“He does not speak for us. We do not condone his actions and opinions. We do not acknowledge his leadership or the leadership of the Free Software Foundation as it stands today.”

That’s what more than 800 open source developers, advocates and community managers want to say to the world on the return of Richard Stallman on the board of Free Software Foundation.

Remove Stallman and the entire FSF board members!

A quick recap of turn of events. FSF founding president, Richard Stallman, was removed in 2019 for his controversial views. He announced his return to the Free Software Foundation only two days ago.

As Richard M Stallman (popularly known as RMS) said in his announcement that “some will be happy with this and some might be disappointed”. The disappointed people have taken upon themselves to unit against Richard Stallman by publishing an open letter.

Richard M. Stallman, frequently known as RMS, has been a dangerous force in the free software community for a long time. He has shown himself to be misogynist, ableist, and transphobic, among other serious accusations of impropriety. These sorts of beliefs have no place in the free software, digital rights, and tech communities. With his recent reinstatement to the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation, we call for the entire Board of the FSF to step down and for RMS to be removed from all leadership positions.

Excerpt from open letter about Stallman

Executive Director of GNOME Foundation takes charge against Stallman and FSF

The open letter has been signed by over 800 people so far. The signatories include developers and community managers from Debian, GNOME, Ubuntu, System76, elementary OS, Mozilla among many other organizations.

The website that hosts this letter has a page that details why they are against RMS.

The letter goes on to indicate that if their demands are not met, they will boycott “FSF events or any events that welcome RMS and his brand of intolerance”.

From the commits and merged pull requests, it seems that Neil McGovern, Executive Director of GNOME Foundation, Elana Hashman, Director of Open Source Initiative, and Molly de Blanc of GNOME Foundation are handling the new signatories to this open letter. Creator of the open letter is not public. Neil was critical of RMS in 2019 as well.

Looking at issues opened (and closed), it is turning into a mud fight where some people are against this move and some wants it to take it to the next level by changing the license of open source projects. Call for boycotting the companies that donate to FSF has also been suggested and I have a feeling that will be implemented as well.

Update: There is a new open letter in the support of Richard Stallman and people are signing this letter as well.

It will be interesting to see what Free Software Foundation does. The open letter doesn’t give the board of directors any choice either. They have to step down as well. So, will all of them resign and vacant their positions for fresh elections? That’s difficult to say.