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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 28 2021, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly

Red Hat pulls Free Software Foundation funding over Richard Stallman's return:

The chorus of disapproval over Richard M Stallman, founder and former president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), rejoining the organisation has intensified as Linux giant Red Hat confirmed it was pulling funding.

Stallman announced he had returned to the FSF's Board of Directors last weekend – news that has not gone down well with all in the community and Red Hat is the latest to register its dismay.

CTO Chris Wright tweeted overnight: "I am really outraged by FSF's decision to reinstate RMS. At a moment in time where diversity and inclusion awareness is growing, this is a step backwards."

Describing itself as "appalled" at the return of Stallman to the FSF board of directors "considering the circumstances of Richard Stallman's original resignation in 2019," Red Hat said it decided to act.

"We are immediately suspending all Red Hat funding of the FSF and any FSF-hosted events. In addition, many Red Hat contributors have told us they no longer plan to participate in FSF-led or backed events, and we stand behind them," said Red Hat.

[...] Red Hat's step marks an escalation in the war of words over Stallman's return. As both a long-time donor and contributor of code, the IBM-owned company's action might well give the FSF pause for thought in a way that thousands of outraged tweets might not.

FSF president Geoffrey Knauth stated his intention yesterday "to resign as an FSF officer, director, and voting member as soon as there is a clear path for new leadership."

Red Hat statement about Richard Stallman's return to the Free Software Foundation board


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @11:58PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @11:58PM (#1130495)

    That “plague of mass surveillance was directly caused by the GPL.

    No, it's caused by unethical parasitic corporations that don't respect or care about your freedoms. Though in some cases Free Software can be used for evil, proprietary software enables even more mass surveillance because you can't control it at all. SAASS is a problem and must be rejected, being about as bad as proprietary software even if the software running on the servers is not proprietary. The acceptance of SAASS is the problem here, not the software running on the servers.

    If I have a choice between buying proprietary software that runs locally , does what I want, and doesn’t phone home, or paying a monthly fee (either money or by giving up my privacy), I’ll buy the proprietary software.

    You don't have that choice, because you don't control the software. Even if the proprietary software doesn't do any surveillance or actively abuse users in other ways at present, it could in the future. Windows is a very good example of this.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @12:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @12:49AM (#1131010)

    As a developer the FSF doesn’t care about my freedom. I will choose whatever terms are most beneficial to me. That can mean writing SaaS in an ethical way, by charging for the service and not selling the data. People are willing to pay for services that preserve their interests. So it’s in my best interest not to turn such SaaS into spyware.

    Of course that means not giving away services for “free” and then ass-raping the users. As people demand more control over their personal information, business models like Facebook and Google will come under more pressure. Hopefully they will fail. But probably not, because people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    But since nobody has answered my challenge as to what has Stallman done that’s useful this century, the answer is simple - he made one minor commit way back in 2003. A few in 1997 and 1998.

    Surprised? I’m not.