This post is more than three years old so may contain incorrect information, or opinions I no longer hold.

My Thoughts On Richard Stallman's Return To the FSF Board

22 Mar 2021 | ~3 minute read

If you haven't heard, Richard Stallman recently announced that he will be returning to the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

In case you missed it, here's the announcement from the man himself:

My thoughts on Richard Stallman

So Richard was forced to resign as president of the FSF back in late 2019. There was a lot of controversy around the whole thing, which I don't want to get into here. If you want to learn more about that, check out this post on It's FOSS.

I think there are number of issues with the FSF, and having Richard Stallman back fixes none of them. In fact, I think it makes them worse.

The FSF is antiquated...?

During the announcement, Richard said the following:

We were working on a video to announce this…but that turned out to be difficult. We didn't have experience doing that sort of thing.

Richard Stallman

Really, Richard? REALLY?!

So the FSF is so antiquated that it can't even produce a bloody announcement video. If that doesn't scream “hey, there's a problem here!“, I don't know what does.

Richard Stallman doesn’t speak for us

Richard’s opinions are, in my opinion, completely out of touch with modern society. They range from mildly irritating to outright obnoxious, and with him being the public face of the FSF, it’s not a huge leap to assume that many inside the community condone these opinions.

They do not!

Honestly, I don’t think that Richard Stallman voices his opinions with malice. I think he’s an older, out of touch man who speaks from a place of privilege. I think this is evident by the complete lack of remorse in the video above.

Some of you may be happy about this; some of you may be disappointed. In any case, that’s how it is and I don’t intend to resign again.

Richard Stallman

Is he the right person to be leading the FSF? I don’t think so.

I also think there’s a broader problem with the FSF board. What on earth where they thinking when they thought it would be a good idea to have him back?

If the FSF wants to stay relevant, they're going to need to start enticing younger people in. But if they can't even make a simple announcement video at the moment, I really worry about their ability to entice anyone. Blogging isn't dead, but the FSF are going to need more than that.

Fact is, the world is a better place with the FSF in it, but if they don't do something soon, I fear they will continue to devolve into an irrelevant group of people who can't function on the modern web.

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