Richard Matthew Stallman (rms) is an iconic figure. He has returned to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) board of directors this month. The act created quite a stir in the community revolving around free software movement.

As all my recent articles, this one is also subjective. For now, I have found out that producing an article a day is easier if they are somewhat personal. Here's why I have voted and why have I voted the way I did.

The vote

Very soon after rms has returned to the board, the vote demanding his departure was started on the GitHub under the name rms-open-letter , which was signed by no only individuals, but the organizations such as Open Source Collective (the umbrella organization for Open Collective), GNOME Foundation, Creative Commons or Framasoft (the company supporting PeerTube) to name a few. Clearly, people were concerned.

Soon after, the rms-support-letter was published on GitHub as well. At the time of writing supporters outnumber the individuals who are against by the ratio of 3:2. But, there are no small organizations signed under the support letter, which means there are definitely no big organizations signed under there either. This makes it hard to do a somewhat objective comparison of the both, but this is not the point at all.

Mixed reactions

It would be hard for me to do a fair summary of Stallman's overall contributions to the society (or subtractions for that matter), and other people did better job already. Asking people around Fediverse provided mixed reactions.

User matrixsasuke just claimed he voted for support. Contrary to it, the user dmoonfire was against, due to previous personal interactions regarding emacs maintenance that did not met the agreement on the both sides. Although I do not use emacs, I do tools developed under GNU daily, yet I had no personal interaction with rms so far. Maybe I have to try harder. The personal interactions with him cannot be that hard, because user neil claimed it to be the reason he signed under the support letter.

My stance

The history shows that it is not that uncommon to leave the organization while being the core of it and later return back. I did not pay too much attention to what's happening around the Stallman's persona, but I use (spelled properly) GNU/Linux since I am 8 or so, without giving much anything in return.

I have too decided to sign under to support letter, probably due to compassion. I am sure by now that I am not the most empathetic person on the planet, but I do feel some pain when I believe someone is deeply misunderstood, which is what I believe is happening here.

Maybe some time in the future someone digs this signature out on me, like if I left some old Facebook post that should not be published in the first place still there. Yeah, people Google others when they apply for work for instance. I wanted to do a good thing, and although I do not belove it will have any measurable impact on the Stallman's life or the movement or the community whatsoever, I wanted to feel like a hacker for a bit. Yeah, that reminds me that I am looking forward to the Steven Levy's book.

This is a 20th post of #100daystooffload.