by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)
Figure 1: Super Stallman being taken away by the PC thought police
Richard Matthew Stallman, the founder of the GNU movement, resigned from his position as president, and left the board of the Free Software Foundation, on September 16, 2019, after external pressure over comments he would have made about pedophilia and Jerry Epstein.
But what actually happened?
Richard Stallman sent emails to an MIT CSAIL mailing list earlier this month. In the emails, Stallman tried to defend the reputation of late MIT teacher Marvin Minsky, with whom Epstein's victim Virginia Giuffre said she was forced to have sex during a trip to the Virgin Islands at the age of 17. Well, Stallman argued, on that MIT mailing list that using the term rape would be very serious (defending the memory of his former teacher, and, I believe, friend).
Now Stallman is a man almost completely detached from our reality. Anyone who knows him says he's almost an Asperger, so his opinions should not be taken so seriously given his background.
But the media responded swiftly and ruthlessly.
How did the sites report Stallman's appeal on the CSAIL list?
The VICE website put it this way: "Famous computer scientist Richard Stallman described Epstein's victims as "totally willing"".
And, such headlines and articles were reproduced ad-infinitum on the internet, amplifying a very poorly told story.
Well ... what exactly does this really have to do with what he wrote?
In defending his former teacher, and getting into this discussion of a notorious pedophile, Stallman has already made a mistake. He should not have gotten involved in this, but, as the media described him, it was a colossal attack on Stallman's person, a 100x worse mistake.
To say that Stallman defended Epstein for comments he made about his former teacher are from an oceanic distance. And, he commented, angrily on his blog, about the injustices he suffered online.
Unfortunately, his defenses were forgotten, and all the media preferred the scandal to the truth.
And an online campaign at has put pressure on him to leave, and has succeeded. He did not resist the pressure and resigned from both the MIT and the FSF.
So he was a pedophile and defended Epstein?
Negative. It never happened. In fact, who really had ties with that citizen Epstein was Bill Gates, who, according to emails obtained exclusively from The New Yorker, Epstein would have instructed Bill Gates to donate $2 million to a MIT research lab in October 2014. The directors of MIT Media Lab delivered the emails, and they clearly link Gates to Epstein.
However, this connection goes beyond donation, as both Gates and Epstein had a common interest in eugenics, a perverted form of science that seeks to genetically improve the human population by getting rid of undesirable ones (who was also interested in that? Hmmm, ahhh, that Austrian guy!)
We can even speculate that the attack on Stallman's person was a way to get the public's attention diverted away from Gates, who really had a connection with Epstein.
Now, let's move a little away from the passion that this theme arouses. Let's look at the Stallman person. And, let's think for a moment.
Stallman has always been awkward, and his comments have not helped him, on the contrary.
Here justice must be done: Stallman was never aware of the danger he was putting himself into, engaging with sexual issues (sex with minors, sexual violence and so on). Several times he made comments on his personal blog that did not go well. In 2003, in 2006, in 2013, etc.
But what he did was, without any tact, expressing his ideas and opinions, without taking into account that the era of freedom of expression was already over. Yes, nowadays, with the PC thought police, who are always on the lookout for any subject to fire their cannons on, that free speech is gone. If an opinion expressed goes against the prevailing zeitgeist, the subject is in hot waters. And, add to that a corporate yellow media, plus fake news, and you get a sad scenario.
The media has never been sympathetic to Stallman
No, never. Either he didn't take a shower, or he bit his nails, but the fact that they treated him with disrespect, indifference or as a joke always occurred. I doubt if this was motivated (albeit in a hidden way) by Stallman's biggest enemy and what he stands for (the four freedoms), Microsoft.
The cancer has never ceased to be cancer...
Steve Ballmer once called GNU/Linux cancer, and GPL a disease that would make everything open source.
In fact, Ballmer was wrong to call free software open source, but back then they were little different. Not today. Today, the so-called "open source" is moving further and further from free software.
But let's get back to Microsoft, GPL, and Stallman.
At a time like today, where Microsoft increasingly declares its love for Linux, we are always faced with open source apologists from Microsoft, and how it is committed to its advancement(open source) and improvement.
But what about free software? What about the four freedoms? Nothing. The company says nothing about it, and apparently to hear it doesn't exist. That is, Microsoft may love Linux, but it does not love the freedom of the GNU movement (which is intrinsically linked to the Linux kernel and the way it is developed). As a colleague posted on social network: "Microsoft may love Linux, but it doesn't love its users," a hard and strong truth.
And in a media maneuver, Stallman was invited to speak at Microsoft, yet another advertisement for how the company "loves Linux" today. And interestingly, days after his visit to the company, all this scandal explodes ...
At a time like this, with so much "love" in the air, let us not forget that Ballmer himself said: "I would love to see all the innovation of open source happen on Windows".
What prevented that from happening? The four freedoms? Or his greatest advocate? Who knows.
The thing is, the biggest vocal advocate of the GNU copyleft licenses and the four freedoms was Stallman. Having resigned, who will play his part? And his vacant space paves the way for further corporate exploitation of all the work he has done and was committed to.
Corporations are merciless, evil and heartless. But it's the free software folks who are almost always in the headlines...
Yes, this is a recurring theme: Any advocates, or developers of free software, or free culture, are always in the sights, whether of the corporate media or "Defenders" of social justice movements.
Otherwise, let's see:
- Jacob Appelbaum, one of the developers of the TOR protocol: Allegations of sexual misconduct.
- Julian Assange (Wikileaks): Accused of sexual violence in Sweden.
- Brendan Eich: Former CEO of Mozilla Foundation, had to resign for donating to the movement "Proposition 8" in California at a time when one of Eich's plans was to launch Firefox OS for mobile devices (phones, tablets).
- Theodore T'so: Accused of an apologist for sexual violence . Note that T'so was against Intel's TPM platform (which was Sharp's employer).
- Linus Torvalds: All development of the Linux kernel has been branded as toxic by the extremely sincere personality of Torvalds' . And the public outcry was such that Linus had to adopt a COC and take a vacation from the direction of the development of the Linux kernel.
So how many bad people in free software, huh?
But it's just not true. Steve Jobs was a nasty human being, and Microsoft is one of the most sexiest companies there is. But no, the bad guys are these free software guys and activists.
Jobs and Microsoft, exemplary citizens
Steve Jobs was a scoundrel. He wanted nothing to do with his daughter for a long time.
Jobs denied his daughter Lisa's paternity for years. She and her mother ended up living on government welfare.
Daughter Lisa Brennan wrote a memoir about her relationship with her famous father, Small Fry, where she describes Jobs as a sadistic man and a horrible father: sexually inappropriate, verbal and psychologically abusive, ruthless and cheap - with his time, money, emotions, attention.
But the media treated him like the Jesus of technology. Did anyone talk bad about him in the newspapers? On the Internet? In blogs?
While he was alive, no, but the media, so merciful about this "wonderful human" being, never spared free software activists. They always condemned them and lynched publicly. And Microsoft is no different. In 2015, it was the subject of a labor lawsuit over sexual discrimination.
"Katherine Moussouris filed a complaint against the Seattle-based company, claiming that her supervisors disliked her "manner of style" and gave the promotions she was up to to her less qualified male colleagues, Reuters reported. She also received lower bonuses as retaliation for making complaints of sexual harassment. According to the complaint, Microsoft employees in Redmond, Washington often received lower performance ratings and were based on subjective observations."
And that didn't change with Satya Nadella, quite the opposite: In October 2015, he told, in a room full of technical women at the Grace Hopper Conference, that they should not ask for a raise, but instead have "faith that the system will provide the right raise." ARGHHHHH! Yeah, with Microsoft, only with a lot of faith, really.
He apologized later, but apologies don't change anything. Of course, having several technical news sites in its pockets helps to silence criticism of Microsoft.
And Stallman and his accuser?
Was Stallman a pedophile? No.
Encouraged pedophilia? He didn't.
Defended Epstein? No, and on his blog, made harsh criticism of the late sex offender.
But he paid dearly for no crime. He did nothing but try to defend a former teacher. But that can be a disaster these days because of digital lynch mobs.
And his accuser? Facing a strong public backlash, she took down her personal website (her website calling for Stallman's resignation is still online), but can still be found here.
Did she act in good faith? Maybe, maybe not.
The only thing I know is that she's a millennial, and they think they can destroy everything and build something new in its place, even better than there was. But I highly doubt that they can build anything better than it was (and still is), the GNU movement. RMS is not out of the game, and we look forward to his return to the field. Voices are rising in his defence, and, we can only hope this injustice to be undone quickly.