Richard Stallman says he has returned to the Free Software Foundation board of directors and won't be resigning again

'Some of you will be happy at this, and some might be disappointed'


Updated Richard M Stallman, founder and former president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), announced at the organisation's LibrePlanet virtual event that he has rejoined the board and does not intend to resign again.

Stallman spoke at the event yesterday on the subject of unjust computing – covering locked-down operating systems, non-free client software, user-restricting app stores, and more.

Before the talk he stated: "I have an announcement to make. I'm now on the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors once again. We were working on a video to announce this with, but that turned out to be difficult, we didn't have experience doing that sort of thing so it didn't get finished but here is the announcement. Some of you will be happy at this, and some might be disappointed, but who knows? In any case, that's how it is, and I'm not planning to resign a second time."

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Stallman resigned both as president and FSF board member in September 2019, saying: "I am doing this due to pressure on the Foundation and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations of what I have said."

This followed spectacularly insensitive remarks he made concerning MIT professor Marvin Minsky, who died in 2016, and his association with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. One of Epstein's trafficking victims said she was, at the age of 17, told to have sex with Minsky. Stallman tried to defend the AI expert by saying, if the claims were true, Minsky may not have been aware the teenager had been coerced to have sex.

Stallman's resignation was welcomed at the time by some prominent free software advocates including GNOME executive director Neil McGovern and FSF sister organisation FSF Europe.

Stallman also resigned as Visiting Scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

At the time of writing Stallman had not been listed as an board member here and we have contacted FSF for confirmation.

There is no suggestion that Stallman is resuming his role as president of the foundation. ®

Updated on March 22 at 1344 UTC to add

FSF executive director John Sullivan has sent us a note to confirm that Stallman has rejoined the board.


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