How do we proceed?
mbr at arlsoft.com
Tue Oct 8 17:19:54 BST 2019
The following started out as a brief note, but got quite long. Your
bogus accusation that I'm someone "paid by Google" to "sneak into our
community and attack the real fighters" left me feeling the need to
disprove it by providing a lot of details about my connection, both to
Stallman and to Free Software.
I know that Richard considers himself an atheist, but I know from having
read "Free as in Freedom", back when it first came out, that both of
RMS' parents were Jewish. So, he's a Jewish atheist in exactly the same
way that I'm a Jewish agnostic. Being Jewish is not just a religion.
Stallman and I are both Americans of Jewish ancestry in the exact same
way that Alexander Graham Bell was an American of Scottish ancestry.
I've known Stallman since the 1970s when both of us were regular folk
dancers around Cambridge, Mass., especially Sunday nights at MIT
(International), Tuesday nights at MIT (Balkan), and another night (I
forget which) at "The Taylors" (Connie and Marianne Taylor) at the YWCA
in Central Sq. In the late 1970s, we were both in a performing group
that spent so much time arguing about a name that we never came up with
one and ended up being called the MITFDCPG (MIT Folk Dance Club
Performing Group). We all recognized Richard as simultaneously
brilliant and weirdly clueless about interacting with other people, but
he was part of our community, and we felt protective of him. BTW, when
Newsweek did an article on him in the early 1980s, he was wearing
MITFDCPG costume in the photo:
In the late 1970s, he started talking to anybody and everybody about how
"they're taking away our freedom to program". As a programmer myself, I
didn't see it then, and thought, "Well, that's just Stallman being
Stallman. He's a little nuts, but he's just another quirky member of
our community." It took me another 5 or 6 years to see what he'd been
seeing, at which point I realized that Stallman's not nuts, he's a
visionary! I've never made that mistake again. If he has something to
say, I take it very seriously because I know he thinks things through in
great detail. I may not always agree with him, but I always know that
whatever he says is the product of a formidable intellect.
Also, as a software engineer, I've been using the GNU toolset since the
late 1980s. Ever since Linux was first available in the early 1990s,
I've understood that Linux (or as Richard prefers, GNU/Linux) is a
combination of the GNU tools, the XFree86 port of the X Window System to
the Intel architecture, the Berkeley implementation of networking, and
Linus' kernel. And I felt that the name ought to reflect the major
contributors. Somebody had suggested spelling it LiGnuX to give credit
to the kernel (Linux), the command line tools (GNU), and the windowing
system (XFree86). I liked the idea of crediting the major contributors,
so when Torvalds was a guest in a live chat session sometime in the
mid-1990s, I made that suggestion, and by his response, Torvalds clearly
indicated that he wasn't about to give others credit for their
contributions. That's something I can't imagine Stallman ever doing
because unlike most people, for him truth and accuracy are of paramount
importance. It's been noted that when he put out a revised version
(2.0) of "Free as in Freedom", he didn't remove descriptions of himself
that might be considered disparaging. He only changed things that Sam
Williams got wrong.
I'd been out of touch with him for quite some time, but we reconnected a
few years ago. He's still as difficult to get along with as he always
was, but I now understand, both from "Free as in Freedom" and from
talking with other friends of his, that he's on the autism spectrum, and
that explains both his brilliance and his difficulty relating to other
people. And I've noticed that he now seems to put effort into trying to
relate better to people, and regardless of whether he succeeds or not, I
find it quite touching and that I truly appreciate his making the effort.
So, whatever fantasy you may have about me being "paid by Google" to
"sneak into our community and attack the real fighters", there's no
reality to that fantasy. The only reason I'm on this list at all is
because, a few weeks ago, out of the blue, I received an email from
Daniel Pocock, not to me but to a list that someone added me to without
my knowledge. Usually I object to that, but in this case I decided to
stay on the list, specifically because it seemed like it was a group of
Free Software contributors who'd be likely to be discussing the recent
attack on RMS.
When I initially read your comments about him, I thought you were on his
side. But then I read your comment that he "may be liquidated soon" and
couldn't figure out what you were talking about. Immediately after
that, I noticed your UID, and misread "ahilter" as "ahitler". An easy
mistake to make. Or maybe I'm a little bit dylsexic ("That's a joke,
son!" -- Foghorn Leghorn).
This should give you some idea of who I am, how I know Richard, and
where my sympathies lie. I hadn't even remembered the sense of
protectiveness regarding RMS from the 1970s, nor had I realized that it
was still there, but when Selam G's bullshit rant forced his ouster from
both MIT and FSF, I was outraged!
So, with you suddenly talking about him possibly being "liquidated" and
my misreading your UID as a reference to Adolf Hitler, I over-reacted.
Sorry about that.
On 10/8/19 2:54 AM, ahilter at keemail.me wrote:
> Oct 7, 2019, 18:21 by mbr at arlsoft.com:
>> When someone whose UID portion of his email address is "ahitler" says of someone of Jewish ancestry that he "may be liquidated soon", that's beyond the pale! What exactly are you implying is going to happen to Richard?
> I am horrified. Now I am attacked because I fight for free software and RMS. You're trying to pull my good name into the mud and allude to Jews. That's not acceptable. RMS is not a Jew. He is an atheist. Are you a Jew? I don't know what you want. It's really horrible how some people, probably paid by Google, sneak into our community and attack the real fighters. I won't let you insult me here! I didn't say anything about Jews! Leave us alone MBR. We are here for freedom and exchange of opinions, not for smear campaigns.
> It can't be a coincidence that exactly 80 years ago today Germany ordered the complete reorganization of Poland. Exactly this rearrangement is tried by some dreadful elements with our community. We must be vigilant and always ready to defend ourselves. We are not going down without a fight! Not against such people as Florian Snow and MBR who take money to destroy our community. Since Daniel took the floor, people have been shooting back. For a good future for free software!
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