Text of an email I sent to the FSF in response to their request for comment on future engagement with the GNU project:


@fraggle If I'm allowed to jack in with a little comment here. GNU is not something official, it is a project, an initiative and specifically RMS's initiative for creating a free software system.

So in that case, I find it obvious that the current leader and founder of it is not accountable to anyone. It's his project. I don't really understand why people want to get him out of his project. If you don't like it just create your initiative and stop creating GNU software. It's ok, sometimes we can't get on with everyone. The fine people at Software Free Conservancy did so.

I still don't like what happened in FSF. But then it was it's choice. RMS seems that he still wants to lead GNU. It's his project and he doesn't seem to care a lot about marketing so I don't think he will let go. People who contribute to GNU are assumed to at least be in line with the minimal requirements for doing so. If someone wants a more community oriented governance they can create their own structure.

I would be very willing to hear why FSF shall cease to support GNU. Is RMS some evil figure that will destroy everything? Is GNU not true to its principles or the principles of FSF?

I truly accept that maybe the GNU community is not for everyone. That maybe some choices weren't really inclusive and that alienated parts of its community. I haven't personally observed that but I still believe that this is probably true, since lot's of people have said it happens. I accept that some people involved would like to have more power in what happens and how things are managed. But they were never promised that this would happen.

So please, and in truly good faith, people that feel so start your own movement. With the CoC you want, with the model of governance you want, fixing all the mistakes of GNU and FSF. But trying to hijack another movement? I find GNU acceptable under RMS' governance so I choose to participate in it. But then you may find it unacceptable. At the same time more initiatives are good. This way even people that have different values and ideas can still participate in free software communities. This would be wonderful. Imagine a group of leftist free software hackers, a group of right-wing free software hackers, a group of non-political free software hackers (if such a thing exists), anarchists etc..

We don't need a mother-ship in free software. Decentralize the movement so it can have the widest possible appeal. That would be great for everyone. People would participate in communities they feel they can actually express themselves into.

What happens the last months only works against free software. We are
just attacking each other. This needs to stop in my opinion.

For all I care, GNU could go down and burn and I'm not holding RMS in any special status. He is just human. But trying to delete the man from the movement he started and offered his life in, it's sad. He has all the right to run the movement like he wants to. If you want something different fork, stop nagging. That's the free software ethos, that's the community ethos.

When I see people working in Salesforce, or worse, trying to hold RMS accountable for his commentary on what is rape or not, I can't help but laugh.

I'm writing this wall of text as an outcry of what happens lately. All in good faith. I try to understand all your reasons, I just don't agree with your actions. I would like to hear why you believe that it would be of value for the free software movement GNU getting hijacked instead of another movement spawning. Why cause conflict between people that feel aligned with GNU/RMS and those that don't? We work on the same thing. How we organize and engage in our communities is our choice. Why is that we shall have just one type of community?

Thank you for your detailed comment and I take you at your word that you're writing in good faith.

I think the point where we disagree is the notion that it's okay for RMS to simply be unaccountable as leader of the GNU project. I just don't think that unaccountable power is ever a good thing and I don't think we'll reach a common ground on this

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@fraggle Yeah, I see that we take a different stance on the issue.

My point is mainly that RMS should be accountable together with his project. RMS didn't acquire power by money, capital or any other kind of semi-permanent value. The community gave him power, because it aligned with his views, and it can take it back.

If there is a need in the community that isn't allowed in RMS' governance then a new movement is better. So GNU will wither and a new movement will blossom. Trying to forcefully change GNU, imho, can only backfire.

My feeling is that actions taken especially by some GNU maintainers, whom I otherwise admire and use their software everyday, are kinda backstabby.

I would pretty much prefer an announcement that said GNU is not proper for how we think about things anymore so we have this new community. This is not something new. Open source did that more than 20 years ago and is a highly successful movement.

Anyways, I like that we can talk about our opposing views in a civilized manner and I'll stop my wall of text! My main gripe is just this division between people that have the same objective.
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