[FSFE PR][EN] Statement on Richard Stallman rejoining the FSF board

press at fsfe.org press at fsfe.org
Wed Mar 24 13:30:11 UTC 2021

 = Statement on Richard Stallman rejoining the FSF board =

[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2021/news-20210324-01.en.html ]

We learnt through a public announcement that Richard Stallman is again
part of the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation, one of
our independent sister organisations. We disapprove of this step that
came without any message of remorse or willingness to change.

In 2019, Richard Stallman resigned as president and board member of the
Free Software Foundation. On 21 March 2021 Stallman announced he is
member of the board again. The FSFE only learnt about that fact through
his public announcement.

We believe this step and how it was communicated harms the future of the
Free Software movement. The goal of the software freedom movement is to
empower all people to control technology and thereby create a better
society for everyone. Free Software is meant to serve everyone
regardless of their age, ability or disability, gender identity, sex,
ethnicity, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. This requires an
inclusive and diverse environment that welcomes all contributors
equally. The FSFE realises that we ourselves and the Free Software
movement still have to work hard to be that place where everyone feels
safe and respected to participate in it in order to fulfill the
movement's mission.

One crucial factor in making our community more inclusive is to
recognise and reflect when other people are offended or harmed by our
own actions and consider this feedback in future actions. The way
Richard Stallman announced his return to the board unfortunately lacks
any acknowledgement of this kind of thought process, and we are deeply
disappointed that the FSF board did not address these concerns before
electing him a board member again. Overall, we feel the current step
sends the wrong signal to existing and future community members.

That is why, as a legally and financially independent organisation, in
which Richard Stallman has not had any decision-making powers, we call
for his resignation from all FSF bodies. The FSF needs to seriously
reflect on this decision as well as their decision-making process to
prevent similar issues from happening again. Therefore, in the current
situation we see ourselves unable to collaborate both with the FSF and
any other organisation in which Richard Stallman has a leading position.
Instead, we will continue to work with groups and individuals who foster
diversity and equality in the Free Software movement in order to achieve
our joint goal of empowering all users to control technology.

  == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity that empowers users to
  control technology. Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our
  lives; and it is important that this technology empowers rather than
  restricts us. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use,
  understand, adapt and share software. These rights help support other
  fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, press and privacy.

  The FSFE helps individuals and organisations to understand how Free
  Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
  It enhances users' rights by abolishing barriers to Free Software
  adoption, encourage people to use and develop Free Software, and
  provide resources to enable everyone to further promote Free Software
  in Europe.


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