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Stallman Under Fire for Views on Epstein

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  • Famed MIT Scientist Defends Epstein: Victims Were ‘Entirely Willing’

    While MIT engages in damage control following revelations the university’s Media Lab accepted millions of dollars in funding from Jeffrey Epstein, a renowned computer scientist at the university has fanned the flames by apparently going out of his way to defend the accused sex trafficker — and child pornography in general.

    Richard Stallman has been hailed as one of the most influential computer scientists around today and honored with a slew of awards and honorary doctorates, but his eminence in the academic computer science community came into question Friday afternoon when purportedly leaked email excerpts showed him suggesting one of Epstein’s alleged victims was “entirely willing.”

  • Prominent computer scientist at MIT argues definition of rape in defending money from dead sex offender

    Richard Stallman, founder of Cambridge's Free Software Foundation and a visiting scientist at MIT, argues that Jeffrey Epstein's victims were likely "entirely willing" and to stop besmirching the good name of deceased MIT AI guru Marvin Minsky just because he might have "had sex with one of Epstein’s harem."

    Vice reports Stallman made his comments on an MIT mailing list on which he objected to a protest being planned for next week over MIT's ties to the convicted sex offender long after his conviction.

  • Free software icon Richard Stallman has some moronic thoughts about pedophilia

    The world of academia is in turmoil over the shock discovery that disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein funded several several prestigious science and technology research labs, including MIT’s Media Lab, long after his 2008 conviction for sex crimes involving children.

    For the late Epstein, his generous donations served to whitewash his tainted reputation. They were part of a well-sculpted PR effort that also included paid-for puff pieces in publications like Forbes and HuffPost, which emphasised his philanthropy, while conveniently ignoring his crimes.

  • Famed Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Described Epstein Victims As 'Entirely Willing'

    Richard Stallman, the computer scientist best known for his role in the free software movement, has joined the list of MIT men going out of their way to defend the university’s relationships with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

    Selam Jie Gano, an MIT alum, posted on Medium about an email thread in which Stallman argued that the late Marvin Minsky—an AI pioneer accused of assaulting one of Epstein's victims, Virginia Giuffre—had not actually assaulted anyone.

  • MIT Community Horrified by Famed Researcher’s Epstein Outburst

    Since the July arrest of Jeffrey Epstein on charges of sex trafficking, a number of huge names in the world of tech — from Bill Gates to Elon Musk — have attempted to defend or deny any inkling of a relationship with the financier.

    But one prominent computer scientist is seemingly going out of his way to insert himself into the scandal: MIT Visiting Scientist Richard Stallman.

    MIT accepted millions of dollars in funding from Epstein, prompting one student group to organize a protest calling for the resignation of any senior MIT administrators who knew about the donations.

It's time to talk about post-RMS Free Software

  • It's time to talk about post-RMS Free Software

    Richard Stallman has once again managed to demonstrate incredible insensitivity[1]. There's an argument that in a pure technical universe this is irrelevant and we should instead only consider what he does in free software[2], but free software isn't a purely technical topic - the GNU Manifesto is nakedly political, and while free software may result in better technical outcomes it is fundamentally focused on individual freedom and will compromise on technical excellence if otherwise the result would be any compromise on those freedoms. And in a political movement, there is no way that we can ignore the behaviour and beliefs of that movement's leader. Stallman is driving away our natural allies. It's inappropriate for him to continue as the figurehead for free software.

MIT scientist says Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre

  • MIT scientist says Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre was ‘entirely willing’: report

    Stallman allegedly blasted the email out Thursday to a mailing list for MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, according to an MIT alumni who leaked the message, Selam Jie Gano.

    Stallman was apparently responding to an email alerting students of an anti-Epstein protest at MIT.

    The university has come under fire after Giuffre’s allegations and revelations its highly acclaimed Media Lab accepted donations from Epstein.

Another mention

  • MIT Students Think President L. Rafael Reif Should Also Resign Over Taking Jeffrey Epstein's Money

    Last week, Media Lab director Joi Ito resigned after admitting that he had also taken Epstein’s money to fund his personal investments. Both Ito and Reif insist that they simply thought Epstein was a convicted sex offender and didn’t know he was a sex trafficker. Meanwhile, over on the MIT email listserv, computer scientist Richard Stallman is asking if maybe Epstein’s victims aren’t to blame for all this.

Noted MIT Computer Scientist Defends Jeffrey Epstein

  • Noted MIT Computer Scientist Defends Jeffrey Epstein in Leaked Emails

    Richard Stallman is a noted alumnus of MIT who remains listed as a Visiting Scientist at the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). In the world of free software, he’s considered one of the earliest pioneers. He also helped develop the GNU Project, which has had a significant impact on the development of computers and technology.

    Now for the bad part — and it’s really, really bad: Stallman has some very troubling opinions on the subject of Jeffrey Epstein, along with a host of related subjects. MIT graduate and engineer Selam Jie Gano was the first to raise the alarm about this, with a long post on Medium quoting an email Stallman recently sent to the CSAIL mailing list and exploring other deeply dodgy things he’s said and done in the past.

The tabloids too are on it (Daily Mail)

Fox News

  • MIT professor defended Jeffrey Epstein associate in leaked emails, claimed victims were ‘entirely willing’

    In the email thread, leaked by MIT alum Salam Jie Gano to VICE on Friday, Stallman argued that the late Marvin Minsky – an AI pioneer who died in 2016 and is accused of assaulting one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, - had not actually assaulted anyone.

    “The word ‘assaulting’ presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but the article itself says no such thing. Only that they had sex,” he wrote, referring to an article about Giuffre’s testimony against Minsky. “The most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him an entirely willing.”

Where this started

  • Remove Richard Stallman

    I’m writing this because I’m too angry to work.
    I’m writing this because at 11AM on Wednesday, September 11th 2019, my friend sent me an email that was sent to an MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) mailing list.
    This email came from Richard Stallman, a prominent computer scientist.
    In it, he’s responding to a female student’s email about this Facebook event, which calls for a protest by MIT students and affiliates regarding Jeffrey Epstein’s donation.

Now the news gets distorted altogether

  • MIT scientist defends pedophile Jeffrey Epstein [Ed: This headline is patently false.]

    Richard Stallman, a well-known MIT computer scientist who’s previously suggested that President Donald Trump stole the 2016 presidential election, has been accused of not only defending deceased billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes but also smearing his victims.

Changing the story

  • Epstein Victim Likely Was Willing, MIT Scientist Says [Ed: Check what Stallman actually said. Nothing like what these headlines claim. Tactless? Sure. Even tasteless. But this is distortion.]

    MIT's Jeffrey Epstein awkwardness isn't going away yet. Days after the director of the MIT Media Lab resigned after being accused of accepting and covering up donations from Epstein, emails have surfaced that show a famed computer scientist excusing sexual assault. Richard Stallman wrote that it's likely that a woman who says she was recruited for sex at age 16 was "entirely willing," the Daily Beast reports, logic that would excuse the late Marvin Minsky, who founded MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab.

Herald-Mail Media

From libreplanet-discuss

  • [libreplanet-discuss] Is Stallman nuts?
    Remarkably, in order to make their allegations against Stallman, both
    Selam G. and Edward Ongweso Jr. must speak untruthfully about what
    Stallman wrote. 
    Selam G., for example, writes:  "…and then [Stallman] says that an
    enslaved child could, somehow, be "entirely willing"."   Yet, what
    Stallman actually  wrote was that if the victim were being coerced by
    Epstein, he thinks it most likely that she would have been directed to
    conceal that coercion from Minsky and others.    The two statements are
    very different.   What Salem G. falsely attributes to Stallman would
    indeed be very damning -- but it is not what Stallman wrote at all. 
    Edward Ongweso Jr. offers this slander:  "Early in the thread, Stallman
    insists that the "most plausible scenario" is that Epstein's underage
    victims were "entirely willing" while being trafficked."   The truth,
    however, is that Stallman wrote: "We can imagine many scenarios, but the
    most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely
    willing."   Two two statements are, again, very different.  Ongweso
    Jr.'s false paraphrase is about whether the young woman was willing. 
    Stallman's is about how, under the circumstances, the young woman might
    have appeared to Minsky to be willing, for example if she were directed
    to conceal the coercion. 
    Accusations such as Salem G. and Ongweso Jr. make are made to cause harm
    to the accused.  That is how  they appear to be made in this context:
    with the aim of harming Stallman.  Yet in order to accomplish this harm,
    both Salem G. and Ongweso Jr. must abandon the truth in favor of
    statements falsely attributed to Stallman. 
    It would be appropriate, in my opinion, for both writers to retract
    their critical misstatements of fact. 

Statement from Richard Stallman

  • Statements about Epstein

    I want to respond to the misleading media coverage of messages I posted about Marvin Minsky's association with Jeffrey Epstein. The coverage totally mischaracterised my statements.

    Headlines say that I defended Epstein. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've called him a "serial rapist", and said he deserved to be imprisoned. But many people now believe I defended him — and other inaccurate claims — and feel a real hurt because of what they believe I said.

    I'm sorry for that hurt. I wish I could have prevented the misunderstanding.

  • Richard Stallman Challenges 'Misleading' Coverage of His Comments on Marvin Minsky

    On MIT's internal Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) listerv, Stallman had seen the description of a protest of Marvin Minsky which said Minsky was "accused of assaulting" one of Epstein's victims. Stallman argued that "the most plausible scenario" is that "she presented herself to him as entirely willing" -- even if she was coerced by Epstein into doing so -- whereas the phrase "assaulting" implies the use of force or violence, faciliating what he calls "accusation inflation... Whatever conduct you want to criticize, you should describe it with a specific term that avoids moral vagueness about the nature of the criticism."

    An angry MIT alumni who was forwarded the email then "started emailing reporters -- local and national, news sites, newspapers, radio stations" -- and then not receiving quick enough responses, published it herself in a Medium essay titled "Remove Richard Stallman. And everyone else horrible in tech." And then leaked the whole thread to Vice.

MIT: Preliminary fact-finding about MIT and Jeffrey Epstein

  • Preliminary fact-finding about MIT and Jeffrey Epstein

    Joi sought the gifts for general research purposes, such as supporting lab scientists and buying equipment. Because the members of my team involved believed it was important that Epstein not use gifts to MIT for publicity or to enhance his own reputation, they asked Joi to agree to make clear to Epstein that he could not put his name on them publicly. These guidelines were provided to and apparently followed by the Media Lab.

    Information shared with us last night also indicates that Epstein gifts were discussed at at least one of MIT’s regular senior team meetings, and I was present.

    I am aware that we could and should have asked more questions about Jeffrey Epstein and about his interactions with Joi. We did not see through the limited facts we had, and we did not take time to understand the gravity of Epstein’s offenses or the harm to his young victims. I take responsibility for those errors.

    While the fact finding will continue, we have already identified flaws in our processes that need to be addressed.

    I am confident that, once Goodwin Procter submits its final fact-finding to the Executive Committee and me, and the Provost’s internal review is complete, MIT will have the tools to improve our review and approval processes and turn back to the central work of the Institute.

Stallman defends himself over Epstein comments

  • Stallman defends himself over Epstein comments

    Open saucy messiah Richard Stallman has found himself in a bit of a mess after he was quoted as defending Marvin Minsky's association with dead sex-pest Jeffrey Epstein.

    On MIT's internal Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) listserv, Stallman had seen the description of a protest of Marvin Minsky which said Minsky was "accused of assaulting" one of Epstein's victims. Stallman argued that "the most plausible scenario" is that "she presented herself to him as entirely willing" -- even if Epstein coerced her into doing so -- whereas the phrase "assaulting" implies the use of force or violence, faciliating what he calls "accusation inflation... Whatever conduct you want to criticise, you should describe it with a specific term that avoids moral vagueness about the nature of the criticism."

Richard Stallman Does Not and Cannot Speak for the Free Software

  • Richard Stallman Does Not and Cannot Speak for the Free Software Movement

    We are passionate about software freedom because we know it is a necessary precondition to safe and effective software that we can rely on in the long term. We fight for copyleft because it is a powerful tool to help us actually control the technology that is being increasingly embedded in our lives. The fight for diversity, equality and inclusion is the fight for software freedom; our movement will only be successful if it includes everyone. With these as our values and goals, we are appalled at recent statements made by the President and founder of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, in his recent email to the MIT CSAIL mailing list.

    When considered with other reprehensible comments he has published over the years, these incidents form a pattern of behavior that is incompatible with the goals of the free software movement. We call for Stallman to step down from positions of leadership in our movement.


  • Richard M. Stallman Resigns

    Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Resigns from MIT Over Epstein Comments

  • Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Resigns From MIT Over Epstein Comments

    Famed free software advocate and computer scientist Richard Stallman has resigned from MIT, according to an email he published online. The resignation comes after Stallman made comments about victims of child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, including that the victims went along with the abuse willingly.

    "I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT," Stallman wrote in the email, referring to MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. "I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations."

  • Richard M. Stallman resigns

    On September 16, 2019, Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, resigned as president and from its board of directors.

"Vice article takes one specific quote out of context"

  • [libreplanet-discuss] Is Stallman nuts?
    I've been an associate member of the FSF since 2012; an attendee of
    LibrePlanet every year since 2013; and using, developing, and advocating
    for free software longer than that.  I have other organizational
    affiliations, however I am writing in my personal capacity and opinions
    expressed herein are my own.  Also, my apologies to those on this list
    who want this thread to just be over, but there have been many false
    statements around this issue that are important to correct.  With all
    that said...
    The Vice article takes one specific quote out of context and removes key
    words from it to change the meaning into a clickbait headline and story.
    The article explains that Stallman insists that Epstein's victims were
    "entirely willing" to be trafficked, which is a blatant misquote.
    What Stallman actually wrote in the e-mail thread [1] is that, because
    Virginia Giuffre was coerced by Epstein, Epstein would have surely
    forced her to conceal the coercion from people like Marvin Minsky.
    Therefore she would have presented herself to Minsky as "entirely
    willing" and Minsky would not have needed to force himself onto her.
    The article's headline and entire premise that Stallman claimed that
    Giuffre was "willing" to be trafficked is completely disproven later in
    the thread when Stallman wrote, in no uncertain terms, "We know that
    Giuffre was being coerced into sex -- by Epstein.  She was being
    harmed."  He also wrote on his Web site a month ago [2] that he believes
    the accusations against Epstein of sex trafficking and that rape is
    unconditionally wrong.  More recently he also agreed [3] that Joi Ito
    had to resign after admitting to covering up Epstein's donations to the
    MIT Media Lab (the original subject of the thread in question), and he
    clarified and reiterated that he always condemned Epstein [4].
    The purpose of Stallman's message is his usual pedantry, to point out
    that "assault" is vague.  Since the sex between Minsky and Giuffre was
    non-violent and Minsky may have believed Giuffre to have given him
    consent, Stallman's argument is that Minsky's actions don't necessarily
    rise to "sexual assault", a term which implies violent non-consensual
    sex.  (I don't intend to defend Stallman's argument here -- only to
    clarify it.)
    The center of Stallman's pedantry here reads, "The word 'assaulting'
    presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but
    the article itself says no such thing.  Only that they had sex."  Anyone
    on the csail-related mailing list or otherwise who doesn't regularly
    read his Web site or the GNU "Words to Avoid" Web page or who isn't
    familiar with his linguistic prescriptivism may very easily
    misunderstand this statement as condoning non-consensual but non-violent
    sex.  But based on his previous condemnations of rape, I fully believe
    that he condemns any form of non-consensual sex, even if non-violent.  I
    suggest that he should have been clearer there to avoid such an easy
    Of course, his defense of Minsky (after presuming he indeed had sex with
    a minor) appears to rely on his unpopular but somewhat well known belief
    that "voluntarily [sic] pedophilia" doesn't harm children [5].  He seems
    to have taken for granted that Minsky should have had no reason to
    hesitate over having sex with a minor, as long as she appeared to him to
    be willing.  Reportedly though, Stallman's views "changed significantly"
    by 2016 [6], and he confirmed on Saturday that "personal conversations
    in recent years" have convinced him that sex between an adult and a
    child is wrong [7].  This timeline between changing views in "recent
    years" and this thread from last Wednesday would in fact suggest that
    he didn't necessarily intend to exonerate Minsky at all.  Instead, it
    suggests to me that Stallman's only intention was to seek clarification
    of exactly what Minsky had done.  Minsky engaged in non-violent and
    seemingly consensual (but actually coerced by Epstein) sex with a minor.
    While such an act is ethically and legally wrong, Stallman is arguing
    that violent non-consensual sex is worse.  He, pedantic as he is, wanted
    only to avoid conflating Minsky's actions with more violent assault.
    (Again, I'm explaining, not necessarily defending.)
    Now, we could have had a reasonable debate around whether Minsky's
    actions do rise to the level of "sexual assault" or we should be more
    specific in our terminology.  We could argue that all forms of non-
    consensual sex are equally wrong, with or without physical violence
    or the appearance of consent, and that Stallman is wrong to try to
    disambiguate such forms.  This is certainly a debatable topic, however
    the media immediately shut down any useful debate by going off in a
    completely different direction with sensationalized false claims of
    something Stallman definitely did not say.  It's just a frustratingly
    and obviously absurd clickbait straw man, and one that wasn't even at
    all necessary in order to find controversy in what Stallman said.  There
    was already a decent story in there, without having to lie about it.
    Some people have also taken this opportunity to bring up some of
    Stallman's other social and technical behaviors.  While I share some of
    these concerns, this is not the time to conflate so many issues.  Let's
    focus for now on the accusation at hand.
    So, I'll express some of my own pedantry by urging readers to consider
    not the sophistry woven by Vice, but what Stallman actually said.  Base
    your decisions not on the false premise that he defended Epstein and
    insisted that Epstein's underage victims were "entirely willing" to
    be trafficked, but instead on his pedantic disambiguation of the
    term "sexual assault".  Read the source material and reach your own
    conclusions, ignoring what Vice puts out to maximize their advertising
    I, for one, will not be ending my FSF associate membership over this
    incident.  Despite any other concerns I may have regarding Stallman's
    leadership of the GNU Project and representation of the FSF and the
    broader software freedom movement, I will not be demanding his departure
    as FSF President over the recent csail-related e-mail thread.
    On a personal note, nothing in my message should be construed to imply
    that I in any way condone any form of non-consensual sexual encounters,
    by any name.  While I thankfully have no first-hand experience and can't
    imagine the trauma endured by the victims, I do have a certain emotional
    connection to child sexual assault and would neither take the issue
    lightly nor defend someone I believe to be a sexual assault apologist.
    I also cringe at every knee-jerk reaction against accusers (for example
    the term "SJW"), so I ask that we all remain civil about what is
    (understandably) quite an emotional subject for everyone.  And thanks to
    anyone who managed to read this far.

Richard Stallman has resigned from the Free Software Foundation

  • Richard Stallman has resigned from the Free Software Foundation and MIT

    Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation has resigned and he's also left his position in CSAIL at MIT.

    Why is this significant? Stallman and the FSF were responsible for the creation of the GNU Project, widely used GNU licenses like the GPL, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) and more that were used in the creation of Linux.

    Posted on the FSF website last night was this notice:

    On September 16, 2019, Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, resigned as president and from its board of directors. The board will be conducting a search for a new president, beginning immediately. Further details of the search will be published on

    Stallman also noted on how he's stepped away from MIT as well, with the below statement:

    I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.

Amid Epstein Controversy, Richard Stallman is Forced to Resign

  • Amid Epstein Controversy, Richard Stallman is Forced to Resign as FSF President

    If you are not aware of the context, let me provide some details.

    Richard Stallman, a 66 years old computer scientist at MIT, is best known for founding the free software movement in 1983. He also developed several software like GCC, Emacs under the GNU project. The free software movement inspired a number of projects to choose the open source GPL license. Linux is one of those projects.

    Jeffrey Epstein was a billionaire American financier. He was convicted as a sex offender for running an escort service (included underage girls) for the rich and elites in his social service. He committed suicide in his prison cell while still being tried for sex trafficking charges.

    Marvin Lee Minsky was an eminent computer scientist at MIT. He founded the Artificial Intelligence lab at MIT. He died at the age of 88 in 2016. After his death, an Epstein victim named Misky as one of the people she was “directed to have sex” with on Jeffrey Epstein’s private island while she was a minor.

Richard Stallman resigns from the FSF

  • Richard Stallman resigns from the FSF

    With a brief announcement, the Free Software Foundation has let it be known that founder Richard Stallman has resigned both as president and from the board of directors.

Richard Stallman Resigns From The Free Software Foundation

  • Richard Stallman Resigns From The Free Software Foundation

    Richard M Stallman has resigned as president from the Free Software Foundation and from his Board of Directors post.

    Richard Stallman had started the GNU Project and founded the Free Software Foundation while long being known for being vocal in the free software movement. But now he is out at least in an official capacity.

    His resignation stems from comments made last week, as outlined in Vice and elsewhere.

    The Free Software Foundation confirmed RMS' resignation on

    In addition to resigning from the Free Software Foundation, he also resigned from his post at MIT.

Richard Stallman jumps from MIT...

  • Richard Stallman jumps from MIT after controversial Epstein comments

    OPEN-SOURCE LEGEND Richard Stallman has announced his resignation from MIT, as well as his presidency of the Free Software Foundation, the group he formed that hailed the start of the open-source revolution.

    The decision comes after comments by Stallman about fellow luminary and AI pioneer Marvin Minsky, related to the Jeffery Epstein case. These were distributed in an email chain to the mailing list of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and later published by Motherboard.

Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation

  • GNOME relationship with GNU and the FSF

    In my capacity as the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation, I have also written to the FSF. One of the most important parts of my role is to think of the well being of our community and the GNOME mission. One of the GNOME Foundation’s strategic goals is to be an exemplary community in terms of diversity and inclusion. I feel we can’t continue to have a formal association with the FSF or the GNU project when its main voice in the world is saying things that hurt this aim.

Ricardo Wurmus (Guix)

  • Rekado: Thoughts on GNU and Richard Stallman

    As a co-maintainer of GNU packages (including Guix, the Guix Workflow Language, the Guile Picture Language, etc), and as a contributor to various other GNU software, I would like to state that while I'm grateful for Richard Stallman's founding of the GNU project and his past contributions to GNU, it would be wrong to continue to remain silent on the negative effects his behaviour and words have had over the past years. His actions have hurt people and alienated them from the free software movement.

    When I joined GNU I used to think of Richard as just a bit of a quirky person with odd habits, with a passion for nitpicking and clear language, but also with a vision of freeing people from oppression at the hands of a boring dystopia mediated by computers. Good intentions, however, aren't enough. Richard's actions over the past years sadly have been detrimental to achieving the vision that he outlined in the GNU Manifesto, to benefit all computer users.

Molly de Blanc, whom RMS gave an award some months back

  • Molly de Blanc: Thinkers

    Deb is one of the many people who have helped and continue to help shape my ideas, teach me things. Allison Randall, Asheesh Laroia, Christopher Lemmer-Webber, Daniel Khan Gilmore, Elana Hashman, Gabriella Coleman, Jeffrey Warren, Karen Sandler, Karl Fogel, Stefano Zacchiroli — these are just a few of the individuals who have been necessary figures in my life.

    We don’t need to find new leaders and thinkers because they’re already here. They’ve been here, thinking, writing, speaking, and doing for years.

    What we need to do is listen to their voices.

    As I see people begin to discuss the next president of the Free Software Foundation, they do so in a context of asking who will be leading the free software movement. The free software movement is more than the FSF and it’s more than any given individual. We don’t need to go in search of the next leader, because there are leaders who work every day not just for our digital rights, but for a better world. We don’t need to define a movement by one man, nor should we do so. We instead need to look around us and listen to what is already happening.

Michael Meeks: 2019-09-17 Tuesday.

  • Michael Meeks: 2019-09-17 Tuesday.

    Up earlyish, train to Nurnberg. Really disappointed to see the outcome with RMS:
    I've seen Richard at a number of conferences, and I'm personally not a fan of his liberal approach to intimacy. I might be inclined to warn women of the risk of being propositioned by him in advance (arguably his door-plate is a strong hint). However, I'm aware that attitudes to this ebb & flow in the culture on this topic.
    I can only believe that RMS' E-mail defence of Minsky is based on knowing him personally, his character and ethics, and preferring to believe he would not knowingly force himself on an unwilling minor. I would hope that my friends might defend my character posthumously.
    I fear there is a deeply worrying, 'lynch mob' mentality about this, where truth is de-emphasized in favour of outrage, in an attempt to right a wrong.

SJVN has just defamed RMS; Right from the headline

  • Richard Stallman resigns from Free Software Foundation after defending Jeffrey Epstein behavior

    Richard M. Stallman (RMS) has been known for his work. He created the Emacs text editor and the GCC family of compilers. His work on the Gnu Public License (GPL) defined free software and, a term he hates, open-source software. For that work, he has earned accolades such a MacArthur Genius award. More recently, he's become known more as being a crank who insists that Linux should be known as Gnu Linux and alienated many of his closest supporters over the years.

Lots in the news today (still many defamatory headlines)

Patheos coverage

  • MIT Professor Defends Epstein, Blames the Victim

    A very prominent computer scientist at MIT has defended Jeffrey Epstein and blamed one of this victims, claiming that she was “entirely willing” in emails that were leaked last week. He has also called in the pass for the legalization of pedophilia and child porn. Alumni are now calling for him to be fired.

FSF resignations

  • FSF resignations

    I have been hesitant in renewing my membership to the Free Software Foundation for a while, but now I never want to deal with the FSF until Richard Stallman, president and founder of the free software movement, resigns. So, like many people and organizations, I have written this letter to cancel my membership. (Update: RMS resigned before I even had time to send this letter, but I publish here to share my part of this story.)

    I had the (mis)fortune of meeting rms in person a few times in my life. The first time was at an event we organized for his divine visit to Montreal in 2005. I couldn't attend the event myself, but I had the "privilege" of having dinner with rms later during the week. Richard completely shattered any illusion I had about him as a person. He was arrogant, full of himself, and totally uninterested in the multitude of young hackers he was meeting in his many travels, apart from, of course, arguing with them about proper wording and technicalities. Even though we brought him to the fanciest vegetarian restaurant in town, he got upset because the restaurant was trying to make "fake meat" meals. Somehow my hero, who wrote the GNU manifesto that inspired me to make free software a life goal, has spoiled a delicious meal by being such an ungrateful guest. I would learn later that Stallman has rock star level requirements, with "vegetarian meals served just so" being only one exception out of many. (I don't mind vegetarians of course: I've been a vegetarian for more than 20 years now, but I will never refuse vegetarian food given to me.)

FSFE Statement

  • Richard Stallman resigns as president of the Free Software Foundation

    On 16 September, one of our independent sister organisations, the US-based Free Software Foundation (FSF), announced the resignation of Richard M. Stallman as its president. While we recognise Stallman's role in founding the Free Software movement, we welcome the decision.

    The Free Software Foundation Europe's mission is to empower people from all backgrounds to control technology and thereby create a better society for everyone. We want to ensure that every human can understand how software works, use the software for any purpose without discrimination, share it with others, and adapt it to their own specific needs.

Jason at Forbes

By Swapnil Bhartiya

  • Richard Stallman Resigns from Free Software Foundation

    The outspoken founder of Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU project, Richard Stallman, has resigned from his post as President of the FSF. Stallman came under fire for his comments in defense of the late Marvin Minsky, co-founder of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence lab, who was implicated in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. Although Stallman did not defend Epstein, his comments regarding Minsky’s involvement were regarded as insensitive at best and came across as an inappropriate logical exercise in the face of growing concern over Minsky’s actions.

Tim Lee at Ars

  • Richard Stallman leaves MIT after controversial remarks on rape

    Free software pioneer Richard Stallman has resigned from his posts at MIT and the Free Software Foundation after leaked emails showed him quibbling over the definition of rape in a conversation related to Jeffrey Epstein.

    The conversation that triggered Stallman's fall started when someone—names other than Stallman's are redacted in the leaked emails—posted about a planned protest at MIT. The email stated that famed MIT computer scientist Marvin Minsky "is accused of assaulting one of Epstein's victims."

    Stallman objected, saying that the blurb "does an injustice" to Minsky because even if it's true that the then-17-year-old had sex with Minsky, "the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing." (One witness to the alleged incident says that Minsky, who died in 2016, declined to have sex with her.)

Boing Boing

WP Tavern

  • GPL Author Richard Stallman Resigns from Free Software Foundation

    Richard Stallman, free software movement activist and originator of the “copyleft” concept, has resigned from his position as director of the board and president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), which he established in 1985. This resignation comes on the heels of his resignation from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) after remarks he made regarding a 17-year old victim of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, characterizing her as seeming “entirely willing.”

Don't sacrifice the right ideas to win the right words

  • Don't sacrifice the right ideas to win the right words

    The crucial distinction of the free software movement is less about “free software”, after all, and more about copyleft. But, because the FSF pushes copyleft and free software, and because many FSF advocates are pedantic and abrasive, many people check out before they’re told the distinction between free software and copyleft. This leads to the listener equivocating free software with copyleft software, which undermines the message and hurts both.1

    This lack of tact is why I find it difficult to accept the FSF as a representative of the movement I devote myself to. If your goal is to strengthen the resolve and unity of people who already agree with you by appealing to tribalism, then this approach is effective - but remember that it strengthens the opposing tribes, too. If your goal is to grow the movement and win the hearts and minds of the people, then you need to use more tact in your language. Turn that hacker knack for linguistic hacking towards this goal, of thinking over how your phrasing and language makes different listeners feel. The resulting literature will be much more effective.

"Fall of the Clueless Nerd"

Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors

  • Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors

    The free software movement draws strength from an environment that is collaborative, inclusive and respectful. Diverse groups of people from all walks of life and nationalities come together and use their strengths and life experiences to contribute, share ideas, challenge the status quo, and improve technology for all. Everyone, including those who have been underrepresented and marginalized in technology, should be able to freely participate to produce useful software including in open source communities.


  • Top computer scientist quits MIT

    Computer scientist and GNU creator, Richard Stallman, has resigned from his position at MIT over comments he made about the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

    On his personal website, Stallman said that he was resigning “due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterisations”.

    Stallman also stepped down as president of the Free Software Foundation, an organisation he founded in 1985.

    The sudden resignation was on the back of remarks Stallman made about sexual assault allegations involving the late artificial intelligence researcher, Marvin Minsky.

    Minsky had been embroiled in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal after a woman alleged that, at the age of 17, Epstein ordered her to have sex with various men, including Minsky.

    In a leaked email chain, Stallman defended Minsky.

A couple more articles

  • Computer scientist Richard Stallman resigns from MIT after comments about Epstein scandal
  • Another Epstein-Related Resignation

    Stallman, a visiting professor in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s esteemed computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory, or CSAIL, announced in a brief post to his website this week that he’s stepping down immediately “due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.”
    He wrote in a slightly longer email to CSAIL that has since been circulated online that “misleading media" coverage "totally mischaracterized my statements.” Headlines say “that I defended Epstein,” Stallman wrote, but “nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve called him a ‘serial rapist’ and said he deserved to be imprisoned.”
    Yet many who read Stallman’s recent comments about the case on the CSAIL Listserv said he came across loud and clear, and that was the problem.

Stallman steps down MIT, FSF posts

  • Stallman steps down MIT, FSF posts

    Famed computer scientist and activist Richard Stallman has resigned from his positions at Free Software Foundation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology over the recent comments he made concerning Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.
    Stallman, also the founder of free and open-source software movement and Free Software Foundation, resigned as the president of the FSF as well as from its board of directors.He is best known for initiation of the GNU operating system in 1983, as well as for his work campaigning for the use of free software.
    Last week it emerged that Stallman had cast doubt upon the reports that Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky had sexually assaulted one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims. In an email dump sent to the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, CSAIL, mailing list that was published by Motherboard, Stallman said that ‘the most plausible scenario’ was that Epstein’s victim ‘presented herself to Marvin Minsky as entirely willing.’

OS News/Thom Holwerda says RMS "defending child rape"

Free Software Pioneer Quits MIT Over His Comments

Yesterday's media coverage

  • MIT scientist Richard Stallman resigns in the wake of his Jeffrey Epstein remarks

    A prominent computer scientist at MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has resigned following recent remarks he made debating a former professor’s alleged involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex ring.

    Richard Stallman, a MacArthur genius grant recipient and Internet Hall of Fame inductee, wrote in an email to the MIT community Monday that he was “resigning effective immediately” from his position as visiting scientist at CSAIL.

    “I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations,” Stallman said.

  • Software Activist Richard Stallman Resigns from MIT over Defense of Jeffrey Epstein

    In an email, Stallman argued that Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s trafficking victims, consented to sex with the late MIT Professor Marvin Minsky. She “presented herself to him as entirely willing,” Stallman wrote, “I’ve concluded from various examples of accusation inflation that it is absolutely wrong to use the term ‘sexual assault’ in an accusation.”

  • Richard Stallman resigns from Free Software Foundation and MIT CSAIL

    The founder and president of the Free Software Foundation Richard Stallman has resigned in the wake of comments he made about accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his victims. He is also removing himself from the foundation’s board of directors effective immediately.

    In addition, Stallman will no longer be a visiting scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).

    Stallman wrote on his website: “I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.”

    Stallman’s remarks were written after he saw an MIT event protesting Epstein on Facebook.

    In an email published by MIT alum Selam Jie Gano, Stallman wrote: “We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates.”

  • Richard Stallman resigns from MIT after comments about Jeffrey Epstein

    “To the MIT community, I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.”

  • MIT scientist Richard Stallman resigns over Epstein remarks

    “I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations,” he wrote in the email and then signed off with his name.

    In the leaked emails published last week by Vice, Stallman suggested that mathematician Marvin Minsky was wrongly accused of sexual assault by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre.

    “The word ‘assaulting’ presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but the article itself says no such thing. Only that they had sex,” Stallman allegedly wrote, referring to an article about Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre’s testimony that she was forced to have sex with Minsky.

Boston magazine

Richard Stallman resigns from MIT after facing backlash

  • Richard Stallman resigns from MIT after facing backlash over Minsky comments

    Virginia Giuffre previously accused Jeffrey Epstein, the late financier, of directing her to have sex with AI pioneer and MIT professor Marvin Minsky. In Stallman’s original email, he wrote, “All I know she [Giuffre] said about Minsky is that Epstein directed her to have sex with Minsky. That does not say whether Minsky knew that she was coerced.“

    Stallman continued, “We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing.” Stallman also questioned whether or not Minsky’s behavior should be characterized as “sexual assault,” which he described as a “slippery” term.

    Following this email, Selam Jie Gano ’18 called for Stallman’s removal in a blog post published Sept. 12. “I know, now, that if prominent technology institutions won’t start firing their problematic men left right and center, we will do nothing. Ever,” Gano wrote. “Long before this incident, Stallman was contributing to an uncomfortable environment for women at MIT in a very real and visceral way.”

A reflection on the departure of RMS

  • A reflection on the departure of RMS

    So Richard Stallman has resigned from his guest position at MIT and as President of the Free Software Foundation. You can easily find out all you need to know about the background from a web search and some news articles. I recommend in particular Selam G’s original articles on this topic for background, and for an excellent institutional version, the statement from the Software Freedom Conservancy.
    But I’ll give you a personal take. By my reckoning, I worked for RMS longer than any other programmer.
    1) There has been some bad reporting, and that’s a problem. While I have not waded through the entire email thread Selam G. has posted, my reaction was that RMS did not defend Epstein, and did not say that the victim in this case was acting voluntarily. But it’s not the most important problem. It’s not remotely close to being the most important problem.
    2) This was an own-goal for RMS. He has had plenty of opportunities to learn how to stfu when that’s necessary. He’s responsible for relying too much on people’s careful reading of his note, but even that’s not the problem.
    He thought that Marvin Minsky was being unfairly accused. Minsky was his friend for many many years, and I think he carries a lot of affection and loyalty for his memory. But Minsky is also dead, and there’s plenty of time to discuss at leisure whatever questions there may be about his culpability.

Thorsten from LibreOffice

  • Statement on the RMS situation

    On Monday September 16th, Richard Stallman, long-time president and founder of the FSF, has resigned from both his position at the FSF, and the MIT.

    There’s a plethora of reporting around that – if you’re short on time, then I recommend reading Thomas Bushnell’s rather excellent medium piece in full.

    Many things can be said about this event, but immediately coming to defend RMS as a principled old man, who was the victim of a witch hunt, is not it. I fundamentally disagree with Michael here, and like to point out (though its obvious), that his point of view is not shared nor endorsed by The Document Foundation, albeit aggregated on their planet.

Mails leaked to News Corp.-owned Vice

  • Remove Richard Stallman: Appendix A

    My original post, “Remove Richard Stallman”, has received over 180,000 views at the time that I am writing this. Since then, I’ve spoken with a few reporters, and even more information has been released that I thought would be useful to add, but too much to fit on that initial post. I leaked the full email thread, with names and contact information redacted, to Vice.

GNOME' Philip Chimento: The Cause and the Effect

  • Philip Chimento: The Cause and the Effect

    This week Richard Stallman resigned as president of the Free Software Foundation. It is long overdue, and I am grateful to Selam G., the writer of the blog post that sparked it.

    I was disappointed to read that Michael Meeks’ post Tuesday on Planet GNOME repeated the excuses I’ve seen on Twitter and Reddit about mob rule and mischaracterization. Michael is of course entitled to that opinion, and unlike most Twitter and Reddit threads I’ve seen, has expressed it thoughtfully (which is why I think I can actually achieve something by writing this in turn.) I personally believe that that opinion does not stand up under scrutiny, and I hope writing a counterpoint might give him or others in the GNOME community food for thought.

    I believe that we — especially in the GNOME community where it’s a goal to hold ourselves to high standards of treating each other well — must not let ourselves fall into the trap of saying ‘Stallman was just defending a friend, out come the pitchforks, just for one email, who will they come for next’ and thereby fail to see the whole picture. If it was really just one email and not years of well-documented bad behaviour and refusal to change, we’d be having an entirely different conversation.

Stallman response

  • Stallman response

    I am not working on a response to the vilification.
    On the substantive issues, my writings speak for themselves.
    Other things, such as tone, we don't need to argue about.
    If the worst thing someone believes about me is that I made
    mistakes on that level, we can discuss it as friends.

"We should all do something a little different now."

  • We should all do something a little different now.
    I agree, the FSF should have investigated the facts and looked for community 
    input before accepting RMS's resignation.  I understand that Richard can be 
    stubborn, but his resignation over libel is not at an obvious way to help the 
    FSF or make this scandal go away, much less fix the underlying issues.
    Everyone should put some time into understanding the issue and voice your 
    opinion.  Roy Schestowitz has made a good page for understanding what 
    I know people don't really have time for this, but doing nothing is an 
    acceptance of might makes right.   

More articles that mention Stallman right more

  • MIT's Epstein scandal kept student Mani Mengiste up at night — so she decided to fight aback

    It was only the first week of the fall semester, but the scandal, which had been steadily brewing all summer, struck a nerve. In August, the university had admitted to accepting $800,000 from Epstein over the course of roughly 20 years, but this was a new punch to the gut.

    "We enabled a child sex trafficker," she told Insider. "How can I not be disgusted? He used [the] MIT name to protect himself. He used connections that he may have made here to protect himself. He associated himself with faculty that I respect — with us."

    Epstein, who essentially acted as a broker between MIT's affluent donors and the school, had secured millions for MIT's Media Lab from tech giants like Bill Gates. That prospect sickened her.

  • ‘Am I as brave as I think I am?’ MIT Media Lab student Arwa Mboya on the aftermath of a scandal

    It’s been another hard week at MIT. Our campus has been divided by revelations of inappropriate fundraising, coverups, and the harboring of far too many tech geniuses who seemingly put their own interests and careers over the safety of women, among other marginalized groups.

    As a chaplain to students and faculty at the Institute, but also as an opinion writer on the ethics of technology who is supposed to be on sabbatical from the chaplaincy to focus on the writing, I’ve been torn all week as to what to say. If you don’t know what a chaplain is, and you would hardly be alone in any ignorance there, it is a position that emphasizes confidentiality and trust. I know there are a lot of people on MIT’s campus who are scared, sad, and hurting for various reasons, and I wouldn’t want any of them to feel less able to speak with someone like me because I’ve chosen to speak out publicly.

    At other times, in the midst of other campus controversies, I’ve personally opted to remain relatively silent, leaning into the part of my job that is, officially, one of quiet service to a university as a whole. I’ve been critical of a lot of big institutions over the years, including much of religion, but also a lot of organized atheism.

Weekly Roundup: The Passion Of Saint iGNUcius Edition

  • Weekly Roundup: The Passion Of Saint iGNUcius Edition

    It was early in 2001 and I was at MIT to meet and work with the nice people from Spindletop, a nascent computer hardware designer/reseller with a tiny office in the basement of a Cambridge strip-mall building, right beneath a fitness center. (Seems like a curious detail to include, doesn’t it? Will it be relevant later?) I was running a webhosting co-op at the time. The idea was that Spindletop would provide the hardware while I would provide what we now call “cloud space” for their various websites and downloads. The software that ran the computers would be Debian GNU/Linux, an operating system based on the idea of near-absolute freedom.

    Dealing with GNU/Linux meant dealing with Richard Stallman, the eccentric genius who had guided the creation of pretty much everything but the Linux kernel itself. I say “eccentric”, but what I’m really saying is that Stallman is mentally ill. I don’t know the correct words to describe that illness, but it manifests itself in dozens of different ways, from extreme hydrophobia (fear of water!) to various disturbing habits of phraseology, communication, and physical behavior. Nobody who knows Stallman thinks he is sane. By the same token, nobody would doubt his intelligence. He’s the only person I have ever met in person who struck me as being measurably smarter than I am, which sounds horrifyingly egotistical but is probably more a reflection of my choice in fellow-travelers.

    Stallman agreed to eat dinner with me on the condition that he be permitted to order my meal and that I eat the whole thing without complaint. I wouldn’t have dinner with a resurrected John Coltrane under those conditions but there were plenty of great jazz musicians and there is only one Richard Stallman. The meal was an utter nightmare, of course. Everything he picked had the texture, and taste, of Jell-O made from dog vomit. I told myself that if G. Gordon Liddy could burn his own finger down to the tendon that I could finish a five-course “authentic” Chinese meal. Having done so, I managed to extract some absolutely brilliant ideas from him about software design and programming principles. “Come back to my office,” he suggested, and we headed out to walk over towards the MIT Media Lab. About ninety seconds into our walk, it started to rain. Just a light sprinkling, not build-the-ark stuff. Stallman screamed like a teenage girl, pulled his dashiki (yes!) over his head, and ran in waddling fashion towards MIT.

    Twenty minutes later, I arrived at the Media Lab to find him huddling on the other side of the door, shaking. “Why did you not run?” he asked, in a whining monotone. “Is it because you are heavy?” (I was 195 pounds at the time; lighter than Stallman, half a foot taller.)

    “Yes,” I replied, “my weight prevents rapid locomotion.” Stallman nodded in satisfied fashion. Two hours later, in the middle of demonstrating some bizarre Bulgarian folk dance, he looked over his shoulder at me and said, “I would be happier if you were not in the office.” He did not stop dancing. I took this as my cue to leave.

    I mention all of this so you know precisely the sort of person who is in the middle of being crucified for “defending Epstein’s rape island” by his institutional rivals.

    “Wait,” some of you are saying, “that’s right! Jeffrey Epstein had a rape island! I’d forgotten all about it, what with Epstein’s convenient suicide and some remarkably media-friendly mass shootings occurring right as justice was about to be quote-unquote handed out!” Funny how that works. Perhaps it’s because Mr. Epstein had a full list of powerful and notable friends. One of those friends, apparently, was MIT artifical-intelligence savant Marvin Minsky, who is alleged to have had sex with a 17-year-old girl on the island.

    When asked to give his thoughts on the matter, Stallman responded like any 110-octane autism-spectrum genius would: by questioning the terminology involved. He suggested that the correct word for Minsky’s alleged statutory rape was not “sexual assault”, noting that

    a) Minsky had no way to know the girl was 17, not 18 ;
    Cool she had been coerced by Epstein out of Minsky’s presence and might well have appeared to be entirely willing.

    In true Stallman fashion, this was

    a) absolutely correct from a logical perspective;
    Cool mind-blowingly stupid from a perspective of The Current Year.

    It’s no different from the thousands of logical but emotionally uncomfortable things he has said and written over the past forty years. Stallman has no way to understand how people feel about something; he doesn’t feel that way. The community of actual computer scientists and clued-in tech people has long accepted this because — and I cannot emphasize this enough — Richard Stallman is responsible for computing as we know it.

RMS mentioned in "MIT president Rafael Reif is suddenly..."

  • MIT president Rafael Reif is suddenly at the center of a storm

    “Rafael knows MIT as well as anybody can know it. More importantly, MIT knows him,” said Lawrence Bacow, Harvard University’s president and a former MIT chancellor who has known Reif as a friend for decades. “He is a person of extraordinary decency. I have full faith and confidence in him.”

    Harvard is also conducting a review of its own Epstein gifts and entanglements.

    The troubles at MIT boiled over after The New Yorker revealed earlier this month that Epstein was far more involved at the university than initially disclosed and that MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito and others had kept those ties hidden.

    In the weeks since, the controversy has broadened. Ito, whom Reif hired, and MIT scientist Richard Stallman have resigned from the university. MIT has hired a law firm to review the Epstein ties. Reif has acknowledged that he signed a letter when he was just weeks into his presidency thanking Epstein, who was then a convicted sex offender, for a donation and that top university officials knew about efforts to take Epstein’s money and keep the gifts anonymous.

    Last week more than 60 female faculty members signed a stinging letter urging Reif to improve the culture of MIT and questioned the administration’s commitment to gender equity.

    “How can MIT’s leadership be trusted when it appears that child prostitution and sex trafficking can be ignored in exchange for a financial contribution?” the letter said.

    Reif, who earned about $1.1 million in 2016, declined to be interviewed for this story. The controversy appears to have hit him hard.

"Defending Epstein, Pedophilia"

  • Software Activist Resigns From MIT After Defending Epstein, Pedophilia

    Stallman made the announcement on his blog, writing “I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.” He simultaneously stepped down from his roles as president and board director at the Free Software Foundation, which he founded in 1985.

    Mechanical engineer and MIT alum Selam Jie Gano published emails Stallman sent to a MIT CSAIL mailing list earlier this month. In the emails, Stallman tried to defend the reputation of deceased MIT professor Marvin Minsky, whom Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre said she was forced to have sex with during a trip to the Virgin Islands when she was 17.

Throwing stones in glass houses

Bruce Byfield on Stallman

  • Yesterday’s Man: The Fall of Richard Stallman

    I only met Stallman once, when he gave a couple of talks in Vancouver. As I wrote in a blog at the time, I found him an extremely ambiguous character, and had difficulties discussing him fairly. At the time, most of my dealings with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) were with Peter Brown, the executive director, an activist who did his best to ally free software with other social causes. Some months later, Stallman wrote an aggrieved email to me because in an article I had described as sexist his joke about “EMACs virgins” in a keynote at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit in 2009. I refused to apologize and that was the last contact we had.

    What strikes me now is how closely that incident a decade ago resembles this most recent one. In both cases, Stallman’s response was all about him. Nor did he show any awareness of how much his behavior harmed the free software movement he founded.

How Hackaday covered RMS exiting

  • Links: September 22, 2019 | Hackaday

    Of all the stories we’d expect to hit our little corner of the world, we never thought that the seedy doings of a now-deceased accused pedophile billionaire would have impacted the intellectual home of the open-source software movement. But it did, and this week Richard Stallman resigned from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, as well as from the Free Software Foundation, which he founded and served as president. The resignations, which Stallman claims were “due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations”, followed the disclosure of a string of emails where he perhaps unwisely discussed what does and does not constitute sexual assault. The emails were written as a response to protests by MIT faculty and students outraged over the university’s long and deep relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the late alleged pedophile-financier. This may be one of those stories where the less said, the better. If only Stallman had heeded that advice.

Low grade "journalists" and internet mob attack RMS with lies

  • Low grade "journalists" and internet mob attack RMS with lies. In-depth review.

    On September 13, 2019 the periodic MOTHERBOARD published an article titled Famed Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Described Epstein Victims As 'Entirely Willing'.

    As we've seen, Stallman did not say or imply that one girl was entirely willingly having sex with Mr. Minsky, much less that all of Epstein victims were (note the letter s on the title of the article after the victim word, denoting plural).

    As we've seen, Stallman said that one girl could have presented herself to Mr. Minsky as willingly.

    The article then goes on with its defamation...

The New York Times

  • The Week in Tech: An Emerging Twist on Antitrust

    The M.I.T. Media Lab meltdown continues, with a prominent Harvard professor arguing that taking money from disgraced donors like Jeffrey Epstein might, in some circumstances, be the right move. And the free software pioneer Richard Stallman has stepped down from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after making comments defending an associate of Mr. Epstein’s.

Boston magazine

Do we need to rethink what free software is?

  • Do we need to rethink what free software is?

    I don't have solutions for these problems, and I don't know for sure that it's possible to solve them without causing more harm than good in the process. But in the absence of these issues being discussed within the free software community, we risk free software being splintered - on one side, with companies imposing increasingly draconian licensing terms in an attempt to prop up their business models, and on the other side, with people deciding that protecting people's freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is more important than protecting their freedom to use software to deny those freedoms to others.

    As stewards of the free software definition, the Free Software Foundation should be taking the lead in ensuring that these issues are discussed. The priority of the board right now should be to restructure itself to ensure that it can legitimately claim to represent the community and play the leadership role it's been failing to in recent years, otherwise the opportunity will be lost and much of the activist energy that underpins free software will be spent elsewhere.

    If free software is going to maintain relevance, it needs to continue to explain how it interacts with contemporary social issues. If any organisation is going to claim to lead the community, it needs to be doing that.

This one too mentions RMS (and Gates)

Open letter to the Free Software movement

  • Open letter to the Free Software movement

    This is an open letter to all the people who, in their good faith, are concerned about the recent events which have shaken the long-standing leadership of the Free Software Movement.
    Dear hackers, first and foremost let us say that, as a collective and in the true uncompromising spirit of the teachings of Free/Libre Software/Society, we are capable of doing much better than what has just happened.
    Many of us work everyday towards ensuring that everyone, regardless of their ethniticy, religion, gender, or neurotypicality, can participate, learn and share in our communities. We do not claim we are perfect, we sometimes make mistakes, some of them guided by systemic patterns and structures of power still entangling us, and some of them just due to our human nature . But we claim our right to learn every day how to become better at including all contributions and opinions, and this implies the ability of making mistakes without being destroyed by them.
    In the past years it has become clear that our movement and our ethos has transformed the world as we know it, with all the courage and all the mistakes considered; some of us rose to fame, while some others wore masks, both as a message and as a protection from the regime of global espionage. In any case, many of us have sacrificed a great deal of comfort in life to change what needed to be changed.
    Let us not be mistaken about the cause that brought us here and let us not forget where the injustice comes from.

Lubomir Rintel: Open letter to Neil McGovern

  • Lubomir Rintel: Open letter to Neil McGovern

    Neil McGovern recently published an article entitled GNOME relationship with GNU and the FSF where he described parts of an e-mail exchange from Dr. Richard Stallman as “reprehensible” and called for him stepping down from his position at the Free Software Foundation. This eventually happened.

    Mr. McGovern decided to close comments on his blog entry. I respect this decision, especially because the topic is bound to attract troll commenters and an attempt to moderate the discussion might just take too much effort. I might end up doing the same. However, I disagree with Mr. McGovern’s assessment and believe it shouldn’t remain without a response. I figured out that an open letter might be the right way to respond.

    I’d like to stress that I’m, unlike Mr. McGovern, not speaking for GNOME, my colleagues, fellow hackers, my employer or anyone else but myself. Don’t cancel your GNOME Foundation membership because you think either of us is wrong. Engage in civilized discussion!

CBC News

  • What MIT Media Lab's funding scandal says about sexism in tech

    Another prominent researcher, the computer scientist Richard Stallman, was pressured to resign from the school over comments he made that seemed to excuse Epstein's behaviour, such as his statement that "it is morally absurd to define 'rape' in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17." He stepped down earlier this month.



    All these happened when one person shared a link from news site The Verge about the testimony of one of CIA agent Epstein victims and asked opinion in MIT mailing list. The news article says the woman was directed by Epstein to have sex with MIT professor Marvin Minsky

    Stallman took the news at face value. and replied his assumptions. Another person who a mechanical engineer and a not a professional journalist saw these comments and became very upset. She wrote a blog post and in that she twisted, lied about Stallman’s comment and asked to Remove Stallman…. A hate campaign started against Stallman as usual. People started to write about things about him from birth, real, imaginations and lies.

    Online media took this further. They further lied and twisted Stallman’s comment. Main stream media which was looking for distraction caught this and made big issue. (why? If media is honest they should expose all the detailed working of the CIA agent who suicided. There are people think that he was killed.)

    Attack on Stallman

    This is not the first time Stallman is attacked. The moment he started Free Software movement it started. So its not new to him and he dont care about those.

    But this time the tone was different. The is a social sympathy tone was present as background towards those girls trafficked by CIA. But as usual, like white terrorism, people dont say it openly. So they say some billionaire with some extra ordinary sex tastes trafficked under aged girls as per US law. So there is this huge sympathy for these girls and the distraction US deep state needed caused a firestorm. That need a pray. Stallman with strong commitment to Software Freedom that made him lot of enemies, with strong criticism towards capitalistic market system and with very successful alternative became a good pray. Thats what happened.

    Again he never said anything wrong. All accusation in the press are lies.

CJR Today

  • Some lessons from the MIT Media Lab controversy

    And there were other spinoff effects as well: Richard Stallman, a free-software pioneer and veteran MIT professor, also resigned, after being criticized for comments he made on an internal email list that downplayed the impact of Epstein’s sexual abuse.

Analysis: The Fall Of Stallman by Alessandro Ebersol

  • Analysis: The Fall Of Stallman

    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.


    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.


    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.



    When Richard Stallman began Free Software Foundation in 1984 there was nobody to help him. There is no money. So he cannot recruit anybody to work for the foundation. So he volunteered for that work saying himself “Stallman dont need any money so recruit him!”. Rest of the 2 decades nobody cared about free software. So there was no job opportunity was there with free software. Most of the work happening was voluntary work. Nobody has issues with politics of free software.

    After 1990s when the first running free system became alive then people started noticing the movement. Gradually more are more systems became free software and employment opportunity with free software increased. It became part of mainstream economy. Now there is a whole lot of people find their living on free software.

    That became a problem to free software politics. Now if you say something open, then you may loose job, or project or removed from group. Dont worry, its happens diplomatically that you yourself never going to notice it. Everybody knows this. So people keep quite. Do the work and go home.

    Those who are confident on their skills may have independent opinion and they express that too. But there is a catch. How you get confidence in your skill? You have to work hard on the technical side. If spend more time on technical stuff you tries to avoid or ignore the ‘other’ things, means the politics. “Oh politics is a mean thing. We have more important real work there”. So you end in as a follower of your boss or puppet of corporate media who spreads all pseudo issues like identity politics.

    For example, I talked about the issue of Stallman’s resignation. I think its wrong. FSF should not accept his resignation. But people I talked dont care these issues. They says people come and go, what they are interested is to find technical solutions of the problems.

    I can see the pressure in their life. In this 21st century after 2008 crash and with this gig economy etc finding a living is very difficult. So people are taking the easiest paths. So do the FSF.


    If users want software that chains them lets give them that. If they want free software lets give them that. Software engineers and companies dont have a say in that. What ever the demand they just provides that.

    In this case users are driving the system. Only users need to be educated about their rights. I knows its a difficult thing. But in this case money cannot corrupt the system.

Against sfconservancy, we call for Stallman to step UP....

  • Against sfconservancy, we call for Stallman to step UP from his positions in the free software movement

    Against sfconservancy, we call for Stallman to step UP from his positions in the free software movement. Software Freedom Conservancy Does Not and Cannot Speak for the Free Software Movement.

    Richard Stallman have defended firmly and blamelessly free software for decades with rigorous and strict adherence to free software, without drifts or nuances opensourcist, FOSSist or similar in which many people and groups of the free software environment fall, and this (and nothing else) is what should be valued to judge whether a person does well its role of leading an idea or movement. We may or may not agree with his personal statements on issues other than free software, but we have always seen he make it clear when he talk about free software as a reference person on the subject, and when he talk as a ordinary person called Richard about issues that are not free software, avoiding mixing the personal and the professional.

    Additionally, accept his resignation means giving the reason to those who believe in “perfect people” and idolize people to turn to hate them if they do something wrong, a dualistic perspective of people (the good ones and the bad ones) who feed nefarious discourses of groups pitted against each other, source of conflicts and wars. Considered the current regrettable tendency to judge a person’s role in one topic, by his personal statements in other topics, this sets a bad precedent. Since the perfect people don’t exist, then nobody can be a reference person on any subject. We strongly publicly criticize the regrettable role he has played Software Freedom Conservancy on it.

Microsoft-funded sites continue to shift attention to RMS

  • Industry Watch: Why our industry must admit #metoo

    Richard Stallman, an industry icon who created the first open-source operating system and has spent his career fighting for free and open software, resigned from his positions at the Free Software Foundation and MIT-CSAIL over remarks he made regarding, of all things, the Jeffrey Epstein case.

    The blowup occurred in response to a Facebook event urging MIT students to rally against the university accepting anonymous donations from Epstein, an accused sexual predator of young girls — children, actually. (Our universities are as corrupt as many of our institutions, so looking the other way while money comes in is a matter of practice. See Stanford, Yale, USC and Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and unnamed others of wealth. But this is beside the point of this story.)

    Stallman’s comments were in defense of another industry thought leader, the late Marvin Minsky, who was a pioneer in artificial intelligence and co-founder of the MIT AI lab. It is reported that one of Epstein’s girls was directed to have sex with Minsky. While some reports called this a sexual assault, Minsky was never charged with a criminal act. But his guilt or innocence also is beside the point of this article.

Two months later and it's back

  • The case of Seth Lloyd is a microcosm of the systemic problems at MIT

    MIT has a documented record of failing to deal with inappropriate and harmful behavior by faculty. In one out of multiple such cases in the last year, Richard Stallman was pressured to resign from CSAIL when a series of people came forward to describe having been harassed in some manner by him over the last several decades. In a recent survey on sexual misconduct at MIT, it was found that that MIT faculty and instructors made up 18.1 percent of the instigators of harassment, which was almost double the national average of 9.6 percent. This is further evidence of this administration’s inability to hold prominent faculty members accountable for their behavior.

The Boston Globe mentions Stallman agaiin

  • MIT’s Inconvenient Truth

    To be sure, the bad apples needed to be thrown out. In September, MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito stepped down after news stories revealed he had not only courted Epstein knowing he was a sex offender, but had tried to keep the gifts secret. Richard Stallman, a visiting professor in the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory, also resigned in September under pressure from MIT after arguing that a man having sex with an underage girl who is a prostitute might not be committing assault. With Friday’s report, tenured mechanical engineering professor Seth Lloyd has been placed on paid administrative lead. All three vice presidents who knew about the Epstein donations and his status as a convicted sex offender have left or will be leaving, though not explicitly because of accepting the funds. (And not everyone at MIT of course was so misguided; according to the report, Robert Millard, the chair of the MIT Corporation that governs the university, refused an invitation from Ito to meet with Epstein in 2016.)

    Yet the recent report makes clear that no one who accepted Epstein’s money broke any MIT rules by accepting the gifts — nor any law. That the institute lacked any formal constraints on taking funds from such a morally compromised person and criminal is neither a surprise nor a distinction in this era when many universities are finding themselves scrambling to respond when donors’ reputations take a turn for the worse. Some universities have even chosen to turn down or give back donations — a reflection of shifting societal norms around taking money from unpalatable sources. Tufts University recently announced it would strip the Sackler name from its buildings and programs, despite $15 million in gifts from the family over 40 years, because it had profited off the opioid crisis. Ohio University gave $500,000 back to Roger Ailes of Fox News after he was sued for sexual harassment. And in 2017, after Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault, the University of Southern California rejected a $5 million donation from him for a women’s program. MIT has recently pledged to donate $850,000 to organizations that help survivors of sexual abuse.

    There’s an argument, of course, that taking money from bad people to do good things might be better than just letting that money go into their stock portfolios or kids’ trust funds. Just as compelling, however, is the argument that universities and charities launder the reputations of the morally deficient by putting their names on buildings, endowed chairs, or annual reports.

    That criticism, at least, doesn’t apply to MIT’s Epstein donations, which were kept secret because the recipients knew he had a bad reputation and didn’t want it to in turn to contaminate theirs or MIT’s. But the fact that faculty members and vice-Presidents at MIT found it acceptable to take Epstein’s money but not acceptable to talk about it publicly suggests they knew they were doing something wrong.

Again Stallman mentioned

  • MIT Suspends Another Professor for Epstein Ties

    MIT has placed tenured mechanical engineering professor Seth Lloyd on administrative because of a failure to disclose ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased and disgraced financier accused of sex trafficking and other crimes.

    Over the years, Epstein donated $225,000 to Lloyd’s research and also gave him a personal gift of $60,000, according to an extensive report about Epstein’s connections to MIT that the university released Friday. Lloyd hid the source of the donations by processing them through various administrators — ultimately tainting his research by linking it to Epstein’s disgraceful legacy.


    Joi Ito, the since-resigned director of the MIT Media Lab also accepted — and obscured the source of — hundreds of thousands of dollars from Epstein and millions more that were funneled through Epstein’s company. Computer scientist Richard Stallman also resigned in the wake of controversy surrounding off-color comments he made about the scandal.

Again mentioned in the news today

  • Peggy Siegal Sends Her Regrets

    Some, including Siegal, point to sexism. Matt McKenna said Siegal’s gender made her a media target: “That it was a woman who helped Jeffrey Epstein come back? I think that narrative was too seductive for the trades.” Several people I spoke to argued that Siegal would not seem so “brusque” if she were a man and invoked seemingly unsinkable male Epstein associates such as Wexner and Black. But has gender protected those men, or has their status and wealth? Some men have lost prestigious posts: Joi Ito, director of the MIT media lab, resigned after his role soliciting donations from Epstein came to light. MIT computer scientist Richard Stallman stepped down amid controversy over leaked emails discussing a different scientist’s Epstein-related sexual assault allegation. Prince Andrew may have been forced into early retirement. “I think we wonder, are we somehow not giving her the pass that we would give to men?” said the observer who thought the scandal revealed Siegal’s larger issues. “But it’s like, no! She’s a person who had no issue kind of orchestrating the social reinvention of David Koch and Jeffrey Epstein,” this person said, referring to Siegal’s relationship with the late billionaire activist. “That’s a specific person. And sometimes ruthless ambition is loathsome.” There are publicists who rehabilitate criminal reputations for a living, a different publicist noted. But Siegal’s job is to bring people places. “She cultivates an audience. You want to feel good about that person.” When the mix is the message, there isn’t room for any error in judgment.

Techdirt Podcast Episode 238: Larry Lessig Defends His Suit

  • Techdirt Podcast Episode 238: Larry Lessig Defends His 'Clickbait Defamation' Lawsuit

    Larry Lessig: Mike. Thanks for having me.

    MM: So Do you want to start out just by explaining your side and sort of why you brought the lawsuit?

    LL: Yeah, sure. Um, let me ask you a question first. Have you ever interviewed Richard Stallman?

    MM: I have not. I have interacted with him a few times, but I've never interviewed.

    LL: So, you know, obviously, everybody in tech world knows Richard Stallman. I've long been an incredible admirer of Richard Stallman. And the work that he's done for the free software movement and for freedom generally, and for a while I actually served on the board of the Free Software Foundation. And in that context, in another context are many things that Richard Stallman said that I disagreed with. But, you know, there were just things that he said that I disagree with, like when we were on the board, he thought we should invest all our money in gold. I thought that was really stupid. Turned out he was right. That was really the smart thing to do. But the point was, you know, it was just a disagreement. Okay. So that There was one time when somebody, it was almost like, triggered Richard to start talking about pedophilia. And he started, you know, questioning whether pedophilia was a crime or whether it was a sort of crime that ought to be punished the way it's punished or we ought to be as uptight as he put it about it. And I remember him saying that and I remember almost the sound of a bad AM radio station, kind of filling my head as I sat there stunned, I couldn't hear him. And the reason I couldn't hear him something I talked about in the article, the original original Medium post is that, you know, I myself, was a victim of sex abuse as a child for many years, for three years. It fundamentally affected me it has affected everything I've done. I kind of, I could tell you, not this podcast, but I could tell you how every single project I've ever done has flowed out of that abuse. Okay, so I say that to say, if you have not been in that position the reason why it was important to me to fight this defamation might not be clear. But the reason is so important for me to fight that defamation, this defamation, is that I am a teacher. And in my classroom, there are women who have been sexually assaulted or sexually abused, there might be men who've been abused as a child. And when they look on the New York Times website, and the headline says, Lessig defends taking money from Jeffrey Epstein, they become, they react they will react the way I reacted as I heard Richard Epstein [sic] defending pedophilia, and it will be impossible for them to hear me if they understand me to be that sort person. So, in my experience, and in the context that I work, it was extremely important for me to make sure that this impression that I, in fact, did what the New York Times said I did was not true. Now, you know, the way I tried to do that originally was the way all of us try to deal with this type of problem in the modern digital age. When the headline came out, and the lead came out, I contacted the New York Times and I said, what the hell, you know, this isn't true. I didn't actually - I said it more playful, you know, quiet way, I didn't directly say, please change it. I said, you know, seems that your headline editor got out of control here. Okay. It'd be great if you could fix that. And, to my astonishment, they didn't fix it. To my astonishment, they continue to allow the headline to present a fact which is just false. In a way that is extremely harmful to me, and especially to me, because especially someone who has experienced this in the way that I have experienced to be placed into that light by them, you know, knowingly given the complaint, both before it was published and also after it was published, you know, constitutes what we call defamation. You open by saying this is a new kind of defamation, there's nothing new about this. This is knowingly publish, publishing a false and defamatory fact. And, you know, in the internet age, I think the response should be they should take it down. They refuse to and so that's why it became essential for me to take the next step.

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