because I’m an adult and realise that the FSF represents more than just Stallman.

    However… regarding Jobs/Apple. He’s right. Your Apple cult is clearly more important to you than the FSF – good luck

  81. Craig
    October 9, 2011 at 3:17 am

    I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs but at the same time, I completely agree with what RMS said, even if his timing was a little heartless.

    What’s happening in the comments here is irrational, bipolar thinking — all or nothing — love or hate. How about you people throw away your tribalism for one second and engage with some rational anaylsis.

    He was undoubtedly a very passionate, creative and wise man – yet his business practices left something to be desired. Some good, some not so good.

    The same can be said of Stallman. Some good, some not so good (and occasionally rather wierd).

    Wow, human beings are fallable…? One of the most successful and influential people in modern history was still only an inperfect human. Who would have thought…?

    There’s a certain irony in bashing someone’s flaw in pointing out someone else’s flaws.

  82. Pavel
    October 9, 2011 at 4:07 am

    Honestly I don’t understand what’s wrong with this Stallman quote about Jobs. This is the personal opinion of RMS, he have a right to think this way. We all know that Jobs was the “pioneer of the computer as a jail”, so why we need to grieve about his death? This is hypocrisy and Stallman just said what he thinks without all this political correctness shit.

  83. Andrea R
    October 9, 2011 at 4:58 am

    “As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, ‘I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.’
    -> He is glad. It’s a feeling. I think he can feel whatever he feels. He was not harassing people at Job’s funeral. He was expressing his thoughts on his private website. Who said you ought to be sorry when anyone is dead. People were partying after Bin Laden was killed, but that was socially ok…

    If you go on and start a new free software advocacy group, it would be a good thing, so that all those who cannot accept Stallman, as he is so rough and different, can join. I will remain a FSF member, tough.

    • October 9, 2011 at 9:26 am

      He was not harassing people at Job’s funeral.

      Comparing RMS to Westboro bapitist church people?

      People were partying after Bin Laden was killed, but that was socially ok

      I don’t remember Jobs being a terrorist who was responsible for killing thousands of people

  84. tchernobog
    October 9, 2011 at 5:32 am

    I think Stallman has become too clumsy to stay in charge. I still respect him for his integrity, and his ideas because when you strip them of angst they are good, but I do not think he is fit for leadership anymore.

    Sometimes you have to weigh your words carefully. He could have expressed his idea about Apple in a different way, saying just: “I am sorry Jobs died of cancer, but that does not change the fact that, while he may be seen as a symbol now for many, he did a great deal in his time to prevent users to really enjoy their freedom. “.

    That would have not brought rage throughout the community, and overall damaged profoundly us all FSF members who struggle day by day to make the software world a little bit more free-er.

    Personally I will not cancel my membership. There are many good people working in and around the FSF, and I am thankful to them. However, Stallman should not sit as the chairman anymore.

    Take Eben Moglen, instead, or give more space to John Sullivan, or even promote Jeanne Rasata. There are other people capable of steering the wheel.

    • Craig
      October 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

      All of the social constructs that have formed around “professionalism” and “political correctness” are exactly that — social constructs. They are frankly very inhumane and one of the most pathetic cultural edicts of our time.

      Say what you mean, be yourself and don’t allow your humanity to be censored by devisive social expectations like political correctness.

      RMS may be hard to stomach sometimes – but at least he actually has a spine unlike most of the people blubbering platitudes in these comments.

      • tchernobog
        October 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

        It might be true. But as a representative of an associations composed by many people, you should ask yourself what will be better for your cause.

        So, is it better an harsh and socially-ill-received comment, true as it might be (to which people will respond as you had hit them on the head), or the same thing said in a less inflammatory way?

        I am not questioning the *contents* of the message. However, the form has its importance.

        Do you educate your children by always shouting at them because it’s more manly and shows more backbone, or do you try to explain where they were wrong and how they can improve? Which one do you think works best in the long run?

        Would you rather listen to a teacher calling you names and telling you’re an idiot when you suck at maths, or to someone patient enough to explain things to you and making you feel they care? Because *that’s* leadership. Else it’s just being a boss.

        Social crowds are a little bit like children. They lose their individuality a little, and sway with the rest of the crowd. It’s too easy to get sidetracked from good predicaments if they are delivered in a distasteful way.

      • Craig
        October 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

        Funnily enough, tchernobog, Jobs was rather well known for his own inflammatory, personal attacks. Probably more so than RMS. I think it’s a side-effect of giving a shit.

        Welcome to the real world. Sometimes feelings get hurt — and sometimes it’s the best thing that’ll ever happen to you. People don’t expend that much effort unless they truly have something to say. Likewise, people don’t get upset unless *some* of what is being said *might* be true.

        The last few paragraphs of your reply is just a strawman. There’s a huge difference between having a point and just mindlessly insulting people. I wouldn’t waste my time mindlessly insulting anyone, especially not my own kids.

        Having a spine isn’t about testosterone and pissing matches, it’s about having a real point and making a real stand instead of just debating manners and politeness ad infinitum.

  85. δμ3κ
    October 9, 2011 at 6:21 am

    I don’t like where the Free Software Movement is going either. Once about promoting the user of libre software that respects users’ rights, now basically about cool Compiz effects and semi-closed-sourced Android apps to wow instead of inform the masses.
    Stallman is consistent, spoke the truth and he wasn’t offensive, even if social norms forbid of speaking ill of the dead. If you believe that it’s OK for, eg EFF to praise the legacy of Steve Jobs, the same legacy that they were fighting just two weeks before, then by any means, do leave FSF.

  86. arnie
    October 9, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Join OSI. Why waste our time.

  87. Ryan
    October 9, 2011 at 8:06 am

    So many weak-minded, knee-jerk idiots on display here. Go ahead and fork the FSF or just fork off and get on with you lives.

  88. iSomeone
    October 9, 2011 at 8:13 am

    On top of that Steve Jobs never wished that his enemies died.

    Nor did RMS. Did you actually read his words? I suggest you do. Carefully.

  89. October 9, 2011 at 9:23 am

    The User :
    RMS is honest and says what he feels and thinks like.

    Yes. He feels happy that someone died

  90. October 9, 2011 at 9:24 am

    iSomeone :

    On top of that Steve Jobs never wished that his enemies died.

    Nor did RMS. Did you actually read his words? I suggest you do. Carefully.

    Yes. I read. He did quote that Mayor’s words in the context of Jobs’ death. Why would he quote that acidic statement if he did not want him to die. He did say “I am happy he is gone”.

  91. October 9, 2011 at 9:28 am

    They have, in a way. Debian for its innovative work in packaging and system software, and SPI for managing its and many other free software projects finances and assets. Individual projects can apply for membership of SPI as a sort of loosely federated collection. Group politics are isolated from money and each other.

  92. October 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I’m right there with you. Great post

  93. Jeff
    October 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    People paid attention to RMS to begin with?

    • TdK
      October 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm


  94. underasteelsky
    October 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Larry, having read through the comments so far, I thought it might be useful to present a viewpoint that seems lacking: someone who doesn’t feel especially affected by the FSF, rms, sjobs@apple.com, and so on, and thus doesn’t feel like s/he has a directly personal stake in—most—of the topics under discussion.

    A few points, in random order:

    * Speaking as a sort of watery agnostic, I’m going to assume by default that sjobs, if he still exists in some immaterial / otherworldly form, is more or less immune to attacks by rms. I’m also assuming by default that his family and/or their close friends are at least moderately smart people who knew—years in advance—that opinion pieces written about Steve, after he stepped down and/or died, could easily be unpleasant reading. Hopefully, they’re not reading any, and won’t until the grief is less immediate, if at all. He was a tremendously polarising person *while* alive, yes?

    * Having pointed out that rms’ very specific opinion at this time probably does not matter so much to the people most likely to be hurt, I’ll be more general. As a non-member, the FSF, to me, is not about rms. It is about: gnutls; Mr. Kuhn; smacking Verizon and Best Buy management around; a much-needed contrast to the OSI, at least until their bylaws prohibit rubber-stamping licences. I’m in favour of all those things; especially the Verizon/BBY part. Note to FSF: concentrate harder on Verizon and their ilk. If you can’t *get* to the Free software, nor *use* the Free software, it’s not much use, is it?

    * Collating the two points above: are you certain rms’ opinion piece is the proverbial straw that broke the camel? Why not the last time he said something polarising and outrageous? For me, at least, the point is not at all about what rms says, but about what the FSF does. To that end, I suggest rejoining the FSF, and bringing like-minded friends with you. Minimize rms, to whatever extent you feel necessary beyond his self-minimization. Help chart a new course and get the FSF saying or doing things you feel are more useful. It’s *usually* more effort to tear everything out and start over. Just an idea.

    * The web has a short attention span. I know I do. You felt strongly enough about the FSF to become a member? If you feel strongly enough about the position you presented, invest the time to set up an alternative. Give me: a clean and simple website; a charter with executive summary; goals; projects (finally take an alternative Flash runtime to a 1.0 release, with supporting Flash-to-HTML5 trans-compiler); a clear idea of what you want (us!) to do, and one or more simple processes by which I can support your alternative organisation, either by signing my name to a list of “honorary” members of the New Software Foundation (I’m pulling things out of my hat, of course) or by donating, or by becoming a full member with “ask me about” T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, and “paste this code into your web page to show your support for the NSF”. Speaking as someone who’s pre-ordered indie videogames several times: instead of using PayPal or BitCoin, try to find at least three donation methods on a spectrum between those two. In short, analyse LibreOffice/TDF’s so-far quite successful departure from “OOo” (“Sunacle”) to a new foundation/platform, see what they did right, and do some of that.

    * If you feel strongly enough to provide an FSF-alternative… “platform”? …consider being more “here-and-now”. The one *other* thing the FSF means to me, which I *don’t* support, is being a tad too blue-sky / “3-5 years”. Since I wasn’t much worried one way or another about sjobs a month ago or five years ago, guess what I’m reading instead of “what-sjobs-meant-to-Life-Universe-Everything” pieces. That’s right: I’m trying to figure out what I, personally (and professionally!) need to be doing about BEAST, SSL, and TLS. I mentioned gnutls for a reason. gnutls is nice and all, but it’s not—that I know of—part of: Firefox; 99% of Apache (httpd/Tomcat/whatever) installs; 100% of IIS installs; or much else.

    In summary, instead of worrying about what sjobs or rms or the FSF mean or don’t mean, I’m trying to figure out what tomorrow and the next 1-6 months of my daily existence look like. In that context, what some guy said about some other guy is incredibly trivial. If rms or sjobs had said something recently about replacing or fixing, for-realz-this-time, the extant public PKI, *then* I would be interested.

  95. October 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    FSF is extremist – and any group, social or political – that is, or is lead by an extremist, will always fail in it’s cause.

    If the FSF was about education – letting people know about free alternatives, letting them know the importance of free software, etc… it would do well – and it is about that a little, but its also about “trash talking” anyone who doesn’t fall in that line.

    FSF is like PETA – what we need is a FSF-minded organization that could compare more to the ASPCA – promote the right values, but do it correctly and without feeling like every argument is emotionally charged.

  96. October 9, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Stallman is a classic Asperger’s case. Sometimes he seems like a genius, other times an asshole; I’d argue that it’s not his fault that he’s this way, but it does make him a questionable choice for leading a major organization.

  97. Jose Cuervo
    October 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Yea…. if you are offended by RMS’s statement then you are clearly an Apple supporter.

    He said that his death was a bad thing but what he has done to the world is worse…. WHY aren’t we morning the death’s of the 17 factory workers that produced his products. What makes his death any different? Since he produces highly propriety products based off of BSD (a truly open system) and other Open Source system? Which he then markets at ridiculous price to users willing to pay those ridiculous prices who worship him like a Saint?

  98. Anonymousx
    October 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    There was absolutely nothing wrong with RMS comment. There is nothing wrong with being critical of a celebrity as public discussion happens of them in their death. I can think of Michael Jackson and his pedophilia being discussed at length on cable TV immediately after he died. Here is something truly critical: Jobs killed someone waiting for a liver transplant by taking one he didn’t need and unethically gaming the transplant waiting list system. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2011/01/how_did_steve_jobs_get_his_liver.html. http://i.imgur.com/hIcgm.jpg.

  99. Mumbo
    October 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Richard Stallman is absolutely right, the world is a better place without bloody capitalists like Jobs.

  100. Barbara
    October 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    To those asking if this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back … look around. The answer for many is a resounding YES! People are fed up. RMS hasn’t done anything relevant in well over a decade except “promote his own brand”, and has done so without consideration of the harm it does to F/LOSS.

    Consider the FUD that the FSF engaged in 2 months ago by claiming that, because Linux was GPLv2 only, Android was a risk, and that people should pressure Torvalds to move to the GPLv3. This was ridiculous to the point that I initially thought it must have been some sort of Florian Meuller FUD.

    We all know the old saying “Doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity.” RMS will never change. His actions make it clear that matters more to him is “being right” than in advancing the cause of free and open software, and people are saying “Enough!”

    A previous poster asked if he still codes. His coding hasn’t been up to snuff in over a decade. His work on GCC was so moribund that it was replaced in its’ entirety with EGCS (which was then rebadged as GCC 2.95). Emacs? Same thing.

    The man is a misogynistic creep who has become more strident as he becomes more irrelevant, and like bad cheese, more offensive as he ages rather than matures.

    His latest statement puts him on the same level as Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist, another group that does what they want, and to h*ll with anyone who disagrees, because they are “teh Evil!”

    So yes, stick a fork in Stallman and the FSF, because he’s done.

    • Craig
      October 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Who’s payroll are you on? Apple…? Microsoft…?

      @Larry, think twice before you put your weight behind ignorant calls to arms next time. You’re doing absolutely no good whatsoever, besides helping people who would be glad to see free software die come along and add fuel to the fire you started.

      If you’re gonna fork, then fork. In not, shut the eff up – seriously.

    • Craig
      October 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Android has way bigger problems than the Linux Kernel. The fact that it’s not actually open source any more is probably the most obvious.

  101. r siddharth
    October 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Howdy!, Larry,

    I verily think everyone in this world has the right to express his/her perspectives to the world in a way that he/she wants. We generically call this as ‘free speech’. I presume, Stallman was just exercising his right of free speech.

    Also, I don’t understand why you should resign your membership in the FSF when Stallman posted his perspective on the issue in his own website and this doesn’t have anything to do with the FSF.

    Stallman, at the top of his site formally declares :

    This is the personal web site of Richard Stallman. The views expressed here are my personal views, not those of the Free Software Foundation or the GNU Project.

    I have impression that your decision to quit being a membership in FSF was an emotional one. It is not too late, re-think, reflect and ask yourself again whether you would want to continue helping the FSF by being a member. Perhaps, the only strong organization which advocates for the cause of Free Software and Computing freedom is the FSF and I don’t know how you will do your free software advocacy independent of the FSF. There is always scope for reconciliation.

    and thank you for paying heed to my comment.

    • October 18, 2011 at 11:19 am

      Larry’s exercising his right of free association. What are you complaining about?

      • October 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

        He did not say Larry should not have the right to quit his membership, thus it has nothing to do with free association.

      • r siddharth
        October 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm

        Howdy! Lefty,

        I was not ‘complaining’, I was suggesting Larry that he can always reconcile with the FSF. That is all. Also, I was not coercing Larry to do anything.

  102. Kermonk
    October 12, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Yay, suppression of free speech is going well in the nationalist states of America.
    Stallman was of course right, it was neither ludicrous, or tackless. Or even heartless since it wasn’t aimed at or meant to be read aloud for Jobs familiy.

    Why is you americans insist on lying about everything and not allow people to say what they feel without trying to bully them into submission (like you just did).

    Jobs was a jerk selling commercial crap to millions who didn’t know any better. Once your hysterical infatuation has faded you’ll see that – hopefully it won’t take too many decades for you and the other fanboies to wake up.

  103. October 12, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Hi guys,
    In Iran we have same problems with misunderstanding(I’m sure Larry is not misunderstood) of Stallman’s comment so some guys mailed him about this:

    Hi Richard, how do you do?
    recently I had translated your note about Steve Jobs pass away to Persian. I have one question: what did you meant by fool in “Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.” . you mean users whom are stupid or whom that does not know his or her rights with using software?
    please make some clearance here because this misunderstanding is causing a lot of negative hits on free software community.
    Thank you very much
    kind regards

    And this is what he wrote:

    A “fool” is someone who lacks wisdom. It is not the same as being stupid. Being stupid means lacking intelligence or cleverness. A fool can be smart, and a person who is not clever might not be foolish.

    For instance, a person who calculates mathematically whether he can afford to repay a second mortgage on his house may be very smart and clever about how he calculates it, but he is foolish to consider the idea.

    I think that anyone who gives up his freedom for the attractions of an iBad is foolish.

    “Please make some clearance here because this misunderstanding is causing a lot of negative hits on free software community.”

    These people base their thinking on foolish priorities. Which is more important?

    * Stallman does not respect Jobs now any more than he respected Jobs last year.

    * Jobs and his followers are trying to take away your freedom.

    To a wise person, the second is very important and the first is insignificant. So why do they care more about the first? That is the essence of a fool.

    You can see the actual Persian post here:

    • Craig
      October 12, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      See, he fucking nailed it. Even more so than anyone defending him here. The guy’s still got it.

      Stallman is still making a difference because he’s got the cohones to stay true to his vision. I bet he’s never made the mistake of calling for a fork with absolutely no intention (or ability) to do so, unlike Larry thefreepublicityguy.

  104. October 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I don’t think there is something wrong with Stallman’s comment. We would sense more and of course better freedom without Steve jobs. And you Larry: just take it easy man. everyone has the right to express his ideas. Just relax. FSF needs guys like you.

  105. October 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    without word …you fool

  106. toto
    October 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Well, if you want Stallman miss such kind of “mistake”… you’d better ask a compass to stop indicating the north for a while! No way…

    And what about real fools that compared Jobs with Edison or even Enstein?!

    No, really, what Stallman said is really what you can expect from FSF: Calm down the stupidity and histeria and highlight the thruth.

  107. Jesper
    October 13, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I actually went here thinking “uh-oh, what did he say this time…” until I clicked the link and found the original statement by RMS.

    I’m sorry, but that is hardly offensive – it’s matter-of-factly and honestly quite refreshing in the wake of all this deifying a man who, when all comes to all, primarily was a business man – not some mother Therese.
    The Apple stockholders have lost a prominent figurehead, for sure – painting Jobs’ as some sort of boon to man-kind or force of good, as many news outlet has, is just plain ludicrous.

    Read the statement again, Larry – RMS specifically stated that he isn’t happy to have Jobs die, but he is relieved that such an enigmatic person no longer powers the Apple agenda. I think anyone who cares in the least for their personal freedoms in relation to technology would agree on that.
    If anything, the statement could be construed as an acknowledgement of Mr Jobs’ talents as a salesman and product developer.

    I must agree with some of the others here, you need to loosen up a bit

    • Craig
      October 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Exactly! Well said. Some people just took it way out of context. Manish was even putting words in his mouth. Clearly they’ve got nothing more important to do :-/

      I wonder, what exactly does this Larry guy do for Free Software…? He seems to have very few credentials to speak of on his “about” page. Perhaps he’s just a shill…?

      • October 13, 2011 at 1:29 pm

        Yes, it was well said.

        But, but please argue without this ad hominem, Craig.

      • Craig
        October 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm

        @The User,

        Calling it “ad hominem” implies it has no basis in facts or reason, which is clearly not true. Ad hominem attacks are generally devisive and unfair – I think what I said here was very pertinent in this case

        He’s calling into question the motives of a guy who has done a hell of a lot for free software, on the grounds of some frankly trivial statement he made. Calling his own contributions and commitment to free software into question is very valid here I think.

        If all he is doing is jostling for geek points or “alpha male” status, he should think twice about the impact it has on free software. Influence is arguably *the* most important tool anyone has in pushing the values of free software. When a self-titled “Free Software Guy” starts attacking one of the most important organisations in free software, he better have a pretty good reason. Publishing a few cutting (but true) words about Steve Jobs is NOT a good reason.

        In short, Larry’s whole post is a trivial bikeshed designed with the only goal of attracting publicity and scoring points by attacking someone further up the food chain. If he actually cares about free software as much as he claims to – he’ll be careful about talking nonsense in future.

  108. KSL
    October 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    “…because Richard Stallman no longer speaks for me after making a completely ludicrous, tactless and heartless remark regarding the passing of Steve Jobs.”

    I completely disagree. RMS clearly stated that he was not glad that Steve died, and honestly, he was quite careful not to imply he was. But does it matter? No, a bunch of bloggers didn’t see the typical “I’m sad” post and instead assumed it’s an evil, heartless, attack on the great all mighty Steve Jobs! Read the post more carefully. Or better yet, read these two articles:
    http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/50428-why-stallman-is-right-about-steve-jobs && http://www.muktware.com/news/2618

    They express some good points, one also reminds you of the real heartlessness that Steve Jobs allowed/directed Apple to carry out. Things like patents on simple and obvious user interface concepts, which later were used to attack the legitimate and greatly needed competition. The vendor lock-in used to extract more profits. The DMCA attack on bluwiki where discussions were taking place about making ipods compatible with anything other than iTunes[1]. And much more. While Apple may have done some good, like contributing to some FLOSS projects, they also did a lot of damage.

    Even if Apple was some perfect company, what RMS said was perfectly legitimate. He quoted a mayor who’s statement applied very well, and further added his own commentary to help be clear that he did not support the death of Jobs. In fact, as the second article mentioned, he was being sensitive of the issue… trying not to imply that he was glad for the death.

    If he really wasn’t sensitive or was glad Jobs died, he probably would have said something more along the lines of “Steve Jobs has died, after building the world of computing into a jail, he finally got what he deserved. The world has been ridden of a threatening man.” Or possibly worse. Yes, that’s a totally heartless statement, and it is one that would reflect a REAL glee for death.

    What Richard wrote comes nowhere near that.

    [1] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/11/apple-confuses-speech-dmca-violation

  109. Max Y
    October 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    How do I become member 5030?

    • October 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Ask them.

  110. Tony
    May 4, 2012 at 6:35 am

    If you go to a backery and buy a cake, is it unethical if you don’t get the recipe as well?
    If you buy a radio, is it unethical if you don’t get the construction plans for it?
    If you buy some software, is it unethical if you don’t get the source-code?
    If you buy a processor, is it unethical if you don’t get the “hardware description language”-description of the processor?

    Stallman sees it as an ethical issue. Maby he is ultimately right. I simply don’t know.
    He’s right that sharing is a good thing.
    But is it really an ethical issue whether or not you get some recipe, construction plans or source-code??

  111. michael schuldt
    July 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I will double my yearly donation to cover your loss.

    • July 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Good for you.

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