RMS back on the FSF board

So, RMS (Richard Stallman) is back on the board at FSF. I think this is something we should talk about.

I’m interested in hearing what individual GNU Octave maintainers and contributors have to say about this, and whether GNU Octave as a whole has an official position here.

Wow, how comes I did not hear about this yet? :thinking:

There is a lot of rumor going on already against Stallman

and supporting Stallman

Personally, I am surprised and unhappy with this news and I have to read up what happened in detail. I cannot identify with many recent goals of the FSF and do no longer support them as a member. But the idea and work of the GNU project is much bigger than a single organization or person.

But the idea and work of the GNU project is much bigger than a single organization or person.

Yes, but I don’t think we can easily separate idea, organization and person here and I would feel more welcome in the octave community if we would stand up as well.

How should this “stand up” look like?

Reading more on this topic, I updated the links pro and contra RMS in my previous post and even read the offending email thread many arguments in this persona discussion rely on.

I still find the position of Stallman and the FSF, especially how his inauguration was decided and communicated (like in the best autocracies), insupportable. The FSF seems to be in a process to legitimate the past decisions and I hope it will reveal if the members of the FSF really want RMS back.

To my observation, Octave is a rather non-political project, neither especially welcoming or excluding anyone, with a helpful and supportive community of capable people I like to interact with. To put it simple: anyone who wants to work on it, works on it :man_shrugging:

I did not observe any discrimination and only very occasionally hate speech by impatient disappointed users. Furthermore, even without an explicit code of conduct or alike, I am convinced such incidents would not find any fertile ground among the Octave community.

If it turns out in the nearer future, that “GNU” stands more for intolerance and discrimination, than libre free and open-source software (which I do not see at this moment) Octave can decide what to do about its name and values. Regarding RMS, I think anyone “interested” in this political issue has already posted his statement here :sweat_smile: At least I do not expect much reaction here.

How should this “stand up” look like?

In October 2019 Jordi and John signed the joint statement from the GNU project (Joint statement on the GNU Project — 2019 — Blog — GNU Guix). I appreciated this and I like to stress that I believe that statements like this have some impact (Richard Stallman and the GNU project [LWN.net]). I would be glad to see something similar happening again. personally, I will not do anything on behalf of Octave since I am not a legitimate spokesperson, I am only an irregular contributor :slight_smile:
In 2019 we made a small contribution by issuing some words on this topics for Octave.app (Octave.app Statement on Richard Stallman | Octave.app).

I did not observe any discrimination and only very occasionally hate speech by impatient disappointed users.

I agree but we are surely not the most diverse community imaginable and we may also not always be as sensitive as we could. Anyway, this observation may derail the discussion… although those things may also be linked since not everyone can ‘afford’ to be nonpolitical in questions like this.

Regarding RMS, I think anyone “interested” in this political issue has already posted his statement here :sweat_smile: At least I do not expect much reaction here

Yes, I would have loved to see more involvement and interest here. Consequently, I will stop bothering people with politics…

I didn’t look took closely at the time, and I don’t want to spend my own time investigating this issue. In general, I support creating distance between Octave and whatever is going on with FSF.

Honestly I don’t know! GNU Octave doesn’t seem to have any formal governance structure, so I’m not sure how the project or community would even decide upon or put out some sort of statement or formal response. Maybe just some people chiming in here? Maybe a personal statement from jwe? (I have no idea what jwe’s opinion on this issue is.) If nothing else, having a conversation about it in a public forum like this, where potential contributors can see it, could be useful.

For my part, I’m talking with @schoeps about putting up a statement on the Octave.app site, and I’m thinking about signing on to the https://rms-open-letter.github.io/ open letter that @siko1056 referenced.

I’d also like to say that in my experience, the GNU Octave developer community has been nothing but friendly and welcoming. I don’t have an issue with anything I’ve experienced while working with Octave; just the organizational association between Octave and the FSF. (And maybe GNU? What’s RMS’s status at GNU itself?)

BTW, welcome to Discourse, @schoeps! Sorry it’s under these circumstances.

The FSF has decided to keep RMS as board member and RMS gave a statement.