Richard Stallman Resigns from Free Software Foundation

Sep 17, 2019

GNU founder came under fire for comments made on an internal MIT mailing list

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. 

Reaction from the Free Software community was swift. The Free Software Conservancy (SFC) said in a blog post, “The fight for diversity, equality, and inclusion in 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.”

The SCF then called for Stallman to step down from positions of leadership in the free software movement. A few hours later Stallman announced that he has resigned from his position at MIT and FSF.

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