back to article Stallman's final interview as FSF president: Last week we quizzed him over Microsoft visit. Now he quits top roles amid rape remarks outcry

Shortly after The Register learned that Richard Stallman, founder and then president of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the GNU Project, had been invited to speak at Microsoft's corporate headquarters, we emailed him to ask about the apparent incongruity of advocating for software freedom at a company singled out by …

  1. DougS Silver badge
    Facepalm

    He should have stuck to what he knows

    Instead of making unprompted statements of opinions that only a moron would fail to realize would be highly inflammatory. Fortunately the FSF will continue on without him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

      Not much love for people with Asperger's, I see

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

        With all due respect, that 's isn't Aspergers. I know plenty of people who are on the Aspergers' spectrum and who are perfectly social, friendly people without the sort of ideas that Stallman has not been able to shake his whole life.

        If you ever meet Stallman (which I have a few times), you will quickly realise that he's, umm, not socially gifted a plain vanilla a**hole who is so out of tune with the rest of the world and convinced of his own opinion that it's impossible to have a discussion. Some of us have to live in the real world, Stallman does not and it shows in many ways.

        I think it'll do the FSF a world of good to lose his influence.

        Sorry if I am kicking against the shins of your God, but that's my (also not very social) unvarnished opinion. I am grateful that he developed the GNU framework in which Torvalds could develop the Linux kernel, but from a pure social perspective I would not want to meet him again.

        1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          I saw Stallman give a speech just over a decade ago. Whilst I could agree with some of his points, there were others where I thought he was plain wrong and out of touch with the real world.

          His arrogantness, though, totally turned me off from anything I did agree with.

          1. alain williams Silver badge

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            His arrogantness, though, totally turned me off from anything I did agree with.

            This is unfortunate, but happens a lot.

            Just because you disagree with some of someone's opinions, or dislike their demeanor, does not mean that you should consign all of their opinions to the bin - especially someone as complex and who covers a lot of ground as does Stallman.

            A balanced view does take more effort as you need to examine arguments carefully, so many do not do so. It can also open you to criticism by those who do not put in the effort and just see the way that the wind is blowing "Oh, many say that XXX is now bad - I shall do so as well", then "Why are you not vilifying everything about XXX ? You must be racist/misogynist/... so I will vilify you as well".

            If you do not have the time to put in the effort to properly understand then you should say "no comment", however this can also result in you being adversely labelled; so, understandably, many will go where the wind blows.

            That is how these things snowball - sometimes it is justified, but not always.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

              A balanced view does take more effort as you need to examine arguments carefully, so many do not do so

              --> Take your pick, as much as you want. I'm buying (virtually only sadly).

          2. Alister Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            His arrogantness,

            Arrogance FFS

            1. jgarbo
              Headmaster

              Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

              Arrogantness lasts longer than simple arrogance. (OED) ;-)

              1. CRConrad

                Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                you misspelled OCD.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          It appears this is not Stallman's first rodeo when it comes to social behaviour, if you pardon the unintentionally inappropriate associated visual..

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            There's a very odd passage in the linked article: "the [MIT] administration created a very specific and well thought out policy, which basically says that any relationship where two people are in different positions of power (professor*-student, director-staff, etc.) cannot coexist with a sexual/romantic relationship or any type of sexual activity."

            My own marriage was, I suppose, technically a staff (research assistant)/(research) student relationship although there's not much, if any, difference in power there. But in my undergrad days the wife of the acting head of department had previously been his research student. Later, n the department where I met SWMBO, one of the lecturers was married to a technician. It's not uncommon for people to meet their partners at university and not entirely unusual for those to be in different roles.

            This rule seems to be harking back to the very bad old days when a married woman had to resign or the nearly as bad days when a married couple couldn't work in the same department. AFAICR even in our case we had to check that that wouldn't be an issue.

            My advice to the people drawing up this sort of policy would be to be very careful what you wish for.

            * AFAICS in the US any tenured member of staff seems to be termed a professor. In the UK this is not so. For comparative purposes a university lecturer would have to be regarded as a professor in these terms.

            1. keithpeter
              Windows

              Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

              Workplace conduct policies in UK public sector often require people to disclose that they are in a relationship if they both happen to work in the same organisation. Same with staff and students (mature students obviously). Not sure any requirement not to work there any more. Just more preventing any suggestion of nepotism and/or issues around power at work.

              Shame about Stallman, there is a lot he has been proved right about in terms of free software, drm, tracking &c.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                > Workplace conduct policies in UK public sector often require people to disclose that they are in a relationship if they both happen to work in the same organisation.

                The place I used to work it wasn't allowed for people in the same part of the organization to be in a relationship. When a colleague and I became an item we went to our boss and let them know. We expected that one of us would get shunted off to somewhere else in the company. The boss just said that they trusted that we could be mature about it. Their boss agreed too and we stayed working together.

                But it was against the rules.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                  I suspect that these days such policies would fold under a human rights challenge.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

              > policy, which basically says that any relationship where two people are in different positions of power

              I've know several secretaries marry their boss, back in the day when things like secretaries were not unusual. I've even known how hard some of these women worked at it to win their boss over.

              Sure there were a lot of sleeze balls, but before tinder work was often the main place people found a partner.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                "policy, which basically says that any relationship where two people are in different positions of power

                I've know several secretaries marry their boss, back in the day when things like secretaries were not unusual. I've even known how hard some of these women worked at it to win their boss over."

                And Stallman said he didn't see any problem with having sex with minors IF IT WAS CONSENSUAL. Any body want to comment why this is a problem?

                Personally I liked the late twentieth century IBM corporate solution to workplace relationships. Assuming both were of value to the company, the woman was promoted and earned a higher salary. This from a late relative who was a 40-year employee of IBM.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                  > Stallman said he didn't see any problem with having sex with minors IF IT WAS CONSENSUAL. Any body want to comment why this is a problem?

                  When I was at school I had two close female friends who were under the legal age of consent who were in long relationships with boys a few years older and where having physical relations.

                  Their age gap didn't seem unusual at the time.

                  These days, If the age gap had been bigger I'd be concerned. If the guys involved had been say 10 or more years older I'd be very concerned. But the gap was only a few years and the girls were very mature for their years and I'm pretty sure they weren't being taken advantage of.

                  Certainly their handling of the main school sex ed lessons was very adroit and they answered the questions about handling relationships and things which the teachers were failing to handle.

                  1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

                    Re: Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                    FYI Marvin Minksy was in his 70s at the time of the assault, according to court documents.

                    C.

                    1. Kiwi Silver badge
                      Thumb Up

                      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                      FYI Marvin Minksy was in his 70s at the time of the assault, according to court documents.

                      Thanks for that.

                      That puts it into the distinctly "creepy" side of things, but over here it would be legal still (70 and 17 or even 16) - and many would applaud such an old coot still being able to get it up and still being able to draw a younger lady (I am still working on the assumption he believed that she was over the age of consent).

                      (sadly I am too rapidly approaching the age where someone 1/2 my age could legally get it on with someone 1/2 their age :( )

                      1. Jaybus

                        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                        "and many would applaud such an old coot still being able to get it up"

                        I've just one thing to say to that......Viagra.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                      As Kiwi says, thanks for the additional information, I'd not read the background story.

                      Whereas it would be legal where I live (over 16), I'd have to say that no sane 70 year old is really going to believe that a 17 year fancies them, so they should have suspected that there were other motivations involved.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge

                        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                        Whereas it would be legal where I live (over 16), I'd have to say that no sane 70 year old is really going to believe that a 17 year fancies them, so they should have suspected that there were other motivations involved.

                        Money is a common factor I believe...

                        (Where's that cynical bastard icon?)

                    3. tekHedd

                      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

                      So, let's do what everyone else has done: conflate the two comments so that it feels like the first comment is about the second situation. Then decide that, in any case, he has spoken heresy and must be banish...I mean deplatformed.

                      Just pointing out this is how you must think to be woke. And you must be woke.

            3. Kiwi Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

              My advice to the people drawing up this sort of policy would be to be very careful what you wish for.

              In these parts just this week they aired a Soutpark episode (probably an old one) where the school principal and the vice principal are found in a sexual relationship. Several kids are missing, believed kidnapped and maybe killed, lots of other badness going on, but this is the worst thing to hit the town. People vomit at the news, others all-but lose their minds.

              Are the yanks really that uptight about workplace relationships? Where it can interfere with work then yes, I agree - but I've seen many people allow their home life to affect their work life even when the spouse is some distance away. I've also seen couples work together very well, especially in many small businesses where one does most of the technical work and the other does most of the managerial work, yet both are equally in charge.

              Those policies stink, although of course I can understand they are there to avoid issues where a relationship ends especially when it ends badly. Actually, they're probably there because someone high-enough or loud-enough in HR who will never get a date wants everyone else miserable, at least within their little fiefdom...

            4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

              AFAICS in the US any tenured member of staff seems to be termed a professor

              It's more complicated than that. In particular, most professors in the US are not tenured.

              This varies somewhat by institution, but most accredited universities and colleges in the US have a range of teaching ranks. Graduate students with a teaching assignment may be ranked as Graduate Assistants or Teaching Assistants or similar. Other non-professorial teaching ranks may include titles such as Instructor and Lecturer. Some institutions have higher non-professorial teaching ranks like Academic Specialist.

              Professorial ranks are Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor (often referred to as "full professor"); there are often special ranks such as Distinguished Professor, Endowed Chair, and the like. There are also administrative ranks - Deans and Associate Deans, Provost and Vice-Provosts, and the like - but people holding those ranks are typically Professors as well, even if they currently have no teaching assignment.

              Generally, to have a professorial rank you have to hold the terminal degree in your discipline, which is typically a doctoral degree of some sort (PhD, MD, etc), though for some disciplines the terminal is some form of master's degree, such as an MFA.

              Tenure is not directly connected to rank. There are many professors who are not tenure-system faculty at all, and (unless re-hired on a tenure-track line) will never be tenured. These are the "fixed-term" faculty, aka the university wage slaves, who do most of the undergraduate teaching for very little money. For people in the tenure track, tenure is typically granted (assuming it's granted at all) at the Associate Professor level, but not necessarily alongside the promotion to Associate. Also, sometimes senior people will be hired directly into Professor with tenure.

              Some other non-teaching ranks can be tenured, such as Librarian, and some scientific and medical ranks that don't use the professorial titles.

              In brief: There are various sorts of professors; there are various sorts of non-professors; some teachers are professors and some are not; some professors are teachers and some are not; and tenure is another thing altogether.

            5. Jaybus

              Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

              "* AFAICS in the US any tenured member of staff seems to be termed a professor."

              US universities use the tenure-track system, where after a 7 year period an evaluation is performed by a tenure committee and either tenure is granted or the person is dismissed. In that sense, any tenured staff member is indeed an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. The US media, being too lazy to bother with those details, uses the term generically to lump them all together.

          2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Holy cow, that was an eye-opener. I was absolutely not aware that Stallman was such an asshole.

          3. Sherrie Ludwig

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            Thank you, AC, for posting the link to Selam G.'s article. it was thought-provoking, and something I can point to when someone asks what women 's concerns are in the worlds of academia, tech, and business.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Ac - Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          Since you're better than him, care to tell us who you are and what are your major achievements ? Just to reassure us.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          Hi. I have Asperger's. I have learned, through a great deal of trial and error, that no matter how true something seems, other people will react in strange ways to it if it relates to emotion or relates to a thing that causes emotion, and furthermore that being factually correct doesn't mean anything in regards to whether people think you're correct. It's still very difficult to figure out what is what, and the only way to learn is by accidentally burning bridges. I've discovered that the best way to not say the wrong thing is to not say anything at all. If RMS has the same difficulty, he is unlikely to have learned this, because his main source of income is speaking his mind. I have also learned that this irrationality of other people makes it easy to believe I'm far smarter than I am, so it is difficult to distinguish between topics that I'm experienced with and topics that I'm not in regards to whether talking about something in a certain setting is a good idea. So, yes, both the beliefs themselves and his desire to talk about them are likely very influenced by Asperger's.

          While it's okay to talk about your experiences with people with Asperger's, it's definitely not okay to authoritatively state that something is or isn't caused by Asperger's unless you've asked a person who does/has the something and also has Asperger's. Please refrain from doing this in the future.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            You are not alone and some bridges are there to be burned, just make sure you know which those are (but judging by your post, you have matured to the point where you can fake being social).

        5. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          Sadly, his one thought is to longingly meet up with you again.

        6. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          "I know plenty of people who are on the Aspergers' spectrum and who are perfectly social, friendly people without the sort of ideas that Stallman has not been able to shake his whole life." hardly an argument, there are plenty of smokers who live to 100.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            Besides that, friendly I can believe, but social is most likely faked, something most people with Asperger learn eventually. And yes, I do speak from personal experience.

        7. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          It's hard to know the not-social ones isn't it? It's a spectrum....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

        I think the term you're looking for is high functioning Aspergers.

        I don't know if that would apply. Its possible but it would take a board certified psychiatrist to make said diagnosis.

        Its one thing to miss the social cues and norms, its another to ignore them.

        At the same time, you can see that in some of his views an interesting understanding.

        While Stallman didn't see anything wrong with juveniles engaging in consensual sex his belief was founded on the idea that the individuals freely and openly engaged in something that was consensual. Its upon further reflection and education that he understood that minors are not capable of understanding the consequences of their actions and that there may be longer term psychological effects because they are not yet an adult. So that there is growth and evolution in his views.

        IMHO, I would have to say that Stallman doesn't have Aspergers. Its more of not placing a high priority on conforming or caring about social norms.

        For the most part, Stallman has some simplified and not well thought out views on the world.

        1. Vometia Munro

          Re: @AC He should have stuck to what he knows

          "I think the term you're looking for is high functioning Aspergers.

          I don't know if that would apply. Its possible but it would take a board certified psychiatrist to make said diagnosis.

          Its one thing to miss the social cues and norms, its another to ignore them."

          Speaking as someone actually diagnosed with "an autistic spectrum disorder" (the clinicians prefer to not pigeonhole their patients so are reluctant to be more specific than that: in my case I eventually accumulated an Asperger's diagnosis on the basis that there's a tendency to misdiagnose autistic women as being borderline, which indeed happened, and this should theoretically be mutually exclusive, though whether or not it works in practice remains to be seen. I am not optimistic. "High functioning" is a controversial qualifier for an already controversial term on the basis of the also controversial interpretation of a person's IQ, but probably causes more misunderstanding than it avoids).

          Er, where was I? Oh yeah, it's practically impossible to say if a person has missed social cues or wilfully ignored them. That seems to be up there with the assertion that autistic people are the same as psychopaths because of a perceived lack of empathy; AFAICT autistic people tend to miss the communication of empathy but once they get it they often have an enormous amount of it, whereas psychopathic people are often expert observers of the communication of empathy but simply don't care. There's some irony in that psychopaths tend to be much more adept at fitting in socially and are often described as being charming until it's too late, whereas the generally harmless autistic person is seen as being a threat as without any pretence they'll state things as they see them according to their understanding at that moment.

          The sad thing is that the autistic person is generally harmless and open to reappraising their views whereas the psychopathic person can be much more malevolent and will talk a good talk about having changed their views. The irony being particularly noted in courts of both law and social media where the autistic person will be found guilty thanks to having left a trail of careless comments everywhere and the psychopath having been more circumspect and typically having more flair at talking their way out of a tight corner will be more adept at getting away with it.

          Stallman? I can't say I've ever warmed to the guy, autistic or not, and the subject matter is something that makes me uncomfortable, but in this instance I'm concerned about the way things are going because I've seen how these things can go very badly wrong.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC He should have stuck to what he knows

            > AFAICT autistic people tend to miss the communication of empathy but once they get it they often have an enormous amount of it, whereas psychopathic people are often expert observers of the communication of empathy but simply don't care.

            Is it possible being on the Autistic spectrum, and being a psychopath, aren't mutually exclusive?

            As in, it's possible for some people to be both?

            1. Vometia Munro

              Re: @AC He should have stuck to what he knows

              "Is it possible being on the Autistic spectrum, and being a psychopath, aren't mutually exclusive?

              As in, it's possible for some people to be both?"

              I don't know: I'm by no means an expert on the subject but AFAICT one doesn't preclude the other, and it's something I have periodically wondered about. My personal issue with it is that I've seen people stating with authority that all autistic people are psychopathic because their understanding of what it means to be autistic is evidently rather flawed, but I've noticed particular cases where autism alone doesn't seem to adequately explain a given individual's lack of caring and seemingly dysfunctional conscience. But maybe it does, and perhaps I'm making the same mistake of applying "would I do that?" to someone else and drawing the wrong conclusions.

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: @AC He should have stuck to what he knows

                but I've noticed particular cases where autism alone doesn't seem to adequately explain a given individual's lack of caring and seemingly dysfunctional conscience.

                Most of those can be explained by a below average IQ in a person also suffering from autistic spectrum disorder. The one thing separating people suffering from Asperger from other ASD sufferers is that people suffering from Asperger tend to have a well above average IQ.

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: @AC He should have stuck to what he knows

            whereas the generally harmless autistic person is seen as being a threat as without any pretence they'll state things as they see them according to their understanding at that moment.

            I've seen so much of that within my own family, including through my schooling. Many people "on the spectrum" seem to suffer from something where people just assume they're lying, even though we're telling the truth. That later leads to the autistic person reacting as if they're lying as they expect to be accused and abused anyway.

            We are said to have a very high rate of autism in NZ, and we also have a very high youth suicide rate. I've often wondered, especially with what my family has been put through, if these things are linked - how hard it is for "autism spectrum" people to be heard, how little mannerisms we can't control make people think we're lying, and no matter what we do - no matter what proof we can show - once the thought that we're lying has entered someone's head and our body language continues to 'confirm' it, that's it.

            (I have no official diagnoses, but have more than enough traits to be well and truly "on the spectrum")

      4. FIA

        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

        Not much love for people with Asperger's, I see

        Asperger is a disability, that like other disabilities brings with it various challenges. Whilst it’s good for others to respect these and accommodate where possible it doesn’t absolve one of personal responsibility.

        I suppose what I’m saying is people with Aspergers can still be arseholes too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          Put another way, in this case, Aspergers' is merely incidental.

      5. james_smith Bronze badge

        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

        This is the first suggestion I've read that Stallman has Asperger's Syndrome.

        I've met the man, and even put him up in my home for a few days when his prior accommodation fell through. I have Asperger's and Stallman did not strike me as having mucfh in common with myself or others I have known with the syndrome. He lacked the "hyper rational" thought patterns I associate with Asperger's and his very forthright behaviour seemed, much like his unusual views on freedom, more like a product of his "hippy" past.

        What he did have was a quite unsettling manner around women, something that others who have experienced him in social settings have also commented on.

      6. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

        "Not much love for people with Asperger's, I see"

        You mean 'Geniuses', right?

        Stallman should be criticized MORE for his *politics*, primarily his desire to (literally) *CRAM* his version of "free software" down EVERYONE ELSE's throat... a sort of 'digital commune' the way he has presented it.

        Whereas, 'Open Source' _is_ a much friendlier term than Stallman's version of 'free', which isn't freedom at all. TRUE freedom would be an MIT or BSD type license, or a 'creatie commons' license, where you CAN ship binaries if you want to, or link it into your proprietary code, and if the license requires it, acknowledge the original authors with due credit.

        1. cornetman Bronze badge

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          The GPL is freer than MIT because it extends all the freedoms of MIT and additionally expects you to afford everyone else the same. In that sense it is also a political statement.

          If anyone doesn't like the GPL, then don't use the software.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            I'm not a fan of the GPL, but I don't understand the vitriol sometimes directed toward it. No one forces me to use GPL-licensed software, or to use the GPL for software I write. If some people like it, that's not hurting me.

            And I do use GPL-licensed software, under the terms of that license. Again, disliking the license doesn't prevent me from using it. I use a lot of things I don't much care for.

          2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            The GPL is freer than MIT because it extends all the freedoms of MIT and additionally expects you to afford everyone else the same

            However admirable that is, forcing conditions of use onto someone means it is less freer. The BSD licencse has far less restrictions. It's a looser, and freer licence.

            If I let you borrow my car only on the condition you let anyone else borrow your car, it may be fairer, but it's certainly more restricitve than letting you use my car with no pre-conditions.

            Whether GPL is worse than BSD or not is a whole religious argument, but freer it certainly isn't, by any sane reasoning.

            If anyone doesn't like the GPL, then don't use the software.

            Really? That's your argument? Do you use a similar line if someone criticises Microsoft/Apple/<insert any topic of choice>?

            1. CRConrad

              Looser =/= Freer.

              1) The GPL prevents taking stuff un-free; the BSD/MIT/etc licenses allow it. If I emancipate my slave with a notarized affidavit to the effect that "this is a free man, he is not to be enslaved" I've set him free; if I tell him to go out in the world and then put up a poster saying that he's free for the taking I've set him loose. The BSD/MIT/etc licenses are looser than the GPL, but arguably not freer.

              2) Yeah, if you have such problems with Microsoft (et al) EULAs that you refuse to abide by them, then you'd be in breach of the license terms if you used the software the way you want to (i.e, not abiding by whatever license term it is you've got a bug in your bonnet about), so don't do that.

              3) I'm critical of most EULAs (or at least used to be more so), but abide by them. How does that invalidate my voicing of this criticism? (If I could be bothered to any more.)

              4) Even if I were to breact the terms of the EULAs, how would that invalidate any other criticism -- NOT related specifically to their EULAs -- of Microsoft/Apple/<insert any topic of choice>?

        2. DougS Silver badge

          The GPL isn't about "cramming" stuff down your throat

          It is about people keeping control over how their intellectual property is used. If I write some useful software you should be damn glad that I allow you to use it at all, not complain because the restrictions I place on your use of it aren't to your liking.

          As a conservative you should want people to control their own property. If you own land and allow others to hunt and fish on it, don't you think you should have a right to say how they do that like saying "bow hunting only" or "if you kill more than one deer per season on my land you have to dress it and donate it to the local food bank".

          You get so triggered by anything that smacks of socialism or communism in your mind that you abandon your conservative principles and want to tell people they should allow their intellectual property to be used without credit or compensation by for-profit companies. Yes, a BSD license is more free FOR THE SOFTWARE, but software doesn't need freedom. People do. People have the right to choose how their property can be used by others (if at all) whether it is software or land.

      7. P. Lee

        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

        I notice a couple of things:

        1. He had a bad idea about underage sex. People argued the point with him and he changed his mind. This is commendable.

        2. "He down played rape of a minor." Did he though? We already noted he had changed his mind on the issue. Is it possible that he actually said the offender didn't know he was committing an offense due to the victim misrepresenting herself with the intent of leading the offender into the crime, probably for her own financial gain?

        I wouldn't trust the twitter mob to be objective here.

        Regarding statements like: "His statements don't align with our values...", we seriously need to get away from the idea that organizations can represent the views of all members and the idea that members' views should be taken as representing the organization. Neither of those ideas can be true of any non-trivial organization. We need to stop pretending they're true and we need to stop agreeing with mobs which assert that they are.

        1. CRConrad

          He should have converted a bit sooner

          "He had a bad idea about underage sex. People argued the point with him and he changed his mind. This is commendable."

          He had had this stuff pointed out to him for decades, and if I understood correctly only came out with a mealy-mouthed statement within the last week. Conversions under the gallows aren't particularly convincing.

          Or, if I'm misremembering and it was earlier -- I have a vague visual memory of the timestamp on that post I saw flickering by in some stream; I think it was a few days ago, or was it the corresponding date in 2016? -- then it doesn't logically square with him defending Minsky the way he did now.

    2. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

      I can see exactly what he was trying to say, as expressed by this article at least, and while I can understand his point of view, and context, it's not a statement that I would suggest anyone broadcast publicly - even with the best intentions, it's very easy for people to misread anything like this, especially against a backdrop of outrage and suspicion as there is in this case already.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

        it's not a statement that I would suggest anyone broadcast publicly - even with the best intentions,

        "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

        It doesn't matter if it might inflame people. When evil idiots are robbing words of their true meaning, heaping more harm on victims by their repulsive selfish acts, people should speak up. Don't cower in the corner when SJWs are walking your streets. Stand up and fight back!

        Under the circumstances, RMS did the right thing (I don't doubt he's done a great many wrong things in his life and I don't defend anything he did from selfishness or other 'bad motives').

        These days so many people are abused for standing up for what they believe. This is appalling, and we should be starting to seriously look at why this is. A guy at Mozilla privately donates to organisations he supports, suddenly he's forced out of Moz. RMS rightly says a guy who has consensual sex with someone he believes is of legal age is not guilty of rape, and is forced out of FSF. This is wrong on so many levels.

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          I'll certainly voice my views, but with some consideration towards my audience and thus how I put it across.

          I'm naturally bad at this, so generally, it takes more thought than less, which I guess is a natural safely measure - apart from when it gets blurted out, when it invariably gets misconstrued and taken the wrong way, which seems to be what happened here.

          I agree with his statements, given that the facts are indeed as reported in this article. I'm not personally keen on passing judgement as I have no knowledge about what actually happened. Nonetheless, it does appear to be the case that he was speaking both honestly and not in a manner that should have led to him losing both this position and his teaching position.

          People have very thin skin these days, and overly react to things that don't concern them.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

            I'll certainly voice my views, but with some consideration towards my audience and thus how I put it across.

            Thanks for clearing that up :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @DougS - Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

      Actually, no! The FSF will go down to irrelevance and that's a sad thing. It was the only organization that really cared about the end-user digital freedoms.

    4. cornetman Bronze badge
      Stop

      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

      Since when has Stallman ever considered whether or not his opinions are inflammatory?

      Another word for what you are talking about is "coward".

      Many people in the software industry would consider his stance on software inflammatory.

      I don't think anyone would describe Richard Stallman as a coward.

    5. fung0

      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

      The fact that Stallman's views on software and freedom seem "extreme" is an indictment of the world we live in, not of Stallman.

      He is absolutely correct in stating that most non-free software today meets the definition of malware. It spies on us, it tracks us, it subverts 'our' computers for the purposes of corporations and governments.

      We may not be willing to adopt Stallman's extreme defensive measures, but each of us can adopt some of them - preferring free software when it's available, disabling tracking whenever we can in our browsers and devices, avoiding addictive social media that are cunningly designed to use our own psychology against us, preferring encrypted communications when we can.. and so on.

      If everyone adopted some of these measures, and we all raised our voices just a little more often, we could shift technology onto a far more benign course. If we don't, things are bound to continue getting worse. (It's inaccurate to call it a 'race to the bottom' - there is no bottom.)

      1. james_smith Bronze badge

        Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

        "He is absolutely correct in statting that most non free software today meets the definition of malware."

        This would be the guy who deliberately structured GCC to be non-modular so to hinder other compiler projects that could have benefited from shared code. He favoured political considerations over technical merit, which is a reason why I moved to BSD based systems to get away from the GNU mess.

        1. woppo

          Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

          "...deliberately structured GCC to be non-modular so to hinder other compiler projects..."

          This is very interesting. Do you have any links or material to share on this? I would love to read the rationale etc.

    6. Daniel von Asmuth
      Unhappy

      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

      I do not really see his statements as wrong, although the issue is sensitive. Stallman is just the outspoken leader that the Free Software movement needs.

    7. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

      I understand that presumption of innocence is highly inflamatory these days, he should have been more careful.

    8. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

      The only "morons" are those who do not know what rape is, or what it does to the victims.

      RMS is right for taking a stand like he did.

      People have to speak up for those who've gone through it, lest the vile SJWs steal even more words to make themselves feel better at the expense of true victims.

  2. martinusher Silver badge

    A product of his time

    Its difficult to describe to a young person -- say, someone under 40 -- how social attitudes have shifted in recent decades. One of the more noticeable changes is the way that progressiveness and tolerance have been hijacked by reaction and intolerance and a mob mentality that's better suited to the Salem witch trials or a Streicher courtroom. I can see why someone like Stallman just doesn't want to play any more -- I'm similar in age and this kind of sophomoric mob mentality is just wearing in the extreme.

    (I also think its a result of deliberate social policy. The generation that grew up in the 60s were very well educated and had extremely progressive ideas about equality and social justice. They presented a serious threat to the system so starting with Ricard Nixon changes were made to gradually corral thought back to a more conformist mindset. The screws were really put on during the Reagan administration; by that time education had been turned into a competitive rat race, one where only the essentials were taught,now it was going to become an expensive but must have commodity. (Similar changes were taking place in the UK.) The result has been generations of regimented, suppressed, scared and broke young adults entering the workforce, all knowing that a failure to conform will result in becoming an outcast. This culture has seeped into software.....but enough said (rambled?) about this for now.....)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A product of his time

      >Its difficult to describe to a young person -- say, someone under 40 -- how social attitudes have shifted in recent decades.

      It used to be you had to wear a beard to go and watch people being stoned for saying Jehovah, now they are stoning those with beards all in the name of mob social media rule.

      Those once persecuted by McCarthy have now become McCarthy.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: A product of his time

        It used to be that the Republicans would warn wanted to take over and destroy the country and they were the only people who could stop them. Now, the Republicans have teamed up with the Russians to allow them to take over and destroy the country.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A product of his time

          Rubbish, the only "Russian Collusion" in the US elections occurred when the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid Steele to (ostensibly) collect opposition research data on Donald Trump by paying Russian intelligence operatives to produce such. Textbook collusion and indeed, conspiracy.

          Or would you rather deny that the source was Russian and that Steele simply recycled scurrilous gossip produced by Clinton operatives like Cody Shearer ? The payment was revealed by testimony under oath - laundering the money through a law firm (and calling it legal expenses) is not a defense but an additional campaign finance crime.

      2. Doogie Howser MD

        Re: A product of his time

        Just glad I'm not the only one that feels this way. It's the Pareto Principle in action again, 80% of the horse shit these days is espoused by 20% of the people.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: A product of his time

      I was trying to think of how to make a comment on exactly what you just wrote.

      Contemporary society is currently biting it's own tail with all the Political Correctness. It's moving to an extreme whereby it equals a stage 4 cancer... it's effects are becoming extremely nefast and moving towards fatal.

      It appears that almost anything you now say, whether it be recent, said 10 or even more years ago WILL be held against you. It doesn't matter what has happened in the meantime. The kangaroo courts have made their decision.....

      Everyone at some point in their life has said something which they might have thought correct/believed as adults/human beings and also as a society.

      In my humble opinion "The media" have completely lost their usefulness to society. They have simply become a tool used to sway public opinion in whatever direction suits whoever is paying.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        @Khaptain -- Re: A product of his time

        I believe that politics, political correctness, even "morals" are a pendulum. We've gone from prudishness to enlightened and now headed back to prudishness in many areas including sexual.

        Yes, the media will follow the checkbook as will the politicians. The old saw about power corrupting applies.

        The one thing we've lost is "context". Just watch the way political types go after each other. They take things out of context and turn it into something evil. Sadly, critical thinking and speaking are sliding into the dustbin also.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A product of his time

      '...someone under 40...'

      in other words, everyone younger than you doesnt understand the world like you do, right?

      save it for your echo chamber. you're out of touch and out of date. that '60's generation' you mentioned turned out to be assholes once they aquired property and benefitted from the rampant capitalism, foisted on the world by years of corporate greed. they were no more educated or intelligent than any other group of people think they are when they leave uni with no responsibilities and never had to deal with real world problems.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A product of his time

        Wow whole lot of Boomers on here looks like by the down votes for this post and upvotes for the drivel above.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: A product of his time

          Some of us are older than that.

      2. Muppet Boss
        Trollface

        Re: A product of his time

        >"save it for your echo chamber. you're out of touch and out of date. that '60's generation' you mentioned turned out to be assholes once they aquired property and benefitted from the rampant capitalism, foisted on the world by years of corporate greed. they were no more educated or intelligent than any other group of people think they are when they leave uni with no responsibilities and never had to deal with real world problems."

        Thank you AC, you summed up the SJW thinking very nicely.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: A product of his time

          Thank you AC, you summed up the SJW thinking very nicely.

          Excuse me? You wanna retract that?

          Since when have SJW's been guilty of thinking?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A product of his time

        "you're out of touch and out of date. "

        You're the CEO of IBM and I claim my $5

      4. InsaneGeek
        Facepalm

        Re: A product of his time

        He's meaning that going back in time and applying today's moral compass to historical statements. i.e. Going through Abraham Lincoln's quotes and find that he used the "n-word", and his statues should be torn down because of it. Instead of understanding that society changes over time and what was perfectly acceptable and said without malice at the time should not be applied with the same moral standing of today. That maybe you should realize that what was normal, proper, correct statements that you make today WILL be unacceptable at some time in the future, if you are over 40 you've probably had that experience, but if you are under 40 you haven't had that society change happen and be held to your historical statements under changed moral rules.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A product of his time

          if we never address the past with the knowledge we have now we literally have no means for making progress. whether thats societal, moral, political or even technical progress. literally all progress is predicated on recognising there are better ways to do things. by definition that means applying a modern perspective on history.

          and yes that means whatever decisions we make right now, whilst moral, may appear abhorent in the future. that's the price of moving with the times.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: A product of his time

            and yes that means whatever decisions we make right now, whilst moral, may appear abhorent in the future. that's the price of moving with the times.,

            No, that's just plain stupidity. If AL used "the N word" then you don;t just him by the baggage attached to that word today, you judge him by the meaning of the word used at the time he used it. What a word means to day and what that word means last week are sometimes different things.

            10 years ago, did you call a disabled person "differently abled"? That was the PC term at the time. There are people today who would be calling for you to be fired from your job for using that term. Did you use it? Why are you still working and not resigning effective immediately then ?That is, after all, " the price of moving with the times". 30+ years back, in a school paper, I referred to a close friend as "handicapped". If that paper was discovered today no doubt people would be baying for my blood. But should they? I used the correct word for the day.

            When judging someone by what they say and do, judge by the heart not by the deed. A clue to judging by the heart is looking at the mores of the day - what was considered right or wrong.

            This really does come under "#firstworldproblems". Aside from 'religious extremists' of any type, you'll seldom find people in the 3rd world worrying about whether or not someone used the correct phraseology to describe crippled people or whether calling them "poor", "economically disadvantaged", "financially under-developed" etc. Hell, talk to struggling parents working long hours to make ends meet and see if they're worried about whether or not little Johnny's principal is up with the terminology du jour, or whether or not he said something correctly 10 years ago that's considered wrong today (the idle poor, those who'd rather the dole queue than the work force, don't count - they have plenty of time on heir hands to be worried if the principal is using the correct phrases to discuss Johnny's behavioural issues that aren't at all the parent's fault since their drinking and yelling and fighting etc late into the night couldn't possibly affect their precious little boy, not realising that perhaps if he was so "precious" they'd work to give him a better life!)

      5. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: A product of his time

        "in other words, everyone younger than you doesnt understand the world like you do, right?"

        No. People in their 40s and 50s grew up being taught that it was right to challenge the established view, to speak up and defend those that had no voice.

        It's distressing to see the attempts now to silence anybody that doesn't conform to the groupthink du jour, and it's entirely appropriate and correct to refuse to quietly accept this.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A product of his time

          No. People in their 40s and 50s grew up being taught that it was right to challenge the established view, to speak up and defend those that had no voice.

          Yes, but we were also taught what a debate looked like, and that's not the style of conversation that Stallman engages in. His "my way or the highway" approach is not a discussion where you can work with someone to give them insight - the brutal way in which Stallman conversationally bludgeons people who have as yet not seen the benefit of FOSS pretty much ensures they will avoid it like the plague.

      6. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: A product of his time

        >in other words, everyone younger than you doesnlt understand the world like you do, right?

        Nah, its t about 40 years ago that there were sea changes in educational philosophy in both the US and UK. Before that education was seen as a public good and it was government policy to deliver high quality education at little to no cost. After that point it became policy to make 'education more relevant to business' and treat it as a private benefit that needs to be paid for. So we got a first class education for free (just like you can still get on the Continent, BTW).

        As for 'real world problems', what do you think you are? We are your parents. We had to find and finance a home, raise a family and generally spend decades grinding away making things happen. And, no, I never voted for any of this corporate greed stuff or rampant capitalism but it would be far too long winded to explain where it came from in this post.

    4. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: A product of his time

      The difference is that now instead of brushing it under the carpet the perpetrators are now rightfully being arrested and sent to jail for their crimes. Think Gary Glitter, Jimmy Saville etc. Kenneth Williams was well known for his proclivity towards young boys, something that the establishment were all to happy to brush under the carpet as it were. While it's true that these are different times and societal mores have changed, it was still illegal back then as well. The difference now is that you can't cover it up as much as you could back then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The difference is that now

        And we are also issuing pardons for things that were just as illegal back then. If you'd told me back in 1969 that in 50 years we'd have gay marriage and all the rest of it, but the age of consent for girls would be exactly the same I wouldn't have believed you. Back then sex with 15 year old girls wasn't considered any more wrong by progressive thinkers than sex with 16year old boys. The age of consent does vary considerably round the world, there's no single consensus.

        1. sprograms

          Re: The difference is that now

          The age of consent in Britain was 14 years old until quite recently.

          1. james_smith Bronze badge

            Re: The difference is that now

            The age of consent in Britain - or England at least - has been 16 since 1885. The nineteenth century. Not sure how that qualifies as "recently".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The difference is that now

              He's Jacob Rees-Mogg and I claim my £5.

              :)

      2. cornetman Bronze badge

        Re: A product of his time

        I think you and Mr Usher are talking about different things.

        Of course rape and sexual assault are wrong, illegal and they were also in the sixties.

        Our attitudes to opinions are different though.

        Decades ago, you might have disagreed with someone's strongly held views, but there was a capacity for society to hold a range of views and have people respect that there is room for such.

        These days any view held by anyone, that might at one time have been fairly innocuous, can now be weaponized and made into life/career destroying stuff. That kind of intolerance of merely "holding a view" is something that really scares me.

        And it should you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A product of his time

          'And it should you.'

          blame the internet. it never forgets and therefore never lets you forget. least of all the the kind of people that like to say a lot of stuff on record.

          presumably you work in IT, in which case you're part of that creation, no? ready to accept responsibility?

      3. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: A product of his time

        Where did I say people were being arrested for things that were legal 40 or 50 years ago? Glitter, Saville, Williams were guilty of having sex in some cases with children as young as 7. Gary Glitter managed to get himself kicked out of Vietnam for fucks sake. A country at the time not exactly renowned for it's hostility towards pedophiles. Williams used to go to Morocco for young boys, might have been legal over there then, but it certainly wasn't over here. So not sure why there's so many downvotes for pointing out that what most of these people are being done for was illegal back then as well as now. Unless there's a hell of a lot of people thinking that it's okay to molest children?

        This is not the same as commenting on Stallman's situation, he actually has a point. He may actually believe that certain individuals could have been misled as towards the level of consent given, but in all honesty if you went to a island owned by someone and there were under 18 year olds there "willing" to have sex with you it should be ringing alarm bells. He shows incredible naivety. What's more amazing is that his previous comments didn't attract the same level of ire when he made them.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: A product of his time

          but in all honesty if you went to a island owned by someone and there were under 18 year olds there "willing" to have sex with you it should be ringing alarm bells.

          It would depend a lot on other circumstances though. If you bring me someone who is clearly 5 or 6 and tell me he's 16 and willing, I wouldn't believe you. If you bring me someone who is 15 but can pass for 18, and he tells me he's 17 and and willing (and perhaps even has a fake license or other method to apparently prove it), why should I doubt it? Especially if I trust you.

          I know nothing more than what is in El Reg's article on the case. If the victim was clearly well under 18 then yes, alarms should've gone off. If she was just under/could easily pass for 18, that's another matter.

          (Age of consent in NZ is 16)

    5. Nick Kew

      Re: A product of his time

      Every generation has its idiots, and Political Correctness goes back a long way as one vehicle for them.

      See for example Tom Sharpe for a 1970s/80s view.

  3. MalIlluminated

    Man writes something irresponsible, later judged offensive

    This has probably never happened before...

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

    This has probably only ever happened once before...

    https://allthatsinteresting.com/controversial-quotes

    This has probably happened comparatively few times before... when compared with the total number of times a man wrote something.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Man writes something irresponsible, later judged offensive

      There is a problem with that. If Einstein and more than few others were alive today, they'd be prosecuted in the court of public opinion for their doings, intentional or not. My late aunt was Einstein's driver during his time in Los Alamos during WWII. The stories she told, while everyone laughed, would be grounds for taking him out for a public thrashing such as walking out the car to be taken to work without him having his pants on.

  4. RichardB

    Six lines

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      The problem with Stallman is that he seems to have given a lot more than that for people to hang him

      1. Ian Johnston

        How sad that "Richard Stallman has problematic opinions" should be that bloggers #1 reason for sacking him. From a university, where "having problematic opinions" is practically the job description for academics. It's a perfect example of the self-righteousness of the young, woke and ignorant.

    2. baud Bronze badge

      Give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to <del>hang</del> cancel him.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

      Back in the day (70s?) there was a clear distinction between a hacker & a cracker. But the mainstream media didn't understand the difference and settled on the word "hacker" for both use cases.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

        And he's still don't understand the name "Linux" sells better than "GNU"... you can tell how much someone is clever looking at how he or she can admit defeat, or being wrong...

        Or the very narrow meaning of "free" he implies - "you are free only if you do exactly what I want you to do!!!".

        1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

          > And he's still don't understand the name "Linux" sells better than "GNU

          Well Ford may sell better than Skoda but I dont see anyone demanding that Skoda rename their cars to Ford just because Ford came out with the first one.

          Also, do you think that Dyson shouldnt advertise their cleaners as Dysons and not as Hoovers?

          1. dajames Silver badge

            Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

            I dont see anyone demanding that Skoda rename their cars to Ford just because Ford came out with the first one.

            There were motor cars before Henry Ford was born -- his innovation was the production line, not the car itself.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC - Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

          And you don't understand that this is not about selling.

          Also your understanding of "free" is also wrong. To translate it to you, its "you are free to do anything you want except taking away my freedom". Try to see this from an end-user and not from a greedy developer perspective.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC - Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

            Remember that your freedom ends where my begins. That's something Stalman is utterly unable to understand. He sees only one way to make software as "free" - see how much he bashes other ways to write open source software. He still dreams to force everyone into his very narrow view of "free" software.

            But not surprisingly, he stopped to write software because there was no way to make real money in his world, so he switched to "management" which is the way to take advantage of those who are brainwashed into thinking that write "free" software is the way to go - don't worry, someone else will make good money from your efforts...

            I'm not a "greedy" developer - I'm someone who likes to be paid for his work like anybody else, and wish to live a good life without being utterly exploited by people like Stallman - and as an end user I have no problem to pay other software developers - actually the *greedy ones* are those who like to exploit others and want everything for free, but when it's their turn to give.

            But probably people like you never wrote a line of useful code, and just exploited others'.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC - Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

              Thanks for saying this.

              I'm always surprised that IT people who have paid employment appear to be the only people who advocate that *other* IT people should write code for free, and that we should all, always, seek out free IT code for use.

              If it were heartless bean-counters who had that stance, it would make sense. But paid software developers who advocate that software should have no business model to support the industry that employs them? They are an unusual species.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Black Helicopters

                Re: @AC - Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

                But paid software developers who advocate that software should have no business model to support the industry that employs them? They are an unusual species.

                You do realise that there's not been an original line of code written in like 30 years, right? We all just hunt online (or SWAG etc for those older) for little snippets that seem to work and copy'n'paste'n'hopelikehellitworksandnoonenotices.

                I better go before someone gets upset I let the cat out of the bag... Or worse, the cat gets upset that he's been stuck in the bag for so long!

        3. james_smith Bronze badge

          Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

          The problem with his insistence on calling Linux distriutions "GNU/Linux" was that teh GNU code was generally a small subset compared to the kernel and other portions of a typical distribution. It was sheer arrogance on Stallman's part, and it's a shame the Linux distros didn't just drop GNU code for more freelly licensed (and generally better written) alternatives, such as a BSD userland.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

        Especially since "crackers" to many means "a flat, dry baked food typically made with flour" (from Wikipedia)...

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

        I think that's a lost battle.

        1. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

          I think that's a lost battle.

          There are few things quite so satisfying as winning a lost battle ... shame it hardly ever happens.

      4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Please don't call them hackers. That's offensive to us hackers.

        What happened to script kiddies?

        I remember people being called script kiddies in the 90's when using software like Back Orifice?

  6. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Surely Taler/the 'mint' will be tracking you to make sure you paid for the tokens. When the shop goes to cash them in, Taler knows that you went to Walmart or where ever. It is based on you trusting Taler to not track your shopping habits. And when Uncle Sam get a secret court order to follow the money, then you realise that coins are the best form of untracable money!!!

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Not necessarily

      Like coins, they only need to be able to prove that you have paid for N tokens and been given N tokens.

      There is also no requirement for individual tokens to be tracked in any way. It just needs to be proven that the token is both valid and unique.

      This is how normal payment processing works, in fact, so it's not particularly new other than the explicit focus on anonymity

  7. sbt Silver badge
    Devil

    Free energy machine

    Lock this guy in a room with our martian friend and maybe Roberto de Ricochet and watch the sparks fly!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free energy machine

      I like to play the Dinner Party game - the one where you're asked who would be on your dream dinner party list. It's more amusing to imagine the most appalling combinations - so far I have

      Richard Stallman

      Gloria Steinham

      Louis Farrakhan

      Ted Cruz

      Jacob Rees Mogg

      1. nevarre

        Re: Free energy machine

        Charlie Manson

        Genghis Kahn

        Jerry Lewis

        Kid Rock

        Barney the Dinosaur

        That kid on public transportation blasting crappy music out of cheap headphones

        1. Flywheel Silver badge

          Re: Free energy machine

          + The person that wrote Baby Shark for the evening entertainment. No dinner party is complete without music.

        2. sbt Silver badge
          Go

          Le Dîner de Cons

          Why not add:

          Germaine Greer

          Mussolini

          Harvey Weinstein.

          Location: The Atacama desert (goes well with ice cream).

          But you don't actually have to join them do you? It's great opportunity to dine elsewhere.

          1. CRConrad
            Pint

            Re: Le Dîner de Cons

            And to drink, a can of motor oil...?

  8. lglethal Silver badge

    That's an interesting article is about all i can say.

    Stallman makes some interesting points, and then he makes some other points which are off the bat shit crazy end of the paranoid spectrum.

    It's maybe a shame for him that he's being effectively booted into retirement for his comments, but it also seems like thats probably not a bad thing for the health of the Free Software foundation. But more then anything, what I'm picking up is that Stallman seems like someone who thinks that his opinion is important, and obviously right, and anyone who doesnt "get it" is obviously just misunderstanding what he said. So in other words a bit of a self entitled prick. It seems like he's finally being called out on that and its costing him pretty big.

    Whether he deserves it or not, depends I guess on where you stand on various issues...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Iglethal - Without RMS ideas

      FSF has nothing to offer that would differentiate it from the rest of the open source crowd, it will fade away to irrelevance. This is however (at long last) a good reason of celebration for those opposed to FSF goals. From now on, we all may safely rely on Microsoft, Apple and Google to protect end-user digital freedoms.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Iglethal - Without RMS ideas

        From now on, we all may safely rely on Microsoft, Apple and Google to protect end-user digital freedoms.

        I read that as sarcasm, I hope to God you're not realistically expecting this. Just in case you do, you might want to check what the Cloud Act 2018 is all about, and who has been helping to get that in place. After that, do yourself a favour and actually READ the Google Terms that people are asked to sign up to.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: @Iglethal - Without RMS ideas

          do yourself a favour and actually READ the Google Terms that people are asked to sign up to.

          Actually do yourself a very big favour and DON'T read Google's terms if you're using their stuff. If you do read it, be warned - you may never know a peaceful night's sleep again.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Iglethal - Without RMS ideas

            Well, here's the fun bit. I have a very obviously fake name, so I wonder if I have actually signed a contract - I know that not giving your real name and so surrendering your entire life to Google is a breach of Terms, but I wonder if there is actually an agreement to start with if I didn't sign as me.

            Given that there is no Earthly reason why I should provide my real name (as there are no financial transactions involved) I prefer to protect my privacy as far as it goes, and if they ever decide to object I'll be happy to sign up as my dad instead. I'm positive his ashes won't mind..

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: @Iglethal - Without RMS ideas

              I have a very obviously fake name, so I wonder if I have actually signed a contract

              All I know of contract law I've learned here (well, at least in respect to these sort of "contracts").

              First, there is no option for US to discuss and challenge sections, and perhaps get them changed.

              Second, the whole "terms subject to change" and "continued use says you agree" automatically renders the contract void. How many sites say by viewing their site you agree to be bound by their terms, yet you cannot view their terms (and thus make such a decision) before you view their site? Same for anything else, if you cannot see it before the change and negotiate, you cannot be expected to be held liable.

              Hopefully someone more learned than I can provide better answers, and perhaps a link to a relevant bit of legislation/case law :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      His retirement will be from a life of touring the same speech he's been making for years. The last time he coded anything is over thirty years ago.

    3. cornetman Bronze badge

      Many view Stallman as a wingnut, but he is a useful wingnut.

      In any battle, there are the extreme personalities that lead the charge.

      Without Richard Stallman, there would be *no* free software movement, I have no doubt about that.

      I find it interesting though that many people think that his views are extreme in the freedom realm. They actually echo many views that I have in my own life.

      I shred all receipts: all of them. I avoid parking meters that require me to identify myself. I use a RFID card for transit but I despise it because a machine somewhere is recording all my movements, as opposed to the disposable, anonymous scratch card transit pass that I used to prefer when they were available. Cameras with facial recognition scare the shit out of me.

      And it worries me that few other people feel the same.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Pint

        And it worries me that few other people feel the same.

        I am with you my friend.

        i still use cash where I can. Sure, a card is convenient and all those things with change now.. NZ's lowest denomination is 10c, but lots of 1-9c items! But I'd rather lose cents here and there than have no sense and be tracked everywhere.

        (Ok, not a poet, don't claim to be one, and yes I am very trying...)

        I so wish more people would open their eyes to the tracking that goes on! And if these companies are willing to spend that much to get information on you (whether it's a "saving" in a supermarket/at the gas pump for using a disloyalty card or a "free survey" or...), how much is that information really worth and why aren't you 1) spitting tacks that they'll go to such lenghts to get it and 2) doing your damnedest to protect it? WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

        (Erm, is that an earthquake?)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re What I'm picking up

      > what I'm picking up is that Stallman seems like someone who thinks that his opinion is important,

      > and obviously right, and anyone who doesnt "get it" is obviously just misunderstanding what he

      > said. So in other words a bit of a self entitled prick.

      Couldn't you make the same argument about folk who promote the current politically correct orthodoxy?

  9. karlkarl Bronze badge

    I always knew his downfall was going to be this kind of thing. Not his views in particular but the fact that he cannot manage peoples expectations when it comes to stating his views. The poor guy didn't stand a chance to the weaponised phrases "he supports rapists" or "he agrees with paedophilia". He tried to reason with those people rather than just stating "of f*cking course I don't you presumptive piece of sh*t"

    He has done a lot of good in the computing industry. If he was slightly better at managing people he could have spread the FOSS idea much better. This is probably mostly down to his Asperger's.

    I agree with him though. Computers are a race to the bottom. The future will be salvaging the remaining few non-locked down ones from a scrap yard in the hope that they haven't all been incinerated or sent to a less economically developed country where they can "do no harm" to big service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He tried to reason with those people rather than just stating "of f*cking course I don't you presumptive piece of sh*t"

      Stallman reasoning with someone would be a welcome change of attitude, but that's not how he ticks. My impression of his style of debating is more Trump compatible: you're fully entitled to your own opinion, as long as it is his. IMHO, that's also why he ended up on the extreme end of the spectrum with his opinions - any reasonable person would realise they may need to adjust, but that's not Stallman. That's why it took so long to get the LGPL in play, and why GPL3 stops companies even considering FOSS - the viral infective nature of it (which is pure Stallman) impaired progress into mainstream IT and pretty much left the door open for proprietary vendors to lock people in.

      Microsoft should give him an award. I certainly won't.

      1. cornetman Bronze badge

        > That's why it took so long to get the LGPL in play, and why GPL3 stops companies even considering FOSS - the viral infective nature of it (which is pure Stallman) impaired progress into mainstream IT and pretty much left the door open for proprietary vendors to lock people in.

        That was designed in on purpose. What part of "proprietary, binary-only software is evil" do you not understand?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What part of "proprietary, binary-only software is evil" do you not understand?

          The fact that not all of it is. I aggressively use FOSS where I can, but I refuse to consider someone's desire to actually protect the thing that they make a living off as evil, because you catch in that dragnet quite a lot of damn good people who make damn good software. For instance, I cannot fault a company like Serif for their Affinity products which are not FOSS but which are (IMHO) 100% worth their money.

          According to Stallman these people would be "evil". Nope, not joining that cult. FOSS is a good option, but it is an option, nothing more. It's not an absolute.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge

        any reasonable person would realise they may need to adjust, but that's not Stallman.,

        And yet, from the article, we can see he can adjust his views when presented with reasonable reasons to do so.

        But he's write on this whole 'rape' thing, at least with the information I have.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    critics opened fire on Twitter

    Accurate description of social media, a virtual shootout at the OK Corral. I am OUTRAGED, and I need to inform the world about it IMMEDIATELY.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC - Re: critics opened fire on Twitter

      Yep, and all this for some individuals begging for illusory and temporary fame on the Net. Remind again me the names of those who shot him down ? Nope, never heard of them.

      O Sancta Simplicitas!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he makes many, many valid points

    however it's completely irrelevant, because the world moves on, ignoring validity of those points.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To publish or not

    Well, of course you should publish.

    I don't agree with a lot of Stallman's ideas. But I think he's an interesting thinker who has certainly informed my ideas. And he has a lot of bad ideas outside of free software.

    But should we stop watching Jim Carrey acting because he's an anti vaxxer (which does far more harm than the opinions Stallman has stated here)? Gwyneth Paltrow because of her new age trash? Roman Polanski because he's a fugitive child rapist? James Watson, one of the Nobel prize recipients for DNA is a racist. Does that discount his work on DNA?

    There's clearly lines where this matters. If Stallman was a high school teacher and had to look after the welfare of 17 year old girls, I could see how his opinions would be a serious concern regarding his job, but he isn't.

    1. Allonymous Coward

      Re: To publish or not

      I could see how his opinions would be a serious concern regarding his job, but he isn't

      As I understand it, one of the objections was that his behaviour dissuades women (and possibly other groups) from participating in open source (Free, whatever) software projects. As he's a figurehead, I can see how the FSF might consider that an actual problem.

      Open source has form in this area too. Think of the objections to Linus Torvalds' behaviour not so long ago. Though one apparent difference between Torvalds and Stallman is that Torvalds seemingly eventually recognised the need to moderate his behaviour.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To publish or not

        "As I understand it, one of the objections was that his behaviour dissuades women (and possibly other groups) from participating in open source (Free, whatever) software projects. As he's a figurehead, I can see how the FSF might consider that an actual problem."

        And who made that objection?

        Radical feminists, that's who. Radical feminists who have almost no experience in tech, but have somehow found themselves a niche in "anti-brogrammer" bunk, and use that to shakedown organisations. I dare them to produce even a shred of evidence that this would be the case.

        The shakedown is that these organisations are scared to be labelled sexist, and in the process, they hire these people as "consultants", which means they get left alone. It's like a media protection racket.

        If you're the sort of woman who won't go into any project in open source, whether that's Linux, ITextSharp or Chromium, because of the *opinions* of one harmless oddball in the field, who has nothing to do with those projects, you're probably too unstable to be let near electricity.

        As for Linus Torvalds, the guy can be a bit of an arse, a bit sweary, for sure. Generally on people who deserve it. Don't like it, don't work on Linux. But you can't deny he hasn't succeeded.

        1. Niarbeht

          Re: To publish or not

          Today I learned that my sister, a double-major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, leader of the design team on one of the Nvidia Tegra chips, is a "Radical [feminist] who [has] almost no experience in tech".

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: To publish or not

            ... and that's Niarbeht, 1 - Anonymous throwback, 0.

          2. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: To publish or not

            >Today I learned that my sister, a double-major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, leader of the design team on one of the Nvidia Tegra chips, is a "Radical [feminist] who [has] almost no experience in tech".

            My wife has just a MS in Physics, her two sisters are PhD Physicists, I've got a daughter with a double major (Summa cum laude) in Aeronautical Engineering and Flight (commercial pilot etc.), a niece that's some kind of apprentice Oxford don....and so on. None of them are what we'd call 'radical feminists', in fact they tend regard this sort of thing as a bit silly. The thing is, if you've 'got it' you really don't need to try that hard. There are obviously dinosaurs out there but its just a challenge that you meet and rise above (...and if you can manage a facility in the West Texas oil patch then you definitely know how to handle rampant sexism).

        2. Allonymous Coward
          Trollface

          Re: To publish or not

          > Don't like it, don't work on Linux.

          That was more or less the point. For both RMS & Torvalds, people didn't like it ("radical feminists" or otherwise) so they elected not to participate in the community.

          10/10 for trolling effort though, AC.

    2. theregistr11
      Go

      Re: To publish or not

      > ...should we stop watching Jim Carrey acting because he's an anti vaxxer (which does far more harm than the opinions Stallman has stated here)?

      What "opinions" are you talking about exactly? That people should strive for freedom in their computing? That sounds like a great thing, and should absolutely be taught to 17 year old girls and boys in school.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find myself yearning for the hysteria of the Right

    Remember the good old days when right-wing-nutters would shriek about Harry Potter, women wearing pants, or subliminal messages in records?

    I find myself missing those hysterical shriekings. For the most part, we could could chuckle or shake our heads and then, safely, ignore them and move on with our lives. While some bemoaned that the Right would soon come knocking on our doors SS style - nothing ever came of it.

    The shrieking Left, on the other hand, seems to be successfully implementing a scorched earth policy with no option for nuance, dissent, or discussion of any sort - the whacked-out-Right, generally, was open to discussion.

    Now I fear how long before the Stasi and Red Guards come to take me for re-education and my written confession.

  14. Lee D Silver badge

    God, that list of riders for what he wants when he speaks somewhere is possibly the most diva-ish thing I've ever read in my life.

    I shouldn't be surprised at all that his message is lost among his pettiness when giving a speech, much like the rest of his life.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Room Mate Agreement

      It's a bit like Sheldon Cooper's Room Mate Agreement in the Big Bang Theory...

  15. Steve Graham

    I object to the term "GNU/Linux". You could easily craft a Linux system with no GNU software on it. It makes about as much sense to call your distro "LibreOffice/Linux" or "Mozilla/Linux", because it's a Linux kernel and drivers with some application software from various sources.

    1. FeepingCreature

      You could easily craft a Linux system with no GNU software on it.

      And when you do, you are free to call it something else than GNU/Linux.

      1. Ian Johnston

        Re: You could easily craft a Linux system with no GNU software on it.

        You mean I am not free to use GNU software as I wish? Golly.

    2. JoeCool

      And yet, no-one has. Maybe it isn't feasible, and GNU does indeed deserve more recognition than it gets.

      1. Richard Hector

        non-GNU Linux

        No-one has created a non-GNU Linux system? Ever heard of Android?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: non-GNU Linux

          "Ever heard of Android"

          As it happens, yeah. The main thing I've heard is that because it wasn't free, even it's originator lost the ability to maintain it. Hence, Project Treble, an effort to reclaim control of the ecosystem about 10 years too late.

  16. Steve Graham

    Tracking

    How does he think a pager works? By magic, or by communicating with phone masts?

    1. Paul A. Clayton

      Re: Tracking

      A page can be broadcast to a somewhat large area via satellite. This wastes bandwidth (broadcast when there is only a single intended receiver) and provides some location information (not being a global broadcast as that would really waste bandwidth). However, I would not be surprised if Richard Stallman is just out of touch with the technology.

    2. 9Rune5

      Re: Tracking

      https://www.explainthatstuff.com/howpagerswork.html

      "A system of radio transmitters sends pager messages across a whole country in hopes that you'll be somewhere near one of them."

      The pager doesn't contain a microphone, gps or wi-fi. Or a transmitter. Only a receiver. The pager could, I guess, receive information that identifies the transmitting mast, but it has no method of leaking this information anywhere.

      A little googling suggests there are two-way pagers available, but presumably that isn't what is used here.

    3. Philip Mather

      Re: Tracking

      Think you mis-understand. Pager's don't communicate is the point, they receive only. If there's no transmission there's no way to triangulate the radio signal back was RMS' point.

      He's not talking about the GPS unit sending back his exact location. Disabling the GPS in an Android phone physically is probably not that hard and certainly easy at a software level.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Tracking

      "How does he think a pager works?"

      One directionally.

      OTOH calling back from a land line, which is how I read it? The phone company knows exactly where that is.

      1. Norman Nescio

        Re: Tracking

        OTOH calling back from a land line, which is how I read it? The phone company knows exactly where that is.
        #

        As someone who has worked for 'a phone company', I can only laugh hollowly at that one.

        Yes, in principle, all fixed lines are associated with an address*...but the information found in the address fields of the relevant database need not bear any relation to reality. Whole departments are dedicated to backfilling and amending such data** and it can still be utterly wrong. Chances are that the address for any particular land line is correct, but given the huge number of records in the database, it would be a brave person to assert they were all correct all the time. I would guess that mobile phone GPS-derived locations give fewer location errors. Certainly, there are fixed asset registers that exist that require technicians to provide the GPS-derived location of equipment as well as the address, in the hope of reducing gross errors.

        NN

        * Actually, at least two addresses - the 'A' end and the 'B' end, one of which is very likely to be the switch (or in Britspeak, 'the telephone exchange'). Of course, it depends on what logical level of granularity you are looking at - every bit of line equipment the circuit passes through will be associated with a location, so a particular circuit could well have many associated locations that it passes through. Recording all this accurately and keeping it up to date is a non-trivial exercise.

        **This is not done just for fun. In the UK at least, there is a strong incentive to keep the address information as near to correct as possible, as it is used by the emergency services to locate callers. It is not good publicity if an ambulance goes to Ashford (Middlesex) instead of Ashford (Kent), or Gillingham (Dorset) instead of Gillingham (Kent) to give a couple of made up examples. It also helps to send technicians to the correct place when things need modifying and/or fixing.

    5. Steve Graham

      Re: Tracking

      I'm letting the comment stay, even though it was the result of a momentary lapse into stupidity.

  17. MonsieurTM

    Well done The Register, for publishing this interesting interview with this important figure! I am most pleased that you did!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Concerning the lengthy preface

    I think this article from the August issue of Le Monde Diplomatique is rather pertinent:

    https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2019/08/FANTASIA/60136.

    Or even Halimi's editorial: https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2019/08/HALIMI/60163.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps a sign of these times

    is the proportion of posters who felt AC status necessary.

  20. DavCrav Silver badge

    "I used to have that opinion, and then I talked to experts who assured me I was wrong, and now I don't"

    He said (paraphrased) those words. They should not be the only time I think I've seen or heard them for years now.

    1. el kabong Silver badge

      Are you perchance insinuating something vile against someone?

      Would you care to make yourself clearer? Please substantiate.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Are you perchance insinuating something vile against someone?

        "Would you care to make yourself clearer? Please substantiate."

        The usual thing now is: "I used to have this opinion, and then experts told me I was wrong. So I called them traitors, enemies of the people, so-called experts, fake news, and went for a more extreme version of my previous opinion instead."

    2. NullNix

      I read them in Private Eye a few years ago, when they recanted their support for the Wakefield MMR thing. (They assumed that the government was lying on this point, as on so many other points in the past -- and for a change their default position of permanent cynicism led them very far astray.)

  21. Charles Calthrop

    always thought he was a bellend

    and just had a huge chuckle at his rider.

    But I hate the hysteria of the modern world sometimes.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "just had a huge chuckle at his rider."

      I could at least sympathise with "Some hosts even feel that they ought to try to fill up my time as a matter of good hospitality. Alas, it's not that way for me."

      I had a day taken out of a very crowded week that way.

  22. FuzzyWuzzys
    Pint

    He's a character

    I've read his works and I respect his stance but others have said, he simply doesn't live in the real world. He's in a fortunate position where he doesn't have to conform and that suits him fine but it allows him to always think he's right. He's very passionate and driven, that's a great quality it means you stick to your beliefs but often it leads to stagnation and zealotry, so concvinced your way is the right way that you never flex and adapt or even give the slightest ground.

    He seems to be an honest and devoted human being but sadly we can't all change the world in huge ways, we have to change it by running Docker with Linux when we can, we have to use OSS when we can but if it means I have to work on MS software or my family doesn't eat this month then I'm afraid my family's health and wellbeing will trump any noble sentiments about the FSF and proprietary software being "malware".

    1. PaulFrederick

      Re: He's a character

      "he simply doesn't live in the real world. " No creature that has ever advanced our species was living in your "real world". Now back in your nest up in a tree where you belong, with your precious family.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: He's a character

        Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people try to adapt the world to themselves. Therefore all progress is the result of unreasonable people.

        Though it has to be said that the odds are not good. Most unreasonable people are just jerks.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'And he renounced past statements about pedophilia.'

    i respect all the work Stallman has done WRT free software and user's rights but on this issue he's made a major error of judgement and I'm glad he's recognised and corrected himself. its one example of where its possible to be so open minded that you brain falls out! but also an example that whilst policy should be informed by academia and it's hypotheticals, it should always refer primarily to real world examples of the subject matter. anyone who's ever had to speak to vulnerable individuals who've been exploited by people from a position of trust, would very quickly take a strong position on the matter and hold no doubts of whether grey areas exist in the debate.

    1. Juillen 1

      Bear in mind..

      That this is the USA definition, which also includes 16 and 17 year olds as "Children", where just about everywhere else in the world, at 16, you're age of consent and just about the most pent up age bracket.

      Having friends of all ages, I'm hearing that 13 and 14 are now pretty much standard ages for things starting to get pretty physical in Europe (not sure about the States, I don't know as many people there).

      What Stalman's quotes didn't cover was the specification of where he didn't see a problem.

      If he was saying "I don't see a problem with a 50 year old bedding a 10 year old", I'd be having VERY strong words.

      If he was saying he didn't see a problem with a 20 something and a 17 year old, hey, bit of a gap, but I don't see the problem, as long as it's consensual. 17 is plenty old enough to know what the world is about. I didn't have many illusions at 17, and things have only progressed to remove even more illusions from the current teens.

      In fact, I'm thinking this is classic about what's actually wrong with the modern approach. There's absolutely no attempt to work out a frame of reference, and work out what someone was attempting to convey. Instead, it's a race to find the extreme outliers that can be cherry picked out of context and used as a central argument to crucify someone. It doesn't matter what they really said, what was intended, or motivation, what matters is what you can project onto what they said, and how you can manipulate that to fit your own agenda. The more sensational, the better, as sensation sells.

      In my younger days, I used to hold dinner parties, where we'd discuss all kinds of topics, in depth, and appreciative of nuance; great debates were had, and they were extremely interesting times; I learned a lot from them.

      These days, come even anywhere near a nuanced issue, and all you tend to hear is "You can't say that", or an immediate projection of completely the wrong end of the stick and someone railing against it.

      Basically, it's just a mass weaponisation of logical fallacies, and is completely covered in the tactics of manipulation and disinformation ("Bad News" covers that very effectively in their gamified study, details at https://www.aboutbadnews.com/ ).

      And yes, I've had to talk to some very vulnerable people in my time. I treat that as one issue, and Stalman's quotes in another. I'm certain of the context of a vulnerable person, and what's led up to it. I treat that appropriately for what it is. I'm unsure of the framing of Stalman's quotes, so I'd ask more to establish what frame we were dealing with.

      The concept of whether a willing 16 or 17 year old should be sexually active (which in the US qualifies as child) is something completely different. When dealing with that issue, I frame it correctly in the appropriate context and then go from there.

      What I don't do is say "There are vulnerable people who've been abused by people in power, therefore all consensual sexual relationships of 16 and 17 years olds are bad".

      You are hugely correct though in that academic is only part of the picture. It's a useful guide. But as the quote goes, "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there isn't one, but in practice, there is."

      1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

        Re: Bear in mind..

        FYI, the age of consent is 16 in the vast majority of the States. There have been cases where coercion has been proven and the young adult has been considered a child legally, though.

        They are called "children" at 16 and 17 by the press and parents when they are trying to let them get away with something - usually felonious in nature.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge

      anyone who's ever had to speak to vulnerable individuals who've been exploited by people from a position of trust, would very quickly take a strong position on the matter and hold no doubts of whether grey areas exist in the debate.

      When I was a badly broken not-yet-legal teenager enjoying the safety and comfort of the bed of a guy a bit older than me (a "child molestor" by law), I surely was not being "exploited" (and suspect I held more power in the relationship, not just the ability to ruin his life at any time afterwards (even now) with one call to the cops).

      When I was forced into things as an adult, then - even though I was past the legal age of consent - then I was being exploited.

      I don't defend child molestation, and I do wonder if my partner back then in some way caused some of my problems today (I very much expect it was the other stuff I went through), but do take a close look at the relationship before you do anything please. Having someone hold him through a rough night, even though it is illegal, might just be what keeps a young man alive and helps him find a reason to live instead of understanding the meaning of the phrase "crossways for attention, lengthways for effect".

  24. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    I'm done, turn off the light when you leave

    The world has ended.

  25. Freddellmeister

    Without emacs and RMS the world would be a boring.

    1. el kabong Silver badge

      Yes he created EMACS

      I forgive him.

  26. el kabong Silver badge
    Flame

    Tolerance hijacked by intolerant people, Stallman has the right to be wrong and mend himself

    A mob of retrogrades presenting themselves as progressives and defenders of tolerance have found a new victim. Stallman was wrong, he already recognized that, is it that hard for his detractors to recognize they are also wrong but in many more ways than Richard Stallman is? Is it that hard for those idiots to act according to what they preach?

    Intolerant people claiming to be tolerant and progressive while fully unwilling to accept true tolerance are a real threat to a tolerant society and human progress, those retrogrades are no more than useful idiots doing the devil's dirty work.

    Idiocarcy was supposed to be a warning about our far distant future, those idiots insist in turning it into a documentary.

  27. mevets

    Sad, but not a bum rap.

    People in positions of influence (power, whatever..) must be held to a more strict and less forgiving standard. The leaders of the UK and USA provide the antithesis of this sort of discipline. RMS has certainly made a massive contribution to the state of the art, and it is probably better for his legacy that he runs out that door.

    There was something noble in his attempt to defend his deceased friend, but unless he had direct knowledge of the event, conjuring up a blameless scenario is not something human people respond well to -- it has more than a little whiff of man-splaining about it.

    Disclaiming it all as political correctness isn't much different from conjuring. Tolerance is a bit like a club with a very low bar of entry. Tolerant people have to tolerate all but the intolerant. Too often the intolerant evoke the witch hunt of political correctness to cloak their grotesque illnesses instead of seeking the help they need. Expect the POTUS to verify this in 3, 2, 1 ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The law does not always discriminate morally. In this case, some of Epstein's "clients" may have been lured into committing crimes in the eyes of the law, where the moral crime is Epstein's.

      When it comes to age of majority, the law represents a consensus which is wise to respect, but in truth every individual matures differently. It's quite possible for an under-age person who is wise and experienced to manipulate someone above-age who is less wise or experienced than themselves. Yet the law will side with the under-age person regardless.

  28. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    No country for old men.

  29. Rickdk

    His views have always been loopy but...

    A lot of his statements in this interview suggest he has lost touch with the industry and society as a whole. "DRM should be a crime" if I put hard work into creating something I should be able to protect it. If the way this man looks at software was applies to any act of creativity, charging for a book would be a crime. charging for a movie would be a crime. Charging for music would be a crime.

    If one wishes to give the fruits of their labour away for free, that is allowed. If one expects a fair wage for a fair days work, that is allowed.

    1. cornetman Bronze badge

      Re: His views have always been loopy but...

      You need to look at the wider context and examine your own prejudices.

      Circumventing DRM is now a criminal act in many countries. Do you feel the same about that?

      No, I didn't think so.

      Stallman is about freedom. DRM is fundamentally anti-freedom. If you are pro-freedom, they you are anti DRM. It really is as simple as that.

    2. PaulFrederick

      Re: His views have always been loopy but...

      Shove your laborious fruits where the sun don't shine. Imma gonna copyright one and zero and charge you royalties to use them. A buck a bit bitch!

    3. whitepines Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: His views have always been loopy but...

      if I put hard work into creating something I should be able to protect it.

      Protect from more copies being made without paying you, perhaps. That's why copyright exists.

      However, you should not be allowed to track me, take away my ability to view your work once I've purchased it, restrict me in how, where, and with whom I may view that work. You should not be allowed to say that I cannot lend, modify, critique, or quote your work.

      Whatever gave you the idea that you should be able to dictatorially control "your" work in this manner, and also be able give your great grandchildren control of a money engine they never created -- tax-free, rent-free, and immune to any form of competition?

      I simply refuse to participate in this farce. You can take your subscription driven "media" and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. I won't even pirate it. Get a real job where you actually create things that are then sold in exchange for the owner getting sole control of the item, or sell your services to the highest bidder where you again don't have control over what was created. Too bad "starve" isn't an option for "artists" like you any more what with the social safety nets we now enjoy!

    4. Kiwi Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: His views have always been loopy but...

      A lot of his statements in this interview suggest he has lost touch with the industry and society as a whole. "DRM should be a crime" if I put hard work into creating something I should be able to protect it. If the way this man looks at software was applies to any act of creativity, charging for a book would be a crime. charging for a movie would be a crime. Charging for music would be a crime.

      Yes.. Poor old Dean Koontz. All of his books were released DRM-free, illegally lent from person to person, and the poor author never got a dime for his work and died penniless. Same for Wilbur Smith, Stephen King and so many others... How could they make money when anyone can freely copy/lend/re-sell/give away their works without paying them a cent?

      Many of the albums I purchased were first borrowed. All of the bands I've paid money to got my money because I first freely got to hear some of their music, often illegally though "mix tapes" or someone simply loaning me a tape or CD.

      Artists actually would get paid more when music could be freely shared (not sure how that stacks up today with the likes of TPB but then the movie studios hardly seem to be struggling)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jeffrey Epstein allegedly killed himself

    > Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who killed himself last month while behind bars awaiting federal sex-trafficking charges”

    Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who allegedly killed himself last month while under 24 hour observation in a secure cell except we'll never know for sure as there was no usable CCTV video. So, I guess all his secrets died with him.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Jeffrey Epstein allegedly killed himself

      Yes, we expect our readers to be smart enough to read between the lines.

      C.

  31. TheSmokingArgus

    " ...by Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who killed himself last month" <--- Give me break.

    He was not a financier, call this piece of trash what he was, a child--sex trafficker who left his mortal coil under incredibly suspect circumstances. Or by all means keep pretending otherwise, using safe language to disguise the wolf so as to not dare face reality. Cui bono.

    Perhaps then, such shall make it more easily to convince one's self that they are not subjects of governments wholly infested at all levels with pedophiles.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Epstein

      Ah yeah, we meant to include his sex offender conviction. It's added.

      C.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too late for much notice

    but I'll mention the words 'iconoclast' and 'cracked'.

  33. David Shaw

    the MIT related witness descriptions occour in this court document, it is a bit randomly paged

    https://doc-00-b4-docs.googleusercontent.com/docs/securesc/ha0ro937gcuc7l7deffksulhg5h7mbp1/hpmqpquspkor2nsgj39est8dpec1co2r/1568700000000/02301174944674593140/*/14ZOEKwoBnDKUFI1hLbFJH5nsUFxrmNhs?e=download,

    or this might work better https://drive.google.com/uc?id=14ZOEKwoBnDKUFI1hLbFJH5nsUFxrmNhs&export=download

    (there seem to be TWO princes, not just the one, and I haven't worked out yet who is #2)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Odd that these alleged documents are being hosted on what appears to be someone's personal google space.

      I'm not inferring that there is any shananigans but there are several reasons why I have both of those domains blocked.

  34. Eric Kimminau TREG

    Stallman should retink his "one way pager" plan

    I dont not think RMS understands what he thinks he understands.

    A "MODERN" "1 way" pager that can receive SMS messages (not the phone number only pagers) is not the 1 way radio pager of the 50's & 60's. The vast majority, if not all of those networks, are no longer in place.

    A modern SMS pager (that would receive a message explaining why someone needs to talk to RMS) uses the shared cell system. It may only receive messages, but it still registers with the closest/strongest cell tower.

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

    "Paging systems also support various types of direct connection protocols, which sacrifice global addressing and accessibility for a dedicated communications link. Automated monitoring and escalation software clients, often used in hospitals, IT departments, and alarm companies, tend to prefer direct connections because of the increased reliability.

    Paging systems support several popular direct connection protocols, including TAP, TNPP, SNPP, and WCTP, as well as proprietary modem- and socket-based protocols. Additionally, organizations often integrate paging systems with their Voice-mail and PBX systems, conceptually attaching pagers to a telephone extensions, and they set up web portals to integrate pagers into other parts of their enterprise. A paging system alerts a pager (or group of pagers) by transmitting information over an RF channel, including an address and message information. This information is formatted using a paging protocol, such as 2-tone, 5/6-tone, GOLAY, POCSAG, FLEX, ERMES, or NTT. Two-way pagers and response pagers typically use the ReFLEX protocol"

    ... Types of pagers

    Numeric

    Numeric Pagers contain a numeric LCD display capable of displaying the calling phone number or other numeric information generally up to 10 digits. The display can also convey pager codes, a set of number codes corresponding to mutually understood pre-defined messages.

    Alphanumeric

    Alphanumeric pagers contain a more sophisticated LCD capable of displaying text and icons. These devices receive text messages, often through email or direct connection to the paging system. The sender must enter a message, either numeric and push # or, text & push # or a verbal message. The pager does not automatically record the sender's number; the pager will beep but no message can be seen or heard if none has been entered.Response

    1. jackofalltrades

      Re: Stallman should retink his "one way pager" plan

      There's no technical reason not to have broadcast-only SMS, that only an authorized phone can decode, other than they basically intended it to be 2-way.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My favorite qoute from this article...

    "Resisting tracking of persons is everyone's duty"

  36. jbmoore

    Hanging a man for his uninformed opinions despite his contributions to computing and society

    While Stallman has unfortunately hung himself with various uninformed opinions, one must realize that everyone is an expert in some things and an idiot in other things. This is the nature of being human. Stallman is a wealth of experience and knowledge in his field and chosen line of work. He is not a psychologist, financial expert, or university provost. He was probably an adequate manager, but an excellent programmer. He made mistakes, but did he cause harm? The answer is no. He reevaluated some opinions when advised by people more expert than him. Has he passed his sell-by date as far as usefulness? Evidently, since he was removed. Was he an asshole? According to some he was. Well, there are much worse assholes out there. Ones who work for money, power, and sex. Those latter assholes are mostly still in power. So, was more harm than good done by removing Stallman? I guess we'll find out. The jury is out. But, he's right that almost all of our computing devices have become surveillance tools. Are we moving closer to Orwell's Thought Police? Probably. But, it will be Private Thought Police in partnership with the government first.

    1. james_smith Bronze badge

      Re: Hanging a man for his uninformed opinions despite his contributions to computing and society

      Stallman just co-opted an existing trend in academic software - he was no visionary. The Unix that he sought to replace was already open source, and available on tapes that were shared around the computing world. Even his "greatest" acheivements had to be forked after he basically ran them in to the ground with his politics, resulting in Lucid Emacs / Xemacs and egcc.

      1. CRConrad

        "Unix ... was already open source"

        AFAICT, the Unix software on the tapes in circulation back then -- which, if I understand correctly, *BSD is ultimately based on -- wasn't[1] LEGAL "Open Source"[2], but basically pirated AT&T property.

        1: At least not unambiguously.

        2: Or "Free Software", if you will.

  37. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Mixed feelings

    Wow. I'm not sure how to feel about this. Stallman has been a tumor on the open source community for decades, definitely outlived his usefulness and has been a liability for a long time now ... but on the other hand, I never like seeing the outrage mob claiming another scalp.

    I wonder if the mob realizes how much of an extreme anti-capitalist they took down this time.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Mixed feelings

      Intersectionalism.

      You can simultaneously be so correct on one issue and so wrong on other issues.

    2. elip

      Re: Mixed feelings

      Don't be silly, the mob never read a thing he wrote on his blog.

  38. Sergey 1

    Is there something like FSF used to be, not bent on mind control?

    FSF wasn't about censorship and mind control before, there has to be an engineer-friendly replacement

  39. James Wheeler

    Ah yes, caused me to go back and revisit Verity Stob's piece on Stallman. Thanks for keeping it around. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/21/verity_stob_mr_stallmans_parrot/

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you El Reg for not caving to the PC Wackadoodles

    I appreciate El Reg (cultural appropriation!) not caving into the current crop of political correctness imbeciles (apologies for insulting actual imbeciles) demanding that anyone who disagrees with them on any level is automatically a sexual predating racist fascist capitalist toxic conservative martian (sorry there, Mars). As you reported in your article, RMS has explained that this whole hulabaloo (well, I won’t really apologise to the American south) was a misunderstanding, and that although he may have had some dodgie ideas about sexual activity in the past, he studied the issue and came around to the truth that it is automatically bad where children are concerned. And although El Reg (approp!) did seem to lend the colour of credibility to some of the wacko’s charges, on balance the article (after the intro) was well done. And RMS was his good old self, hopefully not for the last time.

    But in the PC world, nobody is allowed to grow and mature. They are only allowed to be dragged through the mud by lynch mobs (there I go again) of babbling ungendered nuthatches. And if you dare to cross these barking mad heartless baboons (so sorry, canines and primates), you too will be pummeled into submission by their dirty brown feet (getting their dirty brown colour from pummeling people into submission).

    You double jolly bet I’m posting anonymously.

  41. Long John Brass Silver badge
    Windows

    Here is a question...

    Lets say you have a position open and two CVs to fill it

    1) RMS - Grumpy swivel eyed FOSS Loon

    2) Selam Gano - Someone who will dig through every comment you have ever made; Get you fired & destroy your reputation/career

    Which would you hire?

    Neither you dolt! You hire a pimply faced youth with a freshly minted diploma and work him 60-80 hours a week until he breaks

  42. Displacement Activity
    Thumb Down

    Linux; sod GNU

    Been using Unix since the 80s, on V7, I think. I'm currently running 7 different flavours of Linux. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that the one thing that has really screwed Linux, and kept it as a backwater (if you ignore Android, of course) is... Stallman. I presume he was a moderately competent programmer, since his name is on Yacc and, I think, bits of emacs. Maybe he should have left it there.

  43. Ray Foulkes
    Thumb Up

    Thanks commentards....

    After the first few paragraphs of this article I was becoming more and more disillusioned with the drift of our society, fully expecting massive support for attempts to destroy Mr. Stallman for voicing opinions that the chattering classes disagree with. Surprise, lots of the comments are along the lines of "bad opinions, but you shouldn't be hanged for writing about them" - it is called "freedom" (of speech or whatever). So thanks very much those of you who have put your head above the parapet to support someone who has done his best to defend freedom as he sees it.

    I have high hopes that he won't disappear into a cave in the desert, but bounce back as the Stallman we all know (if not necessarily love).

  44. Kiwi Silver badge
    Angel

    I'm gonna get so much hate for this..

    Most of you here probably already know this so no details.

    I am a victim of rape.

    I am a victim of several "sexual assaults".

    I refuse to call myself a victim of child sexual abuse (I was 15 and willing), but I could if I wished.

    I agree with what RMS said on Marvin Minsky - if Minsky entered that room believing that Virginia Giuffre was both of-age and willing, then Minsky is innocent of any sexual assault in the sense that he did not believe she was under age or unwilling. This happens to a lot of people who engage prostitutes or others, they simply have no clue that the person who has approached them is not actually wanting to be where she (or he) is.

    When people try to steal phrases like "sexual assault" and apply it to people who are also victims of someone elses's abuse, they are robbing those of us who are victims. They equate "rape" with un-forced and un-coerced sex, which is an absolutely disgusting thing for people to do. I cannot express how angry I am at these people who do that sort of thing. Epstein committed the crime, and he did not suffer nearly enough. I would much rather he rotted in prison for decades before dying a slow, lingering death then taking the cowards way out like he did. Of course, his victims may have a different view - for a start they know he can never again hurt another person. Some of them probably also cared very deeply for him, despite the abuse, and that will colour their view of his death and the circumstances.

    But if Mr Minsky entered that room believing she was willing and legal, he was not guilty. I don't write this to diminish the crimes against Ms Giuffre, but I don't wish to see the blame spread away from where it belongs and the words themselves robbed of their power.

    This is perhaps why I have so much anger and hatred towards SJWs. They take other's pain upon themselves, and try to steal from us to increase the attention they so undeservedly lust after. They add nothing of value to this world, and instead add to the pain and confusion others feel, hoping to make themselves look and feel better at the expense of those who really are suffering. They are the lowest of the low and, well, best I stop now.

    Mr Stallman, you are in many respects a hero. I stand as a victim of rape and abuse and thank you for taking a stand against those who would rob the rest of us, who would steal the language we use to describe our experience and use it for their own gain. I applaud you for all you have done and tried to do, and for speaking your mind. I wish there was more I could do then offer you these words, and I wish there was more people like you in the world, annoying as you have been to many. You have done more to help others than most of your detractors ever will. Even where I disagree, you were at least trying to do the right thing rather than hiding behind your keyboard doing nothing but criticising others.

    May the Lord (regardless of your faith!) guide you into a new role that will make the most exciting day of your life seem dull, and may you go on to much much better things than even you imagined possible.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: I'm gonna get so much hate for this..

      @kiwi - I hope I've said it before, but in case I haven't, *thank you* for your openness on this. I am horrified that you have been through all this, but it seems, from your postings, to have made you a good person. Your world-view is one that I wish more people would embrace.

      Best wishes and hugs from Scotland! :-)

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: I'm gonna get so much hate for this..

        @kiwi - I hope I've said it before, but in case I haven't, *thank you* for your openness on this. I am horrified that you have been through all this, but it seems, from your postings, to have made you a good person. Your world-view is one that I wish more people would embrace.

        Thanks. I appreciate what you've said (and if you're ever over this way, I'll be the one waiting at the airport :) )

        Truth be told, for much of the time I do actually appreciate my experiences. For a start, I hate to think what sort of arsehole I'd be if I didn't know what it was like. It's also put me in a place to help others who would not otherwise get much help or understanding.

        But up until only a few months back, I'd have nightmares. Even though I appreciate it, I've said some pretty harsh things to God as I'm sure you can imagine. There's been other things as well, but I'm not yet willing to be that open. If I could would I change it? Dunno, but that would depend on the results I think. There are mistakes I'd dearly love to undo, shame I could do without, a memory of causing pain I wish never happened - but there's that whole stepping on butterflies thing...

        Again, thanks.

  45. Herby
    Joke

    I thought...

    ...that the "Big Bang Theory" ended its run earlier this year, and the Sheldon character was put out to pasture. Now I know it has!

  46. Alien8n Silver badge

    I'm out

    I did have a long rambling post lined up yesterday but withdrew it as I couldn't see the point. After a night's reflection I've decided this will be my last post on here.

    This is a tech news site, so you would assume that the readership would be reasonably intelligent and informed. Increasingly the comments are becoming more like I would expect from the likes of 4Chan. The vitriol showed towards other commentators on this site by an increasing number of the readers has helped me make up my mind that quite frankly humanity sucks. When the majority seem to be perfectly fine with justifying sexual assault (and of sexual assault of minors) and bemoan the rise of the likes of #metoo as political correctness then just maybe you should look in the mirror if you want to see where the problem actually lies. I'm out, El Reg is becoming an echo chamber for bigots and misogynists, you can have it.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I'm out

      When the majority seem to be perfectly fine with justifying sexual assault (and of sexual assault of minors) and bemoan the rise of the likes of #metoo as political correctness then just maybe you should look in the mirror if you want to see where the problem actually lies.

      Imagine an attractive person meets you in a bar, tells you they're hot for you, and convinces you to bed them, have you committed a crime?

      Now imagine their child is being held at gun point, and they're forced on pain of death of their loved one to seduce you. Have you committed a crime?

      No. You're part of the crime, and part of the victimisation of the other party, but you yourself are not guilty. You entered the relationship believing someone wanted you for you.

      If Minsky believed that the girl was over AOC (and had reasonable grounds - if she was 17 could pass for 19 or 20 that's fine, if she looked like she was 8, or 14, there's no excuse) and believed she was there because she had a thing for rich older men, he was a part of the crime but not himself guilty.

      This does not justify the victimisation of Miss Giuffre in any way, nor is it said to minimise it. But saying a person involved in a crime with innocent (even if creepy) motives neither justifies nor minimises the abuse the victims suffer. Blaming the innocent neither helps the victims (and so often adds more hurt) nor does it help bring the guilty to justice - in fact it can help to 'normalise' the crime and lead to society considering it less serious.

      On the other side of the coin - shortly before I qualified as 'old enough' I was fortunate enough to enter into a relationship with someone who'd already qualified. Technically, legally I am "a victim of sexual abuse", and according to much of the literature somehow he was manipulating/co-ercing/bribing/threatening etc me. But I was the instigator, not him. I felt an attraction for him, I worked on him for some time before finally getting what I wanted. I do not say this to justify or minimise true abuse or the impact it has on victims, but not all situations where and older person and a younger person get it on are 'daamging' or 'abusive'. Trying to force me to be a victim does make me a victim; not of the loving relationship I credit with saving my life, but of the people who try to make what kept me going into something bad. They have no right to speak for me, they have no right to try to assign blame to someone where it does not belong.

      If a person is a victim then deal with them in that manner - not as someone who needs soft handling but as someone who needs to see normal healthy relationships modelled around them all the time, someone who needs to be shown that they can trust and that they can enjoy life again. Be there when they need a shoulder. Clean up the house when they have a flashback and destroy stuff, give them understanding not shame, space when needed, shout and swear at them when that's needed (sometimes - not an excuse for you to treat them bad but a reason for you to wake them up and get them motivated), shop for them when they can't face the outdoors (but also find ways to encourage them to move - go to quiet places at night or where others won't be around (when you've earned that trust).

      But if we're not a victim then don't try to make our lives worse by treating us as such. I've had enough pain and misery and I don't need someone trying to turn good memories into bad feelings. If I don't want to be treated like a victim, if I don't want to wear the label (except when I show it off on here), don't try to force me into that mould.

      </rant>

      Some time back I used to post this stuff as AC, but that didn't work much (and I even had people on here trying to say I had no clue what real pain was like!). I decided to stop using AC to improve the odds of people actually hearing what was said.

      I apologise if I missed the point of what you were saying!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alien8n did you ever stop and think

    That maybe your view may not be as virtuous as you think... look at Kiwi's comment... this is exactly the person whom you pretend to fight for. Have you been raped? She has and she feels the way she does.

    Personally I've dated a couple of girls who were rape victims and one thing they don't do is go around accusing every man in sight. Honestly my experience is that the are extremely ashamed of the situation and have an extremely hard time talking about it...

    Maybe considering RMS actually didn't do anything to anyone other than what some have claims "He's rude/asshole" that doesn't make a him paedophile at all. You have problems with people defending a man that has done more for all of humanity than you and every descendant you ever have will. Seriously you have a problem with rational people...there are instances in history that have shown how extreme ideologues have cause more harm than good... to name a couple Jihad, Nazi... Remember the Nazi party was a far left political group (and very ideologically driven).... And Hitler was an artist.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Alien8n did you ever stop and think

      Kiwi's comment... She..

      Slight correction - wrong gender :)

      (No need to apologise BTW, you or anyone else who has made the mistake - understandable when I can be such a bitchy whiny little girl at times :) )

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alien8n did you ever stop and think

        Sorry about that kiwi I made a wrong assumption... I'm sure the sentiment is no different. Thank you for being so open about your experiences.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And just to be sure you understand...

    That no people here are not okay with:

    "When the majority seem to be perfectly fine with justifying sexual assault (and of sexual assault of minors)"

    We are definitely not okay with that at all, get real and start to understand what words mean.

    Read more!

    1. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: And just to be sure you understand...

      Well said that man!

      elReg is I think an interesting mix of Industry vets; Long of tooth and grey of beard, and relatively new blood, full of vim and vigour.

      I've wondered for a while if part of the role that the forums of elReg is for; is to pass the torch and hopefully some wisdom.

      Many of us here disagree with each other, sometimes it gets... enthusiastic? This is a *good* thing IMHO. I've seen articles however that appear to be trying to drive the userbase into an ideological echo chamber. It warms my cold black heart that it hasn't happened.

      What is the world coming to when the comentards of the infamous elReg are the bastions of sanity?

      /Beer to all my fellow misfits and misanthropes.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: And just to be sure you understand...

        What is the world coming to when the comentards of the infamous elReg are the bastions of sanity?

        Wait, what?

        Bugger.

        Sorry guys, I've been coming to the wrong place all along! I'm so insane I don't even recognise a bastion of sanity when I see it!

        It is this community what keeps me coming back each winter (summers I am usually found in various bike or outdoors forums). I haven't found a place like it online, and very little where I can readily speak my mind even among my closest friends.

        (That's me grabbing the wallet out of the coat to buy us another round of beers. What? No of course it's not my coat!)

  49. rtb61

    Ideal World vs Real World

    Always a good idea to differentiate in your comments and your thoughts between the ideal world and the real world. A lot more can happen ion the ideal world because people can be trusted and in the real world a whole lot needs to be banned because psychopaths and narcissists can absolutely not be trusted and will exploit any one they can including the very young and the very old.

    I think Richard forget to reason out and clarify his opinions upon that basis. A lot of people are not mature enough to handle sex below the age of sixteen and many are not mature enough to handle it over the age of 21.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Richard Stallman was probably right, balance of probability and all - "Minsky may not have been aware Giuffre had been coerced to have sex."

  51. ProgrammerForHire

    Clown world

    No matter what Stallman said, he is an icon in the industry and shouldn't have sacked for a blog article of an over inflated ego

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