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The RMS resignation was inevitable and right, but at the same time very sad.

Things can be right and sad at the same time. We can feel empathy while knowing this was necessary.

For people celebrating, we understand why. For those feeling sad about it, it's okay to feel sad too, but we all knew it had to happen.

@emacsen This is exactly where I am. This is bittersweet for me for sure. It had to happen, but I'm sad that it got to a point where it had to happen.

@MadestMadness this is what I have a very hard time empathizing with -- it had to happen DECADES ago. you are sad for the person who alienated and hurt -- often traumatically -- so many people.

Is RMS worse off? what are you mourning? his title? his income? his stature?

I hate to break it to you, but it didnt just recently become a problem. he's been a problem since the beginning. and this kind of thought process is why it took so fucking long and why so many people were hurt

@emacsen

@aag @emacsen You're not wrong 😕

For me at least, I'm not trying to say my sadness is justfied. I'm just saying it's there. It's not coming from a place of logic, or even a place that's justifiable. I see this as both completely necessary and overdue.

@MadestMadness my apologies -- I did not wish to imply a need to justify your emotions. I wanted to comment on the thought in general; not you and your feelings specifically.

@emacsen

@aag @emacsen Ah, ok 🙂

A distinction is necessary, for sure. I'm sad with the situation, but I'm glad it all happened.

@emacsen I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding the part around sadness. This is like 20 years of (only 5 I've observed) people railing for this to happen. I'm a proponent of restorative justice (I actually do want him to begin going to therapy to work on his empathy skills) but he willingly did a lot

@jalcine @emacsen he has used his platform to speak for a lot of causes over the years that had nothing to do with tech: this is more than so many of the people in his position. This is not to make up for anything else he's said, but I guess it at least makes me hopeful he's in a position to perhaps understand the context of the irresponsible shit he's said.

@foggy @emacsen 30 years.

I wouldn't even back a Black person if they were homophobic or fatphobic or a TERF.

Speaking on something doesn't absolve them of their CORE behavior

@nev @foggy @emacsen this is something too many advocates of him are seemingly refusing to acknowledge

@jalcine RMS's work, ethic and philosphy changed my life. If not for RMS, there is a significant chance I would be dead.

It was partly the Free Software ethics, but the work itself. He didn't just ask for a better world, he created it. For me as a teenager, that was a revolutionary idea- that I could personally change the world in that way. I didn't need permission from some company or government. I didn't need to protest, I could simply do it!

(...)

@jalcine And in the longer essay about Free Software, RMS presents an ethnical framework which we can use to evaluate contributing the maximum good to the world.

That was also a revolution for me. Before that, I'd felt like everything in my ethical life was simply fed to me. School felt like that too. But RMS showed me a way to think on my own.

These ideas shifted my entire thinking, about everything.

(...)

@jalcine And like RMS, I was ridicuuled and ostrasized. I was told my professors that I was wasting my time, that "Linux is a toy" and "Python's not going anywhere".

It's easy to see how wrong they were now, but I was betting my career on it, including not going for a graduate degree.

I was told I was Unamerican for my beliefs too, and part of the lessons I learned was that I had to fight for what I believed in, even if no one else agreed with me.

@emacsen @jalcine I feel you, this is exactly how he impacted me as well... but this should be for the better

@emacsen isn't that borderline idolatry to a point? Like I understand that's what he did but it's the work, not HIM, that seemed to have an impact on you.

Not being able to disassociate those two also demerits all of the other people who supported and contributed to the mission during those days as well.

@jalcine I addressed this in the first message in the thread- that the consequences of RMS's actions lead to this moment, and that this was inevitable and the right resolution.

You asked me why people are sad and I'm telling you what an impact he had on my life.

I also know RMS as a person, good and bad. He's insulted me, he's insulted people I care about, he's done things I find extremely distasteful in front of me,

I see this holistically. He's a human being- qualities and flaws.

@emacsen @jalcine bro I'm sorry but is it really appropriate to have this particular sermon about his positive impact in the context of what he said? Even independent of any other behavior? You're in the shadow of some really awful stuff here.

@foggy @jalcine The thread is about why people are sad. I'm sad. He said awful things and hurt many people. For that, he's been removed from leadership from the organization he founded.

For that, he's been removed from the university.

I'm glad for those things. They were the right answer.

I'm still sad for the man who gave my life a sense of purpose.

I'm sad he couldn't change this about himself. The world would be a better place if he could have.

@jalcine @emacsen Speaking as someone who graduated college into Linux I would say that Linux and Free Software became my religion even moreso than being Lutheran. My wife joked that my religion was Getting Things Done and Linux and she wasn't far off. They both taught me a different way of thinking about the world that profoundly changed how I interacted with the world.

@jalcine @emacsen RMS, Linus Torvalds, ESR, Bruce Perens, etc. were like prophets and apostles to me, spreading a gospel of software accessibility that I could have only dreamed about. Before you couldn't get the source for anything you ran; now you could. I wore the uniform of Linux and did my part to spread the good news.

It's hard to realize that someone you admired is fallible and doesn't reflect your own values. You hope that they'll change and keep perfecting themselves.

@craigmaloney @jalcine @emacsen that's cool. I never had ESR as a hero because he doesn't see people like me as fully human 🙃🙃🙃

@nev @jalcine @emacsen Yeah, it took me reading his other written works to undo any hero worship I have of ESR. He comes to a convention that I attend. At first I was "OMG it's ESR, but after a few years I started realizing he wasn't what I was trying to impose on him.

@craigmaloney @jalcine The same. I'm Jewish, proudly so. It's intrinsically a part of who and what I am.

To me, Free Software is even more important than my Judaism.

RMS codified much of those ethics into a comprehensive whole.

I wish he had been able to see that he was harming others these ways. It's purely speculative on my part but I think if he had been younger, he might have.

He didn't, and he hurt people. He's harmed people. Its so awful :(

@craigmaloney @jalcine The same. I'm Jewish, proudly so. It's intrinsically a part of who and what I am.

To me, Free Software is even more important than my Judaism.

RMS codified much of those ethics into a comprehensive whole.

I wish he had been able to see that he was harming others these ways. It's purely speculative on my part but I think if he had been younger, he might have.

He didn't, and he hurt people. He's harmed people. Its so awful :(

@emacsen @craigmaloney @jalcine I have been repeatedly thinking our community is going to be wrestling with this, in much of the same way a church has to wrestle with a once loved priest/pastor/rabbi who had to be made to leave.

Were definitely going to be stronger for it, but lots of soul searching; tentative steps ; and strange mixes of emotion ahead. Some people's faith may be shaken a bit.

@emacsen @craigmaloney @jalcine For those of us who thought of free software as an ethical or political position close to our hearts; a tectonic plate just shifted.

@emacsen @craigmaloney @jalcine There probably HONESTLY was some idolatry of Stallman; or some form of it.

Easy to do, when your pseudo political-ethical movement is built on idealism; and has a founder who has committed their life more or less to it.

That might be a mistake to be learned from. There certainly has been some chatter about free software sans rockstars/leaders in recent days.

@trashheap @emacsen @craigmaloney I will say that with regards to activism, the easiest way to kill it to make it central to a singular person (or a set of them). The ideals have to live PAST the person. Otherwise, it's a pseudo-religion.

This is something I've seen and observed in other forms of activism.

@jalcine @emacsen @craigmaloney Very much agreed. If free software can't move beyond stallman, then it was never what many of us wanted in the first place.

@craigmaloney @jalcine The same. I'm Jewish, proudly so. It's intrinsically a part of who and what I am.

To me, Free Software is even more important than my Judaism.

RMS codified much of those ethics into a comprehensive whole.

I wish he had been able to see that he was harming others these ways. It's purely speculative on my part but I think if he had been younger, he might have.

He didn't, and he hurt people. He's harmed people. Its so awful :(

@jalcine @emacsen I think it's the belief in fundamental goodness winning out. Perhaps it's a misguided belief that those who go astray will eventually return penitent and ready to be part of the community again, no matter how long it takes.

Maybe it's one too many "Prodigal Son" sermons on Sunday that make us believe that no matter how much someone screws up that we should forgive when they get their crap together.

@craigmaloney @jalcine @emacsen I'm very uncharitable about this, I see it as a lot of people who are more comfortable being in solidarity with creepy dudes than with child sex-crime victims, which is a real good look, nerds

@jalcine @emacsen Same here. I don’t understand the idolizing of someone who clearly has no empathy—especially about his supposed “make the world a better place” philosophy. How can someone who does not recognize others as human beings improve the human condition?

@emacsen The emails in question seemed to me to be mostly him making a point about accurate terminology. It made me think of his insistence on distinguishing between copyright, patents, and trade secrets rather than using the popular term, IP. Of course the subject was more charged and the context, well, I guess in these contexts it's best to be silent is what the playing out of this has taught us. I could imagine things going otherwise in a less public setting or in a more healthy society.

@emacsen Being president-for-life is never a good thing. #RMS has so many merits that he could have easily retired and just continue to be an important voice as the elder statesman of Free software. Just as Mandela after he stepped down and unlike persons who missed the right moment and had to be forced from power, such as Mugabe.
But the way it happened now is incredibly sad. RMS to be remembered as a defender of Epstein? Why on earth did he do that?

@emacsen
It is really sad that in the US it seems to be impossible to have critical conversations without things like this to happen.

There is no real culture of exchanging critical ideas and that explains a lot of things happening over there.

@emacsen people often say things were inevitable to justify something that isnt entirely right.

you said "we all knew it had to happen."

no we didnt. three times in one post you imply necessity, never once giving a reason why the #fsf needed to remove its founder at this time. i would say it is disputed, and in its wording your post implies a fiction where the people who disagree simply do not exist-- a dubious argument, at best (practically circular.)

@emacsen He probably should have resigned eventually for general reasons, but this was a bad way to resign.

@emacsen I don’t think this was inevitable or right. The moral outrage is unjustified based on what he actually said. Let’s not police speech, if he is wrong argue the point.

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